High Crimes

The Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 15, 2018, Story 1: Grand Jury Indicts 13 Russians Trolls and 3 Russian Companies Commit Federal Crimes While Interfering With United States Political System By Sowing Discord in America Including Rallies For and Against Trump After Election — No Impact on Election Outcome and No Americans Colluded With Russians — Trump and Campaign Vindicated — When Will Their Be Indictments of The Clinton Obama Conspiracy? — Is That All There Is? — Videos — Story 2: FBI Epic Failure In Not Stopping Mentally Disturbed Killer in Parkland Florida — Missed Following Up Two Tips — Government Failures Locally, County, State, and Federal Levels — Government Dependence Kills — Videos

Posted on February 21, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Cartoons, City, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Elections, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Games, Government, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, Homicide, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, Investments, James Comey, Killing, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Movies, National Interest, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1013, December 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1012, December 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1011, December 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1010, December 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1009, December 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1008, December 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1007, November 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1006, November 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1005, November 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1004, November 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1003, November 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

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Story 1: Grand Jury Indicts 13 Russians Trolls and 3 Russian Companies Commit Federal Crimes While Interfering With United States Political System By Sowing Discord in America Including Rallies For and Against Trump After Election — No Impact on Election Outcome and No Americans Colluded With Russians — Trump and Campaign Vindicated — When Will Their Be Indictments of The Clinton Obama Conspiracy? — Is That All There Is? — Videos —

troll farm

New Word Suggestion

An organization whose employees or members attempt to create conflict and disruption in an online community by posting deliberately inflammatory or provocative comments.
Additional Information

E.g. his username was not from one of the usual troll farms.

Peggy Lee — Is That All There Is? 1969

Is That All There Is

I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire
I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up
in his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement
I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames
And when it was all over I said to myself, is that all there is to a fire
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is
And when I was twelve years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads
And so I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle
I had the feeling that something was missing
I don’t know what, but when it was over
I said to myself, “is that all there is to a circus?
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is
Then I fell in love, head over heels in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world
We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other’s eyes
We were so very much in love
Then one day he went away and I thought I’d die, but I didn’t
and when I didn’t I said to myself, is that all there is to love?
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
I know what you must be saying to yourselves
if that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all?
Oh, no, not me I’m in no hurry for that final disappointment
for I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you
when that final moment comes and I’m breathing my first breath, I’ll be saying to myself
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball

If that’s all there is

Songwriters: Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller
Is That All There Is lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Russian tactics to create discord during the 2016 election

Steyn: Trump elected because of careless Left demonization

Ingraham: New Russia indictments have White House cheering

Jarrett: Mueller is still focused squarely on Donald Trump

Rod Rosenstein’s Last Ditch Effort to Justify Mueller’s Existence: Indicting 13 ‘Russian Nationals’

Mueller and His Sad Handmaid Rosenstein Dump This Pathetic 37-Page Indictment Against Evil Russians

Joe Digenova: Rosenstein’s Press Conference|Judge Sullivan|Improper Conduct in General Flynn Case

Ben Shapiro: President Trump gets some good news on the Robert Mueller’s investigation! (02-19-2018)

Hannity: Examining key points from Russian indictments

White House reacts to Russia indictments

Tucker: Here’s what seems true about Russia indictments

Tucker: You will here a lot of propaganda about the indictment of 13 Russian citizens accused of trying to meddle in the 2016 election. Here’s what seems true: No evidence any vote was changed and Russia tried to ‘sow discord.’

Carter Page reacts to Russia meddling indictments

Tucker vs Rob Reiner

Trump Tweets 14 Times in 24 Hours on Russia Investigations

James Clapper: No doubt Russia wanted to sway election

Lawrence: Advisers Held Off Donald Trump’s Golfing, But Not His Tweeting | The Last Word | MSNBC

Russian indictment lays out how they financed “sophisticated operation” in the U.S., ex-federal p…

Stelter: Pro-Trump media’s dishonest Russia talking points

Watch Rosenstein’s full announcement of the indictment of 13 Russians

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein on Feb. 16 announced the indictment of 13 Russians linked to a troll farm as part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into meddling in the 2016 election.

Special counsel indicts Russian nationals for meddling

Mueller Indicts 13 Russians, Three Entities for Election Meddling

Media find way to connect Trump to Mueller’s indictments

Doris Day – Dream A Little Dream of Me

Dream A Little Dream Of Me
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”
Birds singing in the sycamore tree
Dream a little dream of me
Say “Night-ie night” and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you’ll miss me
While I’m alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me
Stars fading, but I linger on, dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn, dear
Just saying this
Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me
Stars fading, but I linger on, dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn, dear
Just saying this
Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries far behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me
Songwriters: Fabian Andre / Gus Kahn / Wilbur Schwandt
Dream A Little Dream Of Me lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, T.R.O. Inc.

 

55 Savushkina Street in St. Petersburg, Russia, the former home of the Internet Research Agency.CreditJames Hill for The New York Times

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Operating from St. Petersburg, they churned out falsehoods on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. They promoted Donald J. Trump and denigrated Hillary Clinton. They stole the identities of American citizens. They organized political rallies in several states, and hired a Clinton impersonator for one event, in West Palm Beach, Fla.

On Friday, 13 Russians were indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on fraud and other charges. Details of their roles in a three-year campaignto disrupt American democracy have begun to emerge from the indictment, other records, interviews and press accounts.

The Oligarch: Yevgeny V. Prigozhin

Photo

Yevgeny V. Prigozhin controlled two companies that financed the operations of the Internet Research Agency, a shadowy troll farm. CreditMikhail Metzel/TASS, via Getty Images

A former teenage champion cross-country skier who was later imprisoned for robbery, Mr. Prigozhin started a hot-dog business as the Soviet Union collapsed and eventually branched into convenience stores and restaurants. He received catering contracts and threw lavish state banquets. He has played host to world leaders like George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac. He developed a close relationship with President Vladimir V. Putin, and has been derogatively called “Putin’s cook.”

According to the indictment, he controlled two companies that financed the operations of the Internet Research Agency, a shadowy troll farm. Created in 2013, it began a so-called translator project in 2014 that targeted Americans and pursued “information warfare against the United States.” It employed hundreds of people and, by the summer of 2016, was spending $1.2 million a month.

In the past five years, Mr. Prigozhin has received government contracts worth $3.1 billion. Lately, he has branched out into areas like recruiting contract soldiers to fight overseas and establishing a popular online news service that pushes a nationalist viewpoint, making him even more indispensable to Mr. Putin. Mr. Prigozhin, 56, declined several interview requests from The New York Times in recent months.

One sign of his connection to the trolls, according to the indictment: In what appeared to be something of an inside joke, people working for the Internet Research Agency paid an American to hold a sign outside the White House — “Happy 55th Birthday, Dear Boss” — to celebrate Mr. Prigozhin’s birthday (June 1) in 2016.

The C.E.O.: Mikhail I. Bystrov

Mr. Bystrov is a retired St. Petersburg police colonel who, according to the indictment, joined the company in February 2014 and became its highest-ranking official. He also led shell entities that were used to conceal its activities, including one called Glavset, a so-called database and information company. It shared an address — 55 Savushkina Street — with the Internet Research Agency. (The troll farm has since moved to Optikov Street, according to the local press.)

The troll farm soon drew notice in Russia: news outlets reported that it employed 250 people in 12-hour shifts to provide a round-the-clock flow of pro-Kremlin posts and comments, praising Mr. Putin and excoriating President Barack Obama and President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine. Monthly salaries ranged from $1,100 for a junior analyst to $1,400 for a blogger to $4,200 a month for senior management.

Mr. Bystrov, who is believed to be 59, has avoided reporters and declined interview requests.

The Executive Director: Mikhail L. Burchik

Mikhail L. Burchik

A young tech entrepreneur, Mr. Burchik, 31, joined the company in October 2013 and became its executive director, the No. 2 official, by March 2014, according to the indictment.

According to online records, he registered a company in 2009 called Add1.ru that was behind a 2014 hoax. In that hoax, a young woman in aviator sunglasses calling herself Zoe Foreman spent hours spamming politicians and journalists about a horrific — and fictitious — chemical plant explosion in Louisiana.

“I have heard of it, but I don’t work in this organization,” he told the journalist Adrian Chen, who wrote about the troll farm in 2015 for The New York Times Magazine. He said he had bought and sold many internet domains and didn’t remember them all.

Mr. Burchik also won government contracts to publish local municipal newspapers, organize lectures and do some video reports.

Throughout the troll farm’s operations to interfere in American politics, including the election, “Burchik was a manager involved in operational planning, infrastructure and personnel,” according to the indictment.

The business news website RBC reported on Friday that Mr. Burchik claimed not to know English well enough to understand what he had been accused of. “If a few hundred million Americans are so worried about the activities of a regular Russian small-business man from the IT-sphere doing website development, then it seems the situation in the country is completely grave,” he said.

Mr. Burchik told Komsomolskaya Pravda, a Russian tabloid, that he was not concerned about being detained while traveling abroad. “I love my country. In Russia there are many beautiful places where you can go,” he said.

GRAPHIC

The Propaganda Tools Used by Russians to Influence the 2016 Election

Thirteen Russian nationals have been charged with illegally trying to disrupt the American political process through inflammatory social media posts and organized political rallies.

OPEN GRAPHIC

Mr. Burchik has worked on several small government projects in St. Petersburg. In 2015 he was awarded a contract worth about $20,000 to develop and publish a newspaper called Dvortsovy Ukrug, for the administration of one of St. Petersburg’s municipal districts, according to government documents.

That same year, another municipal district government awarded him a similar contract to prepare a film about its activities. And in 2012, he won a $4,500 contract for organizing a program for promoting “tolerance and prevention of drug addiction” for local schools.

The Travelers: Anna V. Bogacheva and Aleksandra Y. Krylova

Ms. Bogacheva and Ms. Krylova obtained visas to visit the United States in 2014 “under false pretenses for the purposes of collecting intelligence to inform the organization’s operatives,” according to the indictment. They are said to have embarked on what amounted to a three-week reconnaissance tour, visiting California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Texas. Along the way, they bought SIM cards, cameras and drop phones and discussed “evacuation scenarios” and other security measures.

According to the indictment, Ms. Bogacheva oversaw the data analysis group for the “translator project.” A woman with the same name was listed in 2013 on the website of ITMO, a prestigious science university in St. Petersburg, as a doctoral candidate. She worked there from 2011 to 2014, as an engineer in the eScience Research Institute, according to a university spokeswoman. Many of the school’s graduates have gone on to work for the Russian government or for large tech companies.

Ms. Bogacheva also owns IT Debugger, a company that says it has worked with “difficult clients.”

Ms. Krylova became the No. 3 person at the troll farm, according to the indictment. According to what appears to be her LinkedIn profile, she is a graduate of the Moscow State University of Printing Arts, where she studied with the faculty of advertising and public relations.

She was the head of the Federal News Agency, which is believed to be Mr. Prigozhin’s flagship media outlet. The agency is known for its exclusive coverage of Russian private armies on Syria’s front line.

The I.T. Expert: Sergey P. Polozov

Mr. Polozov ran the troll farm’s I.T. department and oversaw the purchase of space on computer servers inside the United States to set up virtual private networks that masked the agency’s Russian location, according to the indictment. After a co-conspirator traveled to Atlanta in November 2014, he gave Mr. Polozov a summary of his trip and expenses.

According to business records and Mr. Polozov’s page on the Russian social network Vkontakte, Mr. Polozov runs a software company called Morkov, which was registered in 2013, and began to recruit web developers and programmers in early 2014.

“In need of people with knowledge of website promotion for full-time work,” he wrote in a Vkontakte post on May 28, 2014. “If interested, send me a personal message. You can send your résumé immediately.”

On Vkontakte, he shared political jokes at the expense of Russia’s rivals and neighbors. One post he shared in June 2015 quoted the Chechen writer German Sadulaev:

The greatest possible mistake is to neglect the Russians. Consider them weak. Offend them. Never offend the Russians. The Russians are never as weak as you think they are. God forbid you expel the Russians or take something from them. The Russians always come back. The Russians will come back and take back what is theirs. But when the Russians return, they do not apply force proportionally. They destroy everything in their path.

The ‘Translators’: Maria A. Bovda and Robert S. Bovda

Not much is known about the Bovdas, including their relationship. According to the indictment, she was the head, and he the deputy head, of the “translator project,” the troll farm’s campaign to target Americans with messages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, starting in April 2014. The project employed hundreds of people and, by the summer of 2016, was spending $1.2 million a month. It hid activities through a web of shell companies. According to the indictment, Ms. Bovda and Mr. Bovda both worked for the troll farm for about a year, from November 2013 to October 2014.

The America Specialist: Dzheykhun N. O. Aslanov

According to the indictment, Mr. Aslanov oversaw many of the operations targeting the United States election. An investigation by RBC, a newsmagazine, found that Mr. Aslanov was in charge of the “American department” of the troll farm. It reported that Mr. Aslanov arrived in St. Petersburg in 2000 from his hometown Ust-Kut, in the Irkutsk region. His Vkontakte profile says he graduated from the Russian State Hydrometeorological University in St. Petersburg in 2012, and a university page indicates that he studied economics and wildlife management.

The RBC report says that he spent several months in the United States in 2009, visiting New York and Boston. His work at the troll farm included registering legal entities in the names of his employees.

His name appears in public records as general director of Azimut — which, according to the indictment, was used to funnel money to the troll farm — and of the Reputation Management Center. According to its website, the Reputation Management Center first determines what kind of reputation a client has online through media monitoring, and then creates bots that improve its image through positive posts, “drowns negative reviews in a sea of favorable information about the company” and “creates hype” around it.

The Others: Irina V. Kaverzina, Vadim V. Podkopaev, Gleb I. Vasilchenko, Vladimir Venkov

Ms. Kaverzina grew worried after Facebook revealed last September that it was cooperating with the authorities to look into Russian advertising on the platform. “We had a slight crisis here at work: the F.B.I. busted our activity (not a joke),” she wrote to a relative, according to the indictment. “So, I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues,” she added. “I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people.”

Mr. Podkopaev was an analyst for the “translator project.” He conducted research on the United States and drafted social media messages for the organization, according to the indictment.

Mr. Vasilchenko posted to, monitored and updated social media accounts while posing as Americans or as American grass-roots organizations. He led two subgroups focused on political interference in the United States, including the election. On Vkontakte, he shared a meme in October 2016 that imagined a drinking game in which players took a shot every time Mr. Trump talked about building a wall along the Mexican-United States border or making America great again, told voters to believe him, or complained about being treated unfairly; and every time Mrs. Clinton coughed, sipped water, laughed awkwardly, or mentioned her daughter or President Barack Obama.

Mr. Venkov inhabited multiple social media personas, according to the indictment. Someone with that name belongs to a Facebook group of social media marketing professionals and posted a photo last May of himself wearing a Republican elephant pin.

Why did a Florida shooter FBI tip fall through the cracks?

The FBI says it got a tip about the man accused of murdering 17 people in Parkland, Florida, but never investigated. Director Christopher Wray said on Friday that a caller warned the bureau of Nikolas Cruz’s desire to kill people. Judy Woodruff talks with The Washington Post’s Matt Zapotosky and former assistant attorney general John Carlin.

Former FBI profiler analyzes Florida shooting suspect

Dr Susan Gratia-Hupp – Survivor of the 1991 Kileen TX Lubys Shooting Massacre

What Is An “Assault Rifle”? – You’ve Probably Been Lied To

The Difference Between SEMI-AUTOMATIC and FULLY AUTOMATIC GUNS

Assault Rifle vs. Sporting Rifle

Published on Dec 30, 2012

The media and the anti-gunners are trying to tell Americans that “assault weapons” need to be banned for public safety. The problem is, assault rifles were banned in 1986. What they want to ban now are semi-automatic sporting firearms. The firearms they want to ban account for less than 1% of the firearms used in crime. We need to stop this mindless attack on our Constitutional rights.

Full Auto vs. Semi-Auto with an AK

Inside the AK-47

What is a Bump Stock? Should it be illegal?!

President Trump said the FBI is too focused on trying to prove collusion between his campaign and the Russians and suggested that this may have contributed to the agency’s bungled handling of a tip about the shooter who killed 17 people and injured scores more at a Florida high school last week.”Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable,” Trump tweeted late Saturday night. “They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

The confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, used an AR-15-style rifle to attack his former high school in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday. On Friday, the FBI admitted that that it received a tip about Cruz last month that he had been behaving erratically and threatening to kill people, but “protocols were not followed.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered an “immediate review” of the Department of Justice and FBI after officials failed to follow up on that tip. Sessions called the review a “top priority.”

Trump also expressed his dismay with a comment his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, made during the Munich Security Conference in Germany earlier in the day.

Following the unveiling of Mueller’s indictments of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities on Friday, McMaster said “the evidence” of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election “is now incontrovertible.”

“General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems,” Trump tweeted. “Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!”

As Trump notes, the indictment Friday makes no allegations of collusion, saying, “some defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller’s efforts, also said “there is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Trump’s allegation that his Democratic rival in the election, Hillary Clinton, is guilty of corruption stems from reports and investigations into multiple controversies, including the “Trump dossier,” which contains salacious and unverified claims about his ties to Russia. The opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier was funded in part by Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

One of the other controversies Trump referenced involves the “Uranium One” deal, which relates to Clinton’s alleged involvement while serving as secretary of state in a quid pro quo scheme that allowed Russia to buy a stake in U.S. uranium production in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation.

The Podesta Group, a longtime K Street fixture run for decades by Tony Podesta, brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, collapsed at the end of last year as the firm’s involvement in a lobbying campaign on behalf of pro-Russia forces in the Ukrainian government came under scrutiny from both the press and Mueller.

Trump’s hammering of the FBI comes as a time when the reputation of the federal law enforcement agency had already been facing stern question from Republicans and Trump supporters over concerns of political bias.

Trump is spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Springs, Fla.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-scolds-fbi-for-missing-many-signs-from-florida-shooter-being-too-focused-on-russia-collusion/article/2649405

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered an “immediate review” of the Department of Justice and FBI after officials failed to follow up on a tip that Nikolas Cruz, who shot up his former Florida high school on Wednesday, could be a threat.The FBI admitted that “protocols were not followed” in this case, and Sessions said a full inquiry would be made. 

“It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures,” Sessions said in a statement.

Sessions said he has ordered Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to conduct an “immediate review of our process” at the Justice Department and FBI “to ensure that we reach the highest level of prompt and effective response to indications of potential violence that come to us.”

“This includes more than just an error review but also a review of how we respond. This will include possible consultation with family members, mental health officials, school officials, and local law enforcement,” the attorney general said.

Sessions called the review a “top priority.”

In the meantime, Sessions reviewed how the department has been helping Parkland, Fla., and the surrounding areas in the wake of the deadly shooting. According to the department, there are 250 FBI staff in both Miami and Washington working on the case.

There are also 17 special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’s Miami office assisting, and 14 more agents from the ATF’s West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce field offices.

ATF has also completed an “urgent trace” of a recovered firearm through its National Tracing Center and is assisting in ballistics analysis, the Department of Justice said.

The Office for Victims of Crime “has funding available to support victim-assistance activities, such as crisis intervention and grief trauma counseling, and to reimburse victims for certain expenses related to the shooting,” and the Office for Victims of Crime and the Bureau of Justice Assistance “stand ready to assist the state and local authorities,” the DOJ said.

According to reports, Cruz — who has reportedly confessed to the shooting — was seen online posing with guns and knives on Instagram. A defense attorney has described him as “a broken child.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jeff-sessions-orders-review-after-fbi-failed-to-pursue-tip-on-florida-shooter/article/2649328

Susan Boyle – I Dreamed A Dream – Les Miserables – Official Britains Got Talent 2009

I Dreamed a Dream

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I prayed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hopes apart
And they turn your dreams to shame
And still I dream he’d come to me
That we would live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream, I dreamed
Songwriters: Alain Albert Boublil / Claude Michel Schonberg / Herbert Kretzmer / Jean Marc Natel
I Dreamed a Dream lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Susan Boyle performs Duet with Elaine Paige

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The Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018, Story 1: General Flynn Did Not Lie To FBI According To Former FBI Director Comey — Department of Justice Railroaded General Flynn — Videos — Story 2: Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice Last Minute Inauguration Day CYA (Obama) Email On Russia That Obama Wants Investigations By The Book — No Not The Law — Yes The Book was Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky — Videos

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Story 1: General Flynn Did Not Lie To FBI According To Former FBI Director Comey — Department of Justice Railroaded General Flynn — Videos — 

JUST IN: MARK LEVIN Goes After Obama: Where is he? Has he gone into the witness protection?

Sean Hannity Feb 15, 2018 – Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS!!! RUSH LIMBAUGH: GEN. FLYNN INDICTMENT PART OF ‘ONE OF THE MOST GIGANTIC POLITICAL SCANDAL

NEW!!! Russian Collusion Proof Just Took Whole New Turn On Dems

Obama Holdouts at DOJ Railroaded Gen Michael Flynn

FBI director claims there is no bias in agency

Napolitano: Gen. Flynn – Why did he plead guilty to lying?

Why weren’t Hillary Clinton staffers investigated for lying to FBI?

Jason Chaffetz & Trey Gowdy Trust IG Horowitz, 2042

2-3-15 DOJ Inspector General Horowitz Testimony: Return to a “Culture of Openness”

IG Michael Horowitz Opening Statement Hearing Oversight Access Concerns

Clinton campaign looked to fire intel watchdog over email scandal

Joe diGenova describes “Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton”

Ex-inspector general: Blowback came from Clinton allies

Trey Gowdy States Michael Horowitz The I G Uncovered Peter Strzok In FBI Investigation

General Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI

Source: Flynn broken financially and emotionally

Jared Kushner directed Michael Flynn to contact Russian ambassador

Michael Flynn may have violated Logan Act: Chad Pergram

President Trump: Lying To The FBI ‘Destroyed’ Michael Flynn’s Life, But Not Hillary’s | NBC News

Flynn unlikely to face charges for lying to FBI, sources say

Meet the Inspector General

Photo of Michael E. Horowitz

Michael E. Horowitz was sworn in as the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 16, 2012, following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.  Mr. Horowitz was previously confirmed by the Senate in 2003 to serve a six-year term as a Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

As Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz oversees a nationwide workforce of more than 450 special agents, auditors, inspectors, attorneys, and support staff whose mission is to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct in DOJ programs and personnel, and to promote economy and efficiency in Department operations.  Since 2015, he has simultaneously served as the Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), an organization comprised of all 73 federal Inspectors General.

Mr. Horowitz worked from 2002 to 2012 as a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham, & Taft LLP, where he focused his practice on white collar defense, internal investigations, and regulatory compliance.  He also was a board member of the Ethics Resource Center and the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics.

Prior to working in private practice, Mr. Horowitz worked in DOJ from 1991 to 2002.  He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1991 to 1999, where he was the Chief of the Public Corruption Unit and a Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.  In 1995, he was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for his work on a complex police corruption investigation.  Thereafter, he worked in the DOJ Criminal Division in Washington from 1999 to 2002, first as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and then as Chief of Staff.  Mr. Horowitz began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge John G. Davies of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton.

Mr. Horowitz earned his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and his Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from Brandeis University.

https://oig.justice.gov/about/meet-ig.htm

Byron York: Comey told Congress FBI agents didn’t think Michael Flynn lied

Congressional investigators are baffled by the turn of events in the Michael Flynn case. But they know they find the Flynn case troubling, from start to finish. (AP)Congressional investigators are baffled by the turn of events in the Michael Flynn case. But they know they find the Flynn case troubling, from start to finish. (AP)

Jan. 23, the Washington Post reported that the FBI had reviewed the Flynn-Kislyak calls and “has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government.” (The calls had been intercepted by U.S. intelligence because the U.S. monitored the Russian ambassador’s communications — something which Flynn, a former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, surely knew.)

Still, Flynn’s conversation had the attention of the Obama Justice Department, and in particular of deputy attorney general Sally Yates, who reportedly believed Flynn might have violated the Logan Act, a 218 year-old law under which no one had ever been successfully prosecuted. (Two people were charged in the 19th century, but the cases were dropped.)

Despite the high level of classification, word of the Justice Department’s concerns got to the press. On Jan. 12, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that Flynn and Kislyak had talked. “What did Flynn say, and did it undercut U.S. sanctions?” Ignatius asked. “The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about ‘disputes’ with the United States. Was its spirit violated?”

Three days later, on Jan. 15, Vice President-elect Mike Pence (remember, this was all happening before the Trump administration took office) denied that Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. “They [Flynn and Kislyak] did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Pence told CBS.

On Jan. 20, Donald Trump became president. On Jan. 22, the Wall Street Journal reported that “U.S. counterintelligence agents have investigated communications” between Flynn and Kislyak. The investigation “aimed to determine the nature of Mr. Flynn’s contact with Russian officials and whether such contacts may have violated laws.”

On Jan. 24, the Justice Department — the Obama holdover Yates had become the acting attorney general — sent two FBI agents to the White House to question Flynn, who talked to them without a lawyer present.

It has sometimes been asked why Flynn, a man long familiar with the ways of Washington, would talk to the FBI without a lawyer. There seems to be no clear answer. On the one hand, as national security adviser, Flynn had plenty of reasons to talk to the FBI, and he could have reasonably thought the meeting would be about a prosaic issue involved in getting the new Trump National Security Council up and running. On the other hand, the media was filled with talk about the investigation into his conversations with Kislyak, and he might just as reasonably have thought that’s what the agents wanted to discuss. In any event, Flynn went ahead without an attorney present.

In addition, it appears the FBI did not tell White House officials, including the National Security Council’s legal adviser or the White House counsel, that agents were coming to interview the national security adviser over a potentially criminal matter.

Two days later, on Jan. 26, Yates and a high-ranking colleague went to the White House to tell counsel Don McGahn about the Flynn situation. “The first thing we did was to explain to Mr. McGahn that the underlying conduct that Gen. Flynn had engaged in was problematic in and of itself,” Yates testified in a May 2017 appearance before a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee. That was an apparent reference to the Logan Act, although Yates never specifically said so. “We took him [McGahn] through in a fair amount of detail of the underlying conduct, what Gen. Flynn had done.”

Yates then explained to McGahn her theory that Flynn might be vulnerable to blackmail. The idea was that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak, which of course the Russians knew. And then if Flynn lied to Pence, and Pence made a public statement based on what Flynn had told him, then the Russians might be able to blackmail Flynn because they, the Russians, knew Flynn had not told the vice president the truth.

It was a pretty far-fetched notion, but, along with the never-successfully-prosecuted Logan Act, it was apparently the basis upon which the FBI went inside the White House to do an unannounced interview of a key member of the new administration.

In their discussion, McGahn asked Yates: Even if one White House official lied to another, what’s that to the Justice Department? “It was a whole lot more than one White House official lying to another,” Yates testified. “First of all, it was the vice president of the United States and the vice president had then gone out and provided that information to the American people who had then been misled and the Russians knew all of this, making Mike Flynn compromised now.”

Yates went to see McGahn twice, on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27. On Feb. 13, Flynn resigned. That same day, the Washington Post reported that the Justice Department had pursued Flynn on the grounds of a potential Logan Act violation.

“Yates, then the deputy attorney general, considered Flynn’s comments in the intercepted call to be ‘highly significant’ and ‘potentially illegal,’ according to an official familiar with her thinking,” the Post reported. “Yates and other intelligence officials suspected that Flynn could be in violation of an obscure U.S. statute known as the Logan Act, which bars U.S. citizens from interfering in diplomatic disputes with another country.”

On Feb. 14, the New York Times reported that, “Obama advisers grew suspicious that perhaps there had been a secret deal between the incoming [Trump] team and Moscow, which could violate the rarely enforced, two-century-old Logan Act barring private citizens from negotiating with foreign powers in disputes with the United States.” (The paper added that the Obama advisers asked the FBI if Flynn and Kislyak had discussed a quid pro quo, only to learn the answer was no.)

At that point, the public still did not know that the Jan. 24 FBI interview of Flynn had taken place. That report came on Feb. 17, when the Washington Post reported the interview in a story headlined, “Flynn told FBI he did not discuss sanctions.” That was the piece that noted Flynn was in legal jeopardy, and that, “Lying to the FBI is a felony offense.”

Congress, in the meantime, was in the dark about what was going on. Given the intense discussion of the Flynn case in the media, there was no doubt lawmakers were going to want to know what was happening in the Flynn matter, as well as other aspects of the Trump-Russia investigation. (At that point, the FBI had never even publicly acknowledged that there was an investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.)

So Comey went to Capitol Hill in March to brief lawmakers privately. That is when he told them that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe Flynn had lied, or that any inaccuracies in Flynn’s answers were intentional. And that is when some lawmakers got the impression that Flynn would not be charged with any crime pertaining to the Jan. 24 interview.

There was still the possibility Flynn could face legal trouble for something else, like failing to register his representation of Turkey. But as far as the question of a “1001 charge” — a charge of lying to investigators, known by its number in the federal code — some lawmakers took that as a sign that Flynn was out of the woods.

On the other hand, the FBI does not make prosecution decisions. (That was not true, of course, in the case of the Clinton email investigation, in which the attorney general effectively gave Comey the decision of whether or not to prosecute.) It could be that the FBI agents who did the questioning were overruled by Justice Department officials who came up with theories like Flynn’s alleged violation of the Logan Act or his alleged vulnerability to blackmail.

