Nuclear

velopThe Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018, Breaking and Developing — Story 1: United States, United Kingdom and France Launched A One Time Attack Against Syria and Assad Regime — American Empire Warfare and Welfare State Military Intervention on False Flag Pretext of Chemical Attack — Where is The Evidence? — Bring All The Troops Home and Have A Big Parade — Videos — Story 2: Invincible Ignorance of Former FBI Directory James Comey: Revealed Partisan Bias And Failure To Disclose Clinton Campaign and DNC Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Was Basis of Surveillance of Trump Campaign! — Videos — Story 3: Rule 8: Tell The Truth, or At Least Don’t Lie — Buy and Read Jordan B. Peterson New Book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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Breaking and Developing — Story 1: United States, United Kingdom and France Launched A One-Time Attack Against Syria and Assad Regime — American Empire Warfare and Welfare State Military Intervention on False Flag Pretext of Chemical Attack — Where is The Evidence? — Bring All The Troops Home and Have A Big Parade — Videos

Edwin Starr – War (w/lyrics + Vietnam War footage)

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, why’all
War, huh, good god
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
Oh, war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives
I said, war, huh good god, why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
War, whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die, ah, war-huh, good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War, huh
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) it’s got one friend that’s the undertaker
Oh, war, has shattered many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life
It can only take it away
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But lord knows there’s got to be a better way
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for you tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it
huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it nothing
Songwriters: Barret Strong / Norman Whitfield
War lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Why Trump’s “limited strike” on Syria probably won’t work

Trump Orders Attack On Syria, Criticizes Russia And Iran

LIVE: Pentagon officials brief reporters on Syria air strikes

Mission accomplished!’ Trump touts success of Syria strike

The Monumentally Insane Thesis As to the Source of the Alleged Douma Gas Attack of Syrian ‘Rebels’

What does the US accomplish by striking Syria?

US, France and Britain launch missile strikes on Syrian weapons facilities

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why

Syria air strikes: The mood in Damascus – BBC News

Syria strikes: 12 hours in two minutes – BBC News

100 years of chemical weapons – BBC News

Theresa May defends Syria strikes in parliament

Syria air strikes: Latest updates- BBC News

Jeremy Corbyn: Launching Syria air strikes on humanitarian grounds “legally debatable” – BBC News

Protests in and out of Parliament over UK’s Syria airstrikes | ITV News

Russia’s ambassador to UN condemns airstrikes on Syria – Daily Mail

President Trump Announces Precision Strikes In Syria | NBC News

Mattis: Assad didn’t get the message last year

President Donald Trump Bombs Syria. Again.

Syrian MOAB: The Mother of All Bullsh*t — Here We Go Again, Sparky! Just When You Thought We Learnt

My Response to the Syria Strikes: Unhelpful, but Part of a Larger Situation

Daniel McAdams on What You Need to Know About Syria

Tucker: Why is Washington united behind a war in Syria?

Tucker Carlson Goes on Epic Rant Against War in Syria

Act of War: The Real Reason Syria was Attacked

Trump launches airstrikes on Syria in response to ‘evil and despicable’ chemical attack by ‘monster’ Assad and directly challenges Putin for supporting ‘mass murder of innocents’

  • U.S. President Donald Trump announced ‘precision strikes’ on Syria in a Friday evening address
  • Strikes are in retaliation for a poison gas attack that killed up to 75 people people on April 7
  • Trump said combined operation with France and UK will continue until Assad stops using chemical weapons 
  • Warned Russia and Iran about their association with Assad, saying they’ll ‘be judged by the friends they keep’
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a ‘limited and targeted’
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said the ‘red line’ set by France in May of 2017 ‘had been crossed’
  • Shortly after the attack, the Syrian presidency posted on Twitter: ‘Honorable souls cannot be humiliated’ 
  • Syrian state-run TV said three civilians have been wounded on the attack on a military base in Homs 

 

American, British and French forces launched airstrikes on two chemical weapons facilities and a military command post in Syria on Friday night in retaliation for a chemical attack that left up 75 civilians dead last week.

Donald Trump addressed the U.S. while British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron both gave speeches justifying the use of force.

Trump delivered a national address just after 9 pm EDT as missiles rained down on three sites in Syria. He said he ordered the precision strikes in direct retaliation to Bashar al-Assad’s ‘evil and despicable’ poison gas attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

‘This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by the very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.’ Trump said from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. ‘These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster, instead.’

Trump forcefully confronted Iran and Russia for aligning themselves with ‘barbarism and brutality’ and said the United States and its allies in the strike, France and Britain, are prepared ‘to sustain this response’ until Assad discontinues his use of internationally prohibited chemical weapons.

‘What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?’ Trump asked. ‘The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.’

Donald Trump is pictured addressing the nation on Friday evening from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, announcing retaliatory airstrikes on Syria

Donald Trump is pictured addressing the nation on Friday evening from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, announcing retaliatory airstrikes on Syria

The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US, Britain and France launch an attack on Syria

The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US, Britain and France launch an attack on Syria

Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire after Donald Trump announced the strikes on Syria on Friday night ET

Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire after Donald Trump announced the strikes on Syria on Friday night ET

A cruise missile is pictured being launched from a French military vessel in the Mediterranean sea towards targets in Syria

A cruise missile is pictured being launched from a French military vessel in the Mediterranean sea towards targets in Syria

Part of the calculation this week has also been gaming out how Russia will respond either in the region or around the world

A chemical weapons scientific research center outside Damascus and a chemical weapons storage site and a command post west of Homs were hit in the attack that occurred in early Saturday morning local time.

Shortly after the assault, the Syrian government tweeted, ‘Honorable souls cannot be humiliated.’

State TV said the country’s air defenses shot down 13 missiles in the Kiswah area south of Damascus and claimed three civilians were wounded in the attack on the military base.

The strikes carried out by the United States consisted of more than 100 missiles, the Pentagon indicated, with Secretary of Defense James Mattis describing the number as ‘a little over double the number of weapons’ that were used in last year’s air assault on Syria.

That April 7, 2017 attack on a Syrian airbase after Assad’s confirmed use of chemical weapons on civilians consisted of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Mattis said the latest round of strikes ‘sent a very strong message’ to Assad and his ‘murderous lieutenants’ and that ‘right now this is a one-time shot’ driving home a message that conflicted with the president’s.

‘That will depend on Mr. Assad should he decide to use more chemical weapons in the future,’ Mattis said of future strikes.

In a news conference that followed Trump’s remarks, Mattis confirmed that chlorine gas, and possibly sarin, was used by Assad’s forces to poison Syrians a week ago.

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

Moscow has claimed all along that the chemical weapons attack did not take place and on Friday that it had ‘irrefutable evidence’ that it had been fabricated.

The U.S. meanwhile joined France and the U.K. in pointing the finger for the attack – and their missiles – directly at Assad’s forces.

Mattis said Friday evening that he was ‘confident’ Assad’s regime conducted a chemical weapons attack.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council, ‘We know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover-ups.’

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.

On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents.

We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests.

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.

Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.

Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.

Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder.

Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.

The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria.

The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.

I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.

General Dunford will provide a military update.

Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.

In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

Syria air defenses strike back after air strikes by U.S., British and French forces in Damascus

Syria air defenses strike back after air strikes by U.S., British and French forces in Damascus

A fighter jet lands at Akrotiri military British Royal Air Force Base, Cyprus, on Saturday, April 14

A fighter jet prepares to land at RAF Akrotiri, a military base Britain maintains on Cyprus

An RAF Tornado comes into land at RAF Akrotiri after concluding its mission. Four Royal Air Force Tornado's took off to conduct strikes

An RAF Tornado comes into land at RAF Akrotiri after concluding its mission.Four Royal Air Force Tornado’s took off to conduct strikes

Smoke rises above Damascus after the air strikes. The US, Britain and France waged up to 120 air strikes

Smoke rises above Damascus after the air strikes. The US, Britain and France waged up to 120 air strikes

Smoke rises over the capital Damascus after air strikes struck Syria early Saturday, April 14, local time

Smoke rises over the capital Damascus after air strikes struck Syria early Saturday, April 14, local time

Trump said the purpose of the U.S.-led strike was to ‘establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use’ of such chemical weapons. But he said America does not seek ‘an indefinite presence’ in Syria and looks forward to the day when it can withdraw its troops from Syria.

In a statement, British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a ‘limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region.’

‘And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity,’ she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the ‘red line’ set by France in May of 2017 ‘had been crossed.’

‘We cannot tolerate the trivialization of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and our collective security,’ Macron said. ‘This is the direction of the diplomatic initiatives put forward by France at the United Nations Security Council.’

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (right) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford (second from right) brief members of the media on Syria at the Pentagon

A photo released on the Twitter page of the Syrian governments central military media shows anti-aircraft fire through a night-vision device on the outskirts of Damascus

Loud explosions rocked Syria’s capital and and lit up the sky with heavy smoke. Hours later crowds of Assad supporters gathered in the center of Damascus in a show of defiance.

Hundreds of residents gathered in Omayyad Square, many waving Syrian, Russian and Iranian flags. Some clapped their hands and danced, others drove in convoys, honking their horns.

‘We are your men, Bashar,’ they shouted.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said that all three areas the coalition ‘struck and destroyed’ were specific to the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.

The scientific research center was used for the development and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology, he said. Another target, a storage facility west of Homs, was a primary location for sarin and precursor production equipment. The third target was a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and an important command force.

General Dunford said U.S., British and French entrenched naval and air forces were involved, but for operational security, he would not be more specific than that.

The U.S. and the U.K. emphasized that steps had been taken to minimize civilian casualties.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Assad regime 'crossed a red line' with the chemical attack in Douma. He is pictured centre with close advisers 

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Assad regime ‘crossed a red line’ with the chemical attack in Douma. He is pictured centre with close advisers

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a 'limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region'

‘We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,’ Trump in his address said.

He also said in the remarks that lasted a little more than eight minutes that he had a message for ‘two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime’ — Iran and Russia.

‘In 2013 President Putin and his government promised the world they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise,’ he said. ‘Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.’

He added, ‘Hopefully someday we’ll get along with Russia, and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. I will say this, the United States has a lot to offer with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.’

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday strongly condemned the attacks on Syria and said Washington and its allies would bear the responsibility of the raids’ consequences in the region and beyond, Iranian state media reported.

‘Undoubtedly, the United States and its allies, which took military action against Syria despite the absence of any proven evidence… will assume the responsibility for the regional and trans-regional consequences of this adventurism,’ Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

Russian lawmaker and the deputy head of Russia’s foreign affairs committee Vladimir Dzhabarov said Moscow was likely to call for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the air strikes.

‘The situation is being analysed right now. Russia will demand a meeting of the U.N. security council, I am sure.’

Donald Trump said on Friday evening he had ordered 'precision strikes' on Syria in retaliation for the 'evil and despicable' poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people on April 7 (a young victim is pictured)

Donald Trump said on Friday evening he had ordered ‘precision strikes’ on Syria in retaliation for the ‘evil and despicable’ poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people on April 7 (a young victim is pictured)

A child receives oxygen through a respirator following a poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma

A child receives oxygen through a respirator following a poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma

A poison gas attack killed up to 75 people that the U.S. and its allies say was carried out by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on April 7 in Douma near Damascus

'These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,' Trump said referring to Assad (pictured)

‘These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,’ Trump said referring to Assad (pictured)

Trump also warned Russia and Iran about their association with the Syrian government. President Putin is pictured on April 12

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FRIDAY NIGHT ADDRESS TO THE NATION

My fellow Americans: a short time ago I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway. We thank them both.

Tonight I want to speak with you about why we have taken this action. One year ago, Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people. The United States responded with 58 missile strikes that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian air force.

Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians, this time in the town of Douma near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by the very terrible regime. the evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.

These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster, instead.

Following the horrors of World War I a century ago, civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare. Chemical weapons are uniquely dangerous not only because they inflict gruesome suffering but because even small amounts can unleash widespread devastation.

The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States. The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power — military, economic, and diplomatic.

We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents. I also have a message tonight for two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime.

To Iran and to Russia I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children? The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.

In 2013 President Putin and his government promised the world they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise. Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.

Hopefully some day we’ll get along with Russia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. I will say this, the United States has a lot to offer with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.

In Syria the United States with but a small force being used to eliminate what is left of ISIS is doing what is necessary to protect the American people. Over the last year, nearly 100 percent of the territory once controlled by the so-called ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq has been liberated and eliminated.

The United States has also rebuilt our friendships across the Middle East. We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing large amounts of money for the resources, equipment and all of the anti-ISIS effort. Increased engagement from our friends, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and others can ensure that Iran does not profit from the eradication of ISIS.

America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria. Under no circumstances. As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home and great warriors they are.

Looking around our very troubled world, Americans have no illusions. We cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny. No amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East. It’s a troubled place. We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place. The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.

In the last century, we looked straight into the darkest places of the human soul. We saw the anguish that can be unleashed and the evil that can take hold. By the end of World War I, more than 1 million people had been killed or injured by chemical weapons. We never want to see that ghastly specter return.

So today, the nations of Britain, France and the United States of America have marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality. Tonight I ask all Americans to say a prayer for our noble warriors and our allies as they carry out their missions.

We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria. We pray that God there guide the whole region toward a future of dignity and of peace. And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America. Thank you, and good night. Thank you

Russia’s Ambassador to the United States warned the White House on Friday that military strikes against its ally ‘will not be left without consequences’.

‘Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible,’ Anatoly Antonov saidl ‘The U.S. – the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries,’ he added.

Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee, said Trump ‘can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time – because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union,’ according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in a statement on Facebook, said the U.S. struck Syria when the country finally had a chance at peace.

‘One must be really exceptional to strike Syria’s capital when the country finally got a chance for a peaceful future,’ she wrote.

Israeli officials backed the move, with an unnamed spokesman telling Reuters that the three allies were right to enforce the ban on chemical warfare.

‘Last year, President Trump made clear that the use of chemical weapons crosses a red line. Tonight, under American leadership, the United States, France and the United Kingdom enforced that line,’ the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

‘Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran, that put its territory, its forces and its leadership at risk.’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also backed the attack. ‘Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week’s attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria,’ Trudeau said.

‘Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people. We will continue to work with our international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Those responsible must be brought to justice.’

Syrian government supporters wave Syrian, Iranian and Russian flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations

Syrian government supporters wave Syrian, Iranian and Russian flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations

Syrian government supporters chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations in Damascus following the strikes

Syrian government supporters chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations in Damascus following the strikes

Protesters stand outside Trump Tower demonstrating against military strikes in Syria, late on Friday in New York

Protesters stand outside Trump Tower demonstrating against military strikes in Syria, late on Friday in New York

U.S. air strikes had been expected since harrowing footage surfaced of the aftermath of the toxic gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma a week ago. Trump had reacted with a tweet warning Assad and his allies that the action would not go unchecked.

‘Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,’ he declared. ‘President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.’

Trump told reporters that the list of people he’d punish included Russian President Vladimir Putin, if appropriate.

‘Everybody’s gonna pay a price. He will. Everybody will,’ the U.S. president said.

After Russia rejected a U.S.-sponsored resolution authorizing a probe of the gas attack and vowed to shoot down U.S. missiles fired upon Syria, Trump took aim at the Kremlin.

‘Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!’ Trump tweeted.

The White House left open the possibility of direct, military engagement with Russia after the tweet.

Russia’s deputy prime minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, just brushed the rebuke off, however, saying, according to state media, ‘We cannot depend on the mood of someone on the other side of the ocean when he wakes up, on what a specific person takes into his head in the morning.’

The French presidency on Saturday released a video on Twitter showing what it said were Rafale war planes taking off to attack targets in Syria

The French presidency on Saturday released a video on Twitter showing what it said were Rafale war planes taking off to attack targets in Syria

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

Moscow has claimed all along that the chemical weapons attack did not take place and on Friday that it had ‘irrefutable evidence’ that it had been fabricated.

The U.S. meanwhile joined France and the U.K. in pointing the finger for the attack – and their missiles – directly at Assad’s forces.

Mattis said Friday evening that he was ‘confident’ Assad’s regime conducted a chemical weapons attack.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council, ‘We know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover-ups.’

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.

On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents.

We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests.

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons. 

Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.

Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.

Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder.

Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.

The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria.

The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.

I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.

General Dunford will provide a military update.

Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.

In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

The Friday night assault earned tepid support from Democrats in Congress who said they are awaiting additional information from the Trump administration about the targets and goals of the strike.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the upper chamber’s Intelligence Committee, said, ‘While the U.S. and our allies must not turn a blind eye to Assad’s vile and inhumane attacks against his own citizens, military action in Syria must be measured, as part of a coherent strategy to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons without further destabilizing an already-volatile region or inadvertently expanding the conflict.’

Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said that Assad’s weapons attack was a ‘brutally inhumane war crime that demands a strong, smart and calculated response.

But she argued, ‘One night of airstrikes is not a substitute for a clear, comprehensive Syria strategy.

‘The President must come to Congress and secure an Authorization for Use of Military Force by proposing a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives that keep our military safe and avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians,’ the leading House Democrat insisted in a statement. ‘President Trump must also hold Putin accountable for his enabling of the Assad regime’s atrocities against the Syrian people.’

Vice President Mike Pence briefed Pelosi and other congressional leaders by phone after skipping a reception and rushing back to his hotel in Lima, Peru.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received calls notifying them of the action before the president’s address, the vice president’s communications director, Jarrod Agen, said. So did Pelosi. Pence was unable to reach Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer until afterward, Pence’s spokesman explained, because the top-ranking Democrat was on a flight.

The vice president was attending a summit in Peru on Friday in Trump’s stead. Trump called off his trip as he mulled how to respond to the attack in Syria.

House Speaker Paul Ryan meanwhile praised Trump’s ‘decisive action in coordination with our allies,’ adding, ‘We are united in our resolve.’

Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain applauded the airstrikes but said ‘they alone will not achieve U.S. objectives in the Middle East.’

‘I hope these strikes impose meaningful costs on Assad. The message to Assad must be that the cost of using chemical weapons is worse than any perceived benefit, that the United States and our allies have the will and capability to continue imposing those costs, and that Iran and Russia will ultimately be unsuccessful in protecting Assad from our punative response,’ McCain said in a statement.

Schumer said the airstrikes were ‘appropriate’ yet cautioned the Trump administration ‘to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria.’

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said there ‘is absolutely no question’ the gas attack merits a strong response. However, he said he remains concerned the U.S. will become mired in the ‘horrific and complex civil war that has been raging in Syria.

‘While these joint American, British and French strikes are morally justified against the Assad regime’s gassing of its own people, they take place with no congressional authorization,’ he asserted.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, also said: ‘President Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress’s approval is illegal and – absent a broader strategy – it’s reckless.

‘Last week, President Trump was adamant that the U.S. was leaving Syria imminently. This week, he is opening a new military front. Assad must face consequences for his war crimes, but Presidents cannot initiate military action when there isn’t an imminent threat to American lives.’

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said his committee would convene a hearing next week on U.S. policy for the region. ‘The administration needs to begin fully explaining its strategy for the months ahead,’ he said.

‘Military force cannot be the only means of responding to these atrocities. The U.S. must leverage strong diplomacy and serious financial pressure. That’s why, last year, the House led in passing tough new sanctions against Assad and his enablers. The Senate needs to move this legislation to the president’s desk quickly.’

‘I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest’: Theresa May’s statement in full

Theresa May's statement in full 

Theresa May’s statement in full

‘This evening I have authorised British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.

‘We are acting together with our American and French allies.

‘In Douma, last Saturday a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror.

‘The fact of this attack should surprise no-one.

‘The Syrian Regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.

‘And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack.

‘This persistent pattern of behaviour must be stopped – not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we cannot allow the erosion of the international norm that prevents the use of these weapons.

‘We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this.

‘But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted. Even this week the Russians vetoed a Resolution at the UN Security Council which would have established an independent investigation into the Douma attack.

