Senator Jeff Sessions

The Pronk Pops Show 989, October 25, 2017, Part 1 of 2: Story 1: Clinton’s Campaign and Democratic National Committee Paid For A  Fabricated  “Dossier” on Trump Used as Campaign  Propaganda  and Their Accomplices In The Obama Administration and Big Lie Media Aided and Abetted Them — Fearing Clinton Might Lose They Planned For An October Surprise That Would Finish Trump Off —  Surprise — Surprise –Videos — Story 2: Time To Fire Mueller & Rosenstein and Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money on Clinton Conspiracy Theory of Trump  Russian Collusion Based on A Fictional Dossier and No Evidence At All of Trump Collusion — Investigate The Obama Administration’s Use of The Intelligence Community (CIA, FBI, and NSA)  For Political Purposes By Their Secret Surveillance of American Citizens Including Trump and Campaign and Cover-up of Clinton Foundation Crimes of Racketeering and Public Corruption — The Cover-up and Scandal of The Century –Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 989, October 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 986, October 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 985, October 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 984, October 16, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 982, October 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 981, October 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 980, October 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 979, October 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 978, October 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 977, October 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 976, October 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 974, September 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 972, September 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 971, September 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936, July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935, July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931, July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925, July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923, July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

 

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Story 1: Clinton’s Campaign and Democratic National Committee Paid For A  Fabricated  “Dossier” on Trump Used as Campaign  Propaganda  and Their Accomplices In The Obama Administration and Big Lie Media Aided and Abetted Them — Fearing Clinton Might Lose They Planned For An October Surprise That Would Finish Trump Off —  Surprise — Surprise –Videos —

Tucker Carlson Tonight 10/27/17 – Tucker Carlson Tonight October 27, 2017 Fox News

Lou Dobbs Tonight 10/27/17 | Breaking News | October 27, 2017

Does the dossier bombshell spell trouble for the Democrats?

Inside the investigation on the ‘real’ Russia scandal

BREAKING: CLINTONS, DNC FUND TRUMP, RUSSIA REPORT!

Trump rips Clinton link to Fusion GPS dossier as a ‘disgrace,’ says Russia ‘hoax is turned around’

New Developments In The Uranium One Scandal – Hannity

Russia Scandal Flips On Democrats and Media – Defeat Trump Media – Hannity

Trump Vindicated – Clinton campaign & DNC financed bogus Russian dossier – Fox News Panel 10/25/17

Ben Shapiro: Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the research that led to phony Trump-Russia dossier

Ben Shapiro: The Trump-Russia dossier story turns around to Hillary Clinton (audio from 10-26-2017)

Clinton has lied repeatedly about funding the dossier: Kennedy

Clapper on dossier: ‘Doesn’t matter who paid for it’

Trump: Russian dossier is a ‘disgrace’

FOX News Tonight | Oct 25, 2017 | Clinton Camp. and Dems Party Helped Pay for Russian Trump Dossier

Tucker Carlson Special: Full Story Behind FBI Coverup of Clintons Server and CrowdStrike

WOW! Trump PERSONALLY Ordered DOJ To Lift Gag Order On Clinton-Uranium One Informant

Tucker: Why won’t the FBI answer basic questions on Russia?

Clinton & DNC Paid for Fake Trump Dossier, 1860

Steyn: Everybody was colluding with Russia except Trump

Dossier dismissed: DNC & Hillary Clinton’s campaign funded Trump-Russia case

Trump Dossier Battle – Fusion GPS Asks Court To Stop Subpoena For Bank Records – Special Report

Putin dismisses Trump’s dossier as fake

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed as a hoax a privately-prepared intelligence dossier that claimed Russian intelligence agencies had compromising material on President-elect Trump. Elizabether Palmer has the details.

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

 
The Washington Post’s Adam Entous looks at the role that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee played in funding the research that led to a dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s links to Russia. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde, Patrick Martin/Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

 October 24 at 7:21 PM

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said. Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.

Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele compiled the dossier on President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. (Victoria Jones/AP)

Fusion GPS gave Steele’s reports and other research documents to Elias, the people familiar with the matter said. It is unclear how or how much of that information was shared with the campaign and the DNC and who in those organizations was aware of the roles of Fusion GPS and Steele. One person close to the matter said the campaign and the DNC were not informed by the law firm of Fusion GPS’s role.

The dossier has become a lightning rod amid the intensifying investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia. Some congressional Republican leaders have spent months trying to discredit Fusion GPS and Steele and tried to determine the identity of the Democrat or organization that paid for the dossier.

Trump tweeted as recently as Saturday that the Justice Department and FBI should “immediately release who paid for it.”

Elias and Fusion GPS declined to comment on the arrangement.

A DNC spokeswoman said “[Chairman] Tom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization. But let’s be clear, there is a serious federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happened.”

Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said he wasn’t aware of the hiring during the campaign.

“The first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election,” Fallon said. “But if I had gotten handed it last fall, I would have had no problem passing it along and urging reporters to look into it. Opposition research happens on every campaign, and here you had probably the most shadowy guy ever running for president, and the FBI certainly has seen fit to look into it. I probably would have volunteered to go to Europe myself to try and verify if it would have helped get more of this out there before the election.”

Marc E. Elias of Perkins Coie represented the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Some of the details are included in a Tuesday letter sent by Perkins Coie to a lawyer representing Fusion GPS, telling the research firm that it was released from a ­client-confidentiality obligation. The letter was prompted by a legal fight over a subpoena for Fusion GPS’s bank records.

People involved in the matter said that they would not disclose the dollar amounts paid to Fusion GPS but that the campaign and the DNC shared the cost.

Steele previously worked in Russia for British intelligence. The dossier is a compilation of reports he prepared for Fusion GPS. The dossier alleged that the Russian government collected compromising information about Trump and that the Kremlin was engaged in an effort to assist his campaign for president.

U.S. intelligence agencies later released a public assessment asserting that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to aid Trump. The FBI has been investigating whether Trump associates helped the Russians in that effort.

Trump has adamantly denied the allegations in the dossier and has dismissed the FBI probe as a witch hunt.

Officials have said that the FBI has confirmed some of the information in the dossier. Other details, including the most sensational accusations, have not been verified and may never be.

Fusion GPS’s work researching Trump began during the Republican presidential primaries, when the GOP donor paid for the firm to investigate the real estate magnate’s background.

Fusion GPS did not start off looking at Trump’s Russia ties but quickly realized that those relationships were extensive, according to the people familiar with the matter.

When the Republican donor stopped paying for the research, Elias, acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, agreed to pay for the work to continue. The Democrats paid for research, including by Fusion GPS, because of concerns that little was known about Trump and his business interests, according to the people familiar with the matter.

 

Those people said that it is standard practice for political campaigns to use law firms to hire outside researchers to ensure their work is protected by attorney-client and work-product privileges.

The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in “legal and compliance consulting’’ since November 2015 — though it’s impossible to tell from the filings how much of that work was for other legal matters and how much of it related to Fusion GPS.

At no point, the people said, did the Clinton campaign or the DNC direct Steele’s activities. They described him as a Fusion GPS subcontractor.

Some of Steele’s allegations began circulating in Washington in the summer of 2016 as the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into possible connections between Trump associates and the Kremlin. Around that time, Steele shared some of his findings with the FBI.

After the election, the FBI agreed to pay Steele to continue gathering intelligence about Trump and Russia, but the bureau pulled out of the arrangement after Steele was publicly identified in news reports.

The dossier was published by BuzzFeed News in January. Fusion GPS has said in court filings that it did not give BuzzFeed the documents.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that Steele was respected by the FBI and the State Department for earlier work he performed on a global corruption probe.

In early January, then-FBI Director James B. Comey presented a two-page summary of Steele’s dossier to President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump. In May, Trump fired Comey, which led to the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel investigating the Trump-Russia matter.

Congressional Republicans have tried to force Fusion GPS to identify the Democrat or group behind Steele’s work, but the firm has said that it will not do so, citing confidentiality agreements with its clients.

Over objections from Democrats, the Republican leader of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), subpoenaed Fusion GPS’s bank records to try to identify the mystery client.

Fusion GPS has been fighting the release of its bank records. A judge on Tuesday extended a deadline for Fusion GPS’s bank to respond to the subpoena until Friday while the company attempts to negotiate a resolution with Nunes.

Julie Tate contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/clinton-campaign-dnc-paid-for-research-that-led-to-russia-dossier/2017/10/24/226fabf0-b8e4-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html?utm_term=.29781c192bae

Robert Mueller’s widening Russia probe is sweeping up Democrats, including lobbyist Tony Podesta

The scope of Russian involvement in U.S. business and politics is extensive

MATTHEW SHEFFIELD 10.23.20171:51 PM

Much like the mid-90s saw story after story showing how extensive Chinese government operations within U.S. politics were, the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election is demonstrating the size of Russia’s.

That’s the overall takeaway from a series of news reports, including one from NBC that indicated that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has been investigating the business dealings of Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta. His firm, the Podesta Group, is one of several that did work on behalf of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chair of President Donald Trump’s campaign.

 Manafort, who has told friends that he expects to be indicted by Mueller, has been under investigation for his work on behalf of a number of Russian billionaires with interests in Ukraine and elsewhere — all of whom are closely connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Podesta’s firm was hired to do lobbying by Manafort on behalf of an outfit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which itself was hired to burnish the image of Ukraine’s then-president, who was closely tied to Moscow.

According to NBC’s sources, Mueller’s inquiry into the Podesta Group has expanded into whether it violated U.S. legal requirements that American individuals and corporations formally disclose their work on behalf of foreign governments. The failure to file under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is a felony and can result in up to five years’ imprisonment. Prosecutions of FARA violations are rare and are often used as leverage in larger cases.

Neither the Podesta Group nor Manafort made their FARA disclosures until their work was exposed by media reports.

Podesta is the brother of Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager, John Podesta. A report from McClatchy revealed that John was a board member of a Russian alternative energy company called Joule, which seems to have built a business plan on gaining access to a Clinton White House. Dmitry Akhanov, a close associate of Putin and the CEO of a government-owned investment firm, oversaw the company’s investment in Joule.

Russia’s government has also been revealed to have had ties to former president Bill Clinton’s philanthropic work as well as to several left-wing political parties in various countries. Moscow has also openly funded efforts to get California and Texas to secede from the United States, with the former campaign targeting progressives and the latter targeting conservatives.

https://www.salon.com/2017/10/23/robert-muellers-widening-russia-probe-is-sweeping-up-democrats-including-lobbyist-tony-podesta/

 

A YEAR of Clinton lies about the ‘golden showers’ dossier exposed as Hillary’s lawyer is under fire for falsely denying paying for it

  • It’s claimed that Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias and other Democrats falsely denied to reporters their involvement in the ‘dirty dossier’
  • Two New York Times journalists say they were lied to at every turn
  • It’s now established that Clinton lawyer Marc Elias arranged for the campaign and the Democratic Party to pay a dirt-digging firm to produce the dossier
  • ‘Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,’ Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted

Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer who launched what would become known as the anti-Trump ‘dirty dossier’ denied involvement in the project for a year as reporters pressed him for information.

Marc Elias brokered a deal between the Clinton camp, the Democratic National Committee and opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on the president while he was running for office.

But a pair of New York Times reporters said Tuesday night on Twitter that Elias and others involved had lied about their ties to the arrangement.

‘Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,’ Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted after The Washington Post linked the dossier to Elias and his law firm Perkins Coie.

Kennth Vogel, another Times journalist, tweeted: ‘When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously, saying “You (or your sources) are wrong”.’

Scroll down for videos

Hillary Clinton's campaign lawyer Marc E. Elias hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS in April 2016 to dig up dirt about Donald Trump, but falsely denied involvement to reporters

Two New York Times journalists blew up on Twitter when The Washington Post broke the story

Two New York Times journalists blew up on Twitter when The Washington Post broke the story

The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funneled money to Fusion GPS through Elias's law firm

The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funneled money to Fusion GPS through Elias’s law firm

The deal began in the spring of 2016, when Elias was approached by Fusion GPS, and lasted until right before Election Day. When Fusion approached Elias, it had already been doing research work on Trump for an unnamed client during the Republican primary.

But the dossier itself was funded entirely by Democrats, using Elias as a middle-man.

After the DNC and the Clinton campaign started paying, Fusion GPS hired former British spy Christopher Steele to do the dirt-digging. His work later resulted in the dossier.

Trump has called the material ‘phony stuff,’ and on Wednesday he portrayed himself as the aggrieved party.

Peter FritschThomas Catan

Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch (left) and partner Thomas Catan (right) took the Fifth last week rather than talking to Congress

The dossier, compiled by British spy Christopher Steele, contends that the Russian government amassed compromising information about Trump

The dossier, compiled by British spy Christopher Steele, contends that the Russian government amassed compromising information about Trump

The president posted a quote on Twitter that he attributed to Fox News: “Clinton campaign & DNC paid for research that led to the anti-Trump Fake News Dossier. The victim here is the President”.’

The FBI has worked to corroborate the document, and special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, which is investigating potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, questioned Steele weeks ago.

The dossier circulated in Washington last year and was turned over to the FBI for its review. It contends that Russia was engaged in a long-standing effort to aid Trump and had amassed compromising information about the Republican.

Among its wild claims was that Russian officials have videos of the president cavorting with prostitutes, filmed during Trump’s 2013 visit to a luxury Moscow hotel for the Miss Universe contest

It also contains a highly unusual and unsubstantiated report that the call girls performed a ‘golden shower’ routine that involved them urinating on a hotel bed as a sign of disgust for then-president Barack Obama.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the document as false and in recent days has questioned whether Democrats or the FBI itself had helped fund it.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied the dossier's claims, including the salacious allegation that he hired prostitutes in Russia

President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied the dossier’s claims, including the salacious allegation that he hired prostitutes in Russia

Trump called himself a 'victim' of the infamous dossier that Democrats helped pay to produce

Trump called himself a ‘victim’ of the infamous dossier that Democrats helped pay to produce

Trump also has challenged the findings of the FBI, NSA and CIA that Russia waged a large-scale influence campaign to interfere in the election.

The FBI and the CIA have said with high confidence that the effort was aimed at hurting Clinton’s candidacy and helping Trump. The NSA found the same with “moderate” confidence.

It’s unclear what Fusion GPS had dug up by the time Perkins Coie hired it in April 2016. According to a copy of the dossier published by BuzzFeed last year, the earliest report from Steele dates to June 2016.

It was not immediately known how much money Fusion was paid or how many others in the Clinton campaign or DNC were aware that the firm had been retained.

 Clinton campaign officials did not immediately comment, but in a statement, a DNC spokeswoman said the party chairman, Tom Perez, was not part of the decision-making and was unaware that Perkins Coie was working with Fusion GPS.

Former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said on Twitter that he regretted not knowing about Steele’s hiring before the election, and that had he known, ‘I would have volunteered to go to Europe and try to help him.’

‘I have no idea what Fusion or Steele were paid but if even a shred of that dossier ends up helping Mueller, it will prove money well spent,’ Fallon in another tweet.

2016

June 20: The dossier is first dated June 20 and had contained several unverifiable periodic reports made over the summer, according to Mother Jones. It was sent in dated sections from a former Western intelligence officer to the FBI and alleged Russia had enough to blackmail Trump.

It alleged that Trump had been cultivated by Russian officials ‘for at least five years.’ It also claimed that the Kremlin had compromising material related to ‘sexually perverted acts’ Trump performed at a Moscow Ritz Carlton where former President Barack Obama once stayed.

Dossier also alleged that Trump’s inner circle was accepting a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin on Hillary Clinton.

July 27: Trump asks Russian hackers to find Clinton’s 30,000 emails during a press conference.

July 31: Kremlin weighing whether to release more information about Clinton.

Late July: The FBI opens its investigation into Russia’s interference in the election, and the Trump campaign’s possible role in it.

August 27: Then-U.S. Sen. Harry Reid sent a letter to then-FBI Director James Comey and called for a full investigation and public disclosure. He wrote: ‘The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount and has led Michael Morrell, the former Acting Central Intelligence Director, to call Trump an ‘unwitting agent’ of Russia and the Kremlin.’

September 23: U.S. intelligence officials began investigating links between Trump adviser Carter Page and the Russian government, Yahoo News reported. Page had extensive business links in Russia and is a former Merrill Lynch investment banker in Moscow.

October 7: The Obama administration publicly accuses Russia of ‘directing the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations’ to affect the US election.

October 30: Reid sent Comey another letter demanding that Trump’s possible ties to Russia be fully investigated and he cited the existence of ‘explosive information’ that the FBI has in its possession.

November 3, 2016: Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev flies into Charlotte, North Carolina on a private plane. Trump’s plane lands on the tarmac not long after and parks next to Rybolovlev, whose plane stays in Charlotte for 22 hours afterward. Trump rallies in nearby city Concord.

November 8: Trump wins the election to become the 45th president of the United States.

November 10: President Barack Obama warns Trump during a meeting at the White House that national security advisor Michael Flynn, a former U.S. Army lieutenant general and Defense Intelligence Agency chief, is a problem.

November 18: During a security meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sen. John McCain hears about the documents and dispatches a former US official to meet the source of the documents and gather more information.

December 9: McCain meets Comey gives the FBI director the documents, The Guardian reported.

December 13: This is the last date of the memos from the dossier written by the British source.

