Central Intelligence Agency

The Pronk Pops Show 1143, September 18, 2918, Story 1: Unintended Consequences — Republican Voter Base and Republicans In Congress Will Unite Behind Confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh — Monday Monday — California Dreamin’ — Videos — Story 2. Senator Cruz Should Win Second Term — Build The Wall — Stop The 30-60 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of United States — Videos — Story 3: Chinese Communist Island Building in South China Sea Will Backfire and Unite Countries In The Region Against Them — From Japanese Imperialism to American Imperialism to Chinese Imperialism — Not Learning The Lessons of History — Oil and Natural Gas Is The Prize — Videos —

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Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Dirty Diane FeinsteinImage result for tex cruz will win second termSee the source imageKavanaugh Sexual Assault

 

Story 1: Unintended Consequences — Republican Voter Base and Republicans In Congress Will Unite Behind Confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh — Videos —

See the source image

The Mamas & The Papas – Monday Monday

Sekulow: No hearing needed if Kavanaugh accuser won’t appear

Dershowitz: Kavanaugh accuser needs to testify under oath

Hannity: Dems don’t want real investigation of Kavanaugh

Republicans warn that Ted Cruz could lose

Ted Cruz Does Not Denounce Killing Of Botham Jean, Says It May Have Been Misundersting

Beto O’Rourke CRUSHES Ted Cruz on Botham Jean Case

Democrats denounce Kavanaugh, Ford hearing date

Kavanaugh accuser’s lawyer issues ‘terms’ for testimony

Politics of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight

10 Fascinating Examples of Unintended Consequences

The Mamas & The Papas: California Dreamin’

The drive to sink Kavanaugh is liberal totalitarianism

If Senate Democrats and their media allies manage to destroy Brett Kavanaugh, they will bring America one step closer to a new, liberal style of totalitarianism.

I don’t use the “T”-word lightly. I’ve spent years pushing back against those who fling it about in free societies like ours. But totalitarianism doesn’t require cartoonish, 1984-style secret police and Big Brother. The classical definition is a society where everything — ethical norms and moral principles and truth itself — is subjugated to political ends.

By that measure, the Democratic campaign to block Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, based on a hazy, uncorroborated, decades-old assault allegation, tends toward the totalitarian. Certainly, it has many of the elements of abusive politics that Americans normally associate with foreign lands untouched by the light of liberty and reason:

An (initially) anonymous accusation, surfaced at the 11th hour, seemingly calculated to strike terror into the hearts of Kavanaugh and his family members and supporters? Check! That came in the form of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s cryptic statement last week, confirming that she had “received information from an individual concerning the nomination” of Kavanaugh but declining to offer any details.

An accusation that’s impossible to rebut? Check! Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI look into the allegations first before the Judiciary Committee holds a hearing. But Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, can’t remember the time or location of the alleged incident. An FBI probe is impracticable, not to mention improper given the lack of a federal crime.

Kavanaugh’s integrity is thus besmirched, and the path to the only forum where he could clear his name is obstructed.

A media mob that treats the mere existence of an accusation as proof of its veracity? Check! The examples of this are legion. My favorite came courtesy of the Atlantic writer who claimed that her own run-in with a pervert meant that Kavanaugh is also guilty. This, just a couple of years after Rolling Stone’s University of Virginia fiasco was supposed to have taught reporters a lesson about the importance of listening to the accused as well as the accusers.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Feinstein didn’t have to leak the anonymous accusation to the press, contrary to Ford’s wishes. Or she could have urged Ford to go public early, giving both parties enough time to be heard.

Even now, Feinstein and her colleagues could back a committee hearing, without which Kavan­augh has no realistic opportunity for mounting a defense. Kavan­augh is a judge and a political operator. But he ‘s also a father and husband.

But no. Senate Dems have settled on the ugliest means available, even by the standards of the body that added the verb “Borking” to our political vocabulary. The question is: Why have Republican high-court nominations brought out the worst from the left, going back to the Ronald Reagan era?

The short answer is that liberals fear their major cultural victories of the past half-century are democratically illegitimate. Not a single one was won at the ballot box, going back to the Supreme Court’s 1965 Griswold decision, which recognized a constitutional right to contraceptives. From abortion to gay marriage, plus a host of less titillating issues, modern liberalism has lived by the Court. And liberals fear their cause will die by the Court.

Unless, that is, they block conservative encroachments into the judiciary by all means necessary. Hence, Borking and Clarence Thomas-ing. And hence, too, the naked slandering of Mitt Romney in the course of the 2012 presidential campaign, to forestall his shifting the Court to the right.

I wish I could say that the way out of this impasse is for the right to double down on the gentle conservatism represented by Romney, the Bush dynasty, and the late John McCain. Perhaps that is the right course in the long term. But for now, it is imperative for the health of American democracy to resist the liberal ruthlessness that is on display in the halls of the Senate.

The verb “to Kavanaugh” must not be permitted to enter our lexicon, lest the step to unfreedom become irrevocable.

Sohrab Ahmari is senior writer at Commentary and author of the forthcoming memoir of Catholic conversion, “From Fire, By Water.”

https://nypost.com/2018/09/19/the-drive-to-sink-kavanaugh-is-liberal-totalitarianism/

 

Republicans Reject Kavanaugh Accuser’s Request To Delay Hearing For FBI Investigation

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing Sept. 6.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee will move forward with a hearing scheduled for Monday on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, despite a request for further investigation from his accuser.

The decision follows the release of a letter sent to Senate Judiciary Commitee Chairman Chuck Grassley from attorneys representing Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her more than three decades ago when they were teenagers. In the letter, Ford’s attorneys said an FBI investigation should be “the first step in addressing her allegations.”

Ford’s attorneys argue that an investigation is necessary so that “the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.” Ford’s attorneys also say that since she went public with her allegations “she has been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats.” They also complained that the committee scheduled Ford to “testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.”

Grassley declined Tuesday night to delay the hearing.

“The invitation for Monday still stands,” Grassley said in a statement. “Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”

Grassley’s decision echoed the sentiment of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The FBI does not do investigations like this. The responsibility falls to us,” Hatch tweeted, adding “We should proceed as planned.”

And retiring Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., suggested that if Ford did not appear at Monday’s hearing, Senate Republicans should proceed to move forward considering Kavanaugh’s nomination. ” If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote,” Corker posted on Twitter late Tuesday night.

The letter from Ford’s attorneys and Grassley’s response capped a day of uncertainty about the next step in the Kavanaugh confirmation process, which has spiraled into turmoil in recent days.

Ford’s attorneys stopped short of saying Ford will refuse to appear before the committee while objecting to the rushed timeline and comments from Republican senators who seemed to question her accusations.

“The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is ‘mistaken’ and ‘mixed up,’ ” the letter reads. “While no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal, Dr. Ford wants to cooperate with the Committee and with law enforcement officials.”

Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, issued statements supporting Ford’s concerns about the hearing.

“I strongly support Dr. Ford’s call for an FBI investigation before a hearing is held,” Schumer said. “Dr. Ford’s call for the FBI to investigate also demonstrates her confidence that when all the facts are examined by an impartial investigation, her account will be further corroborated and confirmed.”

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, also weighed in to support Ford.

“We should honor Dr. Blasey Ford’s wishes and delay this hearing,” Feinstein said in a statment. “A proper investigation must be completed, witnesses interviewed, evidence reviewed and all sides spoken to. Only then should the chairman set a hearing date.”

Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate Judiciary Committee would offer Ford the opportunity to testify in either an open public session or behind closed doors about her allegation.

“She could do it privately if she prefers, or publicly if she prefers,” McConnell said, adding, “Monday is her opportunity.” He stressed that Kavanaugh is eager to provide his testimony.

Democratic aides have privately floated the possibility of boycotting the hearing if Republicans choose to proceed without Ford present.

Grassley’s committee staff has already begun conducting preliminary interviews by phone with alleged witnesses related to the incident that Ford described to the Washington Post as having happened in the early 1980s when she and Kavanaugh were teenagers living in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. Aides plan follow-up sessions as needed to obtain additional information ahead of Monday’s planned public hearing.

Ford named Mark Judge, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s, as a witness to the incident at the high school party, but Judge told the Weekly Standard earlier this week he doesn’t recall the episode.

Grassley’s office released a letter from Judge’s attorney on Tuesday with a statement from him saying he has “no memory” of the incident. He also says, “I have no more information to offer the Committee and I do not wish to speak publicly regarding the incidents described in Dr. Ford’s letter.”

Democrats have rejected the GOP process and are refusing to participate in any committee phone interviews. They are insisting that the hearing be delayed to further explore the allegations. They want additional witnesses beyond Kavanaugh and Ford to be added to the planned hearing Monday.

But their primary demand is one that Ford asked for her in her letter Tuesday night — that the FBI conduct a full evaluation before any hearing is held.

That’s a proposal President Trump himself rejected earlier Tuesday prior to the release of the letter from Ford’s attorneys.

“That’s not what they do,” Trump said. “They have done now, supposedly, six background checks as Judge Kavanaugh has gone beautifully up a ladder.”

On Monday a spokesperson for the Justice Department indicated that the FBI does not get involved in matters unless a federal crime is alleged and that it had completed its work related to Kavanaugh’s background check.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Sebastian Duda, Trump said Tuesday he feels “so badly” that Kavanaugh is going through the ordeal of the accusations.

“I feel terribly for him, for his wife and for his beautiful young daughters,” Trump said. “I feel terribly for them.”

Washington state Sen. Patty Murray, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, told reporters that an FBI investigation is necessary to ensure a full and impartial assessment of the accusations.

“Scheduling a hearing for Monday, a week from when Dr. Ford made her accusations public, is a shameful attempt to jam this through without giving anyone the time they need to investigate and put together the questions that need to be asked,” Murray said. “This is a test for the United States Senate on how we handle accusations of sexual harassment and assault.”

Murray and other Democrats are drawing a direct parallel between the claims against Kavanaugh and those raised in 1991 when Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court. At the time an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee aggressively questioned Hill in televised hearings, cast doubt on her accusations and ultimately voted to move Thomas’ nomination to the full Senate which confirmed him to the court.

That incident inspired a record number of women to run for federal office that cycle, including Murray, who was elected the following year. Murray told reporters America — and women in particular — will be closely watching how Ford’s case is handled.

“If Republicans attack Dr. Ford and this turns into anything like what we saw in 1991, women across the country are going to rise up and make their voice heard and Republicans will pay a very huge price,” Murray said. “I am here today to say, once again, women are watching, we are not going allow that to happen again.”

Before Ford asked for an FBI investigation, McConnell and other leaders said they wanted to hear directly from Ford but were standing firm on their expectation that she appear before the committee on Monday, blaming Democrats for creating a disorderly examination of Kavanaugh’s record.

“Next week Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh will testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath,” McConnell said Tuesday. “We should not have gotten to this point. That this process has played out with so little order and so little sensitivity lies solely at the feet of Senate Democrats.”

Republicans have accused Feinstein of concealing details of Ford’s accusation for several months after it was sent to her office in July.

Feinstein referred the information to the FBI but did not discuss it until Ford went public over the weekend. She defended her decision to keep the letter private Tuesday, saying she was respecting Ford’s own request for anonymity and following procedure for working with federal investigators.

“What we were trying to do was get an investigation,” Feinstein said. “We were going through all of that process.”

Some Republicans are warning that the Judiciary Committee has to tread lightly and handle the accusations with respect, regardless of their timing. Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told reporters that there is a risk in being too aggressive or appearing to bully Ford. McConnell and other top GOP leaders repeatedly stressed that Ford deserved to be heard and they hoped she would agree to testify.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who is one of just a handful of Republicans who have not said whether they plan to support Kavanaugh, proposed calling both Kavanaugh and Ford to testify and allowing their attorneys to question them both as witnesses. “I believe that would elicit the most information,” Collins said.

https://www.npr.org/2018/09/18/649209595/hearing-with-kavanaugh-and-accuser-alleging-sexual-assault-in-turmoil

 

Whip list: Where senators stand on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Kavanaugh meets with Pence and GOP leaders 01:40

Washington (CNN)Brett Kavanaugh is facing the confirmation of a lifetime. President Donald Trump announced in July that he is nominating the DC Appeals Court judge to the Supreme Court bench.

Whether Kavanaugh is successfully confirmed has become a question of Senate math. Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority in the chamber.
And ahead of the midterms, all eyes are on the 10 Democrats running for re-election in states Trump carried in 2016. Three of them — North Dakota’s Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana’s Sen. Joe Donnelly and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin — voted for Trump’s last Supreme Court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, last year and face re-election in 2018.
Democrats are also watching Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, who have expressed concerns, among other issues, about any action to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion ruling.
For those who have already weighed in, here’s the latest look at what senators have said about Kavanaugh’s nomination and how they will vote:

What undecided red-state Democrats are saying

Bill Nelson of Florida on July 9 — “I look forward to meeting with the President’s nominee in the coming weeks to discuss his views on several important issues such as protecting women’s rights, guaranteeing access to health care for those with pre-existing conditions and protecting the right to vote, just to name a few. I will make my decision after that.”
Jon Tester of Montana on September 12 — “We’re going to be reviewing the transcript of the judiciary hearing pretty hard over the next couple of days to see how he answered the questions, if he answered the questions. And then also I want to add the in-person meeting. I’m going to be visiting with him about issues on security and campaign finance and choice and other things.”
Joe Donnelly of Indiana on September 12 — I’m still reviewing everything at this point.”
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota on September 12 — “I’m still reviewing the record.”

More undecided Democrats

Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada on July 9 — “I plan to meet with Judge Kavanaugh in the coming months and will review his qualifications thoroughly.”
Chris Coons of Delaware on September 12 — “I sent Judge Kavanaugh a substantial list of questions for the record yesterday, maybe Monday. I’m giving him a week to respond. I’ll make up my mind and make a public announcement after that. As should have been clear from my questioning in the confirmation hearing, I have grave concerns about his judicial philosophy around presidential power and a number of settled and important individual liberty rights.”

Democrats opposing

Chuck Schumer of New York on July 9 — “I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same. The stakes are simply too high for anything less.”
Kamala Harris of California on July 9 — “Judge Brett Kavanaugh represents a direct and fundamental threat to that promise of equality and so I will oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court.”
Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on July 9 — “I will be a ‘no’ vote on this nominee. Judge Kavanaugh’s record and writings — which I have reviewed — signal an extreme hostility to the precious rights and liberties that make our nation great.”
Bob Casey of Pennsylvania on July 9 –– “I will oppose the nomination the President will make tonight because it represents a corrupt bargain with the far right, big corporations and Washington special interests.”
Patty Murray of Washington state on July 10 — “I voted against Judge Kavanaugh when he was nominated for the circuit court and I strongly oppose this nomination now. I will be urging my colleagues to stand with me in rejecting him, and in calling on President Trump to send us someone who would stand with women, workers and families, and who would truly commit to respecting settled law and the rights and freedoms we hold so dear. And I will be urging people across the country to stand up, speak out and make their voices heard.”
Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin on July 12 — “After reviewing this nominee’s record, I know why powerful special interests in Washington selected Judge Brett Kavanaugh to work on the Supreme Court for them, not the people of Wisconsin,” she said in a statement. “The people of Wisconsin need a fair, impartial and independent Supreme Court Justice who will stand up for them, not for powerful special interests. I don’t have confidence that Judge Kavanaugh would be that justice.”
Tammy Duckworth of Illinois on July 19 — Based on his own words and writing, I fear that Judge Kavanaugh would be the deciding vote in critical cases that restrict a woman’s freedom to make health care decisions with her doctor, tear away protections that guarantee Americans with pre-existing conditions may obtain health insurance and empower a president of the United States to act as though he is above the law. Judge Kavanaugh should not be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice, and he will not have my vote.”
Brian Schatz of Hawaii on September 4 — “I’ve seen enough. As long as the Republicans refuse to release 96% of the Kavanaugh records, this process is illegitimate. Every other Supreme Court nominee has turned over nearly everything, and I am now convinced they are hiding something. I will vote no.”
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire on September 10 “Judge Kavanaugh’s past rulings on abortion demonstrate that he is willing to infringe on a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own reproductive decisions, and his failure to answer questions about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s protections for pre-existing conditions puts the health and well-being of millions of Americans at risk. After careful consideration of his record and reviewing the limited documents made available to the US Senate, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot support Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve on the US Supreme Court.”
Mark Warner of Virginia on September 11:“I would have liked to meet with Judge Kavanaugh personally before deciding how I’d vote. Even attempted to set up a meeting with him, though unfortunately the White House never responded. So I’m just going to say it. I’ll be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh.”
Claire McCaskill of Missouri in a statement on September 19: “While I am also uncomfortable about his view on Presidential power as it relates to the rule of law, and his position that corporations are people, it is his allegiance to the position that unlimited donations and dark anonymous money, from even foreign interests, should be allowed to swamp the voices of individuals that has been the determining factor in my decision to vote no on his nomination.”

Democrats appearing to lean opposing

Dianne Feinstein of California on July 9 — “His views are far outside the legal mainstream when it comes to access to health care, executive power, gun safety, worker protections, women’s reproductive freedom and the government’s ability to ensure clean air and water, to name a few. … We need a nominee who understands that the court is there to protect the rights of all Americans, not just political interest groups and the powerful.”
Patrick Leahy of Vermont on July 9 — “Based on an initial review of Judge Kavanaugh’s record, we are right to be concerned. … He must not evade fundamental questions that judicial nominees have answered for decades until recently. He needs to explain why we should believe he would be a justice for all Americans, independent of the President and the ideologically driven interest groups that selected him.”

Independents opposing (both caucus with Democrats)

Bernie Sanders of Vermont on July 10 — “I do not believe a person with those views should be given a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. We must mobilize the American people to defeat Trump’s right-wing, reactionary nominee.”
Angus King of Maine on September 12: — “Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is one of the most important votes I will take in the Senate — and after carefully studying his record (at least the part that is available) and judicial philosophy, I have decided that I will vote no on his confirmation.”

Undecided Republicans to watch

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on July 9 — “While I have not met Judge Kavanaugh, I look forward to sitting down for a personal meeting with him. I intend to review Judge Kavanaugh’s decisions on the bench and writings off the bench, and pay careful attention to his responses to questions posed by my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Jeff Flake of Arizona on July 9 — “As I have said before, approving a nominee who will interpret the Constitution rather than legislate from the bench should be our top priority. I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh and reviewing his record throughout the confirmation process.”
Susan Collins of Maine on September 12 — “I am still completing my due diligence. I spent an hour today going through the committee’s sensitive documents at the Judiciary Committee that have not yet been released. I would note, however, that every document Democrats asked to have cleared and released was released by the order of the Justice Department and President Bush. So what I’m finding is that a lot of the information has not necessarily been accurately presented, and that’s why I think it’s really important I continue my review. I am also going to be talking to the judge later this week with a few more questions that I have.”

Republicans voting yes

Ted Cruz of Texas on July 9 — “By any measure, Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most respected federal judges in the country and I look forward to supporting his nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Dan Sullivan of Alaska on July 9 — “I think he meets all the qualifications of what we as a Senate should be looking for in terms of the confirmation process and I plan on supporting Judge Kavanaugh as a next associate justice of the Supreme Court.”
Orrin Hatch of Utah on July 11 — “I was very pleased to meet with Judge Kavanaugh this morning. He’s handled himself very well and comes with a lot of experience, coming from the second-greatest court in the land. I expect his confirmation to go well. I very much enjoyed talking with him for a few minutes.”
Rob Portman of Ohio on July 11 — “I can’t think of anybody better qualified to be on the United States Supreme Court. He obviously has had a distinguished record.”
Ben Sasse of Nebraska on July 12 — “The judge I met today doesn’t sound anything like the imaginary bogeyman that Democrats are railing against. I think Nebraskans are going to like this humble judge who is clearly most proud of his two daughters. Judge Kavanaugh is a serious thinker and a careful jurist who understands that our system of checks and balances and our First Amendment freedoms make America great.”
John Cornyn of Texas on July 12 — “I have known the judge for a long time. I’ve followed his record. I think he is the type of judge that we need on the Supreme Court, not one who is going to be making policy or legislating from the bench. I think he very much shares the same judicial philosophy as Justice Gorsuch so I look forward to supporting his confirmation.”
Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia on July 12 — “After meeting with Judge Kavanaugh today, I’m even more certain that he is a man of integrity and that he understands and respects the responsibilities of a Supreme Court justice, which is why I plan to support his nomination. Judge Kavanaugh and I had a wide-ranging discussion about our separation-of-powers system, the court’s responsibility to properly apply laws passed by Congress to guard against overreach by federal agencies, and the importance of respecting precedent to promote stability in the law. I know Judge Kavanaugh will be an excellent addition to the court and will honor and strengthen this important branch of our democracy.”
Thom Tillis of North Carolina on July 18 –– “As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I look forward to strongly supporting his nomination and will work to ensure the Senate moves swiftly to confirm him.”
Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi on July 25 — “I firmly believe the President made a great decision in nominating Judge Kavanaugh. I’m excited about his nomination, and look forward to supporting him and being an advocate for his confirmation.”
Richard Shelby of Alabama on July 30 — “Confirming Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most important things we will do during this Congress. I look forward to supporting his nomination to serve on our nation’s highest court, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”
Rand Paul of Kentucky on July 30 — “After meeting Judge Kavanaugh and reviewing his record, I have decided to support his nomination. No one will ever completely agree with a nominee (unless of course, you are the nominee). Each nominee however, must be judged on the totality of their views character and opinions,” Paul wrote in a series of tweets.
Marco Rubio of Florida on August 1 — His answers reflected what the American people voted for when they elected the president and a Republican-controlled Senate less than two years ago. I intend to support his nomination because of his stated commitment to interpreting and defending the Constitution as written.”
John Thune of South Dakota on August 1 — “I will support his nomination to the Supreme Court this fall, and I hope my colleagues, Republican and Democrat, reach the same conclusion about this well-qualified, mainstream jurist.”
John Boozman of Arkansas on August 1 — The first thing that stood out when Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination was announced was his exceptional record on the bench and the high level of respect his peers hold for him. After having an opportunity to visit with him, I find Judge Kavanaugh to be even more impressive than his resume and reputation alone suggest. I am confident that he is a fair and thoughtful jurist who will respect the Constitution and refrain from legislating from the bench. He is the exact type of judge we need on the Supreme Court.”
John Hoeven of North Dakota on August 1 — “I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Judge Kavanaugh today to discuss his judicial philosophy. Having served for more than a decade on the federal appeals court, he is highly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanuagh has a strong record of upholding the law rather than legislating from the bench and his approach to the law shows a deep respect for the Constitution. Given his years of experience on the bench and his commitment to upholding the law, I believe that Judge Kavanaugh is a solid choice for the Supreme Court and I look forward to supporting his confirmation to serve on the Supreme Court.”
Ron Johnson of Wisconsin on August 15 — Judge Kavanaugh’s impressive legal background combined with his compelling personal history makes his nomination an easy one to support. Most importantly, as I have reviewed his judicial record I am confident of his intent to apply the law as a judge, not alter it as a super-legislator. I look forward to voting to confirm his nomination to the Supreme Court once the Senate has thoroughly but expeditiously completed the confirmation process.”
Johnny Isakson of Georgia on August 16 —He’s a regular guy. He’s a brilliant man. He cares about his country deeply. He believes in his country and feels a responsibility he wants to assume at this time in life. I can’t think of any better reason to vote for him. I’m going to vote for him with pride, and I encourage my fellow senators… to join me as well.”
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on September 4 — The antidote to our problems in this country when it comes to judges and politics is not to deny you (Kavanaugh) a place on the Supreme Court. This is exactly where you need to be. This is exactly the time you need to be there.”
Todd Young of Indiana on September 6 “Earlier this week, I spoke with @WSBT about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. Judge Kavanaugh will be an excellent addition to our nation’s highest court, and the Republican-led Senate will continue to move through regular order to confirm him.”

Republicans appearing to lean yes

Richard Burr of North Carolina on July 9 — “In nominating Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, President Trump has put forth a highly qualified and respected candidate committed to the rule of law. Judge Kavanaugh’s credentials are impeccable, and as a judge for the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit he has considered many of the most pressing legal questions of our time.”
Ted Cruz of Texas on July 9 — “By any measure, Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most respected federal judges in the country and I look forward to supporting his nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Mike Enzi of Wyoming on July 19 — “It was great to talk with Judge Kavanaugh about his years of experience and dedication to the judicial system. He is an extremely well qualified nominee whose prior rulings and writings demonstrate his commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law. I appreciated his thoughtful answers to my questions and look forward to the Senate’s consideration of his nomination this fall.”
This story will be updated with additional developments.

 

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During a town hall event on Wednesday night, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) — running against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for the Senate seat — told a black American who questioned his support of illegal immigration that illegal aliens from Central America and Mexico are today’s cotton pickers.

O’Rourke’s remarks were made after a black American asked the congressman if he supported illegal aliens being given U.S. citizenship despite breaking the country’s immigration laws. O’Rourke responded by saying that it is illegal aliens who are working at cotton gins today.

The exchange went as follows:

BLACK AMERICAN: My question is, do you support granting citizenship and American-paid benefits to illegal aliens who violated our country to come here, who fly their foreign flags here, who have citizenship in their countries and whose families did absolutely not build this country, while black people are subject to things that you explained before? You can answer yes or no, please. [Emphasis added]

BETO O’ROURKEMany, many people built this country, first of all. And we are a country of many people … and I’m paraphrasing Congressman Lewis at this point, but he said something to the effect that each of us came to this country in a different ship. Some of us came here against our will, some of us immigrated here lawfully … some of us are showing up right now as we speak. They’re fleeing the deadliest countries in the planet today. The northern triangle countries of Central America … imagine how bad things have to be for you to scoop up that six-month-old daughter of yours and to walk 2,000 miles … to refuge in a country that is comprised of people from the world over. And yes, there are some people who did not follow our laws when they came here to be with their families or to work jobs and, in some cases, no one was willing to work in their communities. [Emphasis added]

I mentioned going to the high school in Roscoe, I also went to the cotton gin in Roscoe. And at that cotton gin, there are 24 jobs and the manager of that gin says it does not matter the wages that I pay or the number of hours that we set … no one born in Roscoe … or Texas or this country who is willing to work. But there are immigrants who are coming from Central America or Mexico or other parts of the world to Roscoe to work these jobs and to help build our economy. [Emphasis added]

O’Rourke recently said in an interview on CBS The Late Show, that he supported an amnesty for more than three million illegal aliens who were eligible and enrolled for President Obama’s DACA program.

“We can free DREAMers from the fear of deportation by making them U.S. citizens today, so they can contribute to their maximum capacity, to their full potential,” O’Rourke said.

New Policy Has Drivers Stunned in Texas
Finance Daily

Mass low-skilled illegal and legal immigration has come at the expense of America’s black working and middle-class communities and workers.

Data reported by Breitbart News reveals how studies by economists and researchers find that it is, specifically, underprivileged black American men who suffer the most from the importation of more than 1.5 million low-skilled immigrants every year to the U.S.

