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The Pronk Pops Show 1374: December 13, 2019, Part 2 of 2: Story 1: Real Abuse of Power — 17 Major Errors, Mistakes and Omissions — Mislead The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court —  Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Revealed — Big Lie Media Lied to American People and Still Lying —  Videos — Story 2: House Judiciary Committee Passes Two Articles of Impeachment Against President Trump — Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress in Partisan 23 Democrats Vote Yes and 17 Republican Vote No — No Crime — No Evidence — No Sense — Not Guilty Videos –Story 3: House Minority Leader McCarthy on Impeachment — Videos

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Story 1: Real Abuse of Power — 17 Major Errors, Mistakes and Omissions — Mislead The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court —  Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Revealed — Big Lie Media Lied to American People and Still Lying —  Videos

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FISA ISSUES: IG Michael Horowitz Outlines BIAS Against President Trump

Lindsey Graham rips FBI over Russia probe: full video

FBI EXPOSED: Lindsey Graham DETAILS Massive FBI Bias Against President Trump

Full Interview: Barr Criticizes Inspector General Report On The Russia Investigation | NBC News

Cruz on spying: This wasn’t Jason Bourne, this was ‘Beavis and Butt-head

The Five’ breaks down IG report hearing’s biggest bombshells

Graham sends warning to FBI officials responsible for FISA abuse

Tucker: Media silent on the lies they spread

IG report hearing part 1: Lindsey Graham’s opening statement

IG report hearing part 2: Dianne Feinstein’s opening statement

IG report hearing part 3: Michael Horowitz’s opening statement

IG report hearing part 4: Lindsey Graham questions Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 5: Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy question Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 6: Chuck Grassley, Patrick Leahy question Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 7: Senators question Michael Horowitz

IG report hearing part 8: Senators continue to question Michael Horowitz

PART 1: Inspector General FISA Investigation President Trump – Senate Hearing

PART 2: Inspector General FISA Investigation President Trump – Senate Hearing

Justice Department Inspector General Horowitz Testifies to Senate | NowThis

3 of the spies Obama used to set up Trump! 

Obama’s CIA chief and FBI director used spies (Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, Stefan Halper) in an attempt to infiltrate Trump’s campaign through Papadopoulos and others to help set up the Russian collusion probe. Why wasn’t any of this mentioned in the Mueller Report?

Spy vs. Spy: Operation Boomerang has begun! 🕵 Pt 2 of 2 (5/3/2019)

Key source in Russia probe has Clinton connection

Australian diplomat that prompted Russia probe linked to Clintons

Mark Humphries reveals the Alexander Downer plot to bring down Donald Trump | 7.30

Alexander Downer has put Australia in a diabolical position’

IG’s Report Reveals 4 Spurious Allegations as Basis for FBI Spying on Trump Campaign Aide

Dec 12th, 2019

Commentary By

Hans A. von Spakovsky@HvonSpakovsky

Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow

John Malcolm@malcolm_john

Vice President, Institute for Constitutional Government

Charles “Cully” Stimson@cullystimson

Senior Legal Fellow & Manager, National Security Law Program

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Horowitz’s report exposes 17 flagrant errors, omissions, and misstatements in the four FISA applications related to Page, any one of which is inexcusable.

The fact that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was apparently misused to target a presidential campaign is shocking.

It seems reasonable to conclude that this unprecedented FBI intelligence operation against a presidential campaign should never have been opened in the first place.

A shocking report by the Justice Department’s inspector general lays bare the FBI’s “serious performance failures” in conducting a counterintelligence operation in 2016 against the Trump campaign.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 434-page report details numerous mistakes, errors, and omissions by FBI personnel in four applications for special warrants to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Horowitz released his long-awaited report Monday on the FBI’s four applications for the FISA warrants to conduct electronic eavesdropping on Page as part of the bureau’s investigation into potential collusion between the Russian government and members of the Trump campaign.

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Horowitz’s report says he did not find any “documentary or testimonial evidence” that political bias influenced the FBI’s decision to seek authority to surveil Page in Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the code name the FBI gave to the investigation.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court considers applications by the U.S. government for approval of electronic surveillance, physical search, and other forms of investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes. The court’s proceedings are secret, and the federal judges that sit on the court are appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is such a powerful tool and given the potential for abuse, FBI policy mandates that case agents ensure that all factual statements in an application for a FISA warrant be “scrupulously accurate”—an understandably high bar.

Yet Horowitz’s report exposes 17 flagrant errors, omissions, and misstatements in the four FISA applications related to Page, any one of which is inexcusable.

In fact, those mistakes, errors, and omissions were so serious that we have serious doubts as to whether any of the four FISA court judges would have approved any of the warrant applications in the first place, had they been provided the full and complete information in the hands of the FBI.

Flashback to Russia’s Meddling in 2016 Campaign

Before getting into the devastating findings of the IG report, it is important to step back and think about what was happening in 2016.

According to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systemic fashion.”  By mid-2016, the Russian operations began to surface.

That June, the Democratic National Committee announced that Russian hackers had compromised the party’s computer network. Releases of hacked materials via WikiLeaks began that same month. WikiLeaks released additional materials in July, October, and November.

In July 2016, an official with a foreign government, reported to be Alexander Downer, the Australian high commissioner to the United Kingdom at the time, contacted the FBI about a conversation he had at a bar two months beforehand with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Downer claimed that Papadopoulos “suggested” that the Trump campaign had received “some kind of suggestions” from the Russian government that it could assist the Trump campaign by releasing damaging information against rival Hillary Clinton. Pretty vague stuff.

So in 2016, our government and our FBI knew that Russia was trying to interfere with our presidential election, and that, quite possibly, the Russians were in contact with a member of the Trump campaign. Rather than providing a defensive briefing to high-level members of the Trump campaign about this innuendo of an innuendo, the FBI opted to initiate a full-blown investigation of members of the campaign whom it thought might be implicated, including Page, who has said he never met Donald Trump.

Embarking down the path of investigating the campaign of a major party’s candidate for president is, of course, a momentous and potentially perilous undertaking. If there were ever a time for the FBI director, and senior members of his inner circle, to take personal ownership of a case and abide by and exceed the “scrupulously accurate” standard for FISA applications, that was the time.

But that didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite happened, as Horowitz makes clear in his report. This was a monumental failure by then-FBI Director James Comey and his subordinates.

The 4 Disputed ‘Facts’ in the Steele ‘Dossier’ Targeting Trump

At the center of the four FISA applications targeting Page was opposition research work done by Christopher Steele—a former British intelligence officer who had previously provided information to the FBI—at the behest of Fusion GPS, a research and intelligence company that was acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

The so-called Steele dossier was actually a series of reports provided directly to the FBI by Steele beginning in September 2016. After the FBI officially terminated Steele as an approved “confidential source,” the reports were provided through Bruce Ohr, a high-ranking Justice Department official, whose wife worked for Fusion GPS. Ohr continued to meet with Steele and pass along information from him to the FBI, in violation of departmental policy.

The information that Steele provided clearly implicated the Trump campaign in illegal activity with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 election. But was it accurate? According to the inspector general, the Steele dossier played a “central and essential role in the FBI’s and [Justice] Department’s decision to seek the FISA order.”  And it’s easy to see how.

Although the FBI considered filing an application after receiving the information from Downer in July, FBI attorneys declined to do so because they did not believe that the requisite “probable cause” existed to justify issuing a FISA warrant. According to FBI officials, the information they received from Steele in September “pushed [the FISA proposal] over the line,” and they applied for the warrant.

Critical to the application was the explosive allegation that Page was coordinating with the Russian government on 2016 presidential election activities, and was, therefore, acting as a foreign agent. For this, the FBI “relied entirely” on four “facts” that Steele had reported:

1. The Russians had been compiling information about Hillary Clinton for years and had been feeding that information to the Trump campaign for an extended period of time.

2. During a trip to Moscow in July 2016, Page met with the head of a Russian energy conglomerate (Igor Sechin) and a highly placed Russian official (Igor Divyekin) to discuss sharing derogatory information about Clinton with the Trump campaign in exchange for future cooperation and the lifting of Ukraine-related U.S. sanctions against Russia.

3. Page was an intermediary between Russia and Paul Manafort, chairman of the Trump campaign from June to August 2016, as part of a “well-developed conspiracy” of cooperation that led to Russia disclosing hacked Democratic National Committee emails via WikiLeaks and to the campaign’s decision to “sideline” Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.

4. Russia’s release of the DNC emails was designed to help the Trump campaign and was “an objective conceived and promoted by Page.”

As it is, the FBI had in its possession, or would shortly obtain, information undercutting all four of these allegations, which the FBI never brought to the attention of the FISA court in its original application against Page or in any of the three applications to renew surveillance.

IG Identifies 7 ‘Significant Inaccuracies and Omissions’ by FBI

Horowitz’s report says he found seven “significant inaccuracies and omissions”—glaring errors, really—in the first FISA application to surveil Page.

First, the FBI failed to inform the FISA court that it had been notified by another government agency (presumably within the intelligence community) that Page had provided information to that agency (and to the FBI) about some of his contacts with Russian intelligence agents and had been approved to have “operational contact” with those Russian agents.

In other words, the very contacts that the FBI cited in the FISA application to establish that Page was really a clandestine foreign agent were known to and had been approved by another U.S. intelligence agency.  The IG report also states that an FBI lawyer—reported to be Kevin Clinesmith—subsequently altered a document he received from the other agency to indicate, falsely, that Page was not a source for that other agency.

Second, to bolster Steele’s credibility, the application stated that his prior reporting had been “corroborated and used in criminal proceedings.” But in fact, most of that information had not been corroborated, and none of it had  been used in a criminal proceeding.

Third, while Steele informed the FBI that the critical information he was reporting about Page came from a “sub-source,” the FISA application left out the fact that Steele described this source as a “boaster” and an “egoist” who “may engage in some embellishment.”

Fourth, to bolster Steele’s credibility, the FISA application stated that some of the information that Steele reported had appeared in an article in Yahoo News, and that Steele was not the source for that story. This implied that somebody else had the same information Steele had and could serve as independent corroboration. However, it turns out that Steele was the source for that story, and that the FBI either knew it or easily could have learned it.

Fifth, the FISA application included the information that the FBI had received from Downer about his conversation with Papadopoulos. But it did not include the fact that during a subsequent secretly recorded conversation in September with an FBI confidential source, Papadopoulos explicitly denied that anyone associated with the Trump campaign was collaborating with the Russians or any other outside group, including WikiLeaks, with respect to the disclosed DNC emails.

Sixth, although the FBI included the four allegations above, it did not include the fact that during a later secretly recorded conversation in August with an FBI confidential source, Page said that he never had met or spoken to Manafort and that Manafort had not responded to any of his emails.

And seventh, in another secretly recorded conversation with an FBI source in October, Page denied meeting the Russians Sechin and Divyekin, and denied even knowing who Divyekin was.

10 More Errors in FBI Applications to Spy on Carter Page 

The IG report also concludes that after the FISA court approved the first warrant application, the FBI learned more information—some of it from secretly recorded conversations by its own confidential informants—that cast serious doubt on the facts contained in that application.

Yet the FBI didn’t bring this information to the attention of the FISA court, and the errors were repeated in the three renewal applications to continue surveilling Page.

The 10 additional errors—17 in all—included these facts:

The FBI eventually interviewed Steele’s sub-source, who undercut many factual statements that Steele had attributed to him.

—The FBI spoke to some individuals who had professional dealings with Steele who said he demonstrated “poor judgment” and “pursued people with political risk but no intelligence value.”

—The individual (Joseph Mifsud) who allegedly told Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton denied having said that or having suggested that the Trump campaign received an offer of assistance from the Russians.

—Bruce Ohr, the high-ranking Justice Department official, had specifically informed the FBI that Steele’s information was being provided to the Clinton campaign, and that Steele was “desperate and passionate about [Trump] not being the U.S. President.”

Horowitz concluded that all of these “factual misstatements and omissions [when] taken together resulted in FISA applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.”  

‘Basic Errors’ Raise Questions About FBI Chain of Command

Thus, it seems reasonable to conclude that this unprecedented FBI intelligence operation against a presidential campaign should never have been opened in the first place.

The IG report paints a damning picture of everyone involved in this case, from the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team to Comey, and everyone in between. The report notes:

That so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations that was briefed to the highest levels within the FBI … raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command’s management and supervision of the FISA process.

Later, the report soberly concludes: “ … this was a failure of not only the operational team, but also of the managers and supervisors, including senior officials, in the chain of command.”

Those trying to minimize the shocking findings in this report have focused on the IG’s statement that he could not “find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct,” or that “political bias or improper motivation” influenced the decision to open the investigation. But the IG also said he “did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or problems” that he identified in the FBI’s work.

Moreover, this may not be the last word on the subject. Horowitz candidly admits in the report that “[b]ecause the activities of other agencies were not within the scope of this review, we did not seek to obtain records from them that the FBI never received or reviewed, except for a limited amount of State Department records relating to Steele.”  

The IG says his office “did not seek to assess the actions taken by or information available to U.S. government agencies outside the Department of Justice, as those agencies are outside our jurisdiction.”

Attorney General Finds ‘Clear Abuse of the FISA Process’

Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been tasked by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a criminal investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe, is not similarly constrained.

Following release of the IG report Monday, Durham stated:

[O]ur investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.

Barr also weighed in on the IG’s findings. In a press release Monday, Barr said the IG report “makes clear the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.” In fact, from the very beginning, Barr added, “the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.”

In the strongest condemnation of the FBI in recent memory by an attorney general, Barr said that in their “rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance” of individuals involved in the Trump campaign, “FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source.”  

What happened, Barr said, “reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.”

As the attorney general said, “FISA is an essential tool for the protection of the safety of the American people.” It is a tool we need for national security purposes to protect us from foreign espionage.

The fact that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was apparently misused to target a presidential campaign is shocking, and Barr promises that he will take “whatever steps are necessary to rectify the abuses that occurred and to ensure the integrity of the FISA process going forward.”

At the very least, Horowitz has uncovered a massive failure of leadership at all levels of the FBI with respect to one of the most important investigations in the agency’s history. Whether there is more to this story will depend, in part, on what Durham uncovers.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal

https://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/commentary/igs-report-reveals-4-spurious-allegations-basis-fbi-spying-trump

Lindsey Graham unloads on James Comey’s FBI accusing it of a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’ for using Christopher Steele’s discredited dossier to get eavesdropping warrant during Trump-Russia probe

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham opened Judiciary hearing by tearing into the Dossier’s unproven claims
  • He says John McCain showed him the dossier after it was handed to him in 2016
  • Says he said ‘Oh my God’ and concluded either Russians have something on Trump or could be ‘disinformation’
  • Blasted FBI leadership and read through anti-Trump texts of FBI lovers
  • Said FBI director Wray: ‘You got a problem’  
  • ‘It is stunning it is damning it is salacious, and it’s a bunch of crap’
  • Sen. John Kennedy on IG report revelations: ‘It made me want to heave’

Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham opened a high-stakes hearing with the Justice Department’s inspector general by blasting ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s ‘golden showers’ dossier and the FBI for using it.

Graham said when he first saw the dossier during the 2016 campaign, it initially confronted him with the possibility Russians ‘have something’ on Donald Trump. Otherwise, he said, there could have been a Russian ‘disinformation campaign’ going on.

The South Carolinian Republican also revealed that the late Sen. John McCain, who obtained the dossier during the campaign after attending a security conference in Canada, shared it with him. Graham ran for president in 2016 as one of a bevy of Republicans.

He accused the FBI of a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’ for its handling of the FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page, a one-time Trump campaign staffer.

‘What has been described as a few irregularities becomes a massive criminal conspiracy over time to defraud the FISA court, to illegally surveil an American citizen and keep an operation open against a sitting president of the United States — violating every norm known to the rule of law,’ he said.

He said the code name for the FBI investigation, ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ was an apt title ‘because that’s what we ended up with – a “Crossfire Hurricane.”‘

‘What happened here is the system failed. People in the highest levels of government took the law into their own hands,’ said Graham, a close Trump ally.

Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted what he called the 'golden showers' dossier, and called it a bunch of 'crap'

Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted what he called the ‘golden showers’ dossier, and called it a bunch of ‘crap’

He said McCain learned about the dossier while attending a December 2016 conference.

‘John McCain puts it in his safe, he gives it to me and I read it,’ Graham said in an angry speech before IG Michael Horowitz, who testified on his report Wednesday.

‘And the first thing I thought of was, ‘Oh my god,’ said Graham. ‘This could be Russia disinformation and they may have something on Trump.’

Graham, who has become one of Trump’s closest GOP allies in the Senate, used the term ‘golden showers’ to reference an unproven allegation from Steele’s dossier, which cited ‘perverted’ conduct inside a Moscow hotel room during the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) holds up the Steel dossier as Michael Horowitz, inspector general for the Justice Department, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee

U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing "Examining the Inspector General's report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2019

U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing ‘Examining the Inspector General’s report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)’ on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2019

Graham also tore into Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who wrote what became the dossier

Donald Trump and Olivia Culpo attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. The IG found additional information that undermined Steele's sub-source who informed him about the unproven allegations against Trump

Donald Trump and Olivia Culpo attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. The IG found additional information that undermined Steele’s sub-source who informed him about the unproven allegations against Trump

The DOJ's Inspector General included the information in his report

The DOJ’s Inspector General included the information in his report

President Donald Trump tweeted out a smiling photo of himself with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday

Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady and Donald Trump (C), co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, look on as Aras Agalarov, father of Russian singer Emin Agalarov, speaks during a news conference after the 2013 Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013

Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady and Donald Trump (C), co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, look on as Aras Agalarov, father of Russian singer Emin Agalarov, speaks during a news conference after the 2013 Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013

Graham fumed: ‘It is stunning, it is damning, it is salacious, and it’s a bunch of crap.’

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

‘This is not normal. Don’t judge the FBI and the Department of Justice by these characters,’ Graham said, referencing FBI officials involved in the ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ probe who have come under scrutiny.

Graham spent a long stretch of his opening remarks tearing into the ‘FBI lovers’ Peter Strzrok and Lisa Page. He read through their anti-Trump texts, while the witness listened and C-span cameras rolled.

He blasted the decision to probe members of Trump’s foreign policy team who had had Russia contacts, even before Horowitz testified the probe was started ‘in compliance with Department and FBI policies’ and that he didn’t uncover evidence ‘that political bias or improper motivation’ influenced the decision.

‘This national security team was literally picked up off the street,’ Graham thundered.

He wanted to know why Trump didn’t get informed about the use of investigative techniques against his campaign. ‘Why didn’t they tell Trump? We’ll figure that out later. But I think it’s a question that needs to be asked,’ Graham said.

In addition to testifying that that probe was properly predicated under FBI procedures, Horowitz testified that the Russia probe team obtained information from Steele’s primary sub-source in January 2017 ‘that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used in the Carter Page’ surveillance warrant.

Graham accused James Comey's FBI of a 'vast criminal conspiracy'

Graham accused James Comey’s FBI of a ‘vast criminal conspiracy’

Horowitz’s testimony came during a political charged hearing, with lawmakers spit upon party lines on the same day the House Judiciary committee was taking up articles of impeachment against President Trump accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

‘I think the activities we found don´t vindicate anybody,’ said Horowitz.

Horowitz defended the need to keep whistle-blowers anonymous under questioning by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

‘Whistle-blowers have a right to expect complete full confidentiality in all circumstances … and it’s a very important provision’, Horowitz said. He said it was a legal obligation set in statute.

Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana used his usual home-spun language to express astonishment about what was uncovered about FBI conduct.

‘After about 15 per cent of the way through, it made me want to heave. After about 20 percent of the way through I thought I’d dropped acid. It’s surreal,’ he said.

Graham issued his pronouncements even while acknowledging the reality of Russian interference to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

‘We know the Russians were screwing around with the Democrats, right?’ Graham said.

Democrats tried to get Horowitz to defend his 480-page probe from criticism by Attorney General Bill Barr, who blasted its conclusions in TV interviews but failed to take the traditional route of attaching written objections.

Horowitz tried not to play along. Asked about Barr’s trips abroad to assist a separate probe by prosecutor John Durham, he said: ‘I think you’d have to ask the attorney general about those meetings.’

 Federal prosecutor John Durham told Horowitz his view that the FBI should have opened a limited probe than the one it did open. Horowitz told lawmakers. he didn’t agree.

