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The Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018, Breaking and Developing Story 1: Part 1– Mentally Disturbed Shooter With Antisocial Personality Disorder Kills 17, Wounds 14, In No Gun Zone of Public High School in Parkland, Florida — St. Valentine’s Day Mass Shooting — Videos

Posted on February 15, 2018. Filed under: Blogroll, Breaking News, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Diseases, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, History, Language, Law, Mental Illness, Movies, News, People, Polls, Privacy, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Senate, Social Networking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  posted as soon as possible

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1013, December 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1012, December 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1011, December 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1010, December 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1009, December 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1008, December 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1007, November 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1006, November 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1005, November 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1004, November 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1003, November 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1002, November 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 999, November 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 998, November 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

Gunshots were first heard at about 2.25pm on Wednesday before Cruz, who had escaped among fleeing students, was arrested a short time later in Coral SpringsSee the source image

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BILL OF RIGHTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (1791)

Download a PDF of the Bill of Rights

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. Written by James Madison in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties, the Bill of Rights lists specific prohibitions on governmental power. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason, strongly influenced Madison.

One of the many points of contention between Federalists and Anti-Federalists was the Constitution’s lack of a bill of rights that would place specific limits on government power. Federalists argued that the Constitution did not need a bill of rights, because the people and the states kept any powers not given to the federal government. Anti-Federalists held that a bill of rights was necessary to safeguard individual liberty.

Madison, then a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, went through the Constitution itself, making changes where he thought most appropriate. But several Representatives, led by Roger Sherman, objected that Congress had no authority to change the wording of the Constitution itself. Therefore, Madison’s changes were presented as a list of amendments that would follow Article VII.

The House approved 17 amendments. Of these 17, the Senate approved 12. Those 12 were sent to the states for approval in August of 1789. Of those 12, 10 were quickly approved (or, ratified). Virginia’s legislature became the last to ratify the amendments on December 15, 1791.

The Bill of Rights is a list of limits on government power. For example, what the Founders saw as the natural right of individuals to speak and worship freely was protected by the First Amendment’s prohibitions on Congress from making laws establishing a religion or abridging freedom of speech. For another example, the natural right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion in one’s home was safeguarded by the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirements.

Other precursors to the Bill of Rights include English documents such as the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the English Bill of Rights, and the Massachusetts Body of Liberties.

THE BILL OF RIGHTS – FULL TEXT

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/

Updated February 15, 2018

Breaking and Developing Story 1: Mentally Disturbed Shooter With Antisocial Personality Disorder Kills 17, Wounds 14, In No Gun Zone of Public High School in Parkland, Florida — St. Valentine’s Day Mass Shooting — Videos

19-year-old Nikolas Cruz ordered held without bond

School shooting renews gun control vs. mental health debate

Sheriff: At least 17 dead in Florida school shooting

Tucker Carlson Tonight 02/15/18 8PM | February 15, 2018 Breaking News

Florida school shooting: Broward County Sheriff gives update | ABC News

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Can Congress legislate an end to school shootings?

#SchoolShootings Coverage: Blame #Trump and #Guns But Never #PsychMeds Per #BigPharma Instructions

#FloridaShooting #DeepStateMedia Lies: Ignoring Insanity, Shielding #BigPharma, Glorifying Killers

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Things you hear after every US mass shooting

‘We don’t need more gun control, we need more idiot control’: Senators weigh in on Florida shooting

Florida Sen Bill Nelson calls for more gun control within hours after Florida school shooting

How Presidents have responded to school shootings

Everything the Mainstream Media News Doesn’t Want You to Know About Gun Violence

Ben Shapiro Thoughts On The Florida Mass Shooting

Gun Control Won’t Save Lives, But Internet Free Speech and a Better Education System Might

Tucker: Calls for gun control are a kind of class warfare

AR-15 at center of gun control debate after school shooting

Hannity: How to address the school security problem

R-15 at center of gun control debate after school shooting

Florida Sen Bill Nelson calls for more gun control within hours after Florida school shooting

Lionel Interviews Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America on #FloridaSchoolShooting

John Lott: The War on Guns

John Lott: “When Countries Impose Gun Bans Murder Rates Go Up”

John Lott: Why More Guns Equal Less Crime

More Guns Mean Less Crime: The Most Rigorously Comprehensive Data Analysis (2000)

Las Vegas Massacre: John Lott discusses gun laws and ownership

The Port Arthur Massacre – Australia’s Worst Shooting Spree in History (Crime Documentary)

Published on Mar 10, 2017
The Port Arthur Massacre – Australia’s Worst Shooting Spree in History (Crime Documentary) The Port Arthur massacre of 28–29 April 1996 was a massacre in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded. It occurred mainly at the historic Port Arthur former prison colony, a popular tourist site in south-eastern Tasmania, Australia. It was the deadliest mass shooting in Australian history, and amongst the worst in the world.[3] Martin Bryant, a 28-year-old from New Town, a suburb of Hobart, was found guilty of the shootings and given 35 life sentences without possibility of parole. Following the incident, it emerged in the media that Bryant had significant intellectual disabilities. He is now imprisoned in the Wilfred Lopes Centre near the Risdon Prison Complex. Following the spree, the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, introduced strict gun control laws within Australia and formulated the National Firearms Programme Implementation Act 1996, restricting the private ownership of high capacity semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and pump-action shotguns as well as introducing uniform firearms licensing. It was implemented with bipartisan support by the Commonwealth, states and territories.

Norway’s Utoeya massacre: 5 years on – BBC News

BBC This World – Norway’s Massacre

REVEALED: Expelled gunman in gas mask and armed with smoke grenades ‘SET OFF fire alarm so he could draw students into halls for maximum devastation’ before shooting dead 17 people

  • Former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida
  • Broward Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed that 17 people had been killed and dozens more were injured
  • Cruz was armed with at least one AR-15 rifle and had ‘multiple magazines’ when he stormed the school
  • Investigators are now looking into whether Cruz may have pulled the fire alarm to draw people into halls 
  • The teenager had been expelled from the school last year for unknown ‘disciplinary reasons’ 
  • Police say the shooter managed to evade police by fleeing the school with hundreds of terrified students 
  • He was tracked down in a nearby neighborhood after authorities reviewed surveillance footage 
  • Traumatized students said that once they heard reports of a mass shooting at the school they knew it would be Cruz, while one teacher said he had been identified as a potential threat to his classmates last year 
  • Some students barricaded themselves inside their classrooms while others were seen sprinting away from the school as police and SWAT teams swarmed the building
  • A student who claims to know Cruz said the suspected gunman was a ‘troubled kid’ and obsessed with guns
The teen gunman who shot dead 17 people at a Florida high school is believed to have set off the fire alarms to draw people out into the halls before he opened fire – and then managed to evade police by pretending to be one of the terrified students running for cover.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday afternoon armed with an assault rifle. He was taken into custody off the school campus about an hour after the shooting broke out.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz was a former student at the school but had been expelled for unknown ‘disciplinary reasons’ last year.

Cruz was armed with at least one AR-15 rifle, had ‘multiple magazines’ and smoke grenades when he stormed the school wearing a gas mask and killed 17 students and staff.

The first of the 17 victims have now been identified as 46-year-old athletic director Chris Hixon and student Jaime Guttenburg. According to Local 10 News, her parents Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg said she died in the shooting, while their son, Jesse, made it home.

Investigators are now looking into whether Cruz may have pulled the fire alarm to draw people into halls so he could get a higher death toll.

Scroll down for video

Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested after he stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday afternoon armed with an assault rifle

The suspected gunman was checked out at a hospital after his arrest (above in a hospital gown) and is now being held at a secure location in a public building

The suspected gunman was checked out at a hospital after his arrest (above in a hospital gown) and is now being held at a secure location in a public building

Gunshots were first heard at about 2.25pm on Wednesday before Cruz, who had escaped among fleeing students, was arrested a short time later in Coral Springs

Gunshots were first heard at about 2.25pm on Wednesday before Cruz, who had escaped among fleeing students, was arrested a short time later in Coral Springs

A number of students have said they thought they heard the fire alarm right before the first shots were fired and many were in the process of evacuating. The school had already had a fire drill earlier that day, leaving many of the students confused.

‘People were halfway down the stairwell, it just stopped, the alarm stopped. We heard gunshots coming from the first floor… and people were running upstairs. We all got upstairs and into our classroom. As (my teacher) was closing the door he was actually shot and killed right there. The door was left open the whole time so as (Cruz) walked by the door was open. He could have walked in at any time,’ a student named Alex WSNV.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz was a former student at the school but had been expelled for unknown 'disciplinary reasons' last year 

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz was a former student at the school but had been expelled for unknown ‘disciplinary reasons’ last year

Authorities quickly started dissecting the shooter’s social media accounts in a bid to piece together a motive for the deadly shooting. Sheriff Israel reported that some of things the shooter had been posting was ‘very disturbing’.

Traumatized students said that once they heard reports of a mass shooting at the school they knew it would be Cruz, while one teacher said he had been identified as a potential threat to his classmates last year.

Matthew Walker, a 17-year-old student at the school, told WFOR-TV that all his classmates ‘knew it was going to be him.’

‘A lot of people were saying it was going to be him,’ he said. ‘A lot of kids threw jokes around saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school. It turns out that everyone predicted it. That’s crazy.’

‘He was going class to class just shooting at random kids,’ he said. ‘Everything he posts (on social media) is about weapons. It’s sick.’

Math teacher Jim Gard, who taught Cruz last year, told the Miami Herald: ‘We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him. There were problems with him last year threatening students and I guess he was asked to leave campus.’

Another student took to social media claiming Cruz had mental health issues that were ‘ignored by all the adults’.

‘He literally had an Instagram where he posted pictures of animals he killed gruesomely and he physically assaulted one of my friends once,’ the student added.

As a high school freshman, Cruz was part of the US military-sponsored Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp program at the school.