In the mid-1990s, Civil Rights icon and Texas Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan issued the findings of her immigration commission, where she revealed that mass immigration to the U.S. hurt poor, working-class and lower-tier middle-class Americans the most, as it unfairly put them in competition with a never-ending flow of cheaper, foreign workers.

Most impacted, the Jordan Commission discovered, were black Americans.

Portraying foreign nationals as the only willing blue-collar workers in the U.S. is a talking point often used by the open borders lobby, the Business Roundtable, and both political establishments.

O’Rourke’s suggestion that Americans are unwilling to do blue-collar jobs is not backed up by data collected and analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Researcher Steven Camarota has found that of the more than 460 American occupations he analyzed, only four were dominated by foreign-born workers. Those four occupations accounted for less than one percent of the total U.S. workforce.

Many American blue-collar workers pick cotton, often in very high temperatures, using American-made machinery, such as this cotton harvesting machine used in north Alabama:

For blue-collar American workers, mass immigration has not only kept wages down but in many cases, decreased wages, as Breitbart News reported. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues importing more foreign nationals against whom working-class Americans are forced to compete. In 2016, the U.S. brought in about 1.8 million mostly low-skilled immigrants.

Black Americans are often the most supportive of reducing immigration levels. A Harvard/Harris Poll conducted this year found that 48 percent of black Americans said they would like to see between only one and 250,000 legal immigrants brought to the U.S. a year, a near immigration moratorium when compared to current levels.

A CBS News/YouGov Poll conducted a few months ago revealed that a plurality of black Americans in swing districts who say immigration has changed their neighborhoods concede that immigration is making life in America “worse” for them.

About 36 percent of black Americans said immigration has changed their communities, and roughly 45 percent of those black Americans say the mass importation of mostly immigrants from Central America is making their lives worse off.

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China’s Sea Control Is a Done Deal, ‘Short of War With the U.S.’

Posted 4:03 p.m. today

A view of Subi Reef and an array of vessels, seen from a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane during a mission to observe China's militarization of islands in the South China Sea, in International Airspace, Sept. 5, 2018. The flight brings harsh Chinese challenges in officially international space. In congressional testimony by one officer, China is said to be capable of control over the South China Sea "in all scenarios short of war with the United States.” (Adam Dean/The New York Times)

NEAR MISCHIEF REEF, South China Sea — As the United States Navy reconnaissance plane banked low near Mischief Reef in the South China Sea early this month, a Chinese warning crackled on the radio.

“U.S. military aircraft,” came the challenge, delivered in English in a harsh staccato. “You have violated our China sovereignty and infringed on our security and our rights. You need to leave immediately and keep far out.”

Aboard the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, flying in what is widely considered to be international airspace, Lt. Dyanna Coughlin scanned a live camera feed showing the dramatic evolution of Mischief Reef.

Five years ago, this was mostly an arc of underwater atoll populated by tropical fish and turtles. Now Mischief Reef, which is off the Philippine coast but controlled by China, has been filled out and turned into a Chinese military base, complete with radar domes, shelters for surface-to-air missiles and a runway long enough for fighter jets. Six other nearby shoals have been similarly transformed by Chinese dredging.

“I mean, this is insane,” Coughlin said. “Look at all that crazy construction.”

A rare visit on board a U.S. Navy surveillance flight over the South China Sea pointed out how profoundly China has reshaped the security landscape across the region.

The country’s aggressive territorial claims and island militarization have put neighboring countries and the United States on the defensive, even as President Donald Trump’s administration is stepping up efforts to highlight China’s controversial island-building campaign.

In congressional testimony before assuming his new post as head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in May, Adm. Philip Davidson sounded a stark warning about Beijing’s power play in a sea through which roughly one-third of global maritime trade flows.

“In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States,” Davidson said, an assessment that caused some consternation in the Pentagon.

How Beijing relates to its neighbors in the South China Sea could be a harbinger of its interactions elsewhere in the world. President Xi Jinping of China has held up the island-building effort as a prime example of “China moving closer to center stage” and standing “tall and firm in the East.”

In a June meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Xi vowed that China “cannot lose even one inch of the territory” in the South China Sea, even though an international tribunal has dismissed Beijing’s expansive claims to the waterway.

The reality is that governments with overlapping territorial claims — representing Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei — lack the firepower to challenge China. The U.S. has long fashioned itself as a keeper of peace in the Western Pacific. But it’s a risky proposition to provoke conflict over a scattering of rocks in the South China Sea, analysts say.

“As China’s military power grows relative to the United States, and it will, questions will also grow regarding America’s ability to deter Beijing’s use of force in settling its unresolved territorial issues,” said Rear Adm. Michael McDevitt, a senior fellow in strategic studies at the Center for Naval Analyses.

An unexpected encounter in the South China Sea could also set off an international incident. A 1.4-million-square-mile sea presents a kaleidoscope of shifting variables: hundreds of disputed shoals, thousands of fishing boats, coast guard vessels and warships and, increasingly, a collection of Chinese fortresses.

In late August, one of the Philippines’ largest warships, a cast-off cutter from the U.S. Coast Guard, ran aground on Half Moon Shoal, an unoccupied maritime feature not far from Mischief Reef.

The Chinese, who also claim the shoal, sent vessels from nearby artificial islands, but the Philippines refused any help. After all, in 2012, the Chinese coast guard had muscled the Philippines off Scarborough Shoal, a reef just 120 nautical miles from the main Philippine island of Luzon. Another incident in 1995 brought a Chinese flag to Mischief Reef, also well within what international maritime law considers a zone where the Philippines has sovereign rights.

Could somewhere like Half Moon Shoal be the next flash point in the South China Sea?

“A crisis at Half Moon was averted, but it has always been the risk with the South China Sea that a small incident in remote waters escalates into a much-larger crisis through miscommunication or mishandling,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. “That’s why this is all so dangerous. It’s not just a pile of rocks that can be ignored.”

‘Leave immediately!’

On the scratchy radio channel, the Chinese challenges kept on coming. Eight separate times during the mission this month, Chinese dispatchers queried the P-8A Poseidon. Twice, the Chinese accused the American military aircraft not just of veering close to what Beijing considered its airspace but also of violating its sovereignty.

“Leave immediately!” the Chinese warned over and over.

Cmdr. Chris Purcell, the executive officer of the surveillance plane, said such challenges have been routine during the four months he has flown missions over the South China Sea.

“What they want is for us to leave, and then they can say that we left because this is their sovereign territory,” he said. “It’s kind of their way to try to legitimize their claims, but we are clear that we are operating in international airspace and are not doing anything different from what we’ve done for decades.”

In 2015, Xi stood in the Rose Garden at the White House and promised that “there is no intention to militarize” a collection of disputed reefs in the South China Sea known as the Spratlys.

But since then, Chinese dredgers have poured mountains of sand onto Mischief Reef and six other Chinese-controlled features in the Spratlys. China has added at least 3,200 acres of new land in the area, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative run by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Descending as low as 5,000 feet, the surveillance flight this month gave a bird’s-eye view of the Chinese construction.

On Subi Reef, a construction crane swung into action next to a shelter designed for surface-to-air missiles. There were barracks, bunkers and open hangars. At least 70 vessels, some warships, surrounded the island.

On Fiery Cross Reef, a complex of buildings with Chinese eaves was arrayed at the center of the reclaimed island, including an exhibition-style hall with an undulating roof. It looked like a typical newly built town in interior China — except for the radar domes that protruded like giant golf balls across the reef. A military-grade runway ran the length of the island, and army vehicles trundled across the tarmac. Antenna farms bristled.

“It’s impressive to see the Chinese building, given that this is the middle of the South China Sea and far away from anywhere, but the idea that this isn’t militarized, that’s clearly not the case,” Purcell said. “It’s not hidden or anything. The intention, it’s there plain to see.” In other spots, reclamation could also be seen on Vietnamese-controlled features, such as West London Reef, where workers dragged equipment past piles of sand. But dredging by Southeast Asian nations is scant compared with the Chinese effort.

In April, China for the first time deployed antiship and antiaircraft missiles on Mischief, Subi and Fiery Cross, U.S. military officials said. The following month, a long-range bomber landed on Woody Island, another contested South China Sea islet.

A Pentagon report released in August said that with forward-operating bases on artificial islands in the South China Sea, the People’s Liberation Army was honing its “capability to strike U.S. and allied forces and military bases in the western Pacific Ocean, including Guam.”

In response to the intensifying militarization of the South China Sea, the U.S. in May disinvited China from joining the biannual Rim of the Pacific naval exercise, the world’s largest maritime warfare training, involving more than 20 navies.

“We are prepared to support China’s choices, if they promote long-term peace and prosperity,” Mattis said, explaining the snub. “Yet China’s policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness of our strategy.”

Projecting Power

For its part, Beijing claims the U.S. is the one militarizing the South China Sea. In addition to the routine surveillance flyovers, Trump has sent U.S. warships more frequently to waters near China’s man-made islands. These so-called freedom of navigation patrols, which occur worldwide, are meant to show the United States’ commitment to maritime free passage, Pentagon officials say.

The last such operation by the U.S. was in May, when two American warships sailed near the Paracels, another contested South China Sea archipelago. Beijing was irate.

“Certain people in the U.S. are staging a farce of a thief crying, ‘Stop, thief!’ ” said Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman. “It is self-evident to a keener eye who is militarizing the South China Sea.”

The U.S. says that it does not take any side in territorial disputes in the South China Sea. On its maps, China uses a so-called nine-dash line to scoop out most of the waterway’s turf as its own. But international legal precedent is not on China’s side when it comes to the dashed demarcation, a version of which was first used in the 1940s.

In 2016, an international tribunal dismissed Beijing’s nine-dash claim, judging that China has no historical rights to the South China Sea. The case was brought by the Philippines after Scarborough Shoal was commandeered by China in 2012, following a tense blockade.

The landmark ruling, however, has had no practical effect. That’s in large part because Rodrigo Duterte, who became president of the Philippines less than a month before the tribunal reached its decision, chose not to press the matter with Beijing. He declared China his new best friend and dismissed the U.S. as a has-been power. But last month, Duterte took Beijing to task when a recording aired on the BBC from another P-8A Poseidon mission over the South China Sea demonstrated that Chinese dispatchers were taking a far more aggressive tone with Philippine aircraft than with American ones.

“I hope China would temper its behavior,” Duterte said. “You cannot create an island and say the air above it is yours.”

Missed Opportunities

Perceptions of power — and Chinese reactions to these projections — have led some analysts to criticize President Barack Obama as having been too timid in countering China over what Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., the former head of theU.S. Pacific Command, memorably called a “great wall of sand” in the South China Sea.

Critics, for instance, have faulted the previous administration for not conducting more frequent freedom of navigation patrols.

“China’s militarization of the South China Sea has been a gradual process, with several phases where alternative actions by the U.S., as well as other countries, could have changed the course of history,” said Alexander Vuving, a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu.

Chief among these moments, Vuving said, was China’s takeover of Scarborough Shoal. The U.S. declined to back up the Philippines, a defense treaty ally, by sending Coast Guard vessels or warships to an area that international law has designated as within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

“Seeing U.S. commitment to its ally, Beijing might not have been as confident as it was with its island-building program,” Vuving said. “The U.S. failure to support its ally in the Scarborough standoff also demonstrated to people like Duterte that he had no other option than to kowtow to China.” With most of the Spratly military bases nearing completion by the end of the year, according to Pentagon assessments, the next question is whether — or more likely when — China will begin building on Scarborough. A Chinese base there would put the People’s Liberation Army in easy striking distance of the Philippine capital, Manila.

From the American reconnaissance plane, Scarborough looked like a perfect diving retreat, a lazy triangle of reef sheltering turquoise waters. But Chinese coast guard vessels could be seen circling the shoal, and Philippine fishermen have complained about being prevented from accessing their traditional waters.

“Do you see any construction vessels around there?” Coughlin asked.

“Negative, ma’am,” replied Lt. Joshua Grant, as he used a control stick to position the plane’s camera over Scarborough Shoal. “We’ll see if it changes next time.”

https://www.wral.com/china-s-sea-control-is-a-done-deal-short-of-war-with-the-u-s-/17861457/

US warns of ability to take down Chinese artificial islands

China is not even pretending anymore in the South China Sea — it put 400 buildings on one of the disputed islands

Subi Reef South China Sea small
A satellite photo of Subi Reef on March 20.
 Planet Labs/Handout via REUTERS
  • Satellite imagery shows that China has put nearly 400 buildings on Subi Reef in the South China Sea.
  • Data shows that the number of buildings on Subi Reef is about double that on China’s other large outposts in the hotly contested region, known as the Spratly Islands.
  • Experts are concerned about China’s increasing militarization of the South China Sea, and they say it may plan to host a large number of troops on Subi Reef.

Satellite imagery shows nearly 400 buildings on a reef occupied by China in the South China Sea, and experts say it indicates Beijing might eventually deploy troops there.

Using images from DigitalGlobe satellites, the nonprofit Earthrise Media analyzed photos of Subi Reef, which is closer to Vietnam and the Philippines than mainland China, and discovered that a large number of buildings, parade grounds, radar equipment, and even basketball courts had been built since 2014.

There were nearly 400 permanent, free-standing buildings, Earthrise’s founder, Dan Hammer, told Reuters. Subi has seen the most construction by any country on an island in the South China Sea, the news outlet reported.

Subi is China’s largest man-made island within the Spratly archipelago, parts of which are claimed by several countries. Citing Earthrise data, Reuters reported that Subi has about double the number of buildings on each of China’s next two largest islands in the region.

The increase in buildings indicates Subi may one day host a large contingent of People’s Liberation Army marines, experts say.

Last week, China released footage of H-6K nuclear-capable bombers landing on another island in the South China Sea. Runways and hangars built on Subi could accommodate such bombers.

And on Wednesday, the US uninvited China from a military exercise, citing “China’s continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea.”

Adm. Philip Davidson, the incoming US Pacific Command chief,told a congressional panel last month that “in short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

The South China Sea is a highly contentious area with many natural resources that is also one of the world’s main shipping corridors. China, Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines have competing claims to areas of the sea and its islands.

Data from Earthrise shows that China has more buildings in the South China Sea — 1,652 — than all other claimants put together,Reuters reported.

Davidson said last month that China’s growing presence in the South China Sea presented a substantial challenge to regional US military operations, adding that China’s military was “executing deliberate and thoughtful force posture initiatives.”

“China claims that these reclaimed features … will not be used for military means, but their words do not match their actions,” Davidson said.

He added: “Once occupied, China will be able to extend its influence thousands of miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania. The PLA will be able to use these bases to challenge US presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea claimants.”

https://www.businessinsider.com/china-400-buildings-subi-reef-south-china-sea-2018-5

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The Pronk Pops Show 1133, August 29, 2018, Story 1: Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index Reaches New High of 133.4 in August — Highest Since October 2000 — Videos — Story 2: United States Real GDP Growth revised to Upward to 4.2% in second quarter of 2018 — Videos — Story 3: Red Wave, Blue Wave or Make No Waves — Solid Economic Growth and Trade Deals Mean Republican Wins or Red Wave —  Videos — Story 4: President Trump Warns of Violence If Republicans Lose In Mid-term Elections — Videos

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Story 1: Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index Reaches New High of 133.4 in August — Highest Since October 2000 — Videos

Consumer confidence index hits high since October 2000

U.S. Consumer Confidence Highest Since Before Dot-Com Crash

Pace of News Reports Picks Up on Tuesday

 

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Increased in August

28 Aug. 2018

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased in August, following a modest increase in July. The Index now stands at 133.4 (1985=100), up from 127.9 in July. The Present Situation Index improved from 166.1 to 172.2, while the Expectations Index increased from 102.4 last month to 107.6 this month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was August 17.

“Consumer confidence increased to its highest level since October 2000 (Index, 135.8), following a modest improvement in July,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved further. Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018. Overall, these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved further in August. Those stating business conditions are “good” increased from 38.1 percent to 40.3 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 10.3 percent to 9.1 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also more favorable. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” was virtually unchanged at 42.7 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 14.8 percent to 12.7 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook bounced back in August. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 22.9 percent to 24.3 percent, but those expecting business conditions will worsen marginally rose, from 10.3 percent to 10.5 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was mixed. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 22.6 percent to 21.7 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs also decreased, from 15.2 percent to 14.1 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement rose from 20.4 percent to 25.5 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined, from 9.4 percent to 7.0 percent.

Source: August 2018 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #6031

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index® at 10 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARD

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. Winner of the Consensus Economics 2016 Forecast Accuracy Award (U.S.), The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

ABOUT NIELSEN

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerconfidence.cfm

 

US consumer confidence rises to 18-year high

Americans’ consumer confidence rose in August to the highest level in nearly 18 years as their assessment of current conditions improved further and their expectations about the future rebounded.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 133.4 in August, up from a reading 127.9 in July. It was the highest reading since confidence stood at 135.8 in October 2000.

Consumers’ confidence in their ability to get a job and the overall economy are seen as important indicators of how freely they will spend, especially on big-ticket items such as cars, in coming months. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

FILE- In this July 3, 2018, file photo, a shopper carries bags in San Francisco. On Tuesday, Aug. 28, the Conference Board releases its August index on U.S. consumer confidence. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

“Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “These historically high confidence levels should continue to support health consumer spending in the near term.”

The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a 4.1 percent rate in the April-June quarter, the best performance since 2014. That estimate will be revised Wednesday. Many economists believe growth has slowed a bit in the current quarter to around 3 percent but will remain far ahead of the weak 2.2 percent GDP growth rate in the first quarter.

“Confidence is soaring to new heights which makes us bullish on growth and forecasts that this expansion may indeed shatter records for longevity next summer,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-6106539/US-consumer-confidence-rises-18-year-high.html

 

Story 2: United States Real GDP Growth revised to Upward to 4.2% in second quarter of 2018 — Videos

GDP revised to 4.2% in second quarter

What Is The Real GDP Growth Rate?

 

Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2018 (Second Estimate); Corporate Profits: Second Quarter 2018 (Preliminary Estimate)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018 (table 1), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 4.1 percent. With this second estimate for the second quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same; the revision primarily reflected upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment and private inventory investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to personal consumption expenditures (PCE). Imports which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised down. (see “Updates to GDP” on page 2).

Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 1.8 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 3.9 percent in the first quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 3.0 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 3.1 percent in the first quarter (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment and residential fixed investment. Imports decreased (table 2).

The acceleration in real GDP growth in the second quarter reflected accelerations in PCE, exports, federal government spending, and state and local government spending, as well as a smaller decrease in residential fixed investment. These movements were partly offset by a downturn in private inventory investment and a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment. Imports decreased after increasing in the first quarter.

Current‑dollar GDP increased 7.6 percent, or $370.9 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $20.41 trillion. In the first quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 4.3 percent, or $209.2 billion (table 1 and table 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.3 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5 percent in the first quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 1.9 percent, compared with an increase of 2.5 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 2.0 percent, compared with an increase of 2.2 percent.

Updates to GDP

The percent change in real GDP was revised up 0.1 percentage point from the advance estimate, reflecting upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by downward revisions to PCE, residential fixed investment, and exports. Imports were revised down. For more information, see the Technical Note. A detailed Key Source Data and Assumptions”  file is also posted for each release. For information on updates to GDP, see the “Additional Information” section that follows.

 

Advance Estimate

Second Estimate

 

(Percent change from preceding quarter)

Real GDP

4.1 4.2

Current-dollar GDP

7.4 7.6

Real GDI

1.8

Average of Real GDP and Real GDI

3.0

Gross domestic purchases price index

2.3 2.3

PCE price index

1.8 1.9

For the first quarter of 2018, revised tabulations from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program were incorporated into the estimates; the percent change in real GDI was unrevised at 3.9 percent.

Corporate Profits (table 10)

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) increased $72.4 billion in the second quarter, compared with an increase of $26.7 billion in the first quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $16.8 billion in the second quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $9.3 billion in the first quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $63.6 billion, compared with an increase of $32.3 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits decreased $8.0 billion, in contrast to an increase of $3.7 billion. In the second quarter, receipts decreased $6.0 billion, and payments increased $2.0 billion.

https://www.bea.gov/news/2018/gross-domestic-product-second-quarter-2018-second-estimate-corporate-profits-second

Story 3: Red Wave, Blue Wave or Make No Waves — Solid Economic Growth and Trade Deals Mean Republican Wins or Red Wave —  Videos –

See the source imageSee the source image

Trump: NAFTA deal ‘probably on track’

Tucker: The Democratic Party is blowing up

Steyn: Trump ‘annulment’ reflects left’s denial

BREAKING 🔴 President Trump Holds Press Conference & Announces New Grant – August 29, 2018

Shapiro: ‘Blue Wave’ Looks Like It’s Barely Going to Be a Ripple

Larry Kudlow: We are becoming growthier

Gingrich: Primaries have set stage for red wave in November

Canadian economy can’t survive well without a US deal: Wilbur Ross

Trump has once again stunned his detractors: Dobbs

Ingraham: Trump’s trade triumph

Trump predicts a ‘red wave’ ahead of midterm elections

Trump predicts ‘red wave’ in November

#LionelNation🇺🇸Immersive Live Stream: What Blue Wave?

Primary Midterm Election Results, Rush Limbaugh Reaction To ‘Blue Wave vs Red Wave’

 

Robert B. Reich: Can we get an annulment instead of an impeachment?

Robert B. Reich

The only way I can see the end of the Donald Trump presidency is if there’s overwhelming evidence he rigged the 2016 election — in which case impeachment isn’t an adequate remedy. His presidency should be annulled.

Let me explain.

Many people are convinced we’re already witnessing the beginning of the end of Mr. Trump. In their view, bombshell admissions from Trump insiders with immunity from prosecution, combined with whatever evidence special counsel Robert Mueller uncovers about Trump’s obstruction of justice and his aides’ collusion with the Russians, will all tip the scales. Democrats will take back the House and begin an impeachment, and the evidence of impeachable offenses will put enough pressure on Republican senators to send Mr. Trump packing.

I don’t believe this for a moment.

First, the Senate has never in history convicted a president of impeachment.

Second, even if Democrats flip the House in November, Republicans will almost certainly remain in control of the Senate — and so far they’ve displayed the integrity of lizards.

Third, Fox News and the rest of the right-wing sleaze media will continue to distort and cover up whatever the evidence shows — convincing 35 percent to 40 percent of Americans, along with most Republicans, that Mr. Trump is the innocent victim of a plot to remove him.

Finally, Mr. Trump himself will never voluntarily resign, as did Nixon. He’ll lie and claim a conspiracy to unseat him.

Mr. Trump has proven himself a superb conman, an entertainer-demagogue capable of sowing so much confusion and instigating so much hate and paranoia that he has already survived outrages that would have broken any garden-variety loathsome president — Helsinki, Charlottesville, children locked in cages at the border, firings and cover-ups, racist slurs, clear corruption.

In all likelihood, we’ll have him for another two and a half years.

Even if Mr. Trump loses in 2020, we’ll be fortunate if he concedes without being literally carried out of the Oval Office amid the stirrings of civil insurgency.

Oh, and let me remind you that even if he’s impeached, we’d still have his loathsome administration —

But lest you fall into a miasma of gloom, there’s another scenario — unlikely, but entirely possible.

Suppose, just suppose, Mr. Mueller finds overwhelming and indisputable evidence that Mr. Trump conspired with Russian President Vladimir Putin to rig the 2016 election, and the rigging determined the election’s outcome. In other words, Mr. Trump’s presidency is not authorized under the United States Constitution.

Suppose these findings are so compelling that even Mr. Trump loyalists desert him, the Republican Party decides it has had enough, and Fox News calls for his impeachment.

What then? Impeachment isn’t enough.

Impeachment would remedy Mr. Trump’s “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But impeachment would not remedy Mr. Trump’s unconstitutional presidency because it would leave in place his vice president, White House staff and Cabinet, as well as all the executive orders he issued and all the legislation he signed, and the official record of his presidency.

The only response to an unconstitutional presidency is to annul it. Annulment would repeal all of it — recognizing that such appointments, orders, rules and records were made without constitutional authority.

The Constitution does not specifically provide for the annulment of an unconstitutional presidency. But read as a whole, the Constitutionleads to the logical conclusion that annulment is the appropriate remedy for one.

After all, the Supreme Court declares legislation that doesn’t comport with the Constitution to be null and void, as if it had never been passed.

It would logically follow that the court could declare all legislation and executive actions of a presidency unauthorized by the Constitution to be null and void, as if Mr. Trump had never been elected. (Clearly, any Trump appointee to the court would have to recuse himself from any such decision.)

The Constitution also gives Congress and the states the power to amend the Constitution, thereby annulling or altering whatever provisions came before. Here, too, it would logically follow that Congress and the states could, through amendment, annul a presidency they determine to be unconstitutional.

After the Trump administration was annulled, the Speaker of the House (third in the order of presidential succession) would take over the presidency until a special election.

As I’ve said, I’m betting Mr. Trump remains president at least through 2020 — absent compelling and indisputable evidence he rigged the 2016 election.

But if such evidence comes forth, impeachment isn’t an adequate remedy, because even if Mr. Trump is removed, his presidency — all that he and his administration did when he occupied office — would be constitutionally illegitimate.

It should be annulled.

Robert Reich’s latest book is “The Common Good,” and his newest documentary is “Saving Capitalism.”

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-op-0829-reich-annulment-20180828-story.html

Story 4: President Trump Warns of Violence If Republicans Lose In Mid-term Elections — Videos

Trump warns of violence if GOP loses midterms

Trump Warns That a ‘Blue Wave’ Would Bring ‘Crime and Open Borders’

Trump’s midterm election impact

Trump warns evangelicals of ‘violence’ if GOP loses in the midterms

Election a ‘referendum on so much,’ he says

By JEFF ZELENY AND KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN

Oliver Contreras – Pool/Getty Images

(CNN) – US President Donald Trump, facing scrutiny for hush money payments to a porn star and a former Playboy model, pleaded with evangelical leaders for political help during closed-door remarks on Monday, warning of dire consequences to their congregations should Republicans lose in November’s midterm elections.

“This November 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it’s a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment. It’s a referendum on so much,” Trump told the assemblage of pastors and other Christian leaders gathered in the State Dining Room, according to a recording from people in the room.

“It’s not a question of like or dislike, it’s a question that they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they will do it quickly and violently. And violently. There is violence. When you look at Antifa — these are violent people,” Trump said, describing what would happen should his voters fail to cast ballots. “You have tremendous power. You were saying, in this room, you have people who preach to almost 200 million people. Depending on which Sunday we’re talking about.”

Antifa — a loose collection of anti-fascist groups who regularly stage counter-protests against white supremacists and neo-Nazis — have emerged as an effective bogeyman for segments of the US right.

In a video released last year by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the pro-gun group used footage from street protests and occasional Antifa violence to paint all on the US left as seeking to “bully and terrorize the law-abiding.”

Trump previously appeared to link Antifa to violence at a Charlottesville demonstration last year in which a white supremacist killed a left-wing counter protester and injured 19 others. The President later said there was “blame on both sides.”