‘None of the discussions changed our findings,’ he said.

Republicans bashed the FBI for having a Crossfire Hurricane agent participate in a security briefing provided to the Trump campaign – then file notes on what participants including Mike Flynn said. Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor, later pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.

Sen. John Cornyn brought up Comey’s post-election briefing of Trump about the dossier in Trump tower, and asked if he told the president ‘anything he said can be used against him.’

Sen. Sheldon White House (D-R.I.) addressed one reason why the FBI resisted telling Trump officials. He said investigators ‘did not then now how far Russian penetration into the Trump campaign went.’

‘It raises significant policy questions,’ Horowitz said.

‘We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams, on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations, after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI,’ Horowitz said.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz slams ‘failure’ by FBI leaders who used Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier and tells Senate of ‘basic and fundamental errors’ in Russia probe

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog told Congress on Wednesday that he is concerned that ‘so many basic and fundamental errors’ were made by the FBI as it investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Michael Horowitz’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee comes two days after the release of a report that identified significant problems with applications to receive and renew warrants to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide in 2016 and 2017.

Despite those problems, the report also found that the FBI’s actions were not motivated by partisan bias and that the investigation was opened for a proper cause.

Horowitz will tell senators that the FBI failed to follow its own standards for accuracy and completeness when it sought a warrant to monitor the communications of ex-campaign aide Carter Page.

Scathing: Michael Horowitz, the Judiciary Inspector General, outlined a series of criticisms of the FBI as he gave evidence on his report into the Trump-Russia probe, which was codenamed Crossfire Hurricane

Scathing: Michael Horowitz, the Judiciary Inspector General, outlined a series of criticisms of the FBI as he gave evidence on his report into the Trump-Russia probe, which was codenamed Crossfire Hurricane

Team: Michael Horowitz was flanked by investigators from the 18-month probe, which resulted in Monday's report, which ran to more than 400 pages

Team: Michael Horowitz was flanked by investigators from the 18-month probe, which resulted in Monday’s report, which ran to more than 400 pages
Concern: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham brandishes the Steele dossier, which Horowitz said FBI leaders relied on despite knowing about concerns over it

Concern: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham brandishes the Steele dossier, which Horowitz said FBI leaders relied on despite knowing about concerns over it

Horowitz’s statement largely echoed his scathing Monday report on the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe.

He told the committee that the FBI relied on Christopher Steele’s dossier to get a FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page, a one-time Donald Trump campaign aide.

But when it found out that the dossier was flawed and were advised of some of the flaws by a Department of Justice attorney, it did not tell the FISA court which issued the warrant.

‘We found that members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were ”scrupulously accurate,” he said.

There were four applications for a warrant on Page.

But Horowitz said: ‘We identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications: 7 in the first FISA application and a total of 17 by the final renewal application.

‘For example, the Crossfire Hurricane team obtained information from Steele’s Primary Sub-source in January 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used in the Carter Page FISA applications.

‘This was particularly noteworthy because the FISA applications relied entirely on information from the Steele reporting to support the allegation that Page was coordinating with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities.

‘However, members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to share the information about the Primary Sub-source’s information with the Department, and it was therefore omitted from the three renewal applications.’

Horowitz did not name any FBI leaders in his statement to senators, but had already outlined in his report that James Comey, the FBI director, Andrew McCabe, his deputy, and other senior FBI leaders were involved in supervising the Crossfire Hurricane probe

Key figures: James Comey's FBI opened the probe into one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant which relied on the Steele dossier

Key figures: James Comey's FBI opened the probe into one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant which relied on the Steele dossier

Key figures: James Comey’s FBI opened the probe into one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI obtained a FISA warrant which relied on the Steele dossier

‘FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order targeting Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by a Department attorney that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign,’ he said.

Horowitz also raised questions over the FBI’s policies on FISA use generally.

 ‘We also identified what we believe is an absence of sufficient policies to ensure appropriate Department oversight of significant investigative decisions that could affect constitutionally protected activity,’ Horowitz said, according to his prepared remarks as released by the committee before the hearing.

The report has produced sharp partisan divisions. Democrats seized on the finding that the probe was not tainted by political motivations. But Republicans say the findings show the investigation was fatally flawed. Attorney General William Barr, a vocal defender of President Donald Trump, said the FBI investigation was based on a ‘bogus narrative.’

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the committee and another ally of Trump, echoed that sentiment in his opening statement. He said the code name for the FBI investigation, ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ was an apt title ‘because that’s what we ended up with – a `Crossfire Hurricane.”

‘What happened here is the system failed. People in the highest levels of government took the law into their own hands,’ Graham said.

MICHAEL HOROWITZ’S FULL SENATE STATEMENT ON HIS TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE 

Mr. Chairman, Senator Feinstein, and Members of the Committee

Thank you for inviting me to testify at today’s hearing to examine the report that my office issued yesterday entitled, ‘Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation.’ 

In July 2016, three weeks after then FBI Director James Comey announced the conclusion of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) ‘Midyear Exam’ investigation into presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s handling of government emails during her tenure as Secretary of State, the FBI received reporting from a Friendly Foreign Government (FFG) that, in a May 2016 meeting with the FFG, Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos ‘suggested the Trump team had received some kind of a suggestion’ from Russia that it could assist in the election process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to candidate Clinton and President Obama. 

Days later, on July 31, the FBI initiated the Crossfire Hurricane investigation that is the subject of our report. 

As we noted last year in our review of the Midyear investigation, the FBI has developed and earned a reputation as one of the world’s premier law enforcement agencies in significant part because of its tradition of professionalism, impartiality, non-political enforcement of the law, and adherence to detailed policies, practices, and norms. 

It was precisely these qualities that were required as the FBI initiated and conducted Crossfire Hurricane. 

However, as we describe in this report, our review identified significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised, particularly the FBI’s failure to adhere to its own standards of accuracy and completeness when filing applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority to surveil Carter Page, a U.S. person who was connected to the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign. 

We also identified what we believe is an absence of sufficient policies to ensure appropriate Department oversight of significant investigative decisions that could affect constitutionally protected activity. 

In my statement today, I highlight some of the most significant findings in our report. 

A more detailed overview of our findings can be found in the report’s Executive Summary. 

Our findings are the product of a comprehensive review that examined more than one million documents in the Department’s and FBI’s possession, including documents that other U.S. and foreign government agencies provided the FBI during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. 

Our team conducted over 170 interviews involving more than 100 witnesses, and we documented all of our findings in a 417-page report. 

I want to commend the work of our review team for conducting rigorous and effective oversight, and for producing a report and recommendations that we believe will improve the FBI’s ability to most effectively utilize the national security authorities analyzed in this review, while also striving to safeguard the civil liberties and privacy of impacted U.S. persons. 

The Opening of Crossfire Hurricane and the Use of Confidential Human Sources Following receipt of the FFG information, a decision was made by the FBI’s then Counterintelligence Division (CD) Assistant Director (AD), E.W. ‘Bill’ Priestap, to open Crossfire Hurricane and reflected a consensus reached after multiple days of discussions and meetings among senior FBI officials. 

We concluded that AD Priestap’s exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with Department and FBI policies, and we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced his decision. 

While the information in the FBI’s possession at the time was limited, in light of the low threshold established by Department and FBI predication policy, we found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication. 

However, we also determined that, under Department and FBI policy, the decision whether to open the Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation, which involved the activities of individuals associated with a national major party campaign for president, was a discretionary judgment call left to the FBI.

There was no requirement that Department officials be consulted, or even notified, prior to the FBI making that decision. 

We further found that, consistent with this policy, the FBI advised supervisors in the Department’s National Security Division (NSD) of the investigation after it had been initiated. 

As we detail in Chapter Two, high level Department notice and approval is required in other circumstances where investigative activity could substantially impact certain civil liberties, and that notice allows senior Department officials to consider the potential constitutional and prudential implications in advance of these activities. 

We concluded that similar advance notice should be required in circumstances such as those that were present here. 

Shortly after the FBI opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, the FBI conducted several consensually monitored meetings between FBI confidential human sources (CHS) and individuals affiliated with the Trump campaign, including a high-level campaign official who was not a subject of the investigation. 

We found that the CHS operations received the necessary approvals under FBI policy; that an Assistant Director knew about and approved of each operation, even in circumstances where a first-level supervisory special agent could have approved the operations; and that the operations were permitted under Department and FBI policy because their use was not for the sole purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment or the lawful exercise of other rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. 

We did not find any documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to conduct these operations. 

Additionally, we found no evidence that the FBI attempted to place any CHSs within the Trump campaign, recruit members of the Trump campaign as CHSs, or task CHSs to report on the Trump campaign. 

However, we are concerned that, under applicable Department and FBI policy, it would have been sufficient for a first-level FBI supervisor to authorize the sensitive domestic CHS operations undertaken in Crossfire Hurricane, and that there is no applicable Department or FBI policy requiring the FBI to notify Department officials of a decision to task CHSs to consensually monitor conversations with members of a presidential campaign. 

Specifically, in Crossfire Hurricane, where one of the CHS operations involved consensually monitoring a high-level official on the Trump campaign who was not a subject of the investigation, and all of the operations had the potential to gather sensitive information of the campaign about protected First Amendment activity, we found no evidence that the FBI consulted with any Department officials before conducting the CHS operations—and no policy requiring the FBI to do so.

We therefore believe that current Department and FBI policies are not sufficient to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability when such operations potentially implicate sensitive, constitutionally protected activity, and that requiring Department consultation, at a minimum, would be appropriate. 

The FISA Applications to Conduct Surveillance of Carter Page One investigative tool for which Department and FBI policy expressly require advance approval by a senior Department official is the seeking of a court order under the FISA. 

When the Crossfire Hurricane team first proposed seeking a FISA order targeting Carter Page in midAugust 2016, FBI attorneys assisting the investigation considered it a ‘close call’ whether they had developed the probable cause necessary to obtain the order, and a FISA order was not requested at that time.

However, in September 2016, immediately after the Crossfire Hurricane team received reporting from Christopher Steele concerning Page’s alleged recent activities with Russian officials, FBI attorneys advised the Department that the team was ready to move forward with a request to obtain FISA authority to surveil Page. 

FBI and Department officials told us the Steele reporting ‘pushed [the FISA proposal] over the line’ in terms of establishing probable cause, and we concluded that the Steele reporting played a central and essential role in the decision to seek a FISA order.

FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order targeting Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by a Department attorney that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign. 

The authority under FISA to conduct electronic surveillance and physical searches targeting individuals significantly assists the government’s efforts to combat terrorism, clandestine intelligence activity, and other threats to the national security. 

At the same time, the use of this authority unavoidably raises civil liberties concerns. 

FISA orders can be used to surveil U.S. persons, like Carter Page, and in some cases the surveillance will foreseeably collect information about the individual’s constitutionally protected activities, such as Page’s legitimate activities on behalf of a presidential campaign. 

Moreover, proceedings before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)—which is responsible for ruling on applications for FISA orders—are ex parte, meaning that unlike most court proceedings, the government is the only party present for the proceedings. 

In addition, unlike the use of other intrusive investigative techniques (such as wiretaps under Title III and traditional criminal search warrants) that are granted in ex parte hearings but can potentially be subject to later court challenge, FISA orders have not been subject to scrutiny through subsequent adversarial proceedings.

In light of these concerns, Congress through the FISA statute, and the Department and FBI through policies and procedures, have established important safeguards to protect the FISA application process from irregularities and abuse. 

Among the most important are the requirements in FBI policy that every FISA application must contain a ‘full and accurate’ presentation of the facts, and that agents must ensure that all factual statements in FISA applications are ‘scrupulously accurate.’ 

These are the standards for all FISA applications, regardless of the investigation’s sensitivity, and it is incumbent upon the FBI to meet them in every application. 

That said, in the context of an investigation involving persons associated with a presidential campaign, where the target of the FISA is a former campaign official and the goal of the FISA is to uncover, among other things, information about the individual’s allegedly illegal campaignrelated activities, members of the Crossfire Hurricane investigative team should have anticipated, and told us they in fact did anticipate, that these FISA applications would be subjected to especially close scrutiny. 

Nevertheless, we found that members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were ‘scrupulously accurate.’ 

We identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications: 7 in the first FISA application and a total of 17 by the final renewal application. 

For example, the Crossfire Hurricane team obtained information from Steele’s Primary Sub-source in January 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele reporting that was used in the Carter Page FISA applications. 

This was particularly noteworthy because the FISA applications relied entirely on information from the Steele reporting to support the allegation that Page was coordinating with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities. 

However, members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to share the information about the Primary Sub-source’s information with the Department, and it was therefore omitted from the three renewal applications. 

All of the applications also omitted information the FBI had obtained from another U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page, including that Page had been approved as an operational contact for the other agency from 2008 to 2013, that Page had provided information to the other agency concerning his prior contacts with certain Russian intelligence officers (one of which overlapped with facts asserted in the FISA application), and that an employee of the other agency assessed that Page had been candid.

As a result of the 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions we identified, relevant information was not shared with, and consequently not considered by, important Department decision makers and the court, and the FISA applications made it appear as though the evidence supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case. 

We also found basic, fundamental, and serious errors during the completion of the FBl’s factual accuracy reviews, known as the Woods Procedures, which are designed to ensure that FISA applications contain a full and accurate presentation of the facts. 

We do not speculate whether the correction of any particular misstatement or omission, or some combination thereof, would have resulted in a different outcome. 

Nevertheless, the Department’s decision makers and the court should have been given complete and accurate information so that they could meaningfully evaluate probable cause before authorizing the surveillance of a U.S. person associated with a presidential campaign. 

That did not occur, and as a result, the surveillance of Carter Page continued even as the FBI gathered information that weakened the assessment of probable cause and made the FISA applications less accurate. 

We determined that the inaccuracies and omissions we identified in the applications resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to Department attorneys and failing to identify important issues for discussion. 

Moreover, we concluded that case agents and Supervisory Special Agents (SSA) did not give appropriate attention to facts that cut against probable cause, and that as the investigation progressed and more information tended to undermine or weaken the assertions in the FISA applications, the agents and SSAs did not reassess the information supporting probable cause. 

Further, the agents and SSAs did not follow, or even appear to know, certain basic requirements in the Woods Procedures.

Although we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the case agents who assisted NSD’s Office of Intelligence (OI) in preparing the applications, or the agents and supervisors who performed the Woods Procedures, we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or missing information. 

We found that the offered explanations for these serious errors did not excuse them, or the repeated failures to ensure the accuracy of information presented to the FISC. 

We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny. 

We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed. 

We do not expect managers and supervisors to know every fact about an investigation, or senior leaders to know all the details of cases about which they are briefed. 

However, especially in the FBl’s most sensitive and high-priority matters, and especially when seeking court permission to use an intrusive tool such as a FISA order, it is incumbent upon the entire chain of command, including senior officials, to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the facts and circumstances supporting and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility.

Such oversight requires greater familiarity with the facts than we saw in this review, where time and again during OIG interviews FBI managers, supervisors, and senior officials displayed a lack of understanding or awareness of important information concerning many of the problems we identified. 

In the preparation of the FISA applications to surveil Carter Page, the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to comply with FBI policies, and in so doing fell short of what is rightfully expected from a premier law enforcement agency entrusted with such an intrusive surveillance tool. 

In light of the significant concerns identified with the Carter Page FISA applications and the other issues described in this report, the OIG has initiated an audit that will further examine the FBI’s compliance with the Woods Procedures in FISA applications that target U.S. persons in both counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. 

We also made the following recommendations to assist the Department and the FBI in avoiding similar failures in future investigations. 

Recommendations 

For the reasons fully described in our report, we recommend the following: 

1. The Department and the FBI should ensure that adequate procedures are in place for the Office of Intelligence (OI) to obtain all relevant and accurate information, including access to Confidential Human Source (CHS) information, needed to prepare FISA applications and renewal applications. This effort should include revising: 

a. the FISA Request Form: to ensure information is identified for OI: (i) that tends to disprove, does not support, or is inconsistent with a finding or an allegation that the target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, or 

(ii) that bears on the reliability of every CHS whose information is relied upon in the FISA application, including all information from the derogatory information sub-file, recommended below; 

b. the Woods Form: (i) to emphasize to agents and their supervisors the obligation to re-verify factual assertions repeated from prior applications and to obtain written approval from CHS handling agents of all CHS source characterization statements in applications, and

(ii) to specify what steps must be taken and documented during the legal review performed by an FBI Office of General Counsel (OGC) line attorney and SES level supervisor before submitting the FISA application package to the FBI Director for certification; 

c. the FISA Procedures: to clarify which positions may serve as the supervisory reviewer for OGC; and d. taking any other steps deemed appropriate to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information provided to OI. 

2. The Department and FBI should evaluate which types of Sensitive Investigative Matters (SIM) require advance notification to a senior Department official, such as the Deputy Attorney General, in addition to the notifications currently required for SIMs, especially for case openings that implicate core First Amendment activity and raise policy considerations or heighten enterprise risk, and establish implementing policies and guidance, as necessary. 

3. The FBI should develop protocols and guidelines for staffing and administrating any future sensitive investigative matters from FBI Headquarters. 

4. The FBI should address the problems with the administration and assessment of CHS

s identified in this report and, at a minimum, should: a. revise its standard CHS admonishment form to include a prohibition on the disclosure of the CHS’s relationship with the FBI to third parties absent the FBI’s permission, and assess the need to include other admonishments in the standard CHS admonishments; 

b. develop enhanced procedures to ensure that CHS information is documented in Delta, including information generated from Headquarters- led investigations, substantive contacts with closed CHSs (directly or through third parties), and derogatory information. We renew our recommendation that the FBI create a derogatory information sub-file in Delta; 

c. assess VMU’s practices regarding reporting source validation findings and non-findings; 

d. establish guidance for sharing sensitive information with CHSs;

e. establish guidance to handling agents for inquiring whether their CHS participates in the types of groups or activities that would bring the CHS within the definition of a ‘sensitive source,’ and ensure handling agents document (and update as needed) those affiliations and any others voluntarily provided to them by the CHS in the Source Opening Communication, the ‘Sensitive Categories’ portion of each CHS’s Quarterly Supervisory Source Report, the ‘Life Changes’ portion of CHS Contact Reports, or as otherwise directed by the FBI so that the FBI can assess whether active CHSs are engaged in activities (such as political campaigns) at a level that might require re-designation as a ‘sensitive source’ or necessitate closure of the CHS; and 

f. revise its CHS policy to address the considerations that should be taken into account and the steps that should be followed before and after accepting information from a closed CHS indirectly through a third party.

5. The Department and FBI should clarify the following terms in their policies: a. assess the definition of a ‘Sensitive Monitoring Circumstance’ in the AG Guidelines and the FBI’s DIOG to determine whether to expand its scope to include consensual monitoring of a domestic political candidate or an individual prominent within a domestic political organization, or a subset of these persons, so that consensual monitoring of such individuals would require consultation with or advance notification to a senior Department official, such as the Deputy Attorney General; and 

b. establish guidance, and include examples in the DIOG, to better define the meaning of the phrase ‘prominent in a domestic political organization’ so that agents understand which campaign officials fall within that definition as it relates to ‘Sensitive Investigative Matters,’ ‘Sensitive UDP,’ and the designation of ‘sensitive sources.’ Further, if the Department expands the scope of ‘Sensitive Monitoring Circumstance,’ as recommended above, the FBI should apply the guidance on ‘prominent in a domestic political organization’ to ‘Sensitive Monitoring Circumstance’ as well.

6. The FBI should ensure that appropriate training on DIOG § 4 is provided to emphasize the constitutional implications of certain monitoring situations and to ensure that agents account for these concerns, both in the tasking of CHSs and in the way they document interactions with and tasking of CHSs. 

7. The FBI should establish a policy regarding the use of defensive and transition briefings for investigative purposes, including the factors to be considered and approval by senior leaders at the FBI with notice to a senior Department official, such as the Deputy Attorney General. 

8. The Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility should review our findings related to the conduct of Department attorney Bruce Ohr for any action it deems appropriate. Ohr’s current supervisors in the Department’s Criminal Division should also review our findings related to Ohr’s performance for any action they deem appropriate.

9. The FBI should review the performance of all employees who had responsibility for the preparation, Woods review, or approval of the FISA applications, as well as the managers, supervisors, and senior officials in the chain of command of the Carter Page investigation, for any action deemed appropriate. 