Cruz was adopted as an infant and raised by Roger and Lynda Cruz, a family member told ABC News. Family say his adoptive mother died a few months ago.

ct, wearing a maroon colored top, is taken into custody two hours after opening fire on his high school

The suspected gunman was checked out at a hospital after his arrest (above in a hospital gown) and is now being held at a secure location in a public building

The suspected gunman was checked out at a hospital after his arrest (above in a hospital gown) and is now being held at a secure location in a public building

A student, on a stretcher, is loaded into the back of an ambulance after the mass shooting on Wednesday afternoon

A student, on a stretcher, is loaded into the back of an ambulance after the mass shooting on Wednesday afternoon

Authorities inspect the AR-15 rifle the teen gunman used in the mass shooting on Wednesday

Authorities inspect the AR-15 rifle the teen gunman used in the mass shooting on Wednesday

The first victim of the mass shooting has been identified as 46-year-old athletic director Chris Hixon

Student Jaime Guttenburg (pictured) has also been identified as a victim, according to Local 10 News . Her parents Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg said she died in the shooting, while their son, Jesse, made it home

Student Jaime Guttenburg (pictured) has also been identified as a victim, according to Local 10 News . Her parents Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg said she died in the shooting, while their son, Jesse, made it home

Student Jaime Guttenburg (pictured) has also been identified as a victim, according to Local 10 News . Her parents Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg said she died in the shooting, while their son, Jesse, made it home

Sources told CNN that the gunman purchased the rifle in the past year and passed a required background check to obtain it.

He had been living in a mobile home with a student for the last three months in Lantana, about 30 miles north of Parkland, according to Fox News.

An attorney for the family Cruz lived with said he already owned the weapon before he moved in with them.

Family lawyer Jim Lewis said: ‘It was his gun. The family made him keep it in a locked gun cabinet in the house but he had a key.’

Police said the gunman started firing before he entered the school building and left behind a deadly trail.

Twelve of the people shot dead were found dead inside the school building, two more were killed just outside the school and another in a nearby street. Two other people died later after being rushed to hospital.

Police arrived at the scene to find hundreds of students fleeing the school. They later learned the shooter had concealed himself in the crowd and was among those running off the campus.

Investigators were able to identify him after trawling surveillance video. He was arrested about and hour after the shooting first broke out when police cornered him in a nearby neighborhood.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott joined law enforcement agents near the site of the deadly school shooting on Wednesday night and offered his condolences to the victims’ families and survivors.

He said the attack that claimed at least 17 lives was ‘just absolutely pure evil.’

Scott added that he couldn’t imagine what the families of the victims are going through. He also said he would be visiting hospitalized survivors.

Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County also said at the news conference that 12 of the dead have been identified but some weren’t carrying identification and that slowed confirmation efforts. The families were being notified.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said the state would cover funeral expenses for the victims and counseling for survivors.

had posted multiple photos on his Instagram of him posing with various weapons. Authorities have already started dissecting his social media accounts and reported that some of things he had been posting was ‘very disturbing’

Shocking: Victims of the shooting were being treated on the sidewalk while the gunman was reported to still be at large and law enforcement officers from multiple agencies were flooding the area
 Shocking: Victims of the shooting were being treated on the sidewalk while the gunman was reported to still be at large and law enforcement officers from multiple agencies were flooding the area
At around 4pm, two hours after the shooter first opened fire, police and SWAT teams took him into custody.

Aerial footage showed him wearing a maroon or burgundy colored sweatshirt as he was put in the back of a cruiser by half a dozens officers.

Meanwhile, horrifying video filmed from inside a classroom captured the moment the shooter, who was wearing a gas mask, burst in and began shooting at his fellow students as they screamed in terror.

The students were spotted sitting or lying on the classroom floor, trying to avoid being hit, as rapid gunfire was heard nearby. One girl’s hysterical screams were suddenly cut off during the shocking clip.

Desperate parents and relatives of students still locked down in the high school rushed to the scene to find out if their children were among the injured.

One mother, Michelle, whose daughter was inside, said there at least 20 students and teachers still barricaded in the school buildings. The unnamed mom said her daughter sent her a text that said: ‘There’s been a shooting in school… and it’s for real.’

‘My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,’ he wrote.

He added that he’d spoken with Florida Governor Rick Scott and ‘we are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.’

White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement: ‘The president has been made aware of the school shooting in Florida. We are monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.’

Police asked parents to tell children still inside to ‘remain calm and barricaded until police come to their room’.

A student, who was not identified, but claims to know Cruz told WSVN he was obsessed with guns and showed him pictures of them on his phone.

‘He’s been a troubled kid and he’s always had a certain amount of issues going on. He shot guns because he felt it gave him, I guess, an exhilarating feeling.’

He added that Cruz made him nervous.

‘I stayed clear of him most of the time. My time in alternate school, I did not want to be with him at all because I didn’t want to cause any conflict with him because of the impression he gave off.’

The incident comes just a few weeks after a 15-year-old boy opened fire at his rural Kentucky high school, killing two and injuring more than two dozen others

 

Public defender puts arm around shackled and cowering Florida gunman at his first court appearance: ‘White supremacist’ is silent as he is ordered to be held without bond for killing 17 people

  • Nikolas Cruz, 19, was ordered held without bail during his first court appearance on Thursday 
  • His public defender, Melisa McNeil, comforted him by putting a hand around his shoulder during the hearing
  • The teen faces 17 counts of premeditated murder – charges that carry the death penalty in Florida
  • Cruz killed 17 and injured more than a dozen when he opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida Wednesday afternoon    
  • Details are beginning to surface about Cruz, whose adoptive mother died in November from pneumonia 
  • Cruz was kicked out of the the high school last year for allegedly getting into a fight 
  • A man also reported Cruz to the FBI last year for writing an online post saying he was going to be a shooter 
  • He has also been connected to a white supremacist organization, the Republic of Florida 
  • When gunfire rang out Wednesday afternoon, several students said they knew the gunman would be Cruz
  • Many pointed to Cruz’s disturbing social media, where he allegedly posted pictures of animals he killed
  • President Trump said in a tweet Thursday morning that there were signs that the shooter was ‘mentally disturbed’ – and entreated Americans to report similar people to the authorities

A cowering Nikolas Cruz was comforted by his public defender as he was ordered held without bail during his first court appearance on Thursday, in connection to the deadly shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school on Wednesday that left 17 dead and 14 injured.

The 19-year-old wore an orange jump suit and shackles on his wrists and ankles as he was officially charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

He kept his eyes down and didn’t speak in court today, other than to confirm his name with a polite ‘yes ma’am’ to the judge.

Standing next to him was his public defender, Melisa McNeil, who comforted him by putting a hand around his shoulder.

After the hearing, Cruz’s defense team revealed that he was on suicide watch and that he understood the magnitude of his actions.

McNeill told reporters gathered outside the courtroom that her client was sad and remorseful.

‘He’s sad. He’s mournful. He’s remorseful. He is fully aware of what is going on, and he’s just a broken human being,’ she said.

She became emotional while speaking to reporters, saying she’s fully aware of the impact the shooting has had on the community, as a parent herself.

‘I had to have the exact same conversation that every parent in Broward had to have with their children this morning, then I had to walk and meet with him,’ McNeill said. ‘I’m fully aware of the impact this has on the people who live here.

According to her LinkedIn, she has worked in the homicide division of the Broward public defender’s office since 2000.

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Cruz (left and right in orange) mostly kept his head down for the brief bond hearing on Thursday

'He¿s sad. He¿s mournful. He¿s remorseful. He is fully aware of what is going on, and he¿s just a broken human being,' Cruz's public defender Melissa McNeil (pictured) said after the court hearing 

‘He’s sad. He’s mournful. He’s remorseful. He is fully aware of what is going on, and he’s just a broken human being,’ Cruz’s public defender Melissa McNeil (pictured) said after the court hearing

Gordon Weekes (pictured), who is also representing Cruz, said the teen 'is deeply troubled and he has endured significant trauma that stems from the loss of his mother'

Gordon Weekes (pictured), who is also representing Cruz, said the teen ‘is deeply troubled and he has endured significant trauma that stems from the loss of his mother’

Another member of the defense team, Gordon Weeks, was brought to tears as he addressed reporters, telling them that Cruz ‘recognizes’ what he has done and is ‘deeply sad’.

‘He is dealing with the shock of all this that’s going on,’ Weeks said.

McNeill and Weeks said that Cruz suffers from autism, depression and has dealt with significant psychological problems – all without the sort of support system that most people have.

‘When your brain is not fully developed, you don’t know how to deal with these things,’ McNeil said. ‘That’s the child I’m sitting across from.’

Weeks added: ‘The child is deeply troubled and he has endured significant trauma that stems from the loss of his mother.’

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has said she is ‘certain’ prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty for the teen shooter.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel revealed on Thursday afternoon that Cruz had tried to mix in with a group of students fleeing the school before stopping at fast food restaurants after the attack.

The sheriff said Cruz headed to a Wal-Mart and bought a drink at a Subway restaurant before walking to a McDonald’s. Cruz was confronted by a police officer and taken into custody about 40 minutes after leaving the McDonald’s.

Cruz was initially taken to the hospital to be treated for ‘labored breathing’.

He was soon released to the police who spent most of the night questioning Cruz, trying to make sense of the horrific school shooting – now the third deadliest in American history.

The fact that it was the 30th mass shooting so far this year has spurred activists to call on Congress again to revamp the nation’s gun control policies. President Trump, a staunch defender of the National Rifle Association, said at a press conference on Thursday that the real issue lawmakers need to tackle is mental health, not guns.

Meanwhile, details are starting to emerge about the shooter, who recently was orphaned, stopped getting mental health treatment about a year ago and even had ties to a white supremacist group.

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School painted the picture of a weird and disturbed teen who sold knives out of a lunchbox, bragged about killing animals and was finally kicked out of school for fighting and carrying bullets in his backpack.

An FBI official also said Thursday that they were warned – not once, but twice – about the shooter. One of the warnings came in September, from a bail bondsman in Mississippi who alerted the feds about an alarming online message Cruz wrote saying he was ‘going to be a professional school shooter’ 

This photo provided by the Broward County Jail shows Nikolas Cruz, the teen suspected of killing 17 and injuring more than a dozen in a school shooting on Wednesday in Florida

This photo provided by the Broward County Jail shows Nikolas Cruz, the teen suspected of killing 17 and injuring more than a dozen in a school shooting on Wednesday in Florida

Cruz was dressed in a hospital uniform as he was seen leaving the Broward County Sheriff’s Office early Thursday morning

He was given an orange jumpsuit after arriving at the county jail Thursday morning  

He was given an orange jumpsuit after arriving at the county jail Thursday morning

 

Ben Bennight says he alerted the FBI to a comment shared by Cruz on one of his YouTube videos back in September. He says the FBI was quick to respond to the concerning statement, arriving at his office the very next day to find out if he knew anything about the young man.

He didn’t hear from the FBI again until after the shooting on Wednesday. At a press conference Thursday morning, an FBI official said they followed up on the report but were ‘unable to further identify the person who made the comment’.

Broward County Mayor Beam Furr also revealed that Cruz had been getting treatment at a mental health clinic for a while, but hadn’t been back to the clinic in more than a year.