In any event, much happened after the FBI director’s March briefings of Congress. In May, the president fired Comey. The Justice Department, under Trump-appointed deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, chose Robert Mueller to be the Trump-Russia special counsel. Mueller gathered a number of prosecutors known for tough, take-no-prisoners tactics. And on Dec. 1, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Yates went on to become a heroine of the Trump resistance (and at least one of Mueller’s prosecutors) after she refused to enforce the president’s travel ban executive order, and Trump summarily fired her. Her legacy lives on in United States v. Michael T. Flynn.

But to outside observers, mystery still surrounds the case. To some Republicans, it appears the Justice Department used a never-enforced law and a convoluted theory as a pretext to question Flynn — and then, when FBI questioners came away believing Flynn had not lied to them, forged ahead with a false-statements prosecution anyway. The Flynn matter is at the very heart of the Trump-Russia affair, and there is still a lot to learn about it.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/byron-york-comey-told-congress-fbi-agents-didnt-think-michael-flynn-lied/article/2648896

 

Exclusive: CIA Ex-Director Brennan’s Perjury Peril

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes next plans to investigate the role former CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama intelligence officials played in promoting the salacious and unverified Steele dossier on Donald Trump — including whether Brennan perjured himself in public testimony about it.

In his May 2017 testimony before the intelligence panel, Brennan emphatically denied the dossier factored into the intelligence community’s publicly released conclusion last year that Russia meddled in the 2016 election “to help Trump’s chances of victory.”

Brennan also swore that he did not know who commissioned the anti-Trump research document (excerpt here), even though senior national security and counterintelligence officials at the Justice Department and FBI knew the previous year that the dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Last week, Nunes (R-Calif.) released a declassified memo exposing surveillance “abuses” by the Obama DOJ and FBI in their investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. It said the agencies relied heavily on the uncorroborated dossier to take out a warrant to secretly surveil a Trump adviser in the heat of the 2016 presidential election, even though they were aware the underlying “intelligence” supporting the wiretap order was political opposition research funded by Clinton allies — a material fact they concealed from FISA court judges in four separate applications.

 Rep. Devin Nunes.

Nunes plans to soon release a separate report detailing the Obama State Department’s role in creating and disseminating the dossier — which has emerged as the foundation of the Obama administration’s Russia “collusion” investigation. Among other things, the report will identify Obama-appointed diplomats who worked with partisan operatives close to Hillary Clinton to help ex-British spy Christopher Steele compile the dossier, sources say.

“Those are the first two phases” of Nunes’ multipart inquiry, a senior investigator said. “In phase three, the involvement of the intelligence community will come into sharper focus.”

The aide, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said Nunes will focus on Brennan as well as President Obama’s first CIA director, Leon Panetta, along with the former president’s intelligence czar, James Clapper, and national security adviser, Susan Rice, and security adviser-turned U.N. ambassador Samantha Power, among other intelligence officials.

“John Brennan did more than anyone to promulgate the dirty dossier,” the investigator said. “He politicized and effectively weaponized what was false intelligence against Trump.”

Attempts to reach Brennan for comment were unsuccessful.

Several Capitol Hill sources say Brennan, a fiercely loyal Obama appointee, talked up the dossier to Democratic leaders, as well as the press, during the campaign. They say he also fed allegations about Trump-Russia contacts directly to the FBI, while pressuring the bureau to conduct an investigation of several Trump campaign figures starting in the summer of 2016.

Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort was wiretapped in addition to Trump adviser Carter Page during the campaign. (Page has not been charged with a crime. Manafort was recently indicted for financial crimes unrelated to the Moscow “collusion” activities alleged in the dossier.)

On Aug. 25, 2016, for example, the CIA chief gave an unusual private briefing to then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in which he told Reid the Russians were backing Trump and that the FBI would have to take the lead in an investigation because the FBI is the federal agency in charge of domestic intelligence and, unlike the CIA, can spy on U.S. citizens.

Two days after Brennan’s special briefing, Reid fired off a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey demanding he open an investigation targeting “individuals tied to Trump” to determine if they coordinated with the Russian government “to influence our election.”

“The Trump campaign has employed a number of individuals with significant and disturbing ties to Russia and the Kremlin,” the then-top Democrat in the Senate added in his two-page letter.

Reid then alluded to Page as one of those compromised individuals and repeated an unproven charge from the dossier that Page had met with two Kremlin officials in Moscow in July 2016 to discuss removing U.S. sanctions on Russia. Page has repeatedly denied the allegation under oath, swearing he never even met the Russian officials named in the dossier.

“Any such meetings should be investigated,” Reid asserted.

Less than two months later, Comey signed an application for a surveillance warrant to monitor Page’s emails, text messages, phone conversations and residence.

Christopher Steele, former British spy.

Unsatisfied with the progress of Comey’s investigation, Reid released an open letter to the FBI chief in late October 2016 accusing him of sitting on evidence. Reid told Comey that from his communications with “other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity.”

Congressional investigators say that the “explosive information” Reid referred to was the false or unverified claims in the Clinton-funded dossier — which the sources say were passed along by Brennan. They add that Brennan gave more than one briefing.

After Trump won the election, sources say, the CIA director sought to “weaponize” the dossier’s wild accusations against the president-elect.

In early January, just weeks before Trump was inaugurated, investigators say Brennan saw to it that the contents from the dossier were attached to an official daily intelligence briefing for Obama. The special classified briefing was then leaked to the major Washington media, allowing them to use the presidential briefing to justify the publication of claims they had up to that point not been able to substantiate and had been reluctant to run.

CNN broke the news that the dossier — described as “classified documents” — had been attached to the briefing report by the CIA, and had been given to the president. The top-level credence that the government was placing in the dossier gave prominent newspapers, including the Washington Post and New York Times, justification to follow suit.

In addition, BuzzFeed published 35 pages of the dossier in full. (The Internet news outlet was recently sued by Trump campaign lawyer Michael Cohen, whom the dossier accused of conspiring with the Kremlin to pay Russian hackers to steal Clinton campaign emails. It’s one of several libel and defamation lawsuits tied to the dossier.)

At the time, the Washington Post was assured by Obama intelligence officials that “the sources involved in the [dossier’s] reporting were credible enough to warrant inclusion of their claims in the highly classified [presidential] report.” Months later in public testimony, however, Brennan said the dossier and its sources were not credible enough to incorporate the information in a separate January 2017 intelligence report on Russian election interference publicly released by the administration. The published unclassified version of the report nonetheless echoes the dossier’s central assertion that Moscow meddled in the election to help Trump.

Brennan later swore the dossier did not “in any way” factor into the CIA’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election to help Trump. However, congressional investigators suggest a still-classified version of the January 2017 intelligence report contradicts his claim. Also in his May 2017 testimony, Brennan swore he had no idea who commissioned the dossier.

CIA veterans say Brennan was the most politicized director in the agency’s history and was responsible for much of the anti-Trump bias from the intelligence community during the campaign and transition period.

Former CIA field operations officer Gene Coyle, a 30-year agency veteran who served under Brennan, said he was “known as the greatest sycophant in the history of the CIA, and a supporter of Hillary Clinton before the election.”

“I find it hard to put any real credence in anything that the man says,” he added.

Coyle noted that Brennan broke with his predecessors who stayed out of elections. Several weeks before the vote, he said, “Brennan made it very clear that he was a supporter of candidate Clinton, hoping he would be rewarded with being kept on in her administration.” (Brennan is a liberal Democrat. In fact, at the height of the Cold War in 1976, he voted for a Communist Party candidate for president.)

What’s more, his former deputy at the CIA, Mike Morell, who formed a consulting firm with longtime Clinton aide and campaign adviser Philippe Reines, even came out in early August 2016 and publicly endorsed her in the New York Times, while claiming Trump was an “unwitting agent” of Moscow.

Former FBI Director James Comey.

“In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” he claimed. “My training as an intelligence officer taught me to call it as I see it. This is what I did for the CIA. This is what I am doing now. Our nation will be much safer with Hillary Clinton as president.”

Reid repeated Morell’s allegation against Trump in his August 2016 letter to Comey.

Career U.S. intelligence officials say Morell, like Brennan, was personally invested in a Clinton victory.

Morell “had aspirations of being CIA director if she had won,” said former FBI counterintelligence official I.C. Smith, whose service overlapped with Brennan’s.

Investigators are trying to learn if the Clinton campaign shared, through Reines, the early memos on the dossier it was paying for with Morrell before he wrote his Times op-ed.

Morell could not be reached for comment. But he pushed back hard last week against Nunes releasing his memo exposing the FBI’s reliance on the dossier for Trump wiretaps, which he argued “did not have to happen. It undermines the credibility of the FBI in the public’s eyes, and with no justification in my view.”

“What happened here underscores the partisanship and the dysfunction of a very important committee in Congress, and that does not serve Congress well. It doesn’t serve the intelligence community, and it doesn’t serve the country well,” Morell continued earlier this week in an interview with CBS News, where he now works as a “senior national security contributor.”

Sources say Brennan is aware that the House Intelligence Committee is targeting him in its wide-ranging investigation of the dossier and investigative and intelligence abuses related to it, and that Nunes plans to call him and other former Obama administration officials before the panel to question them based on newly obtained documents and information.

Last week, perhaps not coincidentally, Brennan signed a contract with NBC News and MSNBC to be their “senior national security and intelligence analyst.”

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Brennan laced into Nunes for releasing the memo revealing FBI surveillance abuses related to the dossier, claiming the head of the intelligence panel has “abused the office of the chairmanship.”

“It really underscores just how partisan Mr. Nunes has been,” Brennan charged.

In the interview, Brennan claimed he first learned of the existence of the dossier “in late summer of 2016, when there were some individuals from the various U.S. news outlets who asked me about my familiarity with it. And I had heard just snippets about it.”

He further contended that he had neither seen nor read the dossier until a month after the election.

“I did not know what was in there,” Brennan said. “I did not see it until later in that year, I think it was in December.”

Brennan also insisted he did not know who was pulling the strings on the research that went into the dossier.

“I was unaware of the provenance of it as well as what was in it,” he said, and he reasserted that “it did not play any role whatsoever in the intelligence community assessment that was done.”

Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, is also coming under scrutiny for his role in the dossier.

He joined Brennan in giving Obama a two-page summary of the dossier memos during the presidential briefing in January 2017. Days later, Clapper expressed “profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press,” and misleadingly referred to the dossier as a “private security company document.”

James Clapper, former director of national intelligence.

The intelligence committee plans to press Clapper to find out if he knew at the time that, in fact, the document was political opposition research underwritten by the Clinton campaign, and whether any of the leaks to the media came from his office.

“I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC [intelligence community],” he maintained at the time, adding that “we did not rely upon [the dossier] in any way for our conclusion” on Russian interference.

In October 2016, during the heat of the campaign, Clapper issued a public report declaring that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime directed the cyberattacks on Clinton campaign emails, echoing memos Steele was delivering at the time to the Clinton campaign.

A year later, after it was finally revealed in the national media that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded the research that went into the notorious dossier, Clapper insisted it “doesn’t matter who paid for it.”

“It’s what the dossier said and the extent to which it was — it’s corroborated or not. We had some concerns about it from the standpoint of its sourcing, which we couldn’t corroborate,” Clapper added last October in an interview with CNN.

He went on to strongly suggest that the intelligence assessment report he issued with Brennan, which concluded the Kremlin not only hacked the Democratic campaign but did so specifically to put Trump in the White House, was based on “some of the substantive content of the dossier.”

“But at the same time, some of the substantive content, not all of it, but some of the substantive content of the dossier, we were able to corroborate in our Intelligence Community Assessment from other sources, which we had very high confidence of,” Clapper said.

Investigators say Nunes intends to drill down on exactly who those “other sources” are now that his committee has learned that top officials at both the FBI and Justice Department relied on a Yahoo! News article as their additional sourcing to corroborate the dossier allegations they cited to obtain Trump campaign wiretap warrants — even though it turns out the main source for the Yahoo! story was merely the dossier’s author, Steele, who was disguised as “a Western intelligence source.”

Clapper, who recently signed his own media deal, joining CNN as a paid “contributor,” bashed Nunes on the network and suggested the release of future reports could endanger the intelligence community’s mission. He said his release of the FBI memo was “political” and an “egregious” betrayal of “others in the intelligence community who have a lot at stake here with the whole FISA [surveillance] process.”

https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2018/02/11/former_cia_director_john_brennan_investigated_for_perjury.html

Dossier’s 10 core collusion accusations remain unverified 20 months later

Christopher Steele, former British intelligence officer in London Tuesday March 7, 2017 where he has spoken to the media for the first time . Steele who compiled an explosive and unproven dossier on President Donald Trump’s purported activities in Russia …
 – The Washington Times – Monday, February 12, 2018

Christopher Steele’s unproven dossier is a mix of felony charges against President Trump and his people, as well as supposed gossip inside the Kremlin over computer hacking and personnel firings.

For the ongoing special counsel investigation into suspected TrumpRussia election coordination, it is helpful to separate what counts: Dust away the atmospherics — supposed Kremlin intrigue — and focus on the collusion charges brought by the former British spy based on his paid intermediaries and Moscow sources. None is identified.

Funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, these specific dossier charges of secret spy missions and criminality are what came to permeate the FBI investigation. Republicans say the FBI abused the court process by using the partisan charges to obtain four wiretap warrants against the other campaign. They say the bureau has yet to confirm any charge.

As the dossier today takes on even more importance, The Washington Times identified Mr. Steele’s 10 core collusion accusations. The analysis includes the charges’ status, 20 months after Mr. Steele first contacted the FBI and urged the prosecution of President Trump.

• The Trump campaign launched an “extensive conspiracy” with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. To date, no public verification.

• Mr. Trump, for decades a developer of tall buildings, maintained an eight-year relationship of give-and-take with Russian intelligence. To date, no public verification.

Mr. Trump and senior campaign aides actively supported the Russia hacking of Democratic Party computers to steal and release stolen emails. To date, no public verification.

• Volunteer Carter Page and campaign manager Paul Manafort personally conspired with Moscow to hack the Democrats’ computers. When the hacking began in 2015, neither man was associated with the Trump campaign. Both deny the charge. Mr. Page testified under oath that he had never met or spoken with Mr. Manafort. To date, no public verification of this dossier part.

• Mr. Page, an Annapolis graduate, an energy investor and a former resident of Moscow, traveled to that city in early July 2016 to deliver a public speech at a university. The dossier says he met with two top Kremlin operatives and discussed bribes for working to lift economic sanctions. Mr. Page testified under oath that he had never met nor spoke with them. He has filed libel lawsuits.

• Mr. Trump engaged with Russian prostitutes during a trip to Moscow in 2013. Mr. Trump has denied this numerous times. To date, no public verification.

• Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, secretly traveled to Prague in August 2016. His supposed mission: to orchestrate payments with agents of Vladimir Putin to cover up the hacking. At that point, the hacking was known worldwide. Mr. Cohen repeatedly has denied under oath that he took such a trip and showed his passport. He has filed libel lawsuits, including against Fusion GPS. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson, who ordered the dossier, has suggested that Mr. Cohen took a private Russian plane and might have been on a yacht in the Adriatic Sea. To date, there has been no public verification of any of this.

• Russian tech entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev, owner of XBT Holding, hacked the Democrat Party computers with spyware and pornography. He has denied this repeatedly. He sued Mr. Steele for libel in a London court, where the former spy said the information was raw call-in information and not verified.

• Three Russian oligarchs and shareholders in Alfa Bank were involved in Russian election interference and paid bribes to Mr. Putin. They deny the charges and have filed libel lawsuits.

• Mikhail Kalugin was chief of the economic section at the Russian Embassy in Washington. Mr. Steele accuses him of being a spy and of funding the hacking with skimmed-off pension funds. He was supposedly whisked out of Washington when the hacking scandal broke in August. Washington associates of Mr. Kalugin told The Washington Times that the diplomat announced his planned departure 10 months beforehand. He and his family returned to Moscow. He now works in the Foreign Ministry. A former senior U.S. government official told The Times that Mr. Kalugin was never internally identified as a spy.

Republicans and dossier targets uniformly deride the 35 pages as falsehoods and fabrications. Some Democrats have acknowledged that the collection of memos is flawed.

But there are steadfast dossier believers, such liberal Twitter brigades and Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the leading Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The FBI used the unverified dossier on Oct. 21, 2016, to obtain a court wiretap warrant on Mr. Page that lasted nearly a year.

Agents included dossier information in the application and three subsequent renewals. The filing was based on the pledge from Mr. Steele that he was not the source of a dossier-type report on Mr. Page that Michael Isikoff reported in Yahoo News in September 2016. But in the London court case, Mr. Steele acknowledged that he was the source.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, released a declassified referral last week that urges the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation of Mr. Steele for lying to the FBI.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s ranking Democrat, issued a rebuttal on Friday.

“Not a single revelation in the Steele dossier has been refuted,” she said, referring to the former MI-6 officer as a “respected and reliable expert on Russia.”

She said the Grassley-Graham referral “provides no evidence that Steele was ever asked about the Isikoff article or if asked that he lied.”

But the Republican senator’s referral said there is ample evidence that Mr. Steele lied.

“There is substantial evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele materially misled the FBI about a key aspect of his dossier efforts, one which bears on his credibility,” the referral said.

The next paragraph, which presumedly details that evidence, is completely redacted.

The two senators wrote, “The FBI already believed Mr. Steele was reliable, he had previously told the FBI he had not shared the information with the press — and lying to the FBI is a crime.”

Four targets of the dossier have filed seven libel lawsuits against Mr. Steele, Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed, which first posted it online on Jan. 10, 2017, during Mr. Trump’s presidential transition.

Then FBI-Director James B. Comey told Mr. Trump in a one-on-one meeting that month that the dossier was “salacious and unverified.”

At the same time, the FBI was citing dossier information before a judge to obtain a second 90-day wiretap warrant on Mr. Page. There would be two more, the last in June 2017.

J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman and Trump campaign adviser, has suffered over a year of government, press and congressional scrutiny. All the negative attention is because he had brief encounters with the Russian ambassador at the Republican National Convention.

“At least four dozen Trump associates have reportedly been summoned before the various congressional committees and special counsel over anything and everything related to TrumpRussia,” Mr. Gordon told The Washington Times. “Apart from targeting the president with a high-tech coup, the Democrats and ‘Never Trump‘ Republicans are trying to destroy a large group of innocent people who were merely trying to serve their country in presidential politics.”

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/12/trump-dossiers-10-core-collusion-accusations-unver/

The Ticking Memo

Victor Davis Hanson

The House Intelligence Committee memo is pretty simple. It should not have been classified and thus far withheld from the public. In fact, far more information now needs to be released.

Despite the outcry, as Chairman Devin Nunes clarified, the memo can easily be in the near future supported or refuted by adducing official documents. In other words, the memo makes a series of transparent statements and leaves it up to the criminal-justice system and the public to ascertain subsequent criminal liability.

It is likely that the basic accuracy of the document will not be questioned, but rather opponents, some of them mentioned in the memo, will either ask why the resulting embarrassing information needed to be aired or insist that there are only minor possible crimes in the events it narrates, or both. Remember, officials from the FBI supposedly read the memo before its release to ensure that there were not factual errors or misrepresentations.

In sum, on four occasions during and after the 2016 campaign, the FBI and DOJ approached a federal FISA court — established to allow monitoring of foreign nationals engaged in efforts to harm the U.S. or American citizens deliberately or inadvertently in their service — to surveil Carter Page, a sometime Trump adviser. These requests also mentioned George Papadopoulos, apparently as a preexisting target of an earlier investigation by FBI official Peter Strzok, but according to the memo mysteriously there was not adduced any direct connection between the two individuals’ activities.

The basis of the requests was an anti-Trump dossier that the FBI and DOJ had purchased from a private concern. At the time of their various requests, FBI director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, apparently knew that the document was the work of an opposition-research team, hired and paid, through a series of intermediaries, by the Clinton campaign. The same knowledge supposedly was known to DOJ officials Sally Yates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein, who variously joined the FISA requests. The FBI and DOJ requests to the court were also apparently bolstered by citing news accounts in the popular media about possible Russian collusion, which in circular fashion had been the result of efforts by the authors and purveyors of the dossier to leak its contents to the media. On various later occasions, high FBI officials purportedly admitted to the congressional inquirers both that the FISA requests would not have been made without use of the dossier, and yet its contents could not be verified or in fact were scarcely yet scrutinized. Apparently, no FBI or DOJ officials informed the court over the duration of these various requests that a) the dossier was paid for by the Clinton campaign, b) the FBI in turn apparently paid to obtain it, c) supporting news stories used to substantiate the dossier were the result of deliberately leaking the same document to seed stories in media organizations, or d) a DOJ official both met the author of the dossier and informed the FBI that he was a biased source — but either did not inform other DOJ and FBI officials that his own spouse was a collaborator who worked on the dossier, or such knowledge was known to DOJ and FBI officials but not passed on at some point to the FISA judge, apparently because the court might not have otherwise approved of the request or might have acted to revoke prior requests.

What Is the Larger Context?

What does it all mean — both the memo itself and subsidiary public revelations about the Strzok-Page texts, and the circumstances around the firing or reassignments of several DOJ and FBI top officials?

I don’t think there is any more doubt that the candidacy of Donald Trump terrified top officials of the Obama DOJ and the FBI, James Comey especially. A few may have genuinely believed Trump was a beneficiary of Russian efforts at collusion; more likely, Comey, McCabe, and Strzok may have believed that such a charge was unlikely but still useful as a means to thwart the idea of a Trump presidency. Either way, the DOJ and the FBI deliberately distorted the nature of the FISA court process by either withholding information that they knew would likely negate their requests or misrepresenting the nature of the evidence they produced.

It is also clear from the contacts between Mr. Simpson, Mr. Steele, and representatives of the DOJ and FBI, and the employment of Ms. Ohr on the dossier team, that there were conflicts of interest at best, and, at worst, collusion between Obama DOJ and FBI officials and the de facto contractors hired by the Clinton team to find ways of disseminating supposedly embarrassing information before the November 2016 election.

The larger landscape around the memo’s revelations was not just that DOJ and FBI officials were disturbed by the Trump candidacy. They were also likely assuming that he would not be elected, and thus any questionable efforts to ensure that Trump was not elected might not be investigated in an incoming Clinton administration, but perhaps in some way even rewarded.

The Scope of the Memo

So far, none of the congressional committees have released information about the actual scope and effects of these and possible other FISA court orders — and to what degree, if any, other American citizens were surveilled and whether such resulting surveillance was used by the Mueller investigation to indict individuals, or whether the names of U.S. citizens in such reports were illegally unmasked by Obama officials and then leaked to the media. We are told such information is coming.

Would there ever have been a Mueller investigation without the DOJ and FBI efforts to persuade the FISA court? Would the prior investigations by Peter Strzok (who later expressed strong dislike of Donald Trump and worried over his candidacy to the point of meeting and commiserating with Andrew McCabe) into George Papadopoulos on their own have sustained a subsequent Mueller investigation, or was such a weak agenda to be resuscitated by the FISA surveillance? (I.e., was some impetus for the FISA warrant request an effort to find something that might energize the Strzok efforts?) And who was the FISA judge or judges, and are we to believe that he or they could not have asked a simple question concerning the nature and origins of the dossier? Was he incompetent, biased, or representative of the dangerous tendency of judges to rubber-stamp such FISA requests?

Is This a Scandal?

If all this is not a scandal — then the following protocols are now considered permissible in American electoral practice and constitutional jurisprudence: An incumbent administration can freely use the FBI and the DOJ to favor one side in a presidential election, by buying its opposition research against the other candidate, using its own prestige to authenticate such a third-party oppositional dossier, and then using it to obtain court-ordered wiretaps on American citizens employed by a candidate’s campaign — and do so by deliberately misleading the court about the origins and authors of the dossier that was used to obtain the warrants. Some Historical Context Watergate was about largely failed presidential cover-up attempts to enlist the CIA and FBI to squash an investigation into a politicized burglary. Iran-Contra was supposedly about rogue administration officials trying to circumvent the law by providing arms to a foreign government to release hostages and thereby obtain cash to help perceived friendly foreign agents without knowledge of and in contravention of Congress.

The current internal efforts in the middle of a campaign to weaponize the FBI and DOJ are something new. And it illustrates a larger effort of the prior administration to warp FBI investigations of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized and illegal email server and other purported improper behavior, as well as efforts of Obama-administration officials to improperly request unmasking of improperly surveilled Americans for improperly political purposes. These efforts come on top of previous attempts to politicize the IRS in order to oppose perceived political opponents and to monitor journalists reporting stories deemed unfavorable to the administration. Finally, unlike past administration scandals, when the press posed as custodians of the public interest and demanded transparency from government agencies, this time around the media are arguing for secrecy and suppression of documents, and are unconcerned with likely violations of the civil liberties of American citizens by overzealous federal officials likely breaking the law.

What about the FBI?

There is much worry that the memo’s release will hurt the FBI. But such concern is predicated on the definition of the FBI.

If the agency is defined as its top echelon, then, yes, the FBI’s highest officials are discredited, the now-compulsive tweeter James Comey especially. But if the FBI is defined by thousands of rank-and-file professional agents, then the agency is not only not discredited, but empowered by a timely reminder that true patriots at the FBI never break federal law on the dubious rationale that their purportedly noble ends justify any means necessary to obtain them.

No one forced FBI director James Comey to withhold critical information from a FISA judge in order to surveil American citizens, or to purchase an opposition-research dossier from a political campaign in the middle of an election cycle. Nor did anyone force Comey to leak confidential notes of a meeting with the president of the United States to the media in a deliberate effort to force appointment of a special counsel. Comey swore that he did not write his letter of legal exoneration until after interviewing Hillary Clinton; we now know that was likely also a false statement. Comey also changed the wording of his original draft to ensure Hillary Clinton’s immunity from possible criminal liability.

No one forced the FBI’s top lawyer and recently reassigned general counsel, James Baker, to leak elements of the so-called Steele dossier to the media during the 2016 campaign

No one forced Peter Strzok and Lisa Page to conduct a romantic affair via FBI secure phones, a texting correspondence that revealed that they both were prejudicial to the object of their own then-current investigation, Donald Trump, or to meet with Andrew McCabe to commiserate about their mutual dislike of Donald Trump. Note that their departures from the Mueller collusion investigation were not immediately announced, but rather such news was released months later to suggest that the reassignments were neither connected nor out of the ordinary.

No one forced a compromised Andrew McCabe to continue with the Hillary Clinton email investigation, despite the fact that his wife had recently received several hundred thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from a Clinton-affiliated political-action committee. No one forced him to concede that without the use of the dossier, FISA warrants would have been unlikely. Who Will Be Held Accountable? Many of the those with possible criminal exposure have already either been fired (Comey, McCabe), reassigned (Page, Strzok, Ohr), or are considered sacrosanct (Obama, Loretta Lynch, etc.). Rod Rosenstein’s fate is, for now, largely a political matter, and only later a legal one.

Still, a special counsel might indict a number of officials for deliberately misleading a federal judge, or violating statutes prohibiting the surveillance of American citizens, or lying while under oath, or he might retract indictments and confessions based on deliberate misrepresentations to a federal judge.A bipartisan 9/11–like commission could at least issue a report and recommendations to ensure that the DOJ and FBI never again intervene in a U.S. election.

By all means, let us see the transcript of the McCabe interview, the Democratic minority memo, the actual FISA court requests, the complete text trove of Page and Strzok, the prior administration’s requests to unmask surveilled American citizens, Clinton-campaign communications about the procurement of the dossier, and the transcripts of those surveilled.

We need to find out whether Russian collusion and interference into the 2016 election was far more devious and complex than believed and whether it involved seeding the research behind the Clinton campaign’s purchased oppositional dossier in order to undermine a U.S. election, leading to the greatest irony of all: a special counsel investigating what likely did not happen while ignoring what likely did — perhaps the greatest political scandal of the modern age. At this point, the only cure for the wound is far more light. THE CORNER The one and only. FULL BLOG   SPONSORED CONTENT The

 http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/456084/nunes-memo-fbi-doj-corruption-ticking-memo

Office of Inspector General (United States)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Office of the Inspector General)

In the United States, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is a generic term for the oversight division of a federal or state agency aimed at preventing inefficient or illegal operations within their parent agency. Such offices are attached to many federal executive departmentsindependent federal agencies, as well as state and local governments. Each office includes an Inspector General (or I.G.) and employees charged with identifying, auditing, and investigating fraud, waste, abuse, embezzlement and mismanagement of any kind within the executive department.

History

In the United States, other than the military departments, the first Office of Inspector General (OIG) was established by act of Congress in 1976[1] under the Department of Health and Human Services, to fight waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, and more than 100 other HHS programs.[2] With approximately 1,600 employees, the OIG performs audits, investigations, and evaluations, to establish policy recommendations for decision-makers and the public.

Description

Federal offices of inspectors general

There are 73 federal offices of inspectors general,[3] a significant increase since the statutory creation of the initial 12 offices by the Inspector General Act of 1978.[4] The offices employ special agents (criminal investigators, often armed) and auditors. In addition, federal offices of inspectors general employ forensic auditors, or “audigators,” evaluators, inspectors, administrative investigators, and a variety of other specialists. Their activities include the detection and prevention of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of the government programs and operations within their parent organizations. Office investigations may be internal, targeting government employees, or external, targeting grant recipients, contractors, or recipients of the various loans and subsidies offered through the thousands of federal domestic and foreign assistance programs.[5] The Inspector General Reform Act of 2008[6] (IGRA) amended the 1978 act[4] by increasing pay and various powers and creating the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).[7]

Example of an OIG report, from the DoD OIG[8]

Some inspectors general, the heads of the offices, are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate.[9] For example, both the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Labor and the inspector general of the U.S. Agency for International Development are presidentially appointed. The remaining inspectors general are designated by their respective agency heads,[10] such as the U.S. Postal Service inspector general.[11]Presidentially appointed IGs can only be removed, or terminated, from their positions by the President of the United States, whereas designated inspectors general can be terminated by the agency head.[12] However, in both cases Congress must be notified of the termination, removal, or reassignment.