After reviewing a draft of this report and its recommendations, FBI Director Christopher Wray accepted each of the recommendations above, and we were told ordered more than 40 corrective actions to date to address our recommendations. 

However, more work remains to be done by both the FBI and the Department. 

As I noted above, we believe that implementation of these recommendations, including those that seek individual accountability for the failures identified in our report, will improve the FBI’s ability to more carefully and effectively utilize its important national security authorities like FISA, while also striving to safeguard the civil liberties and privacy of impacted U.S. persons.

The OIG will continue to conduct independent oversight on these matters in the months and years ahead. This concludes my prepared statement, and I am pleased to answer any questions the Committee may have.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7781435/Lindsey-Graham-opens-hearing-Inspector-General-bringing-golden-showers-allegations.html

 

Andrew McCarthy: DOJ vs. IG – Barr and Horowitz’s reported rift over FISA report is bogus spin by Democrats

At Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on investigative abuses in the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation (codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane”), Democrats continued an effort begun ten days ago to hoodwink the public into believing Horowitz is in a bitter dispute with Attorney General William Barr over a key finding in the report.

The dispute allegedly stems from what is portrayed as Barr’s dissent from the IG’s conclusion that the probe was properly predicated – i.e., that there were sufficient factual grounds to open an investigation of whether the Trump campaign was complicit in the Kremlin’s cyberespionage attack on Democratic party email accounts.

In point of fact, as discussed in my Fox News Opinion column on Wednesday, the two men have less a difference of opinion than a difference in focus – the distinction between what may be done and what should be done.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: THE FBI, THE IG REPORT, AND ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR – SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION

I’m tempted to say there is no real dispute, but let’s leave it at saying the dispute is wildly overstated.

A cautionary note: People should be suspicious about media coverage of the attorney general. For decades, Bill Barr has enjoyed a well-earned reputation for legal acumen and personal integrity. But he is now working for Donald Trump.

Hence, there has for months been an energetic media-Democrat effort to discredit him – in particular, to undermine the investigation he has appointed Connecticut U.S. attorney John Durham to conduct into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe (not just Crossfire Hurricane, but the related investigations involving other domestic and foreign government agencies).

A transparent motivation fuels this effort: The Mueller probe found no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy, notwithstanding the indefatigable “collusion” narrative (explored at length in my book “Ball of Collusion“).

Now the Horowitz IG report has found major abuses in the FBI’s investigation of Trump. The question naturally arises: Why did the Obama administration use the intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus of the government to investigate its political opposition?

Democrats and their media confederates are determined to protect Obama’s legacy from Nixonian taint. Barr, therefore, must be subjected to character assassination.

The specter of political spying, that bane of the Watergate era, is manifest. That is what Barr and Durham are exploring.

Democrats and their media confederates are determined to protect Obama’s legacy from Nixonian taint. Barr, therefore, must be subjected to character assassination.

You know the drill: He is Trump’s lawyer, not America’s. His investigation is politicized, not in good faith and so on.

Yes, the same people who lionized Mueller’s team of partisan Democrats, now feign outraged disbelief at the suggestion that the FBI could possibly have been just a tad political.

That would be the same Bureau that helped whitewash the Clinton emails caper; scorched the earth to find a non-existent conspiracy against Trump; brought us the charming Strzok-Page texts; and has, in just the last two years, been the subject of not one but two voluminous IG reports examining the anti-Trump animus of top investigators.

That is why the Barr-Horowitz contretemps must be exaggerated.

Typical of IG reports, Horowitz’s latest features admirably comprehensive fact-finding but conclusions framed in lawyerly gobbledygook that lend themselves to easy distortion.

As night follows day, the anti-Trump forces pounced: We’re to believe the IG concluded that the Trump-Russia investigation’s commencement was unimpeachable and that there was no political bias in the FBI’s decision-making.

That is not what Horowitz actually said. Since it is important that the public be given accurate information about the Justice Department’s position, the AG has spoken out to clarify what the IG concluded and how DOJ regards these conclusions.

In press coverage, this has been portrayed as a blistering attack on Horowitz.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats picked up the theme: Horowitz heroically struggles to uphold the rule of law and standards of impartial fact-finding, but Barr, that diabolical Trumpkin, is determined to bring him down for refusing to brand Crossfire Hurricane a hoax.

Even as this narrative first took wing, there was a clue that it was deceptive, though you had to dig a little to find it.

On December 2, a week before the IG report became public, the Washington Post kicked off the Barr vs. Horowitz tale with a story claiming, based on anonymous sources, that the AG was disputing the IG’s “key” finding that the FBI had enough information to justify launching the probe.

Seven paragraphs in, though, there was an on-the-record statement from a named official: Kerri Kupec, Barr’s spokeswoman. Far from conveying rancor, Ms. Kupec issued a gushing tribute to Horowitz. His investigation, she said: “Is a credit to the Department of Justice. His excellent work has uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters.”

Yes, that’s right. In relating the supposedly intense infighting over the report between Barr and Horowitz, the Post was compelled to note that the only statement traceable to Barr was an enthusiastic endorsement of Horowitz’s work and an encouragement to Americans to read the report and watch the testimony.

What a scurrilous attack!

When Horowitz finally released the report on Monday, Barr himself made a statement. Relying on the IG’s work, rather than contradicting it, the AG observed that the FBI had, “launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. [Emphasis added.]

Barr did not disagree with Horowitz on the commencement of the investigation. Horowitz had found that the FBI’s written procedures provide a very low bar in terms of the suspicion that may justify the opening of an investigation.

Barr did not dispute this; he said the investigation was opened “on the thinnest of suspicions.” That is both true and, as Horowitz points out, sufficient.

More from Opinion

Barr thinks it was unwise to open so significant an investigation on such thin evidence. Horowitz is not claiming it was prudent; he is saying the regulations permitted it.

More to the point, Barr’s beef was less with the opening of the investigation than with “the steps taken” after the investigation was opened.

This, plainly, is a reference to the use of intrusive investigative techniques – in particular, confidential informants and FISA surveillance warrants.

Barr’s point is that, given the norm against permitting the incumbent government’s investigative powers to intrude on our political process, it was wrong to use such aggressive tactics given the threadbare basis for suspicion.

Horowitz is not disputing that. He is saying that it is not his place to second-guess discretionary judgment calls about investigative tactics as long as the probe is legitimately opened. And clearly, the IG report is a testament to the abuse of those tactics: the misrepresentations to the FISA court, and the fact that, although the use of informants generated exculpatory evidence, the Bureau inexplicably continued investigating a U.S. political campaign.

“Fake News” is an overused and oft-abused term. In the case of the reported Barr vs. Horowitz controversy, however, it might just be apt.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/doj-ig-barr-horowitz-fisa-democrats-andrew-mccarthy

Andrew McCarthy: The FBI, the IG Report, and Attorney General Barr – Separating fact from fiction

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1366, December 2, 2019, Story 1: The Day of Reckoning Is Approaching And Not A Word Is Spoken — Videos — Story 2: Democrats Trying To Talk and Tank The Economy Into a Recession — Big Failure — Economy Still Growing — Videos — Story 3: Federal Reserve Intervenes and Adds More Liquidity or Money Into Economy — Overnight and 42-Day Term Repos Madness Bubble — Return of Quantitative Easing? –Videos — Story 4: Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz Report Will Be Released on December 9 and Horowitz Will Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee December 11, 2019 — Videos — Story 5: Lisa Page Role in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Warrant Application Process? — Videos

Posted on December 4, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Abortion, Addiction, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Anthropology, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Coal, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Fraud, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, James Comey, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Relations, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Science, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Sciences, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1366 December 2, 2019

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Story 1: The Day of Reckoning Is Approaching And Not A Word Is Spoken — National Debt More Than $23 Trillion — Plus Unfunded Obligations  Estimates Over $100 Trillion to Over $200 Trillion — Videos —

 

U.S. National Debt Clock

https://www.usdebtclock.org/

See the source image

The National Debt Is Now More than $23 Trillion

Financials are spinning out of control in Washington: David Walker

Dec 22, 2017
Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker on the need to reduce the government debt.

With low interest rates, pressure of national debt goes away: Brookings Institution’s Wessel

Ray Dalio: US has a real problem in terms of the quantity of debt we are going to have to sell to…

Keiser Report 1467

Peter Schiff Predicts US Bankruptcy – Is He Right? (ANSWER REVEALED)

How Negative Interest Rates Work (And What They Would Mean for the Economy)

What Would Negative Interest Rates Mean For Consumers And The Economy?

Negative Rates ‘Distort’ Everything: Warren Buffett | CNBC

10 Myths About Government Debt

Deficits and debt | AP Macroeconomics | Khan Academy

 

Story 2: Democrats Trying To Talk & Tank The Economy Into a Recession — Big Failure — Economy Still Growing — Videos

Ingraham: An animated series of failures

How the Fed creates free money for big banks, CEOs and billionaires

 

 

 

Trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and hardly a voice of caution to be heard

In the old days, a decade or so ago, Democrats would have assailed Donald Trump‘s failure on federal deficits; instead of eliminating it, as promised, the deficit has doubled to a trillion dollars as far as the eye can see.

Republicans would be in full fury over the spending schemes of Democratic presidential candidates; even the mainstream moderates propose huge increases for health care, education and the social safety net for the disadvantaged.

Yet deficits, as a political issue, are dead.

The political impact always was exaggerated, but out-of-control deficits were a staple of opposition rhetoric. There invariably was some budget-balancing blue-ribbon group, the most famous being the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

For Democrats, the pressing urgency of unmet needs in health care, education, infrastructure and the social safety net far outweigh any rising debt. They favor tax hikes, mainly on the rich, to reverse the huge 2017 Republican tax cuts, but there’s less premium on the green eyeshade test of paying for all spending initiatives.

Most Republicans strongly want to keep those tax cuts — the only significant achievement of three years of party rule — and have little interest in tackling politically popular entitlements. In the years the Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, it focused only on gutting the Affordable Care Act.

This has become the Trump Party, which overshadows the old Republican battle lines between budget balancers and tax cutters. This Republican executive is a tax cutter and budget buster.

As well as the politics, Democrats have a strong policy basis for their position. Early this year, the two most prominent Democratic economists — former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, both under Barack Obama — wrote an influential article citing structural declines in interest rates. This means that “policymakers should reconsider the traditional fiscal approach that has often wrong-headedly limited worthwhile investments in such areas as education, health care and infrastructure,” they said.

“Politicians and policymakers should focus on urgent social programs, not deficits,” they advised.

They don’t go as far as the Modern Monetary Theorists who basically argue the sky is the limit on debt unless inflation takes off. Instead, Summers and Furman claim a key is that the federal debt — as a percentage of the economy — stays at a relatively stable 3 percent to 4 percent, where it has been for the past five years.

The Republican deficits hawks, most recently former House Speaker Paul Ryan, have been rendered obsolete, as least as long it’s the party of Trump.

Even back in the 1970s, however, some Republicans embraced what supply-side propagandist Jude Wanniski called the “Two-Santa Theory” — namely, to counter Democrats’ support for popular spending programs, Republicans should favor huge tax cuts without concern for the deficit. (Ronald Reagan once joked he didn’t worry about the deficit, as it was “big enough to take care of itself.”)

Moreover, the Republican cries about the evils of big deficits have been more rhetorical than real, although the general perception of Democrats as more fiscally profligate is a canard.

Under Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the federal budget deficit doubled. The deficit was $255 billion when Bill Clinton came into office; at the end of his term, there were four straight small surpluses. (This along with the surplus at the end of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency are the only ones in the last 60 years.)

The deficit also soared under George W. Bush, especially at the end of his term, with the economic crisis.

Obama inherited a massive $1.4 trillion shortfall and in eight years cut it by 60 percent.

The shortfall has doubled under Trump.

As a percentage of the economy, however, it has risen from 3 percent in the final Obama year to a bit more than 4 percent now.

Even Washington’s most stalwart and consistent fiscal hawk, Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, acknowledges the budget deficit isn’t a top policy concern right now “as low interest rates buy us some time.”

However, she cautions that the fiscal situation “is the worst it has been since just after World War II,” adding, “No one knows when the tipping point is or what it looks like, but those are questions we shouldn’t want to find the answers to.”

Albert R. Hunt is the former executive editor of Bloomberg News. He previously served as reporter, bureau chief and Washington editor for the Wall Street Journal. For almost a quarter-century he wrote a column on politics for The Wall Street Journal, then the International New York Times and Bloomberg View. Follow him on Twitter @alhuntdc.

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/472480-trillion-dollar-deficits-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see-and-not-a-voice-of

Story 3: Federal Reserve Intervenes and Adds More Liquidity or Money Into Economy — Overnight and 42-Day Term Repos Madness Bubble — Return of Quantitative Easing? –Videos —

See the source image

See the source image

Fed is in a ‘lose, lose, lose situation,’ says Mohamed A. El-Erian

Repo Madness: Up to $300 Billion Per Day As First 42 Day Term Repo Kicks In Going Into 2020!

Repo: How Roughly $1 Trillion Moves Overnight | WSJ

How the Fed creates free money for big banks, CEOs and billionaires

The ‘repo’ market explained

The Central Banks’ Monetary Policy Is Backfiring (w/ Simon White)

 

New York Fed Adds Liquidity Amid Heavy Demand for Year-End Funding

Interventions ensure markets have enough liquidity and short-term borrowing rates remain well-behaved

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York intervened in financial markets again Monday. PHOTO: EDUARDO MUNOZ/REUTERS

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York again saw very strong demand for liquidity aimed at helping financial markets navigate the turn of the year.

The demand once again arrived as the Fed added temporary liquidity to financial markets Monday. All together the central bank pumped in $97.9 billion in two parts. One was via overnight repurchase agreements, or repos, that totaled $72.9 billion. The other was via 42-day repos.

While the Fed took all the securities that dealers offered it for the overnight repo, the longer-term operation saw eligible banks offer $42.55 billion in securities versus the $25 billion the Fed took. That level of interest was a replay from the last 42-day repo operation held Nov. 25, when eligible banks submitted $49.05 billion in securities against the $25 billion the central bank accepted.

The robust demand for year-end liquidity could alter the path of future longer-term Fed interventions and induce the central bank to increase their size. Central banks want to ensure that markets remain well behaved over year end, and they have signaled they will be flexible in achieving that. The Fed has already increased the size of other temporary operations, making it possible future term operations could be bigger as well.

The Repo Market, Explained

The Repo Market, Explained
The repo market shook the financial world in September when an unexpected rate spike choked short-term lending, spurring the Federal Reserve to intervene. WSJ explains how this critical, but murky part of the financial system works, and why some banks say the crunch could have been prevented. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds for The Wall Street Journal

Fed repo interventions take in Treasury and mortgage securities from eligible banks in what is effectively a short-term loan of central-bank cash, collateralized by the securities.

The Fed’s interventions are aimed at ensuring that the financial system has enough liquidity and that short-term borrowing rates remain well-behaved, with the central bank’s federal-funds rate staying within the 1.5%-to-1.75% target range. The effective fed-funds rate stood at 1.56% on Friday. The broad general collateral rate for repo trading stood at 1.62%, also for Tuesday.

The Fed has been intervening in markets in the current fashion since mid-September, when short-term rates unexpectedly shot up on a confluence of factors, although it has used similar operations for decades to manage short-term rates.

Since the large interventions started, money-market rates have been well-behaved. The Fed is using temporary operations to tamp down any possible volatility, while purchasing Treasury bills to build up reserves in the banking system. It hopes that by buying Treasury bills it will be able to cut back on repo interventions at the start of next year.

The Fed currently expects to buy Treasury bills through the middle of next year.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-fed-adds-97-9-billion-to-markets-11575301812

Write to Michael S. Derby at michael.derby@wsj.com

Story 4: Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz Report Will Be Released on December 9 and Horowitz Will Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee December 11, 2019 — Videos —

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‘They Tried to Overthrow the Presidency’: Trump Says Results of IG’s Report Could be ‘Historic’

FBI official allegedly altered document in Russia probe: Report

 

DOJ Inspector General to testify on alleged 2016 campaign spying

IG Horowitz to testify on Russia probe, FISA abuse

TRUMP PROBE REPORT AND HEARING – DECEMBER 9/11, 2019

DiGenova: Comey, Clapper and Brennan will have to pay the ‘Barr bill’

 

Jason Chaffetz: FBI deep state clear – will FISA report finally lead to action?
Jason Chaffetz By Jason Chaffetz | Fox News

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Watch Jason Chaffetz discuss this op-ed and much more on “Mornings with Maria” on Monday, December 2.

Following a series of four damning inspector general reports over the last two years, there is little doubt the senior leadership of the Obama-era FBI was weaponized in the service of the Democratic Party. But as America awaits what many expect to be the most damning investigation of all, it’s fair to ask what has been done to rein in our rogue FBI.

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The report on FISA abuse set for release on Dec. 9 is expected to show how the FBI used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to spy on American citizens affiliated with the Trump campaign in 2016. As damning as such a conclusion would be, it will only be the latest in a series of explosive revelations from the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz, some of which got muted coverage from the mainstream press. Advance leaks suggest the upcoming report will, at a minimum, show an FBI lawyer illegally altered documents to justify a FISA application.

Even before next week’s anticipated release, we already have IG reports implicating the FBI director, assistant director, deputy assistant director, and chief of the counterintelligence section. Though none of them remain at the bureau, we have seen little reassurance from current FBI Director Christopher Wray that the culture they created has changed.

REPS. BIGGS & PERRY: IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY SHOWS DEEP STATE CONTINUES TO UNDERMINE TRUMP

Thus far, no one has been prosecuted, despite a long string of damaging reports and referrals. An IG can make a recommendation but it is up to the DOJ to prosecute, even if it is one of their own.

A 63-page report released last month found “numerous issues” with the FBI’s use of confidential sources during a period that included the 2016 election. That report revealed that the FBI lacked appropriate procedures to vet and maintain oversight of sources like the ones used against the Trump campaign. This created a security risk for the United States. Yet no prosecutions have been announced.

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Last August, an even more serious finding was released when the IG determined that the FBI director himself had violated FBI policy and the terms of his own employment agreement in disseminating classified information for release to the media. Though the DOJ could have prosecuted based on the report’s findings, it declined to do so.

More from Opinion

A May 2019 IG report implicated the FBI deputy assistant director for unauthorized contacts with the media, illegally disclosing sealed court documents and other sensitive information to the media, and accepting gifts from the media. The DOJ declined to prosecute. But why? The IG recommended prosecution.

The IG’s June 2018 probe into the Hillary Clinton email investigation implicated the FBI’s head of counterintelligence, Peter Strzok, of repeatedly articulating a strong political bias even as he headed up the investigation of Clinton’s exposure of classified information. The 500-page report, which reviewed 1.2 million documents and included interviews with more than 100 witnesses, documented numerous questionable decisions that benefited Clinton or damaged Trump, though the IG acknowledged the parties denied their political bias impacted their decisions.

The FBI is in shambles and there has been little to no public acknowledgment of the crisis by the current director. No work by him to stem this tide of political bias is evident to the public.

The report also highlighted an interoffice affair between Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, both of whom worked on the Clinton and Trump investigations. Next week’s IG report is also expected to document an affair between two other FBI lawyers who worked together on the FISA applications.

What is going on at the FBI and why no consequences for such blatant violations of internal policy and the law? And why did these vulnerabilities exist for so long without detection? No doubt adversarial intelligence agencies could have figured this out quite easily, making our intelligence operations vulnerable to exploitation.

Finally, an April 2018 report implicated FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe of inappropriately authorizing the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter and repeatedly lying to investigators about it. The report found McCabe lied four times, three under oath, and that it was done “in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership.” Though McCabe was fired, he wasn’t prosecuted.

What message does it send when the Justice Department protects its own?

The FBI is in shambles and there has been little to no public acknowledgment of the crisis by Director Wray. No work by him to stem this tide of political bias is evident to the public.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

With the release of next week’s FISA report, we must demand action by Wray. Given the well-documented wrongdoing by the previous FBI director, deputy director, deputy assistant director, the chief of counterintelligence, and evidently DOJ counsel, the American people are right to question the legitimacy of America’s federal law enforcement apparatus.