‘It wasn’t like there wasn’t concern for him,’ Furr told CNN. ‘We try to keep our eyes out on those kids who aren’t connected. … In this case we didn’t find a way to connect with this kid.’

Former President Obama tweeted on Thursday that he was 'grieving with Parkland' while calling for stricter gun control laws

President Trump and former President Obama weighed in on the tragedy with tweets on Thursday

Trump spoke about the shooting at a mid-morning press conference from the White House

Trump spoke about the shooting at a mid-morning press conference from the White House

Authorities offered no immediate details about Cruz or his possible motive, except to say that he had been kicked out of the high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which has about 3,000 students.

Officials wouldn’t say why exactly Cruz had been expelled, but fellow students said it was because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend and because he was caught with bullets in his backpack.

Authorities quickly started dissecting the shooter’s social media accounts in a bid to piece together the motive. Sheriff Israel reported that some of things the shooter had been posting was ‘very disturbing’.

In one Instagram post, Cruz posted a screengrab of Google search results for ‘what does allahu akbar’ mean. Allahu Akbar means ‘God is great’ in Arabic, and is something Islamist terrorist often shout before attacks.

He captioned the photo: ‘Well at least we know what it means when a sand durka [a racial expletive for an Arab person] says ‘allahu akbar’ [laughing face emojis].’

ABC News reported Thursday that Cruz appeared to have ties to a white nationalist group called the Republic of Florida. A spokesman for the group confirmed Cruz was a member.

Cruz's Instagram is filled with disturbing posts of what appears to be himself showing off weapons, his face sometimes covered, along with other disturbing images and captions

Cruz’s Instagram is filled with disturbing posts of what appears to be himself showing off weapons, his face sometimes covered, along with other disturbing images and captions

In one Instragram post, Cruz posted a screengrab of Google search results for 'what does allahu akbar' mean. Allahu Akbar means 'God is great' in Arabic, and is something Islamist terrorist often shout before attacks. He captioned the photo: 'Well at least we know what it means when a [racial lslur] says "allahu akbar" [laughing face emojis].'

In one Instragram post, Cruz posted a screengrab of Google search results for ‘what does allahu akbar’ mean. Allahu Akbar means ‘God is great’ in Arabic, and is something Islamist terrorist often shout before attacks. He captioned the photo: ‘Well at least we know what it means when a [racial lslur] says ‘allahu akbar’ [laughing face emojis].’

Cause for concern: 'I'm going to be a professional school shooter.' wrote Cruz on a video that had been shared by YouTube vlogger Ben Bennight (Cruz's comment above) 

Cause for concern: ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter.’ wrote Cruz on a video that had been shared by YouTube vlogger Ben Bennight (Cruz’s comment above)

The group describes itself as a ‘white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics’ and seeks to create a ‘white ethnostate’ in Florida.

The leader of the group, Jordan Jereb, told the Anti-Defamation League that Cruz was brought into the group by another member and had participated in training exercises with the group.

Jereb said that Cruz was not ordered to pull off the shooting and that they are not a terrorist organization.

He added to ABC News that he had not seen Cruz in ‘some time’ but after the shooting on Wednesday ‘he knew he would be getting this call’.

He also said he had ‘trouble with a girl’ and he believed the timing of the attack, carried out on Valentine’s Day, wasn’t a coincidence.

A law enforcement official says he knows of ‘no known ties’ between the suspect who confessed to a deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school and a white supremacist group.

Lt. Grady Jordan is a spokesman for the Leon County Sheriff’s Office in Tallahassee, where the white nationalist militia known as the Republic of Florida is based.

He says his office has ‘very solid’ information on the group and ‘there’s no known ties that we have that we can connect’ 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz with the group.

Cruz suffered a major blow in November when his adoptive mother Lynda Cruz, 68, died of pneumonia. Lynda was apparently the only person Cruz was close with.

‘Lynda was very close to them,’ her sister-in-law Barbara Kumbatovic told The Washington Post. ‘She put a lot of time and effort into those boys, trying to give them a good life and upbringing.’

Lynda and her husband, who died of a heart attack several years ago, adopted Cruz and his biological brother, Zachary, after the couple moved from Long Island in New York to Broward County. Cruz was an infant when he was adopted. It’s unclear if he was adopted from the U.S. or aboard. Adopted children from abroad sometimes have issues adjusting due to neglect in their orphanages, especially children from Russia.

Tyra Hemans, a 19-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, sobs as she holds signs honoring slain teachers and friends near the police cordon around the school in Parkland Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018

Tyra Hemans, a 19-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, sobs as she holds signs honoring slain teachers and friends near the police cordon around the school in Parkland Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018

A man with a sign is seen after the news conference in the hallway outside the courtroom where Nikolas Cruz appeared via video at a bond court hearing after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018

A man with a sign is seen after the news conference in the hallway outside the courtroom where Nikolas Cruz appeared via video at a bond court hearing after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018

The White House flag was lowered to half-staff on Thursday in remembrance of the victims who died in the shooting on Wednesday

The White House flag was lowered to half-staff on Thursday in remembrance of the victims who died in the shooting on Wednesday

The shooting was the 30th mass shooting of the year, a fact that has propelled many, including Kim Kardashian, to demand Congress enact stricter gun control laws

The shooting was the 30th mass shooting of the year, a fact that has propelled many, including Kim Kardashian, to demand Congress enact stricter gun control laws

A group of police officers stand guard in front of the entrance of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on Thursday 

A group of police officers stand guard in front of the entrance of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on Thursday

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, right, speaks to reporters at a Thursday morning press conference about the shooter

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, right, speaks to reporters at a Thursday morning press conference about the shooter

City, county and state officials release balloons in honor of the victims during a prayer vigil for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting at Parkridge Church in Coral Springs, Florida on February 15, 2018

City, county and state officials release balloons in honor of the victims during a prayer vigil for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting at Parkridge Church in Coral Springs, Florida on February 15, 2018

While his brother was quiet and liked to stay indoors, Cruz constantly got into trouble and appeared to have ’emotional issues’.

‘Lynda dealt with it like most parents did. She was probably too good to him,’ Kumbatovic said. ‘She was a lovely woman. She was a hard-working woman. She made a beautiful home for them. She put a lot of effort and time into their schooling, their recreation, whatever they needed. She was a good parent. And she went over and above because she needed to compensate for being a single parent.’

She added: ‘I don’t think it had anything to do with his upbringing. It could have been the loss of his mom. I don’t know.’

Longtime Cruz family neighbors Malcolm and Christine Roxburgh told the Sun Sentinel that the police came to the boy’s house many times, as he used to get in trouble and harass people. He didn’t have an arrest record though.

Malcolm Roxburgh said a neighbor across the street kept pigs, and Nicolas Cruz targeted the family.

‘He didn’t like the pigs and didn’t like the neighbors, so he sent over his dog over there to try to attack them,’ Roxburgh said. Another neighbor, Shelby Speno, said she once witnessed Cruz shooting at chickens owned by another resident.

Roxburgh’s wife said she once caught Cruz peeking in her window.

‘I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ He said he was looking for golf balls. I said, ‘This isn’t the golf course,” she said.

And, the couple said, when the boy didn’t want to go to school, he would bang his head against a cement wall. They were scared of him. ‘He could have killed any of us,’ Christine Roxburgh said.

After their mother’s death, the boys were left in the care of a family friend – but Cruz didn’t stay there very long.

Classes for the rest of the week have been cancelled at the school in Parkland, Florida (pictured above on Thursday)

Classes for the rest of the week have been cancelled at the school in Parkland, Florida (pictured above on Thursday)

There continued to be a police presence on the campus on Thursday. Investigators were no doubt continuing to comb the scene for clues

There continued to be a police presence on the campus on Thursday. Investigators were no doubt continuing to comb the scene for clues

Pictured above is the Broward County Jail where Cruz is being held pending his trial  

Pictured above is the Broward County Jail where Cruz is being held pending his trial

Unhappy there, Cruz asked to move in with a friend at a mobile home park in northwest Broward. The friend’s family agreed and Cruz moved into his own room in the home around Thanksgiving.

‘The family brought him into their home,’ the family’s attorney, Jim Lewis, said. ‘They got him a job at a local dollar store. They didn’t see anything that would suggest any violence. He was depressed, maybe a little quirky. But they never saw anything violent. … He was just a little depressed and seemed to be working through it.’

Cruz brought his AR-15 rifle with him to the family’s home, where it was kept in a locked cabinet that the teen had a key to. Sources told CNN that the gunman purchased the rifle in the past year and passed a required background check to obtain it. Two federal law enforcement officials said the Smith & Wesson M&P rifle was purchased legally at Sunrise Tactical Supply in Coral Springs, Florida. Federal law allows people 18 and over to legally purchase long guns. At 21, people can legally buy handguns from a licensed dealer.

While living with the family, Lewis started going to a school for at-risk youth. Usually every morning, the father of the family would drive Cruz to school, but on Wednesday he overslept and then gave a cryptic reason why.

‘He said, ‘It’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t go to school on Valentine’s Day,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the family is devastated and didn’t see this coming. The family’s son was a junior at the school and was there when the shooting happened. Lewis said the family is cooperating and no one there is suspected of wrongdoing, he added.

The family’s cream-colored home was empty Thursday morning but in the backyard a bullet-riddled Bud Light can was stuck on a twig of an avocado tree overlooking a creek.

How were at least 15 warning signs missed for Nikolas Cruz?

1. ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter’

Nikolas Cruz left a comment on a YouTube video back in September using his own name that simply read: ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter’

2. FBI was warned about the comment but couldn’t identify him

Vlogger Ben Bennight alerted the FBI to the comment shared by Cruz. The FBI was quick to respond, arriving at his office the next day but only after Bennight called a local field agent, revealing his initial attempts to send in a screengrab of the comment failed when the email address he found listed on the agency’s website came back with a domain error saying it did not exist. The FBI was unable to identify the person who posted the comment.

3. Bought an AR-15 age 18

After Cruz’s mother died, he eventually moved in the the family of a former classmate, where he brought his AR-15 which was kept in a locked cabinet that he had the key to. He was able to purchase the rifle in the past year and passed a required background check. Federal law allowed people 18 and over to legally purchase long guns. At 21, people can legally buy handguns from a license dealer. Cruz was also studying marksmanship in the Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

4. Troubling Instagram page 

Cruz’s Instagram page is filled with disturbing posts of what appears to be himself showing off with weapons with his face covered, asking for advice on buying firearms, and making racist comments about Muslims.