‘Get people to support us’

Evangelicals have provided a solid block of support for Trump, even amid the scandals involving alleged sexual affairs.

After news of those purported encounters emerged, his standing among white evangelicals did not slip. But inviting the leaders to the White House only days after the President was newly implicated by his longtime personal lawyer’s guilty plea underscored the degree to which Trump is trying to keep his supporters on his side.

“You have to hopefully get out and get people to support us,” Trump said. “If you don’t, that will be the beginning of ending everything that you’ve gotten.”

Trump will need to maintain that support if he hopes to help Republicans stay in power on Capitol Hill or win re-election himself in 2020. On Monday, he touted the steps he’s taken to promote religious liberty, such as loosening restrictions on political speech from the pulpit, which previously could jeopardize religious institutions’ tax-exempt status.

The remarks from an attendee’s recording offered a more dire view of the upcoming vote than Trump has projected in public. He often trumpets an upcoming “red wave” of Republican victories, downplaying suggestions that Democrats are poised to exploit his divisiveness and retake the House or Senate.

Trump didn’t mention a “red wave” on Monday, instead acknowledging that midterms often present new presidents with a turnout challenge.

“The polls might be good, but a lot of them say they are going to vote in 2020, but they’re not going to vote if I’m not on a ballot,” he said. “I think we’re doing well, I think we’re popular, but there’s a real question as to whether people are going to vote if I’m not on the ballot. And I’m not on the ballot.”

That’s a problem Trump said the evangelical leaders could help solve by galvanizing their congregations and followers to vote.

“I just ask you to go out and make sure all of your people vote. Because if they don’t — it’s November 6 — if they don’t vote, we’re going to have a miserable two years and we’re going to have, frankly, a very hard period of time,” he said.

“You’re one election away from losing everything that you’ve gotten,” he added. “Little thing: Merry Christmas, right? You couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas.’ ”

https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/politics/trump-warns-evangelicals-of-violence-if-gop-loses-in-the-midterms

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1132, August 28, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Warns Facebook, Google, and Twitter Be Careful or Face Federal Regulation For Political Bias — The Answer Is More Competition Not Federal Regulation or Antitrust Lawsuits — Videos — Story 2: FBI Leaked To Media To Get Support For Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Surveillance Warrant — Videos — Story 3: Senior Department of Justice Official Bruce G. Ohr Testified Before Congress — FBI Knew Christopher Steele Was Biased Against Trump and Steele Dossier Funded By Clinton Campaign Through Fusion GPS — FBI Mislead Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court — Videos

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 Image result for cartoons google biasSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Story 1: President Trump Warns Facebook, Google, and Twitter Be Careful or Face Federal Regulation For Political Bias — The Answer Is More Competition Not Federal Regulation or Antitrust Lawsuits — Videos —

Trump vs. Google

Trump accuses Google suppressing conservative voices

Trump Accuses Google of Highlighting Negative Stories

Trump accuses Google suppressing conservative voices

President Donald Trumps Latest Battles Are With Google And Canada | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Trump Warns Google, Facebook, And Twitter To ‘Be Careful’

President Trump Warns Tech Companies After Google Tweets: ‘Better Be Careful’ | TIME

Rigged or not? Trump calls out Google on deliberately promoting negative news of him

Trump accuses Google of biased searches, warns ‘be careful’

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Google and other U.S. tech companies of rigging search results about him “so that almost all stories & news is BAD.” He offered no evidence of bias, but a top adviser said the White House is “taking a look” at whether Google should face federal regulation.

Google pushed back sharply, saying Trump’s claim simply wasn’t so: “We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

The president’s tweets echoed his familiar attacks on the news media – and a conservative talking point that California-based tech companies run by CEOs with liberal leanings don’t give equal weight to opposing political viewpoints. They also revealed anew his deep-seated frustration he doesn’t get the credit he believes he deserves.

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a meeting with FIFA president Gianni Infantino and United States Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a meeting with FIFA president Gianni Infantino and United States Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The president, who has said he runs on little sleep, jumped onto Twitter before dawn Tuesday to rehash his recent complaints about alleged suppression of conservative voices and positive news about him.

He followed that up with vague threats in Oval Office comments.

“I think Google has really taken advantage of a lot of people, and I think that’s a very serious thing. That’s a very serious charge,” Trump said, adding that Google, Twitter, Facebook and others “better be careful, because you can’t do that to people.”

Trump claimed that “we have literally thousands and thousands of complaints coming in. … So I think that Google and Twitter and Facebook, they’re really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful.”

Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser, told reporters later that the White House is “taking a look” at whether Google searches should be subject to some government regulation. That would be a noteworthy development since Trump often points proudly to his cutting of government regulations as a spur for economic gains.

In his tweets, Trump said – without offering evidence – that “Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal?” He added, again with no evidence, that “96% of results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous.”

A search query Tuesday morning, several hours after the president tweeted, showed stories from CNN, ABC News, Fox News and the MarketWatch business site, among others. A similar search later in the day for “Trump” had Fox News, the president’s favored cable network, among the top results.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, said its aim is to make sure its search engine users quickly get the most relevant answers.

“Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology,” the company said in a statement. “Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Experts suggested that Trump’s comments showed a misunderstanding of how search engines work.

Google searches aim to surface the most relevant pages in response to a user’s query, even before he or she finishes typing. The answers that appear first are the ones Google’s formulas, with some help from human content reviewers, deem to be the most authoritative, informative and relevant. Many factors help decide the initial results, including how much time people spend on a page, how many other pages link to it, how well it’s designed and more.

Trump and some supporters have long accused Silicon Valley companies of being biased against them. While some company executives may lean liberal, they have long asserted that their products are without political bias.

Media analyst Ken Doctor said it doesn’t make sense for mass-market businesses like Google to lean either way politically. He characterized the complaints as a “sign of our times,” adding that, years ago, if the head of General Electric was supporting a Republican candidate, people who disagreed wouldn’t then go out and boycott GE products.

“The temperature has risen on this,” Doctor said.

Steven Andres, who teaches about management information systems at San Diego State University, said people often assume that if you give a computer the same inputs no matter where you are that you “get the same outputs.”

But it doesn’t work that way, he said. “You’re seeing different things every moment of the day and the algorithms are always trying to change the results.”

Trump didn’t say what he based his tweets on. But conservative activist Paula Boylard had said in a weekend blog post that she found “blatant prioritization of left-leaning and anti-Trump media outlets” in search results.

Boylard based her judgments on the political leanings of media outlets on a list by Sharyl Attkisson, host of Sinclair Television’s “Full Measure” and author of “The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, Think, and How You Vote.” Sinclair is a significant outlet for conservative views.

Trump began complaining about the issue earlier this month as social media companies moved to ban right-wing “Infowars” conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their platforms. The president also argues regularly – and falsely – that the news media avoid writing positive stories about him and his administration.

Jones is being sued for saying the 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was staged. Jones has since said he believes the shooting did occur and has argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because he was acting as a journalist.

Trump has praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation.

The issue is also of concern on Capitol Hill, where the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., recently announced that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is scheduled to testify before the panel on Sept. 5 about the platform’s algorithms and content monitoring.

___

Ortutay reported from New York.

___

Follow Darlene Superville and Barbara Ortutay on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap and http://www.twitter.com/barbaraortutay

A cursor moves over Google’s search engine page on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Portland, Ore. Political leanings don’t factor into Google’s search algorithm. But the authoritativeness of page links the algorithm spits out and the perception of thousands of human raters do. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Trump: Facebook, Twitter, Google are ‘treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful’

  • Trump said in a tweet that Google’s search engine had “rigged” news story search results to show mostly “bad” stories about him and other conservatives. He later criticized Facebook and Twitter.
  • He says Google is prioritizing left-leaning outlets and warns that the situation “will be addressed.”
  • The president’s comments come a week before Google, Facebook and Twitter testify before Congress.
  • Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic advisor, says the White House is “looking into” whether Google suppresses positive articles about the president.

President Trump accuses Google of rigging search results  

President Donald Trump doubled down on threats against FacebookTwitter and Google Tuesday afternoon, saying the social platforms are “treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful.”

“Google has really taken advantage of a lot of people and I think that’s a very serious thing and it’s a very serious charge,” Trump told reporters after a meeting with the president of FIFA. “They better be careful because they can’t do that to people.”

A Twitter spokesperson, when asked to respond to Trump’s comments, pointed to previous statements and congressional testimony denying any form of conservative bias on the platform. A spokesperson for Facebook did not immediately return request for comment.

Trump earlier Tuesday accused Google of altering search results to prioritize negative coverage and left-leaning outlets and warned that the issue “will be addressed.”

Trump said in a tweet that the tech giant’s search engine had “rigged” news story results to show mostly “bad” stories about him and other conservatives.

“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media,” the president said.

“In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out.”

Trump added: “Illegal? 96% of … results on ‘Trump News’ are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!”

Around 11 a.m. ET, Trump deleted the original tweets and reposted practically identical language.

“When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday.

“Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology. Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Trump also praised the performance of the Nasdaq Compositeindex, which climbed above 8,000 points for the first time ever Monday.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

NASDAQ has just gone above 8000 for the first time in history!

Google’s parent company Alphabet is a key driver of the Nasdaq’s performance. The firm’s shares were under pressure following Trump’s comments, down around 0.5 percent.

Later Tuesday, Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic advisor, told Bloomberg that the White House is “looking into” whether Google suppresses positive articles about the president. Kudlow did not provide details on how the White House was looking into the matter.

Shannon Pettypiece

@spettypi

Asked Larry Kudlow about Trump comments on Google. He said they are “looking into it” and doing some “investigations” and “analysis”

Some reports have suggested the president was referring to an unscientific report by conservative news website PJ Media, which claimed that 96 percent of Google search results for the word “Trump” showed left-leaning publications. The report places outlets including CNN, The Washington Post and The Guardian on the left of the political spectrum, while placing the likes of Fox News, the New York Post and the Daily Mail on the right.

Big tech to face Congress

Trump’s comments couldn’t be more timely. Next week, Google, Facebook and Twitter representatives will testify before Congress, discussing censorship and election meddling.

The hearings mark the second time representatives from all the companies will be on Capitol Hill to address concerns of election interference. For Facebook, it will be the third, following CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s grilling earlier this year over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg are among those confirmed to be attending the hearings.

Facebook and Twitter have suspended hundreds of accounts ahead of the November midterm elections to avoid interference from foreign actors. Facebook last week said it had removed 652 pages, groups and accounts linked to Iran over “coordinated inauthentic behavior” targeting people in the U.S., the U.K., Latin America and the Middle East. As of Tuesday, Twitter has removed 770 accounts over “coordinated manipulation” ahead of the midterms.

Trump’s comments as a whole appear to represent a broader view among conservative circles that digital platforms are censoring them.

The president recently accused Twitter of “shadow banning” — allegedly limiting search results — for prominent Republicans, and called the practice “discriminatory and illegal.” Twitter has denied the claims.

And earlier this month, multiple tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Pinterest and Spotify, clamped down on content by the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, removing podcasts, pages and other content.

Tech companies said they removed Jones for violating policies related to hate speech and harassment. “Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users,” Apple said at the time.

Some right-wing commentators have criticized the mass takedown of Jones’ content, saying it amounted to censorship.

—CNBC’s Sara Salinas contributed to this report.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/28/trump-accuses-google-of-rigging-search-results-in-favor-of-bad-coverage.html

Story 2: FBI Leaked To Media To Get Support For Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Surveillance Warrant — Videos —

Deep State’s plot for FISA warrants revealed?

FBI Leaked To Media, Used Media’s Reports To Get FISA Warrants, Congressman Says

Steele’s communications with DOJ raise questions

Rep. Goodlatte now preparing Steele dossier subpoenas

Glen Simpson Gave Bruce Ohr A Memory Stick To Give To FBI After Steele Was Fired

GOP rep touches off firestorm with claim FBI leaked info, used stories to get FISA warrants

A Republican congressman touched off a firestorm Tuesday after claiming on Twitter that his office had information suggesting the FBI leaked information to the press and used the resulting articles to help obtain surveillance warrants.

“We’ve learned NEW information suggesting our suspicions are true: FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press, and then used those same press stories as a separate source to justify FISA’s,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., tweeted overnight.

The claim stemmed in part from FBI intelligence analyst Jonathan Moffa’s Friday testimony behind closed doors before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.

A source with knowledge of the testimony initially told Fox News that Moffa said FBI personnel would use media reports based on information they leaked to justify applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants, echoing Meadows. The source said Moffa, who worked with controversial former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, acknowledged this “had been a practice in the past.”

But an FBI official pushed back, telling Fox News the initial claims about Moffa’s testimony were incorrect.

The source later clarified that Moffa testified the FBI routinely uses media material to corroborate their work product, including FISA materials, but “never said directly ‘we utilize FBI leaks for FISAs.’” The source maintained, however, that the FBI has a “culture of leaking for their own gain” and uses media reports to support their work: “There’s quite a bit of evidence raising concerns that the FBI engages in this without Moffa saying it.”

Republican member of the House Oversight Committee Mark Meadows says he has 'about 60 questions' for the DOJ official about his connection to the anti-Trump dossier, says the integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice are at stake.

Republicans have long questioned to what extent leaked information, related to the unverified anti-Trump dossier, was used as a basis for surveillance warrants against former Trump adviser Carter Page in 2016 — when the bureau was led by James Comey and deputy Andrew McCabe.

The source told Fox News that Moffa did not specifically confirm whether leaking was employed with regard to the dossier.

Another source familiar with Moffa’s testimony offered a more nuanced version of events. The source told Fox News that Moffa said the FBI keeps track of open source reports related to their cases — and when asked whether a FISA application would reference a news account, he said it could be possible, hypothetically, but the FBI aims to find better information.

The source stressed that this was not related to any specific situation and that Moffa did not suggest this was a common practice at the FBI.

Meadows, though, largely stood by his claims – yet also offered a clarification in a Tuesday afternoon statement to Fox News, drawing a distinction between what Moffa testified and what his office has learned from other materials.

“Jonathan Moffa made it clear to the committee the FBI routinely uses media reports to corroborate analytic work product. We have emails and texts plainly showing the FBI leaks to the media, raising major red flags. If FBI executives want the American people to believe they haven’t used leaks to their advantage, they are not being honest,” Meadows said in the statement, while saying this includes FISA materials.

Meadows also told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” earlier Tuesday that the committee had evidence of the FBI’s practice that would be “hard to refute.”

“We know that some people at the Department of Justice and the FBI actually gave information to the media, then the stories were reported. Then they used those reports to justify further investigations,” Meadows said. “You know, that’s like saying, we’re going to incriminate on one hand, and be the jury on the other. It just doesn’t work that way.”

The Daily Caller first reported on the specifics of Moffa’s claims.

The Trump dossier, which contained salacious allegations about the then-presidential candidate, was compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele. Steele, who was also working as an FBI source, had been hired by research firm Fusion GPS to compile details for the dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

One source familiar with Moffa’s testimony told Fox News that his statements raise concerns that the bureau indeed used this practice with the dossier, referencing an article written by Yahoo! News’ Michael Isikoff.

The Isikoff article was published on Sept. 23, 2016, focusing on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. According to a House GOP memo earlier this year, the Isikoff article did “not corroborate the Steele dossier” as the article was “derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News.” Yet the subsequent FISA application to spy on Page cited the Isikoff article, among other pieces of evidence.

“The [Carter] Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not properly provide information to Yahoo News,” the memo read. “Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News—and several other outlets—in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS.”

Moffa served on the FBI’s “Mid-Year Exam,” the code name for the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information and use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Moffa’s name often appeared in text message conversations between former FBI officials Strzok and Page, who came under scrutiny for their anti-Trump and politically charged exchanges. One text message exchange between the two on July 24, 2016 discussed their need to read “Moffa’s thing,” referencing an FBI “302”—which is an interview or witness deposition in an FBI investigation.

DOCUMENTS SUGGEST POSSIBLE COORDINATION BETWEEN CIA, FBI, OBAMA WH AND DEM OFFICIALS EARLY IN TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE: INVESTIGATORS 

Another reference was on Aug. 8, 2016.

“Hey no update yet, waiting on Moffa, he’s in with Dina at mtg scheduled to end at 11,” Strzok texted Page. An hour later, he added: “Hey, talked to him, will let him fill you in. Internal joint cyber cd Intel piece for D, scenesetter for McDonough brief, Trainor [head of FBI cyber division] directed all cyber info be pulled. I’d let Bill and Jim hammer it out first, though it would be best for D to have it before the Wed WH session.”

In the texts, “D” referred to former FBI Director James Comey, and “McDonough” referred to former chief of staff for former President Barack Obama, Denis McDonough, according to GOP investigators.

Page left the bureau in May, and Strzok was fired earlier this month.

On Tuesday, House lawmakers have the chance to question Justice Department senior official Bruce Ohr on the same FBI practice, as Ohr testifies behind closed doors.

Ohr had frequent contact with Steele before and after the publication of the dossier, and the FBI’s ultimate decision to cut ties with the ex-British spy. Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS at the time of the creation of the dossier.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/28/fbi-agent-says-bureau-leaked-stories-then-used-them-to-get-fisa-warrants.html

 

Bruce Ohr

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Bruce Genesoke Ohr (born March 16, 1962) is a United States Department of Justice official. A former associate deputy attorney general and former director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF),[1] as of February 2018 Ohr was working in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.[2] He is an expert on transnational organized crime and has spent most of his career overseeing gang- and racketeering-related prosecutions,[3] including Russian organized crime.[4]

Ohr was little-known until 2018, when he became a subject of conservative conspiracy theories[5][6][7] and Republican scrutiny[8] over his purported involvement in starting the probe on Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was criticized by President Donald Trump.[5][6] There is no evidence that Ohr was involved in the start of the Russia probe.[7] According to a comprehensive review by ABC News, Ohr “had little impact on the FBI’s growing probe into Trump and his associates.”[3]

Education

Ohr graduated from Harvard College in 1984 with a degree in physics, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1987.[9]

Career

Ohr worked for a law firm in San Francisco before becoming a career civil servant at the U.S. Department of Justice,[4] ultimately rising to the rank of Associate Deputy Attorney General. He was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1991 to 1999,[3] and was head of the office’s Violent Gangs Unit before joining the Justice Department’s Washington headquarters as the head of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Criminal Division, where Ohr managed teams investigating and prosecuting crime syndicates in Russia and eastern Europe.[4] In 2006, Ohr was one of a number of U.S. government officials who made the decision to revoke the visa of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch and Vladimir Putin ally.[4]

In 2010, Ohr moved to a new position as counsel for international relations in DOJ’s Transnational organized crime and international affairs section. He became director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) in 2014.[4] He later became associate deputy attorney general, but lost that position in late 2017, although he remained director of OCDETF for a time.[10] Ohr was demoted by the Department of Justice amid the Senate Intelligence Committee’s discovery of his meetings with Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.[11]

Russia probe

Ohr served as the Justice Department contact for Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent commissioned to author the Trump–Russia dossier. The dossier was prepared, under a contract to the DNC and the Clinton campaign, by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. According to a Republican-led investigation, during the 2016 election, Fusion GPS hired Bruce’s wife Nellie Ohr, an independent contractor and Russia specialist, to conduct “research and analysis” of Donald Trump.[10][12][13] A comprehensive report done by ABC News disputes that Ohr’s wife worked on the dossier, instead stating that she “was not directly involved in the ‘dossier’ while she worked for Fusion GPS.”[3]

Ohr was mentioned in the controversial Nunes memo, written by Devin Nunes, chair of the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee, which was released in February 2018. The full committee did not sign off on the memo, and Democrats in the committee produced their own memo which largely contradicted the Nunes memo.[14] The Nunes memo, which focused on the Justice Department’s process for obtaining a FISA warrant to wiretap Trump associate Carter Page in October 2016, said that Ohr was aware of Steele’s bias against Trump in September 2016.[15][10] The memo alleged that Steele’s reported bias against Trump was not mentioned in the FISA warrant application, and that the FISA court was misled.[15][2] A competing memo by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee said that the FISA warrant made clear that the Steele dossier was paid opposition research likely intended to discredit the Trump campaign in the 2016 election, and that the court was therefore not misled.[16] Ohr documented Steele’s opinions on Trump in November 2016 (several weeks after the initial FISA warrant against Page had been approved by the FISA court), saying Steele “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”[16] Ohr was not assigned to work in counterintelligence operations and was not known to be involved in obtaining the FISA warrant.[2] According to BBC News, the fact that Ohr recorded Steele’s opinions “somewhat [undercuts] the accusation of rampant bias within the department, given that a truly compromised individual wouldn’t jot that sort of thing down.”[14]

In 2018, Ohr became the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories which alleged that he played an important role in starting the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[5][6] The conspiracy theories allege that the origins of the Russia probe were biased and were intended to undermine then-candidate Trump.[6] This theory assumes that the probe was started because of the Steele dossier. But in fact the July 2016 launch of the FBI investigation was triggered, not by the dossier, but by a report that Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos knew, before it became public knowledge, that the Russians possessed damaging information about Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of stolen emails.[17] This origin of the probe is confirmed in the Nunes memo itself.[18] Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has stated that as far as he knew, Ohr was not involved with the Russia investigation,[19] and told the House Judiciary Committee that Ohr had “no role” in the investigation.[11] The claim that the origins of the Russia probe were tainted is unsubstantiated.[6] The FBI did not publicly reveal the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign during the campaign, in part so as not to hurt his electoral chances, contradicting the claim that the probe was an attempt to undermine Trump’s candidacy.[6]

Trump called Ohr a “disgrace” in a tweet in August 2018, and suggested that he would revoke Ohr’s security clearance.[7] There is no publicly available evidence that suggests Ohr mishandled sensitive information.[6] Trump’s threat to strip Ohr of his security clearance came amid threats to revoke the security clearances of a number of current and former officials who had criticized Trump or been involved in Russia probe.[20] According to The Washington Post, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her deputy Bill Shine discussed the best timing to announce the revocations as a way of distracting from unfavorable news cycles.[20][21] Rep. Jim Jordan, a critic of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, called for Ohr’s firing.[22][7]

On August 28, 2018, Ohr gave testimony in a closed hearing to two Republican-led House committees looking into decisions made by the DOJ ahead of the 2016 presidential election.[23]

References

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

Story 3: Senior Department of Justice Official Bruce G. Ohr Testified Before Congress — FBI Knew Christopher Steele Was Biased Against Trump and Steele Dossier Funded By Clinton Campaign Through Fusion GPS — FBI Mislead Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court — Videos

Jordan on revelations from Ohr’s closed-door testimony

Hannity: Blowing the Bruce Ohr case wide open

Jordan on revelations from Ohr’s closed-door testimony

Should Mueller interview Bruce Ohr?

Mueller, Huber have yet to interview Bruce Ohr

Trump renews demand that Justice Department official Bruce Ohr is fired for role in golden showers dossier saying ‘how the hell is he still employed?’

  • President Trump – for a second time – demanded senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr be fired
  • ‘How the hell is Bruce Ohr still employed at the Justice Department? Disgraceful!’ Trump tweeted on Wednesday
  • His call comes a day after Ohr spent eight hours on Capitol Hill being grilled by lawmakers on his ties to former British spy Christopher Steele
  • Steele’s unverified dossier claims Russia has blackmail information on Trump 
  • Republicans said Ohr’s testimony suggested the FBI had doubts about dossier’s credibility 

President Donald Trump is demanding – for a second time – senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr be fired, coming one day after the government employee was subject to a closed door grilling by members of Congress.

The president fumed at Ohr, asking ‘how the hell’ he still has a job and called it a ‘disgrace.’

Trump has repeatedly targeted Ohr, who is also on the administration’s list of officials who may lose their security clearance.

‘How the hell is Bruce Ohr still employed at the Justice Department? Disgraceful! Witch Hunt!,’ the president tweeted Wednesday.

Former associate deputy U.S. attorney general Bruce Ohr arrives to testify behind closed doors before the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees

President Trump has targeted Ohr repeatedly on Twitter and on Wednesday demanded - for a second time - Ohr be fired

This Morning’s Dr Chris Steele presents problems facing the NHS

Trump made his first call for the termination last week, citing Nellie Ohr’s ties to the company which commissioned the infamous and unverified Steele dossier during the presidential campaign.

Ohr was on Capitol Hill Tuesday for almost eight hours in a closed-door grilling with lawmakers.

The House is on August recess but Republican lawmakers returned for the chance to question Ohr, who was in contact with former British spy Christopher Steele, while Democratic lawmakers were represented by committee staff, ABC News reported.

Ohr gave lawmakers ‘a list of half a dozen’ senior FBI and Justice Departments officials who knew about his interactions, GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe told Fox News’ ‘Hannity’ Tuesday night.

Ohr had passed along Steele’s information from their contact to the FBI, even after the bureau had terminated its formal relationship with Steele over the spy’s leaks about their work to the media.

Republicans also were interested in how Steele’s dossier ended up in FBI hands. Ohr’s wife Nellie worked at Fusion GPS, the same firm that hired Steele to write the dossier although it’s been reported she did not work on that project.

‘We’ve confirmed that Bruce Ohr was a willing and constant conduit between Fusion GPS, paid for by the Clinton campaign, and the FBI,’ Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said on ‘Fox & Friends’ Wednesday morning without going into details.

‘He knew he was providing hearsay and double hearsay that would never stand up in court,’ Issa added.

Other Republicans said Ohr’s testimony suggested the FBI had doubts about dossier’s credibility when they sought a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign official Carter Page in October 2016.

The House Judiciary Committee and the The House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform have held multiple joint sessions with the players in the saga surrounding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as part of their look into FBI and Justice Department activities related to the 2016 election. 

Trump and his allies claim that FBI surveillance of Page was a done through a tainted FISA warrant that relied on the Steele dossier.

Last month, documents released through a Freedom of Information Act request showed federal agents relied on more information than the Steele dossier to obtain the warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 

Ohr is an expert on the Russian mafia and organized crime, work that brought him into contact with Steele, who specialized in Russia when he worked as a spy.

The two men met in 2007, when Steele still worked for MI-6 and Ohr was investigating Russian crime syndicates.

Steele went on to investigate ties between Trump and Russia for the research firm, Fusion GPS, where Ohr’s wife Nellie worked as a contractor.

Trump has slammed Ohr repeatedly on Twitter

Trump has slammed Ohr repeatedly on Twitter

Ohr had contact with former British spy Christopher Steele, whose unverified dossier alleged Russia had information it could use to blackmail Trump

Ohr had contact with former British spy Christopher Steele, whose unverified dossier alleged Russia had information it could use to blackmail Trump

Fusion GPS commissioned Steele to write the dossier on Trump that alleged the Russians have information they could use to blackmail the president, including an allegation – which Trump has denied – that he hired ‘a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him’ when he was in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant.

Reports indicate Nellie Ohr did not work on the dossier and her time at Fusion GPS did not influence her husband’s work at DoJ.

Trump and his allies claim the Steele dossier was politically motivated by those in the government who do not want to see Trump be president.