December 29: The Obama administration issues new sanctions on Russia in retaliation for Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee in the summer and other efforts to interfere with the U.S. election.

2017 

January 10: Obama and Trump were both given a two-page summary of the dossier, CNN reported. BuzzFeed News then reported on the dossier and published it in full about how it alleges Trump’s deep ties with Russia.

January 19: The New York Times reported that ‘intercepted communications’ between Trump associates and Russians are being investigated as part of the FBI’s inquiry into Russia’s election meddling.

January 27: Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, holds a meeting with Russian-American businessman Felix Sater and Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Artemenko to discuss a backchannel ‘peace plan’ for Russia and Ukraine.

February 13: Flynn resigns as national security adviser after reports emerge that he misled Vice President Mike Pence.

March 2: Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from the investigation into whether the Trump campaign communicated with Russia.

March 4: Without presenting evidence, Trump tweets that Obama had Trump Tower’s ‘wires tapped’ during the presidential campaign.

March 15: Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced that the committee had not found any evidence to support Trump’s wiretapping claim.

 March 20: Comey said he has ‘no evidence’ to support Trump’s wiretapping claim. He confirmed that an investigation into Russia’s election-related meddling includes an examination of contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign.

Late March: Flynn asks for immunity in exchange for testifying to the House and intelligence committees investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.

April 1: Trump tweets: ‘It is the same Fake News Media that said there is “no path to victory for Trump” that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!’

April 3: Trump calls Putin to condemn a Saint Petersburg, Russia terrorist attack.

April 6: Nunes steps aside from the Russia investigation, because he himself is under investigation.

April 11: Page is now under investigation by the FBI who obtained court permission to monitor his communications. The U.S. believed he was acting as a Russian agent.

April 27: The Pentagon inspector general is investigating whether Flynn violated military rules by accepting foreign payments from Russia and Turkey, which is disclosed by a House committee.

May 8: Trump tweets ‘Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax’.

May 9: The president fires Comey from his position at the FBI.

May 10: Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House.

May 15: The Washington Post reported that Trump shared highly classified information about Islamic State with the Russian diplomats during a meeting the previous week.

May 17: Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is appointed the special counsel to take over the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

Late May: Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is revealed to be under investigation by the FBI. According to the Post, he proposed a private back channel between the Kremlin and Trump’s transition team during a meeting in December.

June 8: Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee and answers questions related to Russia meddling into the U.S. election.

 June 13: Sessions denies colluding with Russia during Senate testimony.

June 14: The Washington Post reported that Trump is being investigated for possible obstruction of justice by Mueller.

September: Several news outlets, including POLITICO and Buzzfeed, are suing under the Freedom of Information Act to get records about how the federal government tried to vet the claims in the dossier.

October 24: It’s revealed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped bankroll research that led to the ‘golden showers’ dossier on Donald Trump. Clinton’s campaign lawyer Marc Elias hired research firm Fusion GPS back in April 2016 to look into allegations of Trump’s ties to Russia, according to the Washington Post.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5016865/A-YEAR-Clinton-lies-dirty-dossier-exposed.html#ixzz4wa2Aew00

 

The Clinton camp and DNC funded what became the Trump-Russia dossier: Here’s what it means

 

The Washington Post broke the story Tuesday night that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped pay for that now-famous dossier of research on President Trump.

The Post’s Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman report that powerful Democratic attorney Marc E. Elias retained the firm Fusion GPS for information, and Fusion GPS later hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent who was versed in Russia-related issues.

The dossier, which was published by BuzzFeed News in January, has been partially confirmed, though its most salacious allegations have not been.

There is a lot to sort through here. Below are four key points.

1) Clinton supporters — though not the campaign itself — were previously reported to fund the dossier

The fact Democrats were behind the funding for the dossier is not totally new. When CNN first reported on the dossier’s existence back in January, it said the research effort was originally funded by President Trump’s GOP opponents and then, when he won the nomination, by those supporting Clinton.

CNN reported back then that their sources “said that once Mr. Trump became the nominee, further investigation was funded by groups and donors supporting Hillary Clinton.”

Until now, though, the dossier had not been tied specifically to the Clinton campaign or the DNC.

2) Yes, the dossier was funded by Democrats

Some of the pushback on the left has focused on the fact that a still-unidentified Republican client retained Fusion GPS to do research on Trump before the Clinton campaign and the DNC did. Thus, they argue, it’s wrong to say the dossier was just funded by Democrats.

But The Post is reporting that the dossier’s author, Steele, wasn’t brought into the mix until afterDemocrats retained Fusion GPS. So while both sides paid Fusion GPS, Steele was only funded by Democrats.

3) Trump’s allegation of FBI payments is still dubious

After the story posted, some on the right seized upon The Post noting the FBI had agreed to pay Steele for information after the campaign. The argument seemed to be that the FBI was engaged in a witch hunt against Trump using Democrats’ sources.

But The Post originally reported on the FBI’s agreement back in February. At the time, it also reported it never actually paid for the work after the agent was identified in news reports:

The former British spy who authored a controversial dossier on behalf of Donald Trump’s political opponents alleging ties between Trump and Russia reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement.

. . .

Ultimately, the FBI did not pay Steele. Communications between the bureau and the former spy were interrupted as Steele’s now-famous dossier became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials, according to the people familiar with the arrangement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Despite there being no proof the FBI actually paid Steele, Trump suggested it might have in a tweet last week — along with “Russia . . . or the Dems (or all).” Of those three groups, only Democrats have been reported to have actually paid Steele. And again, that was already kind-of known.

Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?

4) The appearance problems for Democrats

There is, presumably, a reason Democrats haven’t copped to funding the dossier — something they still haven’t publicly confirmed. Fusion GPS threatening to plead the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination raised eyebrows last week, for instance.

First among those reasons is paying a foreigner for opposition research for an American political campaign. Given Democrats’ argument that Russia’s interference on Trump’s behalf was beyond the pale, the Clinton camp and the DNC paying a Brit for information would seem somewhat problematic.

(The Clinton campaign has also, notably, denied working with the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on Trump. Republicans have pushed dubious comparisons between the Ukraine allegation and Russia’s alleged Trump advocacy.)

Some on the right even alleged that Democrats paying Steele amounts to “collusion” with foreigners. But Russia-Steele comparisons aren’t apples-to-apples. The British after all are, unlike the Russians, America’s allies. Also, Steele was not acting as an agent of a foreign government, which is what would likely be required to prove collusion in the case of the Trump campaign and Russia.

Steele’s dossier does include information it says was obtained from “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin.” In other words, the Clinton camp and the DNC were essentially paying for information allegedly obtained from inside the Russian government, even as there is no proof they deliberately sought Russia’s help.

Separately, the firm that the Clinton camp and the DNC paid also has alleged ties to the Kremlin. In Senate testimony in July, Hermitage Capital Management chief executive William Browder accused Fusion GPS and its head, Glenn Simpson, of running a smear campaign against Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian whistleblower who in 2009 was tortured and killed in a Russian prison after uncovering a $230 million tax theft. Magnitsky worked for Browder, and his name was used for a U.S. law containing sanctions that was passed by Congress and is a sore spot between the U.S. government and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Browder said the smear campaign was run by Fusion GPS with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. You might remember them from the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. that took place in June 2016. Veselnitskaya was the Russian lawyer with alleged Kremlin ties who arranged the meeting.

As The Post reported in July of Browder’s accusations:

They were all allegedly working with the law firm Baker Hostetler to defend the Russian company Prevezon from charges it laundered funds stolen in the fraud Magnitsky uncovered.

“Veselnitskaya, through Baker Hostetler, hired Glenn Simpson of the firm Fusion GPS to conduct a smear campaign against me and Sergei Magnitsky in advance of congressional hearings on the Global Magnitsky Act,” Browder will testify. “He contacted a number of major newspapers and other publications to spread false information that Sergei Magnitsky was not murdered, was not a whistleblower and was instead a criminal. They also spread false information that my presentations to lawmakers around the world were untrue.”

Fusion GPS has confirmed it worked on a lawsuit involving Veselnitskaya for two years, The Post’s Josh Rogin reported. It denied any involvement in the Trump Jr. meeting.

The firm has worked with both Democrats and Republicans over the years.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/10/25/the-clinton-camp-and-the-dnc-helped-pay-for-that-trump-russia-dossier-heres-what-it-means/?utm_term=.b318da0b1cc3

 

Story 2: Time To Fire Mueller & Rosenstein and Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money on Clinton Conspiracy Theory 0f Trump  Russian Collusion Based on A Fictional Dossier and No Evidence At All of Trump Collusion — Investigate The Obama Administration’s Use of The Intelligence Community (CIA, FBI, and NSA)  For Political Purposes By Their Secret Surveillance of American Citizens Including Trump and Campaign and Cover-up of Clinton Foundation Crimes of Racketeering and Public Corruption — The Cover-up and Scandal of The Century –Videos

WOW! Trump PERSONALLY Ordered DOJ To Lift Gag Order On Clinton-

Uranium One Informant

he House Oversight committee has started looking into an Obama-era deal in which a Russian-backed company bought a uranium firm with mines in the U.S., Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News on Sunday, adding that he’s spoken with the federal government’s “confidential informant” on the matter. The uranium agreement was reached while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and some investors in the Russian-backed company, Uranium One, had relationships with former President Bill Clinton and donated to the Clinton Foundation. “I’ve spoken with the confidential informant that helped the FBI uncover this bribery scheme,” DeSantis, R-Fla., a member of the oversight committee, told “America’s News Headquarters.” “Clearly, it’s in the public’s interest that this individual be able to tell his story to Congress.”

Did former Obama officials help create anti-Trump dossier?

Dan Bongino: Russian dossier is the scandal of the century

Rush Limbaugh: The scandal of scandals: Clinton campaign and DNC paid for the phony Trump dossier

Gorka: Uranium One scandal is absolutely massive

Gingrich: On the edge of the greatest corruption scandal

Tucker: Fake Russia collusion has unintended consequences

Tucker Carlson: How Trump-Russia Hysteria Spectacularly Backfired In DNC Face

UraniumOne crimes. Lou Dobbs breaks it down

“PROSECUTE HILLARY” – JUDGE JEANINE EXPLODES IN POWERFUL OPENING STATEMENT

There is a ‘mountain’ of evidence against Hillary Clinton: Judge Napolitano

Rep. Nunes On ‘Trump Dossier’: Did The Democrats Use The Intelligence Services for Their Political Gain?

Tucker Carlson interviews House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes on how the contents in what is dubbed the ‘Trump dossier’ led the Obama administration to use government justice resources to investigate the Trump campaign using unverified information gathered from a questionable source.

Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous ‘dossier,’ is currently pleading the Fifth while using courts to block information and evidence showing the Clinton campaign and DNC jointly paid for it via a law firm, a fact leaked to The Washington Post.

“Federal Election Commission records show that the Clinton campaign paid the Perkins Coie law firm $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in “legal and compliance consulting’’ since November 2015. Some of those total fees were apparently paid to Fusion GPS,” The Post reported.

Nunes told Carlson he wants to find out if the FBI was able to obtain warrants using the dossier and if they opened a “counter-intelligence investigation” based on the unverified info.

“So is there anything more terrifying than the prospect of an armed rogue agency,” Carlson said of the FBI.

“I think that the challenge here is that if you had an unverified dossier paid for by political opponents, in this case, the Democratic party that the FBI is taking and using to open investigations into a campaign or into other Americans, we are on a slippery slope. I imagine this is what you see in third world countries where the party in power uses the intelligence services for their political gain. You don’t see that in the United States of America,” Nunes told Carlson on his FOX News show Wednesday night.

Transcript:

TUCKER CARLSON: So one of the most terrifying facts that we’ve learned in the past two days is that the FBI apparently was one of the funders of this dossier. Even after Trump was elected president. How can that be?

REP. DEVIN NUNES: Well, let’s take a step at a time here, Tucker. We don’t know that yet. Part of the reason why we don’t know that yet is we have subpoenaed FBI and the Justice Department to give us this information. What we know so far that we believe to be factual from The Washington Post piece is that the Democrats paid for the dossier — Fusion GPS for the dossier. We believe that to be true. But have Fusion GPS that pled the Fifth. So they refused to testify. They’re now trying to block us from getting information to get to financial records of who they paid, who could they have paid, who could they have hired, all those sorts of things. They’re trying to block us on that.

CARLSON: On what grounds could you say we don’t have the right to know that?

NUNES: Well, look, we’ve subpoenaed the documents and we’re waiting — we have the House general counsel representing us in court. But when you plead the Fifth and then you go to court to try and block us from getting the information and then it gets leaked to The Washington Post that the DNC and the Hillary [Clinton] campaign paid for this, I think we have a problem.

Now I think the next focus is going to be on whether or not did the FBI use this dossier to get any warrants, did they use it to open a counter-intelligence investigation and if they did, if they’re using unverified information to open up inquiries into American citizens, I think we have a big problem.

CARLSON: From a political campaign.

NUNES: From a political campaign.

CARLSON: I mean the purpose of this information which is unverified and in some cases demonstrably false was to affect the outcome an election. So it’s a simple question. You’re the chairman of one of the most powerful committees in the House of Representatives. Why can’t you get an answer?

NUNES: You would think that we would be able to. And that is the problem.

CARLSON: Is that constitutional?

NUNES: This is why the Speaker of the House came out this morning and called on DOJ to provide this information immediately to the House of Representatives. And this is why we’re in court now, just trying to get this information. And, look, this has been since March, it’s not like this is new. We didn’t just stumble into this. And at least subpoenas were issued almost 60 days ago.

CARLSON: But the FBI is not its own country, it can’t make it’s own unilateral decisions, right?

NUNES: Last time I checked, it was the U.S. Congress that created the FBI.

CARLSON: So is there anything more terrifying than the prospect of an armed rogue agency?

NUNES. No. No. And I think that the challenge here is that if you had an unverified dossier paid for by political opponents, in this case, the Democratic party that the FBI is taking and using to open investigations into a campaign or into other Americans, we are on a slippery slope. I imagine this is what you see in third world countries where the party in power uses the intelligence services for their political gain. You don’t see that in the United States of America.

CALRSON: There’s a new FBI director. There are lots of FBI officials that go on television. Has anybody from the FBI publicly explained why they’re not letting the House Intelligence Committee know this information?

NUNES: No, they have not. Not yet.

CALRSON: That’s really upsetting. So the Uranium One scandal, we know that a Democratic lobbying firm in Washington, The Podesta Group, was engaged in lobbying on behalf of these interests. And we know that the Clinton family foundation took just took over $100 million from board members of Uranium One.

Is anybody going to get to whether the obvious happened? That was a quid pro quo. They paid, they got the deal ratified by federal agencies. Will we get to the bottom of that.

NUNES: Here’s what I think is disturbing and what we’re looking for first. So, the new information here, a lot of people are asking, what happened? This was seven years ago. What happened? First of all, you had Republicans back in 2010 wrote in opposition to the sale on this Uranium One.

Then we now have information — this is the new information. We have informants who have said that there was an open FBI-DOJ investigation. We have people that have told us this. We don’t know if it’s true yet. but if it’s true, shortly after that — so if you have an open investigation, how do nine cabinet-level secretaries approve a sale?

And then you have all the questions that you raised. Was the Clinton Foundation involved in this? What was — there was millions of dollars —

CARLSON: And where was American national security, the American interest in this? Nonpresent.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/10/25/rep_nunes_on_trump_dossier_did_the_democrats_use_the_intelligence_services_for_their_political_gain.html

Obama-era Russian Uranium One deal: What to know

Multiple congressional committees are investigating an Obama-era deal that resulted in a Russian company purchasing American uranium mines.

And after the request from many Republican lawmakers, the Department of Justice has lifted a gag order on a former FBI informant who is expected to have more information about the agreement that allowed Russia to control about one-fifth of the uranium mining in the U.S. – and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s involvement in it.

President Trump specifically requested the Justice Department lift the gag order on the informant, a source told Fox News.

The informant will be allowed to speak with the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Oversight Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Justice Department said Wednesday night. The informant will be able to provide “any information or documents he has concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market,” the department said.

The controversial sale of what is now Uranium One to a Russian company is what Trump has called the “real Russia story” as federal investigators continue to probe Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election. The Hill recently reported that Russian officials engaged in a “racketeering scheme” to further its energy goals in the U.S.

What was the Uranium One deal?

In 2013, Rosatom, backed by the Russian state, acquired a Canadian uranium mining company, now called Uranium One, which has assets in the U.S. Uranium is key to making nuclear weapons.

Through the deal, Russia is able to own about 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity. However, Colin Chilcoat, an energy affairs specialist who has written extensively about Russia’s energy deals, said that the company only extracts about 11 percent of uranium in the U.S.

The deal also “doesn’t allow for that uranium to be exported at all,” Chilcoat told Fox News. “It’s not like it’s leaving the U.S. or somehow finding its way to more insidious players.”

HILLARY CLINTON’S TOP AIDES STILL BEING PAID BY CAMPAIGN

The agreement was approved by nine government agencies with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency group that reviews how certain foreign investments can impact national security. Clinton’s State Department was one of those agencies, though the former secretary of state told WMUR-TV in 2015 that she was not “personally involved” in the agreement.

Why is it controversial?

Republicans have largely decried the deal, especially as some investors reportedly donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Former President Bill Clinton also received a $500,000 speaking fee in Russia and reportedly met with Vladimir Putin around the time of the deal.