If the American people are going to regain confidence in the senior leadership of the FBI, the Justice Department will need to prosecute wrongdoing as they would if it weren’t one of their own. Until then, questions of imbalance, favoritism and bias in one direction will persist. Certainly, we deserve better.

https://www.foxnews.com/person/c/jason-chaffetz

 

Story 4: Lisa Page Role in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Warrant Application Process? — Videos

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Lisa Page Breaks Silence On Trump’s DISGUSTING Behavior

Trump viciously mocks Strzok, Page at Minneapolis rally

Rep. Biggs: Lisa Page once engaged in FBI cabal, now playing the victim

Whitaker: Lisa Page made calculated move to front run IG report

 

Lisa Page Speaks: ‘There’s No Fathomable Way I Have Committed Any Crime at All’

STRIKING BACK

The former FBI lawyer and ongoing Trump target breaks two years of silence in this exclusive interview. And she has quite a lot to say.

It’s not often that you interview a subject who has no interest in being famous. But recently, I did just that when I sat down with Lisa Page the week before Thanksgiving in my hotel room in Washington, D.C. Page, of course, is the former FBI lawyer whose text-message exchanges with agent Peter Strzok that belittled Donald Trump and expressed fear at his possible victory became international news. They were hijacked by Trump to fuel his “deep state” conspiracy.

For the nearly two years since her name first made the papers, she’s been publicly silent (she did have a closed-door interview with House members in July 2018). I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11.

That was the moment Page decided she had to speak up. “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she says. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

She is also about to be back in the news cycle in a big way. On Dec. 9, the Justice Department inspector general report into Trump’s charges that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign will come out. Leaked press accounts indicate the report will exonerate Page of the allegation that she acted unprofessionally or showed bias against Trump.

How does it feel after all this time to finally have the IG apparently affirm what she’s been saying all along? She said she wouldn’t discuss the findings until they were officially public, but she did note: “While it would be nice to have the IG confirm publicly that my personal opinions had absolutely no bearing on the course of the Russia investigations, I don’t kid myself that the fact will matter very much for a lot of people. The president has a very loud megaphone.”

Page, 39, is thin and athletic. She speaks in an exceedingly confident, clear, and lawyerly way. But having been through the MAGA meat grinder has clearly worn her down, not unlike the other women I’ve met who’ve been subjected to the president’s abuse.  She is just slightly crumbly around the edges the way the president’s other victims are.

My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again.

“It’s almost impossible to describe” what it’s like, she told me. “It’s like being punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.”

“But it’s also very intimidating because he’s still the president of the United States. And when the president accuses you of treason by name, despite the fact that I know there’s no fathomable way that I have committed any crime at all, let alone treason, he’s still somebody in a position to actually do something about that. To try to further destroy my life. It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me.”

Does it affect you in your normal day-to-day life?

“I wish it didn’t,” she said. “I’m someone who’s always in my head anyway—so now otherwise normal interactions take on a different meaning. Like, when somebody makes eye contact with me on the Metro, I kind of wince, wondering if it’s because they recognize me, or are they just scanning the train like people do? It’s immediately a question of friend or foe? Or if I’m walking down the street or shopping and there’s somebody wearing Trump gear or a MAGA hat, I’ll walk the other way or try to put some distance between us because I’m not looking for conflict. Really, what I wanted most in this world is my life back.”

Rising Through the Ranks

Lisa Page did not aspire to fame or fortune. She was, she says, “one of those nerdy kids who from very early on knew I wanted work for the government and make the world a better place.” Born in the San Fernando Valley, she and her family moved to Ohio in her teens. She went to American University in Washington, D.C., and then moved back home to central Ohio to attend law school, living with her parents so she could save money.

After graduating from law school, she was one of an elite group selected for admission in the Department of Justice Honors Program in 2006—and the only woman in her class of five entering the Criminal Division. She worked as a federal prosecutor for six years before moving across the street to the FBI’s office of general counsel. Soon after her arrival, the deputy general counsel over national-security law hired her for a new special-counsel-type position in 2013.

Once there, her path begins to be set.

“I start [in the role] in early 2013, and there are two big events that kind of set the trajectory for the rest of my career at the FBI: the Boston bombing in April 2013, and Edward Snowden’s leaks in June of the same year,” she told me. “And those are both significant in their own ways, because the Boston bombing introduces me to Andy McCabe, who at the time was the head of the counterterrorism division at the FBI. Two months later, the Snowden leaks hit, which became a transformative moment for the intelligence community, setting off a series of reforms by the Obama administration with respect to the legal authorities that we rely on to collect intelligence.”

Eventually, she was asked to lead that effort, “which gives me a lot of exposure to senior FBI executives, as well as leaders through the IC, DOJ, and White House.”

Page continued to rise through the ranks of the FBI and was assigned to more significant and substantive work. She became close with McCabe. Eventually she became McCabe’s special counsel.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/lisa-page-speaks-theres-no-fathomable-way-i-have-committed-any-crime-at-all?ref=home

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The Pronk Pops Show 1363, November 20, 2019, Story 1: Disgraceful Democrat Coup And Cover-up Collapsing As Big Lie Media’s Lies Exposed in Impeachment Hearing — American People No Longer Trust Corrupt Congress and Big Lie Media — Trump: ‘I Wanted Nothing From Ukraine” — Democrats Got Caught — Coup Collapses — Is That All There Is? — Videos

Posted on November 30, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Diet, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, European History, Exercise, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fraud, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, James Comey, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Middle East, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obesity, People, Photos, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Spying, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Disgraceful Democrat Coup And Cover-up Collapsing As Big Lie Media’s Lies Exposed in Impeachment Hearing — American People No Longer Trust Corrupt Congress and Big Lie Media — Trump: ‘I Wanted Nothing From Ukraine” — Democrats Got Caught — Coup Collapses — Is That All There Is? — Videos

Impeachment Inquiry: Here’s What Nobody Understands About the Rules of Evidence, Hearsay and Perjury

Trump responds to Sondland’s testimony: ‘I turned off the television’

Trump vehemently denies quid pro quo after Sondland testimony: ‘I want nothing’

Tucker’s big takeaways from the Trump impeachment saga

Ingraham: Storytime with Adam Schiff

Ambassador Gordon Sondland Complete Opening Statement

WATCH: All the key moments from Gordon Sondland’s Trump impeachment hearing in 15 minutes (Day 4)

WATCH: Republican counsel’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Devin Nunes’ full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

Rep. Maloney and Ambassador Sondland have tense exchange

WATCH: Rep. Peter Welch’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Elise Stefanik’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Sondland declines to say whether he believed Trump when he said ‘no quid pro quo’

CONTRADICTING TESTIMONIES: Mike Turner RIPS into Amb. Sondland

WATCH: Rep. John Ratcliffe’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Jim Jordan’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

 

WATCH: Democratic counsel’s full questioning of Gordon Sondland | Trump impeachment hearings

Sondland Screws Trump

Rep. Adam Schiff Closing Statement: “Is there any accountability?”

WATCH: Sondland testimony provides ‘zero evidence’ of Trump crimes in Ukraine, Nunes says

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the testimony by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, provided “zero evidence of any of the crimes that have been alleged” of President Donald Trump with regard to Ukraine. In closing statements after Sondland testified in a public hearing on Nov. 20, Nunes accused Democrats of contributing to a “conspiracy theory” against Trump. Sondland testified that there was a “quid pro quo” in which U.S. aid and a White House meeting were contingent on Ukraine agreeing to investigate the 2016 elections and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, where the son of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, Hunter, sat on the board.

Peggy Lee — Is That All There Is? 1969

 

Gordon Sondland

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Gordon Sondland
Gordon Sondland official photo.jpg
United States Ambassador to the European Union
Assumed office
July 9, 2018
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Anthony L. Gardner
Personal details
Born
Gordon David Sondland

July 16, 1957 (age 62)
Mercer IslandWashington, U.S.

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Katherine Durant
Alma mater University of Washington

Gordon David Sondland (born July 16, 1957)[1][2] is an American diplomat and businessperson. He is the United States Ambassador to the European Union.[3] Sondland is also the founder and former chairman of Provenance Hotels and co-founder of the merchant bank Aspen Capital.

Early life and education

Sondland was born to a Jewish family[4][5] in Mercer Island, Washington,[6] the son of Frieda (Piepsch) and Gunther Sondland.[7][8] His mother fled Germany before the Second World War[9] to Uruguay, where after the war she reunited with his father, who had served in the French Foreign Legion. In 1953, the Sondlands relocated to Seattle where they opened a dry-cleaning business.[10] Sondland has a sister 18 years his senior.[10] He attended the University of Washington but dropped out and became a commercial real estate salesman.[10]

Career

In 1985, Sondland raised $7.8 million from friends and his wealthy brother-in-law and purchased the Roosevelt Hotel, a bankrupt Seattle hotel.[10]

Sondland’s company, Provenance Hotels, owns and manages hotels throughout the United States, including the Hotel Max and Hotel Theodore in Seattle, Washington; Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WashingtonHotel deLuxeHotel LuciaSentinel Hotel, Dossier, and Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon; The Hotel Preston in Nashville, Tennessee; and Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery in New Orleans, Louisiana.[11]

In 1998, Sondland purchased and redeveloped four hotels in Seattle, Portland, and Denver including Seattle’s Alexis Hotel in partnership with Bill Kimpton. Sondland also is a principal in Seattle’s Paramount Hotel.[12][13] Through Provenance Hotels, Sondland is developing hotel projects throughout the US, including in SeattleHermosa Beach, CA and Los Angeles, CA. Provenance Hotels specializes in adaptations of old buildings such as with the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA, which used to be a conference Sheraton, but now includes glass art by 46 artists including Seattle’s Dale Chihuly.[14] Provenance is also known for designing or remodeling each hotel around themes that contain elements that relate to a location’s history, art, culture, and local businesses.[15][16]

In 2013, Sondland and Provenance completed a renovation of Portland’s historic Governor Hotel, renaming it Sentinel.[17] In December 2015, Sondland and Provenance announced the establishment of the company’s first real estate investment fund, Provenance Hotel Partners Fund I. The $525 million fund was created specifically for hotel real estate investment and, at the time of its announcement, was the fourth largest fund ever launched in the state of Oregon.[18]

Following his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union by President Trump, Sondland’s name was removed from the Provenance Hotels’ website and replaced with that of his wife, who is now listed as the chairman.[19]

Political involvement

Sondland was a member of the transition team for Oregon Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski‘s administration and was appointed by Kulongoski to serve on the board of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television.[20] He was appointed the commission’s chair in 2002 and has served in that capacity until 2015.[21] During his tenure on the film board, Sondland was instrumental in bringing the production of such television series as LeverageThe Librarians, and Grimm to Oregon[22] and presided over the state securing the production of feature-length films such as Wild starring Reese Witherspoon, Thumbsucker starring Tilda Swinton, and The Ring Two starring Naomi Watts. At the 2015 Oregon Film Annual Governor’s Awards, Sondland received the “Achievement in Film Service Award” for his role in growing Oregon’s film industry.[23]

Sondland also served as Oregon liaison to the White House. As an advisor to Kulongoski, Sondland suggested appointing Ted Wheeler as state treasurer, which Kulongoski did in 2010.[24] In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed Sondland as a member of the Commission on White House Fellows.[25] Sondland collaborated with President Bush and Jay Leno on an annual charitable auction of an autographed vehicle, with proceeds benefitting the Fisher House Foundation and the George W. Bush Foundation’s Military Service Initiative.[26] He was a bundler for Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign, and in 2012, Sondland was selected to serve as a member of Mitt Romney‘s presidential transition team.[2]

During the 2016 United States presidential election, Sondland initially supported Donald Trump, but cancelled a fundraiser and repudiated Trump for his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan.[2] In April 2017, it was revealed that four companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee.[27][28][29]

United States ambassador to the European Union

Sondland at the United States–EU Energy Council meeting in Brussels on July 12, 2018

In March 2018, it was reported that President Trump selected Sondland to be the next United States ambassador to the European Union.[30][31] [32][3] [33] Sondland’s nomination received bipartisan support during his confirmation hearing and he was confirmed on June 28, 2018.[4] [4][5]

As ambassador, Sondland has said that strengthening US-EU trade relations is a top priority.[34] He has supported using a strong US-EU economic partnership to counter what Sondland has called “economic aggression and unfair trade practices” from China.[35][36] In pursuit of this end, Sondland has promoted the idea of giving European governments access to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to allow them to better screen investors.[34]

Sondland has worked on data protection rules regarding U.S. compliance with the EU-US privacy shield.[37] He has also pledged to work with the EU to address global security threats.[38] He has been the Trump Administration’s lead in talks with EU member countries on the U.S.’s decertification and withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal.[39][40] Sondland has repeatedly criticized EU member countries’ creation of a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) to bypass reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, calling the SPV a “paper tiger.”[39][41][42]

Sondland has been a vocal opponent of the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would transport gas across the Baltic Sea to the EU.[43] He has argued that the pipeline would leave the EU dependent upon Russia for its energy needs and increase Russia’s leverage on key U.S. allies in NATO.[44] Sondland argued that “Putin uses energy as a political weapon. The EU should not rely on a bare-chested version of the Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort as a supplier, even if his gas is a bit cheaper.”[45]

Trump–Ukraine scandal

U.S. Delegation at May 20, 2019 Ukrainian inauguration – U.S. Photo

On September 26, 2019, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the unclassified text of the whistleblower complaint regarding the interactions between United States President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.[46] In this document, Ambassador Sondland, along with U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker were described as having “provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelensky”.[47] After further investigation, The Washington Post concluded that Sondland had “seized control of the Ukraine portfolio to help Trump.”[48]

In the complaint released by the Select Committee on Intelligence, Sondland’s involvement in President Donald Trump’s activity was outlined in a text conversation with the interim chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor:

[12:47:11 AM] Bill Taylor: As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.

[9/9/2019, 5:19:35 AM] Gordon Sondland: Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly. Thanks.[49]

Closed-door testimony relating to Sondland

On October 8, the Trump administration attempted to block Sondland from testifying in the impeachment inquiry.[50] Sondland testified October 17, 2019.[51][52][53][54][55][56]

Three weeks later on November 5, and following the testimony of other senior national security officials who told lawmakers that security assistance was also used to try to compel the Ukrainians to open investigations that might be of benefit to the Trump 2020 campaign, Sondland provided updated testimony stating that he did in fact view delivery of the aid package as contingent upon the Ukrainian government publicly opening an investigation of Trump’s political rivals as desired by the President. According to the testimony, he relayed this position to Ukrainian government officials.[57]

In early November, Fiona Hill testified that Sondland, as a newcomer unaccustomed to diplomatic protocols, exhibited behavior that was “comical” but “deeply concerning,” and his lack of adherence to security protocols made him a “counterintelligence risk.” Hill testified that in July, Sondland attended a meeting with Ukrainian officials and told them that an Oval Office meeting with Trump would occur if investigations began. She testified, “Ambassador Sondland blurted out: ‘Well, we have an agreement with the Chief of Staff (Mick Mulvaney) for a meeting if these investigations in the energy sector start,'” and that John Bolton ended the meeting abruptly and later told her, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”[58]

On November 13, William Taylor, the acting head of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified that a staff member who was later identified as David Holmes told him that he overheard a phone conversation about Ukraine “investigations” between Sondland and the president at a restaurant in Kyiv. The call was made the day following Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which he asked Zelenskiy to investigate corruption. Taylor said there were two other people having lunch in the restaurant, and they heard the conversation as well.[59] Appearing in a closed-door inquiry on November 15, in a written opening statement Holmes said he heard Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” and Sondland replied, “he’s gonna do it” adding Zelensky will do “anything you ask him to.” Holmes also testified that Sondland later told him that Trump “did not give a shit about Ukraine” and “only cared about the big stuff … the big stuff that benefits the president like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.” In the same conversation, Sondland was also heard to characterize President Zelensky’s strongly favorable view of President Trump, informing the latter that Zelenskiy “loves [his] ass.” [60] U.S. security experts were alarmed by the fact that Sondland called a U.S. president on an unsecured line in a public place, particularly in Ukraine, where calls are assumed to be monitored by Russia.[61]

On November 16, the House impeachment investigators released the closed-door testimony of former National Security Council official Tim Morrison. Morrison voiced concerns saying that during the time that he had worked with Sondland he was not following the normal diplomatic process as used by other personnel but rather was on “a second track,” chiefly led by Sondland, “where Rudy Giuliani’s name would come up.” Morrison also testified that he had heard from Sondland that “US aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.” Morrison said that on September 7, Sondland told him of a phone call he’d had from Trump in which the president said, “that there was no quid pro quo, but President Zelensky must announce the opening of the investigations and he should want to do it.”[62] During his public testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives on November 19, 2019, Morrison stated that Sondland confirmed to him that there was indeed a quid pro quo for US aid to Ukraine and Sondland told him this following a telephone conversation Sondland had with Ukraine official Andriy Yermak on September 1, 2019.[63]

Public testimony

External video
 Testimony of Sondland to the House Intelligence Committee, November 20, 2019C-SPAN

In his public testimony on November 20, Sondland said it was at the “express direction of the president” that he, Kurt Volker, and Rick Perry, commonly referred to as “the three amigos,” worked with Giuliani on Ukraine matters even though they were uncomfortable with Giuliani’s role. He said that the leadership of the State Department and the National Security Council, including Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, were fully informed of their activities and Giuliani’s, adding “Everyone was in the loop.”[64] He said that Trump, through Giuliani, was clearly demanding a public commitment by Zelensky to investigate Bursima (a Ukrainian gas company where Vice President Joe Biden’s son had sat on the board) and the 2016 election as a prerequisite to receive a White House invitation or phone call. “Was there a ‘quid pro quo? The answer is yes,” he said in his opening remarks.[65] He said it was “his personal guess” that the aid to Ukraine was also being withheld to achieve that goal, but that he never heard Trump say so. Sondland also confirmed that he had conversed by phone with Trump on July 26, as previously reported by other witnesses, adding that he “had no reason to doubt” that the subject had included investigations but “had no recollection” of discussing the Bidens.[64] Sondland testtified to Deven Nunas that he remains “a proud member of the three amigos,” and said that he would have objected to the Bursima investigation if he had connected it to the Bidens. In her testimony on the following day Fiona Hill was asked, “Is it credible to you that Mr. Sondland was completely in the dark about this [connection] all summer?” she replied, “It is not credible to me that he was oblivious.”[66]

Philanthropy

Sondland founded the Gordon Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation in 1999, which was established to “help families and boost communities”; it has given money to various non-profits including $1,000,000 to the Portland Art Museum to endow permanent access for children under the age of eighteen.[67] The Foundation helped establish a Distinguished Chair in Spine for pediatric orthopedic spine research at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 2012.[citation needed] In 2014, the Foundation gave a $1,000,000 endowment to Oregon Health & Science University to establish the Sondland-Durant Distinguished Research Conference, a cancer research summit to begin in 2016.[68] In 2017, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University was created with the support of the Foundation.[citation needed]

In November 2019, the Portland Business Journal noted that following Sondland’s appointment as Ambassador, the Gordon D. Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation modified its website by removing a biography tab for Sondland and adding two new ones for the couple’s children.[69]

Personal life

In 1993, Sondland married Katherine Durant,[10] who is the founder and managing partner of Atlas/RTG, a holding company with a portfolio of shopping centers throughout Oregon.[citation needed] Until 2016, Durant was the Chairperson of the Oregon Investment Council, the body that oversees the over $85 billion Public Employees Retirement System Fund.[70] They have two children, Max and Lucy.[71]

References…

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

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1352, November 5. 2019, Story 1: Ukraine Was Interfering in United States 2016 Election For DNC and Clinton and President Trump Wants This Interference Investigated by New Ukraine Government — Videos — Story 2: Ukraine Natural Gas Company Burisma Lobbied State Department To Stop Being Investigated By Invoking Hunter Biden’s Name — Videos — Story 3: United States Withdrawing From Paris Climate Accord Agreement — Videos– Story 4: Trump’s New Stump Speech — Why Trump is President? — One of Life’s Mysteries, Sir — Videos —

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Washington Post Super Bowl message: Democracy Dies in Darkness

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Story 1: Ukraine Government Officials Were Interfering in United States 2016 Election For Clinton and Democrat National Committee (DNC) And President Trump Wants This Interference Investigated by Current Ukraine General Prosecutor — Many Countries Including United States Provide Other Countries Aid (Quid) Provided They Meet Certain Conditions (Que) Such As Publicly Acknowledging There Will Be An Investigation of 2016 Election Interference and Ukraine Natural Gas Company Burisma — Videos

Iconic Quid Pro Quo

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

What Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker said about U.S. aid to Ukraine

Hannity: I have never talked to anyone from Ukraine

Biden sidesteps questions about son’s foreign work

Joe Biden’s son’s firm linked to Chinese government: New book

Testimony suggests “quid pro quo” relationship between Trump and Ukraine

Dems set to release new transcripts from two key impeachment figures

PBS News Hour full episode November 5, 2019

First excerpts of Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker transcripts released

Story 2: Ukraine Natural Gas Company Burisma Lobbied State Department To Stop Being Investigated By Invoking Hunter Biden’s Name — Videos —

NEW MEMO ON UKRAINE: Hunter Biden & associates used State Department to kill Burisma investigation

Glenn Beck Lays Out the Case Against The Media

Biden’s Ukraine Scandal Explained I Glenn Beck

Big Lie Media Propaganda Exposed

Glenn Beck Presents: Democracy Does Die In Darkness

Glenn heads back to the chalkboard to explain how the media is intentionally misleading and, in some cases, blatantly lying to absolve the Democrats from what they’ve been doing in Ukraine. Glenn breaks down their case against President Trump and Rudy Giuliani, and he shows why that isn’t the real story. Glenn devastatingly dismantles the medias disinformation campaign brick by brick.