‘So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Regime.

‘This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change.

‘It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.

‘And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian Regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.

‘At this time, my thoughts are with our brave British servicemen and women – and our French and American partners – who are carrying out their duty with the greatest professionalism.

‘The speed with which we are acting is essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.

‘This is the first time as Prime Minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat – and it is not a decision I have taken lightly.

‘I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest.

‘We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world.

‘We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.

‘History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe.

‘That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do. ‘

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5614593/Donald-Trump-expected-make-major-announcement-Syria-9pm-ET.html#ixzz5CfdpDAFj

 

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Willful blindness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Willful blindness (sometimes called ignorance of law,[1]:761willful ignorance or contrived ignorance or Nelsonian knowledge) is a term used in law to describe a situation in which a person seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally keeping himself or herself unaware of facts that would render him or her liable. In United States v. Jewell, the court held that proof of willful ignorance satisfied the requirement of knowledge as to criminal possession and importation of drugs.[1]:225

Description

Willful blindness is a term used in law to describe a situation in which a person seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally keeping oneself unaware of facts that would render liability.

Although the term was originally—and still is—used in legal contexts, the phrase “willful ignorance” has come to mean any situation in which people intentionally turn their attention away from an ethical problem that is believed to be important by those using the phrase (for instance, because the problem is too disturbing for people to want it dominating their thoughts, or from the knowledge that solving the problem would require extensive effort).

Precedent in the United States

In United States v. Jewell, the court held that proof of willful ignorance satisfied the requirement of knowledge as to criminal possession and importation of drugs.[1]:225 In a number of cases in the United States of America, persons transporting packages containing illegal drugs have asserted that they never asked what the contents of the packages were and so lacked the requisite intent to break the law. Such defenses have not succeeded, as courts have been quick to determine that the defendantshould have known what was in the package and exercised criminal recklessness by failing to find out the package’s contents.[citation needed] Notably, this rule has only ever been applied to independent couriers, and has never been used to hold larger services that qualify as common carriers (e.g., FedExUnited Parcel Service, or the U.S. Postal Service) liable for the contents of packages they deliver.

A famous example of such a defense being denied occurred in In re Aimster Copyright Litigation,[2] in which the defendants argued that the file-swapping technology was designed in such a way that they had no way of monitoring the content of swapped files. They suggested that their inability to monitor the activities of users meant that they could not be contributing to copyright infringement by the users. The court held that this was willful blindness on the defendant’s part and would not constitute a defense to a claim of contributory infringement.

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c Criminal Law – Cases and Materials, 7th ed. 2012, Wolters Kluwer Law & BusinessJohn KaplanRobert WeisbergGuyora BinderISBN 978-1-4548-0698-1[1]
  2. Jump up^ 334 F.3d 643 (7th Cir. 2003)

External links

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

James Comey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
James Comey
James Comey official portrait.jpg
7th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
In office
September 4, 2013 – May 9, 2017
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Deputy Sean M. Joyce
Mark F. Giuliano
Andrew McCabe
Preceded by Robert Mueller
Succeeded by Andrew McCabe (Acting)
31st United States Deputy Attorney General
In office
December 9, 2003 – August 15, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Larry Thompson
Succeeded by Paul McNulty
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
In office
January 7, 2002 – December 15, 2003
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Mary Jo White
Succeeded by David N. Kelley
Personal details
Born James Brien Comey Jr.
December 14, 1960 (age 57)
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
Political party Independent (2016–present)[1]
Other political
affiliations
Republican (before 2016)
Spouse(s) Patrice Failor
Children 5
Education College of William and Mary(BS)
University of Chicago (JD)
Signature

James Brien Comey Jr. (born December 14, 1960) is an American lawyer, who served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from September 4, 2013, until his dismissal on May 9, 2017.[2]Comey has been a registered Republican for most of his life but has recently described himself as unaffiliated.[3]

Comey was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from January 2002 to December 2003, and subsequently the United States Deputy Attorney General from December 2003 to August 2005 in the administration of President George W. Bush. Comey appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to be the Special Counsel to head the grand jury investigation into the Plame affair after Attorney General John Ashcroftrecused himself.

In August 2005, Comey left the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and became general counsel and senior vice president of Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland.[4] In 2010, he became general counsel at Bridgewater Associates, based in Westport, Connecticut. In early 2013, he left Bridgewater to become a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School. He served on the board of directors of HSBC Holdings until July 2013.[5]

In September 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Comey to the position of Director of the FBI.[6] In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clintonemail controversy. His role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, particularly with regard to his public communications, was highly controversial.[7] Some analysts feel that Comey’s decisions might have cost Clinton the presidency. In one of those decisions, he reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails less than two weeks before the election.[8][9][10] Comey also received heavy criticism from Republicans, in part after it was revealed that he had begun drafting an exoneration letter for Clinton before the investigation was complete.[11]

President Donald Trump dismissed Comey on May 9, 2017.[12][13][14] Statements from Trump and the White House suggested that he had been dismissed to ease the “pressure” Trump was under due to the Russia investigation.[15][16][17] Later that month he arranged for a friend to tell the press about a memo he had written after a February 14 private meeting with the president. It said Trump had asked him to end the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor. The dismissal, the memo, and Comey’s subsequent Congressional testimony were interpreted by some commentators as evidence of obstruction of justice by the President, and became part of a widening investigation by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel appointed to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.[18]

Early life

Comey was born in 1960 in Yonkers, New York, to parents Joan Marie Comey (née Herald)[19] and J. Brien Comey.[20] His grandfather, William J. Comey, was an officer and later commissioner of the Yonkers Police Department.[21] The family moved to Allendale, New Jersey, in the early 1970s.[22][23] His father worked in corporate real estate and his mother was a computer consultant and homemaker.[24] Comey is of Irish heritage.[25] He attended Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale.[26] Comey graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1982, majoring in chemistry and religion. His senior thesis analyzed the liberal theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and the conservative televangelistJerry Falwell, emphasizing their common belief in public action.[27] He received his Juris Doctor(JD) from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985.[28]

Early career (1985–1993)

After law school, Comey served as a law clerk for then-United States District Judge John M. Walker Jr. in Manhattan. Then, he was an associate for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in their New York office. He joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he worked from 1987 to 1993. While there, he served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and helped prosecute the Gambino crime family.[29]

Clinton administration (1996–2001)

Assistant U.S. Attorney

From 1996 to 2001, Comey served as Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Richmond Division of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.[10] In 1996, Comey acted as deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee.[30] He also served as the lead prosecutor in the case concerning the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.[31] While in Richmond, Comey served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law.[28]

Bush administration (2002–2005)

U.S. Attorney

Comey was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, from January 2002 to the time of his confirmation as Deputy Attorney General on December 11, 2003.[28] Among his first tasks was to take over the investigation into President Bill Clinton‘s controversial pardon of Marc Rich.[30] In November 2002, he led the prosecution of three men involved in one of the largest identity fraud cases in American history.[32] The fraud had lasted two years and resulted in thousands of people across the country collectively losing well over $3 million.[32] He also led the indictment of Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas for bank fraudwire fraud, and securities fraud. Rigas was convicted of the charges in 2004 and in 2005, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Adelphia Corporation was forced to file for bankruptcy after it acknowledged that it took $3.3 billion in false loans. It was “one of the most elaborate and extensive corporate frauds in United States history”.[33][34][35][36]

In February 2003, Comey was the lead prosecutor of Martha Stewart, who was indicted on the charges of securities fraudobstruction of justice, and lying to an FBI agent.[10] She sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems, making $227,824. The next day, the Food and Drug Administration refused to accept the company’s application for Erbitux.[37] In March 2003, he led the indictment of ImClone CEO Samuel Waksal, who pleaded guilty to avoiding paying $1.2 million in sales taxes on $15 million worth of contemporary paintings. The works were by Mark RothkoRichard SerraRoy Lichtenstein, and Willem de Kooning.[38] In April 2003, he led the indictment of Frank Quattrone, who allegedly urged subordinates in 2000 to destroy evidence sought by investigators looking into his investment banking practices at Credit Suisse First Boston.[39] In November 2003, he led the prosecutions in “Operation Wooden Nickel”, which resulted in complaints and indictments against 47 people involved in foreign exchange trading scams.[40]

Deputy Attorney General

NSA domestic wiretapping

In early January 2006, The New York Times, as part of its investigation into domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, reported that Comey, who was Acting Attorney General during the March 2004 hospitalization of John Ashcroft, refused to certify the legality of central aspects of the NSA program.[41] In order for the program to continue, the certification was required under White House procedures.[42]

In March 2004, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert S. Mueller III and Comey threatened the Bush administration with their resignations if the White House overruled the DOJ finding that the domestic wiretapping under the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) was unconstitutional, if such were done without a court warrant.[43] On March 10, 2004, United States Attorney General (USAG) John Ashcroft was being visited by his wife as he was treated in the intensive care unit at the George Washington University Hospital. She solicited Mueller and Comey to join them, and shortly after their arrival, they were joined by Jack Goldsmith of the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel and Patrick Philbrin. In Goldsmith’s 2007 memoir, he said Comey had come to the hospital to give Ashcroft support in withstanding pressure from the White House.[44] None of the four visitors wanted the TSP reauthorized. After the quartet’s arrival, Ashcroft refused to give his consent to its extension, despite being pressured at the hospital soon afterward by Andrew H. Card Jr.White House Chief of Staff, and Alberto R. Gonzales, then-White House counsel and future Attorney General. The two were requesting that Ashcroft waive the DOJ ruling and permit the domestic warrantless eavesdropping program to continue beyond its imminent expiration date. Ashcroft additionally informed the pair that due to his illness, he had delegated his powers as USAG to Comey.[45][42] Comey later confirmed these events took place (but declined to confirm the specific program) in testimony to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on May 16, 2007.[46][47][48][49][50][51] FBI director Mueller’s notes on the March 10, 2004, incident, which were released to a House Judiciary committee, confirms that he “Saw (the) AG, John Ashcroft in the room (who was) feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed.”[52]

Comey and Mueller withdrew their threats to resign after meeting directly on March 12, 2004, with President Bush, who gave his support to making requisite changes in the surveillance program.[53]

Enhanced interrogation techniques

When Comey was Deputy Attorney General in 2005, he endorsed a memorandum that approved the use of 13 enhanced interrogation techniques that included waterboarding[41] and sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours, which would be used by the CIA when interrogating suspects.[54][55] Comey objected to a second memorandum, drafted by Daniel Levin and signed by Steven G. Bradbury, which stated that these techniques could be used in combination.[54] Comey was one of the few members of the Bush administration who had tried to prevent or limit the use of torture.[56][57][58]

During his 2013 confirmation hearing, Comey stated that in his personal opinion, waterboarding was torture,[59] the United Nations Convention against Torture was “very vague” and difficult to interpret as banning the practice.[44] Even though the practice was legal at the time,[54] he strongly disagreed with the techniques and as a matter of policy, he opposed implementing them.[55][60] His objections were ultimately overruled by the National Security Council.[61]

Private sector (2005–2013)

In the fall of 2005, Comey announced that he was leaving the Department of Justice.[62] In August 2005, it was announced that Comey would enter the private sector, becoming the General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Department of Defense‘s largest contractor.[63] Comey’s tenure took effect on October 1, 2005,[64] serving in that capacity until June 2, 2010, when he announced he would leave Lockheed Martin to join the senior management committee at Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based investment management firm.[65] Comey received a three million dollar payout from Bridgewater, and his net worth is estimated at 14 million dollars.[66][67] February 1, 2013, after leaving Bridgewater, he was appointed by Columbia University Law School as a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law.[68] He was also appointed to the board of directors of the London-based financial institutionHSBC Holdings,[69] to improve the company’s compliance program after its $1.9 billion settlement with the Justice Department for failing to comply with basic due diligence requirements for money laundering regarding Mexican drug cartels and terrorism financing.[70][71] Since 2012, he has also served on the Defense Legal Policy Board.[72]

Testimony before congressional committees

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy

In May 2007, Comey testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Judiciary subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on the U.S. Attorney dismissal controversy.[62] His testimony contradicted that of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who had said the firings had been due to poor performance on the part of some of the dismissed prosecutors. Comey stressed that the Justice Department had to be perceived as nonpartisan and nonpolitical to function.[73]

The Department of Justice, in my view, is run by political appointees of the President. The U.S. attorneys are political appointees of the President. But once they take those jobs and run this institution, it’s very important in my view for that institution to be another in American life, that—because my people had to stand up before juries of all stripes, talk to sheriffs of all stripes, judges of all stripes. They had to be seen as the good guys, and not as either this administration or that administration.[73]

Supreme Court considerations

Politico reported in May 2009 that White House officials pushed for Comey’s inclusion on the short list of names to replace Associate JusticeDavid Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court.[74]Politico later reported liberal activists were upset about the possibility of Comey’s name being included. John Brittain of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law stated, “[Comey] came in with the Bushies. What makes you think he’d be just an inch or two more to the center than [John] Roberts? I’d be greatly disappointed.”[75]

In 2013, Comey was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[76]

FBI Director

Comey, President Obama, and outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller at Comey’s nomination to become FBI Director, June 21, 2013

Comey at the Oval Office following the San Bernardino shooting, December 3, 2015

Obama receives an update from Comey and Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco on the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, June 12, 2016

May 2013 reports became official the following month when President Barack Obama revealed that he would nominate Comey to be the next Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, replacing outgoing director Robert Mueller.[77][78][79] Comey was reportedly chosen over another finalist, Lisa Monaco, who had overseen national security issues at the Justice Department during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.[80][81]

On July 29, 2013, the Senate confirmed Comey to a full ten-year term as FBI Director. He was confirmed by a vote of 93-1. Two senators voted present.[82] He was sworn in as FBI director on September 4, 2013.[83] President Donald Trump fired him on May 9, 2017.[12]

Police and African Americans

Comey at annual FBI and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute conference, May 25, 2016

In February 2015, Comey delivered a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., regarding the relationship between police and the African American community.[84][85] He said that, “At many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo – a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups”, mentioning as an example his own Irish ancestors, who he said had often been regarded as drunks and criminals by law enforcement in the early 20th century. He added: “The Irish had some tough times, but little compares to the experience on our soil of black Americans”, going on to highlight current societal issues such as lack of opportunities for employment and education which can lead young black men to crime.[84] Comey stated:

Police officers on patrol in our nation’s cities often work in environments where a hugely disproportionate percentage of street crime is committed by young men of color. Something happens to people of good will working in that environment. After years of police work, officers often can’t help be influenced by the cynicism they feel. A mental shortcut becomes almost irresistible.[84]

In October 2015, Comey gave a speech in which he raised concerns that body worn video results in less effective policing; this opinion contradicted the President’s public position.[86] Days later, President Obama met with Comey in the Oval Office to address the issue.[87] In an October 23 speech at the University of Chicago Law School, Comey said:

I remember being asked why we were doing so much prosecuting in black neighborhoods and locking up so many black men. After all, Richmond was surrounded by areas with largely white populations. Surely there were drug dealers in the suburbs. My answer was simple: We are there in those neighborhoods because that’s where people are dying. These are the guys we lock up because they are the predators choking off the life of a community. We did this work because we believed that all lives matter, especially the most vulnerable.[88]

Comments on Poland and the Holocaust

In April 2015, Comey spoke at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, arguing in favor of more Holocaust education.[89] After The Washington Post printed a version of his speech, Anne Applebaum wrote that his reference to “the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary” was inaccurately saying that Poles were as responsible for the Holocaust as Germans.[90] His speech was also criticized by Polish authorities, and Stephen D. MullUnited States Ambassador to Poland, was called to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[91] Applebaum wrote that Comey, “in a speech that was reprinted in The Post arguing for more Holocaust education, demonstrated just how badly he needs it himself”.[92]

Ambassador Mull issued an apology for Comey’s remarks.[93] When asked about his remarks, Comey said, “I regret linking Germany and Poland … The Polish state bears no responsibility for the horrors imposed by the Nazis. I wish I had not used any other country names because my point was a universal one about human nature.”[94]

OPM hack

In June 2015, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it had been the target of a data breach targeting the records of as many as four million people.[95] Later, Comey put the number at 18 million.[96] The Washington Post has reported that the attack originated in China, citing unnamed government officials.[97] Comey said: “It is a very big deal from a national security perspective and from a counterintelligence perspective. It’s a treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government.”[98]

Hillary Clinton email investigation

On July 10, 2015, the FBI opened a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.[7] On June 29, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton met aboard her plane on the tarmac of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, leading to calls for her recusal. Lynch then announced that she would “fully” accept the recommendation of the FBI regarding the probe.[7] On July 2, FBI agents completed their investigation by interviewing Hillary Clinton at FBI headquarters, following which Comey and his associates decided there was no basis for criminal indictments in the case.[7]

Release of information about the investigation

On July 5, 2016, Comey announced the FBI’s recommendation that the United States Department of Justice file no criminal charges relating to the Hillary Clinton email controversy.[99] During a 15-minute press conference in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, Comey called Secretary Clinton’s and her top aides’ behavior “extremely careless”, but concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case”.[99] It was believed to be the first time the FBI disclosed its prosecutorial recommendation to the Department of Justice publicly.[99] On July 7, 2016, Comey was questioned by a Republican-led House committee during a hearing regarding the FBI’s recommendation.[100][101]

Comey’s October letter

On October 26, 2016, two weeks before the presidential election, Comey learned that FBI agents investigating an unrelated case involving former Congressman Anthony Weiner had discovered emails on Weiner’s computer between his wife, Huma Abedin, and Hillary Clinton.[7] Believing it would take months to review Weiner’s emails, Comey decided he had to inform Congress that the investigation was being reopened due to new information.[7]Justice Department lawyers warned him that giving out public information about an investigation was inconsistent with department policy, but he considered the policy to be “guidance” rather than an ironclad rule.[102] He decided that not to reveal the new information would be misleading to Congress and the public.[103] On October 28, Comey sent a letter to members of Congress advising them that the FBI was reviewing more emails. Members of Congress leaked the information to the public within minutes.[104] Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as the Clinton and Trump campaigns, called on Comey to provide additional details.