While the IG Act of 1978 requires that inspectors general be selected based upon their qualifications and not political affiliation, presidentially appointed inspectors general are considered political appointees and are often selected, if only in part and in addition to their qualifications, because of their political relationships and party affiliation. An example of the role political affiliation plays in the selection of an inspector general, and the resulting pitfalls, can be seen in the 2001 Republican appointment (and resignation under fire) of Janet Rehnquist[13] (daughter of former Chief Justice of the United StatesWilliam Rehnquist) to the post of inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.[14]

While all of the federal offices of inspector generals operate separately from one another, they share information and some coordination through the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).[15] As of 2010, the CIGIE[16] comprised 68 offices. In addition to their inspector general members, CIGIE includes non-inspector general representatives from the federal executive branch, such as executives from the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Government Ethics, the Office of Special Counsel, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. CIGIE also provides specialized training to the inspector general community.

Further evidence of coordination between federal offices of inspector generals can be seen by the public through the offices’ shared website,[17] and the use of shared training facilities and resources, such as the Inspector General Criminal Investigator Academy (IGCIA),[18] and their Inspector General Community Auditor Training Team (IGCATS),[19] which are hosted by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).

Evidence of the offices’ return on investment to taxpayers can be seen through their semi-annual reports to Congress, most of which are available on each office’s website.[3]

Since the post-9/11 enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002,[20] resulting in the amendment of the IG Act of 1978, Section 6e, most presidentially appointed IG special agents have had full law enforcement authority to carry firearms, make arrests, and execute search warrants. Prior to this time, most presidentially appointed IG and some designated IG special agents had the equivalent law enforcement authorities as a result of other statutes or annually required deputation by the U.S. Marshals Service. The 2002 amendment to the IG Act of 1978 made most deputation of presidentially appointed IG special agents unnecessary. Some designated IG special agents, however, still have full law enforcement authority today by virtue of this continued deputation. Some OIGs employ no criminal investigators and rely solely on administrative investigators, auditors, and inspectors.

U.S. offices of inspector general

Presidentially appointed inspectors general

Designated federal entity inspectors general

Special inspectors general

Legislative agency inspectors general

Other federal inspectors general

U.S. military

Within the United States Armed Forces, the position of inspector general is normally part of the personal staff serving a general or flag officer in a command position. The inspector general’s office functions in two ways. To a certain degree they are ombudsmen for their branch of service. However, their primary function is to ensure the combat readiness of subordinate units in their command.

An armed services inspector general also investigate noncriminal allegations and some specific criminal allegations, to include determining if the matter should be referred for criminal investigation by the service’s criminal investigative agency.

The Air Force Inspector General Complaints Program was established to address the concerns of Air Force active duty, reserve, and Guard members, civilian employees, family members, and retirees, as well as the interest of the Air Force. One of the first responsibilities of the Air Force inspector general is to operate a credible complaints program that investigates personnel complaints: Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (FWA) allegations; congressional inquiries; and issues involving the Air Force mission. Personnel complaints and FWA disclosures to the IG help commanders correct problems that affect the productivity, mission accomplishment, and morale of assigned personnel, which are areas of high concern to Air Force leaders at all levels.[85]

See:

Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute Enforcement

The OIG develops and distributes resources to assist the health care industry in its efforts to comply with the Nation’s fraud and abuse laws and to educate the public about fraudulent schemes so they can protect themselves and report suspicious activities.[2]

In recent years, the OIG has made an effort to target hospitals and healthcare systems for Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute violations pertaining to the management of physician compensation arrangements.[86] In 2015, a fraud alert was issued to publicize the OIG’s intent to further regulate such non-compliance.[87] In light of such efforts and consequent record-breaking settlements, healthcare experts have begun to call for the transition from paper based physician time logging and contract management to automated solutions.[88]

Criticism

Inspectors General have also been criticized for being, rather than guardians of whistleblowers, instead, ineffective, inactive, or at worst, instruments by which whistleblowers are persecuted. One example is from the Securities and Exchange Commission OIG. In a 2011 article by Matt Taibbi, SEC whistleblowers said that complaining to the SEC OIG was “well-known to be a career-killer.”[89] Another example is from whistleblower Jesselyn Radack‘s book Canary in the Coalmine, in which she describes her experience complaining to the Department of Justice OIG; instead of helping her, the IG office helped the DOJ get her fired and restricted from practicing as a lawyer.[90] Another example is from the Thomas Andrews Drake case, in which several complainants to the Department of DefenseOIG over NSA’s Trailblazer Project were later raided by the FBI and some threatened with criminal prosecution.[91]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Inspector_General_(United_States)

Story 2: Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice Last Minute CYA Email That Obama Wants Investigations By The Book — No Not The Law — Yes The Book was Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky — Videos

See the source imageSee the source image

Tucker Carlson Tonight 2/15/18 | Fox News Today

Susan Rice faces questions by senators over ‘unusual’ email

Sen. Graham details ‘odd’ Susan Rice email on Russia probe

Andy McCarthy explains significance of Susan Rice’s email

The Treasonous Deep State Conspiracy Hits Critical Mass — Lionel on “Real News With David Knight”

Rush Limbaugh: Susan Rice’s email & one of the most gigantic political scandals of our lifetime

Mark Levin Show 02-13-2018 Susan Rice’s email exposes Obama’s involvement in FISA abuse even more

Sekulow Discusses Susan Rice Inauguration Day Email on Russia

Sen. Chuck Grassley Questions Susan Rice About ‘Unusual’ Documentary Letter to Herself

Debate: Susan Rice’s email and what did Obama know about Russia probe?

GRASSLEY GRAHAM MEMO RELEASES SUSAN RICE EMAIL ON JAMES COMEY MEETING WITH OBAMA

Jim Jordan Reacts to Susan Rice’s Inauguration Day Email

Susan Rice email was an attempt to cover its track: Rep. Louie Gomert

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Obama knew about the Russian dossier: Tony Shaffer

Susan Rice FLIPS On Obama, Shocking ‘Secret Action’ She Took 15 Mins After Trump Sworn In

Why the Susan Rice Unmasking Case Is Important and What You Need to Know

Fmr. FBI agent defines the Susan Rice unmasking

  Your email continued:

President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book”.  The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective.  He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.
The next part of your email remains classified.  After that, you wrote:
The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team.  Comey said he would.
It strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation.  In addition, despite your claim that President Obama repeatedly told Mr. Comey to proceed “by the book,” substantial questions have arisen about whether officials at the FBI, as well as at the Justice Department and the State Department, actually did proceed “by the book.”
In order for the Committee to further assess the situation, please respond to the following by February 22, 2018:
 
  1. Did you send the email attached to this letter to yourself?  Do you have any reason to dispute the timestamp of the email?
 
  1. When did you first become aware of the FBI’s investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia?
 
  1. When did you become aware of any surveillance activities, including FISA applications, undertaken by the FBI in conducting that investigation?  At the time you wrote this email to yourself, were you aware of either the October 2016 FISA application for surveillance of Carter Page or the January 2017 renewal?
 
  1. Did anyone instruct, request, suggest, or imply that you should send yourself the aforementioned Inauguration Day email memorializing President Obama’s meeting with Mr. Comey about the Trump/Russia investigation?  If so, who and why?
 
  1. Is the account of the January 5, 2017 meeting presented in your email accurate?  Did you omit any other portions of the conversation?
 
  1. Other than that email, did you document the January 5, 2017 meeting in any way, such as contemporaneous notes or a formal memo?  To the best of your knowledge, did anyone else at that meeting take notes or otherwise memorialize the meeting?
 
  1. During the meeting, did Mr. Comey or Ms. Yates mention potential press coverage of the Steele dossier?  If so, what did they say?
 
  1. During the meeting, did Mr. Comey describe the status of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, or the basis for that status?
 
  1. When and how did you first become aware of the allegations made by Christopher Steele?
 
  1. When and how did you first become aware that the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded Mr. Steele’s efforts?
 
  1. You wrote that President Obama stressed that he was “not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective.”  Did President Obama ask about, initiate, or instruct anything from any other perspective relating to the FBI’s investigation?
 
  1. Did President Obama have any other meetings with Mr. Comey, Ms. Yates, or other government officials about the FBI’s investigation of allegations of collusion between Trump associates and Russia?  If so, when did these occur, who participated, and what was discussed?
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.  Please contact Patrick Davis of Chairman Grassley’s staff at (202) 224-5225 or Lee Holmes of Chairman Graham’s staff at (202) 224-5972 if you have any questions.
Sincerely,
Charles E. Grassley                                                     Lindsey O. Graham
Chairman                                                                     Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary                                        Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
                                                                                    Committee on the Judiciary
Enclosure: as stated.
cc:       The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Committee on the Judiciary
-30-

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1030, Story 1: Obama Destroyed The Democratic Party and Trump Destroying Republican Party with Out of Control Federal Government Spending By Signing $400 Billion Bipartisan Budget Busting Bill — Night of Financial Infamy and Flooding The Swamp — The Tea Party Movement Will Rise Again and Form A New Political Party — Independence Party — To Challenge Big Spending Democrats and Republicans In Primaries and General Elections — Videos — Breaking Story 2: Russian Conman Bilked U.S. Spy Agency of $100,000 for National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Hacking Tools and Trump Information/Video  — Videos — Story 3: Dueling Memo Madness On Abuse of Power By Obama’s FBI and Department of Justice In Misleading Foreign Intelligent Surveillance Act (FISA) Court — President Trump Blocks Democratic Ten Page Memo For Including Numerous Classified Intelligence Sources and Methods — Resubmit Without Compromising National Security — Appoint Special Counsel To Investigate DOJ and FBI Contempt of FISA Court and Abuse of Power By Obama Administration In Spying on Trump Campaign and American People By Intelligent Community Including FBI, NSA, and CIA — Clinton Obama Conspiracy Exposed — Videos

Posted on February 9, 2018. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Privacy, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, U.S. Dollar, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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 Story 1: Obama Destroyed The Democratic Party and Trump Destroying Republican Party with Out of Control of Federal Government Spending By Signing $400 Billion Bipartisan Budget Busting Bill — Night of Financial Infamy and Flooding The Swamp — The Tea Party Movement Will Rise Again and Form A New Political Party — Independence Party — To Challenge Big Spending Democrats and Republicans In Primaries and General Elections — Videos —

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America

President Trump Signs Spending Bill, Ending Second Shutdown

President Trump Signs Bill Ending Gov’t Shutdown

Stockman Trashes Budget Deal: ‘The Fulcrum Point,’ ‘A Night of Fiscal Infamy

Ep. 329: Republican Hypocrites Embrace Debt to Avert Shutdown

Congress approves spending bill to end brief government shutdown

BREAKING: Congress Votes to REOPEN Government After a Brief Shutdown – Trump Signs Budget

New spending bill raising concerns the tax cuts are unsustainable

Getting implausible that America can pay back debt: Gov. Bevin

 

Party Affiliation

 http://news.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

After temporary shutdown, Congress passes two-year spending deal

WASHINGTON — After a temporary lapse in government funding that lasted through the night, Congress passed a pricey two-year spending deal early Friday that will also fund the government for an additional six weeks.

The government temporarily closed after Congress failed to pass a government funding bill before a midnight deadline due to the objections of one senator, shutting down non-essential government services.

In the end, a bipartisan cohort of lawmakers supported the $400 billion agreement. Shortly after 1:30 a.m. ET, the Senate voted, 71-28, to approve a two-year spending bill that would reopen the government, and the House passed it at 5:30 a.m. with the support of 240 members.

Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he had signed the bill, officially ending the brief shutdown.

“Just signed Bill. Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more. First time this has happened in a long time. Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” he wrote. He followed the post with a call for Republicans to increase their majority in the midterm election.

“Without more Republicans in Congress, we were forced to increase spending on things we do not like or want in order to finally, after many years of depletion, take care of our Military. Sadly, we needed some Dem votes for passage. Must elect more Republicans in 2018 Election!” he tweeted.

Congress now has until March 23, the next funding deadline, to write the legislation to accompany the spending deal that will fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.

 

Trump signs budget bill, ending overnight shutdown 4:04

The overnight shutdown occurred because Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., used a procedural tactic to block the Senate from meeting its deadline.

To the ire of his colleagues, Paul protested the vote because of the large price tag of the two-year spending deal. The agreement is an attempt to end the repeated drama of short-term funding bills that have occupied Congress for much of the past five months. But it, too, was filled with drama until the end: Paul’s stunt forced government agencies to begin shutting down for the second time this year.

“I can’t, in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits. But really who’s to blame? Both parties,” Paul said on the Senate floor.

In the House, the measure easily passed despite several days of outcry from Democrats over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, or DACA. But 73 Democrats supported the measure, including many from districts ravaged by hurricanes that would benefit from $90 billion in disaster aid.

“There’s a considerable irony here that there’s so many good things in the bill and yet there’s an outstanding issue that’s very stubborn,” said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., ranking member of the Appropriations Committee.

The spending deal was hammered out between the Republican and Democratic Senate leaders. It increases domestic spending by $131 billion and defense spending by $165 billion over the next two years and suspend the debt limit for one year — until well after the midterm elections.

Government shuts down overnight, but is back open again2:39

What it doesn’t address is DACA. Per an agreement to end the three-day government shutdown last month, the Senate will take up DACA next week. House Democrats sought a similar agreement from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., who insisted that he will bring up DACA legislation.

“To anyone who doubts my intention to solve this problem and bring up a DACA and immigration reform bill: Do not,” Ryan said at a news conference Thursday. “We will bring a solution to the floor, one that the president will sign. We must pass this budget agreement first, though, so that we can get onto that. So please know that we are committed to getting this done.”

But Ryan has not promised an open and neutral process that gives Democrats the opportunity to help craft the bill. And most notably, President Donald Trump’s support for a bill is a litmus test Democrats can’t accept.

“Sometimes I think the speaker thinks he is the speaker of the White House not the Speaker of the House of Representatives,” Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said just before the vote.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said it’s time for Democrats to have “courage.”

“Anyone who votes for the Senate budget deal is colluding with this president and this administration to deport Dreamers. It is as simple as that,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

How Rand Paul’s shutdown stunt fits in history 6:27

Fiscal conservative Republicans decried the price tag.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas., who is chair of the House Financial Services Committee and is retiring at the end of his term, called the bill “a monumental mistake and a sad day.”

“With the passage of this spending package, I fear Republicans have ceded our moral authority to lead our nation away from eventual national insolvency. I cannot in good conscience support it,” he said in a statement.

Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, was one of 67 House Republicans, and 16 in the Senate, to vote against it.

“The more we read the text, the more surprises for green energy and some of those things that we’re adamantly against,” Walker said.

Some Republicans are praising the proposed increase in military spending, while Democrats are hailing an increase in domestic spending, a tonic that was enough, along with the desire to avoid a another government shutdown, to garner enough votes. But it’s wasn’t an easy vote for many.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., struggled with his vote but supported it.

“I think the military spending is incredibly important — probably a once-in-a-lifetime increase from my perspective — but the pay-fors are challenging,” Scott said, referring to about $100 billion of revenue-raising mechanisms.

One of those offsets would be to sell off 100 million barrels of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve from 2022 to 2027, which some House conservatives say should be saved for an emergency.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., voted against the measure, pointing to the major increases to the deficit. “Anybody in the Milky Way concerned about the deficit has to be worried about this bill,” he told reporters.

There were enough sweeteners in the bill to entice enough members to support the measure’s passage. The addition of disaster relief brought Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who often votes against spending bills, on board.

“This latest disaster relief bill is the next step in our state’s road to recovery,” Cruz said in a statement. “And I am gratified that (Sen.) John Cornyn (R-Texas) and I have been able to build upon and improve the bill that was sent to us by the House of Representatives to give the state of Texas the resources it desperately needs.”

Breaking Story 2: Russian Conman Bilked U.S. Spy Agency of $100,000 for National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency Hacking Tools and Trump Information/Video  — Videos

See the source imageSee the source image

FBI informant speaks to Congress about the Uranium One deal

BREAKING NEWS!!! WOW! U.S. SPIES PAID $100,000 TO ‘SHADOWY’ RUSSIAN PROMISING DAMNING ‘KOMPROMAT’ ON

Uranium One Informant: ‘Moscow’ Paid Millions to Influence the Oven Mitt Fashionista HRC

Clinton has lied repeatedly about funding the dossier: Kennedy

Media’s handling of Clinton’s dirty dossier ‘absolutely shameful:’ Chaffetz

FBI takes its time with Clinton-Russia scandal?

Gorka: Uranium One scandal is absolutely massive

Comey hid the uranium deal from Congress: Gregg Jarrett

Hillary Clinton LYING THREE TIMES UNDER OATH Before Congress

The headquarters of the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Md. CreditJim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency

BERLIN — After months of secret negotiations, a shadowy Russian bilked American spies out of $100,000 last year, promising to deliver stolen National Security Agency cyberweapons in a deal that he insisted would also include compromising material on President Trump, according to American and European intelligence officials.

The cash, delivered in a suitcase to a Berlin hotel room in September, was intended as the first installment of a $1 million payout, according to American officials, the Russian and communications reviewed by The New York Times. The theft of the secret hacking tools had been devastating to the N.S.A., and the agency was struggling to get a full inventory of what was missing.

Several American intelligence officials said they made clear that they did not want the Trump material from the Russian — who was suspected of having murky ties to Russian intelligence and to Eastern European cybercriminals. He claimed the information would link the president and his associates to Russia. But instead of providing the hacking tools, the Russian produced unverified and possibly fabricated information involving Mr. Trump and others, including bank records, emails and purported Russian intelligence data.

The United States intelligence officials said they cut off the deal because they were wary of being entangled in a Russian operation to create discord inside the American government. They were also fearful of political fallout in Washington if they were seen to be buying scurrilous information on the president.

The Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment on the negotiations with the Russian seller. The N.S.A., which produced the bulk of the hacking tools that the Americans sought to recover, said only that “all N.S.A. employees have a lifetime obligation to protect classified information.” 

The negotiations in Europe last year were described by American and European intelligence officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a clandestine operation, and the Russian. The United States officials worked through an intermediary — an American businessman based in Germany — to preserve deniability. There were meetings in provincial German towns where John le Carré set his early spy novels, and data handoffs in five-star Berlin hotels. American intelligence agencies spent months tracking the Russian’s flights to Berlin, his rendezvous with a mistress in Vienna and his trips home to St. Petersburg, the officials said.

The N.S.A. even used its official Twitter account nearly a dozen times to send coded messages to the Russian.

The episode ended earlier this year with American spies chasing the Russian out of Western Europe, warning him not to return if he valued his freedom, the American businessman said. The alleged Trump material was left with the American, who has secured it in Europe.

The Russian claimed to have access to a staggering collection of secrets that included everything from the computer code for the cyberweapons stolen from the N.S.A. and C.I.A. to what he said was a video of Mr. Trump consorting with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013, according to American and European officials and the Russian, who agreed to be interviewed in Germany on the condition of anonymity. There remains no evidence that such a video exists.

The Russian was known to American and European officials for his ties to Russian intelligence and cyber criminals — two groups suspected in the theft of the N.S.A. and C.I.A. hacking tools.

But his apparent eagerness to sell the Trump “kompromat” — a Russian term for information used to gain leverage over someone — to American spies raised suspicions among officials that he was part of an operation to feed the information into United States intelligence agencies and pit them against Mr. Trump. Early in the negotiations, for instance, he dropped his asking price from about $10 million to just over $1 million. Then, a few months later, he showed the American businessman a 15-second clip of a video showing a man in a room talking to two women.

No audio could be heard on the video, and there was no way to verify if the man was Mr. Trump, as the Russian claimed. But the choice of venue for showing the clip heightened American suspicions of a Russian operation: The viewing took place at the Russian embassy in Berlin, the businessman said.

At the same time, there were questions about the Russian’s reliability. He had a history of money laundering and a laughably thin legitimate cover business — a nearly bankrupt company that sold portable grills for streetside sausage salesmen, according to British incorporation papers.

“The distinction between an organized criminal and a Russian intelligence officer and a Russian who knows some Russian intel guys — it all blurs together,” said Steven L. Hall, the former chief of Russia operations at the C.I.A. “This is the difficulty of trying to understand how Russia and Russians operate from the Western viewpoint.”

American intelligence officials were also wary of the purported kompromat the Russian wanted to sell. They saw the information, especially the video, as the stuff of tabloid gossip pages, not intelligence collection, American officials said.

But the Americans desperately wanted the hacking tools. The cyberweapons had been built to break into computer networks of Russia, China and other rival powers. Instead, they ended up in the hands of a mysterious group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has since provided hackers with tools that infected millions of computers around the world, crippling hospitals, factories and businesses.

No officials wanted to pass on information they thought might help determine what had happened.

“That’s one of the bedeviling things about counterintelligence and the wilderness that it is — nobody wants to be caught in a position of saying we wrote that off and then five years later saying, ‘Holy cow, it was actually a real guy,’” Mr. Hall said.

American intelligence agencies believe that Russia’s spy services see the deep political divisions in the United States as a fresh opportunity to inflame partisan tensions. Russian hackers are probing American voting databases ahead of the midterm election this year, they said, and using bot armies to promote partisan causes on social media. The Russians are also particularly eager to cast doubt on the federal and congressional investigations into the Russian meddling, American intelligence officials said.

Part of that effort, the officials said, appears to be trying to spread information that hews closely to unsubstantiated reports about Mr. Trump’s dealings in Russia, including the purported video, whose existence Mr. Trump has repeatedly dismissed.

Rumors that Russian intelligence possesses the video surfaced more than a year ago in an explosive and unverified dossier compiled by a former British spy, and paid for by Democrats. Since then, at least four Russians with espionage and underworld connections have appeared in Central and Eastern Europe, offering to sell kompromat that would corroborate the dossier to American political operatives, private investigators and spies, American and European intelligence officials said.

American officials suspect that at least some of the sellers are working for Russia’s spy services.

The Times obtained four of the documents that the Russian in Germany tried to pass to American intelligence (The Times did not pay for the material). All are purported to be Russian intelligence reports, and each focuses on associates of Mr. Trump. Carter Page, the former campaign adviser who has been the focus of F.B.I. investigators, features in one; Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the billionaire Republican donors, in another.

Yet all four appear to be drawn almost entirely from news reports, not secret intelligence. They all also contain stylistic and grammatical usages not typically seen in Russian intelligence reports, said Yuri Shvets, a former K.G.B. officer who spent years as a spy in Washington before defecting to the United States just before the end of the Cold War.

American spies are not the only ones who have dealt with Russians claiming to have secrets to sell. Cody Shearer, an American political operative with ties to the Democratic Party, has been crisscrossing Eastern Europe for more than six months to secure the purported kompromat from a different Russian, said people familiar with the efforts, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid damaging their relationship with him.

Reached by phone late last year, Mr. Shearer would say only that his work was “a big deal — you know what it is, and you shouldn’t be asking about it.” He then hung up.

Mr. Shearer’s efforts grew out of work he first began during the 2016 campaign, when he compiled a pair of reports that, like the dossier, also included talk of a video and Russian payoffs to Trump associates. It is not clear what, if anything, Mr. Shearer has been able to purchase.

Before the Americans were negotiating with the Russian, they were dealing with a hacker in Vienna known only to American intelligence officials as Carlo. In early 2017, he offered to provide them with a full set of hacking tools that were in the hands of the Shadow Brokers and the names of other people in his network, American officials said. All he wanted in exchange was immunity from prosecution in the United States.

But the immunity deal fell apart, so intelligence officials decided to do what spies do best: They offered to buy the data. That is when the Russian in Germany emerged, telling the Americans he would handle the sale.

Like Carlo, he had previously dealt with American intelligence operatives, American and European officials said. He served as a fixer, of sorts, brokering deals for Russia’s Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., which is the successor to the old Soviet K.G.B. American intelligence officials said that he had a direct link to Nikolai Patrushev, a former F.S.B. director, and that they knew of previous work he had done helping move illicit shipments of semiprecious metals for a Russian oligarch.

By last April it appeared that a deal was imminent. Several C.I.A. officers even traveled from the agency’s headquarters to help the agency’s Berlin station handle the operation.

At a small bar in the old heart of West Berlin, the Russian handed the American intermediary a thumb drive with a small cache of data that was intended to provide a sample of what was to come, American officials said.

Within days, though, the deal turned sour. American intelligence agencies determined that the data was genuinely from the Shadow Brokers, but was material the group had already made public. As a result, the C.I.A. said it would not pay for it, American officials said

The Russian was furious. But negotiations limped on until September, when the two sides agreed to try again.

Late that month, the American businessman delivered the $100,000 payment. Some officials said it was United States government money but routed through an indirect channel.

A few weeks later, the Russian began handing over data. But in multiple deliveries in October and December, almost all of what he delivered was related to 2016 election and alleged ties between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia, not the N.S.A. or C.I.A. hacking tools.

In December, the Russian said he told the American intermediary that he was providing the Trump material and holding out on the hacking tools at the orders of senior Russian intelligence officials.

Early this year, the Americans gave him one last chance. The Russian once again showed up with nothing more than excuses.

So the Americans offered him a choice: Start working for them and provide the names of everyone in his network — or go back to Russia and do not return.

The Russian did not give it much thought. He took a sip of the cranberry juice he was nursing, picked up his bag and said, “Thank you.” Then he walked out the door.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-10/here-full-35-page-report-alleging-trump-was-cultivated-supported-and-assisted-russia

 

Special Counsel Q&A


 

On May 17, the Justice Department announced the appointment of former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to investigate any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Trump responded by calling the investigation a “witch hunt.”

At a May 18 press conference, Trump said: “Well, I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt. And there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign — but I can always speak for myself — and the Russians, zero.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the decision to appoint a special counsel just days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Comey told Congress on March 20 that the FBI had opened an investigation last July into “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

Amid ongoing investigations by the FBI and House and Senate intelligence committees, what exactly does the appointment of a special counsel mean? Here we answer some questions that readers may have.

Who appoints a special counsel?

The appointment of a special counsel typically is the decision of the U.S. attorney general. But in this case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia inquiry after it was revealed that he had met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential campaign and did not disclose the meetings during his Senate confirmation hearing. In such cases of recusal, the power to appoint a special counsel falls to the “acting attorney general,” in this case, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, a special counsel is appointed for an investigation into a matter that “would present a conflict of interest for the Department [of Justice] or other extraordinary circumstances” or in cases when it “would be in the public interest” to have an outside counsel.

Why was a special counsel appointed?

In a released statement, Rosenstein explained his decision: “In my capacity as acting attorney general I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. 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.”

What is the scope of the investigation?

In his order appointing Mueller special counsel, Rosenstein wrote that his responsibility is to ensure a “full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.” As special counsel, Mueller is charged with investigating “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” In addition, Mueller is to look into “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” That would include any obstruction of the investigation or perjury related to it.

Whom does the special counsel report to?

Mueller will report to Rosenstein. But the special counsel is supposed to act independently, with some limits. As the federal code explains, a special counsel must consult the acting attorney general (Rosenstein) if he wishes to expand the inquiry beyond what was spelled out in Rosenstein’s order “or to investigate new matters that come to light in the course of his or her investigation.” In addition, Rosenstein can ask the special counsel to “provide an explanation for any investigative or prosecutorial step,” and if such step is deemed “inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices” the acting attorney general reserves the right to intervene, provided Congress is notified.

Who is Robert Mueller?

Mueller was director of the FBI for 12 years, from September 2001 to September 2013. His was the second longest tenure for an FBI director, behind only J. Edgar Hoover. Serving under both Democratic and Republican presidents, Mueller enjoyed wide, bipartisan support from the Senate, which initially confirmed him 98-0 in 2001, and then extended his term past 10 years by a vote of 100-0 in 2011. The New York Timesnoted that during his career, Mueller oversaw cases ranging from crime boss John J. Gotti to those responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mueller helped “transform the bureau from a crime-fighting organization into a central piece of the antiterrorism establishment,” the Times wrote. His independence and competence was praised by leaders on both sides of the political aisle.

Can Mueller be fired?

Yes, but not by the president, at least not directly. Only the acting attorney general — in this case, Rosenstein — can discipline or fire a special counsel, and then only for cause. According to the federal code, “The Attorney General may remove a Special Counsel for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies.” The president can, however, fire the deputy attorney general.

What authority does a special counsel have?

A special counsel has the same authority as any federal prosecutor, William Banks, a professor and the founding director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University, told us in a phone interview. That includes access to classified documents. It also includes the authority — if deemed appropriate — to subpoena, say, the president’s tax records.

How big of a staff will Mueller get, and who decides that? 

The federal code does not specify how large a staff the special counsel is afforded. It says only that a special counsel “shall be provided all appropriate resources by the Department of Justice.” The code notes that special counsels may request the assignment of Justice Department staff to assist them, and that such employees will be supervised by the special counsel. Special counsels also may request additional staff from outside the Justice Department, and “[a]ll personnel in the [Justice] Department shall cooperate to the fullest extent possible with the Special Counsel.” The special counsel’s proposed budget is subject to approval by the acting attorney general. The length of the investigation is not mandated, but federal code requires the special counsel to make a budget request each fiscal year, at which point the acting attorney general “shall determine whether the investigation should continue and, if so, establish the budget for the next year.”