Democrats, meanwhile, argue the Ohr testimony is another attempt to prove a conspiracy theory they say does not have merit.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6111033/Trump-fuming-Justice-Department-official-Bruce-Ohr-asking-hell-employed.html

 

Numerous congressional sources are telling SaraACarter.com that after Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr’s explosive closed-door testimony on Tuesday, lawmakers are gearing up to call his wife, Nellie Ohr, in for questioning regarding her work with the now-embattled research firm, Fusion GPS. Congress is also seeking access to Bruce Ohr’s text messages and emails with top FBI officials.

Fusion GPS was founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson and hired by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign to investigate alleged ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Nellie Ohr, a Russia expert who was hired by Fusion GPS in 2016 to investigate the Trump campaign, received multiple large sum payments from the research firm, according to a U.S. official, with direct knowledge of the payments.

The payments from the DNC and Clinton campaign were made through the law firm Perkins Coie, which represented both clients. The research firm also hired former British spy Christopher Steele, who was friends with the Ohrs and who compiled the now infamous and unverified anti-Trump dossier. Steele was not only paid by Fusion GPS for his work but according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, he was also being paid by the FBI from Jan. 1. 2016 to Nov. 1, 2016.

The U.S. official did not disclose the amount of money paid to Bruce Ohr’s wife through Simpson’s firm, but said it “was not chump change, that much I can say.”

The Washington Post first published in 2017 that the DNC and Clinton campaign paid for the research firm’s service to investigate the alleged Trump campaign’s ties with Russia. According to the Post, the Clinton campaign paid the law firm $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records. On top of that, the DNC paid Perkins Coie $3.6 million, which was labeled in their disclosures as “legal and compliance consulting” since November 2015. So far, Congress has not disclosed the exact amount that Fusion GPS, or those involved, received for the research.

Lawmakers are also seeking all communications – texts and emails – between Bruce Ohr and top officials at the FBI. During Ohr’s testimony, he disclosed that he was communicating with former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Attorney Lisa Page and former FBI Special Agent Peter Stzrok, which was confirmed by Ohr’s handwritten notes obtained by lawmakers, as first reported by this outlet. McCabe was fired from his role at the FBI earlier this year by Attorney General Jeff Sessions after it was discovered by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz that he leaked information to the media and lied multiple times to investigators. Page left the FBI earlier this year and her lover, Strzok, was fired by the new FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich earlier this month.

“Bruce Ohr’s testimony before Congress highlighted the need for further interviews with key players that were involved in the backchannel negotiations between Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele and the FBI,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) told SaraACarter.com. “Of particular concern will be direct testimony from Nellie Ohr as well as communications between Bruce Ohr and other FBI and DOJ officials much of which, formal requests for those documents have already been made.”

Of particular concern will be direct testimony from Nellie Ohr as well as communications between Bruce Ohr and other FBI and DOJ officials…

Meadows, who has already spoken to Justice Department officials, said he expects that the DOJ will be cooperative following Ohr’s deposition Tuesday.

“Conversations with the Department of Justice following the Bruce Ohr interview have indicated a new willingness to be transparent in a couple of key areas,” Meadows added.

According to several congressional officials who spoke to this outlet, Ohr’s testimony shed light on previous testimony given by Page and other FBI officials, who appeared to have downplayed or omitted their working relationship with Ohr.

As for Nellie Ohr, there was serious concern among congressional members that her husband, Bruce Ohr, did not disclose his wife’s work with Fusion GPS to the DOJ, which they said is a conflict of interest and raises serious legal questions.

Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett recently published a column that listed the possible legal violations Bruce Ohr could encounter for failing to disclose to the DOJ his wife’s payments from Fusion GPS, as well as his failure to inform the DOJ of his wife’s work:

Since his wife worked for Fusion GPS and contributed to the “dossier,” the relationship presented a disqualifying conflict of interest for Ohr. He was legally obligated under Justice Department regulations to recuse himself from any investigation in which his wife was involved.

Ohr did not seek a waiver of the conflict of interest. Instead, he omitted this information. Upon joining the Justice Department, he had signed an agreement stating that he would be fired for violating its rules. Inexplicably, he was not terminated, which only reinforces the impression that impropriety and concealment continued at the highest levels of the department.

Not only did Bruce Ohr fail to disclose that Fusion GPS was paying his wife, but it appears he did not fully report the nature of the work performed in financial disclosure reports as required under Justice Department regulations. Willfully filing a false government report constitutes a crime under federal law – specifically 8 U.S.C. (United States Code) 1001.

https://saraacarter.com/breaking-day-after-ohrs-testimony-congress-seeks-to-question-his-wife/

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1128, August 20, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Waived Executive Privilege By Allowing Don McGahan To Be Interview By Special Counsel Mueller for 30 Hours — Videos — Story 2: Mueller Mad Men Mob Witch Hunt and Perjury Trap — Videos — Story 3: American People Want Mueller Investigation Ended Before Election and Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and White House Plotters of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos —

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Story 1: President Trump Waived Executive Privilege By Allowing Don McGahan To Be Interview By Special Counsel Mueller for 30 Hours — Videos —

Hannity: Equal justice under the law is in jeopardy

Did White House Counsel Don McGahn Flip On The President? | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Trump claims he gave approval for Don McGahn to speak with the special counsel

What we know about Don McGahn’s cooperation with the Mueller probe

Trump says he let White House counsel co-operate with Russia probe

Mark Levin: Mueller a ‘Greater Threat’ to United States Than Putin

Trump Lawyers’ Sudden Realization: They Don’t Know What Don McGahn Told Mueller’s Team

After Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, was initially interviewed by the special counsel’s office in November, President Trump’s lawyers never asked for a complete description of what Mr. McGahn had said.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

By Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt

Lawyers do not know just how much the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, told the special counsel’s investigators during months of interviews, a lapse that has contributed to a growing recognition that an early strategy of full cooperation with the inquiry was a potentially damaging mistake.

The president’s lawyers said on Sunday that they were confident that Mr. McGahn had said nothing injurious to the president during the 30 hours of interviews. But Mr. McGahn’s lawyer has offered only a limited accounting of what Mr. McGahn told the investigators, according to two people close to the president.

That has prompted concern among Mr. Trump’s advisers that Mr. McGahn’s statements could help serve as a key component for a damning report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, which the Justice Department could send to Congress, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers realized on Saturday that they had not been provided a full accounting after The New York Times published an articledescribing Mr. McGahn’s extensive cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s office. After Mr. McGahn was initially interviewed by the special counsel’s office in November, Mr. Trump’s lawyers never asked for a complete description of what Mr. McGahn had said, according to a person close to the president.

Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, gave the president’s lawyers a short overview of the interview but few details, and he did not inform them of what Mr. McGahn said in subsequent interactions with the investigators, according to a person close to Mr. Trump. Mr. McGahn and Mr. Burck feared that Mr. Trump was setting up Mr. McGahn to take the blame for any possible wrongdoing, so they embraced the opening to cooperate fully with Mr. Mueller in an effort to demonstrate that Mr. McGahn had done nothing wrong.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer dealing with the special counsel, Rudolph W. Giuliani, appeared to acknowledge that he had only a partial understanding of what Mr. McGahn had revealed. Mr. Giuliani said his knowledge was secondhand, given to him by a former Trump lawyer, John Dowd, who was one of the primary forces behind the initial strategy of full cooperation.

Image
Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s lead lawyer dealing with the special counsel, appeared to acknowledge that he had only a partial understanding of what Mr. McGahn had revealed, saying his knowledge was secondhand.CreditCharles Krupa/Associated Press

“I’ll use his words rather than mine, that McGahn was a strong witness for the president, so I don’t need to know much more about that,” Mr. Giuliani said of Mr. Dowd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But Mr. McGahn, who as White House counsel is not the president’s personal lawyer, has repeatedly made clear to the president that his role is as a protector of the presidency, not of Mr. Trump personally.

Legal experts and former White House counsels said the president’s lawyers had been careless in not asking Mr. McGahn what he had planned to tell Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors. The experts said Mr. Trump’s lawyers had the right to know the full extent of what Mr. McGahn was going to say.

Robert F. Bauer, a White House counsel under President Barack Obama, said Mr. McGahn’s lawyer may have taken the most prudent course for his client by not addressing “each and every detail about the questions that were specifically asked and the specific answers given.”

In its article, The Times said Mr. McGahn had shared detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the investigation into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice in the Russia inquiry. Some of the episodes — like Mr. Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller last summer — would not have been revealed to investigators without Mr. McGahn’s help.

The article set off a scramble on Saturday among Mr. Trump’s lawyers and advisers. The president, sequestered at his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J., solicited opinions from a small group of advisers on the possible repercussions from the article. The president ordered Mr. Giuliani to tell reporters that the article was wrong, but Mr. Giuliani did not go that far in his television appearances.

The report by The Times also reignited a debate about whether Mr. Trump had been given bad advice by his former lawyers Mr. Dowd and Ty Cobb to allow full cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s team, including by waiving attorney-client privilege. Mr. Dowd and Mr. Cobb believed that the cooperation would help prove that the president had done nothing wrong and bring a swifter end to the investigation.

 

Image

John Dowd, a former lawyer for Mr. Trump, argued that he had made the right choice in urging full cooperation with the special counsel.CreditRichard Drew/Associated Press

But the strategy “put Don McGahn in an impossible situation, because once you waive that privilege and you turn over all those documents, Don McGahn has no choice then but to go in and answer everything, every question they could ask him,” Chris Christie, a former United States attorney and a close ally of Mr. Trump, said on ABC News’s “This Week.”

“It’s bad legal advice, bad lawyering, and this is a result of it,” Mr. Christie added.

Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, who had argued last summer against cooperating with Mr. Mueller, said, “This was a reckless and dangerously naïve strategy, and I’ve vocally said that since the time I left the White House, and I’ve said it to the president.”

The Times reported that Mr. McGahn, over at least three interviews, laid out how Mr. Trump had tried to ensure control of the special counsel investigation. Mr. McGahn gave a mix of damaging and favorable information about the president, but he said Mr. Trump did not go beyond his legal authorities as president.

Although Mr. Trump’s lawyers have little idea what Mr. McGahn told investigators, they said on Saturday and Sunday that Mr. McGahn had helped the president.

In an email to members of Mr. Trump’s legal team and other associates, which was obtained by The Times, Mr. Dowd said he had made the right choice in urging cooperation.

“We protected President by not asserting attorney-client privilege,” Mr. Dowd wrote. He added that, had the lawyers forced the Mueller team to subpoena witnesses, they would have lost the ability to exert privilege over witnesses and documents.

Still, Mr. Trump was rattled by the Times report, according to people familiar with his thinking. The president, who is said to be obsessed with the role that John W. Dean, the White House counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, played as an informant during Watergate, was jolted by the notion that he did not know what Mr. McGahn had shared.

Mr. Trump lashed out about the report on Twitter, saying that The Times had falsely insinuated that Mr. McGahn had “turned” on him.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type “RAT.” But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide……

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….and have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close. So many lives have been ruined over nothing – McCarthyism at its WORST! Yet Mueller & his gang of Dems refuse to look at the real crimes on the other side – Media is even worse!

Image

Ty Cobb, another former lawyer for Mr. Trump, had joined Mr. Dowd in arguing for full cooperation. But there is a growing recognition among Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the advice was misguided.CreditJonathan Ernst/Reuters

Last fall, Mr. McGahn believed that he was being set up to be blamed for any wrongdoing by the president in part because of an article published in The Times in September, which described a conversation that a reporter had overheard between Mr. Dowd and Mr. Cobb.

In the conversation — which occurred over lunch at a table on the sidewalk outside the Washington steakhouse B.L.T. — Mr. Cobb discussed the White House’s production of documents to Mr. Mueller’s office. Mr. Cobb talked about how Mr. McGahn was opposed to cooperation and had documents locked in his safe.

After the account of the lunch conversation was published, Mr. McGahn became convinced that Mr. Cobb believed that he was hiding documents. Concerned that he would be blamed, he decided to try to demonstrate to Mr. Mueller that he and other White House lawyers had done nothing wrong.

As Mr. Trump’s lawyers have shifted to a more antagonistic approach toward Mr. Mueller, it has seemed increasingly unlikely that Mr. Trump will sit for a voluntary interview. On “Meet the Press,” Mr. Giuliani repeated his fear of a “perjury trap.”

“It’s somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth,” Mr. Giuliani said of any statements by the president in such an interview.

“Truth is truth,” the show’s host, Chuck Todd, answered.

“No, it isn’t truth,” Mr. Giuliani replied. “Truth isn’t truth.”

Noah Weiland and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/19/us/politics/don-mcgahn-trump-mueller.html

 

White House Counsel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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White House Counsel
US-WhiteHouse-Logo.svg
Don McGahn official photo.png

Incumbent
Don McGahn

since January 20, 2017

Formation 1943
First holder Samuel Rosenman

The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States whose role is to advise the President on all legal issues concerning the President and his Administration. The current White House Counsel is Don McGahn.

Responsibilities

The Office of Counsel to the President was created in 1943, and is responsible for advising on all legal aspects of policy questions, legal issues arising in connection with the President’s decision to sign or veto legislation, ethical questions, financial disclosures, and conflicts of interest during employment and post employment. The Counsel’s Office also helps define the line between official and political activities, oversees executive appointments and judicial selection, handles Presidential pardons, reviews legislation and Presidential statements, and handles lawsuits against the President in his role as President, as well as serving as the White Housecontact for the Department of Justice.

The White House Counsel offers legal advice to the President, the Counsel in the President’s official capacity but does not serve as the President’s personal attorney. The scope of the attorney–client privilege between the Counsel and the President, applies to official and not strictly personal matters. It also does not apply to legislative proceedings by the U.S. Congress against a President due to allegations of misconduct while in office, such as formal censures or impeachment proceedings. A President relies on a personal attorney for confidential legal advice. The office is distinct from the judiciary, and from others who are not appointed to positions, but nominated by the President, and confirmed by the Senate. These would be foremost the Attorney General of the United States, and his or her principal deputy and other assistants, who are nominated by the President to oversee the United States Department of Justice, or the Solicitor General of the United States and his or her staff (he or she is the fourth-ranking official in the Justice Department), who argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (and in lower federal courts) for the Justice Department when it is a party to the case.

List of White House Counsels

Officeholder Term start Term end President
Samuel Rosenman October 2, 1943 February 1, 1946 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Clark Clifford February 1, 1946 January 31, 1950
Charles Murphy January 31, 1950 January 20, 1953
Bernard Shanley January 20, 1953 February 19, 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Gerald Morgan February 19, 1955 November 5, 1958
David Kendall November 5, 1958 January 20, 1961
Ted Sorensen January 20, 1961 February 29, 1964 John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Mike Feldman April 1964 January 17, 1965
Lee White January 17, 1965 February 11, 1966
Milton Semer February 14, 1966 December 31, 1966
Harry McPherson February 11, 1966 October 26, 1967
Larry Temple October 26, 1967 January 20, 1969
John Ehrlichman January 20, 1969 November 4, 1969 Richard Nixon
Charles Colson November 6, 1969 July 9, 1970
John Dean July 9, 1970 April 30, 1973
Leonard Garment April 30, 1973 August 9, 1974
William Casselman August 9, 1974 September 19, 1975 Gerald Ford
Philip Buchen September 19, 1975 January 20, 1977
Robert Lipshutz January 20, 1977 October 1, 1979 Jimmy Carter
Lloyd Cutler October 1, 1979 January 20, 1981
Fred Fielding January 20, 1981 May 23, 1986 Ronald Reagan
Peter Wallison May 23, 1986 March 20, 1987
Arthur Culvahouse March 20, 1987 January 20, 1989
C. Boyden Gray January 20, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
Bernard Nussbaum January 20, 1993 March 8, 1994 Bill Clinton
Lloyd Cutler March 8, 1994 October 1, 1994
Abner Mikva October 1, 1994 November 1, 1995
Jack Quinn November 1, 1995 February 1997
Chuck Ruff February 1997 September 1999
Beth Nolan September 1999 January 20, 2001
Alberto Gonzales January 20, 2001 February 3, 2005 George W. Bush
Harriet Miers February 3, 2005 January 31, 2007
Fred Fielding January 31, 2007 January 20, 2009
Greg Craig January 20, 2009 January 3, 2010 Barack Obama
Bob Bauer January 3, 2010 June 30, 2011
Kathryn Ruemmler June 30, 2011 June 2, 2014
Neil Eggleston June 2, 2014 January 20, 2017
Don McGahn January 20, 2017 present Donald Trump

External links

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

Don McGahn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Don McGahn
Don McGahn official photo.png
White House Counsel
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Neil Eggleston
Chairman of the Federal Election Commission
In office
July 10, 2008 – December 31, 2008
President George W. Bush
Succeeded by Steven T. Walther
Member of the Federal Election Commission
In office
July 9, 2008 – September 12, 2013
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by David Mason
Succeeded by Lee E. Goodman
Personal details
Born Donald Francis McGahn II
June 16, 1968 (age 50)
Atlantic CityNew Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Shannon McGahn
Children 2
Education University of Notre Dame (BA)
Widener University (JD)
Georgetown University (LLM)
Signature

Donald Francis McGahn II (born June 16, 1968) is an American lawyer and political figure. He is the current White House Counsel and Assistant to the President for U.S. President Donald Trump, serving since January 20, 2017, and was formerly a Commissioner of the United States Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Early life and education

McGahn grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the son of Noreen (Rogan) and Donald F. McGahn,[1] and attended Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Atlantic City and Holy Spirit High School in nearby Absecon.[2] He briefly attended the United States Naval Academy before transferring to the University of Notre Dame.[3] At the University of Notre Dame he received a B.A. degree in history and computer applications[4] . He obtained his J.D. degree from Widener University School of Law in 1994 followed by an LL.M. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2002.[5]

Career

After graduation from law school, McGahn worked in campaign finance law at the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Patton Boggs.[6] From 1999 to 2008, McGahn was chief counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).[7]

George W. Bush nominated McGahn as a Republican-selected member of the Federal Election Commission in 2008. He was confirmed on June 24, 2008 by the United States Senate and was sworn in shortly thereafter. He is credited as having played a crucial role in loosening regulations on campaign spending.[8][9] McGahn resigned from the FEC in September 2013.[10]

After leaving the FEC, McGahn returned to the law firm Patton Boggs.[7] In 2014 he moved to the law firm of Jones Day in Washington, D.C.[8]

Trump 2016 campaign

McGahn served as Donald Trump‘s campaign counsel during his 2016 campaign for president.[7] McGahn managed all litigation involving Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign. Early in 2016, he stopped efforts to keep Trump off of the Republican primary ballot in New Hampshire by going to court and winning to ensure ballot access in a key primary state.[11] McGahn also assembled and oversaw the legal team that helped defeat the NeverTrump movement at the 2016 Republican National Convention, both in the RNC Rules Committee and on the convention floor.[12] Several weeks before the election, lawsuits were filed in four battleground states alleging voter intimidation and seeking to enjoin the Trump campaign from having observers at polling locations.[13] McGahn successfully managed and won these litigations.[14]

Trump presidency

Shortly after Trump won the election, he named McGahn General Counsel of the Presidential Transition Team. On November 25, 2016, McGahn was named White House Counsel for the President-elect’s new administration.[15][16]

McGahn personally recommended Trump nominate Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia and Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch’s first official interview with Trump staff was on January 5, 2017 when McGahn met with him in Trump Tower. Trump and McGahn met with him on January 14, 2017. McGahn called Gorsuch on January 27, 2017 to tell him that he had been selected as the nominee.[17]Gorsuch was sworn in on Monday April 10, 2017.[18] McGahn also recommended the nomination of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. Acosta was sworn in on April 28, 2017.[19]

McGahn assembled a team of lawyers to oversee filling all judicial vacancies. Guided by McGahn’s team, President Trump had already appointed ten appellate judges by November 11, 2017, the most that early in a presidency since Richard Nixon.[20]

According to the New York Times, McGahn conveyed instructions from President Trump to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, requesting Sessions not to recuse himself from overseeing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.[21] McGahn was unaware that Sessions had already consulted with career attorneys at the Department of Justice. When Sessions informed him he had already decided to recuse himself, McGahn ceased further discussion of the topic.[22] In response to this, Walter Shaub, former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, said McGahn had “done much to undermine anticorruption mechanisms in this country.” Shaub said, “It is a crime for a federal employee to participate in a particular matter in which he has a financial interest.”[23]

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realdonaldtrump

The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type “RAT.” But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide……

19 Aug 2018[24]

In January 2018 The New York Times reported that in June, 2017, the president asked McGahn to instruct top Justice Department officials to dismiss special counsel Robert Mueller, and that McGahn refused, instead threatening to resign.[25][26]

The New York Times reported on August 18, 2018 that McGahn had been cooperating extensively with the Special Counsel investigation for several months and that he and his lawyer had become concerned that Trump “had decided to let Mr. McGahn take the fall for decisions that could be construed as obstruction of justice, like the Comey firing, by telling the special counsel that he was only following shoddy legal advice from Mr. McGahn.”.[27]

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realdonaldtrump

….and have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close. So many lives have been ruined over nothing – McCarthyism at its WORST! Yet Mueller & his gang of Dems refuse to look at the real crimes on the other side – Media is even worse!

19 Aug 2018[28]

Personal life

McGahn is married to Shannon McGahn, former Counselor to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.[29][30] They have two sons.[7]

References

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

Story 2: Mueller Mad Men Mob Witch Hunt and Perjury Trap — Videos

 

Dershowitz on dangers of a perjury trap for Trump

Trump fears “perjury trap”

BARTIROMO INTREVIEW GIULIANI: MUELLER PROBE SHOULD ALREADY BE OVER

Trump expresses concern over “perjury trap

Jake Tapper takes on Giuliani’s ‘alternate reality’

Alan Dershowitz on Giuliani’s ‘truth’ comment: He was absolutely right

Giuliani: Mueller wants to be ‘judge and jury’ of midterms

Trump and his legal team accuse Mueller of setting a ‘perjury trap’

Roger Stone: Mueller setting ‘perjury trap’ for Trump

Published on Jan 24, 2018

Judge Jeanine Rips Mueller for Lack of Investigation Into Bruce Ohr

Robert Mueller Shouldn’t Even Ask Trump for an Interview

With testimony from the president’s top lawyer, the special counsel is in no position to claim he needs to speak with Trump.For months, these columns have contended that, on the question whether President Trump should agree to a request by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III for an interview, the burden of persuasion has been imposed on the wrong party. That is, the president should not even be asked to submit to questioning at this point; the prosecutor must first establish that the president (1) is implicated in a serious crime and (2) has information or evidence that the prosecutor is unable to obtain from any other source.

That argument is bolstered by this weekend’s New York Times report that, with the president’s consent, Mueller’s team has conducted 30 hours of interviews with White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II. Having secured testimony from the president’s top lawyer, the special counsel is in no position to claim that he needs the president’s own testimony.

Reportedly, the president consented to Mueller’s interview of McGhan at the urging of a legal team that, for the most part, has since been overhauled — John Dowd, who served (along with Sekulow) as Trump’s private counsel, and the now-retired Ty Cobb, who was brought into the White House Counsel’s Office (over McGahn’s objection, according to the Times) to manage the administration’s response to the investigation — a job taken over since Cobb’s retirement by Emmet Flood.

As we have noted several times, it seems certain that the special counsel is going to write a report that, even if it does not accuse the president of crimes, will be censorious regarding the president’s judgment and comportment. It is reasonable to assume that information from the extensive interviews with McGahn will be exploited for that purpose. I suspect the degree to which this will be the case is being overstated by pundits: Whatever color commentary the White House counsel may have added, it is hardly a secret, for example, that the Trump administration gave contradictory explanations for firing FBI director James Comey, that the president has pressured the attorney general to renounce his recusal, and that there is a constant Twitter stream of spleen-venting over the special counsel’s “witch hunt.”

It is more useful, then, to focus on how the McGahn interviews may have a meaningful impact on the investigation. That brings us to Mueller’s desire to interview Trump, currently expressed as a request but one that, if the president declines, could take the form of a coercive demand — i.e., a subpoena.

It is simply a fact that the law does not require all important witnesses in criminal cases to testify if called upon. The central witness in any criminal case is the main suspect, whose testimony is never required under the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Similarly, spouses are not required to testify against one another, and the law generally protects communications between doctors and patients, priests and penitents, attorneys and clients, and so on. When such privileges are invoked, it does not matter that suppressed information is vital to the search for truth. Our law reflects society’s judgment that some concerns and relationships outweigh the legal system’s need for each person’s testimony.

As we’ve also noted, if Trump were a journalist rather than the president, everyone would understand that a prosecutor may not just willy-nilly issue a subpoena. Justice Department rules would require the prosecutor to establish both that a serious crime was under investigation and that the journalist had critical information for which there was no other source — and even then, the Justice Department might well instruct the prosecutor not to issue a subpoena.

Here, Mueller has not come close to satisfying these conditions — certainly not publicly. The McGahn interviews indicate that he could not do so.

To begin with, it does not appear that the president is implicated in a crime. He was repeatedly told that he was not a suspect in the “collusion with Russia” aspect of the investigation. As I’ve just outlined in another column about Mueller’s access to McGahn, the special counsel’s legal theory on the obstruction aspect of the investigation is dubious at best. It hinges on the idea that a president can be criminally liable for obstruction based on lawful acts — acts within the president’s constitutional prerogatives — that the prosecutor suspects may have been corruptly motivated.

I do not believe Mueller can make the showing that should be required before he gets to interview the president. At a minimum, though, the special counsel should be compelled to establish that his obstruction theory is sound. If there is no crime, there is nothing to discuss.

That aside, the McGahn interviews demonstrate that Mueller has no need for the president’s testimony.

Given the White House counsel’s intimate involvement in presidential decision-making, McGahn’s testimony gives the special counsel everything he could want from President Trump himself: solid evidence about what the president said and was thinking when the actions Mueller is probing were taken. According to the president’s private counsel, the White House made available to Mueller 37 witnesses and 1.4 million documents. Now we know that this extraordinary disclosure also included the president’s top lawyer, whose testimony Trump could lawfully have withheld.

Remember, the attorney–client privilege was the pretext by which the Obama Justice Department undermined the Clinton-emails caper. Mrs. Clinton insinuated lawyers in establishing the private server system over which she improperly conducted government business, and in vetting her emails — over 30,000 of which she deleted and attempted to destroy, falsely claiming they were all “private.” At every turn, investigators were blocked from critical lines of inquiry and evidence on the rationale that pursuing them could breach lawyer–client confidentiality.

In stark contrast, Trump waived his privileges and made his lawyer available for 30 hours of questioning. Consequently, the special counsel has already gotten far more information than he was entitled to regarding the president’s actions and state of mind. Bear in mind, due to the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, it is very common for prosecutors to complete investigations and make charging decisions without interviewing the principal subject of the investigation. And the prosecutor almost never gets to interview the subject’s lawyer.