The Clinton campaign and numerous former officials and other commentators criticized his decision to announce the reopened investigation.[105][106][107][108][109][110] Law professor Richard Painter filed complaints with the United States Office of Special Counsel and the United States Office of Government Ethics over Comey’s letter to Congress.[111]

The investigators received additional resources so they could complete their review of the new emails before Election Day,[7] and on November 6, 2016, Comey wrote in a second letter to Congress that “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July”.[112]

Comey was broadly criticized for his actions from both the right and the left.[113][114] According to the Clinton campaign, the letters effectively stopped the campaign’s momentum by hurting Clinton’s chances with voters who were receptive to Trump’s claims of a “rigged system”.[115] Statistician Nate Silver said that Comey had a “large, measurable impact on the race”.[116][117][116][8] Other analysts, such as Democratic strategist David Axelrod, said that Comey’s public actions were just one of several cumulative factors that cost Clinton the election.[118][119] On May 2, 2017, Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour: “I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off.”[120] On May 3, 2017, Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election”, but that “honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision.”[121][122]

Investigations

On January 12, 2017, the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General announced a formal investigation into whether the FBI followed proper procedures in its investigation of Clinton or whether “improper considerations” were made by FBI personnel.[123]

On July 27, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee decided to request documents related to Comey, including the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton, Comey’s conduct during the 2016 election, and his release of his memo to the press.[124][125] The committee’s Republicans also wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to appoint a second special prosecutor to investigate these issues.[126]

In September 2017, two Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, alleged that Comey planned to exonerate Hillary Clinton in her email scandal long before the agency had completed its investigation.[127] The story was confirmed by the FBI in October, which released a Comey memo dated May 2. Comey interviewed Clinton as part of his investigation on July 2. Former FBI official Ron Hosko reacted saying, “You tend to reach final conclusions as the investigation is logically ended. Not months before.” Donald Trump called it “disgraceful.” In contrast, former Department of Justice spokesman Matthew Miller wrote on Twitter, “The decision is never ‘made’ until the end, even when there’s a 99% chance it is only going to go one way.”[128]

Comey’s original draft of the exoneration stated that Clinton had committed “gross negligence,” which is a crime. However, the language was later changed to “extreme carelessness.”[129] In December, it was revealed that the change had been made by Peter Strozk, an FBI official who would later join Mueller’s probe and be dismissed after exchanging private messages with an FBI lawyer that could be seen as favoring Clinton politically.[130]

Russian election interference investigation

On the day of Comey’s July press conference, the FBI acquired the Donald Trump-Russia dossier by Christopher Steele.[7] In late July, the FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign.[7] Comey asked President Obama for permission to write an op-ed, which would warn the public that the Russians were interfering in the election. The President denied the request.[7] CIA Director John O. Brennan then gave an unusual private briefing on the Russians to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid; Reid then publicly referred to the briefing.[7] Comey, however, refused to confirm—even in classified Congressional briefings—that the Trump Campaign was under investigation.[7] In early October, meetings were held in the White House Situation Room; National Security Advisor Susan Rice argued that the information should be released, while Comey argued that disclosure was no longer needed.[7]

In January 2017, Comey first met Trump when he briefed the President-elect on the Steele dossier.[131] On January 27, 2017, Trump and Comey dined alone at the White House.[131] According to Trump, Comey requested the dinner so as to ask to keep his job and, when asked, told Trump that he was not under investigation. Trump has stated that he did not ask Comey to pledge his loyalty.[131] However, according to Comey’s associates, Trump requested the dinner, asked Comey to pledge his loyalty, twice, to which Comey replied, twice, that he would always be honest, until Trump asked him if he would promise “honest loyalty”, which Comey did.[131]

On February 14, the day after President Trump fired Michael T. Flynn, Comey met with the President during a terrorism threat briefing in the Oval Office.[132] At the end of the meeting Trump asked the other security chiefs to leave, then told Comey to consider imprisoning reporters over leaks and that “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”[132] Comey, as is usual, immediately documented the meeting in a memo and shared it with FBI officials.[132] In his Congressional testimony, Comey clarified that he took Trump’s comment to be “an order” to drop the Flynn investigation, but “that he did not consider this an order to drop the Russia investigation as a whole.”[133]

On March 4, 2017, Comey asked the Justice Department for permission, which was not given, to publicly refute Trump’s claim that his phones had been wiretapped by then-President Obama.[134]

On March 20, 2017, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey confirmed that the FBI has been investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and whether any crimes were committed.[135] During the hearing, the White House Twitter account posted “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process”, which Comey, when then read the tweet by Congressman Jim Himes, directly refuted.[136] Comey also refuted the President’s Trump Tower wiretapping allegations, testifying “I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI”.[137]

Representative Chris Stewart asked Comey in the hearing: “Mr. Clapper then went on to say that to his knowledge there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. We did not conclude any evidence in our report and when I say ‘our report,’ that is the NSA, FBI, and CIA with my office, the director of national intelligence said anything – any reflection of collusion between the members of Trump campaign and the Russians, there was no evidence of that in our report. Was Mr. Clapper wrong when he said that?” Comey responded: “I think he’s right about characterizing the report which you all have read.”[138] Press Secretary Sean Spicer and a White House tweet then highlighted this testimony as proof that Clapper was “right” there was no evidence of collusion, causing Clapper to release a statement clarifying he had been referring to the evidence as gathered in January and that more investigation is needed.[136]

On May 3, 2017, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey said that Russia is the “greatest threat of any nation on Earth … One of the biggest lessons learned is that Russia will do this again. Because of 2016 election, they know it worked.”[139] He also said that Russia should pay a price for interfering.[140]

In early May, a few days before he was fired, Comey reportedly asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in funding and personnel for the Russia probe.[13] On May 11, 2017, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that he was unaware of the request and stated, “I believe we have the adequate resources to do it and I know that we have resourced that investigation adequately.”[141][142]

Comey had been scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11, but after he was dismissed on May 9, committee chair Senator Richard Burr said that Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe would appear instead.[143] Comey spoke before the Committee on June 8.[144][145] His prepared opening statements were pre-released by the Intelligence Committee on their website one day before the official hearings.[146][147][148]

Government surveillance oversight

In his July 2013 FBI confirmation hearing, Comey said that the oversight mechanisms of the U.S. government have sufficient privacy protections.[149] In a November 2014 New York Times Magazine article, Yale historian Beverly Gage reported that Comey keeps on his desk a copy of the FBI request to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr. “as a reminder of the bureau’s capacity to do wrong”.[150]

In 2016, he and his agency were criticized for their request to Apple Inc. to install a “back door” for U.S. surveillance agencies to use. Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden stated: “Jim would like a back door available to American law enforcement in all devices globally. And, frankly, I think on balance that actually harms American safety and security, even though it might make Jim’s job a bit easier in some specific circumstances.”[151]

Comey, speaking at a cybersecurity conference in 2017, told the audience, “There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach.”[152]

Dismissal

File:'Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI.' (C-SPAN).webm
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Comey: “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI.”

Trump’s letter firing Comey

President Trump formally dismissed Comey on May 9, 2017, less than 4 years into his 10-year term as Director of the FBI. Comey first learned of his termination from television news reports that flashed on screen while he was delivering a speech to agents at the Los Angeles Field Office.[153] Sources said he was surprised and caught off guard by the termination. Comey immediately departed for Washington, D.C., and was forced to cancel his scheduled speech that night at an FBI recruitment event.[154] Trump reportedly called Deputy Director Andrew McCabe the next day, demanding to know why Comey had been allowed to fly back to Washington on an FBI jet after he had been fired.[155]

On May 10, Comey sent a letter to FBI staff in which he said, “I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.”[156] In the absence of a Senate-confirmed FBI director, McCabe automatically became Acting Director.[157]

Reasons for dismissal

The White House initially stated the firing was on the recommendation of United States Attorney GeneralJeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney GeneralRod Rosenstein, both men whom Comey reported to.[158] Rosenstein had sent a memorandum to Sessions, forwarded to Trump, in which Rosenstein listed objections to Comey’s conduct in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.[159] This allowed the Trump administration to attribute Comey’s firing to Rosenstein’s recommendation about the Clinton email controversy. It was later revealed that on May 8, Trump had requested Sessions and Rosenstein to detail in writing a case against Comey.[160][161]Rosenstein’s memo was forwarded to Trump on May 9 and was then construed as a recommendation to dismiss Comey, which Trump immediately did. In Trump’s termination letter to Comey, he attributed the firing to the two letters from Sessions and Rosenstein.[162][163] On May 10, Trump told reporters he had fired Comey because Comey “wasn’t doing a good job”.[164] White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders added that the FBI rank and file had lost faith in Comey and that she had “heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision”.[165]

By May 11, however, in a direct contradiction of the earlier statements by the White House, Vice President Mike Pence, and the contents of the dismissal letter itself, President Trump stated to Lester Holt in an NBC News interview that Comey’s dismissal was in fact “my decision” and “I was going to fire [Comey] regardless of recommendation [by Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein].”[166][167] Trump later said of the dismissal “when I decided to just do it [fire Comey], I said to myself, I said ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.'”[168] In the same televised interview, Trump labelled Comey “a showboat” and “grandstander”.

On May 19, the New York Times published excerpts of an official White House document summarizing Trump’s private meeting, the day after the firing, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. Trump told Kislyak and Lavrov that he “just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” Trump added: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off”, further adding “I’m not under investigation.”[17][169][170][171]

According to reports, Trump had been openly talking to aides about finding a reason to fire Comey for at least a week before both the dismissal and the requesting of memoranda from Sessions and Rosenstein the day prior to the dismissal. Trump was angry and frustrated when, in the week prior to his dismissal, Comey revealed in Senate testimony the breadth of the counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s effort to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He felt Comey was giving too much attention to the Russia probe and not enough to internal leaks to the press from within the government.[163][172] Shortly before Comey was fired, Comey had requested additional money and resources to further expand the probe into Russian interference into the Presidential election.[13] Trump had long questioned Comey’s loyalty to Trump personally, and Comey’s judgment to act in accordance to a loyalty to Trump.[173] Moreover, Trump was angry that Comey would not support his claim that President Barack Obama had his campaign offices wiretapped.[174]

Reference to tapes

On May 12, Trump tweeted “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”,[175] which the media, political and legal analysts, as well as opposition politicians, interpreted as a threat to Comey.[176]

On June 8, when Comey was asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee about the existence of tapes, he replied “Lordy, I hope there are tapes!” He added that he would have no problem with the public release of any recordings.[177]

On June 22, faced with a subpoena for the tapes that Trump alluded to, Trump issued a tweet stating “I have no idea […] whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”[178] Hours later, when asked to clarify the non-denial denial wording of Trump’s tweet regarding the tapes, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that Trump’s tweet was “extremely clear” and that she did “not have anything to add”.[179]Questions raised for clarification on Trump’s tweet centered principally around whether Trump ever had knowledge of said tapes having ever existed and whether he is simply no longer privy to the knowledge of whether said tapes still exist; whether Trump currently has or ever had knowledge of a person or persons other than Trump having made said tapes or recordings, and; whether Trump currently has or ever had knowledge of a person or persons other than Trump currently having or previously having had in their possession said tapes or recordings. U.S. Representative for California, Democrat Adam Schiff, stated that Trump’s tweet “raises as many questions as it answers,” and that in any event, the tweet did not comply with the 23 June deadline, and that Schiff would move forward with subpoenas for the tapes, adding that “[r]egardless of whether the President intends his tweets to be an official reply to the House Intelligence Committee, the White House must respond in writing to our committee as to whether any tapes or recordings exist.”[180]

Aftermath

Comey’s termination was immediately controversial. It was compared to the Saturday Night massacre, President Richard Nixon‘s termination of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been investigating the Watergate scandal,[181][182] and to the firing of Acting Attorney GeneralSally Yates in January 2017. Many members of Congress expressed concern over the firing and argued that it would put the integrity of the investigation into jeopardy.[183] Critics accused Trump of obstruction of justice.[184]

In the dismissal letter, Trump alleged that Comey had told Trump “on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation.”[185] Fact checkers reported that while they had no way of knowing what Comey may have told Trump privately, no such assertion was on the public record at that time of Comey directly stating that Trump was not personally under investigation.[186] However, in later Congressional testimony, Comey confirmed that on three occasions he volunteered to Trump that the latter was not personally under FBI investigation.[187][188]

According to Comey associates interviewed by news organizations, Trump had asked Comey in January to pledge loyalty to him, to which Comey demurred, instead offering him “honesty”.[131][189] Comey has indicated he is willing to testify about his dismissal in an open hearing.[190] He declined an invitation from the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify before a closed-door session.[190]

On May 11, Acting Director McCabe testified before the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does” and that “the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey”. This contradicted White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said she had heard from “countless” FBI agents in support of the firing.[191]

On May 16, The New York Times revealed the existence of a memo Comey had written after a February 14 meeting with Trump. It said that Trump had asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into Mike Flynn, who had been fired as National Security Advisor the day before.[192] Comey later explained that he had arranged, through a friend, for the memo to be shared with the press in hope it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.[193]

On June 8, 2017, Comey gave public testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his firing. When asked why thought he had been fired, he said he had been confused by the shifting explanations for it but that “I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.”[194] He said that he had made contemporaneous notes about several of his conversations with the president because “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I felt the need to document it.”[194]He said he had not done so with the two previous presidents he had served.

Writings

In August 2017, Macmillan Publishers‘ Flatiron Books announced that it had acquired the rights to Comey’s first book, to be released in spring 2018, in which he will discuss ethics, leadership, and his experience in government.[195] Several publishers had submitted bids in an auction conducted by literary agency Javelin.[196]

In November 2017, the title of his book was revealed to be A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership with a release date of May 1, 2018.[197][198] The release date was moved up to April 17 because of scrutiny faced by the FBI during the Special Counsel investigation.[199] On March 18, presale orders of the not-yet-released book made it the top seller on Amazon.[200] The boom was attributed to a series of Twitter attacks on Comey by Trump, in which Trump claimed that Comey “knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”[201] In response Comey tweeted, “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.”[200]

Comey confirmed that the Twitter account @projectexile7 (later changed to @formerbu), which uses “Reinhold Niebuhr” as its display name, is operated by him.[202]

Post-government life

In the summer of 2017, Comey gave the convocation speech and a series of lectures at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C. During the fall of 2018, Comey will return to his alma mater, the College of William & Mary, to teach a course of ethical leadership. He will be an executive professor in education, a nontenured position at the College. Comey will join assistant professor Drew Stelljes to teach the course during the 2018-2019 academic year.[203]

Party affiliation

Although Comey was a registered Republican for most of his life, he disclosed during Congressional testimony on July 7, 2016, that he was no longer registered with any party.[1] Comey donated to Senator John McCain‘s campaign in the 2008 presidential election and to Governor Mitt Romney‘s campaign in the 2012 presidential election.[204]

Personal life

Comey and his wife, Patrice Failor, are the parents of five children.[205] They have also been foster parents.[206] He is of Irish descent and was raised in a Roman Catholic household.[207][208] Comey subsequently joined the United Methodist Church, and has taught Sunday school.[205] He is 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) tall.[209]

References

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

Dismissal of James Comey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Letter from President Donald Trump dismissing FBI Director James Comey

James Comey, the 7th director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was dismissed by U.S. President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017.[1] Comey had been criticized in 2016 for his handling of the FBI‘s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy and in 2017 for the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections as it related to possible collusion with the 2016 Donald Trump campaign.[2][3]

Trump dismissed Comey by way of a termination letter in which he stated that he was acting on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.[4][5][6] In the following days, he gave numerous explanations of the dismissal that contradicted his staff and also belied the initial impression that Sessions and Rosenstein had influenced his decision.[7][8] Trump publicly stated that he had already decided to fire Comey;[9] it later emerged that he had written his own early draft of the termination letter,[10] and had solicited the Rosenstein memo the day before citing it.[11] He also stated that dismissing Comey relieved unnecessary pressure on his ability to engage and negotiate with Russia, due to Comey’s “grandstanding and politicizing” the investigation.[12][13] Trump was reportedly “enormously frustrated” that Comey would not publicly confirm that the president was not personally under investigation.[14] After his dismissal, Comey publicly testified to the Congress that he told Trump, on three occasions, that he was not personally under investigation in the counterintelligence probe.[15]

Shortly after his termination, in a move that he hoped would prompt a special counsel investigation, Comey asked a friend to leak excerpts to the press of a memo he had written when he was FBI Director, recounting a private conversation with Trump in February 2017.[16] According to Comey, Trump had asked him to “let go” of potential charges against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn whom Trump had fired the day before.[17][18] In light of the dismissal, the memo, and Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017, several media figures, political opponents and legal scholars said that Trump’s acts could be construed as obstruction of justice, while others disagreed.[19][20][21][22]

Following Comey’s dismissal, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation into Russian meddling and related issues that Comey had supervised during his tenure.[23] Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt” on numerous occasions.[24] [25]

Background

President Barack Obama (right) and James Comey (left) in the White House Rose Garden, Washington, D.C., June 21, 2013, as Obama announced Comey’s nomination as FBI Director

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is appointed by the President and, since 1972, confirmed by the Senate.[26] Beginning in 1976, the director’s term has been limited to ten years,[27] which is a relatively long tenure that is meant to deter political pressure.[28] The term can be extended with the approval of the Senate. Nevertheless, although the FBI director is appointed for a 10-year term, the president has the power to dismiss the director for any reason.

Before becoming FBI director, Comey, a registered Republican, served in the George W. Bush administration as Deputy Attorney General.[29] He was appointed FBI Director by President Barack Obama.[29] Comey was confirmedby the Senate in 2013 by vote of 93–1.[30]

During his tenure as director of FBI, Comey said there was a need for the Bureau to be independent from politics.[31] But, beginning in 2015 the Bureau became embroiled in investigations that affected the 2016 presidential election.[32] In March 2015, it came to light that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had used a private e-mail server for her work as Secretary of State under President Obama. The FBI launched an investigation to determine whether Clinton had violated the law and whether national security had been jeopardized. In July 2016 Comey announced that he was not recommending that any charges be brought against Clinton. The decision was decried by Republican leaders and candidates, including then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. In late October 2016, Comey announced that the investigation was being re-opened because of additional documents that had been obtained. Two weeks later he announced that no new information had been discovered and the investigation was again being closed.[33] The announcement of the re-opened investigation was seen by many observers as unnecessary and harmful to Clinton’s campaign, and the re-closing of that investigation was also met with complaints.[32][34]

On October 7, 2016,[35] the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly stated that individuals working on behalf of the Russian government had hacked servers and e-mail accounts associated with the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, and forwarded their contents to WikiLeaks.[36] This would be confirmed by numerous private security experts and other government officials. The FBI launched investigations into both the hackings, and contacts between Trump associates and Russia.

In January 2017, Comey testified to Congress confirming Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and confirmed an ongoing investigation although he refused to comment specifically on the Trump organization. President-elect Trump stated his intention to keep Comey as the FBI director. In March, Comey finally confirmed that the FBI was investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also refuted Trump’s allegations that the Obama administration had wiretapped him.[33]

During the weeks leading up to May 9, grand jury subpoenas were issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, to associates of Michael Flynn for the purpose of obtaining records relating to the investigation of Russia’s role in the election. News outlets became aware of these subpoenas on May 9.[37]

Trump’s dismissal of Comey on May 9, 2017—four years into Comey’s ten-year term[28]—raised the issue of possible political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by a leading law enforcement agency,[28] as well as other issues.[which?] Although presidents have occasionally clashed with FBI directors,[38] Comey was only the second director to be dismissed since the Bureau’s foundation.[28] The only other occasion was under “dramatically different circumstances”:[39] in 1993 President Bill Clinton fired FBI Director William S. Sessions after a Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility report—published under Clinton’s predecessor, George H. W. Bush—accused Sessions of tax evasion and other ethical lapses.[40][41]

In May, Comey gave additional testimony before the Senate regarding the Clinton e-mail investigation and the Russia probe.[33] News media reported that Comey had requested additional personnel from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to expand the probe into Russia interference.[42] Commenting on the matter, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe “said he was unaware of any such request” but left open the possibility that Comey had requested the president to shift existing resources to the Russian investigation.[43][44]

The dismissal

Comey‘s official portrait as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

On May 8, 2017, Trump directed Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to provide advice and input in writing.[45] On Trump’s direction, on May 9, Rosenstein prepared and delivered a memorandum to Sessions relating to Comey (Sessions and Rosenstein had already begun considering whether to dismiss Comey months earlier).[45] Rosenstein’s memorandum said that the “reputation and credibility” of the FBI had been damaged under Comey’s tenure, and the memo presented critical quotes from several former attorneys general in previously published op-eds; Rosenstein concluded that their “nearly unanimous opinions” were that Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation was “wrong.”[5] In his memo Rosenstein asserted that the FBI must have “a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.” He ended with an argument against keeping Comey as FBI director, on the grounds that he was given an opportunity to “admit his errors” but that there is no hope that he will “implement the necessary corrective actions.”[46] Rosenstein also criticized Comey on two grounds: for usurping the prerogative of the Justice Department and the Attorney General in his July 2016 public statements announcing the closure of the investigation into Clinton’s emails, and for making derogatory comments about Clinton in that same meeting.[47] Both of these actions, he argued, were in conflict with longstanding FBI practice. To Comey’s previous defense that Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict of interest, Rosenstein argued that in such a case, it is the duty of the Attorney General to recuse herself, and that there is a process for another Justice Department official to take over her duties.[48]

Termination letter

On May 9, 2017, President Trump sent a termination letter to James Comey:

Dear Director Comey:

I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

It is essential that we find new leadership that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

— Donald J. Trump

Reasons for dismissal

Recommendations of the Attorney General Sessions and Rosenstein

Letter from Atty. GeneralSessions recommending the dismissal

Opinion from Deputy Atty. Gen. Rosenstein (3 pages)