5. Was a member of a white nationalist group and came to training exercises

Jordan Jereb claims that Cruz was a member of the Republic of Florida, which aims to make Florida its own white-entho state. Jereb claimed Cruz, who was adopted, was brought up in the organization by another member and he reportedly carpooled to at least two training exercises held by the group.

6. Boasted about hurting animals

Students who say they knew Cruz claimed he liked to kill animals.

‘He was crazy because he liked to kill small things, like little animals – frogs and other animals like that and he just had a crazy mind,’ one told 10ABC news.

Another classmate claims he would tell him he shot rats with a BB gun.

7. Took knives and bullets to school

Former classmate Joshua Charo, 16, said all he ‘would talk about is guns, knives and hunting’.

Another student said he started selling knives out of a lunchbox when he started high school, while he was also found to be carrying bullet casings in his bag.

8. Was banned from carrying a backpack

Jim Gard, a math teacher, who had Cruz in his class last year, said he believes the school sent out an email warning teachers he shouldn’t be allowed on campus with a backpack.

‘There were problems with him last year threatening students and I guess he was asked to leave campus’.

9. Expelled for fighting

The deeply troubled ‘loner’ was expelled last year for ‘fighting over his ex-girlfriend’ with her new boyfriend.

10. Abusive to his ex-girlfriend

Students claim the gunman was abusive to his girlfriend

11. Stalked another girl

Mr Gard also claimed that he was taken with another student ‘to the point of stalking her’, while another student who claims to have been friends with Cruz said he had to cut him off because he started ‘going after’ and ‘threatening’ a female friend of his.

12. Peeping Tom

Neighbor Christine Rosburgh said she, and all the other neighbors, were terrified of the teen who would bang his head against a cement wall if his legal guardians tried to send him to school.

She also claims she caught him peeking in her window and when she confronted him, he said he was looking for golf balls.

‘I said, “This isn’t the golf course”.

13. Stopped his mental health treatment

Cruz had been getting treatment at a mental health clinic, but stopped about a year ago and dropped off the radar. He was showing signs of depression.

Broward County Mayor Beam Furr said: ‘It wasn’t like there wasn’t concern for him. We try to keep out eyes out on those kids who aren’t connected… In this case, we didn’t find a way to connect with this kid.’

14. Possible fetal alcohol syndrome

Natalie Brassard, a program director at the non-profit FASCETS, which works with FASD children, said some of Cruz’s characteristics ‘suggest that he might have been living with an invisible brain-based condition – it could have been FASD or many others.’

Conditions of FASD can range from mild to severe but can include learning disabilities, intellectual disability or low IQ, poor reasoning and judgment and a host of other issues.

15. Orphaned 

Cruz’s adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, 68, died of pneumonia in November last year. She was one of the only people that was remotely close to Cruz. His adoptive father Roger Cruz died of a heart attack several years ago.

After his mother died, he and his brother were left in the care of family friend Barbara Kumbatovich, of Long Island, New York, but unhappy there, he moved in with a former classmate in a mobile home park in northwest Broward.

Pictured above is the mobile home where Cruz had been staying with a friend's family before the shooting 

Pictured above is the mobile home where Cruz had been staying with a friend’s family before the shooting

In the backyard of the home, beer cans and plates were set up as shooting targets

The backyard of the home on Easter Cay Way is littered with garden furniture and toys. Eerily, a Hot Wheels toy in a container is still beeping. A tan Kia Soul stands in the driveway

The backyard of the home on Easter Cay Way is littered with garden furniture and toys. Eerily, a Hot Wheels toy in a container is still beeping. A tan Kia Soul stands in the driveway

Above, a look at a storage shed on the property. No one appeared to be home on Thursday 

Above, a look at a storage shed on the property. No one appeared to be home on Thursday

A paper plate, apparently a shooting target, was on another tree.

Few people on the Lantana Cascades estate speak English. One neighbor who would not give his name said he only met Cruz once when the people in the house introduced him.

‘He seemed like a nice kid but it was only the once,’ the elderly man said. ‘Then he was gone. I never saw him again.’

The backyard of the home on Easter Cay Way is littered with garden furniture and toys. Eerily, a Hot Wheels toy in a container is still beeping. A tan Kia Soul stands in the driveway.

Another neighbor, whose house on a neighboring street overlooks the home where Cruz had been staying, described Wednesday night on Lantana Cascades as ‘a madhouse.’

‘Dozens of police came. It was shortly after 5pm.

‘They taped two whole streets off and made those nearest the house get out. I stayed though.

‘I saw them go in and bring a lot of stuff out, but it was dark so I couldn’t see what.’

Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested after he stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday afternoon armed with an assault rifle

Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested after he stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday afternoon armed with an assault rifle

The 'heavily armed' shooter, named by police sources to DailyMail.com as former student Nicolas de Jesus Cruz, was handcuffed as he was led to the car

The suspect, wearing a maroon colored top, is taken into custody two hours after opening fire on his high school

Authorities inspect the AR-15 rifle the teen gunman used in the mass shooting on Wednesday

Authorities inspect the AR-15 rifle the teen gunman used in the mass shooting on Wednesday

The suspected gunman was checked out at a hospital after his arrest (above in a hospital gown) and is now being held at a secure location in a public building

The suspected gunman was checked out at a hospital after his arrest (above in a hospital gown) and is now being held at a secure location in a public building

Students called Cruz ‘weird’ and a ‘loner’ – even those who’d been friendly with him said they hadn’t seen him in more than a year since his expulsion.

Dakota Mutchler, 17, recalled Cruz posting on Instagram about killing animals and said he had talked about doing target practice in his backyard with a pellet gun.

I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him.
Dakota Mutchler, Stoneman Douglas High student

‘He started going after one of my friends, threatening her, and I cut him off from there,’ Mutchler said.

He said students weren’t surprised officials had identified Cruz as the shooter: ‘I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him.’

Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old junior at the school, said Cruz was expelled last school year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. She said he had been abusive to his girlfriend. Another student said that part of the reason Cruz was expelled was that he was caught carrying bullets in his backpack.

Matthew Walker, a 17-year-old student at the school, told WFOR-TV that all his classmates ‘knew it was going to be him.’

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz was a former student at the school but had been expelled for unknown 'disciplinary reasons' last year 

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz was a former student at the school but had been expelled for unknown ‘disciplinary reasons’ last year

‘A lot of people were saying it was going to be him,’ he said. ‘A lot of kids threw jokes around saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school. It turns out that everyone predicted it. That’s crazy.’

‘He was going class to class just shooting at random kids,’ he said. ‘Everything he posts (on social media) is about weapons. It’s sick.’

One teacher said he had been identified as a potential threat to his classmates last year.

Math teacher Jim Gard, who taught Cruz last year, told the Miami Herald: ‘We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him. There were problems with him last year threatening students and I guess he was asked to leave campus.’

Another student took to social media claiming Cruz had mental health issues that were ‘ignored by all the adults’.

‘He literally had an Instagram where he posted pictures of animals he killed gruesomely and he physically assaulted one of my friends once,’ the student added.

Another student, who was not identified, but claims to know Cruz, told WSVN he was obsessed with guns and showed him pictures of them on his phone.

‘He’s been a troubled kid and he’s always had a certain amount of issues going on. He shot guns because he felt it gave him, I guess, an exhilarating feeling.’

He added that Cruz made him nervous.

‘I stayed clear of him most of the time. My time in alternate school, I did not want to be with him at all because I didn’t want to cause any conflict with him because of the impression he gave off.’

He’s been a troubled kid and he’s always had a certain amount of issues going on. He shot guns because he felt it gave him, I guess, an exhilarating feeling.
Anonymous classmate of the shooter

Former classmate Joshua Charo, 16, told the Miami Herald that all Cruz ‘would talk about is guns, knives and hunting’.

‘I can’t say I was shocked. From past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this,’ Charo said.

‘He used to tell me he would shoot rats with his BB gun and he wanted this kind of gun, and how he liked to always shoot for practice,’ Charo added.

One student added that Cruz started selling knives out of a lunchbox when he started high school.

But Broward County School District Superintendent Robert Runcie said he did not know of any threats posed by Cruz to the school.

‘Typically you see in these situations that there potentially could have been signs out there,’ Runcie said. ‘I would be speculating at this point if there were, but we didn’t have any warnings. There weren’t any phone calls or threats that we know of that were made.’

As a high school freshman, Cruz was part of the US military-sponsored Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp program at the school.

 

President Trump tweeted Thursday morning, saying there were signs that the shooter was ‘mentally disturbed’.

He also entreated Americans to report similar people to the authorities.

‘So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior.

‘Neighbors and classmates knew he was such a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!’ he wrote.

Trump has cited mental health before as a cause for mass shootings, dismissing questions about gun control.

Trump spoke later in the morning about the shooting at a press conference from the White House.

Taking up the now-familiar ritual of public consolation after terrible violence, Trump spoke from the White House Diplomatic Room. In a slow, deliberate style, he sought to reassure a troubled nation as well as students’ families and shooting survivors in Florida.

‘We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also,’ Trump said. ‘No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school.’

Trump, who owns a private club in Palm Beach, Florida about 40 miles from the town of Parkland, where the shooting happened, said Thursday he was making plans to visit the grieving community.

He did not answer shouted questions about guns as he exited the room.

Staff and students walked single file outside the school as they evacuated after the shooting 

Staff and students walked single file outside the school as they evacuated after the shooting

Students were seen fleeing the building with their hands in the air, as they ran for safety from the gunman

Students were seen fleeing the building with their hands in the air, as they ran for safety from the gunman

Medical personnel tend to a bloodied victim as they help to evacuate them from the school 

Medical personnel tend to a bloodied victim as they help to evacuate them from the school

An injured female was transported from the school on a stretcher by first responders on Wednesday afternoon 

An injured female was transported from the school on a stretcher by first responders on Wednesday afternoon

TIMELINE OF FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING

2.25pm: Gunshots ring out through the corridors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The school goes into immediate lockdown.

2.30pm: Authorities respond to an active shooter at the school in Parkland where they say the shooter is still active.

3.pm: Hundreds of students flee the school with their hands raised as SWAT arrives to tackle the ongoing situation

3.30pm: Students and teachers begin posting harrowing footage from inside the school where they are trapped and unable to leave their classrooms.

4pm: Just after 4 p.m., Broward County Sheriff’s Office announced on Twitter that a suspect had been apprehended

4.30pm: The suspect – named as Nikolas Cruz – was transported handcuffed and via ambulance to local hospital where he was placed under armed guard.

Just before the shooting broke out at 2:25pm, some students thought they were having another fire drill.

Such an exercise had forced them to leave their classrooms hours earlier. So when the alarm went off Wednesday afternoon shortly before they were to be dismissed, they once again filed out into the hallways.