What happens when the special counsel’s investigation is complete?

Rosenstein’s order notes that if Mueller deems it “necessary and appropriate,” he is “authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.” The federal code states that at the conclusion of a special counsel’s investigation, he must provide the acting attorney general with a confidential report explaining decisions about whether or not prosecutions are warranted. The acting attorney general could decide to make that report public. According to the code, the “Attorney General may determine that public release of these reports would be in the public interest, to the extent that release would comply with applicable legal restrictions.”

How will this affect the ongoing FBI and congressional investigations?

According to NBC News, Mueller will oversee the prosecutors and FBI agents who are working on the Russia investigation. Sam Buell, a law professor at Duke University, told us via email that Mueller’s investigation and the FBI’s will essentially now be one in the same. “What we have now is a prosecutor paired with the agents who have been investigating this, which means, among other things, access to the grand jury and a greater degree of lawyerly advice and supervision over how the investigation is progressing,” said Buell, who was a former federal prosecutor for 10 years in New York, Boston, Washington and Houston.

The special counsel’s investigation does not preclude Congress’ investigations, and every indication is that those will continue. Buell told us Congress’ mandate is broader, “looking at questions of governance generally not just violations of criminal laws, which is the question to which Mueller is restricted.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham warned that Mueller’s investigation will “severely restrict” Congress’ ability to call witnesses and issue subpoenas, as some witnesses could argue they have a right not to incriminate themselves amid a criminal investigation. In order to compel witnesses to testify, Congress has to immunize their testimony, David Sklansky, a former assistant U.S. attorney who now teaches law at Stanford University, told us in an email. “Mueller — like any prosecutor conducting a criminal investigation — will be concerned about Congress granting immunity to any witnesses who might be implicated in criminal activity, because prosecuting someone whose congressional testimony has been immunized is very difficult,” Sklansky said. Of less concern to Mueller, he said, are those who testify voluntarily before Congress.

Buell told us fears about Mueller’s investigation in any way blocking Congress’ are an “overstatement” and that “legally, nothing prevents Congress from proceeding apace.” Congress could still set up an independent commission to investigate Russian influence in the election, but it has so far resisted calls for one.

How common is the appointment of a special counsel?

According to the Lawfare blog, this is only the second time a “special counsel” has been appointed under this specific regulation. The first was in 1999 when Attorney General Janet Reno appointed former Sen. John Danforth to lead an investigation into the federal law enforcement raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. But as Lawfare explained, past attorneys general have used “different authorities to appoint other special counsels — like Nora Dannehy, appointed in 2008 to investigate the firing of U.S. Attorneys, Patrick Fitzgerald, tasked with leading the investigation into the Valerie Plame affair, and John Durham, who investigated the alleged abuse of suspected terrorists by CIA interrogators.” Those are wholly different from “independent counsels” such as Kenneth Starr, who investigated the Whitewater scandal during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Starr’s investigations were carried out under the Ethics in Government Act, which was enacted in 1978 after the Watergate scandal. But that law expired in 1999.

Lawfare and a Congressional Research Service report go into some detail about the differences between the variations of special counsels, independent counsels and special prosecutors over the years. But Banks said they all have the same core function: to investigate and prosecute possible violations of criminal law by officials of the federal government. And they have been all too common in American history.

https://www.factcheck.org/2017/05/special-counsel-qa/

Read the controversial Nunes memo and its key points

FISA Court Finds “Serious Fourth Amendment Issue” In Obama’s “Widespread” Illegal Searches Of American Citizens

A newly released court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) found that the National Security Agency, under former President Obama, routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.  In describing the violations, the FISA court said the illegal searches conducted by the NSA under Obama were “widespread” and created a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”

These new discoveries come from a recently unsealed FISA court document dated April 26, 2017 and center around a hearing dated October 26, 2017, just days before the 2016 election, in which the FISA court apparently learned for the first time of “widespread” and illegal spying on American citizens by the NSA under the Obama administration.

“The October 26, 2016 Notice disclosed that an NSA Inspector General (IG) review…indicated that, with greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S.-person identifiers to query the result of Internet “upstream” collection, even though NSA’s section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queriesthis disclosure gave the Court substantial concern.”

FISA

 

The court order goes on to reveal that NSA analysts had been conducting illegal queries targeting American citizens “with much greater frequency than had previously been disclosed to the Court”…an issue which the court described as a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”

“Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collection under Section 702.  The October 26, 2016 Notice informed the Court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had previously been disclosed to the Court.”

 

“At the October 26, 2016 hearing, the Court ascribed the government’s failure to disclose those IG and OCO reviews at the October 4, 2016 hearing to an institutional ‘lack of candor’ on NSA’s part and emphasized that ‘this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.'”

FISA

Of course, these discoveries and their timing, coming just before the 2016 election, are even more suspicious in light of the Obama administration’s efforts to ‘unmask’ intelligence on various Trump campaign officials shortly after the election.

As Circa noted, the American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

“I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington.

 

“You have these problems going on for years that only come to the attention of the court late in the game and then it takes additional years to change its practices.

 

“I think it does call into question all those defenses that we kept hearing, that we always have a robust oversight structure and we have culture of adherence to privacy standards,” she added. “And the headline now is they actually haven’t been in compliacne for years and the FISA court itself says in its opinion is that the NSA suffers from a culture of a lack of candor.”

Of course, we suspect that none of this will be reported by any of the mainstream media outlets who will undoubtedly overlook these very distburbing facts in their ongoing efforts to track down the latest anonymously-sourced ‘bombshell’ report about how Trump once sat across from a Russian boy at lunch in the 2nd grade.

 

The full FISA Court opinion can be read here:

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/349261099/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-OVHZTNMNxBIJRoX6Xh9t&show_recommendations=true

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-24/fisa-court-finds-very-serious-fourth-amendment-issue-obamas-widespread-illegal-searc

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018, Story 1: Two Party Tyranny of Big Government Parties Passes Senate Bipartisan Budget Busters Bill — Would Add Over $1,000,000,000,000 In Deficits and National Debt In Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 And Even More in Unfunded Liabilities/Obligations Burdening Future Generations — Federal Government Spending is Out of Control — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) Congress is Beyond Obese — Vote Out Of Office All The Democrat and Republican Big Spenders  —  Tea Party Time — Videos — Story 2: Clinton Obama Conspiracy To Fix FBI Clinton Email Investigation and Exonerate Clinton and Spying on Republican Presidential Candidate and President-Elect Trump Using Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign Paid For Opposition Research Based on Russian Government Salacious and Unverifiable Disinformation Summarize in Christopher Steele Dossier   — American People Demand Appointment of Special Counsel Now! — Videos

Posted on February 7, 2018. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, James Comey, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Science, Social Security, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1013, December 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1012, December 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1011, December 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1010, December 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1009, December 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1008, December 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1007, November 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1006, November 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1005, November 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1004, November 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1003, November 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

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Story 1: Two Party Tyranny of Big Government Parties Passes Senate Bipartisan Budget Busters Bill — Would Add Over $1,000,000,000,000 In Deficits and National Debt In Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 And Even More in Unfunded Liabilities/Obligations Burdening Future Generations — Federal Government Spending is Out of Control — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) Congress is Beyond Obese — Vote Out Of Office All The Democrat and Republican Big Spenders  —  Tea Party Time — Videos

Big Spender

Big Spender
The minute you walked in the joint
I could see you were a man of distinction
A real big spender
Good lookin’ so refined
Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s goin’ on in my mind?
So let me get right to the point
I don’t pop my cork for every man I see
Hey big spender,
Spend a little time with me
Wouldn’t you like to have fun, fun, fun
How’s about a few laughs, laughs
I could show you a good time
Let me show you a good time!
The minute you walked in the joint
I could see you were a man of distinction
A real big spender
Good lookin’ so refined
Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s goin’ on in my mind?
So let me get right to the point,
I don’t pop my cork for every guy I see
Hey big spender
Hey big spender
Hey big spender
Spend, a little time with me
Yes
Songwriters: Cy Coleman / Dorothy Fields
Big Spender lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

U.S. Debt Clock Real Time

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Senate reaches bipartisan budget deal

Senate Leaders McConnell & Schumer Reach Budget Deal As Shutdown Looms | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC

Breaking News – US senators agree to raise spending

Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff on the Implications of Rising National Debt

Laurence Kotlikoff-US in Worse Shape Financially Than Russia

US Debt & Unfunded Liabilities-Where we are going-Dr. Yaron Brook

Consequences of Printing Money/ Inflation- Dr. Yaron Brook

How Big is the U.S. Debt? – Learn Liberty

Published on Feb 12, 2016

“Economics: How Big is the U.S. Debt?” presented by Learn Liberty. How do you feel the government should be spending or saving money? Let us know in the comments below. Learn More: http://www.learnliberty.org/

 

Senate leaders see two-year budget deal within their grasp

 February 6 at 10:29 PM 
Top Senate leaders were working Tuesday to finalize a sweeping long-term budget deal that would include a defense spending boost President Trump has long demanded alongside an increase in domestic programs championed by Democrats.As negotiations for the long-term deal continued, the House passed a short-term measure that would fund the government past a midnight Thursday deadline and avert a second partial shutdown in less than a month.The House bill, which passed 245 to 182, would fund most agencies through March 23 but is a nonstarter in the Senate because of Democratic opposition.But the top Senate leaders of both parties told reporters earlier in the day that a breakthrough was at hand on a longer-term budget deal. Spending has vexed the Republican-controlled Congress for months, forcing lawmakers to rely on multiple short-term patches.“We’re on the way to getting an agreement and on the way to getting an agreement very soon,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

From left, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at an event honoring Bob Dole last month. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) echoed him, “I am very hopeful that we can come to an agreement, an agreement very soon.”

Despite the optimism, no agreement was finalized with less than three days until Thursday’s deadline. And even as congressional leaders were sounding an upbeat note, Trump was raising tensions by openly pondering a shutdown if Democrats did not agree to his immigration policies.

“I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of,” Trump said at a White House event focused on crime threats posed by some immigrants. “If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety . . . let’s shut it down.”

Trump’s remarks appeared unlikely to snuff out the negotiations, which mainly involved top congressional leaders and their aides — not the president or his White House deputies — and have largely steered clear of the explosive immigration issue.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday afternoon that Trump was not pushing for the inclusion of immigration policies in the budget accord, something that would upend the sensitive talks.

“I don’t think that we expect the budget deal to include specifics on the immigration reform,” she said. “But we want to get a deal on that.”

The agreement McConnell and Schumer are contemplating, with input from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), would clear the way for a bipartisan accord that would break through the sharp divides that helped prompt a three-day government shutdown last month.

If Congress doesn’t reach agreement on crucial immigration issues and pass a spending bill, the costly consequence would be another government shutdown.

Under tentative numbers discussed by congressional aides who were not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations, defense spending would get an $80 billion boost above the existing $549 billion in spending for 2018. Nondefense spending would rise by $63 billion from its current $516 billion. The 2019 budget would include similar increases.

“Democrats have made our position in these negotiations very clear,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “We support an increase in funding for our military and our middle class. The two are not mutually exclusive. We don’t want to do just one and leave the other behind.”

Among the other issues that could be addressed in the deal is an increase in the federal debt limit, which could be reached as soon as early March, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The aides said that an increase was being discussed in the negotiations but that no final decisions have been made.

“It’s a question of what the traffic will bear,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 Senate GOP leader, describing the likelihood of a debt-ceiling increase.

A disaster aid package aimed at the victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires is also part of the talks, potentially adding $80 billion or more to the deal’s overall price tag. That provision could help win support from lawmakers representing affected areas in California, Florida and Texas but further repel conservatives concerned about mounting federal spending.

Even the rumors of a coming deal were enough to send some hard-liners reeling.

“This is a bad, bad, bad, bad — you could say ‘bad’ a hundred times — deal,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus. “When you put it all together, a quarter-of-a-trillion-dollar increase in discretionary spending — not what we’re supposed to be doing.”

If the parties cannot reach an agreement in the next two days, it is unclear how a shutdown might be averted.

Multiple House Republicans said Tuesday that if the Senate takes their spending bill and substitutes its version with a significant boost for domestic programs, they could not vote for it. House Democrats, meanwhile, have showed only limited willingness to help pass temporary spending measures absent a broader agreement.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the Freedom Caucus chairman, said a broad deal encompassing a debt-limit increase and a huge disaster package would be “considered a lead balloon” among hard-line conservatives. “It’d get zero support” from the caucus, he said, aside from a member or two representing states affected by the disasters.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that Congress should “not let disagreements on domestic policy continue to hold our nation’s defense hostage.” He warned that a failure to pass long-term funding would imperil troop paychecks, inhibit the maintenance of planes and ships, stunt recruiting and otherwise harm military readiness.

“To carry out the strategy you rightly directed we develop, we need you to pass a budget now,” he said.

The House bill would increase Pentagon funding to $584 billion and guarantee it through Sept. 30, while the rest of the government would continue to be funded at 2017 levels through March 23.

The bill also would affect many other moving parts in the health-care system. It would postpone planned cuts in funding to hospitals that treat an especially large share of poor patients, eliminating reductions in “disproportionate share” payments for this year and 2019 and shifting the $6 billion in reductions to 2021 through 2023.

Amy Goldstein and Paul Sonne contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/spending-plan-remains-unsettled-as-clock-ticks-toward-shutdown-deadline/2018/02/06/1639ab26-0b53-11e8-8b0d-891602206fb7_story.html?utm_term=.1cad6154d736

 

Congressional leaders reach budget deal

The agreement would raise stiff spending caps and help stave off a shutdown.

In addressing the challenges facing Congress in 2015, Jim DeMint, President of The Heritage Foundation, noted that “Americans expect more from their leaders than just tapping the brakes as we drive off a fiscal cliff.” Indeed.

The 114th Congress has an opportunity and obligation to stop Washington’s taxpayer-financed spending spree. Over the past 20 years, spending has grown 63 percent faster than inflation. Unless leaders emerge with the courage to change the nation’s course for the better, the future looks like more of the same as total annual spending will grow from $3.5 trillion in 2014 to $5.8 trillion in 2024.1

Congress is financing the profligate spending by increasing taxes and incurring stunning amounts of debt. In 2014, Congress borrowed 14 cents of every dollar it spent, totaling a half a trillion dollars. Even more alarming, the country just surpassed $18 trillion in cumulative national debt. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the country is projected to borrow another $9.6 trillion over the next 10 years.2

The Danger of Inaction

Every generation confronts a defining challenge by which it will be judged, and so does every Congress. To understand why controlling spending and debt is the signature challenge of the 114th, one must understand the consequences of inaction. In its long-term projections, the CBO warns3 that failure to get spending and debt under control include:

  • A Slower Economy. According to the CBO, inaction on federal spending and taxes means that in 25 years—just when today’s kids and their children are trying to make their way in the world—“gross national product in 2039 would be roughly 3 percent lower.”
  • A National Security Risk. In addition, the CBO notes that growing debt “could also compromise national security by constraining defense spending in times of international crises.”
  • Limitations in Responding to Unexpected Challenges. Finally, if Congress does not tackle spending and debt sooner rather than later, the CBO warns that policymakers’ ability “to respond to unexpected challenges, such as economic downturns or financial crises” is far more limited.

Can any Member of Congress, in good conscience, leave a nation under their stewardship with decreased economic vitality and at greater risk for national security or financial crises?

Of course not.

Where to Begin

As the Chinese philosopher Laozi noted, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This compilation of recommendations is about single steps. In fact, it offers the 535 lawmakers holding the purse strings more than 100 ways to cut federal spending and reduce the size and scope of the federal government.

Much more needs to be done to address 2014’s federal spending of $3.5 trillion.4 But the recommendations in this report deal not just with dollars; they also address the size, scope, and character of the federal government.

When Congress actually eliminates wasteful programs or reins in runaway spending, it sends a powerful message. Like the relatively recent congressional ban on earmarks for pet projects like the “bridge to nowhere,” any move to cut federal spending tells Americans that Congress has the discipline to say “no” and act in the best interests of the nation—not just their own self-preservation. It says that individual Members of Congress have the courage to stare down the special interests, the cronyism of the powerful, and a Washington culture that thrives on handing out more federal dollars.

Eliminating or scaling back programs that constitute federal overreach also has far greater—but often unseen and unmeasured—economic benefits than the federal dollars saved. Whenever the federal role is downsized to return to its constitutional role, new economic opportunities are created for the private sector to innovate and fill needs based on market demand and competition. So many of the programs cited in this Budget Book do not just cost money, they actually distort and retard economic growth because they tilt the playing field toward vested interests and engage in tasks in which the federal government has no business. An example is the Export–Import Bank, which provides subsidized export financing primarily for the benefit of multinational corporations, while disadvantaging others.

Entitlements: The Ultimate Challenge

Almost half of all federal spending goes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Clearly, any effort to rein in federal spending will absolutely require major reforms to these and other entitlement programs. Toward that end, The Heritage Foundation has written extensively on how to restructure Social Security5 and Medicare,6 and Medicaid,7 as well as the need to repeal Obamacare8 and replace it with market-based, patient-centered reforms.9

Entitlement reform involves complex and extensive policy changes that require far more explanation than this book’s format allows. Readers are encouraged to explore The Heritage Foundation’s many resources on these topics.10

Defense: A National Priority

The Heritage Foundation’s recommendations for spending reforms in the Department of Defense come with a unique caveat: Any savings should be reinvested back into strengthening the country’s defense capabilities. Despite the overall Washington spending spree of the last 20 years, defense has not been adequately funded.

First, President Barack Obama cut $400 billion from the nation’s defense budget in 2009 and 2010. Then, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which is scheduled to cut an additional $1 trillion from defense through 2021.11 In fact, relative to other federal spending, the automatic cuts from the BCA have and will continue to hit defense hardest. Defense discretionary spending is scheduled to bear 49.5 percent of total cuts,12 despite representing just 16.8 percent of total spending. On the other hand, mandatory spending will bear just 14.4 percent of total cuts despite representing 63.8 percent of total spending.13

The underfunding of the Defense Department is further exacerbated by the fact that increases in defense spending after 9/11 were dedicated to the rising cost of maintaining an aging inventory, the growth in compensation and benefits for military personnel and retirees, and to fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The combination of too little defense spending and internal cost growth has resulted in declining military capabilities. The Defense Department continues to reduce the size of its forces, investments in weapon systems are continuously delayed, and declining readiness means that the men and women in uniform are ill-prepared for combat.

Defense of the country is a core constitutional function of the federal government. Unlike the ever widening array of social services being assumed by the federal government, defending the country is a true national priority.14 It should not continue to be weakened by spending cuts or a growing federal debt. As part of its effort to strengthen national security, the Defense Department must limit waste and control unnecessary cost growths, channeling savings into defense areas of need.15 The Heritage Foundation’s recommendations reflect that mission.

Moving Forward

As Members of Congress take up the public policy challenge of their lifetimes—putting government back on a constitutional path—the following recommendations should be part of their action plan. The proposals in this volume offer Members of Congress who pledged to get government spending under control specific recommendations that can make their promises concrete. In this way, they can become the “conscience of Congress.” Paired with strong reforms of the major entitlement programs of Medicare and Social Security, and repeal of Obamacare, the 114th Congress can get spending under control.

For greater detail on 2014 federal spending facts and trends, see The Heritage Foundation’s “Federal Spending By the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points.

Endnotes

  1. Romina Boccia, John W. Fleming, and Spencer Woody, “Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points (Including 51 Examples of Government Waste),” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 162, December 8, 2014. 
  2. Congressional Budget Office, “The 2014 Long-Term Budget Outlook,” July 15, 2014, 
(accessed December 15, 2014). 
  3. Congressional Budget Office, “Answers to Questions for the Record Following a Hearing on ‘The 2014 Long-Term Budget Outlook’ Conducted by the House Committee on the Budget,” September 30, 2014, 
 (accessed December 15, 2014). 
  4. Romina Boccia, John W. Fleming, and Spencer Woody, “Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points (Including 51 Examples of Government Waste),” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 162, December 8, 2014. 
  5. Rachel Greszler and Romina Boccia, “Social Security Trustees Report; Unfunded Liability Increased $1.1 Trillion and Projected Insolvency in 2033,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2936, August 4, 2014. 
  6. Robert E. Moffit and Alyene Senger, “Real Medicare Reform: Why Seniors Will Fare Better,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2800, May 20, 2013. 
  7. Nina Owcharenko, “Medicaid Reform: More than a Block Grant Is Needed,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 3590, May 4, 2012. 
  8. Robert E. Moffit, “Four Years of Obamacare: Early Warning Come True,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2907, April 28, 2014 
  9. Edmund F. Haislmaier et al., “A Fresh Start for Health Care Reform,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2970, October 30, 2014. 
  10. The Heritage Foundation
  11. Mackenzie Eaglen and Diem Nguyen Salmon, “Super Committee Failure and Sequestration Put at Risk Ever More Military Plans and Programs,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2625, December 5, 2011. 
  12. Patrick Louis Knudsen, “$150 Billion in Spending Cuts to Offset Defense Sequestration,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2744, November 15, 2012. 
  13. Congressional Budget Office, “An Update to the Economic and Budget Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022,” August 22, 2012, 
Tables 1-3 and 1-4. 
  14. Jim Talent, “America’s Strategic Drift,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, October 6, 2014. 
  15. Mackenzie Eaglen and Julia Pollak, “How to Save Money, Reform Processes, and Increase Efficiency in the Defense Department,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2507, January 10, 2011. 

http://budgetbook.heritage.org/introduction/

Amount Added to the Debt for Each Fiscal Year Since 1960:

Barack Obama:Added $7.917 trillion, a 68 percent increase from the $11.657 trillion debt at the end of George W. Bush’s last budget, FY 2009.

George W. Bush:Added $5.849 trillion, a 101 percent increase from the $5.8 trillion debt at the end of Clinton’s last budget, FY 2001.

Bill Clinton: Added $1.396 trillion, a 32 percent increase from the $4.4 trillion debt at the end of George H.W. Bush’s last budget, FY 1993.

George H.W. Bush: Added $1.554 trillion, a 54 percent increase from the $2.8 trillion debt at the end of Reagan’s last budget, FY 1989.

Ronald Reagan: Added $1.86 trillion, a 186 percent increase from the $998 billion debt at the end of Carter’s last budget, FY 1981. Reaganomics didn’t work to grow the economy enough to offset tax cuts.

Jimmy Carter: Added $299 billion, a 43 percent increase from the $699 billion debt at the end of  Ford’s last budget, FY 1977.

Gerald Ford: Added $224 billion, a 47 percent increase from the $475 billion debt at the end of Nixon’s last budget, FY 1974.

Richard Nixon: Added $121 billion, a 34 percent increase from the $354 billion debt at the end of LBJ’s last budget, FY 1969.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Added $42 billion, a 13 percent increase from the $312 billion debt at the end of JFK’s last budget, FY 1964.

John F. Kennedy: Added $23 billion, an 8 percent increase from the $289 billion debt at the end of Eisenhower’s last budget, FY 1961.

Dwight Eisenhower: Added $23 billion, a 9 percent increase from the $266 billion debt at the end of Truman’s last budget, FY 1953.

Harry Truman: Added $7 billion, a 3 percent increase from the $259 billion debt at the end of FDR’s last budget, FY 1945.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Added $236 billion, a 1,048 percent increase from the $23 billion debt at the end of Hoover’s last budget, FY 1933.

Herbert Hoover: Added $6 billion, a 33 percent increase from the $17 billion debt at the end of Coolidge’s last budget, FY 1929.

Calvin Coolidge: Subtracted $5 billion from the debt, a 26 percent decrease from the $21 billion debt at the end of Harding’s last budget, FY 1923.

Warren G. Harding: Subtracted $2 billion from the debt, a 7 percent decrease from the $24 billion debt at the end of Wilson’s last budget, FY 1921.

Woodrow Wilson: Added $21 billion to the debt, a 727 percent increase from the $2.9 billion debt at the end of Taft’s last budget, FY 1913.

FY 1789 – FY 1913: $2.9 billion debt created. (Source: Historical Tables, U.S. Treasury Department.)

https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

Joint Statement of Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, and Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Budget Results for Fiscal Year 2017


10/20/2017

Receipts by Source
Outlays by Agency

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney today released details of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 final budget results. The deficit in FY 2017 was $666 billion, $80 billion more than in the prior fiscal year, but $36 billion less than forecast in the FY 2018 Mid-Session Review (MSR). As a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the deficit was 3.5 percent, 0.3 percentage point higher than the previous year.[1]

Growth in spending outpaced growth in tax receipts for the second year in a row as a result of historically subpar economic growth. Rising deficits show that smart spending restraint and pursuing policies that promote economic growth, like tax reform and reductions in regulatory burden, are critically necessary to promote long-term fiscal sustainability.

“Today’s budget results underscore the importance of achieving robust and sustained economic growth. Through a combination of tax reform and regulatory relief, this country can return to higher levels of GDP growth, helping to erase our fiscal deficit,” said Secretary Mnuchin. “The Administration’s pro-growth policies will create better, higher-paying jobs, make American businesses competitive again, and bring back cash from offshore to invest here at home. This will help place the nation on a path to improved fiscal health and create prosperity for generations to come.”

“These numbers should serve as a smoke alarm for Washington, a reminder that we need to grow our economy again and get our fiscal house in order. We can do that through smart spending restraint, tax reform, and cutting red tape,” said Director Mulvaney.

Summary of Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Results

Year-end data from the September 2017 Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the United States Government show that the deficit for FY 2017 was $666 billion, $80 billion higher than the prior year’s deficit. As a percentage of GDP, the deficit was 3.5 percent, an increase from 3.2 percent in FY 2016 and above the average of 3.1 percent over the last 40 years.

The FY 2017 deficit of $666 billion was $63 billion greater than the estimate in the FY 2018 Budget (Budget), and $36 billion less than estimated in the MSR, a supplemental update to the Budget published in July.

Table 1. Total Receipts, Outlays, and Deficit (in billions of dollars)
Receipts Outlays Deficit
FY 2016 Actual 3,267 3,852 -586
    Percentage of GDP 17.7% 20.9% 3.2%
FY 2017 Estimates:
    2018 Budget 3,460 4,062 -603
    2018 Mid-Session Review 3,344 4,045 -702
FY 2017 Actual 3,315 3,981 -666
    Percentage of GDP 17.3% 20.7% 3.5%
Note: Detail may not add to totals due to rounding.

 

Government receipts totaled $3,315 billion in FY 2017. This was $48 billion higher than in FY 2016, an increase of 1.5 percent, below expectations from both the Budget and the MSR. As a percentage of GDP, receipts equaled 17.3 percent, 0.4 percentage point lower than in FY 2016 and 0.1 percentage point below the average over the last 40 years. The dollar increase in receipts for FY 2017 can be attributed to higher social insurance and retirement receipts and net individual income taxes, partially offset by lower deposits of earnings by the Federal Reserve.

Outlays grew in FY 2017, but by less than expected in the Budget and the MSR, and decreased slightly as a percentage of GDP. Outlays were $3,981 billion, $128 billion above those in FY 2016, a 3.3 percent increase. As a percentage of GDP, outlays were 20.7 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than in the prior year, but above the 40-year average of 20.5 percent. Contributing to the dollar increase over FY 2016 were higher outlays for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and interest on the public debt. In addition, one-time upward revisions in estimates of credit subsidy for outstanding Federal loans and loan guarantees, primarily in the Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, increased outlays relative to FY 2016 by $55 billion. Lower spectrum auction receipts and higher spending by the Federal Emergency Management Administration for hurricane relief and recovery also contributed to the increase.

Total Federal borrowing from the public increased by $498 billion during FY 2017 to $14,667 billion. The increase in borrowing included $666 billion in borrowing to finance the deficit, partly offset by $167 billion related to other transactions that on net reduced the Government’s financing requirements, such as changes in cash balances and net disbursements for Federal credit programs. As a percentage of GDP, borrowing from the public declined from 76.7 percent of GDP at the end of FY 2016 to 76.3 percent of GDP at the end of FY 2017.

Below are explanations of the differences between estimates in the MSR and the year-end actual amounts for receipts and agency outlays.

Fiscal Year 2017 Receipts

Total receipts for FY 2017 were $3,314.9 billion, $28.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate of $3,343.6 billion. This net decrease in receipts was primarily attributable to lower-than-estimated collections of deposits of earnings by the Federal Reserve, other miscellaneous receipts, and corporation income tax receipts.  Table 2 displays actual receipts and estimates from the Budget and the MSR by source.

 

Fiscal Year 2017 Outlays

Total outlays were $3,980.6 billion for FY 2017, $64.7 billion below the MSR estimate. Table 3 displays actual outlays by agency and major program as well as estimates from the Budget and the MSR. The largest changes in outlays from the MSR were in the following areas:

Department of Defense — Outlays for the Department of Defense were $568.9 billion, $9.9 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This difference is mostly due to lower-than-expected outlays for operation and maintenance, which were $7.8 billion less than the MSR estimate. Operation and maintenance disbursements were less than anticipated for Army contracts from FY 2016 and prior years, reimbursements from the Coalition Support Fund, and Defense Health Program and counter-ISIL “train and equip” contracts. Additionally, outlays were lower than expected by $1.5 billion for Army military personnel, $1.4 billion for revolving and management funds due to lower-than-expected fuel costs, and $1.0 billion for disbursements against aircraft procurement contracts. These differences were partially offset by $2.2 billion of higher-than-expected outlays for research, development, test and evaluation.