Sessions, in his letter to Trump, cited Rosenstein’s memo as the reason for his own recommendation that Comey be dismissed. In the dismissal letter, Trump cited the recommendations by Sessions and Rosenstein as the reason for Comey’s dismissal.[4][49] Immediately after Trump’s termination announcement. Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sessions and other administration associates stated that Trump fired Comey solely on the recommendations of Sessions and Rosenstein.[50]

On September 1, 2017, The New York Times reported that Trump had drafted a letter to Comey over the weekend of May 4–7, 2017. The draft, which is now in the possession Special Counsel Mueller, was dictated by Trump and written up by Trump aide Stephen Miller. It notified Comey he was being fired and gave a several-page-long explanation of the reasons. The draft was described by people who saw it as a “screed” with an “angry, meandering tone”.[10] On May 8 Trump showed it to senior White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Don McGahn. McGahn was alarmed at its tone and persuaded Trump not to send that letter. McGahn arranged for Trump to meet with Sessions and Rosenstein, who had been separately discussing plans to fire Comey. Rosenstein was given a copy of the draft and agreed to write a separate memo on the subject. His memo, delivered to Trump on May 9 along with a cover-letter recommendation from Sessions, detailed Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation as the reason to dismiss him. Trump then cited Rosenstein’s memo and Sessions’ recommendation as the reason for terminating Comey.[10] Trump had previously praised Comey for renewing the investigation into Clinton’s emails in October 2016.[51]

Based on other reasons

Several other reasons were soon offered. On May 9, a statement by the White House claimed that Comey had “lost the support” of “rank and file” FBI employees, so that the President had no choice but to dismiss him.[52] However, FBI agents “flatly rejected” this assertion,[53] saying that Comey was in fact relatively well-liked and admired within the FBI.[54] In testimony given to the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabecontradicted the White House’s claim that Comey had lost the confidence of the FBI rank-and-file, saying that Comey “enjoyed broad support within the FBI and does to this day.”[55] Comey, in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, objected strongly to Trump’s description of the FBI as “in disarray” and “poorly led”. “The administration chose to defame me, and more importantly the FBI,” Comey said. “Those were lies, plain and simple.”[56][57]

On May 10, Trump told reporters he fired Comey “because he wasn’t doing a good job”.[58] On May 11, Trump said that he was going to fire Comey irrespective of any recommendation from the Justice Department.[59][60] On May 18, Rosenstein told members of the Senate that he wrote the dismissal memo while knowing that Trump had already decided to fire Comey.[61] Rosenstein had been contemplating firing Comey for many months.[45]

Within a few days, Trump and other White House officials directly linked the dismissal to the FBI’s Russia investigation. During a May 10 meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Trump told the Russian officials “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” He added: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off”, further adding “I’m not under investigation.”[62][12] The comments were recorded in official White House notes made during the meeting.[63][64] On May 11 Trump told Lester Holt in an NBC News interview, “When I decided [to fire Comey], I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story”,[13] while reiterating his belief that there was no proof Russia was behind any election interference.[65][66] White House officials also stated that firing Comey was a step in letting the probe into Russian election interference “come to its conclusion with integrity”.[67][68] White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed the hope that firing Comey would help bring the Russia investigation to an end.[66]

Other reasons have been offered. Insider sources have claimed that Trump was furious at Comey for refusing during March to back up Trump’s wiretap accusations against former President Barack Obama, as well as not defending him from accusations of collusion with the Russian government.[69][70] According to Comey associates interviewed by The New York TimesAssociated Press, and CBS News, Trump had asked Comey in January to pledge his loyalty to him, and Comey declined to make this pledge, saying that he would give him “honesty” and what Trump called “honest loyalty”.[71][72] Trump denied that he asked Comey for his loyalty, but says such a discussion would not necessarily have been inappropriate.[73] On June 7, 2017, during an interview with MSNBC, House Speaker Paul Ryan stated that it’s “obviously” inappropriate for the president to ask the FBI director for loyalty.[74] According to sources, Comey’s unwillingness to offer personal loyalty to Trump was one of the reasons for the firing.[70][75] Another source told The Atlantic that Trump fired Comey because Trump was concerned about what Flynn would testify in court.[76] The next day, several FBI insiders said Comey was fired because “he refused to end the Russia investigation.”[77] Prior to the firing, senior White House officials had made inquiries to intelligence officials, such as “Can we ask [Comey] to shut down the investigation [of former national security adviser Flynn]? Are you able to assist in this matter?”[78] After his dismissal, Comey recounted that Trump had told him the following in March 2017: “If there were some satellite associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out there.”[79][80]

Announcement of dismissal

President Trump had the letter dismissing Comey delivered in a manila folder to FBI headquarters[69] in Washington on the evening of Tuesday, May 9, and a press statement was made by Sean Spicer at the same time.[47] Comey was in Los Angeles that day giving a speech to agents at the Los Angeles Field Office, and Comey learned of the termination through a news report being telecast while he was speaking. (Sources said he was surprised and caught off guard by the termination.) Comey immediately left for Washington, D.C., and cancelled another scheduled speech that night at an FBI recruitment event.[81]

Timing of the dismissal

Observers were suspicious of the timing of the dismissal, given the ongoing Russia investigation.[82][83][84] In an interview with CNN, President Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway denied that Comey’s dismissal was part of a White House cover-up of the Russia investigation.[85] The dismissal took place just a few days after Comey reportedly requested additional resources to step up the Russia investigation; however the Justice Department denied that such a request was made.[69][42] On May 9, before the dismissal, it was revealed that federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas to Flynn’s associates, representing a significant escalation in the FBI’s Russia investigation.[37][86]

Comey was scheduled to testify at the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11.[87] Andrew McCabe, as acting FBI director, gave the report instead.[88]

Other events of May 9

On the same day, May 9, President Trump hired a law firm to send a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying any business or other connections to Russia, “with some exceptions”. The law firm itself turned out to have “deep ties” to Russia, and had even been selected as “Russia Law Firm of 2016”.[89][90] No evidence was provided in the letter itself, such as tax returns.[91] The letter was a response to earlier statements by Senator Lindsey Graham stating that he wanted to know whether there were any such ties.[3]

Reactions

Media reports cast doubt on the original justification for Comey’s dismissal; Trump’s decision to fire Comey had reportedly happened first, then Trump sought “advice and input” from Sessions and Rosenstein on May 8, who responded by writing letters to justify the decision.[9][45] Sessions and Rosenstein had already been considering whether to dismiss Comey before Trump decided to do so, with their stated objectives including restoration of the FBI’s credibility, limiting public announcements by the FBI, stopping leaks, and protecting the authority of the Department of Justice over the FBI.[45]

According to an anonymous source who spoke to The Washington Post, Rosenstein threatened to resign after his letter was cited as the primary reason for Comey’s dismissal.[92] Other media noted the disconnect between the dismissal and Trump’s praise of Comey’s actions in the campaign and throughout his presidency until a week beforehand.[93]

News commentators characterized the termination as extraordinary and controversial. CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin went so far as to characterize it as an “abuse of power”.[94] It was compared to the Saturday Night MassacrePresident Richard Nixon‘s termination of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been investigating the Watergate scandal.[95] John Dean, White House Counsel under President Nixon, called it a “a very Nixonian move” saying that it “could have been a quiet resignation, but instead it was an angry dismissal”.[96] Among the two reporters noted for investigating the Watergate scandal, Bob Woodward said that “there is an immense amount of smoke” but that comparisons of the Comey dismissal to Watergate were premature,[97] while Carl Bernstein said that the firing of an FBI director overseeing an active investigation was a “potentially more dangerous situation than Watergate.”[98]

The New York Times Editorial Board published an editorial slamming the move, calling Trump’s explanation “impossible to take at face value” and stating Trump had “decisively crippled the FBI’s ability to carry out an investigation of him and his associates”.[99]

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer renewed his call for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s involvement in the election and its influence on members of the Trump campaign and administration.[100][101] Republican Senator John McCain renewed his call for a special congressional committee to investigate.[102] Democratic Representative Adam Schiff observed that Sessions had previously recused himself from involvement in the Russia investigation and suggested that recommending Comey’s termination violated that pledge because Comey was the lead investigator.[103] In addition to the criticisms from Democratic leaders, some Republican leaders also expressed concern, including Richard BurrRoy BluntBob CorkerJustin Amash, and others.[104][105] Other Republican leaders came to Trump’s defense including Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham.[106]

Senator Al Franken called Sessions’ actions in recommending Comey’s dismissal a breach by Sessions of his commitment in March 2017 to recuse himself from anything to do with the investigation into ties between Trump’s team and Russia, as well as from the Clinton email controversy. Franken called Sessions’ action a “complete betrayal” of his promise to recuse.[107]

Immediate response from the White House regarding concerns from congressional leaders and the media was limited. White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Tucker Carlson of Fox News that it was time to “move on” from accusations of collusion between Trump and Russia, but added that “Comey’s firing would not impact the ongoing investigations”: “You will have the same people that will be carrying it out to the Department of Justice. The process continues both, I believe, in the House and Senate committees, and I don’t see any change or disruption there.”[108][109] Kellyanne Conway denied that Comey’s dismissal was part of a White House cover-up.[85] Trump furthermore commented on Twitter, mocking Senators Chuck Schumer and Richard Blumenthal, saying that Schumer “stated recently, ‘I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.’ Then acts so indignant” and that Blumenthal “devised one of the greatest military frauds in U.S. history”.[110]

Post-dismissal

Criticism of Trump’s decision came immediately from various experts on governance and authoritarianism,[111][112][113][114] and various politicians from across the political spectrum.[100][101][115] Top Republican politicians supported the firing.[116] Many elected officials called for a special prosecutor or independent commission to continue the investigation into Russia’s influence on the election,[115] while some Republicans stated that such a move would be premature.[116]

Reactions from within the FBI

File:FBI Acting Chief Contradicts Trump on Comey.webmhd.webm

‘FBI Acting Chief Contradicts Trump on Comey’. Video from Voice of America.

Comey was generally well-liked within the FBI, and his sudden dismissal shocked many FBI agents, who admired Comey for his political independence. Agents were stunned that Comey was fired in the midst of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[54][53] The dismissal reportedly damaged morale within the Bureau.[54][53] The way that Comey had first learned that he had been fired—from television news reports, while he was in Los Angeles—also angered agents, who considered it a sign of disrespect from the White House.[53]

Messaging from the White House

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Trump tweet “not a threat”, Spicer says. Video from Voice of America.

News reports indicated that President Trump continued to be surprised and frustrated by the reactions to Comey’s termination, both from the political leadership and from the media.[117][118] Administration officials struggled with messaging and media reports indicated frustration among the officials in trying to keep up with the President’s thinking. Vice President Mike Pence was reportedly rattled by the changing messaging as he attempted to support the President.[119] According to media sources, morale within the White House plummeted in the days immediately following and the President isolated himself not only from the media but from his own staff.[119] Interaction between the Press Secretary’s office and the President was strained. Following the termination announcement, Sanders took over press briefings from Press Secretary Sean Spicer, because Spicer had duties with the Navy Reserve.[120] Spicer eventually resumed the briefings.

On June 9, in response to Comey’s testimony the day before, Trump’s lawyer threatened to file legal complaints against Comey for sharing his memo with Richman and the press. Kasowitz said he intends to file a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee, against Comey for revealing “privileged” information. However, the memo was not classified and Trump had not invoked executive privilege with regard to his discussions with Comey.[121] Also, the Inspector General has limited jurisdiction since Comey no longer works for the Justice Department.[122] Some commentators suggested the threat could amount to intimidation of a witness.[121] On June 28 Bloomberg reported that Trump’s attorneys are postponing the threatened complaint, although they still intend to file it eventually. The postponement is reportedly intended as a courtesy to Special Counsel Mueller and an attempt to back away from the White House’s confrontational attitude toward him.[123]

Succession

After Comey’s dismissal, FBI Deputy Director Andrew G. McCabe became the acting FBI Director.[53] Several people were interviewed to succeed Comey.[124] On June 7, 2017, on the day before Comey was to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee,[125] President Trump tweeted that he intended to nominate Christopher A. Wray as the new FBI Director.[126] Trump made Wray’s formal nomination to the Senate on June 26.[127] The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination on July 20.[128] The full Senate confirmed the appointment on August 1,[129] and he was sworn in the next day.[130]

FBI investigation of Russian interference

Assurances to Trump by Comey

In the Comey termination letter, Trump asserted that Comey had told him on three separate occasions that he (Trump) was not under investigation.[131] The assertion was challenged.[132] Fact checkers reported that while they had no way of knowing what Comey may have told Trump privately, no such assertion was on the public record, and the White House declined to provide any more detail.[133] According to a May 10 article in The Washington Post, sources knowledgeable about the matter stated that Trump’s assertion as well as other assertions made by Trump about events leading up to the dismissal were false.[11][134]

However, in the written opening statement for his June 8 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said he had assured Trump on three separate occasions that he personally was not the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation.[135] Comey said Trump repeatedly pressed for him to say so publicly.[135] Comey added that Trump’s private comments urging him to drop the Flynn probe led him to tell his Justice Department colleagues they needed to be careful.[136] Comey also indicated that he had prepared notes on each of his interactions with Trump and had arranged for them to be publicly released.[136]

Trump’s private lawyer Marc Kasowitz declared in a statement that Comey’s testimony made Trump feel “completely and totally vindicated”.[137][138] However, on June 16 following newspaper reports that the special counsel is investigating him for obstruction of justice, Trump tweeted: “I am being investigated” and called the investigations a “witch hunt”.[139] Trump’s lawyer later clarified that Trump has not been notified of any investigation.[140]

Possible existence of recordings

In a Twitter post on May 12, Trump implied that he might have recorded his conversations with Comey, saying, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”[141] The comment was taken by many Democrats and commentators as a threat, an attempt to intimidate Comey into not discussing his conversations with Trump during intelligence committee hearings.[142][143][144][145] Trump’s hint about secret tapes created pressure on him to make any tapes and other evidence available to investigators.[141] For more than a month thereafter, in interviews and White House briefings, Trump and his spokespersons refused to confirm or deny the existence of ‘tapes’, or to comment on whether there are listening or recording devices in the White House.[141][146]

In his June 8 testimony, Comey said “I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes!” He added that he would consent to the release of any such recordings.[147]

On June 9, members of Congress from both parties called on Trump to say once and for all whether any ‘tapes’ exist.[148] The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), called for the White House to hand over any tapes, if they exist, to the committee, and threatened subpoenas if the White House did not comply with the deadline by June 23.

On June 22, Trump tweeted “I have no idea […] whether there are “tapes” or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”[149] Commentators noted that Trump’s tweet was a non-denial denial which merely denied personal involvement in the making of recordings and denied his present knowledge and present possession of said recordings. The tweet failed to deny that recordings do or did exist, that Trump ever had past knowledge of their existence, or that they may have been made by a third party other than Trump whom Trump is or was aware of.[150] When asked to clarify Trump’s tweet several hours later, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that Trump’s tweet was “extremely clear” and that she did “not have anything to add”.[151]

Schiff stated that Trump’s tweet “raises as many questions as it answers” and that “the White House must respond in writing to our committee as to whether any tapes or recordings exist.”[150] The White House responded on June 23 with a letter to House and Senate Committees which copied and pasted Trump’s non-denial denial tweet of the previous day.[152] On June 29, in a joint statement, the two leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said they had written to the White House to press it to comply fully with their June 9 request, adding “should the White House not respond fully, the committee will consider using compulsory process to ensure a satisfactory response”.[153]

Comey memos

On May 16, 2017, it was first reported that Comey had prepared a detailed memo following every meeting and telephone call he had with President Trump.[154][18][155]

February 14 meeting

One memo referred to an Oval Office meeting on February 14, 2017, during which Comey says Trump attempted to persuade him to abort the investigation into Michael Flynn.[154][18][156] The meeting had begun as a broader national security briefing, the day after Trump had dismissed Flynn as National Security Advisor. Near the conclusion of the briefing, the President asked those in attendance other than Director Comey to leave the room—including Vice President Pence and Attorney General Sessions. He then reportedly said to Comey “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”[18] Comey made no commitments to Trump on the subject.[18]

The White House responded to the allegations by stating that “the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” and “this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”[154]

Leaks to the press

The Comey memos were first mentioned in a May 16, 2017, New York Times article, published about a week after Trump had dismissed Comey as FBI director, and four days after he had implied on Twitter that his conversations with Comey may have been recorded.[141]The report cited two people who read the memos to the Times reporter.[18] The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post independently reported on the memos’ existence.[154][157]

In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey revealed that he had been the source, through a friend (later revealed to be Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman), of the public revelation of his February 14 memo. He said he decided to make it public in hopes that it might “prompt the appointment of a special counsel”. Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel the next day.[16]

On May 19, another friend of Comey, Lawfare Blog founder Benjamin Wittes, came forward as the principal source for the initial New York Times story.[158]

Congressional requests

Rep. Jason Chaffetz‘s letter to FBI demanding to produce all Comey memos

After the NYT report, leaders of the House Oversight Committee and Intelligence Committee, as well as those of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee, requested the production of all Comey memos, with a deadline of May 24. On May 25, the FBI said it was still reviewing the Committees’ requests, in view of the appointment of the special counsel.[159] To date,[when?] the Comey memos have still not been produced or released to the public.