The FBI had looked into the agreement and uncovered that some Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in nefarious dealings, which included extortion, bribery and kickbacks, The Hill reported. Evidence of wrongdoing by Vadim Mikerin, the Russian official overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion in the U.S. who was eventually sentenced to prison, was discovered by the FBI before the deal was approved, according to The Hill.

Author Peter Schweizer – who wrote about the deal in his 2015 book “Clinton Cash” – told Fox News that there is no evidence that the people involved with approving the agreement knew that the FBI had an ongoing investigation into it.

“If anyone colluded for a foreign government in last year’s election, it was the Clinton campaign.”

– White House press secretary Sarah Sanders

But Republicans say the whole affair raises serious questions.

“Now it’s the Democrats who have some explaining to do,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “I hope they will cooperate with the investigation, be forthcoming with the American people and I expect the media to cover these new developments with the same breathless intensity that they have given to this investigation since day one.”

And White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News Tuesday that “if anyone colluded for a foreign government in last year’s election, it was the Clinton campaign [and] the Democrats.”

Trump has often accused the media of not reporting enough on the Uranium One deal.

“Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!” the president tweeted on Oct. 19.

And in March, Trump asked on social media why the House Intelligence Committee has not launched an investigation into the “Bill and Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia.”

How does this tie in with the other Russia investigation?

Multiple congressional committees as well as the Justice Department are looking into possible Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election – and ties between Russians and Trump’s campaign.

“That’s your real Russia story. Not a story where they talk about collusion and there was none. It was a hoax. Your real Russia story is uranium,” Trump told reporters during a press conference last week.

REPUBLICANS SEE TABLES TURNED AS DEMS FACE FRESH RUSSIA CONTROVERSIES

Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the probe into alleged Russian interference in the election, was the head of the FBI when it investigated Rosatom officials’ extortion and corruption.

“Your real Russia story is uranium.”

– President Donald Trump

And the investigation was led by then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, now the deputy FBI director, and then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, now the deputy attorney general, The Hill reported.

Mueller’s investigators in the Russia probe report to Rosenstein.

Congressional committees are looking into whether Mueller informed the Obama administration, particularly those tasked with approving the Uranium One deal, prior to CFIUS approval.

MUELLER PROBE EXPANDS TO DEMOCRATIC LOBBYIST TONY PODESTA’S DEALINGS

In her attempt to discredit reports of the controversy surrounding the Uranium One deal, Clinton said Trump and “his allies, including Fox News,” are diverting from the investigation.

“The closer the investigation about real Russian ties between Trump associates and real Russians … the more they want to just throw mud on the wall,” she said Monday. “I’m their favorite target, me and President Obama.”

What happens next?

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had asked the Department of Justice to lift the non-disclosure agreement preventing a federal informant from speaking about the deal.

The informant’s lawyer, Victoria Toensing, has told Fox Business that her client can “tell what all the Russians were talking about during the time that all these bribery payments were made.” The informant was prevented from testifying by former attorneys general Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, according to Toensing.

“Witnesses who want to talk to Congress should not be gagged and threatened with prosecution for talking,” Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement. The Justice Department said Wednesday night that it has lifted the gag order, allowing the informant to discuss the deal with congressional investigators.

Jamil Jaffer, a former counsel in the Justice Department, said the alleged informant could allow Congress to “follow the money” because “if the informant was inside many or all of these transactions, meetings or conversations, he may be able to provide useful information about the intent behind the transaction and whether it was quid pro quo.”

“The key issues at stake in this investigation are all about intent and knowledge: was there an intent to influence official business, and, if so, did the recipient take the money in exchange for taking official action,” Jaffer, the director of the National Security Law and Policy Program at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, told Fox News.

But Jaffer said the credibility of the so-called informant will also come into play.

“Was this a foreign agent or criminal who turned? Was this a private individual the FBI placed inside [the deal]? Was this a government employee? All these factors, plus the level of the informant’s access to relevant information, will make a big difference here,” Jaffer.

During a hearing with Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions last week, Grassley pressed the former senator on actions the Justice Department might take regarding the deal. Grassley said he’s written several letters to government agencies inquiring if they knew about the FBI probe before they approved of the deal.

Sessions said the Justice Department will take “appropriate” actions but declined to comment specifically on the influence Russian officials might have had on the Obama administration to “smooth the way” for the deal.

“I hear your concerns and they will be reviewed,” Sessions said.

Grassley has called for a special counsel to be appointed to investigate the deal.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News that the House Oversight committee’s investigation “could be criminal,” depending on the statute of limitations.

Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/10/26/obama-era-russian-uranium-one-deal-what-to-know.html

Why doesn’t Hillary’s ‘dossier’ trick count as treason?

What’s the difference between the infamous Russian dossier on Donald Trump and that random fake-news story you saw on Facebook last year? The latter was never used by America’s intelligence community to bolster its case for spying on American citizens nor was it the foundation for a year’s worth of media coverage.

Then again, you get what you pay for. We now know Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid as much as $9 million for the discredited dossier on Trump.

According to the Washington Post, a lawyer named Marc Elias, who represented both the 2016 Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, had hired Fusion GPS, a DC firm working on behalf of the Russian government to soften sanctions at the time, to provide opposition research for them. The firm then hired a former British spy named Christopher Steele who reportedly purchased salacious rumors about Trump from the Russians.

Now, you might expect that the scandalous revelation of a political campaign using opposition research that was partially obtained from a hostile foreign power during a national election would ignite shrieks of “collusion” from all patriotic citizens. After all, only last summer, when it was reported that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who claimed to be in possession of damaging information about Clinton, there was widespread condemnation.

Finally, we were told, a smoking gun tied the Trump campaign to Vladimir Putin. Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine went as far as to suggest that the independent counsel begin investigating treason.

Treason! Trump Jr. didn’t even pay for or accept research.

The Clinton crew, on the other hand, did. They didn’t openly push the contents of the dossier — probably because they knew it was mostly fiction. Instead, Fusion GPS leaked it to their friends in the media.

The dossier ended up in the possession of most major news outlets. Many journalists relied on Fusion GPS to propel coverage. BuzzFeed even posted the entire thing for Americans to read, even though it was more than likely that its most scandalous parts were hatched by a foreign government.

The memo dominated newsrooms that were convinced Trump was a Manchurian candidate. No fake-news story came close to having this kind of impact.

Democrats in Washington are now pushing the “Honest Ads Act,” which creates a raft of new regulations and fines for websites that don’t do enough to combat fake news. Attempting to control the flow of information onto our screens is the hobbyhorse of would-be censors. But since they’re at it, when do we get a bill that fines institutional media organizations that readily embrace bogus foreign dossiers?

Because the dossier didn’t just awaken the Russia-stole-our-democracy narratives in the media. It’s just as likely that the dossier was used by Clinton’s allies in the government.

The Obama administration reportedly relied on the dossier to bolster its spying on US citizens. We know of at least one case where the information was used to justify a FISA warrant on a Trump adviser. And let’s not forget that Steele had reached an agreement to be compensated for his efforts by the FBI.

None of this excuses the actions of Paul Manafort and others who may have benefited from their relationship with the Russians. Yet, using the very standards Democrats have constructed over the past year, the Fusion GPS story is now the most tangible evidence we possess of Russian interference in the American election.

And at some point, Democrats will have to decide whether it’s wrong for a political campaign to work with foreigners when obtaining opposition research or whether it’s acceptable. We can’t have different standards for Democrats and Republicans.

Otherwise people might start to get the idea that all the histrionics over the past year weren’t really about Russian interference at all, but rather about Hillary losing an election that they assumed she’d win.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and author of the forthcoming book “First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History with the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.”

http://nypost.com/2017/10/25/why-doesnt-hillarys-dossier-trick-count-as-treason/

Republicans spoil for a fight over Russia probe budget

Robert Mueller’s first spending report must be reviewed by the Justice Department, but lawmakers are already questioning the open-ended use of taxpayer funds.

Updated 

Robert Mueller is pictured. | Getty Images
Complaints about spending over the Russia probes date to before Robert Mueller’s appointment in mid-May. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans trying to hobble Robert Mueller’s sprawling probe into President Donald Trump and Russia matters are about to get a new weapon: the special counsel’s budget.

Lawmakers haven’t yet seen the Russia investigator’s first spending report, which must go through a Justice Department review before being made public. But they’re already setting up a fight over how much the probe is costing taxpayers — and the fact that there’s no end in sight.

“For them to say to us, ‘Vote for an open-ended appropriation into a Mueller witch hunt,’ I think you’ll see significant objection there,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told POLITICO.

Mueller’s public budget is expected to contain only top-line figures covering broad categories like staff salaries, travel, outside contracts, supplies and equipment. But money will become a recurring fight as the investigation drags on, because Mueller is required to produce public expense reports every six months — giving opponents repeated opportunities to paint him in a negative light.

Partisan complaining about the expenses that pile up during lengthy Washington investigations is a familiar ritual. As President Bill Clinton faced impeachment in the House in 1998, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) called Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr a “federally paid sex policeman spending millions of dollars to trap an unfaithful spouse.”

Outcry over spending of taxpayers’ money also cropped up during the Iran-Contra investigation, whose outlays ultimately exceeded $47 million. “Taxpayers of this country should be absolutely up in arms about it,” then-Sen. Steve Symms (R-Idaho) said during a CNN appearance in 1992, six years into that probe.

Complaints about spending over the Russia probes date to before Mueller’s appointment in mid-May. Trump himself took to Twitter just one day before he fired FBI Director James Comey — kick-starting the whole special counsel process — to say: “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

Critics have only gained momentum as Mueller’s probe has advanced. King in a July interview called for legislation imposing both a deadline and budget constraints on Mueller; otherwise, the Republican congressman warned, Trump could face “a never-ending investigation that could go on for two presidential terms.”

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) tried in August to offer an amendment to the House budget resolution that would have halted Mueller’s funding just six months into the job. “No fishing expeditions,” he told Fox News as he tried to sell the measure.

While DeSantis couldn’t overcome a procedural technicality and never got a floor vote, conservatives say they’re just getting started. The right-leaning watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit earlier this month seeking Mueller’s budget documents. Several Republicans said in interviews they’d be keeping tabs on the special counsel’s spending through their oversight capacity, and they will hold out the threat of attaching language to DOJ’s annual spending bill or other must-pass legislation that places clear restrictions or prohibitions on Mueller’s authority.

“We still have power over the Department of Justice,” warned Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), another Judiciary Committee member.

As a practical matter, Congress can’t go after Mueller’s day-to-day spending directly. His budget is being drawn out of a permanent Treasury Department account that is not subject to the annual appropriations process, and the DOJ regulations used to appoint Mueller state he “shall be provided all appropriate resources” to do his work.

Mueller is subject to some oversight. He had to produce a budget proposal to DOJ earlier this summer for the next fiscal year. And an internal DOJ audit office must review the first 4½ months of his spending receipts. Mueller isn’t under day-to-day DOJ supervision, but Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, does have final say on some of the major decisions related to the Mueller probe, including his budget.

Peter Carr, a Mueller spokesman, said the internal DOJ review must be completed before the special counsel’s spending report is made public. He declined to comment when asked about a timeline for its release.

While firm details on how much Mueller has spent to date remain under wraps, sources familiar with the special counsel’s budget process say they expect the report to count up the salaries of 11 government attorneys who have been detailed from across other parts of DOJ, as well as five more people hired from outside government who are being paid using the scale for senior staff serving in a U.S. attorney’s office. Mueller himself is earning the same $161,900 salary as a U.S. attorney.

The special counsel’s spending report also will likely count any rent for office space in a Southwest Washington, D.C., office building — whose exact location remains a closely held secret — that his team has been using since the summer, according to sources familiar with Mueller’s budget process.

Politically, Mueller, a former FBI director appointed by President George W. Bush, can count on some degree of bipartisan support from lawmakers who say they expect he’ll lead a budget-savvy investigation.

“I’d be inclined to approve it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a key member on both the Senate Appropriations and Judiciary committees. “He seems to be a pretty frugal guy.”

Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee since before the Clinton impeachment hearings, said in an interview earlier this week that he had no concerns about Mueller’s spending “unless it’s something totally outrageous.”

The special counsel’s Republican budget critics, Conyers added, represent the “few people who are sensitive about it.”

“Whatever figure he comes up with, they won’t like it too much,” he said.

Given Mueller’s mandate — lawmakers note he’s examining the authenticity of the presidential election — several Democrats said he should have some running room to spend what he needs to.

“In view of the amount of money that we spend as a nation in any given year, clarifying what happened under these very serious circumstances I think is important today and it’s important for history’s sake,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. “We’re talking about the believability of any election in this county and we’re talking about undue influence by a nation that has never been known to support the principles of liberty or justice and there’s a lot at stake here.”

“He’s going to do what he can to acquit himself well. He’s got no ulterior motives. No fish to fry. He doesn’t have any aircraft carriers he’s got to buy from some contractor friend,” added Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), a senior House Judiciary Committee member.

Nadler also said he’s not expecting Mueller to be held too tightly to subsequent budget requests because of unexpected circumstances that might arise given his wide-ranging investigation into the Trump campaign and the election.

Any Republican bid to meddle with Mueller via his budget will come with political risks, according to lawmakers, several longtime congressional observers and attorneys who have worked on special counsel investigations.

Charlie Houy, the former Democratic staff director on the Senate Appropriations Committee, acknowledged “ample precedent” for Congress to try to gain some control over the spending on a special counsel probe. “However,” he added, “it would be real tricky to not be charged with trying to impede the investigation. That in itself should cause cooler heads to urge caution.”

Lawmakers who try to micromanage the probe could also be accused of messing with the justice system itself, said Randall Samborn, a Chicago-based lawyer who served as spokesman for then-U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald during the George W. Bush-era special counsel probe into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.

“Could you only imagine what would happen, whether it’s this investigation or any criminal investigation conducted by DOJ or the FBI, if the Hill started getting involved in setting the budget on a per-investigation basis?” Samborn said. “You could not conduct a confidential secretive grand jury investigation and have the accountability while it’s under way being scrutinized by partisan politics. It’d be the death knell of such an investigation.”

Considering his reputation running the FBI, several sources who have worked for previous special counsels said they expect Mueller will get the leeway he needs to do his work. But Julie Myers Wood, a former lead prosecutor during Starr’s investigation, predicted the good will won’t last forever.

“If the inquiry starts to drag on, I would expect significant attacks on the cost, both in terms of direct cost to the taxpayer and also in terms of the cost of the time it is taking the executive branch to respond to his queries,” she said.

The Starr investigation — as well as the work of three other independent counsels who ran the case — remains the most expensive in U.S. history — costing more than $73 million, according to audits done by the Government Accountability Office. That single Clinton probe, which started in 1994 with an examination of the Clintons’ real estate deals in Arkansas took several unexpected turns over seven-plus years and ended up covering the suicide of White House attorney Vincent Foster, irregularities in the White House travel office, allegations of misuse of confidential FBI files, false statements by a top White House attorney and finally the president’s sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The investigation drew harsh political criticism for many reasons, including its spending: Over the full course of the probe it had more than 225 employees from the Justice Department and other federal agencies, including at least 65 consultants and outside advisers, according to a final report released in 2002.

While the bulk of Starr’s spending was detailed in summary format, on at least one occasion some of the embarrassing budget specifics did go public. House Democrats in 1998 released to the Los Angeles Times internal documents showing spending of $370 a month for a parking space for the independent counsel, a $32,380 bill to survey an Arkansas community where potential jurors would be seated in a trial of the state’s governor, and $30,517 for a psychological analysis of the evidence connected to Foster’s suicide.

Despite the criticism, Starr senior counsel Paul Rosenzweig said “there was never a serious effort” to strip the independent counsel’s spending. “The politics of trying to do so would be terrible optics,” he said.

Six separate investigations during the Clinton administration ran up costs of more than $140 million. President Ronald Reagan faced eight different probes, including Iran-Contra, for a total of more than $84 million, according to a POLITICO review of government audits and reports on their spending.

In all, there have been 21 completed independent counsel and special counsel investigations dating back to the Carter administration. Their total price tag: $231 million — $339 million when adjusted for inflation. Twelve of those cases concluded with no indictments.

Just two of the 21 cases ended with the successful prosecution of a federal official who was named as the primary initial target: Reagan White House aide Michael Deaver, who was sentenced to three years of probation and fined $100,000 in 1988 after being convicted on three counts of perjury stemming from a conflict-of-interest investigation; and Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Henry Cisneros, who pleaded guilty in 1999 to a misdemeanor charge for lying to the FBI about payments made to his former mistress. Clinton pardoned Cisneros in January 2001, on his final day in office.

The dearth of successful convictions, King said, is one of the main reasons he said he’s raising alarm about the Mueller probe’s spending.

“Not many people on either side of the political aisle would point to one [special counsel investigation] and say it’s a satisfactory result,” King said. “They’re messy. They’re ugly. They’re not conclusive. And there’s division over them that runs in perpetuity, as long as we remember them in our history.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/26/robert-mueller-probe-budget-fight-244218

 

Have no doubt, President Trump will wind up firing Robert Mueller

I am perfectly aware of the fact that the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III of President Donald J. Trump has not been completed.

No final report has been filed, and no indictments have yet been issued.

But after stating this, I have no doubt that Donald J. Trump will “do a Nixon.” By that, I mean, he will repeat what the former president did when it appeared that he would be either criminally charged or forced to leave office.