A look at Hunter Biden’s time in Ukraine

Everything You Need to Know About Hunter Biden

Biden’s son booted from Navy after a positive cocaine…

Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Gas Firm Urged Obama Admin To End Corruption Allegations, Report Says

DailyWire.com
JANUARY 30: President of the United States Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden (son of Joe Biden) talk during a college basketball game between Georgetown Hoyas and the Duke Blue Devils on January 30, 2010 at the Verizon Center in Washington DC.
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

In February 2016, a representative from Burisma sought to meet with Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli to discuss the allegations of corruption that the U.S. government was making toward the company, according to memos obtained by award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon.

“Just three weeks before Burisma’s overture to State, Ukrainian authorities raided the home of the oligarch who owned the gas firm and employed Hunter Biden, a signal the long-running corruption probe was escalating in the middle of the U.S. presidential election,” Solomon wrote. “Hunter Biden’s name, in fact, was specifically invoked by the Burisma representative as a reason the State Department should help, according to a series of email exchanges among U.S. officials trying to arrange the meeting.”

A February 24, 2016, email between State Department officials stated:

Per our conversation, Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with U/S Novelli USG remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption. She noted that two high profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member). Tramontano would like to talk with U/S Novelli about getting a better understanding of how the U.S. came to the determination that the company is corrupt. According to Tramontano there is no evidence of corruption, has been no hearing or process, and evidence to the contrary has not been considered. Would appreciate any background you may be able to provide on this issue and suggested TPs for U/S Novelli’s meeting.

“Tramontano was a lawyer working for Blue Star Strategies, a Washington firm that was hired by Burisma to help end a long-running corruption investigation against the gas firm in Ukraine,” Solomon added. “Tramontano and another Blue Star official, Sally Painter, both alumni of Bill Clinton’s administration, worked with New York-based criminal defense attorney John Buretta to settle the Ukraine cases in late 2016 and 2017.”

Solomon notes that a meeting was scheduled for March 1, 2016, between Tramontano and Novelli, although it was not known whether or not the meeting actually occurred.

However, a meeting was reportedly secured between Hunter Biden’s business partner and fellow Burisma board member, Devon Archer, and Secretary of State John Kerry.

John Solomon@jsolomonReports

Breaking: Memos detailing Hunter Biden’s contacts with Obama State Department released. VP son’s Ukrainian gas firm pressed US officials to end corruption allegations … just a month before Joe Biden forced firing of prosecutor overseeing case.https://johnsolomonreports.com/hunter-bidens-ukraine-gas-firm-pressed-obama-administration-to-end-corruption-allegations-memos-show/ 

This entire ordeal surrounding the actions of former Vice President Biden and his son have cast a cloud over the Biden campaign that has undoubtedly at least partially contributed to his fall in the polls against his Democratic rivals.

Last year, Biden bragged to an audience about how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that if he did not fire the prosecutor that was investigating Burisma that he would withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid from the country.

Iconic Quid Pro Quo

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukrainian Prosecutor Fired

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden told the audience. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.”

President Donald Trump and his campaign have hammered Biden over his remarks, which were recorded on video, in advertisements on social media and in targeted markets.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

This is the real corruption that the Fake News Media refuses to even acknowledge!

 

Ukraine Gas Firm Tied to Biden Lobbied State Department to End Corruption Allegations, Emails Show

7 CommentsNovember 5, 2019 Updated: November 5, 2019

The Ukrainian gas firm that hired Hunter Biden lobbied the Department of State in early 2016, just one month before then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden forced the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the same company, according to documents obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

On Feb. 24, 2016, a State Department official sent an email discussing an overture from a representative for Burisma, the Ukrainian gas firm, to Undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli. The Burisma representative argued that the allegations against the company were baseless, according to an email chain released as part of a lawsuit filed by investigative journalist John Solomon. The Burisma representative specifically cited Hunter Biden’s name as the reason for why the allegations should stop.

Earlier that month in 2016, Ukrainian authorities seized the property of Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, according to Interfax Ukraine. The seizure included several of Zlochevsky’s homes and a Rolls-Royce Phantom car.

“Per our conversation, Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with U/S Novelli USG remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption,” the email between State Department officials, whose names are blacked out, stated. “She noted that two high profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member).

“Tramontano would like to talk with U/S Novelli about getting a better understanding of how the U.S. came to the determination that the company is corrupt. According to Tramontano, there is no evidence of corruption, has been no hearing or process, and evidence to the contrary has not been considered.”

At the time the email was sent, Novelli was the third-highest-ranking official at the State Department. Karen Tramontano was the CEO of Bluestar Strategies, a consulting firm retained by Burisma to address the corruption charges against it in Ukraine.

The email chain shows that Tramontano was scheduled to meet Novelli on March 1, 2016. While it’s unclear if that meeting took place, on the following day, March 2, 2016, Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, met with Secretary of State John Kerry, another email obtained by Solomon shows.

“Devon Archer coming to see S today at 3pm—need someone to meet/greet him at C Street,” an email from Kerry’s office manager states.

Archer’s meeting with Kerry is notable because Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz, recently told The Washington Post that he advised Archer and Biden “that working with Burisma was unacceptable.”

“The lack of judgment in this matter was a major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationships with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden,” Heinz spokesman Chris Bastardi told the newspaper.

Hunter Biden and Archer joined the board of Burisma in 2014. Bank records released as part of an unrelated lawsuit show that Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a firm operated by Archer, received more than $160,000 per month from Burisma starting in May 2016. Rosemont Seneca Bohai regularly sent funds to Hunter Biden, the records show.

The seizure of Zlochevsky’s assets took place on Feb. 2, 2014. At the time, top Ukrainian corruption prosecutor Viktor Shokin led the probe.

Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a businessman and former member of the Ukrainian Parliament, told Reuters that Zlochevsky came up with the idea to appoint Hunter Biden to the board “to protect [the company].”

Weeks after Burisma lobbied the State Department and Archer met with Kerry, Joe Biden forced the firing of Shokin by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees; Biden bragged about the move during a videotaped speech on a panel last year.

In a sworn statement, Shokin said that he was fired under pressure from Biden because he, Shokin, refused to drop the Burisma investigation.

The allegations about Joe and Hunter Biden are in the public spotlight because of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. An anonymous whistleblower’s complaint that triggered the inquiry alleged that Trump may have pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

According to a transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump referenced Shokin’s firing when asking the Ukrainian leader to investigate the younger Biden.

The whistleblower alleged that Trump’s request to Zelensky may have amounted to a campaign finance violation. The Department of Justice reviewed the complaint and determined that no further action was necessary.

In an interview with ABC News, Hunter Biden admitted that joining Burisma was a political error, but defended his work. Biden stepped down from the board of Burisma in April, according to a statement from his lawyer.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/hunter-bidens-ukraine-gas-firm-lobbied-state-department-to-end-corruption-allegations-emails-show_3137480.html

US Attorney John Durham looking into Ukrainian involvement in 2016 election

A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Wednesday. “While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.”

Durham has been Barr’s right hand as the two look into the complicated and classified issues surrounding how an investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia — dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane” — got its start, though the U.S. attorney from Connecticut has been virtually silent since his selection.

The DOJ’s statement comes as the White House released a transcript of the controversial July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump suggests that Ukraine should investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a company owned by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky was being investigated by top prosecutor Viktor Shokin, though it is in dispute how serious that investigation was. Trump also suggested that Ukraine should look into issues surrounding the alleged involvement of some Ukrainians in interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

Biden boasted in 2018 that, as vice president, he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if Ukraine didn’t fire Shokin, which Trump’s allies have said was because of the investigation, but Democrats have said was part of a U.S. and European effort to oust Shokin as ineffective and a hindrance to Ukraine’s anti-corruption investigations. Ukraine removed Shokin in 2016.

DOJ also made it clear that Trump never told Barr to contact Ukraine about any investigation of Biden, nor did Barr ever discuss these issues with Ukraine or with Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Trump gave Barr “ full and complete authority to declassify information” related to the origins of the Trump-Russia probe in May after Barr had infuriated Democrats when he said “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign and refused to backtrack. Republicans have alleged that foreign intelligence agencies, like those in Western Europe, may have played a role in eavesdropping on or otherwise monitoring Trump campaign associates in 2016.

Durham’s investigation is separate from the one that was just finished by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The DOJ watchdog investigated allegations of abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the DOJ and FBI, and Horowitz has spoken with Durham, who is handling any criminal referrals from Horowitz’s investigation.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/u-s-attorney-john-durham-looking-into-ukrainian-involvement-in-2016-election

Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch

Hunter Biden at a campaign event in 2008. He sits on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies.
Credit…Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — When Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.traveled to Kiev , Ukraine, on Sunday for a series of meetings with the country’s leaders, one of the issues on his agenda was to encourage a more aggressive fight against Ukraine’s rampant corruption and stronger efforts to rein in the power of its oligarchs.

But the credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ukraine’s ecology minister under former President Viktor F. Yanukovych before he was forced into exile.

Hunter Biden, 45, a former Washington lobbyist, joined the Burisma board in April 2014. That month, as part of an investigation into money laundering, British officials froze London bank accounts containing $23 million that allegedly belonged to Mr. Zlochevsky.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, an independent government agency, specifically forbade Mr. Zlochevksy, as well as Burisma Holdings, the company’s chief legal officer and another company owned by Mr. Zlochevsky, to have any access to the accounts.

But after Ukrainian prosecutors refused to provide documents needed in the investigation, a British court in January ordered the Serious Fraud Office to unfreeze the assets. The refusal by the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office to cooperate was the target of a stinging attack by the American ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, who called out Burisma’s owner by name in a speech in September.

“In the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the U.K. authorities had seized $23 million in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people,” Mr. Pyatt said. Officials at the prosecutor general’s office, he added, were asked by the United Kingdom “to send documents supporting the seizure. Instead they sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result, the money was freed by the U.K. court, and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.”

Mr. Pyatt went on to call for an investigation into “the misconduct” of the prosecutors who wrote the letters. In his speech, the ambassador did not mention Hunter Biden’s connection to Burisma.

But Edward C. Chow, who follows Ukrainian policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the involvement of the vice president’s son with Mr. Zlochevsky’s firm undermined the Obama administration’s anticorruption message in Ukraine.

“Now you look at the Hunter Biden situation, and on the one hand you can credit the father for sending the anticorruption message,” Mr. Chow said. “But I think unfortunately it sends the message that a lot of foreign countries want to believe about America, that we are hypocritical about these issues.”

Speaking during a visit to Ukraine, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. urged the country to weed corruption out of its system.CreditCredit…Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

“Hunter Biden is a private citizen and a lawyer,” she said. “The vice president does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company. The vice president has pushed aggressively for years, both publicly with groups like the U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum and privately in meetings with Ukrainian leaders, for Ukraine to make every effort to investigate and prosecute corruption in accordance with the rule of law. It will once again be a key focus during his trip this week.”

Ryan F. Toohey, a Burisma spokesman, said that Hunter Biden would not comment for this article.

It is not known how Mr. Biden came to the attention of the company. Announcing his appointment to the board, Alan Apter, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker who is chairman of Burisma, said, “The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals.”

Joining the board at the same time was one of Mr. Biden’s American business partners, Devon Archer. Both are involved with Rosemont Seneca Partners, an American investment firm with offices in Washington.

Mr. Biden is the younger of the vice president’s two sons. His brother, Beau, died of brain cancer in May. In the past, Hunter Biden attracted an unusual level of scrutiny and even controversy. In 2014, he was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine use. He received a commission as an ensign in 2013, and he served as a public affairs officer.

Before his father was vice president, Mr. Biden also briefly served as president of a hedge fund group, Paradigm Companies, in which he was involved with one of his uncles, James Biden, the vice president’s brother. That deal went sour amid lawsuits in 2007 and 2008 involving the Bidens and an erstwhile business partner. Mr. Biden, a graduate of Georgetown University and Yale Law School, also worked as a lobbyist before his father became vice president.

Burisma does not disclose the compensation of its board members because it is a privately held company, Mr. Toohey said Monday, but he added that the amount was “not out of the ordinary” for similar corporate board positions.

Asked about the British investigation, which is continuing, Mr. Toohey said, “Not only was the case dismissed and the company vindicated by the outcome, but it speaks volumes that all his legal costs were recouped.”

In response to Mr. Pyatt’s criticism of the Ukrainian handling of Mr. Zlochevsky’s case, Mr. Toohey said that “strong corporate governance and transparency are priorities shared both by the United States and the leadership of Burisma. Burisma is working to bring the energy sector into the modern era, which is critical for a free and strong Ukraine.”

Vice President Biden has played a leading role in American policy toward Ukraine as Washington seeks to counter Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine. This week’s visit was his fifth trip to Ukraine as vice president.

Ms. Bedingfield said Hunter Biden had never traveled to Ukraine with his father. She also said that Ukrainian officials had never mentioned Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma to the vice president during any of his visits.

“I’ve got to believe that somebody in the vice president’s office has done some due diligence on this,” said Steven Pifer, who was the American ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2000. “I should say that I hope that has happened. I would hope that they have done some kind of check, because I think the vice president has done a very good job of sending the anticorruption message in Ukraine, and you would hate to see something like this undercut that message.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/09/world/europe/corruption-ukraine-joe-biden-son-hunter-biden-ties.html

 

 

Burisma Holdings

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Private
Industry Oil and gas
Founded 2002
Founder Mykola Zlochevsky
Headquarters

,

Key people
Mykola Zlochevsky (President)
Taras Burdeinyi (CEO)[1]
Alan Apter (Chairman)[2]
Products Natural gas
Services Drilling
Owner Brociti Investments Limited
Subsidiaries Burisma Services
Aldea
Esko-Pivnich
Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya
GasOilInvest
KUB-Gas
Naftogaz Garant
Naftogazopromyslova geologiya
Pari
Nadragas
Nadragasvydobuvannya
SystemOilEngineering
Tehnokomservis
Website burisma-group.com/eng/

Burisma Holdings Limited (UkrainianБурісма ХолдингсGreekΜπουρίσμα Χόλντιγκς) is a holding company for a group of energy exploration and production companies. It is based in KyivUkraine, though registered in LimassolCyprus. Burisma Holdings has operated in the Ukrainian natural gas market since 2002. It is one of the largest private natural gas producers in Ukraine.[3][4] It is owned by Mykola Zlochevsky through his company Brociti Investments Limited (UkrainianБросіті Інвестментс Лімітед).

Burisma’s subsidiaries include Esko-Pivnich, Pari, Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya, Naftogaz Garant, KUB-Gas and Astroinvest-Ukraine.[5][6][7]

 

History

Burisma was founded in 2002.[8][9] Consolidation of the Burisma Group took place mainly in 2006 and 2007.[1] It became a major shareholder of Sunrise Energy Resources, a Delaware Corporation, which in 2004 acquired Ukrainian companies Esko-Pivnich (UkrainianЕско-Північ) and Pari (UkrainianПарі), which owned natural gas exploration licences.[10] In 2009, shares in these companies were transferred to Millington Solutions Limited.[10] However, shortly thereafter Millington ceased to exist, and Burisma claimed ownership of those two companies. In 2012, Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya (First Ukrainian Oil and Gas Company, UkrainianПерша Українська нафтогазова компанія), Naftogaz Garant (Oil and Gas Guarantee, UkrainianНафтогаз гарант), and KrymTopEnergoServis (CrimeaTopEnergoService, UkrainianКримтопенергосервіс) became a part of the Burisma Group.[11][12][13]

In 2014, Burisma signed a cooperation agreement with KazMunayGas, the national oil and gas company of Kazakhstan.[14] In 2016, Burisma bought two hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fleets.[15] In 2017, it bought a 3,000-horsepower Service King Manufacturing SK 3000 drilling rig for $40 million (USD); it was the most powerful drilling rig in Eastern Europe at the time.[16]

In February 2016, Burisma acquired a 70% stake in KUB-Gas (КУБ-Газ).[5] In 2017, it bought a majority stake in Diloretio Holdings Limited, a company which owned Ukrainian gas companies SystemOilEngineering (UkrainianСистемойлинжиниринг), Naftogazopromyslova geologiya, (Oil and Gas Industrial Geology, UkrainianНафтогазпромислова геологія), and Tehnokomservis (TechnoComService, UkrainianТехнокомсервіс).[17] Also in 2017, Burisma bought Nadragasvydobuvannya (Subsoil Gas Extraction, UkrainianНадрагазвидобування)[18] and GasOilInvest (Гасоілінвест).[19] In April 2019, Burisma acquired Astroinvest Ukraine (Астроінвест-Україна), a natural gas trader.[6]

In 2015, Burisma was one of the founders of the International Forum on Energy Security for the Future and partnered the Electric Marathon.[20] In 2017, it signed a partnership agreement with the Atlantic Council to promote anti-corruption measures.[21][22]

Operations

Burisma’s primary operations are in Ukraine, supplemented by activities in Germany, Mexico, Italy, and Kazakhstan.[15] It holds 35 gas production licences in Ukraine in the Dnieper-DonetsCarpathian, and AzovKuban Basins.[5][8] Exploration and production activities are carried out at eight sites in five regions.[23] Burisma also provides natural gas well services, including hydraulic fracturing.[15] Burisma plans to build a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant in Kharkiv with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year.[7]

In 2016, Burisma was the second largest privately owned natural gas producer in Ukraine after DTEK,[4] accounting for 26% of all natural gas produced by privately owned companies and more than 5% of total gas production in Ukraine.[4][24] According to the company, it produced 1.3 billion cubic metres (4.6×1010 cubic feet) of natural gas in Ukraine in 2018.[8]

In Kazakhstan, the company has provided drilling services to KazMunayGas and its subsidiaries, including at the Urikhtau gas field.[25] In Italy, Burisma develops three geothermal power projects in partnership with Gesto Investimento e Gestão.[25]

Burisma’s subsidiary Esko-Pivnich operates in the Kharkiv Oblast, and Pari operates in Western Ukraine (LvivIvano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi oblasts).[26] KUB-Gas operates in Luhansk Oblast,[5] GasOilInvest in Poltava Oblast,[19] and Nadragasvydobuvannya in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[27] Burisma also owned KrymTopEnergoServis, a company which leased three gas deposits in Crimea.[13][26][28] However, after annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, KrymTopEnergoServis ceased operation as Burisma subsidiary.[28]

Corporate matters

Ownership

Burisma Holdings is owned by Brociti Investments Limited, a Cyprus-based company owned by Ukrainian former politician and businessman Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky was minister of natural resources under Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine.[29] Brociti Investments acquired Burisma Holdings in 2011.[30] Before that acquisition, Mykola Zlochevsky and Mykola Lisin each owned a 50% interest in Burisma Holdings.[10][30][31] Lisin, a Ukrainian politician, died in a traffic accident in 2011.[31]

Management

Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former President of the Republic of Poland, was appointed to the board in January 2014.[32][33]