Motivation

The New York Times reported that Comey had created the memos as a “paper trail” to document “what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation”.[18] Comey shared the memo with “a very small circle of people at the FBI and Justice Department.”[157] Comey and other senior FBI officials perceived Trump’s remarks “as an effort to influence the investigation, but they decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret—even from the F.B.I. agents working on the Russia investigation—so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation.”[18]

In his June 8 testimony, Comey explained that he had documented his conversations with Trump because he “was honestly concerned he (Trump) might lie” about them. “I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened,” he said.[56] The Washington Post reported that two Comey associates who had seen the memo described it as two pages long and highly detailed.[157] The Times noted that contemporaneous notes created by FBI agents are frequently relied upon “in court as credible evidence of conversations.”[18]

Legal considerations

Several Republican politicians and conservative journalists asserted that Comey could be subject to legal jeopardy for not disclosing the contents of his memos around the time he wrote them. Several legal experts, including Alan Dershowitz and Robert M. Chesney, contested this view.[160]

Anonymous officials told The Hill that 4 of the 7 memos contained information deemed “secret” or “classified”.[161][162] Comey testified that he deliberately wrote some memos without classified information so that they could be shared.[163]

Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz criticized Comey for leaking the contents of his memos to the press, saying that they were “unauthorized disclosures”.[164] White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized Comey for leaking to the press and alleged that he broke the law. Sanders cited an article by the legal analyst Jonathan Turley which alleged that Comey broke his employment agreement and FBI protocol.[165]

Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post analyzed Turley’s arguments and contested Sanders’ claims that Comey’s actions were “illegal”.[165] Turley himself has contested Kessler’s legal analysis of Comey’s actions.[166] University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladecksaid that there would “no legal blowback” for Comey, unless “the memos involve ‘information relating to the national defense'” or deprived “government of a ‘thing of value'”.[167] Bradley P. Moss, a partner in the law office of Mark Zaid, argued that Comey’s actions were legally justified by laws protecting whistleblowers from unjust persecution.[168]

Pursuit of leakers

According to a Washington Post report, the memos also document Trump’s criticism of the FBI for not pursuing leakers in the administration and his wish “to see reporters in jail”.[157] The report outraged journalists and free-speech groups, who likened the statement to intimidation tactics used by authoritarian regimes. The Committee to Protect Journalists and Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron were among those who criticized the statement.[169]

Appointment of special counsel

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

Immediately after Comey’s dismissal, many Democrats renewed their calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to continue the investigation into Russia’s influence on the election. Democratic attorneys general from 19 states and D.C. signed a letter calling for a special prosecutor.[170]

The White House continued to insist that no special prosecutor was necessary in the Russia investigation, instead saying that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the next FBI director could lead the investigation.[171] The White House has also said that it was “time to move on” after the 2016 election.[108] President Trump tweeted that Democratic members of Congress calling for a special prosecutor and criticizing the dismissal of Comey are “phony hypocrites!”[172]

On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as acting Attorney General, appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation.[23][173] The Trump administration cited an obscure ethics rule to suggest that Mueller might have a conflict of interest.[174] On May 23, 2017, Department of Justice ethics experts announced they had declared Mueller ethically able to function as special counsel.[175]

On June 3, Rosenstein said he would recuse himself from supervision of Mueller, if he were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in Comey’s dismissal.[176] In that event, the third senior officer in the Justice Department would take over the supervision of Mueller’s investigation—namely, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.[177]

Reactions from Congress

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‘Trump’s Firing of Comey Sets Off Political Firestorm’ – video from Voice of America

Several Democratic members of Congress – among them, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and California Rep. Maxine Waters – and some commentators suggested that Trump’s rationale for Comey’s dismissal in the interview amounted to a de facto admission to obstruction of justice.[178][179][180][181][182] Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democratic member said it was “extremely important that Comey come to an open hearing in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as quickly as possible and testify as to the status of the U.S.–Russia investigation at the time of his firing”.[87]

Among members of Congress:

  • 138 Democrats, two independents (Senators Bernie Sanders and Angus King), and two Republicans (Representatives Mike Coffman[183] and Tom McClintock), called for a special prosecutor, independent prosecutor, or an independent commission to examine ties between the Russian government and Trump’s associates.[115]
  • 84 Democrats and five Republicans called for an independent investigation into Russian ties. For example, Republican Senator John McCain said “I have long called for a special congressional committee” while Democratic Representative Salud Carbajal stated, “anything less would imperil our democracy”.[115]
  • 42 Republicans, and 8 Democrats, expressed “questions or concerns” about Comey’s firing; examples of members of Congress in this group are Republican Senator Marco Rubio (“I do have questions”); Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (“serious cause for concern”); Democratic Representative Marcia L. Fudge (“the American people deserve answers”).[115]
  • 98 Republicans, but no Democrats, were neutral or supportive of Comey’s firing.[115]
  • 141 Republicans and 11 Democrats did not release a statement.[115]

Multiple Democratic members of Congress discussed an “impeachment clock” for Trump, saying that he was “moving” toward impeachment and raising the possibility of bringing forth articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice and criminal malfeasance if proof of illegal activity is found.[184][185] Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut stated in an interview: “It may well produce another United States v. Nixon on a subpoena that went to United States Supreme Court. It may well produce impeachment proceedings, although we’re very far from that possibility.”[186]

Congressional testimony by Comey

On May 10, 2017, the day after being fired by Trump, Comey was invited to testify before a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 16, 2017.[187][188][189] Comey declined to testify at a closed session, indicating that he would be willing to testify at a public, open hearing.[190][191] On May 17, the Senate Intelligence Committee invited Comey to testify publicly.[192] Comey accepted the invitation and testified on June 8.[193][194]

On June 7, 2017 an advance copy of Comey’s prepared congressional testimony was submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee.[195] In it, he said that on February 14, 2017, the President attempted to persuade him to “let go” of any investigation into Michael Flynn.[17] He clarified that “I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign.”[196] He added that Trump requested his personal loyalty, to which Comey replied he would give his “honest loyalty” to the President.[196]

Comey stated that, on three occasions, he volunteered to Trump that the latter was not personally under investigation.[196][15] Comey stated that Trump requested that he publicly declare this so that his image could be improved, but Comey also stated that he did not respond to Trump’s request with an explanation of why he would not do so; Comey testified that his primary reason for not publicly saying Trump was not under investigation was to avoid a “duty to correct” in the event Trump later became subject to investigation.[197][198]In the termination letter of May 9, 2017 Trump said “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation….”[131]

In his live testimony, Comey was asked why he thought he was fired and he replied, “I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.”[199] He took strong exception to Trump’s claims that he had fired Comey because the FBI was in “disarray” and “poorly led”, saying “Those were lies, plain and simple.”[200] Comey also confirmed that the FBI investigations had not targeted Trump personally.[201]

In June 9 and June 11 Twitter comments on Comey’s testimony, Trump accused Comey of “so many false statements and lies” and “very cowardly” leaks but added that Comey’s testimony had amounted to “total and complete vindication” of Trump. Later that day Trump held a brief news conference, during which he insisted that he did not ask Comey to end the investigation into Flynn and was willing to say so under oath. He twice dodged questions about whether there are tapes of White House conversations.[202][203]

Commentary

Scholars

A number of professors of law, political science, and history have criticized the firing and argue that Trump’s action destabilizes democratic norms and the rule of law in the U.S.[111][112][113][114][204][205][206][207] Some have argued that Trump’s action creates a constitutional crisis.[112] Parallels have been drawn with other leaders who have slowly eroded democratic norms in their countries, such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán; political science professor Sheri Berman said those leaders slowly “chipped away at democratic institutions, undermined civil society, and slowly increased their own power.”[114]

In a May 2017 essay published in The Washington PostHarvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe wrote: “The time has come for Congress to launch an impeachment investigation of President Trump for obstruction of justice.” Tribe argued that Trump’s conduct rose to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that are impeachable offenses under the Constitution.[208][209] He added, “It will require serious commitment to constitutional principle, and courageous willingness to put devotion to the national interest above self-interest and party loyalty, for a Congress of the president’s own party to initiate an impeachment inquiry.”[208]

Duke law professor and former federal prosecutor Samuel W. Buell said that Trump’s attempt to quiet Comey by referencing secret tapes of their conversations in retaliation could be viewed as an effort to intimidate a witness to any future investigation on obstruction of justice.[191]

GW Law professor Jonathan Turley, who participated in impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, cautioned that the Comey memo is not a sufficient basis for impeachment, and raises as many questions about Comey’s behavior as about Trump’s.[210][211]

Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith says that claims of “grandstanding” or “politicization” by Comey of the FBI probe into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia were unsubstantiated. Goldsmith wrote, “the only thing Comey ever said publicly about the investigation into the Russia-DNC Hack-Trump Associates imbroglio was to confirm, with the approval of the Attorney General, its existence.”[212][non-primary source needed]

New York University law professor Ryan Goodman wrote, “if President Donald Trump orchestrated the decision to fire the Director of the FBI to subvert or undermine the integrity of investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible coordination with Russia, it may amount to an obstruction of justice.”[213][214]

A report published by the Brookings Institution in October 2017 raised the question of obstruction of justice in the dismissal of Comey, stating that Trump, by himself or conspiring with subordinates, may have “attempted to impede the investigations of Michael Flynn and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election”.[215] The report put aside the subject of impeachment pending the outcome of the 2017 Special Counsel investigation by Robert Mueller.[216][217][218]

Comey memos and obstruction of justice

Legal experts are divided as to whether Trump’s alleged request that Comey end the investigation can be considered obstruction of justice.[219] Jens David Ohlin of Cornell University Law School and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University have argued that the request does not neatly fit into any of the practices commonly considered to fall under the obstruction of justice statute.[220] Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Julie O’Sullivan of the Georgetown University Law Center argued that it is hard to prove that Trump had an intent to obstruct the investigation.[221] Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said that “it’s a very, very high bar to get over obstruction of justice for a president.”[222] Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith noted that it was implausible to indict a sitting president, noting that “the remedy for a criminal violation would be impeachment” instead.[223] Erwin Chereminsky of University of California, Irvine School of Law, have argued that it was obstruction of justice.[224]

Noah Feldman of Harvard University noted that the alleged request could be grounds for impeachment.[225] University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck said that it was reasonable for people to “start talking about obstruction”.[223] Harvard law professor Alex Whiting said that Trump’s actions were “very close to obstruction of justice … but still isn’t conclusive”.[226] Christopher Slobogin of Vanderbilt University Law School said that a “viable case” could be made but that it was weak.[224] John Dean, former White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, called the memo about the private conversation with President Trump concerning the Flynn investigation a “smoking gun” and noted that “good intentions do not erase criminal intent”.[227]

Comey testimony and obstruction of justice

In Comey’s June 8 testimony, he said it was not for him to say whether Trump’s February 14 request amounted to obstruction of justice, adding “But that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work toward, to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offense.”[228] Some legal experts have said that Comey’s testimony advanced the argument that Trump attempted to obstruct justice in his dealings with then-FBI Director James Comey.[229] Diane Marie Amann of University of Georgia, Paul Butler of Georgetown University, Brandon Garrett of University of Virginia, Lisa Kern Griffin of Duke University, Alexander Tsesis of Loyola University, and Alex Whiting of Harvard University said that an obstruction of justice case was advanced by the fact that Comey understood Trump’s words as an order to drop an ongoing FBI investigation.[229][230][231] Joshua Dressle of Ohio State University and Jimmy Gurulé of University of Notre Dame said after the testimony that “a prima facie case of obstruction of justice” had been established.[229]Samuel Gross of University of Michigan and Dressle said that there were sufficient grounds to indict Trump for obstruction of justice were he not President, but that a sitting President cannot be indicted, only impeached.[229] Samuel Buell of Duke University said, “Based on Comey’s testimony, we know to a virtual certainty that the President is now under investigation for obstruction of justice.”[231] Mark Tushnet of Harvard University said that there are “lots of pieces of evidence that could go into making a criminal case and very little to weaken such a case but nothing that in itself shows criminal intent.”[229]

Former United States Attorney Preet Bharara said in an interview with ABC News om June 11, 2017, “there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case” regarding obstruction of justice by Trump.[232] Bharara went on to note, “No one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction. [But] there’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction.”[232]

Media

Many media outlets continued to be highly critical of the move. For many critics, the immediate worry was the integrity of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.[233] Some commentators described Comey’s firing by the Trump administration as a “Nixonian” act, comparing it to Richard Nixon’s orders to three of his cabinet officials to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate investigation. A number of commentators – including Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, former CBS Newsjournalist Dan Rather, and former New Yorker editor Jeffrey Frank – accused the Trump administration of a cover-up by firing Comey with the intent to curtail the FBI’s investigation out of fear of a possible discovery of the extent of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.[234][235][236] Soon after Trump’s election, Benjamin Wittes writing in Lawfare had predicted a future firing of Comey, writing “If Trump chooses to replace Comey with a sycophantic yes-man, or if he permits Comey to resign over law or principle, that will be a clear bellwether to both the national security and civil libertarian communities that things are going terribly wrong.”[237] Immediately after the dismissal, they reiterated their position, stating that Trump’s firing of Comey “undermines the credibility of his own presidency” and implying that the reason given for it was probably a pretext, as Trump had previously praised Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation.[48]

Some commentators observed an emerging pattern of Trump firing government officials involved in investigating his interests: Sally YatesPreet Bharara, and Comey.[238][239]

Other media outlets were more supportive. Some sources have stated that, regardless of circumstances, Comey had lost the confidence of the political leadership on all sides of the spectrum and, therefore, his termination was unavoidable in spite of criticizing the president’s handling of it and questioning his motives.[240] Some went so far as to decry Democrats and other Trump opponents who criticized the termination after previously having criticized Comey himself for the handling of the Clinton scandal.[241] A few called for a re-opening of the Clinton investigation now that Comey had left.[242]

French daily Le Monde described the firing as a “coup de force” against the FBI.[114] German magazines Der Spiegel and Bild drew parallels with Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, with Der Spiegel saying that “few believe” that Comey was not fired for overseeing a criminal probe into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia.[114][243] The Economist wrote in an editorial that Comey’s firing “reflects terribly” on Trump and urged “principled Senate Republicans” to put country before party and establish “either an independent commission” similar to the 9/11 Commission, or a bipartisan select committee to investigate the Russia allegations, with either body to have “substantial investigatory resources” and subpoena power.[244]

References

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018, Story 1: Commander in Chief Trump Orders National Guard To Secure The Mexican/United States Border in 2018 As Bush Did In 2006 and Obama in 2010 — Election Year Politics? — Enforce Immigration Law By Deporting All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos — Story 2: Trump Is Not A Target But Subject of Mueller Investigation — No Evidence of Criminal Conspiracy — Videos — Story 3: When Should 4,000+ U.S. Troops/Advisers Be Withdrawn From Syria and Iraq? When ISIS Is Destroyed — Videos

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Story 1: Commander in Chief Trump Orders National Guard To Secure The Mexican/United States Border in 2018 As Bush Did In 2006 and Obama in 2010 — Election Year Politics? — Enforce Immigration Law By Deporting All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos —

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Trump signs proclamation sending National Guard to Mexico border immediately

By Adam Shaw | Fox News

President Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday night to send the National Guard to the southern border immediately, a senior White House official told Fox News, in response to what the administration described as an “unacceptable” flow of drugs, criminal activity and illegal immigrants.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the White House press briefing that the signing would be done in conjunction with governors and that the administration hoped the deployment would begin “immediately.”

“Despite a number of steps this administration has taken…we continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity transnational criminal organizations and illegal immigration flow across our border,” she said.

“The president has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy our National Guard to our southwest border  to assist the border patrol,” she said. “The president will be signing a proclamation to that effect today.”

Details about what the National Guard would do and how many would be deployed and for how long were not immediately disclosed.

Under the George W. Bush administration, deploying the National Guard to the border cost $415 million dollars.

Nielsen pointed to what she described as increasing fraud and exploited loopholes among arrivals on the southern border, saying traffickers have been advertising that if migrants have children with them, then they are more likely to be released into the U.S. She also said that almost 50 percent of arriving aliens are from Central America.

“Traffickers and smugglers know that these individuals cannot under U.S. law be easily removed in an expeditious way back to their country of origin and so they exploit the loophole,” she said, adding that the ability to game the system acts as a magnet for more migrants.

She said that the administration has drafted legislation and will ask Congress to provide legal authority and resources to address the problem.

“We will not allow illegal immigration levels to become the norm,” she said. “More than 1,000 people a day, 300,000 a year violating our sovereignty as a nation will never be acceptable to this president.”

Trump had tweeted earlier Wednesday that he would “be taking strong action today” on the Mexico border, a day after he said that he wants to send the military to secure it until a wall is built.

Trump pledges to send U.S. military to the southern border until wall is built. Border Angels director Enrique Morones and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley debate on 'The Ingraham Angle.'

Arguing that the U.S. border laws “are very weak” compared to Mexico and Canada, he accused Democrats of wanting immigrants “to pour into our country unchecked.”

Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush had deployed the National Guard to the border in response to security issues.

The Associated Press reported that the White House was considering a model similar to a Bush-era operation, where in 2006 6,000 National Guard troops were sent to assist the border patrol with non-law enforcement duties while additional border agents were hired and trained.

Trump’s recent focus on illegal immigration appeared to have been partly motivated by a caravan of more than 1,000 Central American migrants heading toward the U.S. border.

Trump had threatened to end the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and to cut foreign aid to countries such as Honduras, from where many of the migrants originate, if the caravan was not stopped.

Trump said Tuesday that he believes the caravan is being broken up after he had a conversation with Mexican officials.

Nielsen said on Tuesday that she had been advised by Mexican officials that “the caravan is dissipating” and that several hundred migrants had been repatriated.

“We will not accept the lawlessness of these types of efforts and those who choose to violate our laws, and those who conspire to assist others to violate our laws, will face criminal prosecution,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “The Department of Justice fully supports the efforts of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security announced today to secure our border. I will soon be announcing additional Department of Justice initiatives to restore legality to the southern border.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Serafin Gomez, Jennifer Griffin, Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/04/04/trump-to-sign-proclamation-sending-national-guard-to-border-immediately.html

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018, Story 1: Better Late Then Never — Department of Justice (DOJ) To Reopen FBI Investigations of Hillary Clinton Mishandling of Classified of Documents in Emails and Email Server and Investigation of Abuse of FISA Court Warrants — Appoint A Special Counsel Now! — Videos

Posted on March 1, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, James Comey, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Nuclear, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Spying, Spying on American People, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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DOJ will investigate FISA abuse allegations, Jeff Sessions says

Hannity: Major developments in the FISA abuse scandal

Justice Dept IG to Probe FISA Abuse!, 2077

Democratic, GOP intel memos are both at fault: Judge Napolitano

Sen. Sessions on the FBI’s new investigation of Clinton’s email case

Rep. Jordan presses Sessions over special council for Clinton, FBI

Jeff Sessions: I’d recuse myself in a Hillary Clinton investigation

Sessions: Clinton Foundation ‘not fully investigated…

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

FISA memo: Something went wrong in Comey’s inner circle, Chris Swecker says

Members of Comey’s team, DOJ have expulsion now for obstruction of justice: Kallstrom

FISA memo contains major federal felonies, says ex-FBI official Kallstrom

Could Loretta Lynch face 5-10 years in jail?

Obama guilty of obstruction of justice, not Loretta Lynch?

Trump dropped biggest bombshell on Loretta Lynch: Judge Napolitano

Gohmert Makes FBI Director James Comey Admit FBI Faked Hillary Clinton Investigation

EX CIA Agent Wreaks Havoc On FBI Director James Comey Over Hillary Clinton Investigation

Jason Chaffetz Furious at Comey For Not Jailing Hillary Clinton

Rep. Issa to Comey: “Cheryl Mills Received Complete Immunity…for Obstruction/Destruction of Docs”

Darrell Issa Super Pissed at James Comey! “What Are You Going to Do About Evidence Being Deleted!”

Darrell Issa GRILLS James Comey For Giving Out Immunity Like Candy In Clinton Emails 9/28/16

Jim Jordan Asks FBI Director James Comey Why Hes Covering Up Hillary Clinton’s Lies

John Ratcliffe Explodes On FBI Director James Comey For Covering Up Hillary Clinton’s Lies

Raul Labrador Pummels FBI Director James Comey Over Hillary Clinton Investigation

Rep. Collins, GA: “I Think You BLEW IT! Anybody Else Would have been Prosecuted!”

Rep Jordan FBI Comey O-S-H-I-T Combetta Deletes Evidence

Rep. David Trott, MI to Comey: “Can You See Why It Appears There’s a Double Standard?”

Rep King, IA to Comey: Who Was in the Room With Hillary During FBI Questioning?

OUCH! Rep. Jim Jordan hammers James Comey over Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation

Rep. Trey Gowdy: False statements proved Clinton’s ‘intent’

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) questions FBI Director Comey on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

Giuliani: James Comey has put himself and Ms. Clinton above the law

Al D’Amato: FBI HRC conclusion is a stain on the judicial process

Fmr. FBI Assistant Director: Comey should have resigned

Former assistant FBI director slams Comey’s recommendation

Giuliani: Dissapointed in FBI’s Comey

Giuliani: FBI decision on Clinton emails an “embarrassment”

FBI’s Comey: No reasonable case for Clinton prosecution

Guilty Under 18 U.S. Code 793

FBI INVESTIGATION COMEY: ANALYSIS BY CHIEF INTEL CORRESPONDENT CATHERINE HERRIDGE

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

James Comey Admits Loretta Lynch Tried To Cover Up Hillary Clinton Investigation

FBI had evidence that Loretta Lynch intended to obstruct Clinton email investigation • 6/12/17

REVEALED FBI found an email that Lynch would do everything to protect Hillary from CRIMINAL CHARGES

‘Your Lack Of Leadership is Astonishing’ Loretta Lynch Lies To Protect Hillary Clinton

“Remember Your Oath To The Constitution” Gomert Blasts Lying Loretta Lynch

Trey Gowdy Smashes Lying Loretta Lynch For Protecting Hillary Clinton

John Ratcliffe Shuts Up Lying Loretta Lynch Over Hillary Clinton’s Emails

Why did AG Lynch secretly meet with Bill Clinton?