The Saturday night massacre took place when that era’s special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, was ready to take action against the incumbent president.

Nixon told then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned.

Next in line was William Ruckelshaus, Richardson’s deputy attorney general. He refused and resigned, too.

Finally, Robert Bork, who was solicitor general and next in line, assumed the position of acting attorney general and did the dirty deed.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that prosecutors have told former Trump campaign manager Paul J. Manafort that they plan to indict him. This planned indictment is based on phone taps placed on Manafort. These “intercepts” began even before Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager.

In addition, in July, federal agents with a search warrant picked the lock on the front door of Manafort’s home and seized important documents.

Obviously, Mueller means business and is acting quickly and aggressively to put pressure on those he believes can provide essential information in his investigation.

Some observers have called Mueller’s tactics “shock and awe.”

Manafort will soon be confronted with a critical personal decision. Does he continue to proclaim his innocence and say he did nothing wrong, or does he tell all and incriminate Trump and others?

Manafort, I’m quite sure, does not want to go to prison. If the evidence is overwhelming and credible, and if he believes Mueller has “the goods on him,” he undoubtedly will take the only avenue which keeps him out of prison and keeps his life from being ruined.

Subpoenas are being issued, a grand jury has been impanelled, and witnesses are being called to appear. This “wide-ranging” investigation is definitely heating up and advancing.

One major, crucial point, however:

Trump has publicly said the Mueller investigation should just focus on his campaign.

Trump said in a New York Times interview that Mueller would be “overstepping his boundaries” if he investigated anything to do with his or his family’s financial dealings that were unrelated to the campaign investigation.

That is exactly the rub.

I believe Trump knows that if Mueller goes into that area, he is in for real trouble. Not only might he have to leave office, but the embarrassing or possible criminal evidence could lead to the eventual demise of his financial well-being and empire.

Here is my central point.

Does anyone believe that, faced with such an impending doom, Trump would accept his fate? Would act differently than Nixon?

He believed Attorney General Jeff Sessions would end any investigation. When Sessions recused himself, Trump knew he didn’t have a protector. He was banking on Sessions to put an end to all his troubles.

This is the same individual who fired FBI Director James Comey. Comey had just begun his investigation. In fact, in a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump stated that he did this to relieve “great pressure.” He was referring to the Russia investigation.

Trump will not hesitate to instruct Mueller’s supervisor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to fire Mueller. If Rosenstein refuses, as Elliot Richardson did, then Trump will go down the chain of command at the Justice Department until he finds someone who will. He will find another Robert Bork.

Donald Trump will defend this action by saying that Mueller was on a “fishing expedition” or a “witch hunt” and “overstepped his authority.”

His base will wildly support him.

The country will face a constitutional crisis.

Do you think Trump cares or would be concerned?

Trump will not go quietly — will not give in or give up.

Let us all prepare for this scenario. It is not fantasy, and it will become a brutal reality.

Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner. He previously worked as a political analyst for WAMU-FM, Washington’s NPR affiliate, and for WTOP-FM, Washington’s all-news radio station. He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing.

http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/351869-have-no-doubt-president-trump-will-wind-up-firing-robert-mueller

 

Robert Mueller has draft letter Trump, Stephen Miller wrote on why Comey should be fired: Report

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election, has a copy of a draft letter written by President Trump and a top White House aide detailing why he would terminate former FBI Director James Comey, according to a report.

Trump and Stephen Miller, a White House senior policy adviser, wrote the letter from Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., in May, the New York Times reported. It’s unknown what the draft letter said, but sources told the Washington Post it did not focus explicitly on the Russia probe.

The president showed top White House aides a copy of the letter during a meeting in the Oval Office on May 8, the day before Comey was fired, the Washington Post reported.

The letter was several pages and included a long list of complaints Trump had about Comey, including that he refused to say publicly he wasn’t under investigation by the FBI, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Comey ultimately said in congressional testimony he privately told Trump the FBI wasn’t investigating him as part of its probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Sources told the New York Times that White House counsel Donald McGahn took issue with parts of the letter and successfully stopped the president from sending it to Comey.

Instead, Comey was sent a different letter from Trump on May 9 that included a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That memo primarily focused on Comey’s handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also sent a letter to Trump, which included Rosenstein’s memo and recommended the former FBI director be terminated.

In his short letter to Comey, Trump said new leadership was needed at the FBI to restore “public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” and said he decided to fire the former director based on Sessions and Rosenstein’s recommendations.

Mueller received a copy of Trump and Miller’s drafted letter from the Justice Department in recent weeks.

Ty Cobb, a lawyer with the White House, declined to discuss the letter with the New York Times, but said, “To the extent the special prosecutor is interested in these matters, we will be fully transparent with him.”

The New York Times said the letter originally drafted by Miller and Trump may provide the best explanation for why Trump decided to fire Comey. However, it’s unknown how much of that explanation addresses the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, part of which looks into the ties between Trump campaign officials and Russia.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/robert-mueller-has-draft-letter-trump-stephen-miller-wrote-on-why-comey-should-be-fired-report/article/2633205

 

Media Ignoring Democrats’ Scandals

Image: Media Ignoring Democrats' Scandals
Sen. Chuck Grassley R-Iowa talks to reporters as he walks to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill, on October 18, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By David Limbaugh
Friday, 20 Oct 2017 12:01 AM 

Why the collective liberal media yawn on the multi-headed Democratic scandals surfacing everywhere except on their pages and airwaves?

It’s not that the stories are too far-fetched and thin to interest self-respecting journalists, because they are real, damning and supported by sufficiently credible evidence to warrant serious attention and scrutiny.

There are the notorious Trump dossier, the Clinton-infected uranium bribery scandal and the prematurely drafted FBI memo to exonerate the most recently defeated United States presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, who, by the way, is still acting like a heat-seeking missile in search of just one plausible excuse for her loss. Let’s look at these scandals in turn.

The Obama administration was clearly spying on the Trump campaign during the presidential campaign, but was it based on good-faith evidence something untoward was occurring? Separate investigations are underway in both the Senate and the House to determine whether the administration relied on the so-called “Trump dossier” to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant authorizing its “wiretapping” of Trump officials.

What’s the problem with that, you ask? Well, you can’t just throw things against the FISA wall to justify suspending Americans’ privacy. The dossier is full of unsubstantiated information alleging elaborate connections between Trump and Russia — mouthwatering to Trump hunters but without calories.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a subpoena to Fusion GPS, the opposition research company behind the dossier, which was authored by former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Fusion GPS’ attorneys asserted “constitutional privileges” on behalf of the company’s executives in refusing to deliver the subpoenaed documents. Swell.

The Daily Caller reports that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley raised several “alarming” questions in an Oct. 4 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. Did the FBI present dubious information from the dossier to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain the warrant? If so, this would be a “staggering” revelation, according to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova — “a type of manipulation of intelligence data and false intelligence data to mislead a court” that could require “the empanelment of a federal grand jury.”

Grassley also asked whether Steele used the same information from the dossier in his report to British intelligence. Grassley is rightly concerned that the British report, though allegedly based on the same bogus information as the dossier, might have been fraudulently presented as independent corroboration of the dossier. So far, the FBI hasn’t responded to three letters from Grassley seeking explanations for these anomalies.

Next, while the liberal media and the Democratic establishment shamelessly collude to find some scintilla of collusion between Trump and Russia to tamper with the presidential election, they’ve studiously avoided reporting on potentially real evidence of collusion between American officials and Russia. We’ve long heard allegations that the Clintons colluded with the Russians to enrich themselves at the expense of America’s national security. But new evidence has emerged that may give this story some real teeth. The Hill’s John Solomon and Alison Spann and Circa News reporter Sara Carter revealed that the FBI has acquired numerous documents, secret recordings, emails, financial records and eyewitness accounts allegedly proving that Russian nuclear officials caused millions of dollars to be paid to the Clinton Foundation and hundreds of thousands to be paid to Bill Clinton directly when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The State Department then approved the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium supply to Russia.

The Hill reports that the Obama administration was aware of these sordid transactions before it approved the deal to sell the uranium to the Russians in 2010: “The FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.” All kinds of other evidence was obtained showing Russian officials had “routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation” while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. But instead of bringing charges, the Obama Justice Department continued investigating — while the administration gave away our nuclear farm.

Even in the unlikely event that there is some less-than-incriminating explanation for all this, who can deny this is real collusion that resulted in dire consequences for our national security? Yet nary a peep elsewhere out of the liberal media. It seems they’re only interested in false allegations of Russian collusion that involves Republicans — not in real collusion that involves the Democratic royal family, the Clintons.

Finally, for now, based on FBI documents, we know that former FBI Director James Comey began penning draft statements exonerating then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of criminal wrongdoing in the use of her personal email servers to host and transmit classified information before Comey had interviewed almost a dozen major witnesses, including Clinton herself. This is hardly a case of no harm, no foul, because in his announcement declining to bring charges, Comey declared that Clinton was guilty of egregious misconduct. He only declined to prosecute because he said the relevant criminal statute requires proof of criminal intent, which it manifestly does not and which exists anyway. Adding insult to injury, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is publicly defending Comey’s disgraceful act of prejudgment in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Liberals are frustrated that Donald Trump is in charge of their coveted executive branch and that their efforts to discredit, incriminate and impeach him for alleged Russian collusion are in free fall. Now they’re pursuing plan B: Trump is too crazy to occupy the office. Democrats know a good offense is the best defense and the best diversion against evidence of Russian collusion — actual tangible proof of wrongdoing rather than partisan fabrication. Republicans need to pursue this reality as fervently as Democrats pursued their slanderous unreality.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author, and attorney. His latest book is, “The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament.” Read more reports from David Limbaugh — Click Here Now.

https://www.newsmax.com/Limbaugh/trump-clinton-fbi-russian/2017/10/19/id/820919/

One Big Obama Super-Scandal: Uranium One, GPS Fusion, Mueller Scandals, JFK, Plus Flake

These are great days. Finally there are substantial reasons to believe that the decades long lies and generations long treacheries will be exposed and democracy restored. The truth must be uncovered if America is ever to be great again. President Donald J. Trump is responsible for this stunning book of revelations about to be written.

Don’t think for a second, not even a nano-second, that the opponents of President Trump do not understand the fate that awaits them as President Trump successfully peels away at the onion of the hitherto protected lies. Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Don Lemon, Big Media, Islamic terrorists and their supporters, the Obama Dimocrats, the whole long line of Trump haters understand their days are numbered in days short of years.

More glorious for supporters of President Trump is that we can now see the contours of the opposition. Those contours are clear as the chalk tracing police outline around the carcasses of dead gangsters. Today there was major breaking news about Fusion GPS. Tomorrow and in days to come there will be more revelations.

* * * * * *The JFK Document Release

Ignore the JFK assassination conspiracy theories. The October 26 release of documents related to the Kennedy assassination in 1963 are an important moment in our current history and the book of revelations to come.

Recall that for many months after the inauguration of President Trump the F.B.I. and intelligence agencies such as the C.I.A. trashed the new duly elected president in a slew of leaks intended to remove President Trump from office. The leaks and manipulations from NeverTrump neocons alongside Obama Dimocrats utilized a fake “Russia collusion” and “saint Comey” line of prosecution and eventually led to obaminations such as the appointment of deep state stooges and cronies to run the Department of Justice and Mueller – the especially corrupt prosecutor.

The attempts by the deep state and Big Media to remove President Trump from office in the first several months failed. Soon thereafter, after the opposition to the duly elected president realized that President Trump would remain in office, the gears shifted. Politico, led the stenography squad to herald the shift in tactics.

After the realization struck that President Trump would remain president for his full term, the deep state and its stenographers began a campaign to save themselves. The immediate problem was the release of thousands of documents related to the JFK assassination.

For decades Americans have been fascinated by the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and a document release on the assassination would reflect badly on the intelligence agencies and investigatory powers. For example, the security apparatus either knew about Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of the president, or they did not – both of which pose troublesome questions for the security forces and the intelligence community.

Consider, Oswald was a former Marine with knowledge of American radar systems, who at the height of the cold war traveled to the Soviet Union in an era in which travel was much more difficult, renounced his American citizenship to U.S. officials and declared to the U.S. officials in Moscow he had important military information to give to the Soviet Union. In some newspapers the Oswald defection to the Soviet Union was front page news on October 1959. Then, after living in the Soviet Union Lee Oswald decides to return to the United States! Either the intelligence/security services kept track of Oswald or they did not. If they did track Oswald, why didn’t they know what he was up to? If they did not keep track of Oswald, why didn’t they. It’s a no win series of explanations that the security services and intelligence apparatus would have to explain if all the documents related to the JFK assassination were published.

Enter Politico. In an article Politico declared that release of all the JFK documents would be a disaster because the American people would be confused, the poor darlin’s… it was all too confusing and people would raise questions, ‘so please, please, President Trump keep the documents and the truth away from the American people until the experts can digest the information and release it after it is properly prepared, if ever’. Think we exaggerate? Read the Politico mess:

As it stands now, the document release this month will be a logistical nightmare, with the public suddenly flooded with a huge online library of documents—tens of thousands in total—that will be, at first, mostly incomprehensible even to experienced students of the assassination. The National Archives, abandoning its plans to release the documents in batches over the course of several months, said this week that it will instead release everything at once—all on the same day—sometime between now and the deadline on October 26. [snip]

With everything made public at once, pandemonium is all but guaranteed, since major news organizations around the world will want to know, almost instantly, what is in the documents that is new and potentially important. And there will simply be no way for historians and other researchers, even those with a special knowledge of the Kennedy assassination, to make any authoritative judgment as they try to page through tens of thousands of pages of files all at once.

Four days later, the campaign to keep the JFK documents secret reached a level of comedy when Politicopublished yet another article so deranged and so debased, it can only be termed “retarded”:

Trump administration and other government officials say privately that President Donald Trump is almost certain to block the release of information from some of the thousands of classified files related to the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy that are scheduled to be made public in less than a week by the National Archives. [snip]

A congressional official who has been closely monitoring the issue, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump had been under pressure from the CIA to block the release of some of the assassination documents on national security grounds, possibly to protect CIA tradecraft and the identity of agency informants who might still be alive.

Any observer with a lick of sense would ask themselves in response to the stupid Politico article, “why would President Trump seek to deny Americans information and protect the very agencies that have sought his destruction by shielding them from being exposed as either corrupt or liars in documents decades old?” The answer to this obvious question came from President Trump in a Tweet that declared he would not stop the release of the JFK documents.

President Trump will not block Americans from reading source documents about the JFK assassination. The truth will be revealed to all. The deep state, the octopus, the Swamp, took on President Trump and now they will be defeated. This is all part of one big Obama SuperScandal.

Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Resigned To Their Fates

It’s a great day today. On Tuesday, as President Trump prepared to go to the Capitol to organize the corrupt GOP in an effort to reform the American tax system, the miserable Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee attacked. In a series of vicious interviews Corker denounced the president and called him a liar and mentally unstable.

Soon thereafter, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona addressed the U.S. Senate. Flake lived up to his name with his own deranged attack against President Trump. Immediately, Senator John McCain praised Flake in the same manner as Senator Mitch McConnell.

The beauty of these attacks is that they come from the defeated. It’s a great day today. Senator Flake spoke to the Senate today to announce he will not run for reelection without reflecting on the fact he is loathed in Arizona. Bob Corker previously announced he will not run for reelection. Both announced they will not run for reelection because they could not win reelection, not with the growing determinative strength of President Trump in the party he took over.

All of these Trump haters, Flake-McCain-McConnell-Corker, are all dinosaurs who’s time has long passed. The moment Donald Trump became the nominee they were obsolete. The moment Donald Trump became President Trump, their days were numbered.

All of these defeated Senators have long been part of the deep state that has sought to control Americans, instead of protecting America. Corker was a co-conspirator with Barack Obama on the treacherous Iran deal supported by the deep state and other enemies of American democracy. Jeff Flake like McCain and McConnell support illegal immigration and any war at any time along with what they term “free trade” no matter now unfair and harmful that trade is.

They’re all gone. President Trump has removed them. Their allies are next. The Obama SuperScandal too will be exposed and the perpetrators removed.

Uranium One

The Uranium One scandal is one tentacle of the Obama SuperScandal. Many assume that this is a Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton scandal. If only that were so. Uranium One is part of the Obama SuperScandal which leads to many of the other related scandals.

In April 2015 we wrote, Uranium One: Hard Truths About The Radioactive Problem of #Hillary2016. In that article we derided the Uranium One issue as damaging to Hillary2016. Hillary Clinton had much bigger problems. We were right of course. Uranium One did not matter in the general election to come.

However, this October 2017, Uranium One matters, bigly. We warn everyone however, this is not a Hillary and Bill scandal. This Uranium One story is bigger than just Hillary and Bill. Like the JFK papers release, much much more will be revealed than just money grubbing.

Russia, Uranium One, Mueller, Hillary Clinton, Fusion GPS, The Deep State, The Octopus

Watch all these stories merge into one giant Obama SuperScandal.