Plainly, the special counsel has all the information he needs to write his report. The president could well decide to consent to Mueller’s request for an interview. As we’ve observed, there would be risk in doing so; the president would be well advised to decline unless, at a minimum, Mueller discloses whether he regards the president as a criminal suspect and, if so, of what crime and on what basis. But the prospect of a subpoena should be off the table. The special counsel does not need the president’s testimony in order to complete his work.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/robert-mueller-donald-trump-interview-request/

Story 3: American People Want Mueller Investigation Ended Before Election and Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and White House Plotters of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos —

See the source image

House Republicans Press Conference Demanding Second Special Counsel 5/22/18

GOP Drops the Judicial HAMMER on DOJ, Forcing Them to Reveal the TRUTH on FISA Warrant

End Russia investigation before election, say majority of Americans

Aug 15, 2018

Two-thirds across both parties want Robert Mueller to report back before November mid-terms 

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Two-thirds of Americans want the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to conclude before the mid-term elections in November.

The CNN poll “comes amid rebounding approval ratings for both President Donald Trump and [special investigator Robert] Mueller for their handling of the investigation, and a growing share of voters who say the investigation will matter to their vote this fall” reports the news channel.

While support for ending the probe before the midterms is likely to be seized upon by the Trump administration as positive proof that public opinion has turned against Mueller, “that is where they would be making a major mistake”, says CNN’s editor-at-large Chris Cillizza.

“Because if you look at any question in the CNN poll – other than the one about when people want the probe to end – and you see piece after piece of evidence that Trump is losing the public relations war on Russia”.

Of those questioned, 70% believe the president should testify before Mueller, while the former FBI director has enjoyed a sizable bump in the polls, with 47% now saying they approve of his handling of the Russia investigation, up from 41% in June.

However, Mueller is on the clock with 66% saying he should try to complete his investigation by November’s congressional elections, although this percentage is lowest among Democrats, who are more likely to favour giving Mueller the time he needs to complete the probe, reports The Hill.

Unfortunately for the 30% of voters who say its conclusions will be “extremely important” to how they cast their ballot in November, “the Justice Department generally does its best to avoid taking action in such a way that it might influence an election”, says The New York Times.

“Functionally, this means that voters will likely be left to make up their minds about how seriously to take the possibility of collusion without any further guidance from the special counsel’s office”, says the paper.

“In the championship chess match that is the Russia imbroglio, President Trump and the White House are hoping that Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has stumbled into what players call ‘time trouble’,” says NPR.

“Mueller, they believe, doesn’t want to make any major moves or announcements after Labor Day [3 September], because he’s sensitive to criticism that he might improperly influence the midterm election. If that’s so, Mueller has roughly three weeks to do whatever he’s going to do and then — who knows? Simply go quiet until after Election Day? Or wrap up his inquiry altogether?” says the public broadcaster.

But while the Russia investigation continues to hang over Trump, there was some good news in the CNN poll for the embattled billionaire after he polled higher than one of his predecessors at the same point in their presidency for the very first time.

Trump’s overall 42% approval rating outpaces Jimmy Carter’s and Bill Clinton’s ratings of 39% each in the August of their second year in office, and even narrowly tops Ronald Reagan’s 41% rating in August of 1982.

http://www.theweek.co.uk/95836/end-russia-investigation-before-election-say-majority-of-americans

 

Judge Jeanine: Now we know why Hillary used private email

Hatch Act of 1939

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Hatch Act of 1939
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities
Enacted by the 76th United States Congress
Effective August 2, 1939
Citations
Public law Pub.L. 76–252
Statutes at Large 53 Stat. 1147
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 1871 by Carl Hatch (DNM)
  • Passed the Senate on
  • Passed the House on
  • Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt onAugust 2, 1939
Major amendments
1993, 2012

The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials,[1] from engaging in some forms of political activity. It went into law on August 2, 1939. The law was named for Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico. It was most recently amended in 2012.[2]

Background

Widespread allegations that local Democratic Party politicians used employees of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the congressional elections of 1938 provided the immediate impetus for the passage of the Hatch Act. Criticism centered on swing states such as Kentucky,[3] Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In Pennsylvania, Republicans and dissident Democrats publicized evidence that Democratic politicians were consulted on the appointment of WPA administrators and case workers and that they used WPA jobs to gain unfair political advantage.[4] In 1938, a series of newspaper articles exposed WPA patronage, and political contributions in return for employment, prompting an investigation by the Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee, headed by Sen. Morris Sheppard, a Texas Democrat.[5]

Despite that investigation’s inconclusive findings, many in both parties determined to take action against the growing power of the WPA and its chief administrator, Harry Hopkins, an intimate of President Roosevelt. The Act was sponsored by Senator Carl Hatch, a Democrat from New Mexico. At the time, Roosevelt was struggling to purge the Democratic party of its more conservative members, who were increasingly aligned with the administration’s Republican opponents. The president considered vetoing the legislation or allowing it to become law without his signature, but instead signed it on the last day he could do so. His signing message welcomed the legislation as if he had called for it, and emphasized the protection his administration would provide for political expression on the part of public employees.[6]

Provisions

The 1939 Act forbids the intimidation or bribery of voters and restricts political campaign activities by federal employees. It prohibits using any public funds designated for relief or public works for electoral purposes. It forbids officials paid with federal funds from using promises of jobs, promotion, financial assistance, contracts, or any other benefit to coerce campaign contributions or political support. It provides that persons below the policy-making level in the executive branch of the federal government must not only refrain from political practices that would be illegal for any citizen, but must abstain from “any active part” in political campaigns, using this language to specify those who are exempt:[7]

  • (i) an employee paid from an appropriation for the Executive Office of the President; or
  • (ii) an employee appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, whose position is located within the United States, who determines policies to be pursued by the United States in the nationwide administration of Federal laws.

The act also precludes federal employees from membership in “any political organization which advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government,”[8] a provision meant to prohibit membership in organizations on the far left and far right, such as the German-American Bund and the Communist Party USA.[9]

An amendment on July 19, 1940 extended the Act to certain employees of state and local governments whose positions are primarily paid for by federal funds. It has been interpreted to bar political activity on the part of employees of state agencies administering federal unemployment insurance programs and appointed local law enforcement agency officials with oversight of federal grant funds. The Hatch Act bars state and local government employees from running for public office if any federal funds support the position, even if the position is funded almost entirely with local funds.[10]

The Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Special Counsel are responsible for enforcement of the Hatch Act.[11]

Supreme Court challenges

The Supreme Court has several times declined to hear challenges to the act and has twice upheld its constitutionality. In a 1947 case brought by the CIO, a divided court found that Congress had properly exercised its authority as long as it had not affected voting rights. Justice William O. Douglas objected to the assertion that “clean politics” required the act’s restrictions: “it would hardly seem to be imperative to muzzle millions of citizens because some of them, if left to their constitutional freedoms, might corrupt the political process.”[12]In 1973, in a case brought by the National Association of Letter Carriers, a 6 to 3 decision found the act neither too broad nor unclear. The court’s three most liberal justices, Douglas, William J. Brennan, and Thurgood Marshall, dissented. Douglas wrote: “It is no concern of government what an employee does in his or her spare time, whether religion, recreation, social work or politics is his hobby, unless what he or she does impairs efficiency or other facets of the merits of his job.”[13]

Amendments

In 1975, the House passed legislation allowing federal employees to participate in partisan elections and run for office, but the Senate took no action.[14] In 1976, Democrats who controlled Congress had sought to win support by adding protections against the coercion of employees by their superiors and federal employee unions had supported the legislation. It passed the House on a vote of 241 to 164 and the Senate on a vote of 54 to 36. President Ford vetoed the legislation on April 12. He noted that coercion could be too subtle for the law to eliminate and that the Supreme Court had said in 1973 that the Hatch Act had achieved “a delicate balance between fair and effective government and the First Amendment rights of individual employees.”[15] President Carter proposed similar legislation in 1977.[16]A proposed amendment to permit federal workers to participate in political campaigns passed the House on a 305 to 112 vote in 1987.[17] In 1990 a similar bill passed the House on a vote of 334 to 87 and the Senate on a vote of 67 to 30. President George H.W. Bushvetoed the legislation,[18] which the House voted to override 327 to 93 and the Senate sustained on a vote of 65 to 35, with 55 Democrats and 10 Republicans voting to override and 35 Republicans supporting the president’s veto.[19]

In 1993 the advocates for removing or modifying restrictions on the political activities of federal employees succeeded in enacting the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993 (107 Stat. 1001) that removed the prohibition on participation in “political management or political campaigns.” Federal employees are still forbidden to use their authority to affect the results of an election. They are also forbidden to run for office in a partisan election, to solicit or receive political contributions, and to engage in political activities while on duty or on federal property.[20]

President Barack Obama signed the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012 on December 28, 2012. It modified penalties under the Hatch Act to allow for disciplinary actions in addition to removal for federal employees; clarified the applicability to the District of Columbia of provisions that cover state and local governments; limited the prohibition on state and local employees running for elective office to employees whose salary is paid completely by federal loans or grants.[21]

Applicability to U.S. uniformed service personnel

The Hatch Act does not apply to actively serving uniformed members of the Uniformed services of the United States, although it does apply to Department of Defense civil servants, as well as Department of Homeland Security civil servants in direct support of the United States Coast Guard. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces are subject to Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 (DoDD 1344.10), Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces, and the spirit and intent of that directive is effectively the same as that of the Hatch Act for Federal civil servants. By agreement between the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security, DoDD 1344.10 also applies to uniformed personnel of the Coast Guard at all times, whether it is operating as a service in the Department of Homeland Security or as part of the Navy under the Department of Defense. Members of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps are subject to specific Health and Human Service regulations found in Title 44, Code of Federal Regulations Part 73 Subpart F[22].

As a directive, DoDD 1344.10 is considered to be in the same category as an order or regulation, and military personnel violating its provisions can be considered in violation of Article 92 (Failure to obey order or regulation) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.[23][24][25]

Recent events

  • In 2006, the Utah Democratic Party challenged the candidacy of Ogden City Police Chief Jon Greiner for State Senate. The challenge was upheld by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel because the year prior the Ogden City Police Department received a federal grant to help pay for bulletproof vests. Jon Greiner appealed the decision, remained on the ballot, won the election and served one term (2006–2010) as Utah State Senator while the results of the appeal were unknown.[26]
  • In January 2007, the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced the results of investigations into whether certain events during the election campaigns of 2004 and 2006 violated the Hatch Act.[27]
    • It found no violation when Kennedy Space Center officials allowed Senator John Kerry‘s presidential campaign to use a NASA facility for a 2004 campaign event, because no government employees worked at the facility in question. It found streaming the event to NASA employees and contractors violated the Hatch Act.
    • It reviewed a 2006 speech by NASA Administrator Dr. Michael D. Griffin in which he appeared to endorse Representative Tom DeLay for re-election. It determined that he “should have exercised better judgment” and took no further action.
  • In June 2007, the OSC found that Lurita Alexis Doan, Administrator of the General Services Administration, violated the Hatch Act when she took part in a video conference with Karl Rove and other White House officials, and sent letters asking how to help Republicanpoliticians get elected.[28]
  • In November 2007, Terre Haute, Indiana, mayor, Kevin Burke, challenged the candidacy of mayor-elect Duke Bennett under provisions of the Act. In November 2008, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Bennett, who took office after a Vigo County, Indiana, judge ruled that he was eligible to serve, was ineligible under the terms of the Act. The ruling was nonbinding, pending Bennett’s appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court.[citation needed]
  • On May 6, 2008, FBI agents raided OSC offices and the home office of its director, Scott Bloch. The raids related to an investigation into allegations that Bloch’s office had attempted to obstruct justice by hiring an outside company to delete computer files beyond recovery in order to prevent authorities from proving Bloch had violated the Hatch Act by retaliating against whistle-blowers in his office, an independent U.S. government agency “charged with protecting the rights of government whistle-blowers”.[29][30]
  • In 2009 two scholars urged Congress to consider tightening the Hatch Act’s restrictions.[31]
  • On September 13, 2012, the OSC charged Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with violating the Hatch Act by making a political speech during an official government event. Sebelius later said she had made a mistake and that the error was “technical” in nature.[32]
  • On July 18, 2016, the OSC concluded that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro violated the Hatch Act during an interview with Katie Couric. Castro admitted the violation, but denied any intent to violate the act.[33]
  • On October 30, 2016, U.S. Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid stated that FBI Director James Comey may have violated the Hatch Act by sending a letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, which stated that the FBI would be reopening their investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy.[34][35] Also on October 30, Richard Painter, a chief White House ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush administration, published an op-ed saying that he had filed a complaint against the FBI with the OSC and with the Office of Government Ethics about the same matter.[36]
  • In November 2016 Two Bay Area Elected Public Officials who were federal employees were told that they would have to resign their positions in order to serve on their respective school boards, as their running for a non-partisan seat that had party political involvement contravened the Hatch Act. Both John Swett Unified School District Board President Jerrold Parsons and Pacifica Vice Mayor Ana Galindo-Marrone chose not to serve, and to retain their jobs as Federal employees.[37]
  • In June 2017, the OSC issued a warning to Dan Scavino Jr. for an April 2017 tweet that Scavino sent advocating for a primary challenge against U.S. Representative Justin Amash.[38]
  • In October 2017, the OSC issued a warning to United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for a June 2017 tweet that Haley retweeted from President Donald Trump endorsing Republican Congressional candidate Ralph Norman.[39]
  • In November 2017, former Office of Government Ethics head Walter Shaub filed a complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway charging that her opposition to Roy Moore opponent Doug Jones during a segment on “Fox and Friends” violated the Hatch Act.[40] In March 2018, the OSC announced that Conway violated the Hatch act on that occasion and one other.[41]

Current restrictions

(See U.S. Office of Special Counsel “Hatch Act for Federal Employees”)

Permitted and prohibited activities for employees who may participate in partisan political activity[edit]

These federal and D.C. employees may:

  • be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections
  • register and vote as they choose
  • assist in voter registration drives
  • express opinions about candidates and issues
  • contribute money to political organizations
  • attend political fundraising functions
  • attend and be active at political rallies and meetings
  • join and be an active member of a political party or club
  • sign nominating petitions
  • campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, municipal ordinances
  • campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections
  • make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections
  • distribute campaign literature in partisan elections
  • hold office in political clubs or parties

These federal and D.C. employees may not:

  • use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
  • solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
  • solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
  • be candidates for public office in partisan elections
  • engage in political activity while:
    • on duty
    • in a government office
    • wearing an official uniform
    • using a government vehicle
  • wear partisan political buttons on duty

Agencies and employees prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity

Employees of the following agencies (or agency components), or in the following categories, are subject to more extensive restrictions on their political activities than employees in other Departments and agencies:

(career positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(4))

Permitted and prohibited activities for employees who may not participate in partisan political activity[edit]

These federal employees may:

  • register and vote as they choose
  • assist in voter registration drives
  • express opinions about candidates and issues
  • participate in campaigns where none of the candidates represent a political party
  • contribute money to political organizations or attend political fund raising functions
  • attend political rallies and meetings
  • join political clubs or parties
  • sign nominating petitions
  • campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, municipal ordinances

These federal employees may not:

  • be candidates for public office in partisan elections
  • campaign for or against a candidate or slate of candidates in partisan elections
  • make campaign speeches
  • collect contributions or sell tickets to political fund raising functions
  • distribute campaign material in partisan elections
  • organize or manage political rallies or meetings
  • hold office in political clubs or parties
  • circulate nominating petitions
  • work to register voters for one party only
  • wear political buttons at work

Additionally, one of the early consequences of the act, were disparate court rulings in union busting cases which forbade the use of voter information from initiative and recall petitions for any purposes outside the intended elections.

See also

Footnotes …

Further reading

External links

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The Pronk Pops Show 1127, August 17, 2018, Story 1: Moving Up The Chain of Command of The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy – Focus Now on Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and Wife Nellie Ohr At Fusion GPS and Former CIA Director John Brennan Roles in Having Christopher Steele Fabricating The False Steele Russian Dossier — Who is next in Obama Department of Justice (Attorney General Loretta Lynch And Deputy Sally Yates) and Who Were They Communicating In The White House (Valery Jarrett and Susan Rice)?– American People Demand Second Special Counsel Investigation and Prosecution and Grand Jury Impaneled and Indictments — Videos — Story 2: International Investors in U.S. Treasury Securities Are Flat and Smallest Share in 18 Years — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

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Docs reveal DOJ’s Ohr was deeply connected to Trump dossier

“I’ll Be Revoking Bruce Ohr’s Security Clearance Soon” President Trump’s Draining The Swamp

URGENT 🔴 President Trump EXPLOSIVE Press Conference from The White House – August 17, 2018

Trump calls DOJ official Bruce Ohr a ‘disgrace’

FOX News Sean Hannity: Mueller’s Never Ending “Witch Hunt”

DiGenova calls for investigation into Steele, Ohr

Trump revokes John Brennan’s security clearance

Tucker: Brennan thinks he has a right to clearance

Who’s next on security clearance chopping block?

White House speaks out on fate of more security clearances

Steyn reacts to left’s outrage over Brennan clearance

Levin: Trump should pull more security clearances

Rep. Gaetz reacts to Bruce Ohr’s notes about Steele

Frantic texts from Christopher Steele to Bruce Ohr revealed

DOJ’s Bruce Ohr is the ‘lynchpin’ in the Trump dossier: Chris Farrell

Why the Bruce Ohr-Christopher Steele texts are so important

Steele’s communications with DOJ raise questions

Like They Were All Best Friends’: Jordan on Emails Between Dossier Author, DOJ Official, Fusion GPS

Giuliani: John Brennan should go before a grand jury

Trump takes aim at Jeff Sessions over Twitter

Trump calls Sessions ‘scared stiff and missing in action’

Tucker: John Brennan is unhinged

Hannity: About time Brennan lost security clearance

Did John Brennan lie about the Trump-Russia dossier?

DiGenova calls for investigation into Steele, Ohr

DiGenova: John Brennan should get a good lawyer

Isikoff on John Brennan’s role in the Russia investigation

John Brennan faces scrutiny over anti-Trump dossier

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Byron York talks link between Steele and DOJ official

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

DOJ official with ties to Fusion GPS gets demoted again

Napolitano on Fusion GPS testimony

Deeper connections revealed between Fusion GPS, DOJ official

WOW! Wife Of Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson Bragged On Facebook Her Husband Was Behind ‘Russiagate

Nunes on Bruce Ohr and the push to declassify DOJ documents

Joe diGenova describes “Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton”

diGenova: HILLARY CLINTON COMMITTED CRIMES

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Who is Bruce Ohr and why does Trump keep tweeting about him?

The Fact Checker

August 16

“Bruce Ohr of the ‘Justice’ Department (can you believe he is still there) is accused of helping disgraced Christopher Steele ‘find dirt on Trump.’ Ohr’s wife, Nelly, was in on the act big time – worked for Fusion GPS on Fake Dossier.”

— President Trump, in a tweet, Aug. 14, 2018

“The big story that the Fake News Media refuses to report is lowlife Christopher Steele’s many meetings with Deputy A.G. Bruce Ohr and his beautiful wife, Nelly. It was Fusion GPS that hired Steele to write the phony & discredited Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary & the DNC.”

— Trump, in a tweet, Aug. 11

Who is Bruce Ohr?

Ohr exists in a netherworld — a subject of fascination in right-leaning media, barely a mention in mainstream media. His name last appeared in the pages of The Washington Post in February, and yet President Trump keeps tweeting about him. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in announcing that Trump had revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, listed the names of other people who also faced revocation of clearances.

Ohr’s name was on the list.

We have previously tried to explain the roles of former British agent Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Ohr is less of a central player, but as a reader service, we will try to disentangle the president’s tweets and explain what is known – and unknown – about Ohr’s actions. We will not offer a Pinocchio rating.

The Facts

First, let’s take a look at the key players.

Fusion GPS was started by a group of former Wall Street Journal reporters, notably investigative reporter Glenn R. Simpson. Fusion in 2015 began investigating Trump under a contract with the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website financially supported by GOP megadonor Paul Singer. That assignment ended once Trump was on track to win the nomination. But in April 2016, Fusion was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to keep funding the research. (Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained the firm.)

Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, was hired by Fusion to examine Trump’s ties in Russia. Steele was the author of the “dossier” alleging ties between Trump and Russia; the dossier is actually several memos, based on conversations with Russian sources, that were written between June and December of 2016.

The dossier is a frequent target of presidential derision, but the probe into the Trump campaign originally was sparked by a separate matter that Steele never wrote about — a tip from an Australian diplomat that a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, appeared to know Russia had obtained damaging emails on the Democrats. (Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents.)

Ohr was associate deputy attorney general until late 2017, when the DOJ learned of his contacts with Steele. He briefly continued as head of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) but then lost that job, too. It’s unclear what role he plays now at the DOJ. The agency declined to comment, except to point to a statement by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/08/16/who-is-bruce-ohr-why-does-trump-keep-tweeting-about-him/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dd8799a9879a

 

Emails show 2016 links among Steele, Ohr, Simpson — with Russian oligarch in background

Emails in 2016 between former British spy Christopher Steele and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr suggest Steele was deeply concerned about the legal status of a Putin-linked Russian oligarch, and at times seemed to be advocating on the oligarch’s behalf, in the same time period Steele worked on collecting the Russia-related allegations against Donald Trump that came to be known as the Trump dossier. The emails show Steele and Ohr were in frequent contact, that they intermingled talk about Steele’s research and the oligarch’s affairs, and that Glenn Simpson, head of the dirt-digging group Fusion GPS that hired Steele to compile the dossier, was also part of the ongoing conversation.

The emails, given to Congress by the Justice Department, began on Jan . 12, 2016, when Steele sent Ohr a New Year’s greeting. Steele brought up the case of Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska (referred to in various emails as both OD and OVD), who was at the time seeking a visa to attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in the United States. Years earlier, the U.S. revoked Deripaska’s visa, reportedly on the basis of suspected involvement with Russian organized crime. Deripaska was close to Paul Manafort, the short-term Trump campaign chairman now on trial for financial crimes, and this year was sanctioned in the wake of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

“I heard from Adam WALDMAN [a Deripaska lawyer/lobbyist] yesterday that OD is applying for another official US visa ice [sic] APEC business at the end of February,” Steele wrote in the Jan . 12 email. Steele said Deripaska was being “encouraged by the Agency guys who told Adam that the USG [United States Government] stance on [Deripaska] is softening.” Steele concluded: “A positive development it seems.”

Steele also asked Ohr when he might be coming to London, or somewhere in Europe, “as I would be keen to meet up here and talk business.” Ohr replied warmly the same day and said he would likely travel to Europe, but not the U .K ., at least twice in February.

[Related: Devin Nunes says ‘pay close attention’: Top Obama DOJ official Bruce Ohr will become ‘more and more important’]

Steele emailed again on Feb . 8 to alert Ohr that “our old friend OD apparently has been granted another official [emphasis in original] visa to come to the US later this month.” Steele wrote, “As far as I’m concerned, this is good news all round although as before, it would be helpful if you could monitor it and let me know if any complications arise.” Ohr replied that he knew about Deripaska’s visa, and “to the extent I can I will keep an eye on the situation.” Steele again asked to meet anytime Ohr was in the U .K . or Western Europe.

Steele wrote again on Feb . 21 in an email headlined “Re: OVD – Visit To The US.” Steele told Ohr he had talked to Waldman and to Paul Hauser, who was Deripaska’s London lawyer. Steele reported that there there would be a U.S. government meeting on Deripaska that week — “an inter-agency meeting on him this week which I guess you will be attending.” Steele said he was “circulating some recent sensitive Orbis reporting” on Deripaska that suggested Deripaska was not a “tool” of the Kremlin. Steele said he would send the reporting to a name that is redacted in the email, “as he has asked, for legal reasons I understand, for all such reporting be filtered through him (to you at DoJ and others).”

Deripaska’s rehabilitation was a good thing, Steele wrote: “We reckon therefore that the forthcoming OVD contact represents a good opportunity for the USG.” Ohr responded by saying, “Thanks Chris! This is extremely interesting. I hope we can follow up in the next few weeks as you suggest.”

Steele was eager to see Ohr face to face. On March 17, Steele wrote a brief note asking if Ohr had any update on plans to visit Europe “in the near term where we could meet up.” Ohr said he did not and asked if Steele would like to set up a call. It is not clear whether a call took place.

There are no emails for more than three months after March 17. Then, on July 1, came the first apparent reference to Donald Trump, then preparing to accept the Republican nomination for president. “I am seeing [redacted] in London next week to discuss ongoing business,” Steele wrote to Ohr, “but there is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favourite business tycoon!” Steele said he had planned to come to the U.S. soon, but now it looked like it would not be until August. He needed to talk in the next few days, he said, and suggested getting together by Skype before he left on holiday. Ohr suggested talking on July 7. Steele agreed.

Ohr’s phone log for July 7 notes, “Call with Chris Steele” from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. eastern time.

(A caution here: It is possible the “favourite business tycoon” could be Deripaska, or perhaps even someone else, and not Trump. But no one referred to Deripaska in that way anywhere else in the communications. Also, Steele made it clear the “tycoon” subject was separate from other business. And July 1 was just before Steele met with the FBI with the first installment of the Trump dossier. So it appears reasonable, given Steele’s well-known obsession with Trump, and unless information emerges otherwise, to see the “favourite business tycoon” as Trump.)

On the morning of Friday , July 29, Steele wrote to say that he would “be in DC at short notice on business” later that day and Saturday. He asked if Ohr and wife Nellie were free for breakfast on Saturday morning. They were, and agreed to meet for breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington.

Ohr’s log of contacts with Steele lists a meeting with Steele on July 30. Steele finished installments of the dossier on July 19 and 26.

On Aug . 22, Ohr received an email from Simpson with the subject line “Can u ring.” There was no message beyond a phone number. Ohr’s log lists some sort of contact — it’s not specified what — with Simpson on Aug . 22.

Steele finished an installment of the dossier on Aug . 22.

Steele dated three installments of the dossier on Sept . 14. On Sept . 16, Steele wrote Ohr to say that he would be back in Washington soon “on business of mutual interest.” Ohr said he would be out of town Sept. 19-21. On Sept . 21, Steele wrote to say he was in Washington and was “keen to meet up with you.” The two agreed to have breakfast on Sept . 23. Meeting on that date would be “more useful,” Steele said, “after my scheduled meetings” the day before. It’s not clear what those scheduled meetings were. Ohr’s log lists a meeting with Steele on Sept . 23.

On October 18, Steele emailed Ohr at 6:51 a.m. with a pressing matter. “If you are in Washington today, I have something quite urgent I would like to discuss with you, preferably by Skype (even before work if you can).” Steele wrote. Ohr suggested they do it immediately. “Thanks Bruce. 2 mins,” Steele replied. Ohr’s lo g lists a call with Steele on Oct . 18.

There is no note on what they discussed. But a few hours later, still on Oct . 18, Steele emailed Ohr again, and the subject was related to Deripaska. “Further to our Skypecon earlier today,” Steele wrote, Hauser had asked Steele to forward to Ohr information about a dispute between the government of Ukraine and RUSAL, Deripaska’s aluminum company. “Naturally, he [Hauser] wants to protect the client’s [Deripaska’s] interests and reputation,” Steele wrote. “I pass it on for what it’s worth.”