Hannity: Evidence is coming that will rock DC’s foundation

The Obama Administration’s ‘Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton’ Starting To Seep Out

Rep. Jordan: FBI texts about Obama raise lots of concerns

CLIP: Obama ‘I do not talk to FBI Directors about pending investigations’ EXCEPT James Comey

Obama Rejects Claims That FBI, State Department Colluded on Clinton Emails

Obama weighs in on Hillary Clinton’s emails

‘RussiaGate investigation is designed to vindicate Hillary’s losing a rigged election’ – Lionel

Rep. Jordan presses Jeff Sessions to appoint special counsel

BREAKING: CLINTON INDICTED WITH WEINER LAPTOP PICS DEEMED RUSSIA BOT KREMLIN PROPAGANDA. IMMINENT

JEFF SESSIONS HEARING: Comey, Lynch – *CLINTON EMAILS* “THAT IS A STUNNING THING!”

 

Sessions says DOJ will investigate alleged FISA abuses

Sessions says DOJ will investigate alleged FISA abuses

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the Justice Department will investigate potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“Yes, it will be investigated,” Sessions told reporters at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees FISA warrants, according to the Washington Examiner.

He said looking into any abuses is the “appropriate thing” to do.

Sessions’s remarks follow allegations from President Trump last year that Obama administration officials misused their FISA authority to wrongly surveil members of his transition team.

It is not clear if Sessions has opened a formal investigation into the matter, but he said the Justice Department’s inspector general would take it up.

Sessions similarly said on Fox News on Sunday that his department would look into the process for obtaining warrants under FISA. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing on Tuesday it is the Justice Department’s responsibility to investigate claims of FISA abuses and that the White House would support the probe.

“I think that’s the role of the Department of Justice, and we’re glad that they’re fulfilling that job,” she said.

Trump has publicly pressed Sessions to open up an investigation into potential abuses of the program, which allows U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to obtain secret surveillance orders on individuals in the U.S. suspected of being foreign terrorists or spies.

The president claimed last year that the Obama administration improperly wiretapped members of his presidential campaign and transition team, though the White House has not provided any evidence to support that claim. 

Allegations of FISA abuses surfaced again last month, when Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a controversial memo alleging that FBI and Justice Department officials misused their authority to obtain a surveillance order on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

The committee released a Democrat-authored memo on Saturday countering the claims in the GOP document.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/375863-sessions-says-justice-dept-will-investigate-alleged-fisa-abuses

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pictured. | AP Photo
“We believe the Department of Justice must adhere to the high standards in the FISA court and, yes, it will be investigated. And I think that’s just the appropriate thing,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo

Sessions: Justice Department watchdog investigating GOP Russia memo claims

The Attorney General says his inspector general is probing allegations in a House Republican memo that a secret federal court was misled in 2016.

Updated 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the Justice Department’s inspector general is looking into a House Republican memo’s claim that prosecutors and FBI agents misled a federal judge when applying for warrants to surveil a Trump campaign adviser with ties to Moscow.

In response to a question at a press conference about government anti-opioid efforts, Sessions appeared to confirm that the Justice Department is investigating the surveillance-related allegations leveled in the memo issued by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and declassified on Feb. 2 at the order of President Donald Trump.

The GOP memo charged that federal officials did not fully disclose important facts in an October 2016 FISA warrant application to monitor the communications of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, including that Democrats had funded a private intelligence dossier which was part of the basis for the request.

A spokeswoman for Sessions said his comments were accurate, but referred further questions to aides in the office of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. An IG spokesman said: “We’ve received the referral and decline to comment further.”

Horowitz announced in January 2017 that he was opening a review into numerous sensitive issues, including whether political considerations affected the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The IG also indicated he planned to examine whether some FBI or Justice Department officials engaged in improper communications with Clinton’s campaign or should have recused themselves.

Horowitz’s announcement of the probe did not indicate any plans to examine issues related to surveillance applications, such as Trump’s claims that his campaign aides were subjected to politically-motivated surveillance before and after the 2016 election.

Over the past year, both Democrats and Republicans have asked Horowitz to expand his inquiry to sweep in various other matters. Before Sessions’ comments Tuesday, there was no explicit indication he had done so. Indeed, Horowitz’s spokespeople have rebuffed media questions about the scope of the review. His answers to lawmakers have also been non-committal.

Horowitz did say in House testimony last November that he expected the election-related review to be completed by March or April of this year.

 

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/27/justice-department-gop-memo-russia-investigation-jeff-sessions-428387

 

Trump appears to push for DOJ probe into Hillary Clinton scandals

President Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to promote calls for the Justice Department to investigate alleged criminal activity by his former Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton — citing a Fox News analyst who suggested that the DOJ may be sitting on a “treasure trove” of evidence.

Trump quoted Fox News’ Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, who suggested on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” that someone at the department may have evidence of criminality from Clinton or her camp that should be investigated.

Napolitano was, in turn, reacting to an interview Trump gave to Fox’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine” on Saturday night when he suggested that someone should look into the Clinton campaign’s “fraudulent actions” during the 2016 presidential run in relation to the funding of a controversial anti-Trump dossier that was used by the FBI and DOJ to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

In the wake of his election, Trump backed down on his campaign call to have the DOJ investigate Clinton, but he has returned to the “lock her up” theme since then — and has repeatedly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not investigating Clinton more aggressively.

In his tweets Tuesday, Trump also branded FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe a witch hunt, quoting experts who appeared on “Fox & Friends” to support his long-standing argument that the probe is baseless and that there was no collusion between members of his team and Russian-linked individuals in the 2016 election.

Ken Starr, the independent counsel tasked with investigating Clinton administration controversies in the 1990s, said on Sunday that there has been “no evidence of collusion” so far from the Mueller team, prompting a tweet from the president’s account.

Trump quoted constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, who also downplayed the probe on Sunday, noting that collusion was implausible based on evidence seen so far.

Trump then tweeted in all caps:

Trump’s tweets come after the release of a Democratic rebuttal to a GOP memo that found that intelligence agencies had used a Democratic-funded dossier as the basis to get a warrant to spy on Page.

DEMS’ REBUTTAL TO GOP FISA MEMO IS RELEASED; TRUMP DEEMS IT A ‘BUST’

Trump branded the Dem memo a “total political and legal bust.”

Trump has repeatedly said there was no collusion from his team and has claimed that the investigation is politically motivated and pushed by Democrats upset by Trump’s win.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/27/trump-appears-to-push-for-doj-probe-into-hillary-clinton-scandals.html

Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: Republicans Beg Republican to Reopen Hillary Case Closed by Republican

gettyimages874090334

Jeff Sessions at Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.

Republicans have been quite successful of late in elections and control both chambers of Congress and the White House. On Tuesday, given a chance to present a unified response to minority Democrats’ pointed questioning of attorney general Jeff Sessions at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, America’s powerful governing party … squabbled with itself about whether it’s necessary to launch another investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.

The background here is that a number of Republican legislators believe Crooked Hillary’s vast past crookedness warrants the appointment of another special counsel. Among them are Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who sit on the Judiciary Committee. Their beef with Clinton involves the server but, as this as this graphic demonstrates, also extends to most of the rest of the events that have ever taken place in the universe:

(Please note that the State Department is presented on this chart as a subsidiary of “Benghazi” and that there is a line between the box on the lower right labeled “Obama” and another box toward the middle which is also labeled “Obama.” What do the binary Obamas have to hide?)

The long and short of this conspiracizing is that Clinton has been let off the hook for the email thing—but also for the majestically overhyped Uranium One “scandal” and for her involvement with the uncorroborated “Steele dossier” which is misleadingly being presented by right-wing figures as the basis of the Trump-Russia investigation—because the entire Obama Justice Department was in the bag for her. The man who has become the face of this alleged Obama deep-state fix, in the right-wing imagination, is former FBI director James Comey.

In reality world, however, Comey is considered a credible figure by nonpartisan observers and the general public. He’s a respected federal law-enforcement lifer who moreoever was himself a registered Republican until very recently. Jeff Sessions, whose job involves maintaining good relations with the federal law-enforcement community and who has tangible (if highly controversial) non-Hillary priorities of his own, does not appear to have an appetite for picking a fight with a former FBI director or spending resources on a special-counsel goose chase. At Tuesday’s hearing, his feelings on the matter broke into the open as he demonstrated spectacularly little patience for Jordan’s rambling Comey/Clinton questions:

Rep. Jordan: We know that Mr. Comey publicized the [email server] investigation and we know he made the final decision on whether to prosecute or not. And then when he gets fired, he leaks a government document through a friend to the New York Times—and what was his goal? To create momentum for special counsel. It can’t be just any special  counsel, it’s Bob Mueller, his mentor. The same Bob Mueller who now is in this investigation with Russian businesses wanting to do business here in the United States. So I guess my main question is, what’s it going to take to actually get a special counsel? What’s it going to take to actually get a special counsel?

Jeff Sessions: It would take a factual basis that meets a standards of the appointment of a special counsel.

Ya burnt, Jim Jordan. Jordan didn’t give up, though:

Jordan: It sure looks like the FBI was paying the author of [the Steele dossier] and it sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government to then turn an opposition research document, the equivalent of a National Enquirer story, into an intelligence document, take that to the FISA court so they can then get a warrant to spy on the campaign. That’s what it looks like.

Replied Sessions: “‘Looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.” Cold!

Making the whole situation even more bizarre: Jordan and the other legislators pursuing this line of inquiry are just following the lead of Sessions’ boss, who is still mad at his own A.G. for allowing the Russia investigation to go forward and has been taking it out on him for months by whining in public.

Thus do we have Republican legislators carrying water for a Republican president who’s ticked off that his Republican attorney general won’t relitigate a decision that was made by a Republican FBI director. Unified government, indeed.

Today’s meter level is unchanged because 60 percent is already quite high, but it’s a confident 60 percent. Do the people described above seem to you like they’re capable of running the government until 2020 without a self-inflicted catastrophic collapse? 

The FBI’s Fake « Investigation » of Hillary Clinton’s Emails

On September 17th, U.S. President Barack Obama, the boss of the U.S. Government’s Executive Branch — including of federal investigations and prosecutions (including of FBI decisons not to investigate, and not to prosecute) — said that, in this Presidential election,

 “My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot,” and that a voter’s failure to vote for Hillary Clinton would be “an insult to my legacy.”

 This statement by him provides useful background context behind the following news-report (and readers are urged to click onto the link at any point here wherever a given allegation’s veracity is at all in doubt, to see the extensive documentation for it): 

The FBI’s ‘investigation’ into Hillary Clinton’s State Department email operation was fake in three major ways:

1: The FBI chose to ‘investigate’ the most difficult-to-prove charges, not the easiest-to-prove ones (which are the six laws that she clearly violated, simply by her privatization and destruction of State Department records, and which collectively would entail a maximum prison sentence of 73 years). The famous judge Jed Rakoff hasaccurately and succinctly said that, in the American criminal ‘justice’ system, since 1980 and especially after 2000, and most especially after 2010,

« the prosecutor has all the power. The Supreme Court’s suggestion that a plea bargain is a fair and voluntary contractual arrangement between two relatively equal parties is a total myth. … What really puts the prosecutor in the driver’s seat is the fact that he — because of mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines (which, though no longer mandatory in the federal system, are still widely followed by most judges), and simply his ability to shape whatever charges are brought — can effectively dictate the sentence by how he publicly describes the offense.”

Columnist Debra J. Saunders put it this way“The mandatory minimum sentencing system effectively has allowed federal prosecutors to choose defendants’ sentences by deciding how to charge them.”

If an Administration wants to be merely pretending an ‘investigation’, it’s easy: identify, as the topic for the alleged ‘investigation’, not the criminal laws that indisputably describe what the suspect can clearly be proven to have done, but instead criminal laws that don’t. Prosecutorial discretion is now practically unlimited in the United States. This discretion is an essential feature of any dictatorship. It’s the essence of any system that separates people into aristocrats, who are above the law, versus the public, upon whom their ‘law’ is enforced. It’s the essence of “a nation of men, not of laws.”

But, different people focus on different aspects of it. Conservatives notice it in Clinton’s case because she was not prosecuted.Progressives notice it in Clinton’s case because other people (ones without the clout) who did what she did (but only less of it), have been prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced for it. The result, either way, is dictatorship, regardless of anyone’s particular perspective on the matter. Calling a nation like that a ‘democracy’ is to strip “democracy” of its basic meaning — it is foolishness. Such a nation is an aristocracy, otherwise called an “oligarchy.” That’s the opposite of a democracy (even if it’s set up so as to pretend to be a democracy).

2: The FBI chose to believe her allegations, instead of to investigate or challenge them. For example: On page 4 of the FBI’s record of their interview with Hillary dated 2 July 2016, they noted: “Clinton did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not be on an unclassified system.”

But they already had seen this email. So, they asked her about that specific one:

« Clinton stated she did not remember the email specifically. Clinton stated a ‘nonpaper’ was a document with no official heading, or identifying marks of any kind, that can not be attributed to the US Government. Clinton thought a ‘nonpaper’ was a way to convey the unofficial stance of the US Government to a foreign government and believed this practice went back ‘200 years.’ When viewing the displayed email, Clinton believed she was asking Sullivan to remove the State letterhead and provide unclassified talking points. Clinton stated she had no intention to remove classification markings.”

Look at the email: is her statement about it — that « issues sending secure fax” had nothing to do with the illegality of sending classified U.S. Government information over a non-secured, even privatized, system — even credible? Is the implication by Clinton’s remark, that changing the letterhead and removing the document’s classified stamp, would solve the problem that Jake Sullivan — a highly skilled attorney himself — had brought to her attention, even credible?

Well, if so, then wouldn’t the FBI have asked Sullivan what he was referring to when his email to Clinton said « They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.”

The FBI provided no indication that there was any such follow-up, at all. They could have plea-bargained with Sullivan, to get him to testify first, so that his testimony could be used in questioning of her, but they seem not to have been interested in doing any such thing. They believed what she said (even though it made no sense as a response to the problem that Sullivan had just brought to her attention: the problem that emailing to her this information would violate several federal criminal statutes. Clinton, in other words, didn’t really care about the legality. And, apparently, neither did the FBI. Her email in response to Sullivan’s said simply: « If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.” So: she knew that it was classified information but wanted to receive it so that she would be able to say, “I didn’t know that it was classified information.” In other words: she was instructing her advisor: hide the fact that it’s classified information, so that when I receive it, there will be no indication on it that what was sent to me is classified information.

3: The FBI avoided using the standard means to investigate a suspect higher-up: obtaining plea-deals with subordinates, requiring them to cooperate, answer questions and not to plead the Fifth Amendment (not to refuse to answer). (In Hillary’s case, the Obama Administration actually did plea-deals in which they allowed the person who was supposed to answer all questions, to plea the Fifth Amendment to all questions instead. This is allowed only when the government doesn’t want to prosecute the higher-up — which in this case was Clinton. That alone proves the Obama Administration’s ‘investigation’ of Clinton’s email system to have been a farce.)

A plea-deal isn’t a Constitutional process: Jed Rakoff’s article explained why it’s not. The process is informal, but nowadays it’s used in more than 97% of cases in which charges are brought, and in more than 99% of all cases (including the 92% of cases that are simply dropped without any charges being brought). That’s the main reason why nowadays «the prosecutor has all the power». Well, the prosecutor in Hillary’s case (the Obama Administration) clearly didn’t want her in the big house; they wanted her in the White House.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

https://www.mondialisation.ca/the-fbis-fake-investigation-of-hillary-clintons-emails/5546435

18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(a)

Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or

(b)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense; or

(c)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain from any person, or from any source whatever, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note, of anything connected with the national defense, knowing or having reason to believe, at the time he receives or obtains, or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain it, that it has been or will be obtained, taken, made, or disposed of by any person contrary to the provisions of this chapter; or

(d)

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(e)

Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(f)

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(g)

If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

(h)

(1)

Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit to the United States, irrespective of any provision of State law, any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from any foreign government, or any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, as the result of such violation. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

(2)

The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant for a conviction of a violation of this section, shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States all property described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3)The provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (e) through (p) of section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853(b), (c), and (e)–(p)) shall apply to—

(A)

property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;

(B)

any seizure or disposition of such property; and

(C)

any administrative or judicial proceeding in relation to such property,
if not inconsistent with this subsection.

(4)

Notwithstanding section 524(c) of title 28, there shall be deposited in the Crime Victims Fund in the Treasury all amounts from the forfeiture of property under this subsection remaining after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by law.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 736; Sept. 23, 1950, ch. 1024, title I, § 18, 64 Stat. 1003Pub. L. 99–399, title XIII, § 1306(a), Aug. 27, 1986100 Stat. 898Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994108 Stat. 2147Pub. L. 103–359, title VIII, § 804(b)(1), Oct. 14, 1994108 Stat. 3440Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, § 607(b), Oct. 11, 1996110 Stat. 3511.)

 

LII has no control over and does not endorse any external Internet site that contains links to or references LII.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793

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The Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018, Story 1: Part 2–President Trump State of The Union Address — Getting Better All The Time — United States of America — USA — USA — USA — Grand Slam Home Run — Videos

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Story 1: Part 2–President Trump State of The Union Address — Getting Better All The Time — United States of America — USA — USA — USA — Grand Slam Home Run — Videos

See the source image

Trump’s 2018 State of the Union in four minutes

Part 1 of President Trump’s 2018 State of the Union Address

Part 2 of President Trump’s 2018 State of the Union Address

Part 3 of President Trump’s 2018 State of the Union Address

Part 4 of President Trump’s 2018 State of the Union Address

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The Democratic base is even worse-tempered than the president. But Mueller could still harpoon him.

President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the House of Representatives, Jan. 30, 2018.
President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the House of Representatives, Jan. 30, 2018. PHOTO: WIN MCNAMEE/ZUMA PRESS

The State of the Union speech was good—spirited, pointed, with a credible warmth for the heroes in the balcony, who were well chosen. They were beautiful human beings, and their stories were rousing—the cop and his wife who adopted the baby, the hardy North Korean defector who triumphantly waved his crutches, the mourning, dignified parents of the girls killed by MS-13. My beloved Cajun Navy.

The thing about the heroes in the balcony is it reminds you not of who the president is but of who we are. “With people like that we can’t miss.” I had that thought when Ronald Reagan gave tribute in 1985 to a young woman who as a child desperately fled Saigon as it fell. She and her family were among the boat people, spotted and saved by a U.S. ship. Reagan called her to stand, and Jean Nguyen stood—proudly, in the gleaming uniform of a West Point cadet. She would graduate within the year.

The recognition of heroes in the balcony is called a cliché. It certainly is. An inspiring and truthful one, and long may it live.

The Democrats in the chamber were slumped, glowery. They had chosen to act out unbroken disdain so as to please the rising left of their party, which was watching and would review their faces. Some of them were poorly lit and seemed not resolute but Draculaic. The women of the party mostly dressed in black, because nothing says moral seriousness like coordinating your outfits.

Here it should be said of the rising left of the Democratic Party that they are numerous, committed, and have all the energy—it’s true. But they operate at a disadvantage they cannot see, and it is that they are loveless. The social justice warriors, the advancers of identity politics and gender politics, the young who’ve just discovered socialism—they run on rage.

But rage is a poor fuel in politics. It produces a heavy, sulfurous exhaust and pollutes the air. It’s also gets few miles per gallon. It has many powers but not the power to persuade, and if anything does them in it will be that. Their temperament is no better than Mr. Trump’s . It’s worse. But yes, they are intimidating the Democratic establishment, which robs itself of its dignity trying to please them. It won’t succeed.

As for the president’s base, I am coming to a somewhat different way of thinking about it. It’s true they are a minority, true that his approval ratings are not good, are in fact historically low for a president with a good economy at the end of a first year. But Mr. Trump has just more than a solid third of the nation. They are a spirited, confident core. What other political figure in this fractured, splintered country has a reliable third of the electorate? And it’s probably somewhat more than a third, because Trump supporters know they are not and will never be respected, and just as in 2016 you have to factor in the idea of shy Trump voters.

What they are not sufficiently concerned about is that Mr. Trump has not expanded his popularity. He has kept his core but failed to reach out consistently and successfully to others. He has not created coalitions.