Taras Burdeinyi is the chief executive officer of Burisma Holdings,[1] and Alan Apter is chairman of the board of directors.[2] As of 14 October 2019, the members of the board of directors, in order of seniority, are Alan Apter, Aleksander KwaśniewskiJoseph Cofer Black , Karina Zlochevska, Christina Sofocleous, Riginos Charalampous, and Marina Pericleous.[2][34] Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former president of Poland, joined the board in January 2014.[32][33] In February 2016, Joseph Cofer Black, former director of the Counterterrorism Center of the Central Intelligence Agency (1999–2002) in the George W. Bush administration and former Ambassador-at-Large for counter-terrorism (2002–2004), was appointed to the board.[35] Karina Zlochevska, daughter of Mykola Zlochevskiy, was also appointed in February 2016.[2]

In April 2014, Devon Archer, a former senior adviser to the John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign, and Hunter Biden, an attorney and the son of then-US vice president Joe Biden, joined the board.[32][36] Archer left the company in 2018[37] and Biden left in April 2019, when his term as a director expired.[8]

Financial results

Burisma Holdings does not disclose its financial results.[8][15] It has been calculated, based on a minimal natural gas price, that the company’s revenue in 2018 may have totaled at least US$400 million.[8]

Investigations

Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) have conducted in total 15 investigations on Burisma’s owner Zlochevsky.[38] In 2016, former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko accused Burisma subsidiaries of conspiracy and tax evasion about one billion hryvnias (US$70 million) in 2014–2015, but later during investigation subsidiaries of Burisma were not mentioned.[39] Tax audit of Esko-Pivnich by the State Fiscal Service found some violations in 2016. As a result, 50 million hryvnias (US$1.9 million) of additional taxes was paid to eliminate criminal charges.[39] In total, Burisma paid additional 180 million hryvnias (US$7.44 million) of taxes to avoid further criminal proceedings.[8][23] A criminal investigation was conducted if natural resources extraction licenses were issued to Burisma subsidiaries legally during the period Zlochevsky held government office. Although violations of the procedure were established by NABU, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office missed procedural deadlines for a lawsuit and the case for nullifying licesenses was dismissed by the court.[39] In October 2019, Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka announced that all 15 investigation cases will be reviewed.[38]

See also

References

External links

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

Mykola Zlochevsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Mykola Zlochevsky
Микола Злочевський
ZlochevskiyN.jpg
12th Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources
In office
July 2, 2010 – April 20, 2012
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
Preceded by Viktor Boiko
Succeeded by Eduard Stavytsky
deputy secretary for Economic and Social Security on the National Security and Defense Council
In office
April 20, 2012 – February 26, 2014
President Viktor Yanukovych
Secretary Andriy Klyuev
Personal details
Born
Микола Владиславович Злочевський

June 14, 1966 (age 53)
KievUkrainian SSR

Residence Monaco
Education International University of Business and Law in Kherson [uk] – Accounting and Auditing
Odessa Law Academy – Law Faculty
Known for Burisma Holdings
Zlochevski photo.jpg

Mykola Vladislavovich Zlochevsky (UkrainianМикола Владиславович Злочевський; born June 14, 1966 in Kiev) is a Ukrainian oligarch[1] businessman and politician who was Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources from July 2010 till April 2012 and was the deputy secretary for Economic and Social Security on the National Security and Defense Council from April 2012 until February 2014 when Euromaidan occurred.[2][3][4]

Biography

Business

In 2002, he co-founded the largest independent oil and natural gas company Burisma Holdings with Ukrainian businessman Mykola Lisin [uk].[5][6] Through his sole ownership of Cyprus-registered Burisma Holdings, he owns the Ukrainian gas and oil producers Aldea, Pari, Esko-Pivnich, and the First Ukrainian Petroleum Company and the investment group Brociti Investments.[7][8][9][10][11][12][excessive citations]

Governmental posts

Zlochevsky served as Ecology and Natural Resources Minister during the most of the first cabinet of Mykola Azarov,[3] and during both the later part of Azarov’s first government and all of Azarov’s second government, he served as deputy secretary on National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.[2]

Investigations

At the end of 2014, Zlochevsky fled Ukraine amid allegations of unlawful self enrichment and legalization of funds (Article 368-2, Criminal Code of Ukraine) during his tenure in public office.[13] At the end of 2016 the Central Criminal Court in London released $23 million that were blocked on accounts of Zlochevsky.[13][14] The Serious Fraud Office stated that the funds were released due to inadequate evidence.[13]

Zlochevsky returned to Ukraine in February 2018 after investigations into his Burisma Holdings had been completed in December 2017 with no charges filed against him.[10][15]

On April 18, 2018, recordings of conversations between President of UkrainePetro Poroshenko and Zlochevsky were released which implicated him in graft.[4][16][17]

On June 15, 2018, after the Solomyansky District Court in Kyiv had annulled the ruling of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP) to close a criminal proceeding against him in 2017, Zlochevsky was accused of having illegally issued, while he was Ecology Minister in 2010–2012, oil and gas licenses to the companies that belonged to him.[18]

As of 2019, Zlochevsky is reported to live in Monaco.[14]

References

  1. ^ James Risen, James. “Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch”. New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  2. Jump up to:ab “Search for gas and oil is key task of Ecology Ministry, says PM”Interfax-Ukraine. April 23, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  3. Jump up to:ab “Azarov orders new minister to develop environmental protection strategy”Interfax-Ukraine. May 3, 2012. Retrieved September 18,2018.
  4. Jump up to:ab “VIP-клієнти Миколи Злочевського (розслідування)”Radio Svoboda (in Ukrainian). February 2, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Kupfer, Mark (April 13, 2018). “11 people control much of Ukraine’s oil and gas sector”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Bullough, Oliver (April 12, 2017). “The money machine: how a high-profile corruption investigation fell apart”The Guardian. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Timtchenko, Ilya (January 8, 2015). “Prosecutors put Zlochevsky, multimillionaire ex-ecology minister, on wanted list”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Gorchinskaya, Katya; Andrushko, Serhiy (July 31, 2015). “Former Ukrainian Official On The Lam In Alligator Shoes?”VOA. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  9. ^ “11 politically exposed persons own a quarter of all permits for extraction of oil and gas in Ukraine –Report: Who Owns the Oil and Gas Fields of Ukraine?”Anticorruption Action Centre. April 13, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  10. Jump up to:ab “Burisma: all cases against group and group’s president Zlochevsky in Ukraine closed”Interfax-Ukraine. December 1, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  11. ^ “Zlochevsky’s Brociti Investments formalizing control over two oil and gas companies”Interfax-Ukraine. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  12. ^ “Burisma Holdings”PEP.ua.org. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  13. Jump up to:abc Liliya Hryshko. Lifehack from Zlochevsky, how to return to Ukraine (Лайфхак від Злочевського – як повернутись в Україну). Deutsche Welle. 7 February 2017
  14. Jump up to:ab Roman Olearchyk; Max Seddon (29 September 2019). “Ukraine gas company feels heat of US impeachment probe”Financial Times. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  15. ^ “Media: Ex-Minister of Ecology from the Yanukovych administration returned to Ukraine”. UA Wire. February 3, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Sukhov, Oleg (April 20, 2018). “Onyshchenko releases alleged recording implicating Poroshenko, Zlochevsky in graft”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  17. ^ “Ukraine’s presidential administration calls Onyshchenko recordings about Zlochevsky fake”Interfax-Ukraine. April 19, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  18. ^ Romanyshyn, Yuliana (June 16, 2018). “Court reinstates case against Mykola Zlochevsky”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.

External links

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

Gordon Sondland

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Gordon Sondland
Gordon Sondland official photo.jpg
United States Ambassador to the European Union
Assumed office
July 9, 2018
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Anthony L. Gardner
Personal details
Born
Gordon David Sondland

1957 (age 61–62)
SeattleWashington, U.S.

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Katherine Durant
Education University of Washington (BA)

Gordon D. Sondland (born 1957)[1] is the United States Ambassador to the European Union.[2] He is also the founder and chairman of Provenance Hotels and co-founder of the merchant bank Aspen Capital. He was a major donor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and testified to Congress in the Trump–Ukraine scandal.

Career

Provenance Hotels

Sondland’s company, Provenance Hotels, owns and manages hotels throughout the United States, including the Hotel Max and Hotel Theodore in Seattle, Washington; Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Washington; Hotel deLuxe, Hotel Lucia, Sentinel, Dossier, and Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon; The Hotel Preston in Nashville, Tennessee; and Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery in New Orleans, Louisiana.[3]

In 1998, Sondland purchased and redeveloped four hotels in Seattle, Portland, and Denver including Seattle’s Alexis Hotel in partnership with Bill Kimpton. Sondland also is a principal in Seattle’s Paramount Hotel.[4][5]Through Provenance Hotels, Sondland is developing hotel projects throughout the US, including in SeattleHermosa Beach, CA and Los Angeles, CA. Provenance Hotels specializes in adaptations of old buildings such as with the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA, which used to be a conference Sheraton, but now includes glass art by 46 artists including Seattle’s Dale Chihuly.[6] Provenance is also known for designing or remodeling each hotel around themes that contain elements that relate to a location’s history, art, culture, and local businesses.[7]

In 2013, Sondland and Provenance completed a renovation of Portland’s historic Governor Hotel, renaming it Sentinel.[8] In December 2015, Sondland and Provenance announced the establishment of the company’s first real estate investment fund, Provenance Hotel Partners Fund I. The $525 million fund was created specifically for hotel real estate investment and, at the time of its announcement, was the fourth largest fund ever launched in the state of Oregon.[9]

In 2017, Provenance Hotels expanded its practice of revitalizing and rebranding hotels with locally-inspired art and design as a service to other hoteliers.[10]

United States ambassador to the European Union

Sondland at the United States–EU Energy Council meeting in Brussels on July 12, 2018

Sondland donated $1 million to the inaugural committee of Donald Trump.[11] On March 12, 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump selected Sondland to be the next United States ambassador to the European Union.[12] On May 10, 2018, the White House announced that Sondland’s nomination had been sent to the U.S. Senate.[13] He was confirmed by the Senate on June 28, 2018.[2] On July 9, 2018, Sondland presented his credentials at the European Commission and to President of the European Council Donald Tusk.[14]

Sondland’s nomination received bipartisan support during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 21, 2018.[15] Both Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) testified in support of Sondland.[16] Sen. Wyden suggested that Sondland’s “family history is both fascinating and instructive as to why he has the experience and understanding to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the E.U.,” noting how his Jewish parents fled Nazi Germany before coming to the United States.[15][17]

As ambassador, Sondland has made strengthening US-EU trade relations a top priority.[18] He has supported using a strong US-EU economic partnership to counter what Sondland has called “economic aggression and unfair trade practices” from China.[19][20] In pursuit of this end, Sondland has promoted the idea of giving European governments access to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to allow them to better screen investors.[18]

Sondland has also pledged to work with the EU to address global security threats.[21] He has been the Trump Administration’s lead in talks with EU member countries on the U.S.’s decertification and withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal.[22][23] Sondland has repeatedly criticized EU member countries’ creation of a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) to bypass reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, calling the SPV a “paper tiger.”[22][24][25]

Sondland has also been a vocal opponent of the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would transport gas across the Baltic Sea to the EU.[26] He has argued that the pipeline would leave the EU dependent upon Russia for its energy needs and increase Russia’s leverage on key U.S. allies in NATO.[27] Sondland argued that “Putin uses energy as a political weapon. The EU should not rely on a bare-chested version of the Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort as a supplier, even if his gas is a bit cheaper.”[28]

Sondland has also worked on data protection rules regarding U.S. compliance with the EU-US privacy shield.[29]

Trump–Ukraine scandal

Gordon Sondland as part of the U.S. delegation at the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky.

On September 26, 2019, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the unclassified text of the whistleblower complaint regarding the interactions between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.[30] In this document, Ambassador Sondland, along with the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Ambassador Kurt Volker, were described as having “provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy”.[31] After further investigation, The Washington Post concluded that Sondland had “seized control of the Ukraine portfolio to help Trump.”[32]

In the complaint released by the US Select committee on Intelligence, Sondland’s involvement in President Donald Trump’s alleged criminal activity was outlined in a text conversation with the interim US chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor:

[9/9/2019, 12:47:11 AM] Bill Taylor: As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.

[9/9/2019, 5:19:35 AM] Gordon Sondland: Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly. Thanks.[33]

It took Sondland approximately 5 hours to reply to Taylor’s text message, and it was later revealed that Sondland had called Trump prior to writing a response, in which the president repeated the phrase “no quid pro quo” several times.[34]

On October 8, the Trump administration attempted to block Sondland from testifying in the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.[35] Sondland testified October 17, 2019.[36][37][38][39][40][41]

On November 5, the New York Times reported that Sondland had provided updated testimony stating that he did in fact view delivery of the aid package as contingent upon the Ukrainian government publicly opening the anticorruption investigation desired by the Trump administration. According to the testimony, he relayed this position to Ukrainian government officials.[42]

Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council staff Fiona Hill viewed Sondland as a U.S. national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job, but did not accuse Sondland of acting maliciously or intentionally putting the country at risk, describing him during impeachment testimony as a Trump donor-turned-ambassador.[43]

Political involvement

Sondland was a member of the transition team for Oregon Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski‘s administration and was appointed by Kulongoski to serve on the board of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television.[44] He was appointed the commission’s chair in 2002 and has served in that capacity until 2015.[45] During his tenure on the film board, Sondland was instrumental in bringing the production of such television series as LeverageThe Librarians and Grimm to Oregon[46] and presided over the state securing the production of feature-length films such as Wild starring Reese Witherspoon, Thumbsucker starring Tilda Swinton and The Ring Two starring Naomi Watts. At the 2015 Oregon Film Annual Governor’s Awards, Sondland received the “Achievement in Film Service Award” for his role in growing Oregon’s film industry.[47]

Sondland also served as Oregon liaison to the White House. As an advisor to Kulongoski, Sondland suggested appointing Ted Wheeler as state treasurer, which Kulongoski did in 2010.[48] In 2007 President George W. Bush appointed Sondland as a member of the Commission on White House Fellows.[49] Sondland collaborated with President Bush and Jay Leno on an annual charitable auction of an autographed vehicle, with proceeds benefitting the Fisher House Foundation and the George W. Bush Foundation’s Military Service Initiative.[50] He was a bundler for Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign, and in 2012, Sondland was selected to serve as a member of Mitt Romney‘s presidential transition team.[1]

During the 2016 United States presidential election, Sondland initially supported Donald Trump, but cancelled a fundraiser and repudiated Trump for his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan.[1] In April 2017, it was revealed that 4 companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump inaugural committee.[51][52][53]

Philanthropy

Sondland is a former member of the board of trustees at the Oregon Health & Science University foundation.[44]

Sondland founded the Gordon Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation in 1999, which was established to “help families and boost communities”; it has given money to various non-profits including $1,000,000 to the Portland Art Museum to endow permanent access for children under the age of eighteen.[54] The Foundation helped establish a Distinguished Chair in Spine for pediatric orthopedic spine research at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 2012.[citation needed] In 2014, the Foundation gave a $1,000,000 endowment to Oregon Health & Science University to establish the Sondland-Durant Distinguished Research Conference, a cancer research summit to begin in 2016.[55] In 2017, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University was created with the support of the Foundation.[citation needed]

Personal life

Sondland was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Frieda (Piepsch) and Gunther Sondland.[56] He is married to Katherine Durant, who is the founder and managing partner of Atlas/RTG, a holding company with a portfolio of shopping centers throughout Oregon.[citation needed] Sondland is Jewish.[15][17] Until 2016, Durant was the Chairperson of the Oregon Investment Council, the body that oversees the over $85 billion Public Employees Retirement System Fund.[57] They have two children.

See also

References…

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

Memorandum of conversation

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Example: Memorandum of conversation of meeting led by Brent Scowcroft (1976)

Memorandum of conversation (abbrev.: MEMCON) and also memorandum of a conversation and memo to the file refers to a method of contemporaneous documentation of a conversation in the form of a memorandum used by the United States federal government.[1][2]

The Weekly Standard characterized the use of the tactic in the U.S. government as among “the most basic ways of Washington”.[2]

 

Method

Typically an individual will document the events of the conversation as soon as possible after the occurrence.[1] All material statements and discussed items are quoted and described as accurately as possible soon after the discussion and filed for future reference.[1] Memcons function as documentation of historical events, such as conversations between heads of state and law enforcement officials.[3] Specific developments discussed, the time of the meeting, location, and individuals in attendance are all documented in-depth within the memo.[1][2]

United States Department of Justice attorneys and Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents commonly make use of memoranda of conversation.[1] A majority of intermediate-rank managerial staff and bureaucrats within the U.S. federal government consistently make use of the method. The creation of a memorandum of understanding allows federal employees to memorialize and keep a record of their conversations and transactions.[2]

Memoranda to file are used in investigations in the private sector. For example, the fraud unit of a large corporation may use memoranda to file, to report individual interviews and significant telephone conversations. Generally, “the memorandum will show the name of the author, date of preparation, the case name or number, and the specific subject covered. It will also contain the detailed narrative of the event, interview, or other investigative activity described and should be written as close in time as circumstances permit to those events.”[4]

History

Former Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and subsequently Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Brent Scowcroft, who served as such in the U.S. presidential administration of Gerald R. Ford, kept copious documentation of his meetings in the form of memorandum of conversation.[3] He would take handwritten notes, and immediately have them transcribed in typewritten format with the assistance of his staff from the United States National Security Council.[3] The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum contains over 1,000 such memorandum of conversation documents relating to the Presidency of Richard Nixon and Presidency of Gerald Ford, mainly related to national security of the United States.[3]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c d e O’Donnell, Lawrence (May 16, 2017), “MEMCON”, The Last Word with Lawrence O’DonnellMSNBC
  2. Jump up to:a b c d Felten, Eric (May 17, 2017), “A Brief History of the ‘Memo to the FileThe Weekly Standard
  3. Jump up to:a b c d “Summary Description”National Security Adviser. Memoranda of Conversations, 1973-1977Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, retrieved May 17, 2017
  4. ^ Sennewald, Charles A.; Tsukayama, John K. (2015), The Process of Investigation: Concepts and Strategies for Investigators in the Private Sector (4th ed.), Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 189–90, ISBN 978-0128001660

External links

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

Story 3: United States Withdrawing From Paris Climate Accord Agreement — Videos

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Mike Pompeo formally starts process of leaving the Paris climate change treaty – with U.S. due out the day AFTER the 2020 election

  • Mike Pompeo formally starts process of removing the U.S. from the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty
  • Donald Trump had announced that he would pull out of it  shortly after his election but this is first legal opportunity to start process of getting out
  • State Department wrote formal letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres
  • That started the clock on a process that would be completed one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election, on November 4, 2020

The United States has begun the process of pulling out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement, it was announced Monday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he submitted a formal notice to the United Nations. That starts a withdrawal process that does not become official for a year. His statement touted America’s carbon pollution cuts and called the Paris deal an ‘unfair economic burden’ to the U.S. economy.

Nearly 200 nations signed the climate deal in which each country provides its own goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that lead to climate change.

‘In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model – backed by a record of real world results – showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy,’ Pompeo said in a statement.

The U.S. started the process with a hand-delivered letter, becoming the only country to withdraw. The United Nations will soon set out procedural details for what happens next, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Agreement rules prevented any country from pulling out in the first three years after the Nov. 4, 2016, ratification. The U.S. withdrawal doesn’t become complete until the day after the 2020 election.

President Donald Trump has been promising withdrawal for two years, but Monday was the first time he could actually do it.

Out: Donald Trump's administration formally started the process of leaving the Paris Climate accord signed by Obama in 2015

Out: Donald Trump’s administration formally started the process of leaving the Paris Climate accord signed by Obama in 2015

Opposed: Mike Pompeo was on the receiving end of criticism for his decision to pull the U.S. out of Paris, with one environmentalist group saying the next president will have to rejoin it+4

Opposed: Mike Pompeo was on the receiving end of criticism for his decision to pull the U.S. out of Paris, with one environmentalist group saying the next president will have to rejoin it

Opposed: Mike Pompeo was on the receiving end of criticism for his decision to pull the U.S. out of Paris, with one environmentalist group saying the next president will have to rejoin it

Trump’s decision was condemned as a reckless failure of leadership by environmental experts, activists and critics such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

‘Donald Trump is the worst president in history for our climate and our clean air and water,’ said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. ‘Long after Trump is out of office his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement will be seen as a historic error.’

The agreement set goals of preventing another 0.9 degrees (0.5 degrees Celsius) to 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from current levels. Even the pledges made in 2015 weren’t enough to prevent those levels of warming.