Mueller

Especially corrupt Mueller has a lot to explain regarding his staff recruits. The especially corrupt prosecutor has lots more to explain:

Uranium One Means Mueller Must Recuse Himself from Russia Probe

At the end of their lengthy editorial regarding the new Uranium One revelations — “Team Obama’s stunning coverup of Russian crimes” — the New York Post editorial board writes:

Until September 2013, the FBI director was Robert Mueller — who’s now the special counsel probing Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It’s hard to see how he can be trusted in that job unless he explains what he knew about this Obama-era cover-up.

I’ll go the Post one better. Virtually whatever Mueller has to say about his involvement or non-involvement in this metastasizing scandal, he must recuse himself immediately for the most obvious reasons of propriety and appearance. Frankly, it’s outrageous that he, Rod Rosenstein, or anyone who even touched the Uranium One investigation now be involved with the current probe — unless the real name of the FBI is actually the NKVD. This is not how a democracy is supposed to work, even remotely. Forget transparency — this was deliberate occlusion.

Especially corrupt prosecutor Mueller must be prosecuted for his complicity and corruptions, especially now that we know Mueller hand delivered uranium to America’s enemies.

F.B.I., Hillary Clinton, Russia, Mueller, Fusion GPS, Uranium One

The Fusion GPS scandal we termed “Apocalypse Now”. A late breaking development is that now we begin to know some of what went on there regarding finances. President Trump has asked “who paid for it?” in relation to the Fusion GPS “pee dossier”. It has been declared that the F.B.I. at one point paid Fusion GPS for further information. Now we know who paid for the dossier the F.B.I. relied on to obtain FISA warrants and to attempt to smear President Trump:

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community. [snip]

Prior to that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by a still unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC through the law firm continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.

F.B.I. Director James Comey tried to blackmail and intimidate President Trump with the phony dossier. John McCain pushed the lies to the F.B.I. and other outlets. Buzzfeed unwittingly helped President Trump when they published the dossier and people laughed that anyone could believe such drivel. And it appears that it was the Bush family that first paid for the dossier. The chain of custody, so to speak, is the Jeb! Bush campaign, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the F.B.I. Those last three initials should clue everyone onto the Obama SuperScandal.

Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?

Not only did Hillary2016 push the Fusion GPS lies via the Russians. There were other connections we now know between the Russians and Hillary2016:

FBI watched, then acted as Russian spy moved closer to Hillary Clinton

As Hillary Clinton was beginning her job as President Obama’s chief diplomat, federal agents observed as multiple arms of Vladimir Putin’s machine unleashed an influence campaign designed to win access to the new secretary of State, her husband Bill Clinton and members of their inner circle, according to interviews and once-sealed FBI records.

Some of the activities FBI agents gathered evidence about in 2009 and 2010 were covert and illegal. [snip]

At the time it was hired, the firm was providing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in pro bono support to Bill Clinton’s global charitable initiative, and it legally helped the Russian company secure federal decisions that led to billions in new U.S. commercial nuclear business, records show.

Agents were surprised by the timing and size of a $500,000 check that a Kremlin-linked bank provided Bill Clinton with for a single speech in the summer of 2010. [snip]

A day after the arrests of the sleeper ring, another event captured the FBI’s attention.

Thousands of miles away in Russia, former President Bill Clinton collected a $500,000 check for giving a 90-minute speech to Renaissance Capital, a Kremlin-connected bank, and then he scored a meeting with Putin himself.

The check caught the attention of FBI agents, especially with Hillary Clinton having recently returned from meetings in Russia, and her department working on a variety of issues where Moscow had an interest, records show.

One issue was American approval of the Russian nuclear company Rosatom’s purchase of a Canadian company called Uranium One that controlled 20 percent of America’s strategic uranium reserves. State was one of more than a dozen federal agencies that needed to weigh in, and a Clinton deputy was handling the matter.

The second issue was the Russian company TENEX’s desire to score a new raft of commercial nuclear sales to U.S. companies. TENEX for years was selling uranium recycled from old Soviet warheads to the United States. But that deal was coming to an end and now it needed a new U.S. market for its traditional uranium

And the third was a promise Secretary Clinton herself made to Russian leaders to round up support in America’s Silicon Valley for then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s dream for a new high-tech hub outside Moscow known as Skolkovo. [snip]

The bank that paid Clinton was promoting the Uranium One deal’s stock.

We disagree with the otherwise excellent article by Daniel Greenfield From Russia to Hillary: Bribes, Extortion, Uranium and Lies – How an FBI Uranium investigation was corrupted to protect the Clinton’s Russian connection. Greenfield gets it entirely upside down. Hillary Clinton is not the central figure in this scandal. It is the F.B.I. and the intelligence and security apparatus which seeks to run our lives and ruin our democracy.

Investigations, Investigations

We have repeatedly requested lots and lots of special prosecutors be appointed to investigate. Thus far the corrupt Department of Justice, the corrupt F.B.I, the corrupt intelligence services, the corrupt security apparatus, have managed the massive scandal well enough to keep special prosecutors from being appointed. But even here there is some good news:

Congress Probes Whether Obama DOJ Used The ‘Trump Dossier’ Before Surveillance Court

Both the House and the Senate are investigating whether the former President Barack Obama’s administration used intelligence in a salacious “Trump Dossier” as “evidence” before a secret federal surveillance court to obtain permission to spy on Donald Trump campaign aides and later his transition team. [snip]

The FBI used the dossier to secure permission to monitor the communications of Trump associate Carter Page, based on U.S. officials briefed on the Russia investigation, CNN reported in April. [snip]

The presentation of evidence before the special surveillance court would have been FBI-generated documents delivered by Obama Justice Department attorneys, according to a congressional source familiar with evidence requirements before the court. At the time, FBI Director James Comey presided over the bureau and Attorney General Loretta Lynch oversaw the Justice Department. [snip]

That would mean the Obama administration pursued “a type of manipulation of intelligence data and false intelligence data to mislead a court,” diGenova said. “It’s staggering in terms of its implications.”

The possibility the Obama administration might use the unproven allegations before a FISA court “constitutes a crime of unbelievable dimensions,” he said, adding: “It requires the empanelment of a federal grand jury.”

Grassley added a new twist to the “Steele” dossier, noting in his letter to Wray it appeared the former British agent also gave his same set of allegations to his compatriots in British intelligence. United Kingdom court legal proceedings appended to Grassley’s letter show Steele on Dec. 13, 2016 gave the same dossier to a “senior UK government national security official.”

Senator Grassley correctly notes that if the dossier was given by the F.B.I. to the British intelligence services and then British intelligence gave it to the F.B.I. the FISA court could have been deceived if the F.B.I. sought warrants based on the British intelligence reports without disclosing to the court that the source was the F.B.I.

There is a reason why the “Russia” investigations now have a new “tone” about them. The anti-Trump persecutions are rapidly falling apart.

The anti-Trump investigations are falling apart because it is clear that Barack Obama and the intelligence/security agencies colluded to hide crimes.

The New Russia Investigations

Having failed to destroy President Trump, the F.B.I. deep state security intelligence octopus will now face investigations:

Now Democrats have a Russia problem

NBC reports that Tony Podesta (the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta) and his firm are the subjects of a criminal investigation by the special prosecutor.

And this comes amid new reports that the FBI gathered evidence for two years as Russian agents — including a major sleeper cell — worked to gain access to then-Secretary of State Clinton, husband Bill and members of their inner circle. [snip]

All this, of course, follows reports the Obama administration knew Russia was engaged in a campaign of bribery and extortion — yet allowed a deal to go through giving Moscow control of one-fifth of America’s uranium.

Yes, there’s something to investigate here.

The Octopus

President Donald J. Trump is under attack by the deep state Swamp comprised of Obama Dimocrats, the intelligence apparatus, the Department of Justice, and all those who were supposed to be guardians of our democracy, not unelected dictators who rule over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The scandals are not about Hillary Clinton, uranium, urine soaked dossiers, money, nor emails. The scandals are but the tips of the iceberg we can see. The danger is deeper, beneath the waters:

Here’s the kicker: The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal.

It’s bigger and deeper than what we see:

It’s finally dawning on people: The Russian nuclear racketeering was an Obama administration scandal, which Congress ignored and the Justice Department investigated but did nothing to stop. Justice looked into the Russian crimes in 2009 and 2010, but waited until 2014 to do anything about it. And even then, it didn’t answer any of the larger questions. It can’t be ignored any longer.

So why didn’t the Department of Justice and the security/intelligence overlords who monitor Americans and try to carve history as they want it to be do anything? That’s foolish to ask. The Octopus that swims in the deep state Swamp did exactly what it wanted to do. Their problem is that Trump beat them all.

The fight is not yet over. President Trump is bidding his time. There will be at least three earthquakes about to be unleashed by President Trump. Those who worry about why things are not being exposed as quickly as we want must wait for the earthquakes. The first thirteen days of October were important. The last few months of 2017 will be epic.

The fight is not yet over. But the Octopus of the deep state will soon find they are up against a man who fights.

http://www.hillaryis44.org/2017/10/24/one-big-obama-super-scandal-uranium-one-gps-fusion-mueller-scandals-jfk-plus-flake/

The Obama Administration’s Uranium One Scandal

by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY October 21, 2017 4:00 AM

@ANDREWCMCCARTHY Not only the Clintons are implicated in a uranium deal with the Russians that compromised national-security interests.

Let’s put the Uranium One scandal in perspective: The cool half-million bucks the Putin regime funneled to Bill Clinton was five times the amount it spent on those Facebook ads — the ones the media-Democrat complex ludicrously suggests swung the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump.

The Facebook-ad buy, which started in June 2015 — before Donald Trump entered the race — was more left-wing agitprop (ads pushing hysteria on racism, immigration, guns, etc.) than electioneering. The Clintons’ own long-time political strategist Mark Penn estimates that just $6,500 went to actual electioneering. (You read that right: 65 hundred dollars.) By contrast, the staggering $500,000 payday from a Kremlin-tied Russian bank for a single speech was part of a multi-million-dollar influence-peddling scheme to enrich the former president and his wife, then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton. At the time, Russia was plotting — successfully — to secure U.S. government approval for its acquisition of Uranium One, and with it, tens of billions of dollars in U.S. uranium reserves.

Here’s the kicker: The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal.

The Clintons were just doing what the Clintons do: cashing in on their “public service.” The Obama administration, with Secretary Clinton at the forefront but hardly alone, was knowingly compromising American national-security interests. The administration green-lighted the transfer of control over one-fifth of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia, a hostile regime — and specifically to Russia’s state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate, Rosatom. Worse, at the time the administration approved the transfer, it knew that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was engaged in a lucrative racketeering enterprise that had already committed felony extortion, fraud, and money-laundering offenses.

 

The Obama administration also knew that congressional Republicans were trying to stop the transfer. Consequently, the Justice Department concealed what it knew. DOJ allowed the racketeering enterprise to continue compromising the American uranium industry rather than commencing a prosecution that would have scotched the transfer. Prosecutors waited four years before quietly pleading the case out for a song, in violation of Justice Department charging guidelines. Meanwhile, the administration stonewalled Congress, reportedly threatening an informant who wanted to go public.

Obama’s ‘Reset’

To understand what happened here, we need to go back to the beginning.

The first-tier military arsenal of Putin’s Russia belies its status as a third-rate economic power. For well over a decade, the regime has thus sought to develop and exploit its capacity as a nuclear-energy producer. Naïvely viewing Russia as a “strategic partner” rather than a malevolent competitor, the Bush administration made a nuclear-cooperation agreement with the Kremlin in May 2008. That blunder, however, was tabled before Congress could consider it. That is because Russia, being Russia, invaded Georgia.

In 2009, notwithstanding this aggression (which continues to this day with Russia’s occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton signaled the new administration’s determination to “reset” relations with Moscow. In this reset, renewed cooperation and commerce in nuclear energy would be central.

There had been such cooperation and commerce since the Soviet Union imploded. In 1992, the administration of President George H. W. Bush agreed with the nascent Russian federation that U.S. nuclear providers would be permitted to purchase uranium from Russia’s disassembled nuclear warheads (after it had been down-blended from its highly enriched weapons-grade level). The Russian commercial agent responsible for the sale and transportation of this uranium to the U.S. is the Kremlin-controlled company “Tenex” (formally, JSC Techsnabexport). Tenex is a subsidiary of Rosatom.

Tenex (and by extension, Rosatom) have an American arm called “Tenam USA.” Tenam is based in Bethesda, Md. Around the time President Obama came to power, the Russian official in charge of Tenam was Vadim Mikerin.

The Obama administration reportedly issued a visa for Mikerin in 2010, but a racketeering investigation led by the FBI determined that he was already operating here in 2009.

The Racketeering Scheme

As Tenam’s general director, Mikerin was responsible for arranging and managing Rosatom/Tenex’s contracts with American uranium purchasers. This gave him tremendous leverage over the U.S. companies. With the assistance of several confederates, Mikerin used this leverage to extort and defraud the U.S. contractors into paying inflated prices for uranium. They then laundered the proceeds through shell companies and secret bank accounts in Latvia, Cyprus, Switzerland, and the Seychelle Islands — though sometimes transactions were handled in cash, with the skim divided into envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash.

The inflated payments served two purposes: They enriched Kremlin-connected energy officials in the U.S. and in Russia to the tune of millions of dollars; and they compromised the American companies that paid the bribes, rendering players in U.S. nuclear energy — a sector critical to national security — vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

But Mikerin had a problem. To further the Kremlin’s push for nuclear-energy expansion, he had been seeking to retain a lobbyist — from whom he planned to extort kickbacks, just as he did with the U.S. energy companies. With the help of an associate connected to Russian organized-crime groups, Mikerin found his lobbyist. The man’s name has not been disclosed, but we know he is now represented by Victoria Toensing, a well-respected Washington lawyer, formerly a federal prosecutor and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

When Mikerin solicited him in 2009, the lobbyist was uncomfortable, worried that the proposal would land him on the wrong side of the law. So he contacted the FBI and revealed what he knew. From then on, the Bureau and Justice Department permitted him to participate in the Russian racketeering scheme as a “confidential source” — and he is thus known as “CS-1” in affidavits the government, years later, presented to federal court in order to obtain search and arrest warrants.

At the time this unidentified man became an informant, the FBI was led by director Robert Mueller, who is now the special counsel investigating whether Trump colluded with Russia. The investigation was centered in Maryland (Tenam’s home base). There, the U.S. attorney was Obama appointee Rod Rosenstein — now President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and the man who appointed Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump.

Because of CS-1, the FBI was able to understand and monitor the racketeering enterprise almost from the start. By mid-May 2010, it could already prove the scheme and three separate extortionate payments Mikerin had squeezed out of the informant. Equally important: According to reporting by John Solomon and Alison Spann in the Hill, the informant learned through conversations with Mikerin and others that Russian nuclear officials were trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons.

Uranium One, Russia, and the Clintons

There is no doubt that this extraordinarily gainful ingratiation took place. I outlined some of it a year ago in suggesting that the Justice Department should be investigating the Clinton Foundation, and its exploitation of Hillary Clinton’s influence as secretary of state, as a potential racketeering case.

In 2005, former President Clinton helped his Canadian billionaire friend and benefactor, Frank Giustra, obtain coveted uranium-mining rights from Kazakhstan’s dictator. The Kazakh deal enabled Giustra’s company (Ur-Asia Energy) to merge into Uranium One (a South African company), a $3.5 billion windfall. Giustra and his partners thereafter contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Besides the valuable Kazakh reserves, Uranium One also controlled about a fifth of the uranium stock in the United States.

Alas, Putin, the neighborhood bully, also wanted the Kazakh uranium. He leaned on Kazakhstan’s dictator, who promptly arrested the official responsible for selling the uranium-mining rights to Giustra’s company. This put Uranium One’s stake in jeopardy of being seized by the Kazakh government.

As Uranium One’s stock plunged, its panicked executives turned to the State Department, where their friend Hillary Clinton was now in charge. State sprung into action, convening emergency meetings with the Kazakh regime. A few days later, it was announced that the crisis was resolved (translation: the shakedown was complete). Russia’s energy giant, Rosatom, would purchase 17 percent of Uranium One, and the Kazakh threat would disappear — and with it, the threat to the value of the Clinton donors’ holdings.

For Putin, though, that was just a start. He didn’t want a minority stake in Uranium One, he wanted control of the uranium. For that, Rosatom would need a controlling interest in Uranium One. That would be a tall order — not because of the Kazakh mining rights but because acquisition of Uranium One’s American reserves required U.S. government approval.

Uranium is foundational to nuclear power and thus to American national security. As the New York Times explained in a report on the disturbing interplay between the Clinton Foundation and the transfer of American uranium assets to Russia, the United States gets a fifth of its electrical power from nuclear energy, but only produces a fifth of the uranium it needs. Consequently, a foreign entity would not be able to acquire rights to American uranium without the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

CFIUS is composed of the leaders of 14 U.S. government agencies involved in national security and commerce. In 2010, these included not only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had cultivated a reputation as a hawk opposed to such foreign purchases, but Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department (and its lead agency, the FBI) were conducting the investigation of Rosatom’s ongoing U.S. racketeering, extortion, and money-laundering scheme.

In March 2010, to push the Obama “reset” agenda, Secretary Clinton traveled to Russia, where she met with Putin and Dimitri Medvedev, who was then keeping the president’s chair warm for Putin. Soon after, it emerged that Renaissance Capital, a regime-tied Russian bank, had offered Bill Clinton $500,000 to make a single speech — far more than the former president’s usual haul in what would become one of his biggest paydays ever. Renaissance was an aggressive promoter of Rosatom. The Clinton speech took place in Moscow in June. The exorbitant speech fee, it is worth noting, is a pittance compared with the $145 million Newsweek reports was donated to the Clinton Foundation by sources linked to the Uranium One deal.