His position is more precarious than his people see.

He has too much relished the role of divider. When you’re running for office you are every day dividing those who support you from those who don’t, and hoping your group is bigger. But when you win you reach out to your enemies with humility, with patience—with love!—and try to drag ’em in to sup in your tent. You don’t do this because you’re a hypocrite but because you’re an adult looking to win. Or a constructive idealist. That happens sometimes.

His supporters don’t know what he doesn’t know: He must grow or die.

They are happily watching The Trump Show as he sticks it to people they hate. They don’t know Shark Week is coming.

In November he may lose the House. That’s what the generic ballot says is coming, that’s what was suggested by last year’s GOP defeats in Virginia and Alabama.

I know what Republicans are thinking. They are going to run on an economy that is expanding thanks to tax reform and deregulation. They are going to run on bigger paychecks and unexpected bonuses. They’ll run on the appointment of conservative judges to balance out Barack Obama’s liberal judges at a time when the courts have taken a more powerful role in American culture. They’ll run on We Will Stop Illegal Immigration and Give a Break to the Children of Illegal Immigrants.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are running on Trump is unpopular and so is his party, he is a fascist, and any limit on immigration is like any limit on abortion, tyrannical on its face.

Republicans are thinking nobody’s noticing but they’re in a pretty good place. I suspect they are right.

Except.

Special counsel Robert Mueller will likely, before November, report his findings to the Justice Department, and you have to assume he is going to find something because special prosecutors exist to find something. When Mr. Mueller staffed up he hired Ahabs, and Ahabs exist to get the whale. You have to assume Mr. Trump will be harpooned, and the question is whether it’s a flesh wound or goes deeper. If it goes deep the Democrats may well win the House, in which case he will be impeached.

Trump supporters don’t view this with appropriate alarm. They comfort themselves with the idea that he is playing three-dimensional chess and his opponents are too stupid to see it. That’s not true—he is more ad hoc and chaotic than they think. They should help him by trying to improve his standing, which means telling him what doesn’t work.

He thinks he rouses and amuses his supporters with feuds and wars, tweets and grievances. In reality, as Trump supporters know, it’s something they put up with. For everyone else it’s alienating, evidence of instability.

He calls out fake news and wars with the press while at the same time betraying a complete and befuddled yearning for their approval. Mr. Trump is a little like Nixon in this—embittered and vengeful at not getting the admiration of those he says he doesn’t respect.

These things don’t speak of tactical or strategic brilliance.

His supporters argue the media is against him, and this is true and should be acknowledged. But they were totally opposed to Reagan, too. They more or less admit his greatness now, or at least concede his towering adequacy, in part because Trump-shock has left them reconsidering the bogeymen of the past, in part because they like all dead Republicans.

But Reagan didn’t need the press to feel like a big man or be a success, and Mr. Trump looks unmanned to be so destabilized by their antipathy.

The president’s supporters should be frank with him about his flaws. They’re so used to defending him, they forget to help him. They should give him the compliment of candor.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-lefts-rage-and-trumps-peril-1517530358

 

Read the full text of President Trump’s first State of the Union address

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:

Less than 1 year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People — and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams.  That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action.  A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land.

Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission — to make America great again for all Americans.

Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success.  We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined.  We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship.  We endured floods and fires and storms.  But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America’s soul, and the steel in America’s spine.

Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be.

We saw the volunteers of the “Cajun Navy,” racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.

We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip.

We heard tales of Americans like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who is here tonight in the gallery with Melania.  Ashlee was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene in Houston during Hurricane Harvey.  Through 18 hours of wind and rain, Ashlee braved live power lines and deep water, to help save more than 40 lives.  Thank you, Ashlee.

We heard about Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg.  He is here with us too.  David faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by wildfires.

To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else — we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.

Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally.  With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House — a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later:  the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise.

We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police Officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others in this room.

In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people.  But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy.  Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.

Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew:  that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans.  If there is a mountain, we climb it.  If there is a frontier, we cross it.  If there is a challenge, we tame it.  If there is an opportunity, we seize it.

So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.

And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America.

Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone.  After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.

Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low.  African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.

Small business confidence is at an all-time high.  The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value.  That is great news for Americans’ 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts.

And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.

Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.

To lower tax rates for hardworking Americans, we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone.  Now, the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free.  We also doubled the child tax credit.

A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000 — slashing their tax bill in half.

This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system — and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month.

We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year — forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans.  We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the individual mandate is now gone.

We slashed the business tax rate from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, so American companies can compete and win against anyone in the world.  These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000.

Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.

Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing — a small business in Ohio.  They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history.  Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.

One of Staub’s employees, Corey Adams, is also with us tonight.  Corey is an all-American worker.  He supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by Staub, where he trained to become a welder.  Like many hardworking Americans, Corey plans to invest his tax‑cut raise into his new home and his two daughters’ education.  Please join me in congratulating Corey.

Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands of dollars per worker.  Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers.

This is our new American moment.  There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.

So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time.  If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.

Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be.  All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.

We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag.

Together, we are rediscovering the American way.

In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life.  Our motto is “in God we trust.”

And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.

Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans’ graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day.  He decided to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes.  Preston:  a job well done.

Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans.  Preston’s reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.

Americans love their country.  And they deserve a Government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.

For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their Government.

Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court Justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country.

We are defending our Second Amendment, and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty.

And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their healthcare decisions.  Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act.  Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve — and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do.

I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey.

All Americans deserve accountability and respect — and that is what we are giving them.  So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers — and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.

In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.

We have ended the war on American Energy — and we have ended the war on clean coal.  We are now an exporter of energy to the world.

In Detroit, I halted Government mandates that crippled America’s autoworkers — so we can get the Motor City revving its engines once again.

Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States — something we have not seen for decades.  Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama.  Soon, plants will be opening up all over the country.  This is all news Americans are unaccustomed to hearing — for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us.  But now they are coming back.

Exciting progress is happening every day.

To speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our history.

We also believe that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives.

People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home.  It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the “right to try.”

One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs.  In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States.  That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities.  Prices will come down.

America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation’s wealth.

The era of economic surrender is over.

From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal.

We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones.

And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules.

As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

America is a nation of builders.  We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?

I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.

Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.

Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.

Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one.

Together, we can reclaim our building heritage.  We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land.  And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.

We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day’s work.  We want every child to be safe in their home at night.  And we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.

We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.

As tax cuts create new jobs, let us invest in workforce development and job training.  Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential.  And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave.

As America regains its strength, this opportunity must be extended to all citizens.  That is why this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.

Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families.

For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities.  They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans.  Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives.

Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers:  Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens.  Their two teenage daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens — were close friends on Long Island.  But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa’s 16th Birthday, neither of them came home.  These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown.  Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa’s murders.  Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors ‑- and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school.

Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert:  Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you.  Everyone in America is grieving for you.  And 320 million hearts are breaking for you.  We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain.

Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country.  We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again.

The United States is a compassionate nation.  We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world.  But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers, and America’s forgotten communities.  I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things.  I want our poor to have their chance to rise.

So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed.  My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream.  Because Americans are dreamers too.

Here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country:  Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Celestino Martinez — he goes by CJ. CJ served 15 years in the Air Force before becoming an ICE agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off our streets.  At one point, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ’s murder.  But he did not cave to threats or fear.  Last May, he commanded an operation to track down gang members on Long Island.  His team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 from MS-13.

 CJ:  Great work.  Now let us get the Congress to send you some reinforcements.

Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will be voting on an immigration reform package.

In recent months, my Administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform.  Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise — one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.

Here are the four pillars of our plan:

The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age — that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration.  Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States.

The second pillar fully secures the border.  That means building a wall on the Southern border, and it means hiring more heroes like CJ to keep our communities safe.  Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country — and it finally ends the dangerous practice of “catch and release.”

The third pillar ends the visa lottery — a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people.  It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.

The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration.  Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.  Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.  This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future.

In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration.  In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford.

It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century.

These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system.

For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem.  This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen.

Most importantly, these four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first.  So let us come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done.

These reforms will also support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction.

In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses:  174 deaths per day.  Seven per hour.  We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge.

My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need.  The struggle will be long and difficult — but, as Americans always do, we will prevail.

As we have seen tonight, the most difficult challenges bring out the best in America.

We see a vivid expression of this truth in the story of the Holets family of New Mexico.  Ryan Holets is 27 years old, and an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department.  He is here tonight with his wife Rebecca.  Last year, Ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin.  When Ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep.  She told him she did not know where to turn, but badly wanted a safe home for her baby.

In that moment, Ryan said he felt God speak to him:  “You will do it — because you can.”  He took out a picture of his wife and their four kids.  Then, he went home to tell his wife Rebecca.  In an instant, she agreed to adopt.  The Holets named their new daughter Hope.

Ryan and Rebecca: You embody the goodness of our Nation.  Thank you, and congratulations.

As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.

Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values.  In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.

For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military.

As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression.  Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons.  Unfortunately, we are not there yet.

Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth.  One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria.  But there is much more work to be done.  We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.

Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is here tonight.  Near Raqqa last November, Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, were on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives so that civilians could return to the city.

Clearing the second floor of a vital hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion.  Immediately, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped building and found Kenton in bad shape.  He applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway.  He then performed CPR for 20 straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through 2 hours of emergency surgery.

Kenton Stacy would have died if not for Justin’s selfless love for a fellow warrior.  Tonight, Kenton is recovering in Texas.  Raqqa is liberated.  And Justin is wearing his new Bronze Star, with a “V” for “Valor.”  Staff Sergeant Peck:  All of America salutes you.

Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil.  When possible, we annihilate them.  When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them.  But we must be clear:  Terrorists are not merely criminals.  They are unlawful enemy combatants.  And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.

In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi.

So today, I am keeping another promise.  I just signed an order directing Secretary Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay.

I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa’ida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists — wherever we chase them down.

Our warriors in Afghanistan also have new rules of engagement.  Along with their heroic Afghan partners, our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies our plans.

Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before:  I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition.  American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year.

That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.

As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries.

When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent.  America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.

I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.

My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.

But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.

North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.

We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening.

Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.  I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.

We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.

Otto Warmbier was a hardworking student at the University of Virginia. On his way to study abroad in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea. At its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June — horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return.

Otto’s Parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are with us tonight — along with Otto’s brother and sister, Austin and Greta.  You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with American resolve.

Finally, we are joined by one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime.  His name is Mr. Ji Seong-ho.

In 1996, Seong-ho was a starving boy in North Korea.  One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food.  In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger.  He woke up as a train ran over his limbs.  He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain.  His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves — permanently stunting their own growth.  Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China.  His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians.  He had — and he resolved to be free.

Seong-ho traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to freedom.  Most of his family followed.  His father was caught trying to escape, and was tortured to death.

Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most ‑- the truth.

Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come.  Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.

Seong-ho’s story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.

It was that same yearning for freedom that nearly 250 years ago gave birth to a special place called America.  It was a small cluster of colonies caught between a great ocean and a vast wilderness.  But it was home to an incredible people with a revolutionary idea:  that they could rule themselves.  That they could chart their own destiny.  And that, together, they could light up the world.

That is what our country has always been about.  That is what Americans have always stood for, always strived for, and always done.

Atop the dome of this Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom.  She stands tall and dignified among the monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to protect her.

Monuments to Washington and Jefferson — to Lincoln and King.

Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga — to young Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond.  And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia.

And freedom stands tall over one more monument:  this one.  This Capitol.  This living monument to the American people.

A people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us — defending hope, pride, and the American way.

They work in every trade.  They sacrifice to raise a family.  They care for our children at home.  They defend our flag abroad.  They are strong moms and brave kids.  They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines.

But above all else, they are Americans.  And this Capitol, this city, and this Nation, belong to them.

Our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to protect them, and to always be worthy of them.

Americans fill the world with art and music.  They push the bounds of science and discovery.  And they forever remind us of what we should never forget:  The people dreamed this country. The people built this country.  And it is the people who are making America great again.

As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.

Our families will thrive.

Our people will prosper.

And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free.

Thank you, and God bless America.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/30/state-union-read-excerpts-president-trumps-address/1080784001/

 

Trump’s Immigration Plan Receives a Chilly Reception

Republicans are banking on passing legislation on the issue to help them coast into November—and they’ll need Democratic votes to make it happen.

On Tuesday evening, in a State of the Union address billed as “optimistic, heartfelt, and bipartisan,” President Donald Trump revealed just how fractured Congress is on the issue that swept him into the White House: immigration.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been scrambling to piece together legislation that would address the fate of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, alongside other reforms dear to Trump’s heart, including curtailing chain migration and ending the visa lottery system. Last week, the White House unveiled its “four pillars” of immigration reform: a path to citizenship for 1.8 million “Dreamers” and those undocumented immigrants who would otherwise qualify for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program; a $25 billion trust for a wall along the Mexican border; ending the visa lottery in favor of a merit-based immigration system; and limiting family reunification to sponsorships for spouses and minor children only. The plan caused a stir among hardline conservatives in the House and plenty of Democrats in both chambers. But a senior House Republican aide told me at the time, “When the bill is being ripped by the Freedom Caucus and liberals, yet it includes things both camps like, I think you’ve found the sweet spot to begin negotiating.”

Those hopes were dashed on Tuesday.

Perhaps the most dramatic moment of Trump’s speech came when he pledged to “protect the nuclear family” by ending chain migration. “In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by … chain migration,” he said. Democrats erupted in a cacophony of boos and hisses; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was forced to stand up from her chair to quiet them. “It showed there will be no DACA deal,” a senior Senate Republican aide texted me. (The staffers who spoke for this story made their comments on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.) Indeed, if the White House suggested tonight that ending chain migration was a nonnegotiable component of immigration reform, Democrats made clear that it’s not a price they’re willing to pay—even for a path to citizenship for the “Dreamers.” As if to underscore this point, when Trump summed up his proposal as a “down-the-middle compromise,” Democrats cackled.

“He could have taken a more strategic tone on immigration,” another senior Senate GOP aide lamented. “When he talks about the dangers of chain migration and open borders, even if there’s truth to what he’s saying, he plays into Democrats’ hands by making it easier for them to paint him as a fear-mongering nativist.”

Moreover, as Trump boasted that his plan would ferry “almost three times more” Dreamers into citizenship than in any other administration, House conservatives such as Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows and his predecessor, Jim Jordan, sitting side-by-side, looked sullen. In the last few days, Freedom Caucus members haven’t been shy about panning the president for revoking his “no amnesty” pledge from the campaign trail: ”If you ask voters in states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania that swung to Donald Trump if this amnesty plan keeps his promises,” Virginia’s Dave Brat said in a statement, “they will tell you it does not.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/trump-bets-on-immigration-in-the-state-of-the-union/551936/

 

The radical idea buried in Trump’s State of the Union

He declared a new front on his war on government. But it’s not clear how he can win it.

The lines weren’t widely noted. But in a few places, sudden alarm bells went off: “Trump looks to expand VA’s firing authority government-wide,” ran a headline in FCW, a publication on government technology. The New Yorker dangled the prospect that Trump might be hinting at firing members of the FBI. Slate bit down harder: “Donald Trump Just Asked Congress to End the Rule of Law,” blared a headline.

His plan might not be that extreme, but Trump’s words did lay down a marker that could have repercussions throughout the government—maybe even declaring a new front in what former aide Steve Bannon called “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”

“This was a quick drive-by in the speech, but it has enormous implications that are only beginning to play themselves out,” said Don Kettl, a professor at the University of Maryland who has written extensively on government management.

This new shot on the bureaucracy builds on Trump’s previous attacks on the so-called administrative state, from criticizing individual federal workers to efforts to reshape agencies altogether. He instituted a government-wide hiring freeze on his third day in office; in March, he directed federal agencies to draw up reorganization plans. He’s also installed small-government crusaders in critical White House positions who are quietly—critics say secretly—drawing up plans to reorganize the federal bureaucracy.

It’s all part of Trump’s broader promise to run the government like a business, streamlining agencies and squeezing out efficiencies that save taxpayer money. But one of the biggest obstacles to such an overhaul is the vast federal workforce of 2 million employees—workers who are, by and large, difficult to fire. While political appointees set the direction of individual agencies, these civil servants do the actual nuts-and-bolts tasks of governing, from running statistical surveys to writing regulations.

To Democrats and others worried about Trump’s agenda, government employees have come to represent a bulwark against radical change—career civil servants who can’t simply be bumped out in favor of loyalists. But to critics of the bureaucracy, those employees represent a massive impediment to change, a “deep state” that defies democracy by resisting the president’s agenda. Trump adviser Newt Gingrich, on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, talked of waging a “straight-out war” against the federal bureaucracy, in part by making it easier to fire federal workers.

So far, that war hasn’t really happened: Trump’s hiring freeze slowed the influx of new workers, but he hasn’t made any appreciable effort to sweep out existing civil servants. Still, the State of the Union represent perhaps the clearest sign yet that the White House intends to focus on civil service reform in the months and years ahead—especially since his budget last year made deep cuts to federal agencies, necessitating significant reductions in the federal workforce.

How would it happen? One clue may lie in Trump’s invocation of a little-known law that made it easier for the VA to fire workers. Triggered by the scandals at VA hospitals in 2014, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, signed last June, lowered the standard of evidence necessary for the agency to fire workers, and reduced the time for them to appeal dismissals. And the VA does appear to be firing more workers: According to data provided to POLITICO by a spokesperson at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the agency removed 1,737 people in the roughly six months after the law’s passage, compared with 2,001 workers in the entire year 2016.

J. David Cox, head of the American Federation of Government Employees, sharply criticized the law in an interview, saying the vast majority of those removed were lower-level workers, not the managers or senior executives most at fault for the scandal. “They are firing housekeeping aides,” he said.

Administrative experts, who have been tracking the law as something of an experiment, said the results aren’t clear, especially since the law was enacted less than a year ago. They are less focused on the number of workers removed than on the quality of service provided by VA hospitals—the ultimate goal of the reforms. “Is it easier to get an appointment?” said Kettl. “Is the quality of health care better?”

Trump hasn’t said whether he wants to extend the VA law more broadly, and it’s unclear just how he plans to tackle federal personnel laws overall. The most extreme interpretation of his comment is that he wants to abolish civil service protections altogether, a radical idea. “He wants to move from a democracy to an autocracy, without any question, where every federal employee is like-minded and votes one way,” Cox said. In the Slate piece, author Yascha Mounk, a democracy scholar, wrote that “Trump called on Congress to give him unprecedented and unquestionably antidemocratic powers.”

Many experts were skeptical that Trump really would propose abolishing civil service protections, which were first created in 1883 to prevent incoming administrations from creating a political test for the federal workforce. But Trump’s relationship with the federal workforce has been confrontational, to say the least. He has often railed against the so-called deep state, and recently publicly attacked Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director who resigned this week after the president accused him of bias over his wife’s political affiliations. Before Trump, presidents rarely, if ever, attacked federal employees by name; his treatment of McCabe was seen by some as another sign that the president wants to clear out federal workers in favor of political loyalists.

So what does Trump really want to do? Blowing up civil-service protections, or enforcing a loyalty test, are likely to be nonstarters. “In my conversations with the folks in the administration, that’s never been on the table,” said Bill Valdez, president of the Senior Executives Association. “The barriers to throwing out the civil service system are so huge.”

The House of Representatives has passed a couple of bills to make it easier for agencies to fire federal workers and reduce their appeal time, in line with the VA legislation. At the beginning of the 115th Congress, congressional Republicans also reinstated the so-called Holman Rule, which allows any legislator to add a provision to a spending bill that reduces an individual federal worker’s pay to $1. So far, the rule hasn’t been successfully used, and it doesn’t directly give any new powers to the White House.

Despite minimal traction in Congress, the White House is moving ahead with its plans. One preview of the administration’s approach could come on Feb. 12, when the White House releases its 2019 budget. It is expected to include the reorganization plans requested from agencies last year, although the extent of what will be included is unclear. Even lawmakers in Congress have had trouble learning about the agencies’ reform plans.