That’s when police say Cruz, equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets. It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago.

‘Our district is in a tremendous state of grief and sorrow,’ said Robert Runcie, superintendent of the school district in Parkland, about an hour’s drive north of Miami. ‘It is a horrible day for us.’

Police arrived at the scene to find hundreds of students fleeing the school. They later learned the shooter had concealed himself in the crowd and was among those running off the campus.

Investigators were able to identify him after trawling surveillance video. He was arrested about an hour after the shooting first broke out when police cornered him in a nearby neighborhood. He had multiple magazines of ammunition on him, authorities said.

Seventeen people were killed and more than a dozen injured.

‘It’s catastrophic. There really are no words,’ said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

A local politician told DailyMail.com that the high school has high-definition surveillance cameras that captured every single shot by Cruz and authorities are pouring through them now.

The cameras allegedly picked up Cruz walking across the empty parking lot toward the school carrying his rifle, as classes were in session.

The two school resource officers, from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, are supposed to monitor the perimeter.

DailyMail.com reached out to the sheriff’s office for comment, but they did not respond.

Students released from a lockdown embrace following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Students released from a lockdown embrace following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Students are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, after a shooter opened fire on the campus

Students are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, after a shooter opened fire on the campus

Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Terrified students barricaded themselves in their classrooms as the shooter prowled the halls, armed with an assault rifle

Terrified students barricaded themselves in their classrooms as the shooter prowled the halls, armed with an assault rifle

Frantic parents rushed to the school to find SWAT team members and ambulances surrounding the huge campus and emergency workers who appeared to be treating the wounded on sidewalks. Students who hadn’t run began leaving in a single-file line with their hands over their heads as officers urged them to evacuate quickly.

Hearing loud bangs as the shooter fired, many of the students inside hid under desks or in closets, and barricaded doors.

‘We were in the corner, away from the windows,’ said freshman Max Charles, who said he heard five gunshots. ‘The teacher locked the door and turned off the light. I thought maybe I could die or something.’

As he was leaving the building, he saw four dead students and one dead teacher. He said he was relieved when he finally found his mother.

‘I was happy that I was alive,’ Max said. ‘She was crying when she saw me.’

Noah Parness, a 17-year-old junior, said he and the other students calmly went outside to their fire-drill areas when he suddenly heard popping sounds.

‘We saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint,’ Parness said. ‘I hopped a fence.’

Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN that Cruz had pulled the fire alarm ‘so the kids would come pouring out of the classrooms into the hall.’

‘And there the carnage began,’ said Nelson, who said he was briefed by the FBI.

Students released from a lockdown are overcome with emotion following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Students released from a lockdown are overcome with emotion following following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018

The scene was reminiscent of the Newtown attack, which shocked even a country numbed by the regularity of school shootings. The December 14, 2012, assault at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 26 people: 20 first-graders and six staff members. The 20-year-old gunman, who also fatally shot his mother in her bed, then killed himself.

Not long after Wednesday’s attack in Florida, Michael Nembhard was sitting in his garage on a cul-de-sac when he saw a young man in a burgundy shirt walking down the street. In an instant, a police cruiser pulled up, and officers jumped out with guns drawn.

‘All I heard was ‘Get on the ground! Get on the ground!” Nembhard said. He said Cruz did as he was told.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott joined law enforcement agents near the site of the deadly school shooting on Wednesday night and offered his condolences to the victims’ families and survivors.

Scott said that he couldn’t imagine what the families of the victims are going through. He also said he would be visiting hospitalized survivors.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said the state would cover funeral expenses for the victims and counseling for survivors.

The school will be closed for the rest of the week.

Gunshots were first heard at about 2.25pm on Wednesday before Cruz, who had escaped among fleeing students, was arrested a short time later in Coral Springs

Gunshots were first heard at about 2.25pm on Wednesday before Cruz, who had escaped among fleeing students, was arrested a short time later in Coral Springs

Majory Stoneman Douglas High School is located in Parkland, west of Boca Raton, in Florida 

Majory Stoneman Douglas High School is located in Parkland, west of Boca Raton, in Florida

South Florida remained on edge on Thursday. Miami’s main criminal courthouse building was put on lockdown after an unspecified threat was reported, Miami-Dade County’s state attorney said on Twitter.

Another Broward school briefly also went on lockdown after reports of a shooting, which turned out to be unfounded, local media reported.

A law enforcement officer is assigned to every school in the Broward County district, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High board member Donna Korn told a local newspaper. The sheriff’s office also provides active shooter training and schools have a single point of entry, she said.

‘We have prepared the campuses, but sometimes people still find a way to let these horrific things happen,’ Korn said.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is in Parkland – Florida’s safest city last year.

It’s also a lucrative area to live because the schools are so good.

The incident comes just a few weeks after a 15-year-old boy opened fire at his rural Kentucky high school, killing two and injuring more than two dozen others.

It’s the 30th mass shooting of the year and the third-deadliest school shooting in American history, behind Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech.

PICTURED: Fourteen students, geography teacher, coach and athletic director shot dead in Florida high school massacre

Jaime Guttenberg, 14, was described by relatives as a 'kind-hearted, sweet' girl. She attended the school with her younger brother who survived and rushed home afterwards

Senior Nicholas Dworet was a gifted swimmer who had his sights set on 2020 Tokyo Olympics success. His devastated college student girlfriend is among those grieving his death. Friends said he was not just a talented athlete, but a 'good guy' who will be missed

Jaime Guttenberg, 14, (left) was described by relatives as a ‘kind-hearted, sweet’ girl. She attended the school with her younger brother who survived and rushed home afterwards. Senior Nicholas Dworet (right) was a gifted swimmer who had his sights set on 2020 Tokyo Olympics success. His devastated college student girlfriend is among those grieving his death. Friends said he was not just a talented athlete, but a ‘good guy’ who will be missed

Martin Duque, 14, was missing for hours on Wednesday and his frantic family desperately appealed for him to get in touch on social media. On Thursday, his older brother Miguel confirmed his death. Martin was a freshman

Meadow Pollack, 18, was preparing for college. Her father was at the school on Wednesday and showed her photograph around in the hope that she would be found alive

Martin Duque, 14, (left) was missing for hours on Wednesday and his frantic family desperately appealed for him to get in touch on social media. On Thursday, his older brother Miguel confirmed his death. Martin was a freshman. Meadow Pollack, 18, (right) was preparing for college. Her father was at the school on Wednesday and showed her photograph around in the hope that she would be found alive

Alyssa Alhadeff, 15, (seen right) was eulogized by her mother who said she was a talented soccer player and creative mind. 'All she had to offer the world was love... I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed,' she said

Alyssa Alhadeff, 15, was eulogized by her mother who said she was a talented soccer player and creative mind. 'All she had to offer the world was love... I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed,' she said

Cara Loughran (left) was missing on Wednesday afternoon. Her mother Denise and her father rushed to the designated hotel where parents were told to go to be reunited with their children in the hope that she would be found alive. Her grieving neighbor confirmed her death on Thursday. Alyssa Alhadeff, 15, (right) was eulogized by her mother who said she was a talented soccer player and creative mind. ‘All she had to offer the world was love… I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed,’ she said

Luke Hoyer, 15, was described as a 'precious' child by his grandparents who confirmed his death. They found out about the shooting on television. They said he was a 'good kid' who 'never got in trouble'

Joaquin Oliver, 17, was also killed. Joaquin was a Venezuelan immigrant who came to the US with his family for a 'better future', they said on Thursday

Luke Hoyer, 15, (left) was described as a ‘precious’ child by his grandparents who confirmed his death. They found out about the shooting on television. They said he was a ‘good kid’ who ‘never got in trouble’. Joaquin Oliver, 17, (right) was also killed. Joaquin was a Venezuelan immigrant who came to the US with his family for a ‘better future’, they said on Thursday

Gina Montalto, 15, was described as a 'light and joy'. She and Jaime, another victim, volunteered at a local project called The Friendship Initiative where they acted as buddies for children with special needs. Gina's mother Jennifer shared pleas to find her on social media on Wednesday

Alaina Petty, 14, was also killed. Her Mormon church confirmed her death, saying she was a 'valiant' member

Gina Montalto, 15, (left) was described as a ‘light and joy’. She and Jaime, another victim, volunteered at a local project called The Friendship Initiative where they acted as buddies for children with special needs. Gina’s mother Jennifer shared pleas to find her on social media on Wednesday. Alaina Petty, 14, (right) was also killed. Her Mormon church confirmed her death, saying she was a ‘valiant’ member

Carmen Schentrup, 16, was also killed in the shooting. Carmen was a gifted student who last year was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. It includes students who score above average in their SATs or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

ROTC student Peter Wang, 15, also died. His parents speak little English and relied on their neighbor to post social media appeals looking for him. They went to the Marriott hotel with other parents to wait for news of him on Wednesday night and have since confirmed that he was among those killed

Carmen Schentrup, 16, (left) was also killed in the shooting. Carmen was a gifted student who last year was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. It includes students who score above average in their SATs or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. ROTC student Peter Wang, 15, (right) also died. His parents speak little English and relied on their neighbor to post social media appeals looking for him. They went to the Marriott hotel with other parents to wait for news of him on Wednesday night and have since confirmed that he was among those killed

Alex Schachter, 14, was also killed.  His mother died when he was a child and he attended the school in Florida with his brother, who survived. The teenager's father Max said he was a 'sweetheart of a child' who 'just wanted to do well and please his parents'

Helena Ramsey, 17, was described by relatives as a 'reserved' and studious girl who was due to go to college next year

Alex Schachter, 14, (left) was also killed.  His mother died when he was a child and he attended the school in Florida with his brother, who survived. The teenager’s father Max said he was a ‘sweetheart of a child’ who ‘just wanted to do well and please his parents’. Helena Ramsey, 17, (right) was described by relatives as a ‘reserved’ and studious girl who was due to go to college next year

Geography Scott Beigel, 35, was shot dead as he tried to lock the door of his classroom again after letting a group of fleeing students in to hide. They were running away from the gunman.

Aaron Feis, 37, died acting as a human shield. The track coach had thrown himself on top of the kids to stop the bullets from hitting him. He was a former student and was also a security guard at the school where he had worked for eight years

Geography Scott Beigel, 35, (left) was shot dead as he tried to lock the door of his classroom again after letting a group of fleeing students in to hide. They were running away from the gunman. Aaron Feis, 37, (right) died acting as a human shield. The track coach had thrown himself on top of the kids to stop the bullets from hitting him. He was a former student and was also a security guard at the school where he had worked for eight years

Athletic director Chris Hixon, 49, was also killed shielding students

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5394229/Florida-high-school-shooting-plunges-city-mourning.html#ixzz57DvLUr9N
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POLAND-US-UKRAINE-RUSSIA-POLITICS-CRISIS-OBAMA

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The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history has tragically just taken place at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The nightmarish attack claimed the lives of 49 Americans, and wounded 53 more.