The month before the speech, the Hill reports, Bill Clinton told his wife’s State Department that he wanted to meet while in Russia with Arkady Dvorkovich, who, in addition to being a top Medvedev aide, was also a key Rosatom board member. It is not known whether the State Department gave clearance for the meeting; the question appears to have become moot since the former U.S. president met directly with Putin and Medvedev. You’ll be comforted, I’m sure, to learn that aides to the Clintons, those pillars of integrity, assure us that the topics of Rosatom and Uranium One never came up.

Keeping Congress in the Dark

Meanwhile, congressional opposition to Russia’s potential acquisition of American uranium resources began to stir. As Peter Schweizer noted in his essential book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, four senior House members steeped in national-security issues — Peter King (R., N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), Spencer Bachus (R., Ala.), and Howard McKeon (R. Calif.) — voiced grave concerns, pointing out that Rosatom had helped Iran, America’s sworn enemy, build its Bushehr nuclear reactor. The members concluded that “the take-over of essential US nuclear resources by a government-owned Russian agency . . . would not advance the national security interests of the United States.” Republican senator John Barrasso objected to Kremlin control of uranium assets in his state of Wyoming, warning of Russia’s “disturbing record of supporting nuclear programs in countries that are openly hostile to the United States, specifically Iran and Venezuela.” The House began moving a bill “expressing disfavor of the Congress” regarding Obama’s revival of the nuclear-cooperation agreement Bush had abandoned.

Clearly, in this atmosphere, disclosure of the racketeering enterprise that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was, at that very moment, carrying out would have been the death knell of the asset transfer to Russia. It would also likely have ended the “reset” initiative in which Obama and Clinton were deeply invested — an agenda that contemplated Kremlin-friendly deals on nuclear-arms control and accommodation of the nuclear program of Russia’s ally, Iran. That was not going to be allowed to happen. It appears that no disclosure of Russia’s racketeering and strong-arming was made to CFIUS or to Congress — not by Secretary Clinton, not by Attorney General Holder, and certainly not by President Obama. In October 2010, CFIUS gave its blessing to Rosatom’s acquisition of Uranium One.

A Sweetheart Plea Helps the Case Disappear

Even though the FBI had an informant collecting damning information, and had a prosecutable case against Mikerin by early 2010, the extortion racket against American energy companies was permitted to continue into the summer of 2014. It was only then that, finally, Mikerin and his confederates were arrested.

Why then? This is not rocket science. In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Putin also began massing forces on the Ukrainian border, coordinating and conducting attacks, ultimately taking control of territory. Clearly, the pie-in-the-sky Obama reset was dead. Furthermore, the prosecution of Mikerin’s racketeering scheme had been so delayed that the Justice Department risked losing the ability to charge the 2009 felonies because of the five-year statute of limitations on most federal crimes.

Still, a lid needed to be kept on the case. It would have made for an epic Obama administration scandal, and a body blow to Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes, if in the midst of Russia’s 2014 aggression, public attention had been drawn to the failure, four years earlier, to prosecute a national-security case in order to protect Russia’s takeover of U.S. nuclear assets.

The Obama administration needed to make this case go away — without a public trial if at all possible.

Think about this: The investigation of Russian racketeering in the American energy sector was the kind of spectacular success over which the FBI and Justice Department typically do a bells-n-whistles victory lap — the big self-congratulatory press conference followed by the media-intensive prosecutions . . . and, of course, more press conferences.

Here . . . crickets.

As the Hill reports, the Justice Department and FBI had little to say when Mikerin and his co-conspirators were arrested. They quietly negotiated guilty pleas that were announced with no fanfare just before Labor Day. It was arranged that Mikerin would be sentenced just before Christmas. All under the radar.

How desperate was the Obama Justice Department to plead the case out? Here, Rosenstein and Holder will have some explaining to do.

Mikerin was arrested on a complaint describing a racketeering scheme that stretched back to 2004 and included extortion, fraud, and money laundering. Yet he was permitted to plead guilty to a single count of money-laundering conspiracy.

Except it was not really money-laundering conspiracy.

Under federal law, that crime (at section 1956 of the penal code) carries a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment — not only for conspiracy but for each act of money laundering. But Mikerin was not made to plead guilty to this charge. He was permitted to plead guilty to an offense charged under the catch-all federal conspiracy provision (section 371) that criminalizes agreements to commit any crime against the United States. Section 371 prescribes a sentence of zero to five years’ imprisonment.

The Justice Department instructs prosecutors that when Congress has given a federal offense its own conspiracy provision with a heightened punishment (as it has for money laundering, racketeering, narcotics trafficking, and other serious crimes), they may not charge a section 371 conspiracy. Section 371 is for less serious conspiracy cases. Using it for money laundering — which caps the sentence way below Congress’s intent for that behavior — subverts federal law and signals to the court that the prosecutor does not regard the offense as major.

Yet, that is exactly what Rosenstein’s office did, in a plea agreement his prosecutors co-signed with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Fraud Section. (See in the Hill’s report, the third document embedded at the bottom, titled “Mikerin Plea Deal.”) No RICO, no extortion, no fraud — and the plea agreement is careful not to mention any of the extortions in 2009 and 2010, before CFIUS approved Rosatom’s acquisition of U.S. uranium stock. Mikerin just had to plead guilty to a nominal “money laundering” conspiracy charge. This insulated him from a real money-laundering sentence. Thus, he got a term of just four years’ incarceration for a major national-security crime — which, of course, is why he took the plea deal and waived his right to appeal, sparing the Obama administration a full public airing of the facts.

Interestingly, as the plea agreement shows, the Obama DOJ’s Fraud Section was then run by Andrew Weissmann, who is now one of the top prosecutors in Robert Mueller’s ongoing special-counsel investigation of suspected Trump collusion with Russia.

There was still one other problem to tamp down. That was the informant — the lobbyist who alerted the FBI to the Russian racketeering enterprise back in 2009. He wanted to talk.

Specifically, as his attorney, Ms. Toensing, explains, the informant wanted to tell Congress what he knows — about what the FBI and the Justice Department could already have proved in 2010 when CFIUS signed off on Russia’s acquisition of American nuclear material, and about what he’d learned of Russian efforts to curry favor with Bill and Hillary Clinton. But he was not allowed to talk.

It turns out, the lawyer explains, that the FBI had induced him to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Justice Department warned him that it was enforceable — even against disclosures to Congress. (Because, you know, the FBI is opposed to all leaks and disclosures of confidential investigative information . . . except those initiated by the FBI, of course.) In addition, when the informant was primed to file a federal civil lawsuit to recover his own losses from the scheme, he claims that the Justice Department threatened him with prosecution, warning that a lawsuit would violate the non-disclosure agreement. The Hill reports that it has obtained emails from a civil lawyer retained by the witness, which describe pressure exerted by the Justice Department to silence the informant.

What a coincidence: That was in 2016, the stretch run of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

This stinks.

READ MORE:     Hilary Clinton and Russian Uranium     New Russian Nuclear Scandal and the Clinton Foundation     Obama’s Many Scandals —

Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/452972/uranium-one-deal-obama-administration-doj-hillary-clinton-racketeering

Trump says Russian uranium deal Hillary Clinton had a hand in approving was ‘underhanded’ as he labels the scandal ‘Watergate modern age’

  • Two House committees announced a probe Tuesday of the uranium deal
  • Russian company at the center of the charges was reportedly under federal investigation at the time
  • Senate Judiciary Committee is also looking into the Russian uranium deal that Hillary Clinton signed off on as secretary of state
  • Companies associated with it donated to the Clinton Foundation and paid her husband Bill Clinton to speak
  • President Donald Trump subsequently pushed a claim that ‘Russia sent millions to Clinton Foundation’ to his massive social media following
  • Said Thursday that ‘the way it was done, so underhanded with tremendous amounts of money being passed, I actually think that’s Watergate modern age’
  • Trump spoke to reporters as he prepared to board Marine One at the White House ahead of a trip to Texas
  • The House wants to know whether there was an FBI probe, if so, why Congress was not notified and the name of the informant under gag order

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that an Obama-era uranium deal that Hillary Clinton had a hand in approving is the biggest political scandal in modern history.

‘Well I think the uranium sale to Russia, and the way it was done, so underhanded with tremendous amounts of money being passed, I actually think that’s Watergate modern age,’ Trump told reporters as he prepared to board Marine One.

Watergate brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency. The Republican leader resigned in disgrace before his second term in office was over.

Clinton was secretary of state to Democrat Barack Obama when the uranium deal went through that Trump was referring to. She sat on the federal committee that provided authorization.

Three committees with investigatory power have said in the last week that they are probing the sale along with claims that it came alongside a kickback to the Clinton Foundation. Hillary Clinton has called the charge ‘baloney.’

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that an Obama-era uranium deal that Hillary Clinton had a hand in approving is the biggest political scandal in modern history

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that an Obama-era uranium deal that Hillary Clinton had a hand in approving is the biggest political scandal in modern history

Two House committees announced a probe Tuesday of the uranium deal that the Obama administration green-lit while an entity at the center of the charges was reportedly under federal investigation. The Senate Judiciary Committee also has a probe going.

Devin Nunes, the Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said his investigation will seek to determine whether there was an FBI probe in progress at the time of the deal, and, if so, why Congress was not notified.

‘We’re not going to jump to any conclusions at this time,’ he said in a Capitol Hill press conference.

That investigation will be jointly conducted by the House Intel and Oversight Committees.

A separate investigation in the House that was announced this week will look at the Department of Justice’s handling of Hillary Clinton‘s email probe. It will be operated by the Oversight Committee and the Judiciary Committee.

The White House said Tuesday afternoon that the probes were a ‘move in the right direction.’

Press secretary Sarah Sanders noted at her daily briefing that the White House has said many times ‘that if there’s any collusion whatsoever during the campaigns of any point, or any collusion at any point with another country, that they should look at the Clintons.’

‘And so I think that’s the right thing,’ she commented.

Two House committees announced a probe Tuesday of a uranium deal that the Obama administration approved while company at the center of the charges was reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice, Devin Nunes, the Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday 

Two House committees announced a probe Tuesday of a uranium deal that the Obama administration approved while company at the center of the charges was reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice, Devin Nunes, the Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday

Both chambers of Congress are sniffing around the uranium deal that President Donald Trump has tried to handcuff to Clinton.

A separate investigation in the House lead by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy will look at the Department of Justice's handling of Hillary Clinton 's email probe. It will be operated by the Oversight Committee and the Judiciary Committee

A separate investigation in the House lead by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy will look at the Department of Justice’s handling of Hillary Clinton ‘s email probe. It will be operated by the Oversight Committee and the Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee raised the issue with the Justice Department last week.

That panel is also making inquiries into former FBI Director James Comey’s move to draft a statement on Clinton’s email case before she was interviewed by investigators.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Tuesday that they, too, would formally investigate the case that ended without prosecution.

‘The law is the most equalizing force in this country. No entity or individual is exempt from oversight,’ the Republican lawmakers said in a statement.

Democrat Adam Schiff, the ranking member on House Intel, argued Tuesday that the probes were completely partisan and totally unhelpful.

‘Acting on the urging of the President who has repeatedly denied the intelligence agencies’ conclusions regarding Russian involvement in our election, they are designed to distract attention and pursue the President’s preferred goal – attacking Clinton and Obama,’ the California Democrat said.

‘This may be good politics, but it is a disservice to the far more important cause of investigating Russian interference in our democracy and protecting our elections in 2018 and beyond from outside influence,’ Schiff said.,

The House investigation into the Uranium One deal will spearheaded by New York Republican Peter King, chairman of a subcommittee on emerging threats, and Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, chairman of a subcommittee on national security.

King was the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee when the Obama administration green-lit the deal. He questioned it then, and he still does now.

He said at a press conference announcing House probe that he wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the time and was told that the deal was receiving ‘full scrutiny.’

‘It’s important that we find out why that deal went through and certainly in view of recent allegations that have been made or recent questions that have been raised, it’s essential that this investigation, this inquiry, move forward,’ King stated, referring to Clinton in the abstract.

Ron DeSantis said, ‘We do have a witness who is a confidential informant who wants to talk about his role in this, and we’re in contact with the Justice Department to release him from a nondisclosure agreement.

‘If that doesn’t work out in a timely fashion, then we obviously would be able to subpoena him.’

Hillary Clinton was secretary of state the time of the deal. She has been accused by President Trump and others of turning it into a quid pro quo opportunity for her family foundation. She said Monday that the charge is 'baloney' during an interview

Hillary Clinton was secretary of state the time of the deal. She has been accused by President Trump and others of turning it into a quid pro quo opportunity for her family foundation. She said Monday that the charge is ‘baloney’ during an interview

Nunes said the House Intel Committee has been looking into the issue for some times now.

‘I think, as Mr. DeSantis stated, there is a concern over the nondisclosure agreement,’ Nunes said. ‘We don’t think that is a concern. We think that any American, if they have information, even if it’s top secret, at the top secret level, they can come to the House Intelligence Committee and provide that information as a whistleblower if they would like.’

DeSantis chimed in to say that ‘last Congress, this really was not investigated, but I’m happy to report that the House leadership is fully behind this current investigation.

‘And so I would have liked to have done this a little sooner,’ the Republican lawmaker assessed, ‘but we are where we are, and we’re going to get the facts now with their support.’

The Hill newspaper had previously reported that a key FBI informant, an American businessman with knowledge of the Russian nuclear industry’s efforts to woo the Clintons and the Obama administration, was blocked by Obama’s Justice Department last year from telling Congress what he knew.

Lawyer Victoria Toensing, who worked in the Reagan Justice Department and was the former chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the paper last Tuesday she is working with lawmakers to push the Trump Justice Department or the FBI in freeing up her client to speak with members of Congress.

Trump made the controversy national news when he used it to deflect from allegations of Russian collusion against his presidential campaign in comments to reporters last Thursday.

‘I think that’s your Russia story. That’s your real Russia story. Not a story where they talk about collusion, which there was none. It was hoax,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was the first of the Capitol Hill probes of the Uranium One deal, which gave 20 percent of the country’s uranium to Russia.

Federal investigators are said to have been reviewing the Russian nuclear industry’s business practices at the time of the sale.

Trump told reporters last week that it was the story of ‘the decade’ and slammed the mainstream media for not reporting it.

‘Frankly it’s a disgrace,’ Trump said. ‘It’s a disgrace, and it’s a disgrace that the fake news won’t cover it. It’s so sad.’

Trump also smacked Clinton on Twitter as he called it the ‘biggest story that fake media doesn’t want to follow.’

President Trump spoke about the questionable Uranium One deal in the Oval Office last Thursday, calling it 'your real Russia story,' as it hit political rival Hillary Clinton  

President Trump spoke about the questionable Uranium One deal in the Oval Office last Thursday, calling it ‘your real Russia story,’ as it hit political rival Hillary Clinton

The deal that took place while Clinton was secretary of state has attracted the attention of the Senate

The deal that took place while Clinton was secretary of state has attracted the attention of the Senate

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said last Wednesday that he is looking into potential 'conflicts of interest' that Hillary Clinton may have had when she sat on the committee that approved the Uranium One transaction 

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said last Wednesday that he is looking into potential ‘conflicts of interest’ that Hillary Clinton may have had when she sat on the committee that approved the Uranium One transaction

‘I would say it’s the same baloney they’ve been peddling for years, and there’s been no credible evidence by anyone. In fact, it’s been debunked repeatedly and will continue to be debunked,’ she said.

Clinton said the allegations are a distraction and a diversion cooked up by President Trump and Fox News.

‘I’m their favorite target. Me and President Obama, we are the ones they like to put in the crosshairs,’ she said.

A number of outlets reported last week that Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley sent letters to federal agencies asking about potential ‘conflicts of interest’ that Clinton may have had when the State Department approved the Uranium One transaction.

State was just one of nine departments that approved the deal, a Politifact article explaining the dispute says.

As a party to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, CFIUS, the secretary of state – Clinton – would have had a role in the decision. But so did the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Politifact says, the nuclear regulator in Utah, where some of the uranium fields were located and everyone else on CFIUS.

Grassley said his investigation will center on Obama administration approval of he deal despite the ongoing FBI investigation of the company concerned. He also made reference Clinton’s family foundation.

‘It turns out during the transaction, the Justice Department had an ongoing criminal investigation for bribery, extortion and money laundering into officials for the Russian company making that purchase,’ Grassley said during a Capitol Hill hearing. ‘While all of this was going on, the Clinton Foundation reportedly received millions of dollars from interested parties in the transaction.’

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is trying to get to the bottom of the Russian uranium deal. He finds it suspicious that involved parties had donated to the Clinton Foundation

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is trying to get to the bottom of the Russian uranium deal. He finds it suspicious that involved parties had donated to the Clinton Foundation

Trump picked up on the story this morning, tagging Fox & Friends in one of the messages - an indication that he'd been watching author Peter Schweizer's appearance on the program

Trump picked up on the story this morning, tagging Fox & Friends in one of the messages – an indication that he’d been watching author Peter Schweizer’s appearance on the program

Peter Schweizer is the author of the book Clinton Cash. He hopped on Fox this morning to comment on Sen. Chuck Grassley's announcement 

Peter Schweizer is the author of the book Clinton Cash. He hopped on Fox this morning to comment on Sen. Chuck Grassley’s announcement

In 2010, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved a deal that allowed Russia’s Rosatom nuclear company to buy Canadian mining company Uranium One, which controlled about 20 percent of the U.S.’s uranium deposits, which was why the multi-agency committee was involved.