The deal calls for nations to come up with more ambitious pollution cuts every five years, starting in November 2020. Because of the expected withdrawal, the U.S. role in 2020 negotiations will be reduced, experts said.

Climate change, largely caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas, has already warmed the world by 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) since the late 1800s, caused massive melting of ice globally, triggered weather extremes and changed ocean chemistry. And scientists say, depending on how much carbon dioxide is emitted, it will only get worse by the end of the century, with temperatures jumping by several degrees and oceans rising by close to 3 feet (1 meter).

Trump has been promising to pull out of the Paris deal since 2017, often mischaracterizing the terms of the agreement, which are voluntary. In October, he called it a massive wealth transfer from America to other nations and said it was one-sided.

That’s not the case, experts said.

The European Union’s goal was to cut carbon pollution in 2030 by 40% compared with 1990 levels, which is greater than America’s pledge, said Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor and chairman of the Global Carbon Project. The United Kingdom has already exceeded that goal, he said.

Many critics of the Paris agreement say America is the leader in cutting carbon emissions, but that’s not true.

Since 2005, the United States isn’t in the top 10 in percentage of greenhouse gas emission reductions. The United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Greece, the Czech Republic and other nations have done better, said Jackson, who tracks emissions.

‘The U.S. agreement is not a tax on the American people. There is no massive wealth transfer,’ said Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis, who was a lead State Department climate negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. ‘In fact, the agreement obligates no country to make any financial payments.’

It will be inconvenient: Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope. 'No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,' he said

It will be inconvenient: Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope. ‘No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,’ he said

Pompeo said U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13% from 2005 to 2017 ‘even as our economy grew over 19 percent.’

Then, in 2018, carbon dioxide emissions increased 2.7%, according to the Energy Information Administration, mostly due to extreme weather and the economy.

The reason for the long-term emissions drop is because the U.S. is using less coal and has tightened air quality standards, while Trump is pushing for more coal and loosening those standards, said Michael Gerrard, who heads Columbia Law School’s climate change legal center.

For the U.S. – the second biggest carbon polluter – to be in line with Paris goals greenhouse gas emissions have to drop 80%, not 13%, Gerrard said.

‘The Trump Administration’s abandonment of action on climate change gives other countries an excuse not to act either. They ask – if the richest country, the one that has contributed the most to the load of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, isn’t willing to act, why should we?’ Gerrard said. ‘If someone other than Donald Trump is elected, he or she will almost certainly rejoin Paris, and the rest of the world will welcome us back with open arms.’

Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope.

‘No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,’ Gore said. ‘But those who try will be remembered for their complacency, complicity, and mendacity in attempting to sacrifice the planet for their greed.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7649093/US-tells-UN-bidding-adieu-Paris-climate-deal.html

U.S. Formally Begins To Leave The Paris Climate Agreement

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1344, October 18, 2019, Story 1: Five Day Cease Fire or Pause Before Turkey Genocide of Kurds in Syrian Buffer Zone? — 200,000 Civilians Fled Zone — Massive Prison Break of Islamic State Possible as Kurds Flee — Long Range Consequences of United States Interventionist Foreign Policy: Million of Refugees and Deaths — Regime Change Roulette — Videos — Story 2: Britain Finally Has European Union Divorce Agreement But Will Parliament Approve Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal? — Videos –Story 3: Hillary Clinton Rampant Russian Delusions, Lying and Paranoia — Russia Dumped Hillary Clinton for Tulsi Gabbard As The Russian Choice For Their Candidate in 2020? — In Your Guts You Know Hillary Gone Nuts —  Videos — Story 4: Trump Dazzles Dallas — Videos

Posted on October 25, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, European History, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, Military Spending, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Nerve Gas, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, Pro Abortion, Pro Life, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rifles, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Spying, Success, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Tulsi Gabbard, Turkey, Unemployment, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: FIve Day Cease Fire or Pause Before Turkey Genocide of Kurds in Syrian Buffer Zone? — 200,000 Civilians Fled Zone — Massive Prison Break of Islamic State Possible as Kurds Flee — Long Range Consequences of United States Interventionist Foreign Policy: Million of Refugees and Deaths — Regime Change Roulette — Videos —

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Syria, Turkey, Kurds, ISIS & Trump & Putin, and how the Middle East unravelled in murderous chaos

Turkey in northern Syria explained

The US, Daesh and the PKK: Explaining Turkey’s operation in Syria

Turkey backed Syrian forces move into Tal Abyad

Turkish, Kurdish forces accuse each other of violating cease-fire

How the Kurds became a key player in Syria’s war

The PKK explained

The PKK-YPG connection

The Kurds

The Kurds: The Most Famous Unknown People in the World | Stephen Mansfield | TEDxNashville

Turkish and Kurdish forces clash despite ceasefire

Syria: Kurds’ fury as Trump orders US troop withdrawal

War in Syria: Can the Kurdish forces fight back?

Turkey invades Syria: Who are the players and what do they want? | DW News

What’s next for the Kurds? | ITV News

Why the world is worried about Turkey

PBS NewsHour West live show October 18, 2019

Top U.S. & World Headlines — October 18, 2019

Bashar al-Assad: ‘Turkey will pay a heavy price’ for Syrian involvement

Al-Assad’s troops enter northern towns to confront offensive

Assad forces are moving into towns and villages once held by the Kurds | ITV News

Race to the border: Syrian Kurds call in Assad against Turkey offensive

An Interview with PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan

The war against Assad in Syria

Civil war in Syria has already claimed the lives of more than 60.000 people. The prospect that there will soon be an end to the murdering is bad. “Assad listens to no one”, suggests Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when describing his experiences with the Syrian president. The former UN negotiator Kofi Annan, who attempted to mediate between the fronts for several months, always had the feeling that “Assad will not accept reality”. At the same time, Annan makes the USA and the Syrian opposition jointly responsible for the disaster: “Those calling for Assad to resign as a precondition for talks make negotiations impossible”. In an exclusive interview, Syria’s President, Bashar al Assad, defended attacks by his air force on rebels in Syrian cities, which also massively effect his own people, said: “We have to defend ourselves as the tactics of the enemy force us to”. In the same interview, which was recorded at the end of 2012 for this documentary,

Assad also made “foreign terrorists responsible for the situation in his country”. In his documentary, Grimme award winner Hubert Seipel analyses the dangerous situation in Syria. Apart from his meeting with Assad, he conducted exclusive interviews with Kofi Annan and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Seipel illuminated a conflict in which not only Kalashnikovs and missiles, but also the Internet plays the central role in public opinion. “False information and psychological warfare make up a very large part of the Syrian Civil War. It is significantly worse than in previous wars that I had ever been involved in”, added Kofi Annan, describing the massive disinformation. Whoever has control of the images of war, has the power to influence political decisions. Massacre marketing is a powerful weapon.

Frontline – The Battle for Syria

2012 documentary on the Syrian Civil War by Frontline

The Boy who started the Syrian War | Featured Documentary

The Cost of the Syrian War

Syria’s child refugees: ‘You feel that they have lost their hearts

Syrians Return Home After Humiliating Refugee-Life in Europe | The Quint

The Ingraham Angle 10/18/19 | Fox Breaking News Laura Ingraham October 18, 2019

Rand Paul Discusses Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Syria | The View

Neoconservatives vs. America: A Critique of U.S. Foreign Policy Since 9/11

Ron Paul: Americans Are Forced to Pay for U.S. Government’s Interventionist Foreign Policy

Ron Paul’s 2003 House speech about the danger of neoconservatism

 

Kurdistan Workers’ Party

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Kurdistan Workers’ Party
Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê (PKK)
Leader Cemîl Bayik and Besê Hozat [tr]
Founded 1978; 41 years ago
Headquarters Qandil Mountains
Paramilitary wing People’s Defence Forces(HPG)
Free Women’s Units (YJA-STAR)
Ideology Kurdish nationalism[1]
Communalism
Democratic confederalism[2]
Libertarian socialism[3]
Jineology
Anti-capitalism
National affiliation Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement (HBDH)
International affiliation Kurdistan Communities Union(KCK)
Website
www.pkkonline.org
People’s Defence Forces
Hêzên Parastina Gel (HPG)
Leader(s)
Foundation 1984[8]
Dates of operation 1984–present
Motives Cultural & political rights for the Kurdish population in Turkey.[9]
Active region(s) Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran
Ideology Libertarian socialism
Democratic confederalism
Communalism[10]
Notable attacks 1984 PKK attacks
May 24, 1993 PKK ambush
2011 Hakkâri attack
Status Ongoing war with Turkey, after ceasefire ended.[11][12]
Size Over 32,800 active fighters (2015 Turkish claim)[13]
Website www.hezenparastin.com
Free Women’s Units
Yekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star (YJA-STAR)
Foundation 2004
Dates of operation 2004–present[14]
Active region(s) Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran
Ideology Libertarian socialism
Democratic confederalism
Socialism
Communalism[10]
Status Ongoing war with Turkey, after ceasefire ended.[11][12][15]
Website www.yja-star.com/ku/

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK (KurdishPartiya Karkerên Kurdistanê‎, TurkishKürdistan İşçi Partisi [a]) is a Kurdish militant and political organization based in Turkey and Iraq, broadly considered as a terrorist group. Since 1984 the PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state (with cease-fires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015), with the initial aim of achieving an independent Kurdish state. The PKK has in March 2016 vowed to overthrow the Turkish “fascist AKP” government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, through the ‘Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement‘.[16] For different reasons, the PKK has been designated as “terrorist” organization by Turkey,[17] the United States, the European Union, and Japan.[18]

The PKK was founded in 1978 in the village of Fis (near Lice) by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan[19] and 1979 it made its existence known to the public.[20] The PKK’s ideology was originally a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, seeking the foundation of an independent Communist state in the region, which was to be known as Kurdistan. The initial reasons given by the PKK for this were the oppression of Kurds in Turkey and capitalism.[21][22] By then, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas.[23] The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan“, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government.[failed verification][24] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life.[25] Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed.[26] The PKK was then formed, as part of a growing discontent over the suppression of Turkey’s ethnic Kurds, in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish minority.[27]

Since the PKK’s foundation, it has been involved in armed clashes with Turkish security forces. The full-scale insurgency, however, did not begin until 15 August 1984, when the PKK announced a Kurdish uprising. Since the conflict began, more than 40,000 have died, most of whom were Kurdish civilians through Turkish military actions.[28]

In 1999, PKK leader Öcalan was captured and imprisoned.[29] In May 2007, former members of the PKK helped form the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation of Kurds from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. In 2013, the PKK declared a ceasefire agreement and began slowly withdrawing its fighters to the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq as part of the solution process between the Turkish state and the Kurdish minority.

Since July 2015, when the ceasefire broke down,[30] violent actions inside Turkey from the government against the PKK and vice versa kept occurring, supplemented with Turkish military action in 2018 against PKK fighters in Iraq, and both in January 2018 and October 2019 against Kurdish political groups (PYD) and forces (YPG and YPJ) in Syria which according to Turkey and some observers[31] are strongly tied to the PKK (see ‘clashing’ details in: Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present)#2015–present).

Contents

History

PKK supporters at 2003 march opposing the Iraq War, London

In the early 1970s, the organization’s core group was made up largely of students led by Abdullah Öcalan (“Apo“) in Ankara. By then, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas.[23] In an attempt to deny their existence, the Turkish government categorized Kurds as “Mountain Turks” until 1991.[23][32][33][34] The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan“, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government.[24] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life.[25] Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned.[26] The PKK was then formed, as part of a growing discontent over the suppression of Turkey’s ethnic Kurds, in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish minority.[27] The group focused to the large oppressed Kurdish population in south-east Turkey. A meeting on 25 November 1978, in a tea house near Diyarbakır is considered the founding meeting.[35] On 27 November 1978, the group adopted the name Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Espousing a Marxist ideology, the group took part in violent conflicts with right-wing entities as a part of the political chaos in Turkey at the time. The group tried to assassinate the Kurdish tribal leader Mehmet Celal Bucak in 1979. According to the PKK sources, he was exploiting the peasants, and collaborated with Turkey in oppressing the Kurds. It is believed that this marked a period of intense urban warfare among other political elements.

Turkish sources claimed that the 1980 Turkish coup d’état pushed the organization to another stage, with members being executed, doing jail time, being subject to capital punishment, or fleeing to Syria. On 10 November 1980, it was claimed that the PKK bombed the Turkish Consulate in Strasbourg, France in a joint operation with the Armenian radical group ASALA, which they claimed as the beginning of a “fruitful collaboration.”[36] The PKK didn’t take responsibility despite a numerous of accusations.

Starting in 1984, the PKK transformed into a paramilitary group, using training camps in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and France. At the same time, some of its members started to get training by the members of the Palestine Liberation Organization who themselves were trained by Soviet personnel in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in Syrian-controlled camps. According to the U. S. government reports, the PKK received significant support by Syria, which allowed it to maintain headquarters in Damascus, as well as by Iran, Iraq, and Libya. It later began to launch attacks and bombings against Turkish governmental installations, the military, and various institutions of the state. The organization focused on attacks against Turkish military targets in Turkey, although civilian targets were also hit. The group started to gain publicity after committing political killings and massacres.[37][38][39][40]

From the mid-1990s, the organization began to lose the upper hand in its operations as a consequence of a change of tactics by Turkey and Syria’s steady abandonment of support for the group. The group also had lost its support from Saddam Hussein.[41] At the same time, the government started to use more violent methods to counter Kurdish militants. From 1996 to 1999, the organization began to use suicide bombers, VBIED and ambush attacks against military and police bases. The role of suicide bombers, especially female ones were encouraged and mythologised by giving them the status of a “goddess of freedom”, and shown as role models for other women after their death. On 30 July 1996, Zeynep Kınacı, a female PKK fighter, carried out the organization’s first suicide attack, killing 8 soldiers and injuring 29 others. The attacks against the civilians, especially the Kurdish citizens who refused to cooperate with them were also reported at the same years. On 20 January 1999, a report published by HRW, stated that the PKK was believed to have been responsible for more than 768 executions. The organization had also reportedly committed 25 massacres, killing more than 300 people. More than hundred victims were children and women.[42][42][43][44][45]

The Kurdish–Turkish conflict was in its peak in the 1990s until the leader of the organization, Abdullah Öcalan, was captured, prosecuted and sentenced to death, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment as part of the government’s seeking European Union membership.[46] In the late 1990s, Turkey increased the pressure and the undeclared war between Turkey and Syria ended open Syrian support.[47][48]

The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for human rights abuses during the conflict.[49][50] Some judgements are related to executions of Kurdish civilians,[51] torturing,[52] forced displacements,[53]destroyed villages,[54][55][56] arbitrary arrests,[57] murdered and disappeared Kurdish journalists, activists and politicians.[58][59][60] As a result of increasing Kurdish population and activism, the Turkish parliament began a controlled process of dismantling some anti-Kurdish legislation, using the term “normalization” or “rapprochement,” depending on the sides of the issue. It partially relaxed the bans on broadcasting and publishing in the Kurdish language, although significant barriers remain.[61] At the same time, the PKK was blacklisted in many countries. On 2 April 2004, the Council of the European Union added the PKK to its list of terrorist organizations. Later that year, the US Treasury moved to freeze assets of branches of the organization. The PKK went through a series of changes, and in 2003 it ended the unilateral truce declared when Öcalan was captured.[62]

On 20 March 2016, the PKK announced the establishment of Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement, a coalition of MaoistsMarxists-Leninists, Apoists, Communists and Hoxhaistswhich aim to attain “democracy and a free future” for “peoples against Imperialism, Capitalism, Chauvinism, Fascism and Racism”, by working towards the overthrow of the ruling AKP government, who they deem collaborative fascist.[63]

Ideology, aims

The organization originated in the 1970s from the radical left and drew its membership from other existing leftist groups, mainly Dev-Genç.[64]:127 During the 1980s, the movement included and cooperated with other ethnic groups, including ethnic Turks, who were following the radical left.[64]:127[64]:129 The organization initially presented itself as part of the worldwide communist revolution. Its aims and objectives have evolved over time towards the goal of national autonomy,[65] and democratic confederalism.[66][67][68]

Around 1995, the PKK ostensibly changed its aim from independence to a demand for equal rights and Kurdish autonomy within the Turkish state,[69][70][71] though all the while hardly suspending their military attacks on the Turkish state except for ceasefires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015. In 1995, Öcalan said: “We are not insisting on a separate state under any condition. What we are calling for very openly is a state model where a people’s basic economic, cultural, social, and political rights are guaranteed”.[70]

Whilst this shift in the mid-nineties has been interpreted as one from a call for independence to an autonomous republic,[72] some scholars have concluded that the PKK still maintains independence as the ultimate goal, but through society-building rather than state-building.[73][74]

Nevertheless, the PKK has in March 2016 also vowed to overthrow the Turkish government of Erdoğan, through the ‘Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement‘.[75]

The organization has adapted the new Democratic confederalist views of its arrested leader, which aim to replace the United NationsCapitalism and Nation State with the Democratic Federalism which is described as a “system of popularly elected administrative councils, allowing local communities to exercise autonomous control over their assets, while linking to other communities via a network of confederal councils.[76]

Followers of Öcalan and members of the PKK are known, after his diminutive name, as Apocu (Apo-ites) under his movement, Apoculuk (Apoism).[77]

Organization

The PKK has multiple heads in various countries, such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia and West European countries.[78] However, Abdullah Öcalan was the unchallenged leader of the organization. After the capture of Öcalan, authorities induced him to publicly plead for a ceasefire.[79] Though serving life imprisonment, Öcalan is still considered the honorary leader and figurehead of the organization.[80]

Murat Karayılan led the organization from 1999 to 2013. In 2013 Cemil Bayik and Besê Hozat assumed as the first joint leadership.[81] Cemil Bayik, beside Abdullah Öcalan, Kesire Yildirim Öcalan and Haki Karer was one of the core leaders. The organization appointed “Doctor Bahoz,” the nom de guerre of Fehman Huseyin, a Syrian Kurd, in charge of the movement’s military operations signifying the long-standing solidarity among Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan.[82]

Wings[

Umbrella organization

In 1985, the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (KurdishEniye Rizgariye Navata Kurdistan‎, ERNK) was established by the PKK as its popular front wing, with the role of both creating propaganda for the party, and as an umbrella organization for PKK organizations in different segments of the Kurdish population, such as the peasantry, workers, youth, and women. It was dissolved in 1999, after the capture of Abdullah Öcalan.[83][84]

Armed wing

The PKK has an armed wing, originally formed in 1984 as the Kurdistan Freedom Brigades (KurdishHazen Rizgariya Kurdistan‎, HRK),[85] renamed to the People’s Liberation Army of Kurdistan (KurdishArteshen Rizgariya Gelli Kurdistan‎, ARGK) in 1986,[83] and again renamed to the People’s Defense Forces (KurdishHêzên Parastina Gel‎, HPG) in 1999.[86]

Women’s armed wing

The Free Women’s Units of Star (KurdishYekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star‎,[87] YJA-STAR) was established in 2004 as the women’s armed wing of the PKK, emphasizing the issue of women’s liberation.[14]

Training camps

The first training camps were established in 1982 in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and also in Beqaa Valley with the support of the Syrian government.[88][89] After the Iran-Iraq war and the Kurdish civil war, the PKK moved all its camps to Northern Iraq in 1998. The PKK had also completely moved to Qandil Mountains from Beqaa Valley, under intensive pressure, after Syria expelled Öcalan and shut down all camps established in the region.[89] At the time, Northern Iraq was experiencing a vacuum of control after the Gulf War-related Operation Provide Comfort. Instead of a single training camp which could be easily destroyed, the organization created many small camps. During this period the organization set up a fully functioning enclave with training camps, storage facilities, and reconnaissance and communications centers.

In 2007, the organization was believed to have camps strung out through the mountains that straddle the border between Turkey and Iraq, including in Sinaht, Haftanin, Kanimasi and Zap.[90] The organization developed two types of camps. The mountain camps, located in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, are used as forward bases from which militants carry out attacks against Turkish military bases. The units deployed there are highly mobile and the camps have only minimal infrastructure.[90] The other permanent camps, in the Qandil Mountains of Iraq, have more developed infrastructure—including a field hospital, electricity generators and a large proportion of the PKK’s lethal and non-lethal supplies.[90] The organization is also using the Qandil mountain camps for its political activities.