Department of Education — Outlays for the Department of Education were $111.7 billion, $1.8 billion higher than the MSR estimate. This difference was driven by outlays for higher education programs. In the Pell Grant program, outlays were $0.9 billion higher than projected in the MSR, due to faster-than-expected disbursement patterns. For the Federal Direct Student Loan program, because of changes in the mix of activity in direct student loans, $0.7 billion more in positive subsidy outlays for the FY 2017 loan cohort were recorded in FY 2017 than estimated in the MSR.

Department of Health and Human Services — Outlays for the Department of Health and Human Services were $1,116.8 billion, $11.8 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays for Medicaid spending were $3.8 billion less than projected at MSR, driven primarily by lower benefit expenditures than was anticipated during the second half of the year. National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s outlays were $1.5 billion lower than projected, due in part to lower-than-expected disbursement for research grants in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. The Service and Supply Fund (SSF) outlaid $0.9 billion less than expected at MSR. SSF expected higher outlays in FY 2017 mainly due to an anticipated increase in contracts serviced; however many of these contracts will be outlaid starting in FY 2018 instead. Outlays for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) were lower than expected due to procurements that occurred much later in the fiscal year than originally planned.

Department of Homeland Security — Outlays for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were $50.5 billion, $2.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays in a number of DHS components were below the MSR estimates. Outlays for Customs and Border Protection were $1.4 billion below the MSR estimates, due to slower-than-expected spending for procurements and construction for customs enforcement and border protection infrastructure projects. Outlays for the National Protection and Programs Directorate were $1.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate, due to slower-than-expected outlays of the agency’s cyber budget. Outlays for the Transportation Security Administration were $0.9 billion lower than the MSR estimate, due to slower-than-expected outlays from obligations for airport security construction projects. Partially offsetting these decreases, outlays for the Federal Emergency Management Agency were $2.0 billion higher than the MSR estimates because of response activities related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Department of Justice — Outlays for the Department of Justice were $31.0 billion, $3.4 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This difference is primarily due to payments from the Assets Forfeiture Program being $2.3 billion less than estimated in the MSR. Also contributing to the overall difference was higher-than-expected receipts from fines and penalties, which were $0.7 billion higher than the MSR estimate. Outlays were $0.5 billion lower than the MSR for programs within the Office of Justice Programs partially due to pending litigation. Outlays were also lower across many other programs due to delayed action on FY 2017 appropriations.

Department of Labor — Outlays for the Department of Labor were $40.1 billion, $3.6 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Nearly $2 billion of this difference is attributable to lower-than-projected unemployment insurance benefit outlays because the actual unemployment rate was lower than assumed in the MSR economic forecast. Another $1.5 billion of the difference is attributable to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), due to both gross outlays being less than expected and offsetting receipts being greater than expected. The majority of the change in outlays is related to lower-than-expected payouts in the single employer program. PBGC also anticipated a substantial investment loss in FY 2017, but experienced a profit, leading to much higher offsetting receipts than anticipated in the MSR.

Department of State — Outlays for the Department of State were $27.1 billion, $3.0 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays were lower than expected for Department of State foreign assistance programs by $1.6 billion, mostly due to lower-than-anticipated spending for Global Health Programs, which was driven primarily by a delay in lump sum payments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The delay was necessary due to a shortfall in confirmed statutorily required matching payments from other donors. In addition, lower-than-expected outlays for capital-intensive programs such as new overseas facility construction and delayed payments for contributions to international organizations and peacekeeping were primarily responsible for the remaining difference of $1.3 billion from the MSR estimate.

Department of Transportation — Outlays for the Department of Transportation were $79.4 billion, $2.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Nearly $0.9 billion of this difference is due to lower-than-expected outlays for highways and transit programs. Most of the remaining difference is an accumulation of lower-than-expected spending across a number of programs.  Late-year congressional action on FY 2017 appropriations delayed grant-making and hiring activity across the agency.

Department of the Treasury — Outlays for the Department of the Treasury were $546.4 billion, $17.3 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Virtually all of the difference is due to interest on the public debt, which was $16.4 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Interest on the public debt is paid to the public and to trust funds and other Government accounts. The difference is the result of lower-than-projected interest paid to the public on inflation-indexed securities and other marketable Treasury securities, as well as lower-than-projected interest paid to Government accounts.

International Assistance Programs — Outlays for International Assistance Programs were $18.9 billion, $4.1 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This difference is largely due to net outlays for Department of State Foreign Military Sales that were more than $3 billion lower than the MSR estimate due to higher-than-anticipated receipts received from foreign governments for weapons purchases.

Social Security Administration — Outlays for the Social Security Administration were $1,000.8 billion, $1.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate. The difference, which is relatively small in comparison to total program outlays, is primarily attributable to lower-than-expected outlays for the Disability Insurance Trust Fund and Supplemental Security Income programs.

United States Postal Service — Net outlays for the United States Postal Service were -$2.2 billion, $5.5 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays were lower than the MSR estimate due largely to the failure of the Postal Service to make required payments for health and pension contributions.

Railroad Retirement Board — Outlays for the Railroad Retirement Board were $5.2 billion, $1.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate, due largely to the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust’s unrealized gains and losses on investments. Actual returns to the Trust were much higher than projected in the MSR due to favorable market conditions in the last few months of FY 2017.

Undistributed Offsetting Receipts — Undistributed Offsetting Receipts were -$236.9 billion, $6.6 billion higher than the MSR estimate. Net outlays for interest received by trust funds were $3.0 billion higher than the MSR estimate (lower net collections). The difference is due largely to the interest earnings of the Military Retirement Fund, which were $4.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate, partly offset by higher-than-projected interest earnings in some other programs. This intragovernmental interest is paid out of the Department of the Treasury account for interest on the public debt and has no net impact on total Federal Government outlays. In addition, receipts for employer share, employee retirement were $2.5 billion higher than MSR estimates (lower net collections) primarily due to the failure of the Postal Service to make required accrual payments to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund.

 

___________________________

 

[1] The estimates of GDP used in the calculations of the deficit and borrowing relative to GDP reflect the revisions to historical data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in July 2017. GDP for FY 2017 is based on the economic forecast for the President’s 2018 Budget, adjusted for the BEA revisions.

https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0184.aspx

 

Story 2: Clinton Obama Conspiracy To Fix FBI Clinton Email Investigation and Exonerate Clinton and Spying on Republican Presidential Candidate and President-Elect Trump Using Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign Paid For Opposition Research Based on Russian Government Sources Salacious and Unverifiable Disinformation Summarized in Christopher Steele’s Dirty Dossier — FBI and DOJ Failed To Disclose Who Paid For Dossier To FISA Court — American People Demand Appointment of Special Counsel Now! — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Sean Hannity 2/7/18 | Hannity Fox News Today February 7, 2018

BREAKING: Clinton Associates Fed Information To Dossier Author Christopher Steele(VIDEO)!!!

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Criminal referral backs up Nunes on dossier claims, as Dems push rebuttal memo

Clinton associates fed information to Trump dossier author Steele, memo says

Clinton associates were “feeding” allegations to former British spy Christopher Steele at the same time he was compiling the controversial anti-Trump dossier paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign, according to an unclassified memo from senior Senate Republicans who recently made a criminal referral.

Those Republicans, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had asked the Justice Department in January to investigate Steele based on evidence they say suggests he lied to the FBI about his contacts with the media (a violation of 18 USC 1001) — or the FBI misrepresented Steele’s statements.

The lawmakers are now asking the FBI for an emergency review of their criminal referral so it can be made public, with limited redactions.

Steele already is under scrutiny over the unverified Trump dossier, which a House Intelligence Committee document released last Friday alleged was at the heart of the FBI and DOJ’s request for a surveillance warrant for a Trump associate.

The memo from Grassley and Graham, which is now public for the first time, provides new insight into Steele’s circle of contacts during that time. While heavily redacted, the memo states Steele said he received information that came from “a foreign sub-source who ‘is in touch with (redacted), a contact of (redacted), a friend of the Clintons, who passed it to (redacted).”

grassley graham split

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham have made a criminal referral regarding ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

“It is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility,” the senators wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia probe, and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“…there is substantial evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele materially misled the FBI about a key aspect of his dossier efforts, one which bears on his credibility,” the senators wrote.

Entire sections of the memorandum were redacted by the FBI on the basis that it contained classified information, though a review of the document shows the FBI redacted references to media reporting, including a Washington Post story available on the Internet.

The senators are asking for a declassification review because much of the information was declassified by the president when the House Intelligence Committee memo was released Friday. The memo found the dossier was used to obtain a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page — and neither the FBI nor Justice Department told the national security court that it was financed by the DNC and Clinton campaign, and bureau contact with Steele was terminated over his contact with the media.

While the FBI fought the release of that memo, the senators also say the FBI’s claims “mischaracterize and misstate” the amount of classified information in the Steele referral. The senators are asking that the FBI and Justice Department “immediately review the classified referral in light of [Friday’s] declassification and provide the Committee with the declassified version by no later than February 6, 2018.”

In a heavily redacted Jan. 19 letter, Gregory A. Brower, assistant director for FBI congressional affairs, said the FBI “respects” the committee’s commitment to transparency but the bureau “cannot and will not weaken its commitment” to protecting classified information because it is in the public domain.

Hillary Clinton REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

A Clinton family associate allegedly helped feed information to Christopher Steele.  (Reuters)

“Public reporting about (redacted) does not affect the FBI’s policy with respect to classification (redacted) nor does it diminish our obligations (redacted),” he wrote.

The House Intelligence Committee has long struggled with the FBI and Justice Department over access to Trump dossier and surveillance records. After August subpoenas were ignored, the committee threatened to hold Wray and Rosenstein in contempt of Congress before a deal was reached.

The memo detailing alleged surveillance abuse by the FBI and Justice Department was fully declassified after the committee followed a long-standing congressional rule which asks the president whether he objects to the record’s release. In this case, the president exercised his powers as commander-in-chief to immediately declassify the document.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”

Cyd Upson is a Senior Producer at FOX News.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/05/clinton-associates-fed-information-to-trump-dossier-author-steele-memo-says.html

Hero or hired gun? How a British former spy became a flash point in the Russia investigation.

 February 6 at 10:04 PM 
2:50
What you need to know about Christopher Steele, the FBI and the Trump ‘dossier’

The Russia probe got its start with a drunken conversation, an ex-spy, WikiLeaks and a distracted FBI. 

In the fall of 2016, a little more than a month before Donald Trump was elected president, Christopher Steele had the undivided attention of the FBI.

For months, the British former spy had been working to alert the Americans to what he believed were disturbing ties Trump had to Russia. He had grown so worried about what he had learned from his Russia network about the Kremlin’s plans that he told colleagues it was like “sitting on a nuclear weapon.”

He was now being summoned to Rome, where he spent hours in a discreet location telling four American officials — some of whom had flown in from the United States — about his findings.

The Russians had damaging information about Trump’s personal behavior and finances that could be used to pressure the GOP nominee. What’s more, the Kremlin was now carrying out an operation with the Trump campaign’s help to tilt the U.S. election — a plot Steele had been told was ordered by President Vladi­mir Putin.

The FBI investigators treated Steele as a peer, a Russia expert so well-trusted that he had assisted the Justice Department on past cases and provided briefing material for British prime ministers and at least one U.S. president. During intense questioning that day in Rome, they alluded to some of their own findings of ties between Russia and the Trump campaign and raised the prospect of paying Steele to continue gathering intelligence after Election Day, according to people familiar with the discussion.

But Steele was not one of them. He had left the famed Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, seven years earlier and was now working on behalf of Fusion GPS, a private Washington research firm whose work at the time was funded by Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party.

The meeting in Rome captured the unusual and complicated role of Steele, who wrote memos that came to be known as the dossier and who has become the central point of contention in the political brawl raging around the Russia inquiry by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Those who believe Steele consider him a hero, a latter-day Paul Revere who, at personal risk, tried to provide an early warning about the Kremlin’s unprecedented meddling in a U.S. campaign. Those who distrust him say he is merely a hired gun leading a political attack on Trump.

Steele himself struggled to navigate dual obligations — to his private clients, who were paying him to help Clinton win, and to a sense of public duty born of his previous life.

Sir Andrew Wood, a British former diplomat and friend of Steele, said he urged him in the fall of 2016 to alert the authorities. “The right sort of people” needed to be told, Wood said he told Steele. “My opinion was, ‘You don’t have a choice. At least, you don’t have an honorable choice.’ ”

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, offered a competing argument: “You can be an FBI informant. You can be a political operative. But you can’t be both, particularly at the same time.”

Among Steele’s actions now under scrutiny is his decision to forward to the FBI — along with his own research — a separate report detailing uncorroborated allegations about Trump’s behavior that had been written by a longtime Clinton friend.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment. Steele, who is facing libel lawsuits by people named in the dossier of research he compiled, declined to comment.

This portrait of Steele’s work is drawn from interviews with his friends and associates, former intelligence colleagues, court documents, congressional testimony and people familiar with the ongoing Russia investigations.

More than a year after the dossier’s completion, it remains unclear whether authorities have corroborated Steele’s specific allegations about Trump’s connections to Russia — including titillating claims that the Russians have compromising information about the president. Trump has denied Steele’s charges. However, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that the Russians engaged in an elaborate operation to swing the election to Trump.

Steele, 53, who sports a graying coif and tailored suits with cuff links, has said little publicly since he was identified more than a year ago as the author of the dossier. Friends and former colleagues said he has been dismayed by the attacks on him, particularly a criminal referral about his actions that two U.S. senators made to the Justice Department, accusing him of lying about his contacts with news organizations. The move was viewed by some British lawmakers and longtime intelligence officials as an affront to the special bond between the United States and Britain.

Last week, House Republicans released a memo alleging that the Justice Department overly relied on Steele’s research in an application to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page and did not adequately disclose Steele’s partisan ties to the court.

Democratic lawmakers rejected those claims, saying the GOP document inflates the role Steele’s information played in the warrant. And intelligence officials have said the court was told that some of the research in the warrant application was paid for by a political entity.

The president has seized on Steele’s role as evidence that Mueller’s entire investigation is tainted. “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe,” he tweeted Saturday. “But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on.”Those who know Steele say he grew increasingly alarmed about the prospect of the election of a U.S. president who he believed could be unduly swayed by Moscow. As his anxiety drove him to reach out to the FBI, he also met with journalists from several news organizations, including The Washington Post.

‘He’s the spy’

Steele had all the right credentials for the job.

He was steeped in Russia early on after being recruited to Britain’s elite spy service from the University of Cambridge. He spent two decades working for the MI6 spy agency, including a stint in his mid-20s in Moscow, where he served undercover in the British Embassy.

When he returned to work for the agency in London, he provided briefing materials on Russia for senior government officials and led the British inquiry into the mysterious 2006 death in London of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB official and Putin critic.

In 2009, after more than two decades in public service, Steele turned to the private sector and founded a London-based consulting firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, drawing on the reputation and network he developed doing intelligence work.

Among those who have continued to seek his expertise is Steele’s former boss Richard Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004.

In an interview, Dearlove said Steele became the “go-to person on Russia in the commercial sector” following his retirement from the Secret Intelligence Service. He described the reputations of Steele and his business partner, fellow intelligence veteran Christopher Burrows, as “superb.”

Sir Richard Dearlove, a former head of MI6, called Steele a “go-to person on Russia.” (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire via Associated Press)

In one of his first cases as a private consultant, Steele worked closely with the FBI in its investigation of corruption at FIFA, the powerful worldwide soccer governing body. Steele, who at the time was working for the English Football Association, shared his research with top officials at the Justice Department. U.S. officials eventually charged 14 top soccer executives and their associates with wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

Steele and Burrows soon amassed a group of clients that included multinational companies and wealthy business titans, including some Russians, according to people familiar with their work.

Steele continued to feed information to the U.S. government, passing along intelligence he gathered about Ukraine and Russia for corporate clients in 2014 and 2015 to a friend at the State Department, according to former assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland. “He offered us that reporting free, so that we could also benefit from it,” she said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

In June 2016, Steele was contacted by Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and co-founder of Fusion GPS. Simpson and Steele had been introduced by a mutual friend in 2009 who knew that they shared a near-obsessive interest in Russian organized crime and that they had worked together on previous cases.

Simpson had an intriguing offer: Would Steele’s firm help research Trump’s ties to Russia?

Simpson’s firm had been looking into Trump’s history as a businessman, including his work in Russia, for months — first for the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication that is funded in part by GOP hedge fund executive Paul Singer. After that arrangement ended in the spring, the law firm Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS to continue the work on behalf of Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

By the time Steele signed on as a subcontractor, Fusion GPS’s financing for the project was exclusively Democratic.

Most of Simpson’s research was based on scouring public records, court filings and media reports from around the world.

Steele brought far more: He was able to tap a network of human sources cultivated over decades of Russia work. He moved quickly, reaching out to Russian contacts and others he referred to as “collectors” who had other sources — some of whom had no idea their comments would be passed along to Steele.

His sources included “a close associate of Trump,” as well as “a senior Russian foreign ministry figure” and a “former top-level Russian intelligence officer,” both of whom Steele indicated had revealed their information to a “trusted compatriot,” he later reported to Fusion GPS.

Just weeks after taking the case, Steele told friends that the initial intelligence he had gathered was “hair-raising.”

Trump allegedly had been compromised by video evidence of encounters with prostitutes, Steele’s reports said. And he had been wooed by Russian financial inducements, including opportunities to develop Trump buildings in the former Soviet Union and lucrative real estate deals with Russian buyers of his properties.

Steele wrote up his initial findings in late June in the first of 17 memos that later would be known as the dossier. “U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP’S ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KREMLIN,” he wrote at the top.

Steele told associates that he was so nervous about the explosive nature of the information that he sent the memo via a commercial courier to Washington, rather than electronically.

In short order, Steele made another fateful decision: that he needed to confide in U.S. law enforcement officials. He contacted a Rome-based FBI official with whom he had worked on the FIFA case and asked him to visit him in London in July, according to people familiar with the matter.

Steele told Simpson of his plan to meet with the FBI, describing it as an obligation rooted in his past work for the British government.

“ ‘I’m a former intelligence officer, and we’re your closest ally,’ ” Steele told Simpson, according to testimony Simpson later gave to the House Intelligence Committee. “ ‘You know, I have obligations, professional obligations. If there’s a national security emergency or possible national security issue, I should report it.’ ”

Simpson said he did not question Steele’s judgment: “He’s the spy,” Simpson said. “I’m the ex-journalist.” Simpson declined to comment to The Post.

On July 5, 2016, the Rome-based FBI agent met with Steele and Burrows in Orbis’s London offices, housed in a five-story Georgian-style building in the Victoria neighborhood.

Later that month, Steele reached out to a State Department contact in Washington, according to Nuland, who said officials decided his allegations were best left to the FBI.

In late July, Steele told friends he was rattled when WikiLeaks released thousands of internal Democratic National Committee emails on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, material that U.S. law enforcement officials said was hacked by Russia. Then Trump — who had repeatedly praised Putin on the campaign trail — publicly called on Russia to hack and release a cache of missing Clinton emails.

Steele, who had researched Russian attempts to interfere in European elections for another client, began to fear that the Americans were not taking the Kremlin’s efforts seriously enough, associates said.

In the early fall, he and Burrows turned to Dearlove, their former MI6 boss, for advice. Sitting in winged chairs at the Garrick Club, one of London’s most venerable private establishments, under oil paintings of famed British playwrights, the two men shared their worries about what was happening in the United States. They asked for his guidance about how to handle their obligations to their client and the public, Dearlove recalled.

Dearlove said their situation reminded him of a predicament he had faced years earlier, when he was chief of station for British intelligence in Washington and alerted U.S. authorities to British information that a vice presidential hopeful had once been in communication with the Kremlin.

He said he advised Steele and Burrows to work discreetly with a top British government official to pass along information to the FBI.

At the time of the meeting, Dearlove said he did not know whether Steele had approached the FBI.

Burrows declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Steele sought out Wood, the former British ambassador to Moscow. The two had become friendly after leaving government service. A court filing would later call him an Orbis associate, but Wood said he had no financial relationship with Steele or his company.

Sir Andrew Wood, a British former ambassador to Moscow, said Steele “wanted to share the burden.” (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

Over several hours in Wood’s living room in a stylish London neighborhood, Steele outlined his findings and the two men dissected the credibility of Steele’s information, including whether his sources could be leading him astray on purpose, Wood recalled. The conversation was anguished at times, he said.

“He wanted to share the burden a bit,” Wood said.

They concluded that Steele’s sources were speaking at considerable risk to themselves and had no discernible reason to deceive the small intelligence firm.

“You have to go through the intellectual process of deciding whether it was a complete con,” Wood said. “He was speaking like someone who believed what he was saying was soundly based.”

Dossier goes public

As Steele sat down in a seventh-floor conference room at The Post’s downtown Washington headquarters in late September 2016, he looked out at the bustling newsroom with obvious discomfort.

“Don’t you have any meeting space without glass walls?” the longtime intelligence officer asked.

On that September day, Steele talked for almost two hours — occasionally interrupted by Simpson, who was in attendance. The Post agreed to keep the session off the record because of the sensitivity of the material, but is now reporting the existence of the visit and a subsequent one in October — although not what was discussed — because they have been referenced in court documents.

The Post made efforts to independently confirm Steele’s information at the time, but was unable to corroborate his specific findings and did not publish stories based on the material.

Around the same time, Steele also met with other news organizations including the New York Times, the New Yorker and Yahoo News, according to court filings. In an article published on Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff reported that U.S. officials had received “intelligence reports” alleging that Page had met with Igor Sechin, executive chairman of the Russian energy corporation Rosneft, while in Moscow in July — a finding of Steele’s research. Page has denied meeting with Sechin but later acknowledged interacting with one of his deputies.

FBI officials did not know Steele had spoken to Yahoo, according to a declassified version of the criminal referral released Tuesday by two Republican U.S. senators, which they suggested meant Steele had lied about his media contacts.

Steele also spoke around that time to then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, with whom he had worked on the FIFA case. The British former spy told Ohr that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” House Republicans alleged in their memo released last week. At the time, Ohr’s wife, a Russia expert, was working as a researcher for Fusion GPS.

The GOP memo argued that Steele’s comments to Ohr were “clear evidence of Steele’s bias,” saying they should have been noted in the warrant application that the Justice Department submitted that included his research. The classified warrant application and internal FBI documents cited in the memo have not been released, making it impossible to independently verify the claims made by the memo’s authors.

Friends of Steele said his comment was not driven by political bias, but by his alarm after sifting through months of reports about Trump’s ties to Russia.

Then came the Rome meeting. During his meeting with the four FBI officials, Steele gleaned that the bureau had independently developed information that appeared to match some of his reports — and that the FBI was particularly interested in a young Trump campaign foreign policy adviser named George Papadopoulos, he would later tell associates. Papadopoulos had not surfaced in Steele’s research, according to his memos.

“Essentially what he told me was they had other intelligence about this matter,” Simpson told a Senate committee in August, adding: “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.”

Weeks after the Rome meeting, the Justice Department incorporated some of Steele’s research into its secret application for a warrant to surveil Page.

Friends said Steele felt more upbeat after Rome, but his mood quickly turned. Four days after returning to London, WikiLeaks began posting the private emails of Clinton campaign chief John D. Podesta — a slow release of information that would last until Election Day.

Steele kept up his communications with the FBI, which over months included phone calls, emails and Skype exchanges that have been documented in hundreds of pages of internal FBI records reviewed by congressional investigators.

In October, he shared with his contacts at the bureau another report he had received from a State Department employee about Trump and Russia, according to people familiar with the document. It was written by Cody Shearer, a freelance journalist who was friends with Hillary and Bill Clinton. Shearer gave it to author and Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, who transmitted it to Jonathan Winer, then a State Department official.

The memo claimed that a source inside the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) spy agency alleged that Trump had financial ties to influential Russians and that the FSB had evidence of him engaging in compromising personal behavior, according to a copy obtained by The Post.

Blumenthal declined to comment and Shearer did not respond to requests for comment. An attorney for Winer, Lee Wolosky, said his client “was concerned in 2016 about information that a candidate for the presidency may have been compromised by a hostile foreign power. Any actions he took were grounded in those concerns.”

In a note to the FBI, Steele made clear that he could not vouch for the accuracy of the Shearer memo, but noted that it echoed his own research, which also found that the Russians allegedly held evidence that could be used against Trump.

“We have no means of verifying the sources or the information but note some of their own is remarkably similar to our own, albeit from a completely different sourcing chain,” he wrote, according to people familiar with Steele’s message.

Republican congressional investigators are now exploring whether Steele’s research was shaped by information gathered by Clinton allies or if the Russians may have given him incorrect information, according to people with knowledge of their inquiries.

In a letter to the Justice Department released Monday, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote that the fact that “Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility.”

Election Day was rapidly approaching, and Steele appeared increasingly disturbed by what he considered a lack of sufficient media attention to Russia’s activities. He made a second visit to The Post’s newsroom in October, this time visibly agitated.

Meanwhile, the public was unaware that the FBI was investigating Trump associates. Steele understood the reason: Bureau officials repeatedly told him they were extremely cautious about taking actions that could be viewed publicly as influencing an election, associates said.

So he was stunned on Oct. 28 when then-FBI Director James B. Comey announced that he was reopening an inquiry into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Three days later, the New York Times reported that FBI officials had not turned up evidence that the Trump campaign had links to Russia.

Steele and Simpson were dismayed, Simpson later testified.

“Chris was concerned that something was happening at the FBI that we didn’t understand, and that there may be some political maneuvering or improper influence,” Simpson told the House committee, adding that “we were very concerned that the information that we had about the Russians trying to interfere in the election was going to be covered up.”


Glenn Simpson, left, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for an appearance before the House Intelligence Committee in November with lawyer Joshua A. Levy. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

He and Steele decided that “it would be fair if the world knew that both candidates were under FBI investigation,” Simpson said.

On Oct. 31, Mother Jones published a story by David Corn headlined, “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.”

The story did not name Steele, but it was based on information he shared, Corn later reported.

The late October events ruptured Steele’s relationship with his FBI handlers. The former intelligence officer was “suspended and terminated” by the bureau after the Mother Jones story, according to the GOP memo.

Steele told friends a different version: that he had been in talks to work with the FBI after his contract with Fusion GPS lapsed but that he cut off the discussions in frustration. The FBI, which had agreed to fund his trip to Rome, never reimbursed his expenses, according to people familiar with the situation.

Then Trump won.

In the aftermath, Steele quickly provided a full review of his findings for a senior British official, a step he had told the FBI in Rome he would take in the case of a Trump victory, according to people briefed on his decision.

By mid-November, Wood — the former diplomat and Steele friend — said he approached Steele to discuss whether they needed to take further steps to ensure the U.S. government was aware of his information, as well. They were particularly eager to provide the research to Republicans who shared their wariness of Russia.

Wood said he reached out to David Kramer, a former State Department official who was close to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and a Russia expert. Kramer declined to comment.

Kramer arranged for Wood to meet McCain in a small room on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada in December, Wood said.

There, Wood described Steele’s research and told McCain he could arrange for him to review it.

“I told him, ‘I know there’s a document. I haven’t read it, but it seems to me that it’s reliably set up,’ ” he said.

McCain, he recalled, “was visibly shocked.”

The senator expressed interest in reading the full report, Wood said, recalling that McCain responded, “Thank you for seeing me. You did the right thing and I’m grateful. My first thought has to be for my country.”

A McCain spokeswoman declined to comment.

Ten days later, in a cloak-and-dagger scene, Kramer and Steele arranged to meet at Heathrow Airport in London. Kramer was told that he should look for a man wearing a blue raincoat and carrying a Financial Times under his arm, according to people familiar with the episode.

Kramer accompanied Steele to his home, where he spent a few hours reviewing the Trump research.

Back in Washington, Kramer received a copy of the dossier from Simpson and completed the handoff to McCain.

In a private meeting on Dec. 9, McCain gave Comey the dossier — passing along information that Steele had provided to the FBI earlier in the year.

Shortly before Inauguration Day, Comey briefed Trump on the document, alerting him to what the FBI director would later describe to Congress as a report that contained “salacious, unverified” information that was circulating in the media.

Steele’s role would soon emerge publicly. BuzzFeed published the dossier, and then the Wall Street Journal identified him as the author.

Steele went into hiding, leaving his London home with his family for six weeks.

He reemerged in March, speaking briefly outside his office to thank supporters. “I won’t be making any further statements or comments at this time,” Steele said.

He has not been heard from publicly since. But in September, according to people familiar with his activities, Steele spent two days behind closed doors, talking to Mueller’s investigators.

Devlin Barrett, Alice Crites and Dana Priest contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hero-or-hired-gun-how-a-british-former-spy-became-a-flash-point-in-the-russia-investigation/2018/02/06/94ea5158-0795-11e8-8777-2a059f168dd2_story.html?utm_term=.4b18a293460c

 

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Don’t Wait For The Trump Boom — It’s Already Here

 Rising: The economy, in case you hadn’t noticed, is surging right now as we enter 2018. It’s not an accident. Nor is it a delayed reaction to Obamanomics, as some misguided pundits would have it. It’s Trumponomics in action, and it works.

As so many others, we thought that it might take a while for President Trump’s policies to kick in. After all, there’s usually a lag time between the action (the policy) and the reaction (economic growth). But the fact is, the previous administration’s policies — trillion-dollar “stimulus,” ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, a disastrous regulatory expansion — were so growth-damaging that even the possibility that they would be reversed has brought about a welcome burst of growth.