Sitting on that committee were former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Clinton, whose husband, ex-President Bill Clinton, had collected speaking fees and Clinton Foundation donations by parties associated with the deal.

Details about the donations were previously revealed in author Peter Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash.

Schweizer appeared last Thursday morning on Fox & Friends, with President Trump tweeting ‘Russia sent millions to Clinton Foundation’ and tagging the morning show, indicating that he had tuned in.

Trump also tweeted, ‘Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!’

Former President Bill Clinton was given Clinton Foundation dollars and speaking fees by parties associated with the Russian uranium deal - while his wife, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had to approve of it for it to go through 

However, the New York Times had investigated the deal as Schweizer’s book was coming out and agreed with many of the authors findings: that interested parties had indeed flowed money to the Clinton Foundation as Secretary of State Clinton made her determination.

‘Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown,’ the Times report said.

‘But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors,’ it continued.

Adding a new layer to the story, the Hill reported that the FBI had uncovered a Russian bribery plot in 2009 and 2010, before the committee approved the deal.

The Justice Department also waited until 2014 to bring any charges.

Grassley wants to find out why.

The Department of Justice has not responded to multiple inquiries from DailyMail.com on the matter, including the gag order and whether DOJ would remove it.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5017499/Trump-calls-Russian-uranium-deal-Watergate-modern-age.html#ixzz4wfVHT3MK 

What you need to know about Hillary Clinton, Russia, and uranium

A 2016 campaign attack involving former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her role in a uranium sale that involved Russia is back in the news.

With new revelations, increased media attention and reader requests, we decided to take another look. Because the details of the story are murky and based in part on anonymous sources, we won’t put any claims to the Truth-O-Meter.

Instead, we’ll explain what we knew previously, what new information has come to light, and what we still don’t know.

What we knew before

This complex tale involves a company with significant U.S. uranium assets, the Clinton Foundation, and a decision by several federal agencies to allow greater Russian influence in the United States’ uranium market.

It first emerged in the book Clinton Cash, a 2015 investigation by Breitbart News senior editor-at-large Peter Schweizer. The book looked into donations to the Clinton Foundation; an April 2015 New York Times article also documented the connections.

In 2007, Frank Giustra, a donor to the Clinton Foundation, sold his company, UrAsia, to another company, Uranium One, and unloaded his personal stake in it. The combined company kept Uranium One as its name but Toronto as its base. Under the terms of the deal, the shareholders of UrAsia retained a 60 percent stake in the new company.

Uranium One had mines, mills and tracts of land in WyomingUtah and other U.S. states equal to about 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity. Its actual production is a smaller portion of uranium produced in the United States, at 11 percent in 2014, according to Oilprice.com.

In 2009, Russia’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, bought a 17 percent share of Uranium One. In 2010, Rosatom sought to secure enough shares to give it a 51 percent stake.

On the one hand, Russia doesn’t have a license to export uranium outside the United States, so, as Oilprice.com noted, “it’s somewhat disingenuous to say this uranium is now Russia’s, to do with what it pleases.”

That said, the possibility that a foreign entity would take a majority stake in the uranium operation meant that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, had to approve the deal. So did the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Utah’s nuclear regulator.

The membership of CFIUS includes the State Department, meaning that the Secretary of State would have had a voice. The panel also includes the attorney general and the secretaries of the Treasury (who chairs the committee), Defense, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security, as well as the heads of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

CFIUS did approve the proposal, and in 2013, Russia assumed 100 percent ownership of Uranium One and renamed the company Uranium One Holding.

Why would the United States allow the transfer of a uranium company?

As others, including a New York Times’ investigation, have suggested, the United States was still seeking to “reset” its relationship with Russia and trying to get the Kremlin on board with its Iran nuclear deal. But another factor may have been that, at the end of the day, the Russian deal wasn’t that big.

Russia’s purchase of the company “had as much of an impact on national security as it would have if they set the money on fire,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute and former director at the New America Foundation, in an interview with PolitiFact last year. “That’s probably why (CFIUS and the NRC) approved it.”

Why some of the critics’ charges during the campaign went too far

In June 2016, we fact-checked a statement by then-candidate Donald Trump — who was running against Clinton for president — that Clinton’s State Department “approved the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to Russia, while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.”

We gave the statement a rating of Mostly False. While the connections between the Clinton Foundation and the Russian deal may appear fishy, there was simply no proof of any quid pro quo.

Trump’s allegation went too far in two ways.

One, Trump seemed to say that Clinton bears all of the responsibility for the deal’s approval. That is incorrect.

Clinton told a New Hampshire TV station in June 2015 that “I was not personally involved because that wasn’t something the secretary of state did.” And Jose Fernandez, who served as assistant secretary of state for economic, energy and business affairs under Clinton and represented the department on the panel, told the Times that Clinton “never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter.”

But even if you don’t take either Clinton or Fernandez at their word, the reality is that the State Department was just one of nine government agencies that signed off on the transaction.

Second, while we concluded that nine people related to the company did at some point donate to the Clinton Foundation, we found that the bulk of the $145 million came from Giustra. Guistra said he sold all of his stakes in Uranium One in the fall of 2007, “at least 18 months before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state” and three years before the Russian deal.

We couldn’t independently verify Giustra’s claim, but if he is telling the truth, the donation amount to the Clinton Foundation from confirmed Uranium One investors drops from more than $145 million to $4 million.

The main exception is Ian Telfer, an investor who the New York Times found donated between $1.3 million and $5.6 million to the Clinton Foundation during and after the review process for the Russian deal.

So while Trump was within his right to question links between foundation donors and their ties to Uranium one, his specific charge was exaggerated.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post Fact Checker subsequently looked at a similar Trump statement: “Remember that Hillary Clinton gave Russia 20 percent of American uranium and, you know, she was paid a fortune. You know, they got a tremendous amount of money.”

The Fact Checker came to the same conclusion about Trump’s misleading language, giving Trump’s assertion its worst rating of Four Pinocchios.

Why this story is coming up again

After Trump won the presidency, the Uranium One story received relatively little attention — perhaps because Clinton is now a private citizen rather than serving as president. But that changed in the wake of a report published in the Hill newspaper on Oct. 17, 2017.

The article’s key finding was that by the time CFIUS was weighing the deal, the FBI had been investigating whether Russia was trying to gain influence in the U.S. nuclear industry. The report said that the FBI has already “gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States.”

The implication of the Hill article is that Clinton either did know, or should have known, about problems with the Russian bid for Uranium One before deciding whether to let it go forward. (Clinton, the FBI and the Justice Department did not provide a comment on this story.)

The article cited FBI, Energy Department and court documents showing that the FBI had gathered “substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.”

However, rather than bringing immediate charges in 2010, the article said, the Justice Department “continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.”

What remains unclear after the newest report?

The relevance of the Hill report  for Clinton’s role would be whether she knew anything about this investigation at a time when she could have used her role in CFIUS to block the Russian deal. (It could also be relevant for the actions by then-Attorney General Eric Holder, whose department has a seat on CFIUS.)

For now at least, we aren’t aware of any evidence that Clinton knew anything about the FBI investigation. If anything, the Hill’s reporting suggests the opposite.

The Hill article quoted Ronald Hosko, who served as the assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases when the investigation was underway, saying that he did not recall ever being briefed about Mikerin’s case.

” ‘I had no idea this case was being conducted,’ a surprised Hosko said in an interview,” the Hill article reported.

At least one key lawmaker — then-Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who chaired the House Intelligence Committee at the time — also said he did not know about the investigation.

If the assistant FBI director at the time knew nothing of the investigation, then Clinton — someone in a different department and several rungs higher in the organizational chart — might not have known about it.

Stewart A. Baker, a partner at the law firm Steptoe & Johnson, was skeptical that such information would have reached the Secretary of State — “at least not until she was asked to weigh in on the transaction, and that would only happen if it were deeply controversial, which it was not. In my experience, the State Department was always one of the quickest agencies to urge approval of a deal, and they did that without checking with the Secretary.”

The vast majority of cases that CFIUS reviews are handled by lower-ranking staffers and appointees, added Stephen Heifetz, a partner at the law firm Steptoe & Johnson who specializes in CFIUS law.

“Even though the heads of the CFIUS agencies comprise CFIUS as a matter of law,” he said, “it is relatively rare to have a cabinet secretary directly involved in a CFIUS case.”

That said, several experts said they were surprised that word had not filtered up from the FBI.

The FBI “is well represented as part of the Justice Department’s CFIUS team,” Baker said. “It would be somewhat surprising to me if a company was under scrutiny as a buyer in CFIUS and simultaneously under investigation for criminal behavior by the FBI, but the criminal investigation was not known to the FBI’s representatives on CFIUS.”

In addition, it’s Justice Department policy to consolidate all Foreign Corrupt Practices Act inquiries within department headquarters in Washington, said Michael Koehler, a professor at Southern Illinois University School of Law and an expert on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This makes word of those cases more likely to reach top officials than other types of investigations.

And the fact that the Mikerin case included a confidential informant makes it “more likely than not that top Justice Department or FBI officials either knew of the inquiry or should have known of the inquiry,” Koehler said.

Even if word had filtered up to CFIUS this way, it might not have been enough to scuttle the deal, Heifetz added.

“CFIUS often has cleared transactions when there is adverse information about foreign investors but no apparent risk to national security,” he said.

Ultimately, we don’t know enough to be able to say whether the apparent lack of information about the FBI investigation among higher ups was due to internal reporting failures or the more mundane reality that ground-level FBI investigations take time to mature and solidify.

But for now, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that Clinton’s actions — ill-advised as they might have been — were any more problematic than it seemed they were a year ago.

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“Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!”

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Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean —

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Why North Korea Can’t Build An ICBM (yet)

 

People in Pyongyang, North Korea, watched a television broadcast on Friday of Kim Jong-un’s response to President Trump’s speech at the United Nations. CreditEd Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has long cultivated an image of defiant belligerence, punctuating its propaganda and diplomacy with colorful threats, insults and bluster. But by addressing President Trump in a personal statement on Friday, the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has pushed his government’s brinkmanship to a new, potentially more perilous level.

In a statement written in the first person, published on the front pages of state newspapers and read on national television, Mr. Kim called Mr. Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” who had “denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world.”

Mr. Kim vowed to take the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

In a country where the leader is essentially portrayed as a god, Mr. Kim’s decision to respond personally to Mr. Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly and pledge reprisals escalated the standoff over the North’s nuclear program in a way that neither he nor his predecessors had done before.

Though the statement made no mention of nuclear weapons, in the context of a political system built on a cult of personality, Mr. Kim’s intervention appeared to sharply reduce the possibility that his government might retreat or compromise, even in the face of war.

Mr. Kim condemned Mr. Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself, and he declared that it had “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”

Mr. Ri could not have made such an alarming comment without approval from Mr. Kim, although some analysts question whether North Korea has the technology or political daring to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test, something the world has not seen for decades.

Mr. Trump responded on Friday by further personalizing the dispute. On Twitter, the president pronounced Mr. Kim to be “obviously a madman.”

North Korea has often issued statements in the names of its government and its People’s Army, and since taking power in late 2011, Mr. Kim has delivered an annual New Year’s Day speech. But Friday’s statement was the first by Mr. Kim directed openly at a foreign head of state. Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather, who ruled North Korea before him, never made such a statement, South Korean officials said.

In effect, Mr. Kim, whose cultlike leadership rests upon his perceived daring toward North Korea’s external enemies, has turned the nation’s standoff with the United States into a personal duel with Mr. Trump, analysts said.

The North Korean news media carried photographs of Mr. Kim sitting in his office and reading his statement, but his voice was not broadcast. On the country’s state-run Central TV, a female announcer read his statement.

“This is totally unprecedented,” said Paik Hak-soon, a longtime North Korea analyst at the Sejong Institute, a think tank outside Seoul, referring to Mr. Kim’s statement. “The way North Korea’s supreme leadership works, Kim Jong-un has to respond more assertively as its enemy gets more confrontational, like Trump has.

“There is no backing down in the North Korean rule book,” Mr. Paik said. “It’s the very core of their leadership identity and motive.”

Until now, Mr. Kim himself has appeared to refrain from personal attacks on the American president, even as Mr. Trump has called him a “maniac,” a “total nut job,” and, most recently, “Rocket Man.”

On Friday, Mr. Kim said he took Mr. Trump’s latest assault personally and accused him of making “the most ferocious declaration of a war in history.”

Mr. Kim also suggested Mr. Trump’s belligerent rhetoric signaled American weakness rather than resolve. “A frightened dog barks louder,” he said.

Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said that Mr. Kim, faced with Mr. Trump’s threat of annihilation, could respond only with equal force.

“When Trump stood before the United Nations General Assembly and threatened to totally destroy his country, Kim Jong-un had to take that as the United States telling the world of its intention for possible military action,” Mr. Koh said. “He had to respond in kind, launching the same kind of verbal bombs.”

Analysts said that by putting his reputation on the line with his statement, Mr. Kim was now far more unlikely to stand down. Instead, his government was likely to conduct more nuclear and missile tests, they said.

“Trump shot himself in the foot with his unabashedly undiplomatic United Nations General Assembly speech,” said Lee Sung-yoon, a Korea expert at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “By threatening to totally destroy North Korea, he created the impression around the world that it is actually the United States — instead of North Korea — that’s motivated by aggression. In effect, Trump gave Kim Jong-un a freebie for another major provocation. Kim will oblige, and claim that it was in ‘self-defense’ against Trump’s unnerving threats.”

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, compared the Korean standoff to the October 1962 crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba, urging the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, to convene the six parties that were previously involved in talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula — China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States — to discuss reducing fever-pitch tensions.

“We are in a cycle of escalation that leads to a very bad end,” Mr. Kimball said.

North Korea has conducted all of its six nuclear tests within deep underground tunnels to diminish the spread of radioactive materials, and has stepped up the pace of its missile tests. Some analysts fear that the next step might be for North Korea to try to prove that it can deliver a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, no matter how dangerous and provocative that might be.

It has been 37 years since any nation tested a nuclear weapon in the planet’s atmosphere, reflecting the nearly universal opposition to such tests over fears of the effects of radioactive fallout on human health and the environment. The last atmospheric test took place in 1980, when China fired what experts believed to be a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile into a desert salt flat more than 1,300 miles west of Beijing.

Mr. Trump addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Shin Beom-chul, a security expert at the government-run Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul, said that even if North Korea wanted to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test in the Pacific, it did not have the ability to dispatch test-monitoring ships to the open ocean while the United States military was on the prowl.

Mr. Shin said North Korea probably would not risk the radioactive fallout and other grave dangers involved in a nuclear missile test. The country has yet to master the technologies needed to prevent the warhead at the tip of its long-range ballistic missile from burning up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, South Korean officials said.

“What if the nuclear missile goes wrong midflight and detonates over Japan? It would mean a nuclear war,” Mr. Shin said. “More likely, North Korea will graduate its provocations, as if moving on steppingstones.”

Analysts said North Korea had been escalating tensions in stages in what they called a “salami tactic,” as in slice by slice.

Kim Dong-yub, a defense analyst at the Seoul-based Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University, said that North Korea would probably try to disprove skeptics in the West over its ability to strike long-range targets by firing its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan and farther into the Pacific — but without a nuclear payload.

Some analysts said the North Korean leader was acting more defensively than offensively, with his threats aimed at forcing the Trump administration to ease sanctions. On Thursday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order empowering his government to punish international banks and other entities that trade with North Korea.

But other analysts warned that North Korea’s determination to improve its nuclear capabilities — and act offensively — had long been underestimated.

“If we follow what North Korea has been doing, it will be almost certain that it will fire its missile sooner or later to demonstrate an ICBM range,” Mr. Kim, the Kyungnam University analyst, said. “I don’t think the missile will carry a nuclear warhead, but I can’t shake off the fear that it might, because North Korea has time and again carried things beyond my expectation.”

Story 2: Obamacare Collapsing– American People Be Damned — Democratic and Republican Parties Fail To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos

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Graham-Cassidy Will Probably Fail. McCain and Paul Announce No Votes

BREAKING NEWS: McCain kills Obamacare repeal for a second time and announces he’ll oppose his p…

Rand Paul a No Vote on Graham-Cassidy HC Bill. He Explains

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Paul: ‘I won’t be bribed or bullied’ on repeal vote

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pushed back on Friday against pressure from President Trump to vote for a last-ditch GOP effort in the Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying that he “won’t be bribed or bullied.”

In an early-morning tweet, Trump warned Paul that if he failed to vote for Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy‘s (R-La.) health-care proposal, he would forever be known as “‘the Republican who saved ObamaCare.'”

But in a series of tweets following the president’s post, Paul contended that the Graham-Cassidy measure does not fulfill the GOP’s longtime promise to repeal the ACA, and ultimately keeps ObamaCare’s taxes and spending.

The Graham-Cassidy measure revives the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace parts of the ACA after a slimmed-down repeal bill failed in July. It seeks to end ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies and the Medicaid expansion, and instead convert those pots of money to block grants for the states.