It was claimed in 2004 that there was another political training camp in Belgium, evidence that the organization had used training camps in Europe for political and ideological training.[91]

Political representation

The organization had sympathizer parties in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey beginning in the early 1990s. The establishment of direct links to the organization has been a question. In sequence HEP/DEP/HADEP/DEHAP/DTP and the BDP, which later changed its name to Democratic Regions Party (DBP) on 11 July 2014,[92] as well as the HDP have been accused of sympathizing with the PKK, since they have refused to brand it as a terrorist group.

Political organizations established in Turkey are banned from propagating or supporting separatism. Several political parties supporting Kurdish rights have been allegedly banned on this pretext. The constitutional court claimed to find direct links between the HEP/DEP/HADEP and the PKK. In 2008 the DTP-party was prosecuted by the constitutional court. It is reported that Turkey has used the PKK as an excuse to close Kurdish political parties.

Turkish-Kurdish politician and conspiracist Abdülmelik Fırat had claimed the Democratic Society Party (DTP) was founded by the PKK, and that 80 percent of Kurds do not vote for this party.[93] Senior DTP leaders maintain that they support a unified Turkey within a democratic framework. Aysel Tuğluk published an article in Radikal in May 2007 as the co-president of DTP, to prove that claim.[94]

Several parliamentarians and other elected representatives have been jailed for speaking in Kurdish, carrying Kurdish colors or otherwise allegedly “promoting separatism”, most famous among them being Leyla Zana.[95] The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for arresting and executing Kurdish writers, journalists and politicians in numerous occasions. Between 1990 and 2006 Turkey was condemned to pay 33 million euros in damages in 567 cases. The majority of the cases were related to events that took place in southeastern Anatolia[96] Politicians of the HDP are often accused and prosecuted for being members of the PKK.[97] In Iraq the political party Tevgera Azadî is said to have close to the PKK.[98]

Alleged links with Turkish intelligence

During the controversial Ergenekon trials in Turkey, allegations have been made that the PKK is linked to elements of the Turkish intelligence community.

Şamil Tayyar, author and member of the ruling AK Party, claimed that Öcalan was released in 1972 after just three months’ detention on the initiative of the National Intelligence Organization (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT), and that his 1979 escape to Syria was aided by elements in MİT.[99] Öcalan has admitted making use of money given by the MIT to the PKK, which he says was provided as part of MIT efforts to control him.[100]

Former police special forces member Ayhan Çarkın alleged that the state, using the clandestine Ergenekon network, colluded with militant groups such as the PKK, Dev-Sol and Turkish Hezbollah, with the goal of profiting from the war.[101]

A witness to the trials testified that General Levent Ersöz, former head of JITEM, had frequent contact with PKK commander Cemîl Bayik.[102]

According to official figures, it was claimed that nearly 2000 PKK members became itirafçı (“confessors”) after their arrest. Some were persuaded or coerced to play an active role in the conflict, particularly under the direction of the Turkish Gendarmerie‘s unofficial JİTEMunit.[citation needed]

Activities

During its establishment in the mid-1970s, amid violent clashes country-wide, the organization used classic violent methods, such as the alleged failed assassination of Mehmet Celal Bucak as a propaganda-of-the-deed.[64] After the 1980 military coup, the organization developed into a paramilitary organization using resources it acquired in Syria, Russia, Europe and Beqaa Valley in part of ex-Syrian-controlled Lebanon. After 1984, PKK began also to use the Maoist theory of people’s war.[103][104]

The PKK has faced condemnation by some countries for executing civilians, using suicide bombers,[105][106] Child Soldiers[107] and involvement in drug trafficking.[108]

Political activity 1978–1984

In the first phase (1978–1984), the PKK tried to gain the support of the Kurdish population. It attacked the machinery of government and distributed propaganda in the region. PKK tactics were based on ambushsabotage, riots, protests, and demonstrations against the Turkish government. During these years, the PKK also fought a turf war against other radical Islamist Kurdish and Turkish organisations in Turkey. Turkish newspapers claimed that the PKK effectively used the prison force to gain appeal among the population which PKK has denied.[109][110] In the whole Turkey, this period was characterized by violent clashes which culminated in the 1980 military coup.

During this time, the organization argued that its violent actions against the government forces were explained by the need to defend Kurds in the context of what it considered as the massive cultural suppression of Kurdish identity (including the 1983 Turkish Language Act Ban) and cultural rights carried out by other governments of the region.[111] Turkey also used violent and oppressive methods against its Kurdish citizens to stop them supporting the PKK.

Armed rebellion 1984–1999

In the second phase (1984–1999), which followed the return of civilian rule in 1983, escalating attacks were made on the government’s military and vital institutions all over the country. The objective was to destabilize the Turkish authority through a long, low-intensity confrontation. In addition to skirmishing with Turkish military and police forces and local village guards, the PKK has conducted bomb attacks on government and police installations.[112] Kidnapping and assassination against government and military officials and Kurdish tribal leaders who were named as puppets of the state were performed as well. Widespread sabotages were continued from the first stage. Turkish sources had also claimed that the PKK carried out kidnappings of tourists, primarily in Istanbul, but also at different resorts. However, the PKK had in its history arrested 4 tourists and released them all after warning them to not enter the war zone. The vast majority of PKK’s actions have taken place mainly in Turkey against the Turkish military, although it has on occasions co-operated with other Kurdish nationalist paramilitary groups in neighboring states, such as Iraq and Iran.[113] The PKK has also attacked Turkish diplomatic and commercial facilities across Western Europe in the late 1980s. In effect, the Turkish state has led a series of counter-insurgency operations against the PKK, accompanied by political measures, starting with an explicit denunciation of separatism in the 1982 Constitution, and including proclamation of the state of emergency in various PKK-controlled territories starting in 1983 (when the military relinquished political control to the civilians). This series of administrative reforms against terrorism included in 1985 the creation of village guard system by the then prime minister Turgut Özal. Öcalan, in presence of PUK leader Jalal Talabani declared a unilateral cease fire in 1993, and said the PKK did not want to separate from Turkey, but Turkey did not respond to it.[114] Turkey was involved in serious human rights violations during the 1990s. The ECHR has condemned Turkey for executions of Kurdish civilians, torturing, forced displacements and massive arrests.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, in an effort to win increased support from the Kurdish peasantry, the PKK altered its leftist secular ideology to better accommodate and accept Islamic beliefs. The group also abandoned its previous strategy of attacking Kurdish and Turkish civilians who were against them, focusing instead on government and military targets.[115] In its campaign, the organization has been accused of carrying out atrocities against both Turkish and Kurdish civilians and its actions have been criticised by human rights groups such as Amnesty International[116] and Human Rights Watch[117][citation needed]. Similar actions of the Turkish state have also been criticized by these same groups.

Cease fire 1999–2004

The third phase (1999–2012), after the capture of Öcalan, PKK reorganized itself and new leaders were chosen by its members. The PKK wasn’t active between 2000 and 2003. The organization made radical changes to survive, such as changing its ideology and setting new goals. At the same time, the PKK continued to recruit new members and sustain its fighting force.

According to Turkish sources, in April 2002 at its 8th Party Congress, the PKK changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) and proclaimed a commitment to nonviolent activities in support of Kurdish rights. A PKK/KADEK spokesman stated that its armed wing, The People’s Defense Force, would not disband or surrender its weapons for reasons of self-defense. This statement by the PKK/KADEK avowing it would not lay down its arms underscores that the organization maintained its capability to carry out armed operations. PKK/KADEK established a new ruling council in April, its membership virtually identical to the PKK’s Presidential Council. The PKK/KADEK did not conduct an armed attack in 2002; however, the group periodically issued veiled threats that it will resume violence if the conditions of its imprisoned leader are not improved and its forces are attacked by Turkish military, and it continued its military training like before.

In November 2003, another congress was held which lead to renaming itself as the People’s Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK). The stated purpose of the organizational change was to leave behind nationalistic and state-building goals, in favor of creating a political structure to work within the existing nation-states.[118] Through further internal conflict during this period, it is claimed that 1500 militants left the organization,[118] along with many of the leading reformists, including Nizamettin Taş and Abdullah Öcalan‘s younger brother Osman Öcalan[119]

Second insurgency 2004–2012

Kongra-Gel called off the cease-fire at the start of June 2004, saying Turkish security forces had refused to respect the truce. Turkish security forces were increasingly involved in clashes with Kurdish separatist fighters. Ankara claimed that about 2,000 Kurdish fighters had crossed into Turkey from hideouts in mountainous northern Iraq in early June 2004.

While the fight against the Turkish security forces between 2004 and 2010 continued, the PKK and its ancillary organizations continued to enjoy substantial support among the Kurds of Turkey. In 2005, the original name of the organization PKK was restored, while the Kongra-Gel became the legislature of the Koma Komalên Kurdistan.[120][121] Turkey’s struggle against the Kongra-Gel/PKK was marked by increased clashes across Turkey in 2005. In the Southeast, Turkish security forces were active in the struggle against the Kongra-Gel/PKK. There were bombings and attempted bombings in resort areas in western Turkey and Istanbul, some of which resulted in civilian casualties. A radical Kurdish separatist group calling itself the Kurdish Freedom Hawks (TAK) claimed responsibility for many of these attacks. The TAK is a rival to PKK that since 2006 repeatedly damaged the PKK’s efforts to negotiate cease-fires and unlike the PKK, is seeking to establish independent Kurdistan.[122] In 2006 alone, the PKK claimed over 500 victims. In October 2006, the PKK allegedly declared a unilateral cease-fire that slowed the intensity and pace of its attacks, but attacks continued in response to Turkish security forces significant counterinsurgency operations, especially in the southeast. On 21 October 2011 Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced Iran would co-operate with Turkey in some military operations against the PKK.[123]

2012 was the most violent year in the armed conflict between the Turkish State and PKK since 1999. At least 541 individuals lost their lives as a result of the clashes including 316 militants and 282 soldiers. In contrast, 152 individuals lost their lives in 2009 until the Turkish government initiated negotiations with the PKK leadership.[124] The failure of this negotiations contributed to violence that were particularly intensified in 2012. The PKK encouraged by the rising power of the Syrian Kurds increased its attacks in the same year.

During the Syrian Civil War, the Kurds in Syria have established control over their own region with the help of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party as well as with support from the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil, under President Masoud Barzani.[125]

2013–15 Peace process

Demonstration in Paris for slain PKK workers

In late 2012, the Turkish government began secret talks with Öcalan for a ceasefire.[126] To facilitate talks, government officials transmitted letters between Öcalan in jail to PKK leaders in northern Iraq.[127] On 21 March 2013, a ceasefire was announced.[128] On 25 April, it was announced that the PKK would leave Turkey. Commander Murat Karayılan remarked “As part of ongoing preparations, the withdrawal will begin on May 8, 2013. Our forces will use their right to retaliate in the event of an attack, operation or bombing against our withdrawing guerrilla forces and the withdrawal will immediately stop.”[129] The semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq welcomed the idea of refugees from its northern neighbor.[130] The BDP held meetings across the region to explain the pending withdrawal to concerned citizens. “The 8th of May is a day we both anticipate and fear,” explained party leader Pinar Yilmaz. “We don’t trust the government at all. Many people here are afraid that once the guerrillas are gone, the Turkish military will crack down on us again.”[128]

The withdrawal began as planned with groups of fighters crossing the border from southeastern Turkey to northern Iraq.[126] Iraqi leadership in Baghdad, however, declared that it would not accept armed groups into its territory. “The Iraqi government welcomes any political and peaceful settlement”, read an official statement. “[But] it does not accept the entry of armed groups to its territories that can be used to harm Iraq’s security and stability.”[130] The prospect of armed Kurdish forces in northern Iraq threatens to increase tensions between the region and Baghdad who are already at odds over certain oil producing territory. PKK spokesman Ahmet Deniz sought to ease concerns stating the plan would boost democracy. “The [peace] process is not aimed against anyone,” he said “and there is no need for concerns that the struggle will take on another format and pose a threat to others.”[130]

It is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 PKK fighters resided in Turkey at the time.[citation needed] The withdrawal process was expected to take several months even if Iraq does not intervene to try to stop it.[130] On 14 May 2013, the first groups of 13 male and female fighters entered Iraq’s Heror area near the Metina mountain after leaving Turkey. They carried with them Kalashnikov assault rifles, light machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers before a welcoming ceremony.[131]

Kurdish PKK guerilla, 23 March 2014

On 29 July 2013, the PKK issued an ultimatum in saying that the peace deal would fail if reforms were not begun to be implemented within a month.[132] In October, Cemil Bayik warned that unless Turkey resumed the peace process, the PKK would resume operations to defend itself against it. He also accused Turkey of waging a proxy war against Kurds during the Syrian Civil War by supporting other extremist rebels who were fighting them.[133]

Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani backed the initiative saying, alongside Erdogan: “This is a historic visit for me … We all know it would have been impossible to speak here 15 or 20 years ago. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has taken a very brave step towards peace. I want my Kurdish and Turkish brothers to support the peace process.”[134]

2014 action against Islamic State and renewed tensions in Turkey

The PKK engaged the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces in Syria in mid-July 2014[135] as part of the Syrian Civil War. In August the PKK engaged IS in Northern Iraq and pressured the Government of Turkey to take a stand against IS.[136][137] PKK forces helped tens of thousands of Yazidis escape an encircled Mount Sinjar.[138] In September 2014, during the Siege of Kobanî, the PKK, receiving direct U.S. military support,[139] engaged with Islamic State forces in Syria who were attacking Kurdish city Kobane, which resulted in conflicts with Turks on the border and an end to a cease-fire that had been in place over a year.[140] The PKK accused Turkey of supporting ISIS. The PKK participated in many offensives against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.[141]

A number of Turkish Kurds rallied in large-scale street protests, demanding that the government in Ankara take more forceful action to combat IS and to enable Kurdish militants already engaged against IS to more freely move and resupply. These protests included a PKK call for its supporters to turn out.[142] Clashes between police and protesters killed at least 31 people. The Turkish government continued to restrict PKK-associated fighters’ movement across its borders, arresting 260 People’s Protection Units fighters who were moving back into Turkey. On 14 October, Turkish Air Force fighter-bombers attacked PKK positions in the vicinity of Daglica, Hakkari Province.[143]

Turkish military statements claimed that the bombings were in response to PKK attacks on a Turkish military outpost in the area. The Firat news agency, which Al Jazeera describes as “close to the PKK”, claimed that Turkish forces had been shelling the PKK positions for days beforehand and that the PKK action had itself been retaliation for those artillery strikes.[144] The PKK had already reported several Turkish attacks against their troops months before Turkish bombing started.

Percentage of the popular vote won by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the 2015 Turkish general election. “The HDP’s elections results, which are a proxy indicator of popular support for the PKK, show that the group has followers throughout the country.”[145]

July 2015–present: Renewed insurgency

PKK and Peshmerga fighters, 11 August 2015

PKK Sniper

In the months before the parliamentary election of 2015, as the “Kurdish-focused” HDP’s likelihood of crossing the 10% threshold for entry into the government seemed more likely, Erdogan gave speeches and made comments that repudiated the settlement process and the existence of a Kurdish problem and refusing to recognize the HDP as having any role to play despite their long participation as intermediaries.[146] These announcements increased distrust of the government’s good faith among Kurdish leaders. In July 2015, Turkey finally became involved in the war against ISIL. While they were doing so, they decided to bomb PKK targets in Iraq.[147] The bombings came a few days after PKK was suspected of assassinating two Turkish police officers in CeylanpınarŞanlıurfa, accused by the PKK of having links with ISIS after the 2015 Suruç bombing.[148][149] The PKK has blamed Turkey for breaking the truce by bombing the PKK in 2014 and 2015 continuously.

In August 2015, the PKK announced that they would accept another ceasefire with Turkey only under US guarantees.[150] PKK announced a one-sided ceasefire in October 2015 near election time, but the government refused.[citation needed] The leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan has condemned the Turkish air strikes in its autonomous region in the north of Iraq.[151]

The number of casualties since 23 July was claimed by Turkish government to be 150 Turkish officers and over 2,000 Kurdish rebels killed (by September).[152] In December 2015, Turkish military operation in southeastern Turkey has killed hundreds of civilians, displaced hundreds of thousands and caused massive destruction in residential areas.[153][154]

In March 2016, the PKK helped to launch the Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement with nine other Kurdish and Turkish revolutionary leftist, socialist and communist groups (including the TKP/MLTHKP-C/MLSPBMKPTKEP/LTİKB [defrtrzh]DKPDK and MLKP) with the aim of overthrowing the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[63]

Tactics

The areas in which the group operates are generally mountainous rural areas and dense urban areas. The mountainous terrain offers an advantage to members of the PKK by allowing them to hide in a network of caves.[citation needed]

Recruiting[

PKK female fighters

Since its foundation, the PKK has recruited new fighters mainly from Turkey, but also from Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Western countries using various recruitment methods, such as using nationalist propaganda and its gender equality ideology. At its establishment, it included a small number of female fighters but over time, however, the number increased significantly and by the early 1990s, 30 percent of its 17,000 armed fighting forces were women.[155] In much of rural Turkey, where male-dominated tribal structures, and conservative Muslim norms were commonplace, the organization increased its number of members through the recruitment of women from different social structures and environments, also from families that migrated to several European countries after 1960 as guest workers.[155] It was reported by a Turkish university that 88% of the subjects initially believed that equality was a key objective, and that they joined the organization based on this claim.[156] In 2007, approximately 1,100 of 4,500–5,000 total members were women.[155]

In its early stages, the PKK recruited young women by kidnapping them. This forced families whose children were already a member of the organization to cooperate and thus turning them into accomplices, which increased the number of women joining the group, according to the publication, published by the Jamestown Foundation.[155][157][158]

The organization is also actively recruiting child soldiers and it has been accused of abducting more than 2,000 children by Turkish Security Forces. The independent reports by the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the United Nations(UN) and the Amnesty International have confirmed the recruitment and use of child soldiers by the organization and its armed wings since the 1990s.[107][159][160][161]

According to the TEPAV think-tank which did research on the identities of 1,362 PKK fighters who lost their lives between 2001 and 2011, 42% of the recruits were under 18, with over a quarter of these being under 15 years of age at the time of recruiting. The organization is also believed to have used the children in the drug trade.[162]

On 22 December 2016, a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the HPG, the armed wing of the PKK, and the YBS, a Yazidi militia affiliated with the PKK, had actively recruited child soldiers since the 2015. The report stated that more than 29 cases had been documented, and some recruited children were under 15 when they had been recruited, which is a war crime under international law.[159]

Weapons

In July 2007, the weapons captured between 1984 and 2007 from the PKK operatives and their origins published by the Turkish General Staff indicates that the operatives erased some of the serial numbers from their weapons. The total number of weapons and the origins for traceable ones were:[163]

 
The choice and origin of the traceable weapons (July 2007)[163]
Type Quantity Sources
AK-47 Kalashnikovs 4,500 71.6% from the USSR, 14.7% from China, 3.6% from Hungary, 3.6% from Bulgaria
Rifles[nb 1] 5,713 of (959 traceable) 45.2% from Russia, 13.2% from United Kingdom, and 9.4% from United States.
Rocket launchers 1,610 (313 traceable) 85% from Russia, 5.4% from Iraq, and 2.5% from China in origin.
Pistols 2,885 (2,208 traceable) 21.9% from Czechoslovakia, 20.2% from Spain, 19.8% from Italy
Grenades 3,490 (136 traceable) 72% from Russia, 19.8% from United States, 8% from Germany,
Land mines 11,568 (8,015 traceable) 60.8% from Italy, 28.3% from Russia, 6.2% from Germany

Turkish authorities claimed that four members of the organization, who handed themselves over to authorities after escaping from camps in northern Iraq, claimed they had seen two U.S. armored vehicles deliver weapons, which was widely reported and further stoked suspicions about U.S. policy in Iraq.[164] The US envoy denied these claims.[165] The arms were claimed to be part of the Blackwater Worldwide arms smuggling allegations. The probe of organization’s weapons and the investigation of Blackwater employees were connected.[166] The PKK also denied these claims.

Resources

Funding

Parties and concerts are organized by branch groups.[167] Additionally, it is believed that the PKK earns money through the sale of various publications, as well as receiving revenues from legitimate businesses owned by the organization, and from Kurdish-owned businesses in Turkey, Russia, Iraq, Iran and Western Europe.[168][169] Besides affiliate organizations, it is claimed that there are sympathizer organizations such as the