President Trump, working fast, changed many of those economy-slowing policies by deregulating, weakening Dodd-Frank, getting rid of ObamaCare’s mandate, and cutting taxes sharply for all Americans and businesses alike, among many other things.

 

We see it now in literally dozens of economic indicators, both large and small:

Had enough? We could go on. The fact is, these are the most bullish economic conditions in America since the early 1980s. We know, because that’s when this newspaper first began. That was the Reagan Boom, a period that followed a near-decade of stagflation, high interest rates, job frustration and, perhaps worst of all, disco.


No Hidden Agenda: Get News From A Pro-Free Market, Pro-Growth Perspective


We could easily add dozens other items to our list of economic data and other things that have “suddenly” or “unexpectedly,” as the media like to say, gotten much better during just one year of President Trump. The list would be a long one.

No, we’re not Pollyannas. We know, of course, that markets sometimes go down; that the economy sometimes shrinks; and that people sometimes lose jobs. A policy mistake here, a foreign policy scare there, one rate-hike too many by the Fed — any of these things could take down soaring markets and the economy. So could an unforeseen financial disaster somewhere. Bitcoin? Shaky European banks? A state pension-fund bankruptcy? Who knows. It’s part of the eternal ebb and flow of a market economy.

But right now, growth-enhancing policies are in place in the U.S., and the economy looks set to grow by more than 3% for a third straight quarter and into 2018, a welcome relief from the subpar 1.5% GDP growth of the Obama years. After having their bridles reined in for nearly a decade by Big Government and high taxes, the economy’s horses are free to run. In case you missed it, don’t wait for the starting gun — the horses have already left the gate.

RELATED:

And…Presto! Tax Cuts Already Working Their Magic 

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Trump’s Inclusive Jobs Boom 

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/dont-wait-for-the-trump-boom-its-already-here/

 

U.S. Debt by President: By Dollar and Percent

Why the Winner Is…Barack Obama

5 presidents and their debt
 (L-R) President Barack Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter attend the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Updated December 01, 2017

What’s the best way to determine how much each president contributed to the $20 trillion U.S. debt? The most popular method is to compare the debt level from when a president enters office to the debt level when he leaves. A good visual representation is a graph showing the percent of the debt accumulated under each president. You can also compare the debt as a percent of economic output.

But these aren’t accurate ways to measure the debt created by each president.

Why? The president doesn’t have much control over the debt added during his first year in office. That’s because the budget for that fiscal year was already set by the previous president.

For example, President Bush took office in January 2001. He submitted his first budget in February. But that was for FY 2002, which didn’t begin until October 1. For the first nine months of his new term, Bush had to live with President Clinton’s last budget. That was FY 2001, which continued until September 30, 2001. This is why no new president is accountable for the budget deficit in his first year in office.

Yes, it’s confusing. But the federal fiscal year is set up that way to give the new president time to put together his budget during his first month in office.

The Best Way to Measure Debt by President

One way to measure the debt by president is to sum his budget deficits. That’s because the president is responsible for his budget priorities.

Each year’s deficit takes into account budgeted spending and anticipated revenue from proposed tax cuts or hikes. For details, see Deficit by President and Deficit by Year.

But there’s a difference between the deficit and the debt by president. That’s because all presidents can employ a sleight of hand to reduce the appearance of the deficit.

They can borrow from federal retirement funds. For example, the Social Security Trust Fund has run a surplus since 1987. That’s because there were more working people contributing via payroll taxes than retired people withdrawing benefits. The Fund invests its surplus in U.S. Treasury notes. The president can reduce the deficit by spending these funds instead of issuing new Treasurys.

Barack Obama — Under President Obama, the national debt grew the most dollar-wise. He added $7.917 trillion, a 68 percent increase, in seven years. This was the fifth-largest increase percentage-wise. Obama’s budgets included the economic stimulus package. It added $787 billion by cutting taxes, extending unemployment benefits, and funding public works projects. The Obama tax cuts added $858 billion to the debt in two years.

Obama’s budget increased defense spending to between $700 billion and $800 billion a year. Federal income was down, thanks to lower tax receipts from the 2008 financial crisis. He also sponsored the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It was designed to reduce the debt by $143 billion over 10 years. But these savings didn’t show up until the later years.

George W. Bush — President Bush added $5.849 trillion, the second-greatest amount.

It was the fourth-largest percentage increase. Bush increased the debt 101 percent from where it started on September 30, 2001, at $5.8 trillion. That’s the end of FY 2001, which was President Clinton’s last budget. Bush launched the War on Terror in response to the 9/11 attacks.  The War on Terror included two wars. The War in Afghanistan cost $1 trillion and the Iraq War cost $807.5 billion. They increased military spending to record levels of $600 billion to $800 billion a year.

President Bush also responded to the 2001 recession by passing EGTRRA and JGTRRA. The Bush tax cuts further reduced revenue. He approved a $700 billion bailout package for banks to combat the 2008 global financial crisis.  Both Presidents Bush and Obama had to contend with higher mandatory spending for Social Security and Medicare.

Franklin D. Roosevelt  President Roosevelt increased the debt the most percentage-wise. Although he only added $236 billion, this was a 1,048 percent increase from the $23 billion debt level left by President Hoover. Of course, the Great Depression took an enormous bite out of revenues. The New Deal cost billions. But FDR’s major contribution to the debt was World War II spending. He added $209 billion to the debt between 1942 and 1945.

Woodrow Wilson — President Wilson was the second-largest contributor to the debt percentage-wise. He added $21 billion, which was a 727 percent increase over the $2.9 billion debt of his predecessor. Wilson had to pay for World War I. During his presidency, the Second Liberty Bond Act gave Congress the right to adopt the national debt ceiling.

Amount Added to the Debt for Each Fiscal Year Since 1960:

Barack Obama:Added $7.917 trillion, a 68 percent increase from the $11.657 trillion debt at the end of George W. Bush’s last budget, FY 2009.

  • FY 2016 – $1.423 trillion.
  • FY 2015 – $327 billion.
  • FY 2014 – $1.086 trillion.
  • FY 2013 – $672 billion.
  • FY 2012 – $1.276 trillion.
  • FY 2011 – $1.229 trillion.
  • FY 2010 – $1.652 trillion.
  • FY 2009 – $253 billion. (Congress passed the Economic Stimulus Act, which spent $253 billion in FY 2009. This rare occurrence should be added to President Obama’s contribution to the debt.)

George W. Bush:Added $5.849 trillion, a 101 percent increase from the $5.8 trillion debt at the end of Clinton’s last budget, FY 2001.

  • FY 2009 – $1.632 trillion. (Bush’s deficit without the impact of the Economic Stimulus Act).
  • FY 2008 – $1.017 trillion.
  • FY 2007 – $501 billion.
  • FY 2006 – $574 billion.
  • FY 2005 – $554 billion.
  • FY 2004 – $596 billion.
  • FY 2003 – $555 billion.
  • FY 2002 – $421 billion.

Bill Clinton: Added $1.396 trillion, a 32 percent increase from the $4.4 trillion debt at the end of George H.W. Bush’s last budget, FY 1993.

  • FY 2001 – $133 billion.
  • FY 2000 – $18 billion.
  • FY 1999 – $130 billion.
  • FY 1998 – $113 billion.
  • FY 1997 – $188 billion.
  • FY 1996 – $251 billion.
  • FY 1995 – $281 billion.
  • FY 1994 – $281 billion.

George H.W. Bush: Added $1.554 trillion, a 54 percent increase from the $2.8 trillion debt at the end of Reagan’s last budget, FY 1989.

  • FY 1993 – $347 billion.
  • FY 1992 – $399 billion.
  • FY 1991 – $432 billion.
  • FY 1990 – $376 billion.

Ronald Reagan: Added $1.86 trillion, a 186 percent increase from the $998 billion debt at the end of Carter’s last budget, FY 1981. Reaganomics didn’t work to grow the economy enough to offset tax cuts.

  • FY 1989 – $255 billion.
  • FY 1988 – $252 billion.
  • FY 1987 – $225 billion.
  • FY 1986 – $297 billion.
  • FY 1985 – $256 billion.
  • FY 1984 – $195 billion.
  • FY 1983 – $235 billion.
  • FY 1982 – $144 billion.

Jimmy Carter: Added $299 billion, a 43 percent increase from the $699 billion debt at the end of  Ford’s last budget, FY 1977.

  • FY 1981 – $90 billion.
  • FY 1980 – $81 billion.
  • FY 1979 – $55 billion.
  • FY 1978 – $73 billion.

Gerald Ford: Added $224 billion, a 47 percent increase from the $475 billion debt at the end of Nixon’s last budget, FY 1974.

  • FY 1977 – $78 billion.
  • FY 1976 – $87 billion.
  • FY 1975 – $58 billion.

Richard Nixon: Added $121 billion, a 34 percent increase from the $354 billion debt at the end of LBJ’s last budget, FY 1969.

  • FY 1974 – $17 billion.
  • FY 1973 – $31 billion.
  • FY 1972 – $29 billion.
  • FY 1971 – $27 billion.
  • FY 1970 – $17 billion.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Added $42 billion, a 13 percent increase from the $312 billion debt at the end of JFK’s last budget, FY 1964.

  • FY 1969 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1968 – $21 billion.
  • FY 1967 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1966 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1965 – $6 billion.

John F. Kennedy: Added $23 billion, an 8 percent increase from the $289 billion debt at the end of Eisenhower’s last budget, FY 1961.

  • FY 1964 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1963 – $7 billion.
  • FY 1962 – $10 billion.

Dwight Eisenhower: Added $23 billion, a 9 percent increase from the $266 billion debt at the end of Truman’s last budget, FY 1953.

  • FY 1961 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1960 – $2 billion.
  • FY 1959 – $8 billion.
  • FY 1958 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1957 – $2 billion surplus.
  • FY 1956 – $2 billion surplus.
  • FY 1955 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1954 – $5 billion.

Harry Truman: Added $7 billion, a 3 percent increase from the $259 billion debt at the end of FDR’s last budget, FY 1945.

  • FY 1953 – $7 billion.
  • FY 1952 – $4 billion.
  • FY 1951 – $2 billion surplus.
  • FY 1950 – $5 billion.
  • FY 1949 – slight surplus.
  • FY 1948 – $6 billion surplus.
  • FY 1947 – $11 billion surplus.
  • FY 1946 – $11 billion.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Added $236 billion, a 1,048 percent increase from the $23 billion debt at the end of Hoover’s last budget, FY 1933.

  • FY 1945 – $58 billion.
  • FY 1944 – $64 billion.
  • FY 1943 – $64 billion.
  • FY 1942 – $23 billion.
  • FY 1941 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1940 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1939 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1938 – $1 billion.
  • FY 1937 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1936 – $5 billion.
  • FY 1935 – $2 billion.
  • FY 1934 – $5 billion.

Herbert Hoover: Added $6 billion, a 33 percent increase from the $17 billion debt at the end of Coolidge’s last budget, FY 1929.

  • FY 1933 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1932 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1931 – $1 billion.
  • FY 1930 – $1 billion surplus.

Calvin Coolidge: Subtracted $5 billion from the debt, a 26 percent decrease from the $21 billion debt at the end of Harding’s last budget, FY 1923.

  • FY 1929 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1928 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1927 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1926 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1925 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1924 – $1 billion surplus.

Warren G. Harding: Subtracted $2 billion from the debt, a 7 percent decrease from the $24 billion debt at the end of Wilson’s last budget, FY 1921.

  • FY 1923 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1922 – $1 billion surplus.

Woodrow Wilson: Added $21 billion to the debt, a 727 percent increase from the $2.9 billion debt at the end of Taft’s last budget, FY 1913.

  • FY 1921 – $2 billion surplus.
  • FY 1920 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1919 – $13 billion.
  • FY 1918 – $9 billion.
  • FY 1917 – $2 billion.
  • FY 1916 – $1 billion.
  • FY 1915 – $0 billion (slight surplus).
  • FY 1914 – $0 billion.

FY 1789 – FY 1913: $2.9 billion debt created. (Source: Historical Tables, U.S. Treasury Department.)

https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

Joint Statement of Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, and Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Budget Results for Fiscal Year 2017


10/20/2017

Receipts by Source
Outlays by Agency

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney today released details of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 final budget results. The deficit in FY 2017 was $666 billion, $80 billion more than in the prior fiscal year, but $36 billion less than forecast in the FY 2018 Mid-Session Review (MSR). As a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the deficit was 3.5 percent, 0.3 percentage point higher than the previous year.[1]

Growth in spending outpaced growth in tax receipts for the second year in a row as a result of historically subpar economic growth. Rising deficits show that smart spending restraint and pursuing policies that promote economic growth, like tax reform and reductions in regulatory burden, are critically necessary to promote long-term fiscal sustainability.

“Today’s budget results underscore the importance of achieving robust and sustained economic growth. Through a combination of tax reform and regulatory relief, this country can return to higher levels of GDP growth, helping to erase our fiscal deficit,” said Secretary Mnuchin. “The Administration’s pro-growth policies will create better, higher-paying jobs, make American businesses competitive again, and bring back cash from offshore to invest here at home. This will help place the nation on a path to improved fiscal health and create prosperity for generations to come.”

“These numbers should serve as a smoke alarm for Washington, a reminder that we need to grow our economy again and get our fiscal house in order. We can do that through smart spending restraint, tax reform, and cutting red tape,” said Director Mulvaney.

Summary of Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Results

Year-end data from the September 2017 Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the United States Government show that the deficit for FY 2017 was $666 billion, $80 billion higher than the prior year’s deficit. As a percentage of GDP, the deficit was 3.5 percent, an increase from 3.2 percent in FY 2016 and above the average of 3.1 percent over the last 40 years.

The FY 2017 deficit of $666 billion was $63 billion greater than the estimate in the FY 2018 Budget (Budget), and $36 billion less than estimated in the MSR, a supplemental update to the Budget published in July.

Table 1. Total Receipts, Outlays, and Deficit (in billions of dollars)
Receipts Outlays Deficit
FY 2016 Actual 3,267 3,852 -586
    Percentage of GDP 17.7% 20.9% 3.2%
FY 2017 Estimates:
    2018 Budget 3,460 4,062 -603
    2018 Mid-Session Review 3,344 4,045 -702
FY 2017 Actual 3,315 3,981 -666
    Percentage of GDP 17.3% 20.7% 3.5%
Note: Detail may not add to totals due to rounding.

 

Government receipts totaled $3,315 billion in FY 2017. This was $48 billion higher than in FY 2016, an increase of 1.5 percent, below expectations from both the Budget and the MSR. As a percentage of GDP, receipts equaled 17.3 percent, 0.4 percentage point lower than in FY 2016 and 0.1 percentage point below the average over the last 40 years. The dollar increase in receipts for FY 2017 can be attributed to higher social insurance and retirement receipts and net individual income taxes, partially offset by lower deposits of earnings by the Federal Reserve.

Outlays grew in FY 2017, but by less than expected in the Budget and the MSR, and decreased slightly as a percentage of GDP. Outlays were $3,981 billion, $128 billion above those in FY 2016, a 3.3 percent increase. As a percentage of GDP, outlays were 20.7 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than in the prior year, but above the 40-year average of 20.5 percent. Contributing to the dollar increase over FY 2016 were higher outlays for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and interest on the public debt. In addition, one-time upward revisions in estimates of credit subsidy for outstanding Federal loans and loan guarantees, primarily in the Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, increased outlays relative to FY 2016 by $55 billion. Lower spectrum auction receipts and higher spending by the Federal Emergency Management Administration for hurricane relief and recovery also contributed to the increase.

Total Federal borrowing from the public increased by $498 billion during FY 2017 to $14,667 billion. The increase in borrowing included $666 billion in borrowing to finance the deficit, partly offset by $167 billion related to other transactions that on net reduced the Government’s financing requirements, such as changes in cash balances and net disbursements for Federal credit programs. As a percentage of GDP, borrowing from the public declined from 76.7 percent of GDP at the end of FY 2016 to 76.3 percent of GDP at the end of FY 2017.

Below are explanations of the differences between estimates in the MSR and the year-end actual amounts for receipts and agency outlays.

Fiscal Year 2017 Receipts

Total receipts for FY 2017 were $3,314.9 billion, $28.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate of $3,343.6 billion. This net decrease in receipts was primarily attributable to lower-than-estimated collections of deposits of earnings by the Federal Reserve, other miscellaneous receipts, and corporation income tax receipts.  Table 2 displays actual receipts and estimates from the Budget and the MSR by source.

 

Fiscal Year 2017 Outlays

Total outlays were $3,980.6 billion for FY 2017, $64.7 billion below the MSR estimate. Table 3 displays actual outlays by agency and major program as well as estimates from the Budget and the MSR. The largest changes in outlays from the MSR were in the following areas:

Department of Defense — Outlays for the Department of Defense were $568.9 billion, $9.9 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This difference is mostly due to lower-than-expected outlays for operation and maintenance, which were $7.8 billion less than the MSR estimate. Operation and maintenance disbursements were less than anticipated for Army contracts from FY 2016 and prior years, reimbursements from the Coalition Support Fund, and Defense Health Program and counter-ISIL “train and equip” contracts. Additionally, outlays were lower than expected by $1.5 billion for Army military personnel, $1.4 billion for revolving and management funds due to lower-than-expected fuel costs, and $1.0 billion for disbursements against aircraft procurement contracts. These differences were partially offset by $2.2 billion of higher-than-expected outlays for research, development, test and evaluation.

Department of Education — Outlays for the Department of Education were $111.7 billion, $1.8 billion higher than the MSR estimate. This difference was driven by outlays for higher education programs. In the Pell Grant program, outlays were $0.9 billion higher than projected in the MSR, due to faster-than-expected disbursement patterns. For the Federal Direct Student Loan program, because of changes in the mix of activity in direct student loans, $0.7 billion more in positive subsidy outlays for the FY 2017 loan cohort were recorded in FY 2017 than estimated in the MSR.

Department of Health and Human Services — Outlays for the Department of Health and Human Services were $1,116.8 billion, $11.8 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays for Medicaid spending were $3.8 billion less than projected at MSR, driven primarily by lower benefit expenditures than was anticipated during the second half of the year. National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s outlays were $1.5 billion lower than projected, due in part to lower-than-expected disbursement for research grants in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. The Service and Supply Fund (SSF) outlaid $0.9 billion less than expected at MSR. SSF expected higher outlays in FY 2017 mainly due to an anticipated increase in contracts serviced; however many of these contracts will be outlaid starting in FY 2018 instead. Outlays for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) were lower than expected due to procurements that occurred much later in the fiscal year than originally planned.

Department of Homeland Security — Outlays for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were $50.5 billion, $2.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays in a number of DHS components were below the MSR estimates. Outlays for Customs and Border Protection were $1.4 billion below the MSR estimates, due to slower-than-expected spending for procurements and construction for customs enforcement and border protection infrastructure projects. Outlays for the National Protection and Programs Directorate were $1.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate, due to slower-than-expected outlays of the agency’s cyber budget. Outlays for the Transportation Security Administration were $0.9 billion lower than the MSR estimate, due to slower-than-expected outlays from obligations for airport security construction projects. Partially offsetting these decreases, outlays for the Federal Emergency Management Agency were $2.0 billion higher than the MSR estimates because of response activities related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Department of Justice — Outlays for the Department of Justice were $31.0 billion, $3.4 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This difference is primarily due to payments from the Assets Forfeiture Program being $2.3 billion less than estimated in the MSR. Also contributing to the overall difference was higher-than-expected receipts from fines and penalties, which were $0.7 billion higher than the MSR estimate. Outlays were $0.5 billion lower than the MSR for programs within the Office of Justice Programs partially due to pending litigation. Outlays were also lower across many other programs due to delayed action on FY 2017 appropriations.

Department of Labor — Outlays for the Department of Labor were $40.1 billion, $3.6 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Nearly $2 billion of this difference is attributable to lower-than-projected unemployment insurance benefit outlays because the actual unemployment rate was lower than assumed in the MSR economic forecast. Another $1.5 billion of the difference is attributable to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), due to both gross outlays being less than expected and offsetting receipts being greater than expected. The majority of the change in outlays is related to lower-than-expected payouts in the single employer program. PBGC also anticipated a substantial investment loss in FY 2017, but experienced a profit, leading to much higher offsetting receipts than anticipated in the MSR.

Department of State — Outlays for the Department of State were $27.1 billion, $3.0 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays were lower than expected for Department of State foreign assistance programs by $1.6 billion, mostly due to lower-than-anticipated spending for Global Health Programs, which was driven primarily by a delay in lump sum payments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The delay was necessary due to a shortfall in confirmed statutorily required matching payments from other donors. In addition, lower-than-expected outlays for capital-intensive programs such as new overseas facility construction and delayed payments for contributions to international organizations and peacekeeping were primarily responsible for the remaining difference of $1.3 billion from the MSR estimate.

Department of Transportation — Outlays for the Department of Transportation were $79.4 billion, $2.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Nearly $0.9 billion of this difference is due to lower-than-expected outlays for highways and transit programs. Most of the remaining difference is an accumulation of lower-than-expected spending across a number of programs.  Late-year congressional action on FY 2017 appropriations delayed grant-making and hiring activity across the agency.

Department of the Treasury — Outlays for the Department of the Treasury were $546.4 billion, $17.3 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Virtually all of the difference is due to interest on the public debt, which was $16.4 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Interest on the public debt is paid to the public and to trust funds and other Government accounts. The difference is the result of lower-than-projected interest paid to the public on inflation-indexed securities and other marketable Treasury securities, as well as lower-than-projected interest paid to Government accounts.

International Assistance Programs — Outlays for International Assistance Programs were $18.9 billion, $4.1 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This difference is largely due to net outlays for Department of State Foreign Military Sales that were more than $3 billion lower than the MSR estimate due to higher-than-anticipated receipts received from foreign governments for weapons purchases.

Social Security Administration — Outlays for the Social Security Administration were $1,000.8 billion, $1.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate. The difference, which is relatively small in comparison to total program outlays, is primarily attributable to lower-than-expected outlays for the Disability Insurance Trust Fund and Supplemental Security Income programs.

United States Postal Service — Net outlays for the United States Postal Service were -$2.2 billion, $5.5 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays were lower than the MSR estimate due largely to the failure of the Postal Service to make required payments for health and pension contributions.

Railroad Retirement Board — Outlays for the Railroad Retirement Board were $5.2 billion, $1.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate, due largely to the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust’s unrealized gains and losses on investments. Actual returns to the Trust were much higher than projected in the MSR due to favorable market conditions in the last few months of FY 2017.

Undistributed Offsetting Receipts — Undistributed Offsetting Receipts were -$236.9 billion, $6.6 billion higher than the MSR estimate. Net outlays for interest received by trust funds were $3.0 billion higher than the MSR estimate (lower net collections). The difference is due largely to the interest earnings of the Military Retirement Fund, which were $4.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate, partly offset by higher-than-projected interest earnings in some other programs. This intragovernmental interest is paid out of the Department of the Treasury account for interest on the public debt and has no net impact on total Federal Government outlays. In addition, receipts for employer share, employee retirement were $2.5 billion higher than MSR estimates (lower net collections) primarily due to the failure of the Postal Service to make required accrual payments to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund.

 

___________________________

 

[1] The estimates of GDP used in the calculations of the deficit and borrowing relative to GDP reflect the revisions to historical data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in July 2017. GDP for FY 2017 is based on the economic forecast for the President’s 2018 Budget, adjusted for the BEA revisions.

https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0184.aspx

 

Economy to grow at 5.4% rate in first quarter, Atlanta Fed tracker shows

  • The Atlanta Fed updated its rolling look at the U.S. economy, projecting that GDP would grow 5.4 percent in the first quarter.
  • If the forecast holds, it would be the strongest quarter since the economic recovery began and would more than double the typical annualized growth during the period.

The economy is on track to put up blockbuster growth numbers in the first quarter, according to the latest forecast from the Atlanta Fed.

GDP is expected to surge 5.4 percent to start 2018, the central bank branch estimated in its latest rolling look at how the economy is progressing.

If the forecast holds, it would be the best quarter since the Great Recession ended in 2009. The previous highest was third quarter of 2014, which hit 5.2 percent.

However, the Atlanta Fed’s tracker has shown to have reliability issues in the past. In particular, the model’s sensitivity to the ISM Manufacturing Index has led the gauge astray multiple times, causing growth to be overstated.

The ISM numbers were the principle impetus for the raise in growth projections Thursday.

Real consumer spending jumped from 3.1 percent to 4 percent amid a sharp savings drawdown, and private fixed-investment growth surged from 5.2 percent to 9.2 percent.

Since 2015, ISM boosts have caused the Atlanta Fed to overstate growth by 0.8 percentage points on average, including 1.9 percent points in the fourth quarter tracking on Nov. 1, according to CNBC calculations.

That comes as jobless claims hover around generational lows and the unemployment rate is at 4.1 percent. Productivity, however, continues to be lackluster, falling 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter against an expected rise of 1 percent.

GDP for the fourth quarter came in at 2.6 percent, a disappointment caused primarily by a decline in inventories and a surge in imports, temporary setbacks expected to reverse in the quarters ahead.

President Donald Trump rode to office on promises of growth that would hit at least 3 percent and run as high as 6 percent.

The Atlanta Fed also was optimistic about the 2017 first quarter, estimating growth at one point to be 3.4 percent, where the final reading came in at 1.2 percent.

—With reporting by CNBC’s Steve Liesman.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/01/economy-to-grow-at-5-point-4-percent-rate-in-first-quarter-atlanta-fed-tracker-shows.html

National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product: Fourth Quarter and Annual 2017 (Advance Estimate)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of
2017 (table 1), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the
third quarter, real GDP increased 3.2 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the fourth-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source
data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see "Source Data for the
Advance Estimate" on page 3). The "second" estimate for the fourth quarter, based on more complete
data, will be released on February 28, 2018.

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

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter reflected a downturn in private inventory
investment that was partly offset by accelerations in PCE, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, state
and local government spending, and federal government spending, and an upturn in residential fixed
investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, turned up.

Current-dollar GDP increased 5.0 percent, or $238.3 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $19,738.9
billion. In the third quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 5.3 percent, or $250.6 billion (table 1 and table
3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared
with an increase of 1.7 percent in the third quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 2.8 percent,
compared with an increase of 1.5 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index
increased 1.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.3 percent (appendix table A).


Personal Income (table 10)

Current-dollar personal income increased $178.9 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with an
increase of $112.3 billion in the third. The acceleration in personal income primarily reflected an upturn
in personal interest income and an acceleration in nonfarm proprietors’ income.

Disposable personal income increased $139.0 billion, or 3.9 percent, in the fourth quarter, compared
with an increase of $73.8 billion, or 2.1 percent, in the third. Real disposable personal income increased
1.1 percent, compared with an increase of 0.5 percent.

Personal saving was $384.4 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $478.3 billion in the third. The
personal saving rate -- personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income -- was 2.6 percent
in the fourth quarter, compared with 3.3 percent in the third.


2017 GDP

Real GDP increased 2.3 percent in 2017 (that is, from the 2016 annual level to the 2017 annual level),
compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in 2016 (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in 2017 primarily reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed
investment, and exports. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased (table 2).

The acceleration in real GDP from 2016 to 2017 reflected upturns in nonresidential fixed investment and
in exports and a smaller decrease in private inventory investment.  These movements were partly offset
by decelerations in residential fixed investment and in state and local government spending. Imports,
which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, accelerated.

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.1 percent, or $762.3 billion, in 2017 to a level of $19,386.8 billion,
compared with an increase of 2.8 percent, or $503.8 billion, in 2016 (table 1 and table 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.8 percent in 2017, compared with an increase
of 1.0 percent in 2016 (table 4). The PCE price index increased 1.7 percent, compared with an increase
of 1.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.5 percent, compared
with an increase of 1.8 percent (appendix table A).

During 2017 (measured from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2017), real GDP
increased 2.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent during 2016.  The price index for gross
domestic purchases increased 1.9 percent during 2017, compared with an increase of 1.4 percent during
2016 (table 7).


Source Data for the Advance Estimate

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

                                   *          *          *
                     Next release:  February 28, 2018 at 8:30 A.M. EST
                Gross Domestic Product:  Fourth Quarter 2017 (Second Estimate)
                                   *          *          *

Additional Information

                                        Release Dates in 2018


      Estimate                   2017: IV and annual    2018: I           2018: II           2018: III
Gross Domestic Product
 Advance                         January 26             April 27          July 27            October 26
 Second                          February 28            May 30            August 29          November 28
 Third                           March 28               June 28           September 27       December 21

Corporate Profits
 Preliminary                     …                      May 30            August 29          November 28
 Revised                         March 28               June 28           September 27       December 21



                                      Additional Information

Resources

Additional resources available at www.bea.gov:
•	Stay informed about BEA developments by reading the BEA blog, signing up for BEA’s email
        subscription service, or following BEA on Twitter @BEA_News.
•	Historical time series for these estimates can be accessed in BEA’s Interactive Data Application.
•	Access BEA data by registering for BEA’s Data Application Programming Interface (API).
•	For more on BEA’s statistics, see our monthly online journal, the Survey of Current Business.
•	BEA's news release scheduleNIPA Handbook:  Concepts and Methods of the U.S. National Income and Product Accounts

Definitions

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy
less the value of the goods and services used up in production. GDP is also equal to the sum of personal
consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment, net exports of goods and services, and
government consumption expenditures and gross investment.