Many Americans are rightly searching for answers about what went wrong and how do we prevent more from occurring.

In the midst of all this confusion and national soul-searching, some startling claims have been made about the mass shootings in the United States compared with the rest of the world.

One of the more extravagant was that the frequency of shootings in the U.S. is more than one a day, meaning that there have purportedly been 173 mass shootings in 164 days in 2016:

However, the source massshootingtracker.org qualifies a “mass shooting” as any shooting incident with more than 4 injuries.

An article in the New York Times by Mark Follman of Mother Jones, on the other hand, clarifies that this coding of data can be misleading:

For at least the past decade, the F.B.I. regarded a mass shooting as a single attack in which four or more victims were killed. (In 2013, a mandate from President Obama for further study of the problem lowered that threshold to three victims killed.) When we began compiling our database in 2012, we used that criteria of four or more killed in public attacks, but excluded mass murders that stemmed from robbery, gang violence or domestic abuse in private homes.

Our goal with this relatively narrow set of parameters was to better understand the seemingly indiscriminate attacks that have increased in recent years, whether in movie theaters, elementary schools or office parks.

The statistics now being highlighted in the news come primarily from shootingtracker.com, a website built by members of a Reddit forum supporting gun control called GunsAreCool. That site aggregates news stories about shooting incidents — of any kind — in which four or more people are reported to have been either injured or killed.

Much like the massshooting.org data, the shootingtracker.com data characterizes any shooting incidents with four or more victims as a “mass shooting.”

Such claims have been used to promote the argument that mass shootings at such a frequency don’t happen in other nations (with stricter gun control and even gun bans), and furthermore, that the higher rate is a justification for increased gun control measures of various kinds.

The president made the claim that mass shootings don’t happen in other countries after the heinous Charleston shooting, which killed nine people.

“I say this every time we have one of these mass shootings. This just doesn’t happen in other countries,” President Obama said.

The president also made the statement in Paris, the site of a recent armed ISIS attack that killed 130 civilians, and the location of Charlie Hedbo magazine attacks that killed 12 people and injured 11 people in January.

So, are the president’s claims true?

The following is a chart of mass shooting statistics, when corrected for population. It shows that the U.S. has comparable frequency to other nations when accounting for its large population size. It should also be noted that the U.S. by far has most armed citizens in the world.

Screenshot - 6_18_2015 , 9_43_12 PM

OECD data. Archived at: http://archive.is/f4gbv

The Rampage Shooting Index. Taken from a now-defunct website, assembled data from around the world to construct a per capita mass shootings index that controls for population differences. [Update: Archived data based on OECD and other statistics can be found here.]

And since we’re just talking about members of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), we can assume these 34 countries are sufficiently “advanced” to enter into the discussion.

The bottom line: The United States falls from number one due to its frequency of 38 mass shootings from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013 (which would be number one without correcting for population) to number seven.

Security Magazine commented on the data findings:

Between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013,there were 413 fatalities from mass shootings in the 34 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). From the five-year period of 2008-2012, there were 373 total spree shooting fatalities.

According to the OECD’s latest version of the Rampage Shooting Index, a pair of deadly shootings in Switzerland in early 2013 pushed the U.S. out of the top five OECD nations for the most per capita fatalities, but the U.S. continues to have the most rampage shooting deaths (one reason could be its size – The U.S. population accounts for 25 percent of the OECD total). However, the U.S. saw a drop in mass shooting deaths from 93 in 2012 to 68 in 2013.

The U.S.’ index of 0.12 per 5,000,000 places it behind Norway (recall the Anders Breivik massacre), Finland, Slovakia, Israel, and Switzerland – at half the ratio.

Another thing one might note: The top 5 countries for mass shootings per capita all have “restrictive” gun policies.

https://ijr.com/2015/12/348197-paris-attack-claim-mass-shootings/

 

Mass shootings in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Total U.S. deaths by year in mass shootings: 1982 to 2016[1]

The United States has more mass shootings than any other country.[2][3][4][5] A mass shooting is usually defined as a shooting resulting in at least four victims, excluding the perpetrator.[6] When the definition is restricted to four or more people dead, data shows 146 mass shootings between 1967 and 2017, with an average of eight people dead including the perpetrator.[7] The perpetrator generally either commits suicide, is killed by law enforcement, or is restrained by unarmed civilians.[8]

Frequency

Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, site of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, resulting in 59 deaths and 546 non-fatal injuries.

The frequency in which mass shootings occur depends upon definition. In recent years, the number of public mass shootings has increased substantially, even though there has been a massive decrease in gun related deaths.[9]Studies indicate that the rate at which public mass shootings occur has tripled since 2011. Between 1982 and 2011, a mass shooting occurred roughly once every 200 days. However, between 2011 and 2014 that rate has accelerated greatly with at least one mass shooting occurring every 64 days in the United States.[10]

A report by USA Today stated that there were mass killings every two weeks and that public mass killings account for 1 in 6 of all mass killings (26 killings annually would thus be equivalent to 26/6, 4 to 5, public killings per year).[11]Mother Jones listed seven mass shootings, defined as indiscriminate rampages in public places resulting in four or more victims killed,[12] in the U.S. for 2015. The average for the period 2011–2015 was about 5 a year.[13] An analysis by Michael Bloomberg‘s gun violence prevention group, Everytown for Gun Safety, identified 110 mass shootings, defined as shootings in which at least four people were murdered with a firearm, between January 2009 and July 2014; at least 57% were related to domestic or family violence.[14][15] This would imply that not more than 43% of 110 shootings in 5.5 years were non-domestic, though not necessarily public or indiscriminate; this equates to 8.6 per year, broadly in line with the other figures.

Other media outlets have reported that hundreds of mass shootings take place in the United States in a single calendar year, citing a crowd-funded website known as Shooting Tracker which defines a mass shooting as having four or more people injured or killed.[16] In December 2015, The Washington Post reported that there had been 355 mass shootings in the United States so far that year.[17] In August 2015, The Washington Post reported that the United States was averaging one mass shooting per day.[18] An earlier report had indicated that in 2015 alone, there had been 294 mass shootings that killed or injured 1,464 people.[19] However, an article from Russia Today stated that 42 percent of the incidents involved zero deaths, and 29 percent one death.[20] Shooting Tracker and Mass Shooting Tracker, the two sites that the media have been citing, have been criticized for using a criterion much more inclusive than that used by the government—they count four victims injured as a mass shooting—thus producing much higher figures.[21][22]

Contributing factors

There are several factors that work together to create a fertile environment for mass murder in the United States.[23] Those factors include: failure of government background checks due to incomplete databases and staff shortages,[24][25] relatively high accessibility of guns,[23][26][27] acute copycat phenomenon,[26] desire for fame and notoriety,[23][26] widespread chronic gap between people’s expectations for themselves and their actual achievement,[23] and individualistic culture.[28] It is debated whether mental illness is a factor.[29][30][31] Many of the mass shooters in the U.S. suffered from mental illness, but the estimated number of mental illness cases has not increased as significantly as the number of mass shootings, which tripled from 2011 to 2014.[26]

Deadliest shootings

The following are the 20 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history (c. 1949 onwards).

  Was previously the deadliest mass shooting.
Incident Year Deaths Type of weapon(s) used Reference(s)
1 Las Vegas shooting 2017 59 (including the perpetrator) Semi-automatic rifles [32][33]
2 Orlando nightclub shooting 2016 50 (including the perpetrator) Semi-automatic rifle [32][33]
3 Virginia Tech shooting 2007 33 (including the perpetrator) Handguns [32]
4 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting 2012 28 (including the perpetrator) Semi-automatic rifle and bolt-action rifle [32]
5 Sutherland Springs church shooting 2017 27 (including the perpetrator) Semi-automatic rifle [34][33]
6 Luby’s shooting 1991 24 (including the perpetrator) Handguns [32]
7 San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre 1984 22 (including the perpetrator) Multiple weapons [32]
8 University of Texas tower shooting 1966 18 (including the perpetrator) Multiple weapons [32]
9 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting 2018 17 Semi-automatic rifle [35]
10 San Bernardino attack 2015 16 (including both perpetrators) Semi-automatic rifles [32][33]
11 Edmond post office shooting 1986 15 (including the perpetrator) Handguns [32]
Columbine High School massacre 1999 15 (including both perpetrators) Multiple weapons [36]
13 Binghamton shootings 2009 14 (including the perpetrator) Handguns [36]
14 Camden shootings 1949 13 Handgun [36]
Wilkes-Barre shootings 1982 13 Semi-automatic rifle [36]
Fort Hood shooting 2009 13 Handguns [36]
Washington Navy Yard shooting 2013 13 (including the perpetrator) Shotgun and handgun [36]
18 Aurora shooting 2012 12 Multiple weapons [36][33]
19 Geneva County massacre 2009 11 (including the perpetrator) Multiple weapons [36]
20 GMAC shootings 1990 10 (including the perpetrator) Semi-automatic rifle [32]
Red Lake shootings 2005 10 (including the perpetrator) Multiple weapons [36]
Umpqua Community College shooting 2015 10 (including the perpetrator) Handguns [36]

See also

References

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

 

 

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

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

Sean Hannity Feb 15, 2018 – Breaking News

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

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

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Meet the Inspector General

Photo of Michael E. Horowitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Exclusive: CIA Ex-Director Brennan’s Perjury Peril

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

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

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

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

 Rep. Devin Nunes.

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

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

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

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

Attempts to reach Brennan for comment were unsuccessful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christopher Steele, former British spy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Former FBI Director James Comey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Clapper, former director of national intelligence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ticking Memo

Victor Davis Hanson

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

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

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

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

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

What Is the Larger Context?

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

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

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

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

The Scope of the Memo

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

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

Is This a Scandal?