“The Administration is taking a targeted approach to federal workforce reform to better prepare for the future—and we plan to highlight that in the fiscal 2019 budget,” Hogan Gidley, deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement to POLITICO. “As the president indicated in the State of the Union, this would include streamlining processes for hiring and rewarding the best talent, and removing the poor performers.”

In a sense, the administration’s attempt to overhaul the government is similar to its effort to reform the regulatory system: Both are bureaucratic tasks that get relatively little attention but have huge implications for the country, and the administration is addressing them largely out of public view. On regulation, the White House has effectively shut down the pipeline of new rules and begun changing the structures of the regulatory system.

But experts said it won’t be so easy to remake the civil service system, which is guided by federal statutes that give the administration much less flexibility. “What they’ve done on the regulatory front was exercising the authority they could use unilaterally,” said Dan Blair, the former acting head of the Office of Personnel Management during the Bush administration. “When it comes to changing the civil service laws, you’ll have to have Congress involved.” That means compromising with Democrats who have expressed little interest in much of Trump’s agenda.

Trump is also lacking a key player: He doesn’t have a Senate-confirmed director of the OPM, the White House agency that oversees the federal workforce. His first nominee withdrew from consideration in August, and his replacement, whom Trump nominated in September, has yet to receive a committee vote in the Senate, leaving a crucial position unfilled.

If he perseveres, Trump will join a long line of presidents to attempt to update the government’s personnel rules, which date back more than 60 years and haven’t been overhauled since 1978. Previous attempts by both the Bush and Obama administrations failed to accomplish meaningful change, and as a result, the federal workforce continues to get older and agencies continue to struggle to bring in new workers.

Blair, who supports the idea of personnel reform, suggested that the Trump administration should focus less on the rules around firing and more on the hiring rules, where there could be more common ground. Previous administrations have tried to alter those rules to recruit younger workers, but those efforts have largely failed; the federal workforce has gotten older and older over the past few decades, a 2017 POLITICO investigation found. Blair argued that better hiring rules would lead to fewer problematic employees and less of a need to reform the rules around firing. “If you bring in quality, maybe that will negate the need for discipline in the future,” he said, adding, “It’s time that we update our laws and make it reflect 2020 rather than 1949.”

https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2018/02/01/trump-civil-service-reform-state-of-the-union-000635

 

State of the Union

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The State of the Union Address is an annual message[1] presented by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress, except in the first year of a new president’s term. The address has been usually held on a Tuesday.[2] The message includes a budget message and an economic report of the nation, and also allows the President to outline their legislative agenda (for which the cooperation of Congress is needed) and national priorities.[3]

The address fulfills rules in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, requiring the President to periodically “give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”[1]During most of the country’s first century, the President primarily only submitted a written report to Congress. After 1913, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th U.S. President, began the regular practice of delivering the address to Congress in person as a way to rally support for his agenda.[1] With the advent of radio and television, the address is now broadcast live across the country on many networks,[4] and thus is also used by the President as a platform to speak directly to the American people.[1][citation needed]

Background

The practice arises from a duty given to the president in the Constitution of the United States:

He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

— Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution

Although the language of this Section of the Constitution is not specific, by tradition, the President makes this report annually in late January or early February. Between 1934 and 2013 the date has been as early as January 3,[5] and as late as February 12.[6]

While not required to deliver a speech, every president since Woodrow Wilson, with the notable exception of Herbert Hoover,[7] has made at least one State of the Union report as a speech delivered before a joint session of Congress. Before that time, most presidents delivered the State of the Union as a written report.[5]

Since Franklin Roosevelt, the State of the Union is given typically each January before a joint session of the United States Congress and is held in the House of Representatives chamber of the United States Capitol. Newly inaugurated presidents generally deliver an address to Congress in February of the first year of their term, but this speech is not officially considered to be a “State of the Union”.[5]

What began as a communication between president and Congress has become a communication between the president and the people of the United States. Since the advent of radio, and then television, the speech has been broadcast live on most networks, preempting scheduled programming. To reach the largest audience, the speech, once given during the day, is now typically given in the evening, after 9pm ET (UTC-5).

History

George Washington‘s handwritten notes for the first State of the Union Address, January 8, 1790. Full 7 pages.

George Washington delivered the first regular annual message before a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1790, in New York City, then the provisional U.S. capital. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice of delivering the address in person, regarding it as too monarchical (similar to the Speech from the Throne). Instead, the address was written and then sent to Congress to be read by a clerk until 1913 when Woodrow Wilson re-established the practice despite some initial controversy. However, there have been exceptions to this rule. Presidents during the latter half of the 20th century[who?] have sent written State of the Union addresses. The last President to do this was Jimmy Carter in 1981, after his defeat by Ronald Reagan and days before his term ended.[8]

For many years, the speech was referred to as “the President’s Annual Message to Congress”.[9] The actual term “State of the Union” first emerged in 1934 when Franklin D. Roosevelt used the phrase, becoming its generally accepted name since 1947.[9]

Prior to 1934, the annual message was delivered at the end of the calendar year, in December. The ratification of the 20th Amendment on January 23, 1933 changed the opening of Congress from early March to early January, affecting the delivery of the annual message. Since 1934, the message or address has been delivered to Congress in January or February.

The Twentieth Amendment also established January 20 as the beginning of the presidential term. In years when a new president is inaugurated, the outgoing president may deliver a final State of the Union message, but none has done so since Jimmy Carter sent a written message in 1981. In 1953 and 1961, Congress received both a written State of the Union message from the outgoing president and a separate State of the Union speech by the incoming president. Since 1989, in recognition that the responsibility of reporting the State of the Union formally belongs to the president who held office during the past year, newly inaugurated Presidents have not officially called their first speech before Congress a “State of the Union” message.

In 1936, President Roosevelt set a precedent when he delivered the address at night. Only once before—when Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to order the U.S. into World War I—had a sitting president addressed Congress at night.[10]

The text of the first page of Ronald Reagan‘s first State of the Union Address, given January 26, 1982

Warren Harding‘s 1922 speech was the first to be broadcast on radio, albeit to a limited audience,[11] while Calvin Coolidge‘s 1923 speech was the first to be broadcast across the nation.[2] Harry S. Truman‘s 1947 address was the first to be broadcast on television. Lyndon B. Johnson‘s address in 1965 was the first delivered in the evening.[11] Three years later, in 1968, television networks in the United States, for the first time, imposed no time limit for their coverage of a State of the Union address. Delivered by Lyndon B. Johnson, this address was followed by extensive televised commentary by, among others, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Milton Friedman.[12] Ronald Reagan‘s 1986 State of the Union Address is the only one to have been postponed. He had planned to deliver it on January 28, 1986 but postponed it for a week after learning of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and instead addressed the nation on the day’s events.[13][14] Bill Clinton’s 1997 address was the first broadcast available live on the World Wide Web.[15]

Delivery of the speech

A formal invitation is made by the Speaker of the House to the President several weeks before each State of the Union Address.[16][17]

Invitations

Every member of Congress can bring one guest to the State of the Union address. The President may invite up to 24 guests with the First Lady in her box. The Speaker of the House may invite up to 24 guests in the Speaker’s box. Seating for Congress on the main floor is by a first-in, first-served basis with no reservations. The Cabinet, Supreme Court justices, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and Joint Chiefs have reserved seating.

Protocol of entry into House chamber

By approximately 8:30 pm on the night of the address, the members of the House have gathered in their seats for the joint session.[18] Then, the Deputy Sergeant at Arms addresses the Speaker and loudly announces the Vice President and members of the Senate, who enter and take the seats assigned for them.[18]

The Speaker, and then the Vice President, specify the members of the House and Senate, respectively, who will escort the President into the House chamber.[18] The Deputy Sergeant at Arms addresses the Speaker again and loudly announces, in order, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, the Chief Justice of the United States and the Associate Justices, and the Cabinet, each of whom enters and takes their seats when called.[18] The justices take the seats nearest to the Speaker’s rostrum and adjacent to the sections reserved for the Cabinet and the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[19]

The Sergeants at Arms of the House (left) and Senate (right) wait at the doorway to the House chamber before President Barack Obama enters to deliver the 2011 State of the Union Address.

Just after 9 pm, as the President reaches the door to the chamber,[20] the House Sergeant at Arms stands just inside the doors, faces the Speaker, and waits until the President is ready to enter the chamber.[19] When the President is ready, the Sergeant at Arms always announces his entrance, loudly stating the phrase: “Mister Speaker, the President of the United States!”[20]

As applause and cheering begins, the President slowly walks toward the Speaker’s rostrum, followed by members of his Congressional escort committee.[20] The President’s approach is slowed by pausing to shake hands, hug, kiss, and autograph copies of his speech for Members of Congress.[19] After he takes his place at the House Clerk‘s desk,[20] he hands two manila envelopes, previously placed on the desk and containing copies of the speech, to the Speaker and Vice President.

After continuing applause from the attendees has diminished, the Speaker introduces the President to the Representatives and Senators, stating: “Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the President of the United States.”[19][20] This leads to a further round of applause and, eventually, the beginning of the address by the President.[20]

At close of the ceremony, attendees leave on their own accord. The Sergeants at Arms guides the President out of the Chamber. Some politicians stay to shake hands with and congratulate the President on his way out.

Designated survivor and other logistics

Customarily, one cabinet member (the designated survivor) does not attend the speech, in order to provide continuity in the line of succession in the event that a catastrophe disables the President, the Vice President, and other succeeding officers gathered in the House chamber. Additionally, since the September 11 attacks in 2001, a few members of Congress have been asked to relocate to undisclosed locations for the duration of the speech to form a rump Congress in the event of a disaster.[21] Since 2003, each chamber of Congress has formally named a separate designated survivor.[22][23]

President George W. Bush with Senate President (U.S. Vice President) Dick Cheney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the 2007 State of the Union address. 2007 marked the first time that a woman had occupied the Speaker of the House chair. (audio only)

Both the Speaker and the Vice President sit at the Speaker’s desk, behind the President for the duration of the speech. If either is unavailable, the next highest-ranking member of the respective house substitutes. Once the chamber settles down from the President’s arrival, the Speaker officially presents the President to the joint session of Congress. The President then delivers the speech from the podium at the front of the House Chamber.

In the State of the Union the President traditionally outlines the administration’s accomplishments over the previous year, as well as the agenda for the coming year, often in upbeat and optimistic terms.[24] Since the 1982 address, it has also become common for the President to honor special guests sitting in the gallery, such as American citizens or visiting heads of state. During that 1982 address, President Ronald Reagan acknowledged Lenny Skutnik for his act of heroism following the crash of Air Florida Flight 90.[25] Since then, the term “Lenny Skutniks” has been used to refer to individuals invited to sit in the gallery, and then cited by the President, during the State of the Union.[26][27]

State of the Union speeches usually last a little over an hour, partly because of the large amounts of applause that occur from the audience throughout. The applause is often political in tone, with many portions of the speech being applauded only by members of the President’s own party. As non-political officeholders, members of the Supreme Court or the Joint Chiefs of Staff rarely applaud in order to retain the appearance of political impartiality. In recent years, the presiding officers of the House and the Senate, the Speaker and the Vice President, respectively, have departed from the neutrality expected of presiding officers of deliberative bodies, as they, too, stand and applaud in response to the remarks of the President with which they agree.

For the 2011 address, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado proposed a break in tradition wherein all members of Congress sit together regardless of party, as well as the avoiding of standing;[28] this was in response to the 2011 Tucson Shooting in which Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot and wounded in an assassination attempt. This practice was also repeated during the 2012 address and every address after.[29]

Opposition response

Since 1966,[30] the speech has been followed on television by a response or rebuttal by a member of the major political party opposing the President’s party. The response is typically broadcast from a studio with no audience. In 1970, the Democratic Party put together a TV program with their speech to reply to President Nixon, as well as a televised response to Nixon’s written speech in 1973.[31] The same was done by Democrats for President Reagan’s speeches in 1982 and 1985. The response is not always produced in a studio; in 1997, the Republicans for the first time delivered the response in front of high school students.[32] In 2004, the Democratic Party‘s response was also delivered in Spanish for the first time, by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.[33] In 2011, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann also gave a televised response for the Tea Party Express, a first for a political movement.[34]

Significance

Although much of the pomp and ceremony behind the State of the Union address is governed by tradition rather than law, in modern times, the event is seen as one of the most important in the US political calendar. It is one of the few instances when all three branches of the US government are assembled under one roof: members of both houses of Congress constituting the legislature, the President’s Cabinet constituting the executive, and the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court constituting the judiciary. In addition, the military is represented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while foreign governments are represented by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. The address has also been used as an opportunity to honor the achievements of some ordinary Americans, who are typically invited by the President to sit with the First Lady.[27]

Local versions

Certain states have a similar annual address given by the governor. For most of them, it is called the State of the State address. In Iowa, it is called the Condition of the State Address; in Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the speech is called the State of the Commonwealth address. The mayor of Washington, D.C. gives a State of the District address. American Samoa has a State of the Territory address given by the governor. Puerto Rico has a State Address given by the governor.

Some cities or counties also have an annual State of the City Address given by the mayor, county commissioner or board chair, including Sonoma County, CaliforniaOrlando, FloridaCincinnati, Ohio; New Haven, ConnecticutParma, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Seattle, Washington; Birmingham, Alabama; Boston, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California; Buffalo, New YorkRochester, New YorkSan Antonio, Texas; McAllen, Texas; and San Diego, California. The Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County in Nashville, Tennessee gives a speech similar called the State of Metro Address. Some university presidents give a State of the University address at the beginning of every academic term.[35][36] Private companies usually have a “State of the Corporation” or “State of the Company” address given by the respective CEO.[37]

The State of the Union model has also been adopted by the European Union,[38] and in France since the presidency of Emmanuel Macron.

Historic speeches

File:Second Bill of Rights Speech.ogv

Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights (excerpt)

  • President James Monroe first stated the Monroe Doctrine during his seventh annual State of the Union Address to Congress on December 2, 1823. It became a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States and one of its longest-standing tenets, and would be invoked by many U.S. statesmen and several U.S. presidents, including Theodore RooseveltJohn F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.
  • The Four Freedoms were goals first articulated by Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech, he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worshipfreedom from want, and freedom from fear.
  • During his State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944, FDR proposed the Second Bill of Rights. Roosevelt’s argument was that the “political rights” guaranteed by the constitution and the Bill of Rights had “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness“.
  • During his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson introduced legislation that would come to be known as the “War on Poverty“. This legislation was proposed by Johnson in response to a national poverty rate of around nineteen percent. The speech led the United States Congress to pass the Economic Opportunity Act, which established the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) to administer the local application of federal funds targeted against poverty.
  • During his State of the Union address on January 15, 1975, Gerald R. Ford very bluntly stated that “the state of the Union is not good: Millions of Americans are out of work… We depend on others for essential energy. Some people question their Government’s ability to make hard decisions and stick with them; they expect Washington politics as usual.” and how he didn’t “expect much, if any, applause. The American people want action, and it will take both the Congress and the President to give them what they want. Progress and solutions can be achieved, and they will be achieved.”
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George W. Bush delivers the 2002 State of the Union

  • In his 2002 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush identified North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as representing significant threats to the United States. He said, “States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world”. In this speech, he would outline the objectives for the War on Terror.

TV ratings

Television ratings for recent State of the Union Addresses were:[39] [40] [41]

Date President Viewers,millions Households,millions Rating Networks
1/30/2018 Donald Trump 45.551 32.168 26.9 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESTRELLA, TELEMUNDO, UNIVISION, CNN, FOX BUSINESS, FOXNC, MSNBC, PBS
2/28/2017dagger Donald Trump 47.741 33.857 28.7 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, UNIVISION, PBS, CNN, FOX BUSINESS, FOXNC, MSNBC, NBC UNIVERSO
1/12/2016 Barack Obama 31.334 23.040 19.6 ABC, AL JAZEERA AMERICA, AZTECA, CBS, CNN, FOX, FOX BUSINESS, FOXNC, GALAVISION, MSNBC, NBC, NBC UNIVERSO, UNIVISION**
1/20/2015 Barack Obama 31.710 23.137 19.9 ABC, AL JAZEERA AMERICA, AZTECA, CBS, CNN, FOX, FOX BUSINESS, FOXNC, GALAVISION, MSNBC, MUNDOFOX, NBC, UNIVISION**
1/28/2014 Barack Obama 33.299 23.949 20.7 CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, AZTECA, FOX BUSINESS, FOXNC, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, AL JAZEERA AMERICA, GALAVISION, MUN2, UNIVISION**
2/12/2013 Barack Obama 33.497 24.767 21.8 FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, AZTECA, UNIVISION, MFX, CNBC, CNN, FOX BUSINESS, FOXNC, MSNBC, CURRENT, CENTRIC, GALAVISION
1/24/2012 Barack Obama 37.752 27.569 24.0 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TELEMUNDO, TF, UNIVISION, CNBC, CNN, FOX BUSINESS, FOXNC, GALAVISION, MSNBC, MUN2
1/25/2011 Barack Obama 42.789 30.871 26.6 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TELEMUNDO, UNIVISION, CNN, CENTRIC, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC
1/27/2010 Barack Obama 48.009 34.182 29.8 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TELEMUNDO, UNIVISION, CNN, BET, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC
2/24/2009dagger Barack Obama 52.373 37.185 32.5 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, TELEMUNDO, UNIVISION
1/28/2008 George W. Bush 37.515 27.702 24.7 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, TELEMUNDO**, UNIVISION
1/24/2007 George W. Bush 45.486 32.968 29.6 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, TELEMUNDO, UNIVISION
2/01/2006 George W. Bush 43.179 30.528 31.2 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, TELEMUNDO, AZTECA AMERICA, TELFUTURA
2/02/2005 George W. Bush 39.432 28.359 35.3 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, TELEMUNDO, TELEFUTURA
1/20/2004 George W. Bush 43.411 30.286 28.0 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC
1/28/2003 George W. Bush 62.061 41.447 38.8 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC
1/29/2002 George W. Bush 51.773 35.547 33.6 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, CNBC, FOXNC, MSNBC
2/27/2001dagger George W. Bush 39.793 28.201 27.6 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC
1/27/2000 Bill Clinton 31.478 22.536 22.4 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC
1/19/1999 Bill Clinton 43.500 30.700 31.0 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC
1/27/1998 Bill Clinton 53.077 36.513 37.2 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, CNBC
2/04/1997 Bill Clinton 41.100 27.600 28.4 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN
1/23/1996 Bill Clinton 40.900 28.400 29.6 ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN
1/24/1995 Bill Clinton 42.200 28.100 29.5 ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN
1/25/1994 Bill Clinton 45.800 31.000 32.9 ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN
2/17/1993dagger Bill Clinton 66.900 41.200 44.3 ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN
Notes
dagger The 1993, 2001, 2009 and 2017 addresses were not, officially, State of the Union addresses, but rather addresses to a joint session Congress because in those years the presidents were in office for only a few weeks at the time the speech was given.[2][41]

**Tape delayed[41]

See also

References

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  33. Jump up^ York, Byron (January 21, 2004). “The Democratic Response You Didn’t See”National Review. Retrieved January 23, 2007And then there was the Spanish-language response—the first ever—delivered by New Mexico governor, and former Clinton energy secretary, Bill Richardson.
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  36. Jump up^ “State of the University 2015”Santa Clara University (Press release). February 19, 2015.
  37. Jump up^ Goldman, Jeremy (January 20, 2015). “Why Your Company Deserves a ‘State of the Union’ Address”Inc.
  38. Jump up^ “EU has survived economic crisis, Barroso says in first State of Union address”EUobserver.com. September 7, 2010.
  39. Jump up^ “2018 State of The Union Address TV Ratings”Nielsen. 2018-01-31. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  40. Jump up^ “2017 State of The Union Address TV Ratings”Nielsen. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  41. Jump up to:a b c “2016 State of The Union Address TV Ratings”Nielsen. 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2018-01-11.

External links