Current-dollar estimates are valued in the prices of the period when the transactions occurred—that is,
at “market value.” Also referred to as “nominal estimates” or as “current-price estimates.”
Real values are inflation-adjusted estimates—that is, estimates that exclude the effects of price changes.
The gross domestic purchases price index measures the prices of final goods and services purchased by
U.S. residents.

The personal consumption expenditure price index measures the prices paid for the goods and services
purchased by, or on the behalf of, “persons.”

Personal income is the income received by, or on behalf of, all persons from all sources:  from
participation as laborers in production, from owning a home or business, from the ownership of
financial assets, and from government and business in the form of transfers. It includes income from
domestic sources as well as the rest of world. It does not include realized or unrealized capital gains or
losses.

Disposable personal income is the income available to persons for spending or saving. It is equal to
personal income less personal current taxes.

Personal outlays is the sum of personal consumption expenditures, personal interest payments, and
personal current transfer payments.

Personal saving is personal income less personal outlays and personal current taxes.
The personal saving rate is personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income. (For a
comparison of personal saving in BEA's national income and product accounts (NIPAs) with personal
saving in the Federal Reserve Board's financial accounts of the United States, go to
www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/nipa-frb.asp.

For more definitions, see the Glossary: National Income and Product Accounts.


Statistical conventions

Annual rates. Quarterly values are expressed at seasonally-adjusted annual rates (SAAR), unless
otherwise specified. Dollar changes are calculated as the difference between these SAAR values. For
detail, see the FAQ “Why does BEA publish estimates at annual rates?”

Percent changes in quarterly series are calculated from unrounded data and are displayed at annual
rates, unless otherwise specified. For details, see the FAQ “How is average annual growth calculated?”

Quantities and prices. Quantities, or “real” volume measures, and prices are expressed as index
numbers with a specified reference year equal to 100 (currently 2009). Quantity and price indexes are
calculated using a Fisher-chained weighted formula that incorporates weights from two adjacent
periods (quarters for quarterly data and annuals for annual data). “Real” dollar series are calculated by
multiplying the published quantity index by the current dollar value in the reference year (2009) and
then dividing by 100. Percent changes calculated from real quantity indexes and chained-dollar levels
are conceptually the same; any differences are due to rounding.

Chained-dollar values are not additive because the relative weights for a given period differ from those
of the reference year. In tables that display chained-dollar values, a “residual” line shows the difference
between the sum of detailed chained-dollar series and its corresponding aggregate.


Updates to GDP

BEA releases three vintages of the current quarterly estimate for GDP:  "Advance" estimates are
released near the end of the first month following the end of the quarter and are based on source data
that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency; “second” and “third” estimates
are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively, and are based on more detailed
and more comprehensive data as they become available.

Annual and comprehensive updates are typically released in late July. Annual updates generally cover at
least the 3 most recent calendar years (and their associated quarters) and incorporate newly available
major annual source data as well as some changes in methods and definitions to improve the accounts.
Comprehensive (or benchmark) updates are carried out at about 5-year intervals and incorporate major
periodic source data, as well as major conceptual improvements.
The table below shows the average revisions to the quarterly percent changes in real GDP between
different estimate vintages, without regard to sign.

Vintage                               Average Revision Without Regard to Sign
                                         (percentage points, annual rates)
Advance to second                                     0.5
Advance to third                                      0.6
Second to third                                       0.2
Advance to latest                                     1.3
Note - Based on estimates from 1993 through 2016. For more information on GDP
updates, see Revision Information on the BEA Web site.

The larger average revision from the advance to the latest estimate reflects the fact that periodic
comprehensive updates include major statistical and methodological improvements.

Unlike GDP, an advance current quarterly estimate of GDI is not released because data on domestic
profits and on net interest of domestic industries are not available. For fourth quarter estimates, these
data arCopy a Poste not available until the third estimate.
https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2018/gdp4q17_adv.htm

A SUMMARY OF THE 2017 ANNUAL REPORTS

Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees

A MESSAGE TO THE PUBLIC:

Each year the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds report on the current and projected financial status of the two programs. This message summarizes the 2017 Annual Reports.

Both Social Security and Medicare face long-term financing shortfalls under currently scheduled benefits and financing. Lawmakers have a broad continuum of policy options that would close or reduce the long-term financing shortfall of both programs. The Trustees recommend that lawmakers take action sooner rather than later to address these shortfalls, so that a broader range of solutions can be considered and more time will be available to phase in changes while giving the public adequate time to prepare. Earlier action will also help elected officials minimize adverse impacts on vulnerable populations, including lower-income workers and people already dependent on program benefits.

Social Security and Medicare together accounted for 42 percent of Federal program expenditures in fiscal year 2016. The unified budget reflects current trust fund operations. Consequently, even when there are positive trust fund balances, any drawdown of those balances, as well as general fund transfers into Medicare’s Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) fund and interest payments to the trust funds that are used to pay benefits, increase pressure on the unified budget. Both Social Security and Medicare will experience cost growth substantially in excess of GDP growth through the mid-2030s due to rapid population aging caused by the large baby-boom generation entering retirement and lower-birth-rate generations entering employment. For Medicare, it is also the case that growth in expenditures per beneficiary exceeds growth in per capita GDP over this time period. In later years, projected costs expressed as a share of GDP rise slowly for Medicare and are relatively flat for Social Security, reflecting very gradual population aging caused by increasing longevity and slower growth in per-beneficiary health care costs.

Social Security

The Social Security program provides workers and their families with retirement, disability, and survivors insurance benefits. Workers earn these benefits by paying into the system during their working years. Over the program’s 82-year history, it has collected roughly $19.9 trillion and paid out $17.1 trillion, leaving asset reserves of more than $2.8 trillion at the end of 2016 in its two trust funds.

The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund, which pays retirement and survivors benefits, and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund, which pays disability benefits, are by law separate entities. However, to summarize overall Social Security finances, the Trustees have traditionally emphasized the financial status of the hypothetical combined trust funds for OASI and DI. The combined funds-designated OASDI- satisfy the Trustees’ test of short-range (ten-year) financial adequacy. The Trustees project that the combined fund asset reserves at the beginning of each year will exceed that year’s projected cost through 2029. However, the funds fail the test of long-range close actuarial balance.

The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund, which pays retirement and survivors benefits, and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund, which pays disability benefits, are by law separate entities. However, to summarize overall Social Security finances, the Trustees have traditionally emphasized the financial status of the hypothetical combined trust funds for OASI and DI. The combined funds-designated OASDI- satisfy the Trustees’ test of short-range (ten-year) financial adequacy. The Trustees project that the combined fund asset reserves at the beginning of each year will exceed that year’s projected cost through 2029. However, the funds fail the test of long-range close actuarial balance.

The Trustees project that the combined trust funds will be depleted in 2034, the same year projected in last year’s report. The projected 75-year actuarial deficit for the OASDI Trust Funds is 2.83 percent of taxable payroll, up from 2.66 percent projected in last year’s report. This deficit amounts to 1 percent of GDP over the 75-year time period, or 21 percent of program non-interest income, or 17 percent of program cost. A 0.05 percentage point increase in the OASDI actuarial deficit would have been expected if nothing had changed other than the one-year shift in the valuation period from 2016 through 2090 to 2017 through 2091. The effects of recently enacted legislation, updated demographic and economic data, and improved methodologies further increased the actuarial deficit by 0.12 percent of taxable payroll.

Social Security’s total income is projected to exceed its total cost through 2021, as it has since 1982. The 2016 surplus of total income relative to cost was $35 billion. However, when interest income is excluded, Social Security’s cost is projected to exceed its non-interest income throughout the projection period, as it has since 2010. The Trustees project that this annual non-interest deficit will average about $51 billion between 2017 and 2020. It will then rise steeply as income growth slows to its sustainable trend rate as the economic recovery is complete while the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers.

After 2021, interest income and redemption of trust fund asset reserves from the General Fund of the Treasury will provide the resources needed to offset Social Security’s annual deficits until 2034, when the OASDI reserves will be depleted. Thereafter, scheduled tax income is projected to be sufficient to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through the end of the projection period in 2091. The ratio of reserves to one year’s projected cost (the combined trust fund ratio) peaked in 2008, declined through 2016, and is expected to decline steadily until the trust funds are depleted in 2034.

Under current projections, the annual cost of Social Security benefits expressed as a share of workers’ taxable earnings will grow from 13.7 percent in 2016 to roughly 17.0 percent in 2038, and will then decline slightly before slowly increasing after 2051. Costs display a slightly different pattern when expressed as a share of GDP. Program costs equaled 5.0 percent of GDP in 2016, and the Trustees project these costs will increase to 6.1 percent of GDP by 2037, decline to 5.9 percent of GDP by 2050, and thereafter rise slowly reaching 6.1 percent by 2091..

While the projections for the combined trust funds are somewhat less favorable than last year, the projections for the DI Trust Fund are more favorable. Provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 that became law in November 2015 were projected to postpone depletion of the DI Trust Fund by six years to 2022 from 2016 under the assumptions of the 2015 Trustees Report, largely by temporarily reallocating a portion of the payroll tax rate from the OASI Trust Fund to the DI Trust Fund. In last year’s report, the DI Trust Fund depletion date projection was extended one year to 2023. In this year’s report, the depletion date projection is being extended five additional years, to 2028, due to lower-than-expected recent applications for and awards of DI benefits. Nonetheless, this year’s projections for the OASI and OASDI Trust Fund depletion dates are unchanged, and the estimated magnitude of long-term financial imbalances is little changed for DI and is larger for OASDI.

Medicare

The Medicare program has two separate trust funds, the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund and the Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund. HI, otherwise known as Medicare Part A, helps pay for hospital, home health services following hospital stays, skilled nursing facility, and hospice care for the aged and disabled. SMI consists of Medicare Part B and Part D. Part B helps pay for physician, outpatient hospital, home health, and other services for the aged and disabled who have voluntarily enrolled. Part D provides subsidized access to drug insurance coverage on a voluntary basis for all beneficiaries, as well as premium and cost-sharing subsidies for low-income enrollees.

The Trustees project that the HI Trust Fund will be depleted in 2029, one year later than projected in last year’s report. At that time dedicated revenues will be sufficient to pay 88 percent of HI costs. The Trustees project that the share of HI cost that can be financed with HI dedicated revenues will decline slowly to 81 percent in 2041, and will then rise gradually to 88 percent in 2091. The HI fund again fails the test of short-range financial adequacy, as its trust fund ratio is already below 100 percent of annual costs, and is expected to stay about unchanged to 2021 before declining in a continuous fashion until reserve depletion in 2029.

The HI Trust Fund’s projected 75-year actuarial deficit is 0.64 percent of taxable payroll, which represents 0.3 percent of GDP through 2091, or 16 percent of non-interest income, or 14 percent of program cost. This estimate is down from 0.73 percent of taxable payroll projected in last year’s report. This improvement reflects a 0.01 percentage point increase in the HI actuarial deficit that would have been expected if nothing had changed other than shifting the valuation period forward one year to 2017 through 2091, and a 0.10 percentage point decrease due to new data and changed assumptions.

For SMI, the Trustees project that both Part B and Part D will remain adequately financed into the indefinite future because current law provides financing from general revenues and beneficiary premiums each year to meet the next year’s expected costs. However, the aging population and rising health care costs cause SMI projected costs to grow steadily from 2.1 percent of GDP in 2016 to approximately 3.4 percent of GDP in 2037, and to then increase more slowly to 3.7 percent of GDP by 2091. General revenues will finance roughly three-quarters of SMI costs, and premiums paid by beneficiaries almost all of the remaining quarter. SMI also receives a small amount of financing from special payments by States, and from fees on manufacturers and importers of brand-name prescription drugs.

The Trustees project that total Medicare costs (including both HI and SMI expenditures) will grow from approximately 3.6 percent of GDP in 2016 to 5.6 percent of GDP by 2041, and will increase gradually thereafter to about 5.9 percent of GDP by 2091.

In recent years U.S. national health expenditure (NHE) growth has slowed considerably. There is uncertainty regarding the degree to which this slowdown reflects the impacts of the recent economic downturn and other non-persistent factors, as opposed to structural changes in the health care sector that may continue to produce cost savings in the years ahead. It is possible that U.S. health care practices are becoming more efficient as new payment models develop and providers anticipate less rapid growth of reimbursement rates in both the public and private sectors than has occurred during the past several decades.

For a number of years, the methodology the Trustees have employed for projecting Medicare finances over the long term has assumed a substantial reduction in per capita health expenditure growth rates relative to historical experience. In addition, the Trustees have been revising down their projections for near-term Medicare expenditure growth in light of the recent favorable experience, in part due to effects of payment changes and delivery system reform that are changing health care practices. However, the Trustees have not assumed additional, specific cost saving arising from structural changes in the delivery system that may result from new payment mechanisms in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 and the cost-reduction incentives in the Affordable Care Act, or from payment reforms initiated by the private sector.

Notwithstanding the assumption of a substantial slowdown of per capita health expenditure growth, the projections indicate that Medicare still faces a substantial financial shortfall that will need to be addressed with further legislation. Such legislation should be enacted sooner rather than later to minimize the impact on beneficiaries, providers, and taxpayers.

Conclusion

Lawmakers have many policy options that would reduce or eliminate the long-term financing shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare. Lawmakers should address these financial challenges as soon as possible. Taking action sooner rather than later will permit consideration of a broader range of solutions and provide more time to phase in changes so that the public has adequate time to prepare.

By the Trustees:

Steven T. Mnuchin,
Secretary of the Treasury,
and Managing Trustee
of the Trust Funds.
Thomas E. Price, M.D,
Secretary of Health
and Human Services,
and Trustee.
R. Alexander Acosta,
Secretary of Labor,
and Trustee.
Nancy A.Berryhill,
Acting Commissioner of
Social Security,
and Trustee.

A SUMMARY OF THE 2017 ANNUAL SOCIAL SECURITY
AND MEDICARE TRUST FUND REPORTS

In 2016, Social Security’s reserves increased by $35 billion to reach $2.8 trillion by the end of the year. Under the intermediate assumptions, the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund will be able to pay full benefits until 2028, five years later than projected in last year’s Social Security report. The improved outlook is due to recent declines in disability applications and lower projected disability incidence rates during the short-range period. The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund is able to pay full benefits until 2035, and the combined OASDI funds1 until 2034, both unchanged from last year. Over the 75-year projection period, Social Security faces an actuarial deficit of 2.83 percent of taxable payroll, up from the 2.66 percent projected last year. The actuarial deficit equals 1.0 percent of GDP through 2091.

Reserves in Medicare’s two trust funds increased by $31 billion to a total of $295 billion at the end of 2016. The Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund is projected to be able to pay full benefits until 2029, one year later than indicated in last year’s Medicare report. The HI actuarial deficit is 0.64 percent of taxable payroll over the 75-year projection period, somewhat smaller than the 0.73 percent projected in last year’s report, and equivalent to 0.3 percent of GDP through 2091.

What Are the Trust Funds? Congress established trust funds managed by the Secretary of the Treasury to account for Social Security and Medicare income and disbursements. The Treasury credits Social Security and Medicare taxes, premiums, and other income to the funds. There are four separate trust funds. For Social Security, the OASI Trust Fund pays retirement and survivors benefits and the DI Trust Fund pays disability benefits. For Medicare, the HI Trust Fund pays for inpatient hospital and related care. The Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund comprises two separate accounts: Part B, which pays for physician and outpatient services, and Part D, which covers prescription drug benefits.

The only disbursements permitted from the funds are benefit payments and administrative costs. Federal law requires that all excess funds be invested in interest-bearing securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The Department of the Treasury currently invests all program revenues in special non-marketable securities of the U.S. Government which earn interest equal to rates on marketable securities with durations defined in law. The balances in the trust funds, which represent the accumulated value, including interest, of all prior program annual surpluses and deficits, provide automatic authority to pay benefits.

What Were the Trust Fund Operations in 2016? In 2016, 50.3 million people received OASI benefits, 10.6 million received DI benefits, and 56.8 million were covered under Medicare. A summary of Social Security and Medicare trust fund operations is shown below (Table 1). All four trust funds increased asset reserves in 2016.

TRUST FUND OPERATIONS, 2016 
(in billions)
OASI DI HI SMI
Reserves (end of 2015) $2,780.3 $32.3 $193.8 $69.5
Income during 2016 797.5 160.0 290.8 419.4
Cost during 2016 776.4 145.9 285.4 393.3
    Net change in Reserves 21.1 14.1 5.4 26.1
Reserves (end of 2016) 2,801.3 46.3 199.1 95.6

Note: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

OASI and DI reserve figures for 2015 do not reflect benefit payments regularly scheduled for January 3, 2016, which were actually paid on December 31, 2015. These accelerated payments are allocated to 2016 costs. SMI reserves for 2015 do reflect premium payments and general revenue matching for SMI (Part B) regularly scheduled for January 3, 2016, which were received in 2015. Because January 3, 2016 was a Sunday, these income items moved to the next earliest date that was not a weekend or holiday.

Table 2 shows payments, by category, from each trust fund in 2016.

Table 2. Program Cost 
(in billions)
Category (in billions) OASI DI HI SMI
Benefit payments $768.6 $142.8 $280.5 $389.0
Railroad Retirement financial interchange 4.3 0.4
Administrative expenses 3.4 2.8 4.9 4.4
Total 776.4 145.9 285.4 393.3

Note: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

OASI and DI cost figures for 2016 include benefit payments regularly scheduled for January 3, 2016, which were actually paid on December 31, 2015.

Trust fund income, by source, in 2016 is shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Program Income 
(in billions)
Source (in billions) OASI DI HI SMI
Payroll taxes $678.8 $157.4 $253.5
Taxes on OASDI benefits 31.6 1.2 23.0
Interest earnings 87.0 1.4 7.7 $2.1
General Fund reimbursements 0.1 a 1.2 29.9
General revenues $288.1
Beneficiary premiums 3.3 85.9
Transfers from States 10.0
Other a a 2.1 3.4
Total 797.5 160.0 290.8 419.4

Note: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

a Less than $50 million.In 2016, Social Security’s total income exceeded total cost by $35 billion. When interest received on trust fund assets is excluded from program income, there was a deficit of non-interest income relative to cost equal to $53 billion. The Trustees project that annual non-interest-income deficits will persist throughout the long-range period (2017-91).

In 2016, the HI Trust Fund’s total income, consisting of $283 billion in non-interest income and $8 billion in interest income (Table 3), exceeded program expenditures ($285 billion). For SMI, general revenues, which are set prospectively based on projected costs, represent the largest source of income.

What Is the Outlook for Future Social Security and Medicare Costs in Relation to GDP? One instructive way to view the projected costs of Social Security and Medicare is to compare the costs of scheduled benefits and administrative costs for the programs with the gross domestic product (GDP), the most frequently used measure of the total output of the U.S. economy (Chart A).

Chart A—Social Security and Medicare Cost as a Percentage of GDP
click on graph for underlying data

Under the intermediate assumptions employed in the reports, the costs of these programs as a percentage of GDP increase substantially through 2035 because: (1) the number of beneficiaries rises rapidly as the baby-boom generation retires; and (2) the lower birth rates that have persisted since the baby boom cause slower growth of the labor force and GDP.

Social Security’s annual cost as a percentage of GDP is projected to increase from 4.9 percent in 2017 to about 6.1 percent by 2037, then decline to 5.9 percent by 2050 before generally rising to 6.1 percent of GDP by 2091. Under the intermediate assumptions, Medicare cost rises from 3.6 percent of GDP in 2017 to 5.4 percent of GDP by 2035 due mainly to the growth in the number of beneficiaries, and then increases further to 5.9 percent by 2091. The growth in health care cost per beneficiary becomes the larger factor later in the valuation period, particularly in Part D.

In 2017, the combined cost of the Social Security and Medicare programs is estimated to equal 8.5 percent of GDP. The Trustees project an increase to 11.5 percent of GDP by 2035 and to 12.0 percent by 2091, with most of these increases attributable to Medicare. Medicare’s relative cost is expected to rise gradually from 74 percent of the cost of Social Security in 2017 to 96 percent by 2091.

The projected costs for OASDI and HI depicted in Chart A and elsewhere in this document reflect the full cost of scheduled current-law benefits without regard to whether the trust funds will have sufficient resources to meet these obligations. Current law precludes payment of any benefits beyond the amount that can be financed by the trust funds, that is, from annual income and trust fund reserves. In years after trust fund depletion, the amount of benefits that would be payable is lower than shown because OASDI and HI, by law, cannot borrow money or pay benefits that exceed the asset reserves in their trust funds. The projected costs assume realization of the full estimated savings of the Affordable Care Act and the physician payment rate updates specified in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. As described in the Medicare Trustees Report, the projections for HI and SMI Part B depend significantly on the sustained effectiveness of various current-law cost-saving measures, in particular, the lower increases in Medicare payment rates to most categories of health care providers.

What is the Outlook for Future Social Security and Medicare HI Costs and Income in Relation to Taxable Earnings? Because the primary source of income for OASDI and HI is the payroll tax, it is informative to express the programs’ incomes and costs as percentages of taxable payroll-that is, of the base of worker earnings taxed to support each program (Chart B).

It is important to understand that the two programs have different taxable payrolls. HI taxable payroll is about 25 percent larger than that of OASDI because the HI payroll tax is imposed on all earnings while OASDI taxes apply only to earnings up to a maximum ($127,200 in 2017), which ordinarily is adjusted each year. Thus, the percentages in Chart B are comparable within each program, but not across programs.

Chart B—OASDI and HI Income and Cost as Percentages of Their Respective Taxable Payrolls
click on graph for underlying data

Both the OASDI and HI annual cost rates rise over the long run from their 2016 levels (13.70 and 3.38 percent). Projected Social Security cost grows to 17.02 percent of taxable payroll in 2038 and to 17.80 percent of taxable payroll in 2091. The projected Medicare HI cost rate rises to 4.79 percent of taxable payroll in 2050, and thereafter increases to 4.96 percent in 2091.

The OASDI and HI income rates in Chart B include payroll taxes and taxes on OASDI benefits, but not interest payments. The projected OASDI income rate is stable at about 13 percent throughout the long-range period. The HI income rate rises gradually from 3.35 percent in 2016 to 4.36 percent in 2091 due to the Affordable Care Act’s increase in payroll tax rates for high earners that began in 2013. Individual tax return filers with earnings above $200,000, and joint return filers with earnings above $250,000, pay an additional 0.9 percent tax on earnings above these earnings thresholds. An increasing fraction of all earnings will be subject to the higher tax rate over time because the thresholds are not indexed. By 2091, an estimated 79 percent of workers would pay the higher rate.

How Will Cost Growth in the Different Parts of Medicare Change the Sources of Program Financing?As Medicare cost grows over time, general revenues and beneficiary premiums will play an increasing role in financing the program. Chart C shows scheduled cost and non-interest revenue sources under current law for HI and SMI combined as a percentage of GDP. The total cost line is the same as displayed in Chart A and shows Medicare cost rising to 5.9 percent of GDP by 2091

Chart C—Medicare Cost and Non-Interest Income by Source as a Percentage of GDP
click on graph for underlying data

Projected revenue from payroll taxes and taxes on OASDI benefits credited to the HI Trust Fund increases from 1.5 percent of GDP in 2017 to 1.8 percent in 2091 under current law, while projected general revenue transfers to the SMI Trust Fund increase from 1.5 percent of GDP in 2017 to 2.7 percent in 2091, and beneficiary premiums increase from 0.5 to 0.9 percent of GDP during the same period. Thus, the share of total non-interest Medicare income from taxes declines (from 42 percent to 33 percent) while the general revenue share rises (from 42 percent to 48 percent), as does the share of premiums (from 14 percent to 17 percent). The distribution of financing changes in large part because costs for Part B and especially Part D-the Medicare components that are financed mainly from general revenues-increase at a faster rate than Part A cost under the Trustees’ projections. The projected annual HI financial deficit beyond 2035 through 2091 averages about 0.3 percent of GDP and there is no provision under current law to finance that shortfall through general revenue transfers or any other revenue source.

The Medicare Modernization Act (2003) requires that the Board of Trustees determine each year whether the annual difference between program cost and dedicated revenues (the bottom four layers of Chart C) under current law exceeds 45 percent of total Medicare cost in any of the first seven fiscal years of the 75-year projection period, in which case the annual Trustees Report must include, as it did from 2006 through 2013, a determination of “excess general revenue Medicare funding.” Because that difference is expected to exceed the 45 percent threshold in fiscal year 2023, the Trustees are issuing a determination of projected excess general revenue Medicare funding in this year’s report.

What are the Budgetary Implications of Rising Social Security and Medicare Costs? Discussion of the long-range financial outlook for Medicare and Social Security often focuses on the depletion dates for the HI and OASDI trust funds-the times when the projected trust fund balances under current law will be insufficient to pay the full amounts of scheduled benefits. Normal operations of the trust fund also have an impact on the unified Federal budget.

Under the OASDI and HI programs, when taxes and other sources of revenue are collected in excess of immediate program costs, funds are converted to Treasury bonds and held in reserve for future periods. Accumulation of assets in the trust fund improves the unified Federal budget position. When trust fund assets are drawn down to pay scheduled benefits, bonds are redeemed and interest payments are made, creating a current-year cost to the unified Federal budget.

Unlike HI and OASDI, SMI does not have a trust fund structure with surpluses accumulated from prior years. General revenues pay for roughly 75 percent of all SMI costs and pose an immediate cost for the unified Federal budget.

Chart D shows the required SMI general revenue funding, plus the excess of scheduled costs over dedicated tax and premium income for the OASDI and HI trust funds expressed as percentages of GDP through 2040. For OASDI and HI, the difference between scheduled cost and dedicated revenues is equal to interest earnings and asset redemptions prior to trust fund depletion, and unfunded obligations after depletion. The chart assumes full benefits will be paid after trust fund depletion, even though under current law expenditures can only be made to the extent covered by current income. Such budgetary assumptions are typical of unified budget baselines, but do not reflect current law in the Social Security Act, nor do they reflect policy approaches that Congress has used in the past.

In 2017, the projected difference between Social Security’s expenditures and dedicated tax income is $27 billion. The Trustees anticipate a small surplus of $3 billion in non-interest income for the HI program.2 The projected general revenue demands of SMI are $287 billion. Thus, the total general revenue requirements for Social Security and Medicare in 2017 are $311 billion, or 1.6 percent of GDP. Redemption of trust fund bonds, interest paid on those bonds, and general revenue transfers provide no new net income to the Treasury. When the unified budget is not in surplus, these payments are made through some combination of increased taxation, reductions in other government spending, or additional borrowing from the public.

Chart D—Projected SMI General Revenue Funding
plus OASDI and HI Tax Shorfalls
[Percentage of GDP]
click on graph for underlying data

Each of these trust funds’ operations will contribute increasing amounts to Federal unified budget deficits in future years as trust fund bonds are redeemed. Until 2029, interest earnings and asset redemptions, financed from general revenues, will cover the shortfall of HI tax and premium revenues relative to expenditures. In addition, general revenues must cover similar payments as a result of growing OASDI bond redemption and interest payments through 2034 as the trust fund is drawn down.

If full benefits are to be maintained for both Social Security and Medicare, by 2040 the combined OASDI and HI financing gap plus SMI’s projected general revenue demands will equal 4.2 percent of GDP-more than double the 2017 share.

What Is the Outlook for Short-Term Trust Fund Adequacy? The reports measure the short-range adequacy of the OASI, DI, and HI Trust Funds by comparing fund asset reserves at the start of a year to projected costs for the ensuing year (the “trust fund ratio”). A trust fund ratio of 100 percent or more-that is, asset reserves at least equal to projected cost for the year-is a good indicator of a fund’s short-range adequacy. That level of projected reserves for any year suggests that even if cost exceeds income, the trust fund reserves, combined with annual tax revenues, would be sufficient to pay full benefits for several years. Chart E shows the trust fund ratios through 2040 under the intermediate assumptions.

Chart E—OASI, DI, and HI Trust Fund Ratios
[Asset reserves as a percentage of annual cost]
click on graph for underlying data

By this measure, the OASI Trust Fund is financially adequate throughout and beyond the short-range period (2017-26), but the DI Trust Fund fails the short-range test because its trust fund ratio was 31 percent at the beginning of 2017 and is not projected to reach 100 percent within 5 years. The Trustees project that the DI Trust Fund ratio will increase to 65 percent at the start of 2019, due largely to the temporary payroll tax reallocation enacted in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, and subsequently decline until depletion of all reserves in 2028.

The HI Trust Fund does not meet the short-range test of financial adequacy; its trust fund ratio was 67 percent at the beginning of 2017 based on the year’s anticipated expenditures, and the projected ratio does not rise to 100 percent within five years. Projected HI Trust Fund asset reserves become fully depleted in 2029.

The Trustees apply a less stringent annual “contingency reserve” test to SMI Part B asset reserves because (i) the financing for that account is set each year to meet expected costs, and (ii) the overwhelming portion of the financing for that account consists of general revenue transfers and beneficiary premiums, which were 75 percent and 23 percent of total Part B income in calendar year 2016. Part D premiums paid by enrollees and the required amount of general revenue financing are determined each year. Moreover, flexible appropriation authority established by lawmakers for Part D allows additional general revenue transfers if costs are higher than anticipated, limiting the need for a contingency reserve in that account.