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

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

What about the FBI?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Office of Inspector General (United States)

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

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

History

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

Description

Federal offices of inspectors general

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. offices of inspector general

Presidentially appointed inspectors general

Designated federal entity inspectors general

Special inspectors general

Legislative agency inspectors general

Other federal inspectors general

U.S. military

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

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

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

See:

Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute Enforcement

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

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

Criticism

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

References

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

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

See the source imageSee the source image

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

Susan Rice faces questions by senators over ‘unusual’ email

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

Andy McCarthy explains significance of Susan Rice’s email

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

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

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

Sekulow Discusses Susan Rice Inauguration Day Email on Russia

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

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

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

Jim Jordan Reacts to Susan Rice’s Inauguration Day Email

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

Obama campaign connection to Fusion GPS

Obama knew about the Russian dossier: Tony Shaffer

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

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

Fmr. FBI agent defines the Susan Rice unmasking

  Your email continued:

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

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018, Story 1: President Trump’s Infrastructure Framework/Plan — More Federal Government Spending of $200 Billion Over Ten Years With $1.5 to $1.8 Billion From Local Public Private Partnership Poo Pourri — Unconditional Guarantee Stink Free — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget An American Budget — Huge Government With Massive National Debt and Unfunded Liabilities and Obligation Until Debt Bomb Blows Up — Hundreds of Trillions — The Great Default and Inflation — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump’s Infrastructure Framework/Plan — More Federal Government Spending of $200 Billion Over Ten Years With $1.5 to $1.8 Billion From Local Public Private Partnership Poo Pourri — Unconditional Guarantee Stink Free — Videos —

Girls Don’t Poop – PooPourri.com

How to Poop at a Party – PooPourri.com

Paying for Trump’s infrastructure plan

What President Donald Trump just REVEALED about his Infrastructure Plan will Shock Everyone!!

Trump is on right track with infrastructure bill: Rep. Biggs

Trump wants $1.5 tril. for infrastructure blueprint

Trump’s infrastructure plan is way too expensive: Kennedy

A $3.6 billion reconstruction project at Salt Lake City International Airport. The $200 billion infrastructure program that the White House unveiled on Monday is intended to attract a huge amount of additional money from states, localities and private investors.CreditKim Raff for The New York Times

President Trump’s $200 billion plan to rebuild America upends the criteria that have long been used to pick ambitious federal projects, putting little emphasis on how much an infrastructure proposal benefits the public and more on finding private investors and other outside sources of money.

Unveiled on Monday, the infrastructure program that Mr. Trump has championed since the campaign is intended to attract a huge amount of additional money from states, localities and private investors. The goal is to generate a total pot of $1.5 trillion to upgrade the country’s highways, airports and railroads.

Those financial priorities are crystallized in the new guidelines established by the White House. The ability to find sources of funding outside the federal government will be the most important yardstick, accounting for 70 percent of the formula for choosing infrastructure projects. How “the project will spur economic and social returns on investment” ranks at the bottom, at just 5 percent.

In this new competition for federal funds, a plan to, say, build a better access road for a luxury development — a project with the potential to bring in more dollars from private investors — could have a strong chance of getting the green light. By comparison, a critical tunnel overhaul that has trouble getting new money might not be approved.

“Instead of the public sector deciding on public needs and public priorities, the projects that are most attractive to private investors are the ones that will go to the head of the line,” said Elliott Sclar, professor of urban planning and international affairs at Columbia University. “Private investors will become the tail that will wag the dog, because they’ll want projects that will give returns.”

How Trump Plans to Turn $200 Billion Into $1.5 Trillion in Infrastructure Spending

President Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure plan proposes that the federal government put up $200 billion in incentives and investments, leaving local governments and private industry to come up with the rest.

Proposals intended to serve more impoverished communities that require more state and local money, including improving drinking water in a place like Flint, Mich., could be given short shrift. Financial investors may not see a big profit in such a project.

“A private corporation has a fiduciary obligation to make a profit. The government is supposed to be providing a public service,” Mr. Sclar said.

The president’s plan recasts the federal government as a minority stakeholder in the nation’s new infrastructure projects. Half of the $200 billion promised over 10 years will be used for incentives to spur even greater contributions from states, localities and the private sector. Mr. Trump also wants to speed up the approval process.

The White House budget, separately released on Monday, also gives federal agencies the authority to sell assets that would be better managed by state, local or private entities in cases where a sale would “optimize taxpayer value.” The budget suggests that Ronald Reagan Washington National and Dulles International Airports could be among the assets ripe for new owners.

Coming up with the $200 billion in federal funding will not be easy. Republicans have already ballooned the deficit in last week’s spending agreement and with their tax cuts. Democrats are unlikely to go along with cuts that would offset the cost of Mr. Trump’s plan.

With his infrastructure framework, the president is rethinking Washington’s role.

Economic development has been the justification for federal involvement going back to the country’s efforts in the early 1800s to improve harbors and rivers for navigation. It animated the 1902 Reclamation Act that funded irrigation projects that developed the western United States.

“National economic development benefits were the cornerstone of federal support,” said Debra Knopman, a principal researcher at the RAND Corporation. “That was the point.”

Public health, safety and national defense were added in the 20th century as core values, when the government developed the national highway system and passed the Clean Water Act.

“Now, they’re putting out incentive programs that don’t have to generate national or regional economic developments,” said Ms. Knopman, the lead author of a new 110-page RAND report on transportation and water infrastructure in the United States. “It may happen, but that’s not what they’re interested in and that’s not the way they’re screening these projects.”

The math for the infrastructure plan also relies on a lot of unknowns.

Along with private investors, cities and states are being counted on to put up significant funds. They have a need. States have been struggling for years to rejuvenate creaky roads, bridges and ports. And even if the plan appears to put much of the onus on them to finance projects, any additional federal funding is welcome.

“States won’t look down their nose at adding more money for infrastructure,” said John Hicks, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. “It’s seen primarily as a positive, because it continues to shine light on a shared need of infrastructure improvement.”

But cities and states are not necessarily flush with cash for new infrastructure projects.

Congress has thrown their finances into upheaval, with local lawmakers still trying to come to grips with the effects of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that was passed last year. Many states have already expressed concern that it will be hard for them to increase state and local taxes, because deductions on them have been limited.

Some are considering other ways, such as gasoline taxes, to raise funds, but it may not be enough to fund new infrastructure projects. A report released last month by Fitch, the ratings agency, found that many states could see their tax revenue fall from the changes to the individual and corporate taxation laws.

David Damschen, Utah’s treasurer, said his state faces many infrastructure challenges as it works to accommodate a growing population, expand its stock of affordable housing and improve the transportation system. He said Utah was already looking for new sources of tax revenue to fund projects because sales tax and gas tax revenue had been declining.

But Mr. Damschen also noted that public-private partnerships do not tend to work well in his state. “When things roll out, you’ll find what the market will do with these ideas,” he said. “Sometimes creative ideas don’t always have the level of acceptance in the marketplace as you hoped.”

The amount of federal funds — $20 billion a year — will be spread very thin when stretched across the entire country. It is also unclear how much new money, as opposed to repurposed funds, the federal government is actually supplying.

One analysis by the Penn-Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania said that other pieces of the White House budget could end up reducing federal infrastructure spending by $55 billion over 10 years — despite the president’s new plan.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and the president of the conservative American Action Forum, complimented aspects of the president’s initiative that dealt with streamlining regulations and using federal credit guarantees. But he doubted the promised total could be reached.

“It’s hard to get the $200 billion to $1.5 trillion, if you do the arithmetic,” he said.

Beyond the math, the revamped selection standards, too, are untested. The new criteria likely stemmed from the administration’s attempt to distinguish its program and try something new.

Indeed, criteria announced just last year by the Trump administration for other transportation and infrastructure grants relied on more traditional standards. One lists safety, overall condition, economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and quality of life as “primary selection criteria.” Another cites “support for national or regional economic vitality” as the No. 1 one objective, while coming up with new money was second.

The new plan “doesn’t allocate money in terms of congestion, economic need or the public good,” said Martin Klepper, the former executive director of the Transportation Department’s Build America Bureau. “It does it mostly on the basis of the leverage issue.”

Mr. Klepper, who spent decades in the private sector developing, financing and selling large infrastructure projects, was recruited to lead the bureau in the final weeks of the Obama administration. He said he decided to take the job even after the Democrats lost, because of the new administration’s commitment to public-private partnership and Mr. Trump’s promise of a major infrastructure plan.

He resigned in November 2017.

“I left because I was pretty frustrated and disappointed with where the program was going,” Mr. Klepper said. “No one has any idea to the extent with which states and localities will be able to come up with the money to match the federal government.”

 

Trump’s infrastructure plan isn’t a plan. It’s a fantasy

Trump's infrastructure plan isn't a plan. It's a fantasy
A man works on the Southern Nevada portion of U.S. Interstate 11 near Boulder City, Nev. on May 19, 2017. (John Locher / Associated Press)

 

President Trump’s infrastructure plan isn’t a plan. It’s fantasy. The outline the administration put forth Monday is essentially this: The federal government will offer a diminished amount of money — $200 billion over 10 years — for building or repairing roads, bridges, airports, seaports, energy projects and water systems and somehow, magically, $1.5 trillion to $1.8 trillion in infrastructure spending will materialize.

Where would all that money come from? The president’s framework doesn’t say, but the intent is for the federal government to spend a lot less money on infrastructure and for local and state governments to spend a lot more. Oh, and private investors are expected to rain down money on infrastructure projects too.

Trump’s long-awaited plan was supposed to be an ambitious effort to build, as he put it, “the best, fastest and most reliable infrastructure in the world.” It was also a rare opportunity for bipartisan cooperation; Democrats and Republicans generally agree that crumbling roads and bridges are bad, and together they have been drawing up multibillion-dollar infrastructure spending plans for decades.

But the Trump framework is short on funding and pragmatism. The plan calls for $200 billion in federal spending over a decade, but much of that money is set aside for rural communities and loan programs. One hundred billion dollars would go to competitive grants, providing a mere $10 billion a year for roads, railroads, airports, water treatment plants, flood control systems and contaminated land cleanups.

That’s barely enough money to make a dent in the estimated $2 trillion of needed transportation, water and energy system upgrades. By way of comparison, the federal government spent $96 billion on transportation and water projects alone in 2014.

The $200 billion wouldn’t be new money. It would be paid for by cutting other infrastructure-funding programs. Trump’s budget, which was also released Monday, would slash funding for the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, among other agencies.

The Trump plan envisions it can do more with less by requiring localities to put up at least 80% of the required funding. Traditionally, the federal government covered 80% of major transportation projects, with locals contributing 20%.

There’s nothing wrong with requiring localities to kick in a significant portion of the bill for regional projects. A Trump aide singled out Los Angeles County’s Measure M sales tax increase as a “good case study” for how locals could help pay for public transit and road improvements.