After another few hours had passed, Ohr asked if Steele had time for a Skype call. Steele said, let’s do it now. Ohr’s log lists calls with Steele on Oct . 18 and 19.

Steele finished dossier installments on Oct . 18, 19, and 20. The installment on Oct . 18 was the infamous Russians-offer-Carter-Page-millions-of-dollars allegation, and the ones on Oct . 19 and 20 concerned Manafort’s alleged role in an alleged collusion scheme.

On Nov . 21, other players entered the conversation. Ohr received an an email from Kathleen Kavalec, a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European Affairs in the State Department. (Kavalec is now President Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Albania.) Kavalec sent Ohr information on Simon Kukes, a Russian-born executive who contributed more than $250,000 to Trump-supporting organizations after Trump won the Republican nomination. Kavalec said she met Kukes around 2014, when “Tom Firestone brought him in,” a reference to former Justice Department official Thomas Firestone, now a partner at the Washington law firm BakerHostetler. Kavalec also linked to a Mother Jones article about Kukes.

Ohr responded by saying, “I may have heard about him from Tom Firestone as well, but I can’t recall for certain.” Then Kavalec answered by saying she was “just re-looking at my notes from my convo with Chris Steele” and that “I see that Chris said Kukes has some connection to Serge Millian, an emigre who is identified by FT as head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.” [In the book Russian Roulette, authors Michael Isikoff and David Corn wrote that Millian claimed to have some sort of business relationship with the Trump organization — which the Trumps denied. More importantly, Millian went on to become Steele’s source for the infamous “golden showers” allegation that Donald Trump had engaged in a kinky sex scene in a Moscow hotel room in 2013.]

Ohr’s phone log indicates that he called Simpson on Dec . 8 to set up a meeting for coffee the next day, Dec . 9.

There is not another email until Dec . 11. Simpson sent Nellie Ohr a link to an article in the left-wing ThinkProgress headlined, “Why has the NRA been cozying up to Russia?” The article focused on now-indicted Russian agent Maria Butina and Russian Alexander Torshin. Nellie Ohr responded, “Thank you!” to which Simpson, the next day, answered, “Please ring if you can.” Nellie Ohr forwarded the Simpson message to Bruce Ohr, saying, “I assume Glenn means you not me.”

Ohr’s phone log on Dec . 13 said, “Glenn Simpson. Some more news. Yesterday 9:27 a.m. Spoke with him.”

Steele dated a dossier installment Dec . 13.

On Jan . 20, 2017, inauguration day, Bruce Ohr received an email from Simpson that said simply, “Can you call me please?”

The emails raise a clear question of whether Steele was working, directly or indirectly, with Oleg Deripaska at the same time Steele was compiling the dossier — and whether the Justice Department, along with Simpson and Fusion GPS, was part of the project. Given Deripaska’s place in the Russian power structure, what that means in the big picture is unclear.

On Feb . 9 of this year, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley wrote a letter to Hauser, the London lawyer, and asked, “Is it the case that Mr. Steele, through you, works or has worked on behalf of Mr. Deripaska or businesses associated with him?”

Hauser refused to answer, claiming such information was privileged. But he added: “I can confirm that neither my firm nor I was involved in the commissioning of, preparation of or payment for the so-called ‘Steele Dossier.’ I am not aware of any involvement by Mr. Deripaska in commissioning, preparing or paying for that document.”

On Feb . 14, at an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton asked FBI Director Christopher Wray about Deripaska.

“Is it fair to call him a Putin-linked Russian oligarch?” asked Cotton.

“Well, I’ll leave that characterization to others, and certainly not in this setting,” Wray said.

“Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, last week sent a letter to a London-based lawyer who represents Mr. Deripaska,” Cotton continued, “and asked if Christopher Steele was employed, either directly or indirectly, by Oleg Deripaska at the time he was writing the so-called Steele dossier. Do you know if Christopher Steele worked for Oleg Deripaska?’

“That’s not something I can answer,” Wray said.

“Could we discuss it in a classified setting?”

“There might be more we could say there,” Wray answered.

The newly-released Ohr-Steele-Simpson emails are just one part of the dossier story. But if nothing else, they show that there is still much for the public to learn about the complex and far-reaching effort behind it.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/emails-show-2016-links-among-steele-ohr-simpson-with-russian-oligarch-in-background

 

Who Really Is Behind The Fake Russian Anti-Trump Dossier?

clinton andmediacartoon

The much-anticipated memo confirming Democrats’ abuse of power has been released and a question remains is who really created the now debunked dossier? Was it really a British agent or a Clinton political operative? No matter how you look at it, it’s Watergate times 1000.

The FBI used the dubious dossier, prepared as campaign opposition research for Clinton’s presidential bid, to get permission from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to eavesdrop on Trump campaign and transition team communications.

Here are the six main points of the Dossier:

1) Hillary and the DNC hire, through opposition research firm Fusion GPS, foreign spy Christopher Steele with Russian connections who hates Trump to do a dossier on Trump and they paid roughly 12 million dollars for it. The dossier is filled with Russian propaganda, unsubstantiated claims and outright lies against Trump.

2) Someone, likely Bruce Ohr, gave the fake dossier to Obama’s DOJ and FBI.

3) The DOJ and FBI knows the dossier is fake and politically motivated.

4) The DOJ and FBI present the dossier to FISA court to get a wiretap against Trump.

5) The DOJ and FBI don’t tell the FISA court the dossier was financed by Trump’s campaign opponent.

6) The FISA court was defrauded into ordering the wire tapping of Trump campaign.

But imagine if we had lost. Imagine how corrupt things would be under another four or even eight years under Democrat control. Imagine if Congress hadn’t voted to release the memo in the first place. Clinton and Obama’s goal was to make us a socialist state with many of our freedoms gone and government control of our lives. This is what Obama meant when he talked about transforming America. Trump has gotten rid of many of the controls Obama placed on us and is returning freedom to the people. This can plainly be seen with the tax reforms where people are seeing huge deductions in their taxes and companies are hiring like never before and coming back here to build from overseas.  Analysts have said that if Hillary got in you would see a 50% drop in the stock market.

According to a report from The Washington Post published last year, the dossier used by the DOJ and FBI to target Trump specifically included “information it says was obtained from ‘a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin.’”

“In other words, the Clinton camp and the DNC were essentially paying for information allegedly obtained from inside the Russian government,” the Post added.

In summary, the administration of former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, used a phony dossier based on Russian intelligence — and that was paid for by Clinton, the then-Democrat presidential nominee — to spy on the campaign of the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

The Dossier was funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to the tune of 12 million dollars. The contents were obtained by Russian sources. Therefore the real traitors and Russian colluders are liberal democrats and not Republicans.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) revealed on Friday that there would be more memos released as the committee concluded its investigation into abuse of FISA warrants by the Obama administration – and the State Department is next.

Appearing on Fox News’ “Special Report” with host Bret Baier, Nunes said that today’s release of the memo on FISA abuse was only the beginning of their investigation.

When asked by Baier if more memos would come out, Nunes responded, “Yes, this completes just the FISA abuse portion of our investigation,” adding that the “investigation is ongoing.”

“We are in the middle of what I call ‘phase two’ of our investigation, which involves other departments,” Nunes continued. “Specifically, the State Department and some of the involvement they had in this.” Don’t forget Hilary was the head of the State Department right before the campaign.

A conspiracy theory from the Clinton campaign became leverage for delegitimizing and trying to reverse the results of an election. And the conspiracy theory that elements of the FBI loyal to the Democrats relied upon to attack Trump originated from the deepest sewer in Clintonworld that had been covertly smearing political enemies for decades.

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones,” Mark Antony tells the Roman mob. So it will be with the Clintons one day.

The Clintons are done. But their legacy lives on after them. The Russia conspiracies and the Mueller investigation continue to divide this nation even though Hillary’s political career is deader than Julius Caesar. Fusion GPS is still around. So is IGI. And there are other organizations like them out there.

Hillary told her people during the campaign,”If Trump gets in we’re all going to be hanging from nooses.” And so they should.

https://www.conservativedailynews.com/2018/02/really-behind-fake-russian-anti-trump-dossier/

UNHOLY ALLIANCE: DID US INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES COLLUDE WITH CLINTON TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 ELECTION?

John D. O’Connor | The attorney who revealed Mark Felt as Watergate’s Deep Throat

As controversial as the Steele dossier has become, it may well prove key to a political corruption scandal far more insidious than anyone has presently suggested. To be sure, critics have blasted its seeming partisan falsity, and many also have declaimed that it enabled the FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. And there is evidence that the opening of the “Russiagate” investigation was itself premised strongly on this “salacious and unverified” report. But little attention has been paid to the role of American intelligence agencies in its creation, which now is appearing substantial, and which would implicate a governmental conspiracy making Watergate look like child’s play.

This is not to minimize the profoundly troubling questions that this dossier has already presented, including those about the legitimacy of using “human sources” (i.e., spies) to entrap the opposition candidate during a presidential campaign. These questions are being doggedly pursued by Congress, and fought tooth and nail by a DOJ/FBI whose present and former officials face serious jeopardy. For instance, any official who knowingly presented a materially false FISA application, for warrant or extensions, should be guilty, for one, of obstruction of justice under 18 U.S.C. §1505.

But reasonable inferences to be drawn from the known evidence suggest that governmental wrongdoing may be even more darkly sinister than DOJ critics presently imagine, encompassing possible criminality so pervasive and widespread that every top DOJ and FBI official serving in 2016 may face discipline or even indictment. The basis for this pandemic criminality would be the participation of the DOJ, FBI and CIA, not just in the questionable use of the partisan, false Clinton-funded Steele Dossier, but in its planning and development, an issue not yet been meaningfully explored.

Why would engagement in the dossier’s creation be any more heinous than the FISA fraud already being widely suggested? No one should make light of the distinct possibility that some officials possibly defrauded the FISA court, FISC, wrongdoing, however, also possibly excused as negligent, blinding political bias. But if the Steele dossier was conceived and developed by our own intelligence agencies, as opposed to it having been used by them after this allegedly reliable dossier fell in their laps, the potential for criminality changes dramatically.

If our intelligence agencies had a hand in creating this dossier, such would have been done with the intent to frame Trump for serious crimes, to leak false charges to the media during an election campaign, and possibly to use as an insurance policy supporting impeachment. Our trusted intelligence organizations, reminiscent of East Germany’s, would have employed their vast powers to corrupt our most important democratic processes.

Before the skeptical reader dismisses these statements as so much overheated rhetoric, let’s calmly examine this hypothesis. We now know that the Steele dossier is false in its major claims, at least as to Trump’s involvement. If American intelligence (FBI, CIA and DNI James Clapper) substantially developed the dossier, it would have only done so if it knew that the dossier would be false. If it was planned to be a true report, why would these agencies bother disguising the report, using a law firm, a British spy, and an opposition research firm? These American agencies, which were closely cooperating with British GCHQ, could have produced the same salacious findings, and presented them to FISC with even greater credibility than, as they did, vouching for a former British spy’s credibility. If the claims were thought to be true, the FBI and CIA, also citing GCHQ, could strongly rely on their own stellar reputations to support their own report. So they would use a “cutout” like Steele only if they needed deniability should the falsity be discovered. Since Clinton was heavily favored, this potential discovery would be a minimal risk, especially with the unctuous Comey continuing in his twelve-year FBI term. But the unthinkable happened.

Let’s consider the circumstantial indicia suggesting that our intelligence agencies did participate in the Steele dossier ab initio. The first such fingerprint is that of British intelligence, present throughout the CIA/DOJ/FBI work, and closely connected to Steele.

As the British journal Guardian has reported, and left-leaning Media Matters has confirmed, the tip that Putin intended to financially support Trump was relayed from GCHQ to the CIA, led at the time by Brennan, in December 2015. So GCHQ was involved from the outset, and was itself likely no fan of a possible Trump presidency which had much in common with the governmentally despised Brexit movement. Brennan then hurriedly formed an “inter-agency” group, including the FBI, which we know existed as of December 28, 2015, when FBI lawyer Lisa Page inquired of her lover, FBI Deputy Peter Strzok about his request for approval of “LUREs,” fedspeak for human informants or spies, inferentially to penetrate the Trump campaign.

What suggests continuing GCHQ involvement is the British locus of subsequent spying and entrapping activity, such as approaches to London resident George Papadopoulos by Joseph Mifsud, Sergei Millian and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, all occurring in March through mid-May 2016. Later Stefan Halper lured Papadopoulos, Carter Page and, unsuccessfully, Steven Miller to London for more entrapping initiatives. Indeed, GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan traveled to Washington in August 2016 to personally discuss the investigation with Brennan.

We know that retired British spies stay close and loyal to their alma mater, with reciprocity, which would suggest that Christopher Steele’s retention in June 2016, by Clinton’s Fusion GPS, was likely sanctioned by GCHQ, with the approval of its partners CIA and FBI. Let’s put it this way: could Steele do what he did, seemingly exploiting CGHQ assets regarding sensitive American issues, without the explicit approval of GCHQ and its partners the CIA and FBI? Of course not.

Icing on this cake is provided, first, by the shadowy Sergei Millian, who had presumably been working for some intelligence agency (perhaps playing a double game) when hounding Papadopoulos commencing April 2016. Whoever was Millian’s employer, it certainly spoon-fed him as “Source D” and “Source E” to Steele, who pumped out his first report tout de suite, relying mainly on Millian. At the least, the readily talkative Millian was certainly known to GCHQ and its partners CIA and FBI, who in turn employed the frighteningly partisan Strzok. So we ask, were these three partnering agencies so incompetent that they could not uncover in seven months what Steele found in days for his first report, after his retention, in June 2016? Of course they could have. But they knew such reporting would be palpably false, and so, we infer, routed the false Millian stories through Steele.

By June 2016 all the human sources of GCHQ, CIA and FBI had come up dry, with the best they had being Papadopoulos’s repeating the ho-hummer that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary. And by June 2016, their first FISA application suffered the unusual and ignominious disgrace of having been rejected by a normally friendly FISC, one of the disappointed officials being DOJ’s Bruce Ohr. So they were in a pickle: they did not have enough evidence to get a FISA warrant, and yet needed a FISA warrant to get evidence, failing which the whole venture would have been dead in June 2016. If they were going to gamble to fabricate evidence, they needed a cutout – Steele – precisely because they could not themselves get a legitimate warrant based on legitimate evidence. And the cutout had to be sellable to FISC as a trained intelligence agent with good credentials, like Steele.

In that vein, it appears that Steele himself was not hired to do real investigatory work so much as to be a “front” through which to route claims to FISC that were not proven. He was paid a mere $168,000 (out of a multi-million-dollar research budget), a startlingly low figure for what claims to be highly sensitive digging through numerous sources in multiple countries. So clearly, whether through his handler, Nellie Ohr, the Russian-speaking wife of Bruce Ohr, or through GCHQ and its American partners, Steele was being fed his purported findings.

Steele’s job, thus, seems something other than the “opposition research” it has been labelled, to Comey and Brennen’s likely relief. Rather, his concealed partisan provenance and his professional intelligence reporting style were seemingly intended from the outset to support a FISA application, using Steele as a credible front. Let’s put it differently: if Steele’s work was not intended from the beginning to be used in a warrant application, why would it be written in an intelligence report style? Why all the efforts to hide his financing by Clinton? These efforts only make sense if they were originally pointed toward a warrant.

While all of the foregoing suggests, circumstantially, coordination and planning from the get-go, it is confirmed by Fusion’s hiring of Nellie Ohr just as Bruce Ohr was failing in the first FISA application, shortly following a White House visit in April 2016 by Mary Jacoby, wife of Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson. Nellie provided Steele with researchobtained a ham radio license, presumably for secure communications with Steele (including husband Bruce?), and Bruce delivered the product to the FBI’s Peter Strzok, who met with Steele around the time of the first report. So the Nellie Ohr-Steele-Bruce Ohr-Strzok pipeline was pumping early on. And, of course, Steele kept spitting out his seemingly spoon-fed reports well into October, each one of them going, it appears, directly into FBI and CIA hands. Were the FBI, CIA and GCHQ partner merely passive recipients? Common sense argues no. After all, Strzok and Bruce Ohr met with Steele on multiple occasions as the reports were prepared, presumably as something other than human out-boxes.

In addition to obtaining an illegitimate FISA warrant, were our intelligence agencies looking to politicize Steele’s phony reports? The ink was barely dry on most of Steele’s “findings” when Brennan made a big play of his “secret” briefing of the Gang of Eight in August 2016, along with his special private briefing of the unprincipled Senator Harry Reid, who had falsely leaked as to Mitt Romney in 2012. Reid, thereafter, to no one’s surprise, wrote a public letter alluding to the scurrilous allegations.

In short, if the Steele dossier did not simply come over the transom, but was in fact developed in coordination with them, then Comey, Brennan and Clapper, along with their underlings, should face serious consequences. We have heard their pious pronouncements about the sanctity of our democratic processes. Were these agencies, as the facts suggest, wrongfully interfering in the 2016 election? Documents sought by Congress should provide conclusive answers in what may be a scandal of unprecedented explosiveness.

John D. O’Connor is the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the co-author of “A G-Man’s Life: The FBI, Being ‘Deep Throat,’ and the Struggle for Honor in Washington” and is a producer of “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” (2017), written and directed by Peter Landesman.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Trump–Russia dossier

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The Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier,[1] is a private intelligence report comprising 17 memos that were written between June and December 2016[2] by Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British intelligence (MI6). The resulting dossier contains allegations of misconduct and conspiracy between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Government of Russia during the 2016 election cycle, with campaign members and Russian operatives allegedly colluding to interfere in the election to benefit Trump.[3] It also alleged that Russia sought to damage Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy, including sharing negative information about Clinton with the Trump campaign.[4] The dossier was published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017.[5] Several mainstream media outlets criticized BuzzFeed’s decision to release it without first verifying its allegations.[6][7]

Fusion GPS, a private investigative firm, provided political opposition research against Trump in two distinct phases, with completely separate funders. Fusion GPS was first contracted by a conservative political website, The Washington Free Beacon, and Steele was not involved in that research. When Trump became the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee on May 3, 2016, The Free Beacon stopped their backing. Separately, in April 2016, attorney Marc Elias hired Fusion GPS to investigate Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In June 2016, Fusion GPS subcontracted Steele to research and compile the dossier. Steele was hired without knowing, or ever having direct contact with, his ultimate clients,[8] and his only instructions were to seek answers to this basic question: “Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?”[9] Senior Clinton campaign officials were reportedly unaware that Fusion GPS had subcontracted with Steele, and Steele was not told the Clinton campaign was the ultimate recipient of his research.[10][8] Following Trump’s election as president, funding from Clinton and the DNC ceased, but Steele continued his research, and was reportedly paid directly by Glenn R. Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS.[11] The completed dossier was then handed to British and American intelligence services.[12] Weeks before the 2016 election, on the basis of Steele’s reputation working on Russia-related matters for nearly 20 years, the FBI reached an agreement to pay Steele to continue his work, but the agreement was later terminated as information about the dossier became public.[13]

The media, the intelligence community, and most experts have treated the dossier with caution, due to its unverified assertions, while Trump himself denounced the report as “fake news“. However, the intelligence community does take the allegations seriously and investigates them.[14][15][16][17] For example, as of May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper believed that “more and more” of the dossier has been validated over time.[18]

Some of the dossier’s allegations have been corroborated, while others remain unverified[19] or may require access to classified information for verification.[20] In February 2017, some details related to conversations “solely between foreign nationals” were independently verified. Some of those individuals were known to be “heavily involved” in efforts to damage Clinton and help Trump. The conversations “took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier,” giving US intelligence and law enforcement “greater confidence” in the credibility of parts of the dossier.[21] Fox News reported on August 15, 2018 that nothing in the dossier had been publicly proven false.[22]

 

History

The opposition research conducted by Fusion GPS on Donald Trump was completed in two phases with separate funders. The first research phase, from October 2015 to May 2016, was funded by The Washington Free Beacon. The second phase, from June 2016 to December 2016, was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, unrelated to the Washington Free Beacon request. The second phase produced the dossier.[23][24]

Research funded by conservative website

In October 2015, before the official start of the 2016 Republican primary campaignThe Washington Free Beacon, an American conservative political journalism website primarily funded by Republican donor Paul Singer, hired the American research firm Fusion GPS to conduct general opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates.[1] The Free Beacon and Singer were “part of the conservative never-Trump movement”.[25] For months, Fusion GPS gathered information about Trump, focusing on his business and entertainment activities. When Trump became the presumptive nominee on May 3, 2016,[26] The Free Beacon stopped funding research on him.[2][27][28]

Although the source of the Steele dossier’s funding had already been reported correctly over a year before,[2][27][28] a February 2, 2018 story by the Associated Press (AP) contributed to confusion about its funding by stating that the dossier “was initially funded” by the Washington Free Beacon, so the AP posted a correction the next day: “Though the former spy, Christopher Steele, was hired by a firm that was initially funded by the Washington Free Beacon, he did not begin work on the project until after Democratic groups had begun funding it.”[29] At no point in time did the Free Beacon have any connection with the production of the Steele dossier, and the Free Beacon stated that “none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier.”[30]

Research funded by Democrats produces dossier

The second phase of opposition research was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, working through their attorney of record, Marc Elias of Perkins Coie. In April 2016, Elias hired Fusion GPS to perform opposition research on Trump.[10]

As part of their investigation, Fusion GPS hired Orbis Business Intelligence, a private British intelligence firm, to look into connections between Trump and Russia. Orbis co-founder Christopher Steele, a retired British MI6 officer with expertise in Russian matters,[2] was hired as a subcontractor to do the job.[31] In total, Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS $1.02 million in fees and expenses, $168,000 of which was paid to Orbis by Fusion GPS and used by them to produce the dossier.[32]

Orbis was hired between June and November 2016, and Steele produced 16 memos during that time, with a 17th memo added in December.[33] The memos were like “prepublication notes” based on reports from Steele’s sources, and were not released as a fully vettedand “finished news article”.[34] Steele believes that 70–90% of the dossier is accurate,[35] a view that is shared by Simpson.[34]

Simpson has stated that, to his knowledge, Steele did not pay any of his sources.[36][9][37] According to investigative reporter Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Orbis has a large number of paid “collectors” who “harvest intelligence from a much larger network of unpaid sources, some of whom don’t even realize they are being treated as informants […] but money doesn’t change hands, because it could risk violating laws against, say, bribing government officials or insider trading. Paying sources might also encourage them to embellish.”[8] According to British journalist Luke Harding, Steele’s sources were not new: “They’re not people that he kind of discovered yesterday. They are trusted contacts who essentially had proven themselves in other areas.”[38] Howard Blum said that Steele leaned on sources “whose loyalty and information he had bought and paid for over the years”.[39]

According to Fusion GPS’s co-owners, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, they did not tell Steele who their ultimate clients were, only that Steele was “working for a law firm”,[8] and they “gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: ‘Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?'”[9] Mayer reported that when the Clinton campaign “indirectly employed” Steele, Elias created a “legal barrier” by acting “as a firewall” between the campaign and Steele. Thus, any details were “protected by attorney-client privilege. Fusion briefed only Elias on the reports. Simpson sent Elias nothing on paper—he was briefed orally.”[8] Only several months after signing the contract with Fusion GPS did Steele learn that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were the ultimate clients.[8] The firewall was reportedly so effective that even campaign principals John Podesta and Robby Mook did not know that Steele was on the Democratic payroll until Mother Jones reported on the issue on October 31, 2016.[8]

Steele delivered his reports individually as one- to three-page memos.[2] The first memo, dated June 20, 2016, was sent to Washington by courier and hand-delivered to Fusion GPS. The names of the sources were redacted, “providing instead descriptions of them that enabled Fusion to assess their basic credibility.”[8]

Luke Harding wrote:

“At first, obtaining intelligence from Moscow went well. For around six months – during the first half of the year – Steele was able to make inquiries in Russia with relative ease. It got harder from late July, as Trump’s ties to Russia came under scrutiny. Finally, the lights went out. Amid a Kremlin cover-up, the sources went silent and information channels shut down.”[40]

Steele has stated that he soon found “troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government.” According to his sources, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”[41] According to Harding, “Steele was shocked by the extent of collusion his sources were reporting,” and told his friends: “For anyone who reads it, this is a life-changing experience.”[35] Steele felt that what he had unearthed “was something of huge significance, way above party politics.”[39] American reporter Howard Blum described Steele’s rationale for becoming a whistleblower: “The greater good trumps all other concerns.”[39]

On his own initiative, Steele decided to also pass the information to British and American intelligence services because he believed the findings were a matter of national security for both countries.[42][43] According to Simpson’s testimony, Steele approached the FBIbecause he was concerned that Trump, then a candidate, was being blackmailed by Russia,[44] and he became “very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat”.[42] When Steele showed his findings to FBI agents in Rome in early July, their reaction was “shock and horror”.[44][45] Jane Mayer reports that the FBI agents “asked Steele about Papadopoulos, and he said that he hadn’t heard anything about him.”[8]

Steele enjoyed a good working reputation “for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence.”[13] Knowing this, in October 2016, a few weeks before the election, the FBI agreed to pay him to continue collecting information. However, the subsequent public release of the dossier stopped discussions between Steele and the FBI.[13] Simpson testified that “Steele wasn’t paid by the FBI, but was possibly reimbursed for a trip to Rome to meet with FBI officials.”[28][46]According to Mayer, Steele “did request compensation for travelling to Rome, but he never received any.”[8]

Simpson later revealed that “Steele severed his contacts with [the] FBI before the election following public statements by the FBI that it had found no connection between the Trump campaign and Russia and concerns that [the FBI] was being ‘manipulated for political ends by the Trump people’.”[47] Steele had become frustrated with the FBI, whom he believed failed to investigate his reports, choosing instead to focus on the investigation into Clinton’s emails. According to The Independent, Steele came to believe that there was a “cabal” inside the FBI, particularly its New York field office linked to Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani, because it blocked any attempts to investigate the links between Trump and Russia.[43]

Hints of existence

Jane Mayer has described how, in “late summer, Fusion set up a series of meetings, at the Tabard Inn, in Washington, between Steele and a handful of national-security reporters…. Despite Steele’s generally cool manner, he seemed distraught about the Russians’ role in the election.” Mayer attended one of the meetings. No news organizations ran any stories about the allegations at that time.[8]

Mother Jones story

By the third quarter of 2016, many news organizations knew about the existence of the dossier, which had been described as an “open secret” among journalists. However, they chose not to publish information that could not be confirmed.[2][48]

By October 2016, Steele had compiled 33 pages (16 memos), and he then passed on what he had discovered to David Corn, a reporter from Mother Jones magazine. On October 31, 2016, a week before the election, Mother Jones reported that a former intelligence officer, whom they did not name, had produced a report based on Russian sources and turned it over to the FBI.[41] The article disclosed some of the dossier’s allegations:

The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance”. It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals”. It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him”. It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.”