What Are Key Dates in OASI, DI, and HI Financing? The 2017 reports project that the OASI, DI, and HI Trust Funds will all be depleted within 20 years. The following table shows key dates for the respective trust funds as well as for the combined OASDI trust funds. 3

KEY DATES FOR THE TRUST FUNDS
OASI DI OASDI HI
First year cost exceeds income excluding interesta 2010 2022 2010 2021
First year cost exceeds total incomea 2022 2019 2022 2023
Year trust funds are depleted 2035 2028 2034 2029

a Dates indicate the first year a condition is projected to occur and to persist annually thereafter through 2090.

DI Trust Fund reserves will increase until 2019 and then fall steadily until they are fully depleted in 2028. Payment of full DI benefits beyond 2028, when tax income would cover only 93 percent of scheduled benefits, will require legislation to address the financial imbalance.

The OASI Trust Fund, when considered separately, has a projected reserve depletion date of 2035, the same as in last year’s report. At that time, income would be sufficient to pay 75 percent of scheduled OASI benefits.

The combined OASDI trust funds have a projected depletion date of 2034, the same as in last year’s report. After the depletion of reserves, continuing tax income would be sufficient to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits in 2034 and 73 percent in 2091.

The OASDI reserves are projected to grow in 2017 because total income ($1,014 billion) will exceed total cost ($955 billion). This year’s report indicates that annual OASDI income, including payments of interest to the trust funds from the General Fund, will continue to exceed annual cost every year until 2022, increasing the nominal value of combined OASDI trust fund asset reserves. Social Security’s cost is projected to exceed its non-interest income by $27 billion in 2017, and annual non-interest income deficits will persist through 2091. The trust fund ratio (the ratio of projected reserves to annual cost) will continue to decline gradually (Chart E), as it has since 2008, despite this nominal balance increase. Beginning in 2022, net redemptions of trust fund asset reserves with General Fund payments will be required until projected depletion of these reserves in 2034.

The projected HI Trust Fund depletion date is 2029, one year later than in last year’s report. Under current law, scheduled HI tax and premium income would be sufficient to pay 88 percent of estimated HI cost after trust fund depletion in 2029, declining to 81 percent by 2041, and then gradually increasing to 88 percent again by 2091.

This report projects that HI Trust Fund reserve assets will increase in 2017 because total income ($306 billion) will exceed total cost ($295 billion). Beginning in 2021, projected annual HI cost exceeds non-interest HI income for the remainder of the long-range projection period. After 2022, assets will decline continuously until depletion of all reserves in 2029.

What is the Long-Range Actuarial Balance of the OASI, DI, and HI Trust Funds? Another way to view the outlook for payroll tax-financed trust funds (OASI, DI, and HI) is to consider their actuarial balances for the 75-year valuation period. The actuarial balance measure includes the trust fund asset reserves at the beginning of the period, an ending fund balance equal to the 76th year’s costs, and projected costs and income during the valuation period, all expressed as a percentage of taxable payroll for the 75-year projection period. Actuarial balance is not an informative concept for the SMI program because Federal law sets premium increases and general revenue transfers at the levels necessary to bring SMI into annual balance.

The actuarial deficit represents the average amount of change in income or cost that is needed throughout the valuation period in order to achieve actuarial balance. The actuarial balance equals zero if cost for the period can be met for the period as a whole and trust fund asset reserves at the end of the period are equal to the following year’s cost. The OASI, DI, and HI Trust Funds all have long-range actuarial deficits under the intermediate assumptions, as shown in the following table.

LONG-RANGE ACTUARIAL DEFICIT OF THE OASI, DI, AND HI TRUST FUNDS
[Percent of taxable payroll]
OASI DI OASDI HI
Actuarial deficit 2.59 0.24 2.83 0.64

NOTE: Totals do not necessarily equal the sums of rounded components.

The Trustees project that the annual deficits for Social Security as a whole, expressed as the difference between the cost rate and income rate for a particular year, will be smaller than the 2016 value (0.79 percent of taxable payroll) during 2017-19. The annual deficits then increase steadily to 3.77 percent in 2037. Annual deficits then decline gradually to 3.32 percent in 2051 before resuming an upward trajectory and reaching 4.48 percent of taxable payroll in 2091 (Chart B). The relatively large variation in annual deficits indicates that a single tax rate increase for all years starting in 2017 sufficient to achieve actuarial balance would result in sizable annual surpluses early in the period followed by increasing deficits in later years. Sustainable solvency would require payroll tax rate increases or benefit reductions (or a combination thereof) by the end of the period that are substantially larger than those needed on average for this report’s long-range period (2017-91).

In 2016, the HI cost rate exceeded the income rate by 0.03 percent of taxable payroll. The Trustees project that the continued recovery from the 2007-09 recession and recently enacted legislation, including the ACA, will produce small surpluses in 2017 through 2020. Deficits subsequently grow rapidly with the aging of the baby boom population through about 2045, when the annual deficit reaches a peak of 0.93 percent of taxable payroll. Annual deficits then decline gradually to 0.60 percent of taxable payroll by 2091.

The financial outlooks for both OASDI and HI depend on a number of demographic and economic assumptions. Nevertheless, the actuarial deficit in each of these programs is large enough that averting trust fund depletion under current-law financing is extremely unlikely. An analysis that allows plausible random variations around the intermediate assumptions employed in the report indicates that OASDI trust fund depletion is highly probable by mid-century.

How Has the Financial Outlook for Social Security and Medicare Changed Since Last Year? Under the intermediate assumptions, the combined OASDI trust funds have a projected 75-year actuarial deficit equal to 2.83 percent of taxable payroll, 0.17 percentage point larger than last year’s estimate. The projected depletion date for the combined asset reserves remains 2034. Advancing the valuation date by one year to include 2091, a year with a large negative balance, alone accounts for a 0.05 percentage point increase in the deficit. Changes in assumptions and projection methods account for the remaining 0.12 percentage point increase.

Medicare’s HI Trust Fund has a long-range actuarial deficit equal to 0.64 percent of taxable payroll under the intermediate assumptions, 0.09 percentage point smaller than reported last year. This change was primarily due to lower spending in 2016 than anticipated in last year’s report and lower projected utilization of inpatient hospital services than previously estimated. The anticipated date of depletion of the HI Trust Fund is now 2029, a year later than stated in last year’s report.

How Are Social Security and Medicare Financed? For OASDI and HI, the major source of financing is payroll taxes on earnings paid by employees and their employers. Self-employed workers pay the equivalent of the combined employer and employee tax rates. During 2016, an estimated 170.8 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes; for Medicare the corresponding figure was 174.8 million. Current law establishes payroll tax rates for OASDI, which apply to earnings up to an annual maximum ($127,200 in 2017) that ordinarily increases with the growth in the nationwide average wage. In contrast to OASDI, covered workers pay HI taxes on total earnings. The scheduled payroll tax rates (in percent) for 2017 are:

Table 6: 2017 PAYROLL TAX RATES
([In percents])
OASI DI OASDI HI Total
Employees 5.015 1.185 6.20 1.45 7.65
Employers 5.015 1.185 6.20 1.45 7.65
Combined total 10.030 2.370 12.40 2.90 15.30

Self-employed persons pay the combined rates. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 reallocated OASDI payroll tax rates on a temporary basis. For earnings in calendar years 2016-18, 0.57 percentage point of the 12.40 percent OASDI payroll tax rate is shifted from OASI to DI. The Affordable Care Act applies an additional HI tax equal to 0.9 percent of earnings over $200,000 for individual tax return filers, and on earnings over $250,000 for joint return filers.

Taxation of Social Security benefits is another source of income for the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. Beneficiaries with incomes above $25,000 for individuals (or $32,000 for married couples filing jointly) pay income taxes on up to 50 percent of their benefits, with the revenues going to the OASDI trust funds. This income from taxation of benefits made up about 3 percent of Social Security’s income in 2016. Those with incomes above $34,000 (or $44,000 for married couples filing jointly) pay income taxes on up to 85 percent of benefits, with the additional revenues going to the Medicare trust fund. This income from taxation of benefits made up about 8 percent of HI Trust Fund income in 2016.

The trust funds also receive income from interest on their accumulated reserves, which are invested in U.S. Government securities. In 2016, interest income made up 9 percent of total income to the OASDI trust funds, 3 percent for HI, and less than 1 percent for SMI.

Payments from the General Fund financed about 81 percent of SMI Part B and Part D costs in 2016, with most of the remaining costs covered by monthly premiums charged to enrollees or in the case of low-income beneficiaries, paid on their behalf by Medicaid for Part B and Medicare for Part D. Part B and Part D premium amounts are determined by methods defined in law and increase as the estimated costs of those programs rise.

In 2017, the Part B standard monthly premium is $134.00, $12.20 higher than the 2016 amount.4 There are also income-related premium surcharges for Part B beneficiaries whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds a specified threshold. In 2017 through 2019, the threshold is $85,000 for individual tax return filers and $170,000 for joint return filers. Income-related premiums range from $187.50 to $428.60 per month in 2017.

In 2017, the Part D “base monthly premium” is $35.63. Actual premium amounts charged to Part D beneficiaries depend on the specific plan they have selected and average around $35 for standard coverage. Part D enrollees with incomes exceeding the thresholds established for Part B must pay income-related monthly adjustment amounts in addition to their normal plan premium. For 2017, the adjustments range from $13.30 to $76.20 per month. Part D also receives payments from States that partially compensate for the Federal assumption of Medicaid responsibilities for prescription drug costs for individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. In 2017, State payments cover about 12 percent of Part D costs.

Who Are the Trustees? There are six Trustees, four of whom serve by virtue of their positions in the Federal Government: the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Commissioner of Social Security. The other two Trustees are public representatives appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The two Public Trustee positions are currently vacant.


1 OASDI is the designation for the two trust funds when they are considered on a hypothetical combined basis to illustrate the actuarial status of the program as whole. The OASI and DI Trust Funds are distinct legal entities which operate independently.
2 This difference is projected on a cash rather than the incurred expenditures basis applied elsewhere in the long-range projections, except where explicitly noted otherwise.
3 HI results in this section of the Summary are on a cash rather than the incurred expenditures basis.
4 Because there was a small (0.3 percent) COLA for Social Security in 2017, about 70 percent of SMI Part B enrollees have their premium increases limited to an average of about $4.00. In order to limit the premium increases for those not held harmless, the financing for 2017 was set to target a contingency reserve below the minimally acceptable level. The Trustees anticipate that for 2018 and later, financing will be adjusted to maintain an adequate contingency reserve.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLIC TRUSTEES

Because the two Public Trustee positions are currently vacant, there is no Message from the Public Trustees for inclusion in the Summary of the 2017 Annual Reports.

https://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/

List of recessions in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A crowd of several tens of men tries to enter the building through a narrow door. The men wear top hats. At the foreground, a small boy sells newspapers.

Bank run on the Seamen’s Savings Bank during the panic of 1857

There have been as many as 47 recessions in the United States dating back to the Articles of Confederation, and although economists and historians dispute certain 19th-century recessions,[1] the consensus view among economists and historians is that “The cyclical volatility of GNP and unemployment was greater before the Great Depression than it has been since the end of World War II.”[2] Cycles in the country’s agricultural production, industrial production, consumption, business investment, and the health of the banking industry contribute to these declines. U.S. recessions have increasingly affected economies on a worldwide scale, especially as countries’ economies become more intertwined.

The unofficial beginning and ending dates of recessions in the United States have been defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an American private nonprofit research organization. The NBER defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than two quarters which is 6 months, normally visible in real gross domestic product (GDP), real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales”.[3][nb 1]

In the 19th century, recessions frequently coincided with financial crises. Determining the occurrence of pre-20th-century recessions is more difficult due to the dearth of economic statistics, so scholars rely on historical accounts of economic activity, such as contemporary newspapers or business ledgers. Although the NBER does not date recessions before 1857, economists customarily extrapolate dates of U.S. recessions back to 1790 from business annals based on various contemporary descriptions. Their work is aided by historical patterns, in that recessions often follow external shocks to the economic system such as wars and variations in the weather affecting agriculture, as well as banking crises.[5]

Major modern economic statistics, such as unemployment and GDP, were not compiled on a regular and standardized basis until after World War II. The average duration of the 11 recessions between 1945 and 2001 is 10 months, compared to 18 months for recessions between 1919 and 1945, and 22 months for recessions from 1854 to 1919.[6] Because of the great changes in the economy over the centuries, it is difficult to compare the severity of modern recessions to early recessions.[7] No recession of the post-World War II era has come anywhere near the depth of the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 until 1941 and was caused by the 1929 crash of the stock market and other factors.

Early recessions and crises

Attempts have been made to date recessions in America beginning in 1790. These periods of recession were not identified until the 1920s. To construct the dates, researchers studied business annals during the period and constructed time series of the data. The earliest recessions for which there is the most certainty are those that coincide with major financial crises.[8][9]

Beginning in 1835, an index of business activity by the Cleveland Trust Company provides data for comparison between recessions. Beginning in 1854, the National Bureau of Economic Research dates recession peaks and troughs to the month. However, a standardized index does not exist for the earliest recessions.[8]

In 1791, Congress chartered the First Bank of the United States to handle the country’s financial needs. The bank had some functions of a modern central bank, although it was responsible for only 20% of the young country’s currency. In 1811 the bank’s charter lapsed, but it was replaced by the Second Bank of the United States, which lasted from 1816–36.[9]

Name Dates[nb 2] Duration Time since previous recession Characteristics
Panic of 1785 1785–1788 ~4 years The panic of 1785, which lasted until 1788, ended the business boom that followed the American Revolution. The causes of the crisis lay in the overexpansion and debts incurred after the victory at Yorktown, a postwar deflation, competition in the manufacturing sector from Britain, and lack of adequate credit and a sound currency. The downturn was exacerbated by the absence of any significant interstate trade. Other factors were the British refusal to conclude a commercial treaty, and actual and pending defaults among debtor groups. The panic among business and propertied groups led to the demand for a stronger federal government.
Copper Panic of 1789 1789–1793 ~4 years ~0 years Loss of confidence in copper coins due to debasement and counterfeiting led to commercial freeze up that halted the economy of several northern States and was not alleviated until the introduction of new paper money to restore confidence.[11] During that same time the Panic of 1792 took place. Its causes included the extension of credit and excessive speculation. The panic that was largely solved by providing banks the necessary funds to make open market purchases.[12]
Panic of 1796–97 1796–1799 ~3 years ~4 years Just as a land speculation bubble was bursting, deflation from the Bank of England (which was facing insolvency because of the cost of Great Britain’s involvement in the French Revolutionary Wars) crossed to North America and disrupted commercial and real estate markets in the United States and the Caribbean, and caused a major financial panic.[13] Prosperity continued in the south, but economic activity was stagnant in the north for three years. The young United States engaged in the Quasi-War with France.[9]
1802–1804 recession 1802–1804 ~2 years ~3 years A boom of war-time activity led to a decline after the Peace of Amiens ended the war between the United Kingdom and France. Commodity prices fell dramatically. Trade was disrupted by pirates, leading to the First Barbary War.[9]
Depression of 1807 1807–1810 ~3 years ~3 years The Embargo Act of 1807 was passed by the United States Congress under President Thomas Jefferson as tensions increased with the United Kingdom. Along with trade restrictions imposed by the British, shipping-related industries were hard hit. The Federalists fought the embargo and allowed smuggling to take place in New England. Trade volumes, commodity prices and securities prices all began to fall. Macon’s Bill Number 2 ended the embargoes in May 1810, and a recovery started.[9]
1812 recession 1812 ~6 months ~18 months The United States entered a brief recession at the beginning of 1812. The decline was brief primarily because the United States soon increased production to fight the War of 1812, which began June 18, 1812.[14]
1815–21 depression 1815–1821 ~6 years ~3 years Shortly after the war ended on March 23, 1815, the United States entered a period of financial panic as bank notes rapidly depreciated because of inflation following the war. The 1815 panic was followed by several years of mild depression, and then a major financial crisis – the Panic of 1819, which featured widespread foreclosures, bank failures, unemployment, a collapse in real estate prices, and a slump in agriculture and manufacturing.[9]
1822–1823 recession 1822–1823 ~1 year ~1 year After only a mild recovery following the lengthy 1815–21 depression, commodity prices hit a peak in March 1822 and began to fall. Many businesses failed, unemployment rose and an increase in imports worsened the trade balance.[9]
1825–1826 recession 1825–1826 ~1 year ~2 years The Panic of 1825, a stock crash following a bubble of speculative investments in Latin America led to a decline in business activity in the United States and England. The recession coincided with a major panic, the date of which may be more easily determined than general cycle changes associated with other recessions.[8]
1828–1829 recession 1828–1829 ~1 year ~2 years In 1826, England forbade the United States to trade with English colonies, and in 1827, the United States adopted a counter-prohibition. Trade declined, just as credit became tight for manufacturers in New England.[9]
1833–34 recession 1833–1834 ~1 year ~4 years The United States’ economy declined moderately in 1833–34. News accounts of the time confirm the slowdown. The subsequent expansion was driven by land speculation.[15]

Free Banking Era to the Great Depression

Perhaps a thousand men, mostly in dark suits and bowler hats, swarm outside a building. There is a 20-foot statue of a man in front of the building and the men have crowded atop the base of the statue.

A swarm gathers on Wall Street during the Panic of 1907. Compared to today, the era from 1834 to the Great Depression was characterized by relatively severe and more frequent banking panics and recessions.

In the 1830s, U.S. President Andrew Jackson fought to end the Second Bank of the United States. Following the Bank War, the Second Bank lost its charter in 1836. From 1837 to 1862, there was no national presence in banking, but still plenty of state and even local regulation, such as laws against branch banking which prevented diversification. In 1863, in response to financing pressures of the Civil War, Congress passed the National Banking Act, creating nationally chartered banks. There was neither a central bank nor deposit insurance during this era, and thus banking panics were common. Recessions often led to bank panics and financial crises, which in turn worsened the recession.

The dating of recessions during this period is controversial. Modern economic statistics, such as gross domestic product and unemployment, were not gathered during this period. Victor Zarnowitz evaluated a variety of indices to measure the severity of these recessions. From 1834 to 1929, one measure of recessions is the Cleveland Trust Company index, which measured business activity and, beginning in 1882, an index of trade and industrial activity was available, which can be used to compare recessions.[nb 3]

US recessions, Free Banking Era to the Great Depression
Name Dates[nb 4] Duration Time since previous recession Business activity [nb 3] Trade & industrial activity[nb 3] Characteristics
1836–1838 recession ~2 years ~2 years -32.8% A sharp downturn in the American economy was caused by bank failures, lack of confidence in the paper currency, tightening of English Credit, crop failures and Jacksonian policy.[16] Speculation markets were greatly affected when American banks stopped payment in specie (gold and silver coinage).[1][17] Over 600 banks failed in this period. In the South, the cotton market completely collapsed.[9] See: Panic of 1837
late 1839–late 1843 recession ~4 years ~1 year -34.3% This was one of the longest and deepest depressions of the 19th century. It was a period of pronounced deflation and massive default on debt. The Cleveland Trust Company Index showed the economy spent 68 months below its trend and only 9 months above it. The Index declined 34.3% during this depression.[18]
1845–late 1846 recession ~1 year ~2 years −5.9% This recession was mild enough that it may have only been a slowdown in the growth cycle. One theory holds that this would have been a recession, except the United States began to gear up for the Mexican–American War, which began April 25, 1846.[15]
1847–48 recession late 1847–late 1848 ~1 year ~1 year −19.7% The Cleveland Trust Company Index declined 19.7% during 1847 and 1848. It is associated with a financial crisis in Great Britain.[18][19]
1853–54 recession 1853 –Dec 1854 ~1 year ~5 years −18.4% Interest rates rose in this period, contributing to a decrease in railroad investment. Security prices fell during this period. With the exception of falling business investment there is little evidence of contraction in this period.[1]
Panic of 1857 June 1857–Dec 1858 1 year
6 months
2 years
6 months
−23.1% Failure of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company burst a European speculative bubble in United States’ railroads and caused a loss of confidence in American banks. Over 5,000 businesses failed within the first year of the Panic, and unemployment was accompanied by protest meetings in urban areas. This is the earliest recession to which the NBER assigns specific months (rather than years) for the peak and trough.[6][8][20]
1860–61 recession Oct 1860–June 1861 8 months 1 year
10 months
−14.5% There was a recession before the American Civil War, which began April 12, 1861. Zarnowitz says the data generally show a contraction occurred in this period, but it was quite mild.[18] A financial panic was narrowly averted in 1860 by the first use of clearing house certificates between banks.[9]
1865–67 recession April 1865–Dec 1867 2 years
8 months
3 years
10 months
−23.8% The American Civil War ended in April 1865, and the country entered a lengthy period of general deflation that lasted until 1896. The United States occasionally experienced periods of recession during the Reconstruction era. Production increased in the years following the Civil War, but the country still had financial difficulties.[18] The post-war period coincided with a period of some international financial instability.
1869–70 recession June 1869–Dec 1870 1 year
6 months
1 year
6 months
−9.7% A few years after the Civil War, a short recession occurred. It was unusual since it came amid a period when railroad investment was greatly accelerating, even producing the First Transcontinental Railroad. The railroads built in this period opened up the interior of the country, giving birth to the Farmers’ movement. The recession may be explained partly by ongoing financial difficulties following the war, which discouraged businesses from building up inventories.[18] Several months into the recession, there was a major financial panic.
Panic of 1873and the Long Depression Oct 1873 –
Mar 1879
5 years
5 months
2 years
10 months
−33.6% (−27.3%) [nb 3] Economic problems in Europe prompted the failure of Jay Cooke & Company, the largest bank in the United States, which burst the post-Civil War speculative bubble. The Coinage Act of 1873 also contributed by immediately depressing the price of silver, which hurt North American mining interests.[21] The deflation and wage cuts of the era led to labor turmoil, such as the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. In 1879, the United States returned to the gold standard with the Specie Payment Resumption Act. This is the longest period of economic contraction recognized by the NBER. The Long Depression is sometimes held to be the entire period from 1873–96.[22][23]
1882–85 recession Mar 1882 –
May 1885
3 years
2 months
3 years −32.8% −24.6% Like the Long Depression that preceded it, the recession of 1882–85 was more of a price depression than a production depression. From 1879 to 1882, there had been a boom in railroad construction which came to an end, resulting in a decline in both railroad construction and in related industries, particularly iron and steel.[24]A major economic event during the recession was the Panic of 1884.
1887–88 recession Mar 1887 –
April 1888
1 year
1 month
1 year
10 months
−14.6% −8.2% Investments in railroads and buildings weakened during this period. This slowdown was so mild that it is not always considered a recession. Contemporary accounts apparently indicate it was considered a slight recession.[25]
1890–91 recession July 1890 –
May 1891
10 months 1 year
5 months
−22.1% −11.7% Although shorter than the recession in 1887–88 and still modest, a slowdown in 1890–91 was somewhat more pronounced than the preceding recession. International monetary disturbances are blamed for this recession, such as the Panic of 1890 in the United Kingdom.[25]
Panic of 1893 Jan 1893 –
June 1894
1 year
5 months
1 year
8 months
−37.3% −29.7% Failure of the United States Reading Railroad and withdrawal of European investment led to a stock market and banking collapse. This Panic was also precipitated in part by a run on the gold supply. The Treasury had to issue bonds to purchase enough gold. Profits, investment and income all fell, leading to political instability, the height of the U.S. populist movement and the Free Silver movement.[26] Estimates on unemployment vary, it may have peaked anywhere from 8.2-18.4%.[27]
Panic of 1896 Dec 1895 –
June 1897
1 year
6 months
1 year
6 months
−25.2% −20.8% The period of 1893–97 is seen as a generally depressed cycle that had a short spurt of growth in the middle, following the Panic of 1893. Production shrank and deflation reigned.[25]
1899–1900 recession June 1899 –
Dec 1900
1 year
6 months
2 years −15.5% −8.8% This was a mild recession in the period of general growth beginning after 1897. Evidence for a recession in this period does not show up in some annual data series.[25]
1902–04 recession Sep 1902 –Aug 1904 1 year
11 months
1 year
9 months
−16.2% −17.1% Though not severe, this downturn lasted for nearly two years and saw a distinct decline in the national product. Industrial and commercial production both declined, albeit fairly modestly.[25] The recession came about a year after a 1901 stock crash.
Panic of 1907 May 1907 –
June 1908
1 year
1 month
2 years
9 months
−29.2% −31.0% A run on Knickerbocker Trust Company deposits on October 22, 1907, set events in motion that would lead to a severe monetary contraction. The fallout from the panic led to Congress creating the Federal Reserve System.[28]
Panic of 1910–1911 Jan 1910 –
Jan 1912
2 years 1 year
7 months
−14.7% −10.6% This was a mild but lengthy recession. The national product grew by less than 1%, and commercial activity and industrial activity declined. The period was also marked by deflation.[25]
Recession of 1913–1914 Jan 1913–Dec 1914 1 year
11 months
1 year −25.9% −19.8% Productions and real income declined during this period and were not offset until the start of World War I increased demand.[25] Incidentally, the Federal Reserve Act was signed during this recession, creating the Federal Reserve System, the culmination of a sequence of events following the Panic of 1907.[28]
Post-World War I recession Aug 1918 –
March 1919
7 months 3 years
8 months
−24.5% −14.1% Severe hyperinflation in Europe took place over production in North America. This was a brief but very sharp recession and was caused by the end of wartime production, along with an influx of labor from returning troops. This, in turn, caused high unemployment.[29]
Depression of 1920–21 Jan 1920 –
July 1921
1 year
6 months
10 months −38.1% −32.7% The 1921 recession began a mere 10 months after the post-World War I recession, as the economy continued working through the shift to a peacetime economy. The recession was short, but extremely painful. The year 1920 was the single most deflationary year in American history; production, however, did not fall as much as might be expected from the deflation. GNP may have declined between 2.5 and 7 percent, even as wholesale prices declined by 36.8%.[30] The economy had a strong recovery following the recession.[31]
1923–24 recession May 1923 –
June 1924
1 year
2 months
2 years −25.4% −22.7% From the depression of 1920–21 until the Great Depression, an era dubbed the Roaring Twenties, the economy was generally expanding. Industrial production declined in 1923–24, but on the whole this was a mild recession.[25]
1926–27 recession Oct 1926 –
Nov 1927
1 year
1 month
2 years
3 months
−12.2% −10.0% This was an unusual and mild recession, thought to be caused largely because Henry Ford closed production in his factories for six months to switch from production of the Model T to the Model ACharles P. Kindleberger says the period from 1925 to the start of the Great Depression is best thought of as a boom, and this minor recession just proof that the boom “was not general, uninterrupted or extensive”.[32]

Great Depression onward

A haggard middle-aged woman in looks plaintively into the distance. Two children bury their faces into her shoulders. The woman and children are both dressed in shabby, drab clothing.

A destitute pea picker in California in 1936. Following the severe Great Depression, the post-World War IIeconomy has seen long expansions and, for the most part, less severe recessions than in earlier American history.

Following the end of World War II and the large adjustment as the economy adjusted from wartime to peacetime in 1945, the collection of many economic indicators, such as unemployment and GDP, became standardized. Recessions after World War II may be compared to each other much more easily than previous recessions because of these available data. The listed dates and durations are from the official chronology of the National Bureau of Economic Research.[6]GDP data are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, unemployment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (after 1948). Note that the unemployment rate often reaches a peak associated with a recession after the recession has officially ended.[33]

A graph of annualized GDP change from 1923 to 2009.

Annualized GDP change from 1923 to 2009. Data are annual from 1923 to 1946 and quarterly from 1947 to the second quarter of 2009.

No recession of the post-World War II era has come anywhere near the depth of the Great Depression. In the Great Depression, GDP fell by 27% (the deepest after demobilization is the recession beginning in December 2007, during which GDP has fallen 5.1% as of the second quarter of 2009) and unemployment rate reached 10% (the highest since was the 10.8% rate reached during the 1981–82 recession).[34]

The National Bureau of Economic Research dates recessions on a monthly basis back to 1854; according to their chronology, from 1854 to 1919, there were 16 cycles. The average recession lasted 22 months, and the average expansion 27. From 1919 to 1945, there were six cycles; recessions lasted an average 18 months and expansions for 35. From 1945 to 2001, and 10 cycles, recessions lasted an average 10 months and expansions an average of 57 months.[6] This has prompted some economists to declare that the business cycle has become less severe.[35] Factors that may have contributed to this moderation include the creation of a central bank and lender of last resort, like the Federal Reserve System in 1913, the establishment of deposit insurance in the form of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933, increased regulation of the banking sector, the adoption of interventionist Keynesian economics, and the increase in automatic stabilizers in the form of government programs (unemployment insurance, social security, and later Medicare and Medicaid). See Post-World War II economic expansion for further discussion.

Name Dates Duration (months) Time since previous recession (months) Peak unemploy­ment GDP decline (peak to trough) Characteristics
Great Depression Aug 1929 – Mar 1933 3 years
7 months
1 year
9 months
21.3%(1932)[36]– 24.9%(1933)[37] −26.7% A banking panic and a collapse in the money supply took place in the United States that was exacerbated by international commitment to the gold standard.[38][39][40] Extensive new tariffs and other factors contributed to an extremely deep depression.[41] GDP, industrial production, employment, and prices fell substantially. The economy began to recover in the mid 30’s with gold inflow expanding the money supply and improving expectations but double dipped during the Recession of 1937-38. The ultimate recovery has been credited to monetary policy and monetary expansion.[42]
Recession of 1937–1938 May 1937–June 1938 1 year
1 month
4 years
2 months
17.8%[36]–19.0%(1938)[43] −18.2% The Recession of 1937 is only considered minor when compared to the Great Depression, but is otherwise among the worst