In fact, cities, counties and states across the country are raising their gas and sales taxes and passing bonds to help tackle the massive backlog of unmet needs. But Measure M and similar efforts are supposed to complement, not replace, federal funding. Without federal money, projects will take longer to build, fewer jobs will be created and backlogs will lengthen. The federal pullback sought by Trump ignores why the federal government has been contributing so much to state and local infrastructure projects: We have a shared national interest in a country that’s safe and well-connected, and where people and goods move efficiently.

The Measure M-funded public transit building boom in L.A. County relies on federal funding that would be slashed under the president’s infrastructure and budget proposals. The Purple Line subway to Westwood was slated to receive more than $1 billion, or roughly 45% of the total cost, from the federal government. Without that money, it will be extremely difficult to complete that project, as well as others, in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Trump’s plan isn’t all terrible. It would reserve funding specifically for rural communities and transformative but challenging projects, two areas where it can be harder to raise local and private dollars. And to usher vital infrastructure projects faster through the bureaucratic gantlet, it calls for streamlining approvals so projects can get started in two years or less. That would be a welcome change, assuming that it means reducing unnecessary delays rather than gutting safety and environmental protections.

So by all means, streamline permitting and cut bureaucracy. But it’s still going take money to build the “gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways” that Trump says he wants. So far, his plan is all gleam, no grit.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-trump-infrastructure-20180213-story.html

Read the full text of Trump’s infrastructure plan

  • The Trump administration released the full text of its infrastructure proposal to Congress on Monday.
  • The plan includes $200 billion in federal funds that are intended to stimulate more than $1.5 trillion in spending from local and state governments and private entities over a decade.

President Donald Trump delivers a speech on tax reform after touring Sheffer Corporation in Blue Ash outside Cincinnati, Ohio February 5, 2018.

Trump talks up infrastructure plan with local and state officials  

The Trump administration released the full text of its infrastructure proposal to Congress on Monday.

The plan includes $200 billion in federal funds that are intended to stimulate more than $1.5 trillion in spending mostly from local and state governments and private entities over a decade.

In a letter addressed to Congress at the beginning of the proposal, President Donald Trump asks lawmakers to “act soon” on a bill that would:

  • Stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in new investment over the next decade;
  • Shorten the approval process for projects to two years or less;
  • Focus on infrastructure needs for rural areas;
  • Encourage training for American workers;
  • Create opportunities for state and local governments to invest in “large-scale infrastructure projects.”

Trump, who often touts his history as a real estate developer, made infrastructure one of the pillars of his presidential campaign. However, the president has indicated that he is skeptical of public-private partnerships, a key part of the White House’s plan.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/12/read-the-full-text-of-trumps-infrastructure-plan.html

Story 2: President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget An American Budget — Huge Government Spending With Massive National Debt and Unfunded Liabilities and Obligations Until Debt Bomb Blows Up — Hundreds of Trillions — The Great Default and Inflation — Videos

 

Trump Proposes $4.4 Trillion Budget

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White House’s $4.4 trillion budget plan could hurt Americans in the future

5 takeaways from Trump’s 2019 budget plan

Trump Proposes $4.4 Trillion Budget

Fiscal Year 2019 An American Budget

U.S. National Debt Clock

 

Heritage Experts Analyze President Trump’s FY 2019 Budget Proposal

Feb 12, 2018

This morning, the Trump administration released its fiscal year 2019 budget proposal. This is President Trump’s second budget proposal since becoming president. Below is reaction from multiple Heritage Foundation experts on the President’s proposal.

 

Justin Bogie, Senior Policy Analyst in fiscal affairs, on the overall spending levels and fiscal sustainability of the budget proposal:

 

“The budget proposal released by President Trump this morning is a mixed bag. While it demonstrates commitments to a strong national defense, eliminating waste, and pursuing much-needed entitlement and welfare reforms, it fails as sound fiscal policy. The Trump administration, just last year, proposed balancing the federal budget within 10 years. However, this proposal would add an additional $7 trillion to the national debt – something not even a big spender like President Obama ever proposed.

 

“While the administration’s accomplishment on tax reform and pursuit of welfare and further regulatory reform are all critical for increased economic growth – this budget proposal threatens economic growth by doubling down on fiscal policies that have failed us in the past and will pass the burden on to our children, grandchildren, and beyond. The time for talking about a smaller government is over – it is time for the President and his administration to demonstrate leadership and put us on a path to fiscal sanity rather than following Congress on the path to fiscal ruin.”

 

Lindsey Burke, Director of the Center for Education Policy, on proposed changes to K-12 education funding:

 

“Overall, the President’s budget makes needed reductions in K-12 spending, taking the size and scope of the federal Department of Education in the right direction – smaller. Yet much more significant reductions are needed to begin the long-overdue process of restoring state and local control of education. Proposals for new spending on school choice programs, however, should be directed to those populations where there is a rationale for federal spending. Providing education savings accounts for children from active duty military families is a promising proposal to do just that.”

 

Marie Fishpaw, Director of Domestic Policy Studies, on health spending in the new budget proposal:

 

“Today, the White House released a budget that rightfully assumes Republican lawmakers will roll back the harmful effects of Obamacare, which drove up health costs while reducing Americans’ health choices. Repealing Obamacare and replacing the law with patient-centered reforms is an effort that lawmakers cannot abandon. However, the budget also allows for $11.5 billion in bailouts to Obamacare’s insurance companies. Advocates claim these bailouts are needed to lower health insurance premiums.This is absurd. Rather than use corporate welfare to paper over the flaws of a fundamentally broken program, Congress should return to ideas that solve the real root problems.Conservative policy leaders continue to call on Congress and the Trump administration to focus their efforts on a real plan to reduce health premiums, improve health choices and protect American taxpayers from corporate bailouts.”

 

Fred Bartels, Policy Analyst for defense budgeting, on military spending:

 

“The Trump administration’s 2019 defense budget request is a great step forward in rebuilding our military. The Heritage Foundation has recommended a defense base budget of $664 billion, a 5.5 percent increase over the 2018 budget, while the administration requested $647 billion, a 2.8 percent increase over the 2018 budget, matching the recent budget deal. The budget calls for an additional 25,900 troops in FY19, similar to Heritage’s recommendation of 25,600 personnel. This will be a substantial step in the military buildup, and will allow the military to start to change the trajectory of asking the services to do more with less. The budget misses the opportunity to call for a new round of base realignments and closure (BRAC), which the Pentagon called for the past six years. It is unfortunate that they passed on an opportunity to save $2 billion per year, but hopefully they will take this time to re-think and reform the BRAC process. Finally, our national defense rests on a solid economic foundation. This is why our government needs to get the nation’s debt and deficits under control. Financing the military through debt sets the nation up for failure and makes the buildup less sustainable.”

https://www.heritage.org/press/heritage-experts-analyze-president-trumps-fy-2019-budget-proposal

 

 

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

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

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

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

President Trump Signs Spending Bill, Ending Second Shutdown

President Trump Signs Bill Ending Gov’t Shutdown

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

Ep. 329: Republican Hypocrites Embrace Debt to Avert Shutdown

Congress approves spending bill to end brief government shutdown

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

New spending bill raising concerns the tax cuts are unsustainable

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

 

Party Affiliation

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

After temporary shutdown, Congress passes two-year spending deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Trump signs budget bill, ending overnight shutdown 4:04

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fiscal conservative Republicans decried the price tag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FBI informant speaks to Congress about the Uranium One deal

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

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

Clinton has lied repeatedly about funding the dossier: Kennedy

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

FBI takes its time with Clinton-Russia scandal?

Gorka: Uranium One scandal is absolutely massive

Comey hid the uranium deal from Congress: Gregg Jarrett

Hillary Clinton LYING THREE TIMES UNDER OATH Before Congress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Special Counsel Q&A


 

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

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

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

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

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

Who appoints a special counsel?

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

Why was a special counsel appointed?

In a released statement, Rosenstein explained his decision: “In my capacity as acting attorney general I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”

What is the scope of the investigation?

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

Whom does the special counsel report to?

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

Who is Robert Mueller?

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

Can Mueller be fired?

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

What authority does a special counsel have?

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

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

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

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

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

How will this affect the ongoing FBI and congressional investigations?

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

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

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

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

How common is the appointment of a special counsel?

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

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

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

Read the controversial Nunes memo and its key points

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

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

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

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

FISA

 

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

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

 

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

FISA

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

The full FISA Court opinion can be read here:

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

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

 

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

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

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

Big Spender

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

U.S. Debt Clock Real Time

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Senate reaches bipartisan budget deal

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

Breaking News – US senators agree to raise spending

Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff on the Implications of Rising National Debt

Laurence Kotlikoff-US in Worse Shape Financially Than Russia

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

Consequences of Printing Money/ Inflation- Dr. Yaron Brook

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

Published on Feb 12, 2016

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

 

Senate leaders see two-year budget deal within their grasp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amy Goldstein and Paul Sonne contributed to this report.

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

 

Congressional leaders reach budget deal

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

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

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

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

The Danger of Inaction

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

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

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

Of course not.

Where to Begin

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

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

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

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

Entitlements: The Ultimate Challenge

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

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

Defense: A National Priority

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

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

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

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

Moving Forward

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

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

Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


10/20/2017

Receipts by Source
Outlays by Agency

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

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

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

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

Summary of Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Results

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Fiscal Year 2017 Receipts

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

 

Fiscal Year 2017 Outlays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

___________________________

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Hannity Fox News 2/6/18 – Hannity February 6, 2018

The Second Memo of Senator Grassley and Senator Graham

SECOND MEMO “SENATE MEMO” Just Released HITS THE DEEP STATE HARD!! Here Are The Findings

Grassley Memo Unredacted – Clinton Bought Trump Spying, 2038

Charyl Attkisson on FISA Surveillance Abuses

Digging Into Those Strzok-Page E-mails

Tucker Carlson Tonight 2/7/18 | Fox News Feb 7, 2018

New Interview with Devin Nunes. Grassley-Graham Memo

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

Jason Chaffetz Furious at Comey For Not Jailing Hillary Clinton

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

Doug Collins Proves Without A Doubt That FBI Director James Comey Covered Up Hillary Clinton’s Lies

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

Trey Gowdy to Comey CUT the BS game & come back with all facts on illegal leaks & Trump-Russia Probe

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

grassley graham split

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hillary Clinton REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cyd Upson is a Senior Producer at FOX News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘He’s the spy’

Steele had all the right credentials for the job.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burrows declined to comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dossier goes public

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Essentially what he told me was they had other intelligence about this matter,” Simpson told a Senate committee in August, adding: “My understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris’s information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steele and Simpson were dismayed, Simpson later testified.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Then Trump won.

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCain, he recalled, “was visibly shocked.”

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

A McCain spokeswoman declined to comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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