— David Corn, “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump”, Mother Jones (October 31, 2016)[41]

When the Mother Jones story broke, John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign, said he was “stunned by the news that the FBI had launched a full-blown investigation into Trump, especially one that was informed by research underwritten by the Clinton campaign.” Although they knew that Perkins Coie had spent money for opposition research, neither Podesta nor campaign manager Robby Mook knew that Steele was on the Democratic payroll. They both maintain they “didn’t read the dossier until BuzzFeed posted it online. Far from a secret campaign weapon, Steele turned out to be a secret kept from the campaign.”[8]

Post-election events

After Trump’s election on November 8, 2016, the Democratic client stopped paying for the investigation, but Steele continued working on the dossier for Fusion GPS.[2] At that time, Simpson “reportedly spent his own money to continue the investigation”.[11] After the election, Steele’s dossier “became one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets, and journalists worked to verify the allegations.[2]

On November 18, 2016, U.S. Senator John McCain, who had been informed about the alleged links between the Kremlin and Trump, met with former British ambassador to Moscow Sir Andrew Wood at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada. Wood told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump,[49] and also vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[50]

According to Simpson’s August 22, 2017, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Steele and David J. Kramer, a longtime McCain aide and former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University, met each other at the Halifax forum and discussed the dossier. Kramer told Steele that McCain wanted to “ask questions about it at the FBI. … All we sort of wanted was for the government to do its job and we were concerned about whether the information that we provided previously had ever, you know, risen to the leadership level of the FBI.” Later, “Kramer followed up with Steele”.[51] Steele had agreed with Fusion GPS to deliver a hard copy of all 16 memos to McCain,[33] which McCain received in early December from Kramer.[2] On December 9, McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[49][23][52] Comey later confirmed that counterintelligence investigations were under way into possible links between Trump associates and Moscow.[33]

After delivering his 16 memos, Steele received more information and composed the two-page “December memo”, dated December 13. It mostly contained allegations against Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, which he denied.[53][54] In an April 2017 court filing, Steele revealed previously unreported information that he had given a copy of his last memo to a “senior UK government national security official acting in his official capacity, on a confidential basis in hard copy form”, because it “had implications for the national security of the US and the UK”.[33] Steele also “sent an encrypted version to Fusion with instructions to deliver a hard copy to Senator McCain.”[33]

Publication by BuzzFeed

In early January 2017, President-elect Trump[55] and President Barack Obama were separately briefed about the Russian interference in the election and on the existence of the dossier by the chiefs of several U.S. intelligence agencies. Vice President Joe Biden has confirmed that he and the president received briefings on the dossier and the allegations within.[56][57][58]

After the meeting with Obama, Trump was informed of the Russian election interference by Comey and Clapper on January 6, 2017, at a meeting in Trump Tower. After this meeting, Comey stayed behind and spoke privately with Trump, informing him of the dossier and some of its allegations.[59] Trump later expressed that he felt that James Comey was trying to blackmail him at the meeting in Trump Tower, held two weeks before the inauguration.[55] In April 2018, Comey said he did not inform Trump that the dossier was partly funded by Democrats because that “wasn’t necessary for my goal, which was to alert him that we had this information”.[60][61]

On January 10, 2017, CNN reported that classified documents presented to Obama and Trump the previous week included allegations that Russian operatives possess “compromising personal and financial information” about Trump. CNN stated that it would not publish specific details on the memos because it had not “independently corroborated the specific allegations”.[62][63] Following the CNN report,[64] BuzzFeed published a 35-page dossier that it said was the basis of the briefing, including unverified claims that Russian operatives had collected “embarrassing material” involving Trump that could be used to blackmail him.[65][66][67]

BuzzFeed was harshly criticized for publishing what Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan called “scurrilous allegations dressed up as an intelligence report meant to damage Donald Trump”,[68] while The New York Times noted that the publication sparked a debate centering on the use of unsubstantiated information from anonymous sources.[69] BuzzFeed’s executive staff said the materials were newsworthy because they were “in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media” and argued that this justified public release.[70]

In relation to a defamation lawsuit filed by Aleksej Gubarev against BuzzFeed, regarding their publication of the dossier, Senior Master Barbara Fontaine stated that Steele was “in many respects in the same position as a whistle-blower” because of his actions “in sending part of the dossier to Senator John McCain and a senior government national security official, and in briefing sections of the US media”. She said that “it was not known who provided the dossier to BuzzFeed but Mr Steele’s evidence was that he was ‘horrified and remains horrified’ that it was published at all, let alone without substantial redactions.”[71] Both Simpson and Steele have denied providing the dossier to BuzzFeed.[72]

Format

When BuzzFeed published the 35-page dossier in January 2017, the individual memos were one- to three-pages long and page numbers 1-35 had been handwritten at the bottom. All but one had a typed date at the bottom. Each of the first 16 reports was assigned a typed number in the heading between 80 and 135, but the numeric order didn’t always match the chronological order. The 17th memo, known as the “December memo”, was numbered 166.[73]

Each memo started with a page heading in the same style as the first one shown here:

CONFIDENTIAL/SENSITIVE SOURCECOMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/080

US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP’S
ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE
KREMLIN[40]

Authorship

When CNN reported the existence of the dossier on January 10, 2017,[62][74] it did not name the author of the dossier, but revealed that he was British. Steele concluded that his anonymity had been “fatally compromised”, and, realizing it was “only a matter of time until his name became public knowledge”, fled into hiding with his family, in fear of “a prompt and potentially dangerous backlash against him from Moscow”.[75][76] The Wall Street Journal revealed Steele’s name the next day, on January 11.[77] Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, for whom Steele worked at the time the dossier was authored, and its director Christopher Burrows, a counterterrorism specialist,[25] would not confirm or deny that Orbis had produced the dossier.[74][2] On March 7, 2017, as some members of the U.S. Congress were expressing interest in meeting with or hearing testimony from Steele, he reemerged after weeks in hiding, appearing publicly on camera and stating, “I’m really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis’s offices in London today.”[78]

Called by the media a “highly regarded Kremlin expert” and “one of MI6’s greatest Russia specialists”, Steele formerly worked for the British intelligence agency MI6, heading its Russia Desk for three years at the end of his MI6 career. He entered MI6 in 1987, directly after his graduation from Cambridge University.[79] He currently works for Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, a private intelligence company he co-founded in London.[80][81]

Wood, the former British ambassador to Moscow, has vouched for Steele’s reputation.[43] He views Steele as a “very competent professional operator … I take the report seriously. I don’t think it’s totally implausible.” He also stated that “the report’s key allegation—that Trump and Russia’s leadership were communicating via secret back channels during the presidential campaign—was eminently plausible”.[82] FBI investigators reportedly treat Steele “as a peer”, whose experience as a trusted Russia expert has included assisting the Justice Department, British prime ministers, and at least one U.S. president.[83]

Allegations

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at HelsinkiFinland on July 16, 2018

Michael Cohen (2011)

Carter Page (2017)

The dossier contains multiple allegations, some of which have been publicly verified while many others remain publicly unverified but not disproven. In some cases, public verification is hindered because information is classified.[20] According to Adam Schiff, a major portion of the dossier’s content is about Russian efforts to help Trump, and those allegations “turned out to be true”.[84] Trump and Putin have repeatedly denied the allegations, with Trump labeling the dossier as “discredited”, “debunked”, “fictitious”, and “fake news”.[85][86]

Cultivation, conspiracy, and cooperation

  • That “Russian authorities” had cultivated Trump “for at least 5 years”, and that the operation was “supported and directed” by Putin.[40][87] (Dossier, p. 1)
  • That Putin aimed to spread “discord and disunity” within the United States and between Western allies, whom he saw as a threat to Russia’s interests.[42][88] (Dossier, pp. 1–2)
  • That Trump was a “divisive” and “anti-Establishment” candidate, as well as “a pragmatist with whom they could do business”. That Trump would remain a divisive force even if not elected.[89][90] (Dossier, p. 29)
  • That a major goal of the Russians in supporting Trump was “to upset the liberal international status quo, including on Ukraine-related sanctions, which was seriously disadvantaging the country.[89][90] (Dossier, pp. 28–29)
  • That the Russian government’s support for Trump was originally conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then by the Federal Security Service (FSB), and was eventually directly handled by the Russian presidency because of its “growing significance over time.”[89][3] (Dossier, p. 29)
  • That Trump had “so far declined various sweetener real estate business deals”, but had “accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin,” notably on his political rivals.[23][91] (Dossier, p. 1)
  • That there was “a well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership,” with information willingly exchanged in both directions. That this co-operation was “sanctioned at highest levels and involving Russian diplomatic staff based in the US.” That the Trump campaign used “moles within DNC and hackers in the US as well as outside in Russia.”[92][93] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That Trump associates had established “an intelligence exchange [with the Kremlin] for at least 8 years.” That Trump and his team had delivered “intelligence on the activities, business and otherwise, in the US of leading Russian oligarchs and their families”, as requested by Putin.[89][94][90] (Dossier, p. 11)
  • That the Trump camp became angry and resentful toward Putin when they realized he was not only aiming to weaken Clinton and bolster Trump, but was attempting to “undermine the US government and democratic system more generally.”[90] (Dossier, p. 17)

Key roles of Manafort, Cohen, and Page

  • That then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had “managed” the “conspiracy of co-operation”, and that he used Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, and others, “as intermediaries”.[95][96] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That Page had “conceived and promoted” the idea of leaking the stolen DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[97][88] (Dossier, pp. 7, 17)
  • That Cohen played a “key role” in the Trump–Russia relationship[3] by maintaining a “covert relationship with Russia”,[98][99][100] arranging cover-ups and “deniable cash payments”,[53][33] and that his role had grown after Manafort had left the campaign.[101][97] (Dossier, pp. 18, 30, 32, 34–35)
  • That “COHEN now was heavily engaged in a cover up and damage limitation operation in the attempt to prevent the full details of TRUMP’s relationship with Russia being exposed.”[97][90] (Dossier, p. 32)

Kremlin pro-Trump and anti-Clinton

  • That Putin feared and hated Hillary Clinton.[95][102] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That there was a “Kremlin campaign to aid TRUMP and damage CLINTON”.[92][93] (Dossier, pp. 7, 13)
  • That Putin’s interference operation had an “objective of weakening CLINTON and bolstering TRUMP”.[90] (Dossier, p. 17)

Kompromat and blackmail: Trump

  • That Trump “hated” Obama so much that when he stayed in the Presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow,[8][103] he employed “a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him”[87][65] in order to defile the bed used by the Obamas on an earlier visit. The alleged incident from 2013 was reportedly filmed and recorded by the FSB[104] as kompromat.[105][106][107] (Dossier, p. 2)
  • That Trump was susceptible to blackmail[39][89] due to paying bribes and the existence of “embarrassing material” due to engagement in “perverted sexual acts” and “unorthodox behavior” in Russia.[108][65][104] (Dossier, pp. 1–2, 8, 11, 27)
  • That the Kremlin had assured Trump they would not use kompromat collected against him, “given high levels of voluntary co-operation forthcoming from his team.”[89][109] (Dossier, pp. 11–12)
  • That Trump had explored the real estate sectors in St Petersburg and Moscow, “but in the end TRUMP had had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success”.[106][105] (Dossier, p. 8)
  • That Trump has pursued real estate deals in St Petersburg, and “paid bribes there to further his interests”. That witnesses to his “sex parties in the city” had been “‘silenced’ i.e. bribed or coerced to disappear.”[106][105] (Dossier, p. 27)
  • That Trump associates did not fear “the negative media publicity surrounding alleged Russian interference”, because it distracted attention from his “business dealings in China and other emerging markets”, which involved “large bribes and kickbacks” that could be devastating if revealed.[110][38] (Dossier, p. 8)

Kompromat: Clinton

Dmitry Peskov (2017)

  • That Putin ordered the maintenance of a secret dossier on Hillary Clinton, with content dating back to the time of her husband’s presidency. The dossier comprised eavesdropped conversations, either from bugging devices or from phone intercepts; it did not contain “details/evidence of unorthodox or embarrassing behavior”, but focused more on “things she had said which contradicted her current positions on various issues”.[89][41] (Dossier, pp. 1, 3)
  • That the Clinton dossier had been collated by the FSB[89][41] and was managed by Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary.[104][42] (Dossier, pp. 1, 3)

DNC email hack, leaks, and misinformation

  • That Russia was responsible for the DNC email hacks[89][111] and the recent appearance of the stolen DNC e-mails on WikiLeaks,[89][112] and that the reason for using WikiLeaks was “plausible deniability“.[113] (Dossier, pp. 7–8)
  • That “the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team.”[3][113] (Dossier, p. 8)
  • That after the emails had been forwarded to WikiLeaks, it was decided to not leak more, but to engage in misinformation: “Rather the tactics would be to spread rumours and misinformation about the content of what already had been leaked and make up new content.”[96] (Dossier, p. 15)
  • That Page had intended the email leaks “to swing supporters of Bernie SANDERS away from Hillary CLINTON and across to TRUMP.”[97][102] (Dossier, p. 17)
  • That the hacking of the DNC servers was performed by Romanian hackers ultimately controlled by Putin and paid by both Trump and Putin.[53][33] (Dossier, pp. 34–35)
  • That Cohen, together with three colleagues, secretly met with Kremlin officials in the Prague offices of Rossotrudnichestvo in August 2016,[114][89][54][115] where he arranged “deniable cash payments” to the hackers and sought “to cover up all traces of the hacking operation”,[53][33] as well as “cover up ties between Trump and Russia, including Manafort’s involvement in Ukraine”.[3] (Dossier, pp. 18, 34–35)

Kickbacks and quid pro quo agreements

Igor Sechin (2016)

  • That Viktor Yanukovych, the former pro-Russian President of Ukraine, had told Putin that he had been making supposedly untraceable[3] kickback payments to Manafort while he was Trump’s campaign manager.[113] (Dossier, p. 20)
  • That in return for Russia’s leaking the stolen documents to WikiLeaks, “the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”[95][113] (Dossier, pp. 7–8)
  • That Page had secretly met Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin in Moscow on “either 7 or 8 July”,[92] together with a “senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, DIVYEKIN.” That Sechin “offered PAGE/TRUMP’s associates the brokerage of up to a 19 per cent (privatised) stake in Rosneft” (worth about $11 billion) in exchange for Trump lifting the sanctions against Russia after his election.[116][90][89][117][118] (Dossier, pp. 9, 30–32)

Russian spy withdrawn

  • That Russia had hastily withdrawn from Washington their diplomat Mikhail Kalugin (misspelled as “Kulagin”), whose prominent role in the interference operation should remain hidden.[94][119][120] (Dossier, p. 23)

Cultivation of various U.S. political figures

Possible earlier interest in Trump

Although the dossier alleged in June 2016 that the Kremlin had been cultivating Trump for “at least five years”, Luke Harding wrote that the Soviet Union had been interested in him since 1987. In his book Collusion, Harding asserts that the “top level of the Soviet diplomatic service arranged his 1987 Moscow visit. With assistance from the KGB.” Then-KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov “wanted KGB staff abroad to recruit more Americans.” Harding proceeds to describe the KGB’s cultivation process, and posits that they may have opened a file on Trump as early as 1977, when he married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková; the Soviet spies may have closely observed and analyzed the couple from that time on.[122][123]

Denials of specific claims

Michael Cohen

The dossier alleges that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, met with Russian officials in Prague in 2016 with the objective of paying those who had hacked the DNC and to “cover up all traces of the hacking operation”. Cohen has denied the allegations against him,[33][53][54] stating that he was in Los Angeles between August 23 and 29, and in New York for the entire month of September[115] and that “I have never been to Prague in my life”.[124] According to a Czech intelligence source, there is no record of him entering Prague by plane, but Respekt magazine and Politico pointed out that he could have entered by car or train from a neighboring country within the Schengen Area, for example Italy. In the latter case, a record of Cohen entering the Schengen zone from a non-Schengen country should exist.[125][126] McClatchy reported that “investigators have traced evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany”,[114]which was confirmed by The Spectator citing an intelligence source in London.[127] Mother Jones reported that Cohen had told them “I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago,” contradicting later statements that he had never visited.[103]

Paul Manafort

Manafort has “denied taking part in any collusion with the Russian state, but registered himself as a foreign agent retroactively after it was revealed his firm received more than $17m working as a lobbyist for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party.”[96]

Carter Page

Page originally denied meeting any Russian officials, but his later testimony, acknowledging that he had met with senior Russian officials at Rosneft, has been interpreted as corroboration of portions of the dossier.[128][129][130]

Donald Trump

Trump has denied the “golden showers” allegation by claiming he is a “germaphobe”,[131] and then, as an alibi, that he did not stay overnight in Moscow.[132] In April 2018, James Comey said he did not know whether Trump “was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013”, adding “It’s possible, but I don’t know”.[60][61] In a June 21, 2018, debate, Comey, when asked if he believed “all the salacious” stories in the dossier, replied: “When I first saw it I didn’t believe it at all… [now] I think it’s possible that it’s true.” He said he changed his view after his encounters with President Trump.[133] Comey has stated that at the time he was fired, the allegations had not been verified.[134]

Twice Trump provided identical and disproven alibis to James Comey. He claimed he did not overnight in Moscow, but according to flight records, Keith Schiller‘s testimony, and Aras Agalarov, he did spend Friday night, Nov. 8, in Moscow, and attended the Miss Universe pageant the next night.[135] Trump not only spent a full night in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow,[136] according to Trump’s close acquaintance, Aras Agalarov,[137] he actually stayed in the Presidential suite, where the “golden showers” incident is alleged to have occurred.[8]

Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller “privately testified that he rejected an offer by a Russian individual to send five women to Trump’s hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow,” stating that “he took the offer as a joke … and Trump laughed it off.” After accompanying Trump to his room, Schiller stayed outside the door for a few minutes and then left,[138] and according to one source “could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night.”[139] Thomas Roberts, the host of the Miss Universe contest, has confirmed that “Trump was in Moscow for one full night and at least part of another.” (November 8–10).[140]

Veracity

Steele and the dossier have become “the central point of contention in the political brawl raging around”[83] the Special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Those who believe Steele consider him a hero who tried to warn about the Kremlin’s meddling in the election, and people who distrust him consider him a “hired gun” used to attack Trump.[83] With the passage of time and further revelations from various investigations and sources, it is becoming clearer that the overall thrust of the dossier was accurate, but some details appear to be merely disinformation:[72]

Some of the dossier’s broad threads have now been independently corroborated. U.S. intelligence agencies and the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference did eventually find that Kremlin-linked operatives ran an elaborate operation to promote Trump and hurt Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, as the dossier says in its main narrative.”

— Jeff Donn, “Some Questions in Trump-Russia Dossier Now Finding Answers”, Associated Press (June 29, 2018)[72]

Reputation in the U.S. intelligence community

On January 11, 2017, Paul Wood, of BBC News, wrote that the salacious information in Steele’s dossier was also reported by “multiple intelligence sources” and “at least one East European intelligence service”. They reported that “compromising material on Mr. Trump” included “more than one tape, not just video, but audio as well, on more than one date, in more than one place, in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.” While also mentioning that “nobody should believe something just because an intelligence agent says it”,[141][77] Wood added that “the CIA believes it is credible that the Kremlin has such kompromat—or compromising material—on the next US commander in chief” and “a joint taskforce, which includes the CIA and the FBI, has been investigating allegations that the Russians may have sent money to Mr Trump’s organisation or his election campaign”.[142][143][141]

On January 12, 2017, Susan Hennessey, a former National Security Agency lawyer now with the Brookings Institution, stated: “My general take is that the intelligence community and law enforcement seem to be taking these claims seriously. That itself is highly significant. But it is not the same as these allegations being verified. Even if this was an intelligence community document—which it isn’t—this kind of raw intelligence is still treated with skepticism.”[15][16] Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes wrote that “the current state of the evidence makes a powerful argument for a serious public inquiry into this matter”.[16]

On February 10, 2017, CNN reported that some communications between “senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals” described in the dossier had been corroborated by multiple U.S. officials. They “took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier”. Sources told CNN that some conversations had been “intercepted during routine intelligence gathering”, but refused to reveal the content of conversations, or specify which communications were intercepted “due to the classified nature of US intelligence collection programs”. CNN was unable to confirm whether conversations were related to Trump. U.S. officials said the corroboration gave “US intelligence and law enforcement ‘greater confidence’ in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents”. They also reported that American intelligence agencies had examined Steele and his “vast network throughout Europe and found him and his sources to be credible.”[21]

On March 30, 2017, Paul Wood reported that the FBI was using the dossier as a roadmap for its investigation.[144] On April 18, 2017, CNN reported that, according to U.S. officials, information from the dossier had been used as part of the basis for getting the FISAwarrant to monitor Page in October 2016. Officials told CNN this information would have had to be independently corroborated by the FBI before being used to obtain the warrant.[12][145] In his testimony before Congress, Glenn Simpson “confirmed that the FBI had sources of its own and that whatever the FBI learned from Steele was simply folded into its ongoing work.”[146]

British journalist Julian Borger wrote on October 7, 2017, that “Steele’s reports are being taken seriously after lengthy scrutiny by federal and congressional investigators”, at least Steele’s assessment that Russia had conducted a campaign to interfere in the 2016 election to Clinton’s detriment; that part of the Steele dossier “has generally gained in credibility, rather than lost it”.[96]

On October 11, 2017, it was reported that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DRhode Island), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), had stated: “As I understand it, a good deal of his information remains unproven, but none of it has been disproven, and considerable amounts of it have been proven.”[147]

On October 27, 2017, Robert S. Litt, a former lawyer for the Director of National Intelligence, was quoted as stating that the dossier “played absolutely no role” in the intelligence community’s determination that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[148]

On November 15, 2017, Adam Schiff stated that much of the dossier’s content is about Russian efforts to help Trump, and those allegations “turned out to be true”, something later affirmed by the January 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment released by the ODNI.[84]

On December 7, 2017, commentator Jonathan Chait wrote that as “time goes by, more and more of the claims first reported by Steele have been borne out”, with the mainstream media “treat[ing] “[the dossier] as gossip” whereas the intelligence community “take it seriously”.[14]

On January 29, 2018, Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “little of that dossier has either been fully proven or conversely, disproven”.[149][150]

John Sipher, who served 28 years as a clandestine CIA agent, including heading the agency’s Russia program, said investigating the dossier allegations requires access to non-public records. He said “[p]eople who say it’s all garbage, or all true, are being politically biased”, adding he believes that while the dossier may not be correct in every detail, it is “generally credible” and “In the intelligence business, you don’t pretend you’re a hundred per cent accurate. If you’re seventy or eighty per cent accurate, that makes you one of the best.” He said the Mueller investigation would ultimately judge its merits.[8] Sipher has written that “Many of my former CIA colleagues have taken the [dossier] reports seriously since they were first published.”[101]

During his April 15, 2018, ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos, former FBI Director James Comey described Steele as a “credible source”: “It was coming from a credible source, someone with a track record, someone who was a credible and respected member of an allied intelligence service during his career, and so it was important that we try to understand it, and see what could we verify, what could we rule in or rule out.”[151]

In May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper believed that “more and more” of the dossier has been validated over time.[18]

Varied reactions about veracity

Steele, the author of the dossier, said he believes that 70–90% of the dossier is accurate.[35][25] In testimony to Congress, Simpson quoted “Steele as saying that any intelligence, especially from Russia, is bound to carry intentional disinformation, but that Steele believes his dossier is ‘largely not disinformation’.”[72] Regarding the sex claims, Michael Isikoff and David Corn have stated that Steele’s “faith in the sensational sex claim would fade over time…. As for the likelihood of the claim that prostitutes had urinated in Trump’s presence, Steele would say to colleagues, ‘It’s 50-50’.”[25] James Comey has stated that, after his meetings with Trump, he thinks the salacious claims are possibly true.[133]

Other observers and experts have had varying reactions to the dossier. Generally, “former intelligence officers and other national-security experts” urged “skepticism and caution” but still took “the fact that the nation’s top intelligence officials chose to present a summary version of the dossier to both President Obama and President-elect Trump” as an indication “that they may have had a relatively high degree of confidence that at least some of the claims therein were credible, or at least worth investigating further”.[15]

Vice President Joe Biden told reporters that, while he and Obama were receiving a briefing on the extent of election hacking attempts, there was a two-page addendum which addressed the contents of the Steele dossier.[56] Top intelligence officials told them they “felt obligated to inform them about uncorroborated allegations about President-elect Donald Trump out of concern the information would become public and catch them off-guard”.[152]

On January 11, 2017, Newsweek published a list of “13 things that don’t add up” in the dossier, writing that it was a “strange mix of the amateur and the insightful” and stating that it “contains lots of Kremlin-related gossip that could indeed be, as the author claims, from deep insiders—or equally gleaned” from Russian newspapers and blogs.[153] Former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Tony Brenton stated that certain aspects of the dossier were inconsistent with British intelligence’s understanding of how the Kremlin works, commenting: “I’ve seen quite a lot of intelligence on Russia, and there are some things in [the dossier] which look pretty shaky.”[154]

In his June 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee testimony, former FBI director James Comey called “some personally sensitive aspects” of the dossier “salacious and unverified,” but he did not state that the entire dossier was unverified or that the salacious aspects were false. When Senator Richard Burr asked if any of the allegations in the dossier had been confirmed, Comey said he could not answer that question in a public setting.[155][20]

Trump and his supporters have challenged the veracity of the dossier because it was funded in part by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, while Democrats assert the funding source is irrelevant.[156]

Veracity of certain allegations

Russian assistance to the Trump campaign

January 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated that Russian leadership favored the Trump candidacy over Clinton’s, and that Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Clinton’s electoral chances and “undermine public faith in the US democratic process,” as well as ordering cyber attacks on “both major U.S. political parties”.[157]

Newsweek stated that “the dossier’s main finding, that Russia tried to prop up Trump over Clinton, was confirmed by” this assessment.[87] ABC News stated that “some of the dossier’s broad implications—particularly that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an operation to boost Trump and sow discord within the U.S. and abroad—now ring true.”[42] Referring to the ODNI assessment, former Los Angeles Times Moscow correspondent Robert Gillette wrote in an op-ed in the Concord Monitor that the dossier has had at least one of its main factual assertions verified….Steele’s dossier, paraphrasing multiple sources, reported precisely the same conclusion, in greater detail, six months earlier, in a memo dated June 20.”[158]

In The New Yorker, Jane Mayer has stated that the allegation that Trump was favored by the Kremlin, and that they offered Trump’s campaign dirt on Clinton, has proven true.[8]

In March 2016, George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, learned that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of thousands of stolen emails. This occurred before the hacking of the DNC computers had become public knowledge.[159][160]Papadopoulos sent emails about Putin to at least seven Trump campaign officials. Trump national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis[161] encouraged Papadopoulos to fly to Russia and meet with agents of the Russian Foreign Ministry, who reportedly wanted to share “Clinton dirt” with the Trump campaign.[162][163] When Donald Trump Jr. learned of the offer, he welcomed it by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8] Later, on June 9, 2016, a meeting in Trump Tower was held, ostensibly for representatives from Russia to deliver that dirt on Clinton.[164][165]

At the July 2018 summit meeting, Putin was asked if he had wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. He responded “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”[166]

Republican position on Russian conflict with Ukraine

The dossier alleges that “the Trump campaign agreed to minimize US opposition to Russia’s incursions into Ukraine”.[167] Harding considers this allegation to have been confirmed by the actions of the Trump campaign: “This is precisely what happened at the Republican National Convention last July, when language on the US’s commitment to Ukraine was mysteriously softened.”[53] In July 2016, the Republican National Convention made changes to the Republican Party’s platform on Ukraine: initially the platform proposed providing “lethal weapons” to Ukraine, but the line was changed to “appropriate assistance”. NPR reported, “Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.”[168] J. D. Gordon, who was one of Trump’s national security advisers during the campaign, said that he had advocated for changing language because that reflected what Trump had said.[121][169] The Trump campaign does not appear to have intervened in any other platform deliberations aside from the language on Ukraine.[170]

In an interview on This Week, Trump told George Stephanopoulos that people in his campaign were responsible for changing the GOP’s platform stance on Ukraine, but that he was not personally involved.[171]

Trump had formerly taken a hard line on Ukraine. He initially denounced Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a “land grab” that “should never have happened”, and called for a firmer U.S. response, saying “We should definitely be strong. We should definitely do sanctions.” But after hiring Manafort his approach changed; he said he might recognize Crimea as Russian territory and might lift the sanctions against Russia.[172]

Relations with Europe and NATO

Vladimir Putin (2017)

The dossier alleges that as part of a quid pro quo agreement, “the TRUMP team had agreed… to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”[95] Aiko Stevenson, writing in The Huffington Post, noted that some of Trump’s actions seem to align with “Putin’s wish list”, which “includes lifting sanctions on Russia, turning a blind eye towards its aggressive efforts in the Ukraine, and creating a divisive rift amongst western allies.”[173] During the campaign Trump “called Nato, the centrepiece of Transatlantic security ‘obsolete’, championed the disintegration of the EU, and said that he is open to lifting sanctions on Moscow.”[173] Harding adds that Trump repeatedly “questioned whether US allies were paying enough into Nato coffers.”[53] Jeff Stein, writing in Newsweek, described how “Trump’s repeated attacks on NATO have…frustrated…allies …[and] raised questions as to whether the president has been duped into facilitating Putin’s long-range objective of undermining the European Union.”[174] Trump’s appearances at meetings with allies, including NATO and G7, have frequently been antagonistic; according to the Los Angeles Times, “The president’s posture toward close allies has been increasingly and remarkably confrontational this year, especially in comparison to his more conciliatory approach to adversaries, including Russia and North Korea.”[175]

Lifting of sanctions

The dossier says that Page, claiming to speak with Trump’s authority, had confirmed that Trump would lift the existing sanctions against Russia if he were elected president.[89] On December 29, 2016, during the transition period between the election and the inauguration, National Security Advisor designate Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, urging him not to retaliate for newly imposed sanctions; the Russians took his advice and did not retaliate.[176]Within days after the inauguration, new Trump administration officials ordered State Department staffers to develop proposals for immediately revoking the economic and other sanctions.[177] One retired diplomat later said, “What was troubling about these stories is that suddenly I was hearing that we were preparing to rescind sanctions in exchange for, well, nothing.”[178] The staffers alerted Congressional allies who took steps to codify the sanctions into law. The attempt to overturn the sanctions was abandoned after Flynn’s conversation was revealed and Flynn resigned.[177][104] In August 2017, Congress passed a bipartisan bill to impose new sanctions on Russia. Trump reluctantly signed the bill, but then refused to implement it.[179]

Spy withdrawn from Russian embassy

The dossier alleges that a “Russian diplomat Mikhail KULAGIN [sic]” participated in US election meddling, and was recalled to Moscow because Kremlin was concerned that his role in the meddling would be exposed. The BBC later reported that US officials in 2016 had identified Russian diplomat Mikhail Kalugin as a spy and that he was under surveillance, thus “verifying” a key claim in the dossier.[94] Kalugin was the head of the economics section at the Russian embassy. He returned to Russia in August 2016.[96] McClatchy reported that the FBI was investigating whether Kalugin played a role in the election interference. Kalugin has denied the allegations.[96][180]

Page meeting with Rosneft officials

Jane Mayer said that this part of the dossier seems true, even if the name of an official may have been wrong. Page’s congressional testimony confirmed he held secret meetings with top Moscow and Rosneft officials, including talks about a payoff: “When Page was asked if a Rosneft executive had offered him a ‘potential sale of a significant percentage of Rosneft,’ Page said, ‘He may have briefly mentioned it’.”[8]

On November 2, 2017, Page appeared before the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. In July 2016, Page made a five-day trip to Moscow,[181] but, according to his testimony, before leaving he informed Jeff SessionsJ. D. GordonHope Hicks, and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, of the planned trip to Russia, and Lewandowski approved the trip, responding: “If you’d like to go on your own, not affiliated with the campaign, you know, that’s fine.”[118][128] In his testimony, Page admitted he met with high ranking Kremlin officials. Previously, Page had denied meeting any Russian officials during the July trip. His comments appeared to corroborate portions of the dossier.[129][130] Newsweek has listed the claim about Page meeting with Rosneft officials as “verified”.[182]

Investigations using or referencing the dossier

The FBI’s Russia investigation

In late July 2016, “the CIA had set up a special group with the NSA and FBI… to investigate the extent of Russian intervention in the presidential election.” Former CIA director John Brennan then “ensured that all information about links between the Trump campaign and people working for or on behalf of Russian intelligence went to the FBI.”[183] These links between Trump associates and Russian officials were numerous. Politico keeps a very detailed running tally of the persons, and, as of April 25, 2018, they listed “73 associated with [Trump’s] 2016 campaign”.[184] Julian Borger reported that in Brennan’s testimony before the House intelligence committee, he made it clear “that he was alarmed by the extent of contacts between the Trump team and Moscow,” and that this justified the FBI inquiry:[183]

Brennan stressed repeatedly that collusion may have been unwitting, at least at first as Russian intelligence was deft at disguising its approaches to would-be agents. “Frequently, individuals on a treasonous path do not even realize they’re on that path until it gets to be too late,” he said.[183]

The investigation was also spurred by comments made by Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.[160][185] While Trump and some Republicans have claimed that the dossier was behind the beginning of the FBI investigation into his campaign’s potential conspiracy with Russia, in December 2017, former and current intelligence officials revealed that the actual impetus was a series of comments made in May 2016 by Papadopoulos to Alexander Downer, a top Australian diplomat, during a night of “heavy drinking at an upscale London bar”.[185][160] John Sipher reported that Papadopoulos bragged “that the Trump campaign was aware the Russian government had dirt on Hillary Clinton”[4] in the form of “thousands of emails” stolen from Clinton which could be used to damage her campaign. Papadopoulos had learned this about three weeks earlier. Two months later, when WikiLeaks started releasing DNC emails, Australian officials alerted the Americans about Papadopoulos’ remarks.[185][160]Over a year later, Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27, 2017,[186] and in October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and became a cooperating witness in Mueller’s investigation.[185][186]

Other factors also played into the FBI’s decision to investigate Russian interference and the Trump campaign: intelligence from friendly governments, especially the British and Dutch, and information about Page’s Moscow trip. Steele’s first report was sent to Fusion GPS, dated June 20, 2016, and FBI agents first interviewed Steele in October 2016.[160] The New York Times reported on February 14, 2017 that the FBI had made contact with some of Steele’s sources.[187] CNN later reported that the FBI had used the dossier to bolster its existing investigations.[33][12]

In a January 2, 2018, CNN panel discussion, Elizabeth Foley, a Florida International University law professor, falsely alleged that the FISA warrant for Page was “all based on a dossier”, adding “That’s what Jim Comey has suggested.” She also cited reports from CNN and The New York TimesPolitiFact concluded that her claim about Comey was unsubstantiated, and according to CNN, the dossier was only “part of the justification”, and that The New York Times report did not mention the dossier. PolitiFact rated her claim “Mostly False”.[188]

Special counsel investigation

According to Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), the dossier’s allegations are being investigated by a Special Counsel led by Robert Mueller, which, since May 2017, has been investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.[189] In the summer of 2017, Mueller’s team of investigators met with Steele.[190] As some leads stemming from the dossier have already been followed and confirmed by the FBI, legal experts have stated that Special Counsel investigators, headed by Robert Mueller, are obligated to follow any leads the dossier has presented them with, irrespective of what parties financed it in its various stages of development, or “[t]hey would be derelict in their duty if they didn’t.”[189][191]

Subject of the Nunes memo

On February 2, 2018, the Nunes memo, a four-page memorandum written for U.S. Representative Devin Nunes by his staff, was released to the public. Referring to the dossier, the memo states that the FBI “may have relied on politically motivated or questionable sources” to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant in October 2016 and in three subsequent renewals on Carter Page in the early phases of the FBI’s interference investigation.[192] Republican legislators argued that the memo presents evidence that a group of politically-biased FBI employees abused the FISA warrant process for the purpose of undermining the Trump presidency.[193] The Nunes memo stated that there was excessive and improper dependence on the Trump–Russia dossier.

On February 3, 2018, Trump praised the Nunes memo and tweeted:

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!

3 Feb 2018[194]

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) disagreed, stating on February 4 on CBS’s Face the Nation: “I actually don’t think [the memo] has any impact on the Russia probe.” He went on to say:

“There is a Russia investigation without a dossier,” Gowdy said. “So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier.”[28]

Gowdy was dissatisfied with the process of seeking the warrant: “I say investigate everything Russia did but admit that this was a really sloppy process that you engaged in to surveil a U.S. citizen.” When questioned, he said that the FISA warrant on Carter Page would not have been authorized without the dossier.[195]

Jane Mayer has quoted Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “To impeach Steele’s dossier is to impeach Mueller’s investigation… It’s to recast the focus back on Hillary”, with the Republicans’ aim to “create a false narrative saying this is all a political witch hunt.” Mayer tied his view directly to Devin Nunes‘ production of “a report purporting to show that the real conspiracy revolved around Hillary Clinton,” falsely alleging that Clinton “colluded with the Russians…”, a claim debunked by Glenn Kessler.[8] Kessler, a fact checker for The Washington Post, analyzed a false accusation made by Nunes in a February 7, 2018, interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show: “The truth is that they [Democrats] are covering up that Hillary Clinton colluded with the Russians to get dirt on Trump to feed it to the FBI to open up an investigation into the other campaign.” Kessler’s “Pinocchio Test” rating was: “[T]here is no evidence that Clinton was involved in Steele’s reports or worked with Russian entities to feed information to Steele. That’s where Nunes’s claim goes off the rails—and why he earns Four Pinocchios.”[196] “Four Pinocchios” equals a “Whopper”.[197]

The Nunes memo falsely asserted that “Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was—according to his June 2017 testimony—’salacious and unverified.'” Factcheckers noted that Comey actually testified that “some personally sensitive aspects of the information” were “salacious and unverified,” rather than the entire dossier.[198][199]

The Nunes memo asserted that Andrew McCabe testified to the House Intelligence Committee that “no surveillance warrant [of Carter Page] would have been sought from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) without the Steele dossier information,” but because McCabe testified in classified session, no transcript has yet been released to verify this assertion. In a CNN interview, McCabe asserted “that House Republicans twisted his answers”:

“We started the investigations without the dossier. We were proceeding with the investigations before we ever received that information…. Was the dossier material important to the package? Of course, it was. As was every fact included in that package. Was it the majority of what was in the package? Absolutely not.”[200]

Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the Committee, also stated that McCabe’s testimony was mischaracterized.[201]

Contrary to assertions by Trump and his supporters that the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections was triggered by the dossier,[202] the Nunes memo confirmed the investigation began with a tip from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer regarding a conversation he had with Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos in a London bar in May 2016.[160][203] The FBI opened its investigation in late July 2016, and The Washington Post noted that this timing is “significant, given the FBI did not seek authorization to conduct surveillance on Page until three months later, on Oct. 21, 2016.” The Democrats asserted that the Nunes memo “shows the Russia investigation would be underway with or without the surveillance of Page, and—more critically—even if the government had never seen the dossier of information about Trump that was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy.”[204]

Amid assertions in the Nunes memo and from others that the dossier’s use in the Carter Page FISA warrant request was improper—countered by Democrats’ assertions that there was nothing improper—on April 6, 2018 the Justice Department made the FISA application available for all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to review.[205]

On July 21, 2018, the Justice Department released heavily-redacted versions of four FISA warrant applications for Carter Page which showed that key assertions made in the Nunes memo were false or misleading, corroborating the rebuttal made by Democrats.[206][207]

Reactions

November 14, 2017 – House Intelligence Committee transcript of Glenn Simpson

August 22, 2017 Fusion GPS testimony transcript of Glenn Simpson

Individual responses

Donald Trump has repeatedly condemned the dossier, including in this tweet, in which he quotes from Fox & Friends:[19]

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

WOW, @foxandfrlends “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!

26 Dec 2017[208]

As late as July 29, 2018, Trump continued to falsely insist that the FBI investigation of Russian interference was initiated because of the dossier, and three days later White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated the false assertion. Fox News host Shepard Smith said of Trump’s assertion: “In the main and in its parts, that statement is patently false.”[209]

Trump has called the dossier “fake news” and criticized the intelligence and media sources that published it.[210] During a press conference on January 11, 2017, Trump denounced the dossier’s claims as false, saying that it was “disgraceful” for U.S. intelligence agencies to report them. Trump refused to answer a question from CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta on the subject. In response, CNN said that it had published “carefully sourced reporting” on the matter which had been “matched by the other major news organizations”, as opposed to BuzzFeed‘s posting of “unsubstantiated materials”.[211][64]

James Clapper described the leaks as damaging to U.S. national security.[212] This contradicted Trump’s previous claim that Clapper had said the information was false; Clapper’s statement actually said the intelligence community had made no judgment on the truth of the information.[213]

As Putin’s press secretary, Peskov insisted in an interview that the dossier is a fraud, saying “I can assure you that the allegations in this funny paper, in this so-called report, they are untrue. They are all fake.”[214] Putin called the people who leaked the dossier “worse than prostitutes”[215] and referred to the dossier itself as “rubbish”.[216] Putin went on to state he believed that the dossier was “clearly fake”,[217] fabricated as a plot against the legitimacy of President-elect Trump.[218]

Some of Steele’s former colleagues expressed support for his character, saying “The idea his work is fake or a cowboy operation is false—completely untrue. Chris is an experienced and highly regarded professional. He’s not the sort of person who will simply pass on gossip.”[17]

Among journalists, Bob Woodward called the dossier a “garbage document”, while Carl Bernstein took the opposite view, noting that the senior-most U.S. intelligence officials had determined that the content was worth reporting to the president and the president-elect.[219] Julian Borger has described the dossier as “one of the most explosive documents in modern political history…”[96] Ben Smith, editor of BuzzFeed, wrote: “The dossier is a document…of obvious central public importance. It’s the subject of multiple investigations by intelligence agencies, by Congress. That was clear a year ago. It’s a lot clearer now.”[220]

Ynet, an Israeli online news site, reported on January 12, 2017 that U.S. intelligence advised Israeli intelligence officers to be cautious about sharing information with the incoming Trump administration, until the possibility of Russian influence over Trump, suggested by Steele’s report, has been fully investigated.[221]

On March 2, 2017, media began reporting that the Senate may call Steele to testify about the Trump dossier.[222] On March 27, 2017, SJC Chairman Chuck Grassley asked the Department of Justice to initiate an inquiry into Fusion GPS, who initially retained Steele to write the dossier.[223] Fusion GPS was previously associated with pro-Russia lobbying activities due to sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act.[224] On August 22, 2017, Steele met with the FBI and had provided them with the names of his sources for the allegations in the dossier.[225]

Steven L. Hall, former CIA chief of Russia operations, has contrasted Steele’s methods with those of Donald Trump Jr., who sought information from a Russian attorney at a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016: “The distinction: Steele spied against Russia to get info Russia did not want released; Don Jr took a mtg to get info Russians wanted to give.”[226]

Jane Mayer referred to the same meeting and contrasted the difference in reactions to Russian attempts to support Trump: When Trump Jr. was offered “dirt” on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” instead of “going to the F.B.I., as Steele had” done when he learned that Russia was helping Trump, Trump’s son accepted the support by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8]

On January 2, 2018, Simpson and Fritsch authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting that Republicans “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony” and further wrote that, “the Steele dossier was not the trigger for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”[9] Ken Dilanian of NBC News stated that a “source close to Fusion GPS” told him that the FBI had not planted anyone in the Trump camp, but rather that Simpson was referring to Papadopoulos.[227][47]

On January 5, 2018, in the first known Congressional criminal referral resulting from investigations related to the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Grassley made a referral to the Justice Department suggesting that they investigate possible criminal charges against Steele[228][229] for allegedly making false statements to the FBI about the distribution of the dossier’s claims,[230] specifically possible “inconsistencies” in what Steele told authorities and “possibly lying to FBI officials”.[231]Senator Lindsey Graham also signed the letter.[232][233] Both Grassley and Graham declared that they were not alleging that Steele “had committed any crime. Rather, they had passed on the information for ‘further investigation only’.”[234] The referral was met with skepticism from legal experts, as well as some of the other Republicans and Democrats on the Judiciary committee, who reportedly had not been consulted.[232]

On January 8, 2018, a spokesman for Grassley said he did not plan to release the transcript of Simpson’s August 22, 2017 testimony before the SJC.[235] The next day, ranking committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein unilaterally released the transcript.[51][236]

On January 10, 2018, Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared to have advance information on the forthcoming release of the Nunes memo and its assertions about the dossier, saying “more shocking information will be coming out in just days that will show systemic FISA abuse.” Hannity asserted that this new information would reveal “a totally phony document full of Russian lies and propaganda that was then used by the Obama administration to surveil members of an opposition party and incoming president,” adding that this was “the real Russia collusion story” that represented a “precipice of one of the largest abuses of power in U.S. American history. And I’m talking about the literal shredding of the U.S. Constitution.”[237]

On January 18, 2018, the HPSCI released the transcript of the Simpson Testimony given on November 14, 2017.[238][239] Democratic committee member Adam Schiff stated that the testimony contains “serious allegations that The Trump Organization may have engaged in money laundering with Russian nationals”. Trump Organization’s chief counsel Alan Garten called the allegations “unsubstantiated” and “reckless”, and said that Simpson was mainly referring to properties to which Trump licensed his name. Democratic member Jim Himes said that Simpson “did not provide evidence and I think that’s an important point. He made allegations.”[240]

In April 2018, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) gave The Merriman Smith Memorial Award to CNN reporters Evan Perez, Jim SciuttoJake Tapper and Carl Bernstein. In January 2017, they reported that the intelligence community had briefed Obama and Trump of allegations that Russians claimed to have “compromising personal and financial information” on then-President elect Donald Trump.[62][241] WHCA noted that “[t]hanks to this CNN investigation, ‘the dossier’ is now part of the lexicon”.[242]

Circumstances surrounding the death of Oleg Erovinkin

On December 26, 2016, Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB/FSB general, was found dead in his car in Moscow. Erovinkin was a key liaison between Sechin and Putin. Steele claimed much of the information came from a source close to Sechin. According to Christo Grozev, a journalist at Risk Management Lab, a think tank based in Bulgaria, the circumstances of Erovinkin’s death were “mysterious”. Grozev suspected Erovinkin helped Steele compile the dossier on Trump and suggests the hypothesis that the death may have been part of a cover-up by the Russian government.[243][244] Experts expressed skepticism about the theory. “As a rule, people like Gen Yerovinkin don’t tend to die in airport thriller murders,” said Mark Galeotti, an expert on the Russian security services.[243]

Litigation

Against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS

On February 3, 2017, Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation. The suit, filed in a Broward County, Florida court, centers on allegations from the dossier that XBT had been “using botnetsand porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership”.[245][246] In the High Court of Justice, Steele’s lawyers said their client did not intend for the memos to be released, and that one of the memos “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified”.[247] In response to the lawsuit, BuzzFeed hired the business advisory firm FTI Consulting to investigate the dossier’s allegations.[248] BuzzFeed has sued the DNC in an attempt to force the disclosure of information it believes will bolster its defense against libel allegations.[249] Fusion GPS “has claimed that it did not provide the dossier to BuzzFeed.”[250]

In connection with the libel suit against them by Gubarev, on June 30, 2017, BuzzFeed subpoenaed the CIA, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They also sought “testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey, as well as former DNI James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan”. They were interested in using the discovery process to get information about the distribution of the dossier, how it had circulated among government officials, and the “existence and scope of the federal government’s investigation into the dossier”. They hoped “the information could bolster BuzzFeed’s claim that publication of the document was protected by the fair report privilege, which can immunize reports based on official government records.”[251] On June 4, 2018, Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that BuzzFeed could claim “fair report privilege” for the publication of the dossier and its accompanying article, bolstering BuzzFeed’s defense.[252]

In May 2017, Mikhail FridmanPetr Aven, and German Khan – the owners of Alfa Bank – filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the unverified dossier,[253][254] which alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[255][256] In October 2017, Fridman, Aven, and Khan also filed a libel suit against Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson, for circulating the dossier among journalists and allowing it to be published.[257]

On January 9, 2018, Michael Cohen sued BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS for defamation over allegations about him in the dossier.[258] On April 19, 2018, ten days after his home, office and hotel room were raided by the FBI as part of a criminal investigation, Cohen filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the suit.[259][260][261]

Against Christopher Steele

In April 2018, Alfa Bank owners Fridman, Aven, and Khan filed a libel suit against Steele,[262] since the dossier alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[255][256] The lawsuit is filed in Washington D.C., and since none of the parties to the lawsuit are based in D.C., it is possible the lawsuit may not be able to move forward in that court.[262] Steele’s lawyers have filed two motions to dismiss the case, accusing the three men of intimidation.[263]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump%E2%80%93Russia_dossier

Story 2: International Investors in U.S. Treasury Securities Are Flat and Smallest Share in 18 Years — Videos

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Uncle Sam Wants You: Treasury Depends More on Domestic Bond Buyers

U.S. investors have so far financed all of this year’s increase in the federal government’s borrowing

Even as yields on Treasury securities have risen to multiyear highs, foreign demand for debt at government bond auctions has slowed to the weakest level since 2008.
Even as yields on Treasury securities have risen to multiyear highs, foreign demand for debt at government bond auctions has slowed to the weakest level since 2008. PHOTO: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The U.S. government has been issuing more debt, but it’s not getting more foreign buyers in the door. As a result, U.S. investors have so far financed all of this year’s increase in the federal government’s borrowing.

Foreign holdings of the debt have remained essentially flat, though the government’s borrowing has risen by $500 billion, giving foreign investors the smallest share of U.S. government debt since 2003. Even as yields on Treasury securities have risen to multiyear highs, foreign demand for debt at government bond auctions has slowed to the weakest level since 2008. Yields rise when bond prices fall.

Imported BondsTreasury debt has been less popular overseassince auction sizes began increasing this FebruaryPercentage of Treasury auctions won by foreign investors Source: U.S. Treasury Department
%Jan. ’17JulyJan. ’18July7.510.012.515.017.520.022.5

Some foreign investors are concerned that the$1.5 trillion tax cut passed by Congress in December will overstimulate the U.S. economy, leading to an acceleration in inflation and potentially higher bond yields and interest rates.

The drop in foreign demand is happening as Treasury yields approach their highest premiums over German and Japanese debt since the 1980s and as the dollar is in the middle of a rally that caught many investors by surprise. The drop-off in foreign interest also coincides with a decision by the Federal Reserve to reduce the size of its government bond holdings as part of an effort to restore monetary policy to precrisis norms.

Investors and analysts cite two impediments that are discouraging foreign investment. One is the strength of the dollar has made it more expensive for investors in Japan and Europe to hedge the currency risk of buying Treasurys. A second is a new concern about the sustainability of U.S. borrowing practices at a time when the Trump administration is forecast to run a series of trillion-dollar budget deficits beginning as soon as 2020.

The hedging costs are “so high and so punitive that it is no longer attractive” to buy Treasurys, said Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank. The cost is typically close to premium of short-term U.S. government bill yields over short-term yields overseas. Those rates are compared with short-term government debt yields, which are closely tied to each market’s central bank’s policies. The Fed is holding its target rate in a range between 1.75% and 2%, while rates for the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank are negative.

A bigger concern perhaps is that by boosting debt to fuel growth at a time when the unemployment rate is about 4%, the U.S. may be “opening the door to much more serious risks,” Mr. Slok said.

Those risks for the economy, which grew at a 4.1% pace in the second quarter, include the possibility that it overheats. That could force the Fed to raise interest rates quickly, risking a rise in bond yields, and accelerate the next recession, Mr. Slok said.

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/funding-secured-for-the-u-s-government-that-means-domestic-bond-buyers-1534507201

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The Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018, Breaking: Story 1: Trump Revoking Security Clearance of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators Including Former CIA Director Brennan — No Big Deal — When Will Second Special Counsel Be Appointed To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Waiting For Results Not Distractions — Videos — Story 2: Department of Justice Bruce Ohr And Christopher Steel Connection and Clinton Opposition Research Fabricated Russian Steel Dossier — Videos — Story 3: Small Business Optimism Index Hits Second Highest Level in 45 Years —

Posted on August 16, 2018. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Cosby, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computers, Congress, Countries, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Empires, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Freedom of Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, James Comey, Law, Media, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Public Corruption, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United Kingdom, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1124, August 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

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Story 1: Trump Revoking Security Clearances of Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators Including Former CIA Director Brennan — No Big Deal — When Will Second Special Counsel Be Appointed To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Waiting For Results Not Distractions — Videos

URGENT 🔴 White House EXPLOSIVE Press Briefing with Sarah Sanders on Revoking CIA Director Clearance

Watch Live: Trump revokes former CIA Director’s Clearance

BREAKING: TRUMP REVOKES SECURITY CLEARANCE OF EX-CIA DIR. JOHN BRENNAN

HE PUNISHING CRITICS IS ABUSE OF POWER”… John Brennan SCOLDS Trump’s Revoking Of Clearance

DOJ’s Bruce Ohr to testify, but where is British spy Steele?

Brennan fires back at Trump after clearance revoked

Trump FACES A BOMBSHELL From All American After He Revokes Brennan’s Security Clearance

Judicial Watch: Why Trump is Right to Revoke Security Clearance of ‘Unhinged’ John Brennan

James Clapper RESPONDS John Brennan After Trump Revokes His Security Clearance

Sanders says Trump may remove ex-intel chiefs’ security clearances

Hannity: Corruption at the highest levels of DOJ

Judicial Watch sues DOJ for communications with Steele

FBI paid Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele, heavily redacted docs show

BUSTED! John Brennan ex-CIA ‘is the key missing link’ of the Steele Dossier story

Mark Levin “Who is John Brennan…?”