The new proposal needs at least 50 votes to pass the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, and backers are scrambling to round up the votes before a Sept. 30 procedural deadline, after which the measure would need a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

The White House has thrown its weight behind the measure and Trump has tweeted his support for it in recent days, casting the bill as a new opportunity for the GOP to fulfill its seven-year promise to do away with ObamaCare.

So far, Paul is the only GOP senator who has indicated he will vote against the Graham-Cassidy proposal. But three others — Sens. Susan Collins(Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Ariz.) — are being closely watched.

The trio voted “no” on the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill in July leaving that bill one vote short of passing. All three remain undecided about the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/351865-paul-i-wont-be-bribed-or-bullied

3 red-flag provisions in the Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Posted September 21, 2017 08:36 AM

by Daniel Horowitz

Red flag storm warning

John-Kelly | Getty Images

Previously, I noted that while Graham-Cassidy does nothing to change the fundamentals of the current system of health care and medical insurance, it at least repeals the individual mandate, which will allow us to escape from the dumpster fire and potentially start a new system. But any “holding of the nose” to pass this bill should only be under the condition that the other provisions are not worse than the status quo. That’s the only way we can take “half a loaf rather than none” — or in this case, more like ten percent. That rationale breaks down if there are provisions that will make the system worse or further entrench Obamacare in current law.

Thus far, I have found three concerning provisions:

Protected class for insurance coverage

Page 13 of the bill stipulates that “a health insurance issuer may not vary premium rates based on an individual’s sex or membership in a protected class under the Constitution of the United States.”

Readers of Conservative Review are well aware that the radical king courts have already made foreign nationals and transgenders protected classes under the U.S. Constitution in many respects. Most certainly, once we codify such language into statute, there is no limit to what lower court judges and Anthony Kennedy will do to expand “constitutional” rights to all sorts of insurance coverage. They could use this provision to mandate coverage for illegal aliens. They could use this provision to carve out all sorts of coverage for homosexuals and for sex-change operations. Most certainly, it will give states trouble in cutting off subsidy funding for abortions.

This might possibly be worse than current law.

Forcing Texas and conservative states to expand government-run health care

Proponents of the bill are touting this system as an exercise in federalism because it devolves the subsidies and Medicaid expansion to the states in one giant pot. Some D.C. conservatives think it’s a good thing that red state that didn’t originally expand Medicaid will “get their fair share.” However, those who truly oppose Obamacare and understand free markets know that expanded Medicaid not only is costly and creates dependency but also distorts the market and inflates the cost of health care for everyone else. Furthermore, it hurts private practices because the programs pay hospital physicians more than private practice physicians. Medicaid expansion has been a boon for the hospital cartel and has destroyed any semblance of market-based health care.

Until now, we all celebrated the one silver lining of some red states not expanding Medicaid. Now, this bill brings this aspect of Obamacare, and its ensuing price inflation on the market, to the states that don’t currently have it. Worse, the bill (page 15) puts a gun to the heads of these states and says that if they want a waiver for even the few regulatory relief provisions offered in this bill, they must take and administer the federal Obamacare/Medicaid expansion grants.

Thus, to the extent a state can waive a regulation for an individual insurance contract, they must give subsidies to that individual — regardless of his status. He could be a millionaire!

As Chris Jacobs, noted health policy expert at the Texas Public Policy Institute, wrote, “Moreover, some conservatives may view provisions requiring anyone to whom a waiver applies to receive federal grant funding as the epitome of moral hazard—ensuring that individuals who go through health underwriting will receive federal subsidies, no matter their level of wealth or personal circumstances.” He further observed, “By requiring states to subsidize bad actors—for instance, an individual making $250,000 who knowingly went without health coverage for years—with federal taxpayer dollars, the bill could actually raise health insurance premiums, not lower them.”

Thus, this is not a “half a loaf,” this is a poisonous loaf. While blue states are free to move the funding further to the Left and create single-payer, in no way can red states move towards free markets, because for every step they make towards regulatory relief, they must add more market-distorting funding than even under the status quo. This will hook the politicians from the reddest of red states on the dope they didn’t fully embrace before now.

The bailout fund

It would be one thing to leave most of Obamacare in place, as opposed to leaving it all in place. But this bill adds a state bailout fund that entrenches Obamacare even further. Not only does it codify the illegal cost-sharing subsidies for three years (and we all know the three years will be expanded indefinitely), it creates an unaccountable $35 billion slush fund for HHS to dole out at their full discretion to “fund arrangements with health insurance issuers to address coverage and access disruption and respond to urgent health care needs within States.” And of course, rather than disappearing in 2020, this will create a funding cliff that will only expand the program thereafter.

As I mentioned before, the only saving grace of this bill is that repeal of the individual mandate will prompt consumers to leave the insurance cartel and create direct care and health-sharing associations as an alternative to this entire scheme. However, by creating an unaccountable bailout program, HHS bureaucrats will work with state bureaucrats and insurance cartel lobbyists (no elected officials involved!) to mask the price inflation to keep the insurance monopoly intact.

It will codify, enshrine, and expand Obamacare.

Overall, it’s understandable why conservatives would want to support something over nothing at this late hour. And with the right focus on supply-side market reforms, we could possibly make a partial repeal work, with the elimination of the mandates. But politicians must first focus on not making things worse. Moreover, they should at least negotiate to get rid of the bailout fund and these onerous provisions while working for some true health care reforms, such as price transparency and parity of tax treatment. If this requires using the reconciliation bill for next year to fix health care, then so be it.

The mother’s milk of the D.C. swamp is the false dichotomy of “take or leave it.” Don’t fall for the trick without first fighting for more.

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/3-red-flag-provisions-in-the-graham-cassidy-health-care-bill

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The Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos — Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos —

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BREAKING NEWS: President Donald Trump Announces New Sanctions on North Korea through Executive Order

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Trump signs order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program

  • President Donald Trump signs an executive order to expand his authority to target people and institutions doing business with North Korea.
  • With the action, he aims to reduce funding going to the dictatorship’s nuclear and missile programs.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Trump unveils order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program  

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order expanding his authority to target people and institutions that do business with North Korea.

Through the measure, the president aims to cut off the communist dictatorship’s funding and deter its nuclear and missile ambitions amid a string of recent tests and provocations.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind. The order enhances the Treasury Department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”

The isolated nation has tested ballistic missiles and an apparent hydrogen bomb in recent weeks in the face of international economic sanctions and warnings. On Tuesday, Trump told the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed fresh measures to punish the communist dictatorship economically, with the support of China and Russia. Trump has repeatedly pressed China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Trump on Thursday highlighted that China’s central bank has told its banks to strictly implement U.N. sanctions. He thanked President Xi Jinping for what he called a “bold” and “somewhat unexpected” move.

On Tuesday, he also commended Beijing for signing on to two recent sanctions packages enacted by the Security Council. The U.S. sees China’s commitment to sanctions as crucial to forcing Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump appeared to try to quash speculation that he is targeting China or other North Korean trading partners with the action.

“I want to be clear — the order targets only one country, and that country is North Korea,” he said.

Trump said the order identifies industries including textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing, which the Treasury Department can target with “strong sanctions.” The president added that the order includes “measures designed to disrupt” shipping and trade networks to reduce North Korea’s ability to avoid the sanctions.

Earlier, national security advisor H.R. McMaster said Trump would take more action to stop North Korea “short of war.” Trump’s advisors have repeatedly said they prefer to use diplomatic methods to curb North Korea’s aggression.

The president again said that he seeks the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea.

Trump had separate bilateral meetings scheduled with both Moon and Abe on Thursday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/trump-to-make-north-korea-announcement-mcmaster-says.html

 

Trump announces new economic sanctions targeting North Korea over nuclear program

 September 21 at 12:45 PM

President Trump announced an executive order on Sept. 21 to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and countries that do business with the “rogue regime” of North Korea. (The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — President Trump announced an executive order Thursday granting the Treasury Department additional authority to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and target foreign companies and individuals that do business with the rogue nation in Northeast Asia.

Trump said the new powers aim to cut off international trade and financing that dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime uses support its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs. The president also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered Chinese banks to cease conducting business with North Korean entities. Trump called the move “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected,” and he praised Xi.

“North Korea’s nuclear program is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said in brief public remarks during a meeting with the leaders of South Korea and Japan to discuss strategy to confront Pyongyang.

He added that the United States continues to seek a “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

He added that the order will give Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin the “discretion to target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”


President Trump meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Thursday. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A White House fact sheet said the executive order imposes a ban on airplanes or ships that have visited North Korea will be banned for 180 days from visiting the United States, a move to crack down on illicit trade.

“This significantly expands Treasury’s authority to target those who enable this regime…wherever they are located,” Mnuchin said.

Trump’s announcement came as he has sought to rally international support for confronting Pyongyang during four days of meetings here at the United Nations General Assembly. In a speech to the world body on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North if necessary and referred derisively to Kim as “rocket man.” But the president and his aides have emphasized that they are continuing to do what they can to put economic and diplomatic pressure on the North in order to avoid a military conflict.

“We are witnessing a very dangerous confrontation spiral,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech to the United Nations, filling in for President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the forum. “We resolutely condemn the nuclear missile adventures of Pyongyang in violation of Security Council resolutions. But military hysteria is not just an impasse, it’s disaster…There is no alternative to political and diplomatic ways of settling the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, but Mnuchin emphasized that “this action is in no way specifically directed at China,” and he said he called Chinese officials ahead of the announcement to give them a heads up.

In recent weeks, the U.N. Security Council has approved two rounds of economic sanctions but also left room for further penalties. For example, the sanctions put limits on the nation’s oil imports but did not impose a full embargo, as the United States has suggested it supports. The Trump administration has signaled it also wants a full ban on the practice of sending North Korean workers abroad for payments that largely go to the government in Pyongyang.

Sitting down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the trilateral discussion with Japan, Trump said the nations are “making a lot of progress.”

Moon praised Trump’s speech to the U.N., saying through a translator that “North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people, but the U.S. has responded firmly and in a very good way.”

The Security Council had also applied tough new export penalties in August, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that there are signs those restrictions are having an economic effect.

“We have some indications that there are beginning to appear evidence of fuel shortages,” Tillerson said in a briefing for reporters. “And look, we knew that these sanctions were going to take some time to be felt because we knew the North Koreans…had basically stockpiled a lot of inventory early in the year when they saw the new administration coming in, in anticipation of things perhaps changing. So I think what we’re seeing is a combined effect of these inventories are now being exhausted, and the supply coming in has been reduced.”

There is no sign, however, that economic penalties are having any effect on the behavior of the Kim regime and its calculation that nuclear tests and other provocations will ensure its protection or raise the price of any eventual settlement with the United States and other nations.

All U.N. sanctions have to be acceptable to China, North Korea’s protector and chief economic partner. China’s recent willingness to punish its fellow communist state signals strong disapproval of North Korea’s international provocations, but China and fellow U.N. Security Council member Russia have also opposed some of the toughest economic measures that could be applied, such as banking restrictions that would affect Chinese and other financial institutions.

“We continue to call on all responsible nations to enforce and implement sanctions,” Trump said.

Trump said the United States had been working on the North Korea problem for 25 years, but he asserted that previous administrations had “done nothing, which is why we are in the problem we are in today.”

Through executive orders and other measures extending back to the Clinton administration, the United States has been trying to undermine the economic underpinnings of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

Each new sanction from Washington has been followed by evasive measures by Pyongyang, and then another attempt from Washington to ramp up pressure. Earlier sanctions restricted trade between U.S. companies and businesses involved with the North Korean regime and its weapons efforts. Until recently, however, such sanctions had limited effects because North Korea continued an expansive trade with other countries, mainly China.

In recent years, the United States has sought to expand the economic pressure by working through the international banking system, where the country has particular leverage because so much of international trade is conducted in dollars. The “vast majority of international transactions are denominated in dollars, the world’s reserve currency,” a Congressional report found last year.

Even when the companies are outside the United States, trade conducted in dollars typically must run through U.S. banks, and last year, that provided the Obama administration an opportunity to interrupt such business.

In November 2016, a special measure implemented by the Treasury barred U.S. banks from providing the accounts that handle such transactions for any North Korean bank or any party acting on its behalf. The measure essentially cut off North Korean banks from any trade denominated in U.S. dollars.

North Korea, however, has continued to conduct such trades by using front companies located in third countries, at least some of which are in China.

The new executive order expands the U.S. pressure on the North by allowing the Treasury to single out those front companies, and any banks helping to finance any trade with North Korea, for sanctions. Those sanctions would cut off trade with those companies or forbid them from conducting transactions in dollars.

Anne Gearan in New York,  Abby Phillip in Washington and Peter Whorisky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/21/trump-says-the-u-s-will-impose-new-sanctions-on-north-korea/?utm_term=.f13cecf3e9e7

US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China

  • The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.
  • So far, economic sanctions against Pyongyang have done little to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
  • Now, critics of those measures are calling for stepped-up pressure on China, North Korea’s largest trading partner.

President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.

At issue are a series of sanctions against Pyongyang designed to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

But those measures have had little impact on the increasingly bellicose stand-off, and on Thursday President Donald Trump repeated his complaint that Beijing needs to lean harder on Pyongyang to defuse rising tensions.

“I think they can do a lot more and I think they will do a lot more,” the president told reporters. “We lost hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It’s not going to continue like that.”

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to inflict “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program. A recent series of successful North Korean test launches were matched Wednesday by Kim’s threats to launch a missile at the U.S. territory of Guam.

The latest round of sanctions includes fresh restrictions, unanimously approved Saturday by the United Nation Security Council, that target North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The measures also ban countries from hiring more North Korean laborers, bar new joint ventures with North Korea and ban fresh investment in existing joint ventures.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S. but you can’t do both.'”-Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Economic sanctions so far have proved ineffective largely because North Korea has found ways to get around them with “evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication,” according to a February U.N. report.

“Designated entities and banks have continued to operate in the sanctioned environment by using agents who are highly experienced and well trained in moving money, people and goods, including arms and related material, across borders,” the U.N. report found.

The widest flow of goods and cash, by far, crosses North Korea’s border with China. As North Korea’s largest trading partner, China accounted for roughly 85 percent of overall volume in 2015, according to data from the United Nations Comtrade database.

Coal and other minerals accounted for more than 40 percent of North Korean exports in 2015, followed by textiles (29 percent), metals (7 percent) and machinery (6 percent). North Korea’s biggest imports included textiles, machinery and raw materials including minerals, metals and plastics.

Though China has taken some steps to curb imports from North Korea, exports rose by nearly 30 percent in the first half of this year, according to Chinese customs data. During the six-month period, overall trade flows across the North Korean-China border rose 10 percent to $2.65 billion.

That’s why critics of the existing North Korean sanctions say the measures don’t go nearly far enough in cutting off the flow of cash and goods to the Pyongyang regime.

Some of those critics are calling for “secondary sanctions,” which would cut off trade and financial flows to any country doing business with North Korea.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S., but you can’t do both,'” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D.-Md., told MSNBC on Thursday. “That is what got people’s attention with the Iran sanctions, and that’s what we need to do now.”

Last month, Van Hollen co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey, R.-Pa., that would impose secondary sanctions targeting third parties and countries that do business with North Korean companies and individuals.

Secondary sanctions offer a powerful financial weapon by allowing the U.S. government to bar foreign banks access to the U.S. financial system.

In late June, the White House imposed limited secondary sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons and also accused a regional Chinese bank, the Bank of Dandong, of laundering money for Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

Beyond cutting off cash and supplies to the North Korean regime, secondary sanctions squeeze the flow of cash to individuals, putting pressure on Kim’s political allies, according to David Cohen, a senior CIA official in the Obama administration.

“Imposing secondary sanctions would send a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the financial noose is tightening in a way that could drive a wedge between Kim and the Pyongyang elite critical to his continued hold on power,” Cohen wrote in a recent op-ed piece.

Imposing secondary sanctions that single out major Chinese banks and state enterprises comes with the risk of economic retaliation from Beijing.

To minimize that risk, the White House will need to build a much wider coalition of Asian countries, says Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the George W. Bush administration.

But developing that coalition will be a tough task for an administration that has yet to fill dozens of key diplomatic positions. So far, the White House has filled fewer than half of the State Department positions that require Senate confirmation.

“It really is a time for diplomacy,” Burns told CNBC on Thursday. “But there’s no American ambassador to South Korea, there’s no secretary of State for East Asia. So, you’ve also got to fill out the ranks.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/10/us-north-korea-standoff-could-spark-economic-war-with-china.html

 

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korea is known for its bluster and outrageous propaganda, but the nuclear threat posed by the country is taken seriously by those in the know.

The “hermit kingdom” is estimated to have between 13 and 30 nuclear weapons, according to the Institute for Science and International Security. It could have up to 50 by the year 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that he considers North Korea a legitimate threat. In early April, Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula, and said “major, major conflict” was quite possible.

WATCH: Trump discusses military option for North Korea

Tensions have since soared over fears that North Korea may be about to conduct its sixth nuclear weapons test. On Friday, the country sent a letter to American lawmakers, saying any sanctions would only cause its nuclear testing program to “gather greater pace, beyond anyone’s imagination.”

But how did a country as isolated and impoverished as North Korea get its hands on nuclear weapons in the first place?

The Korean War

In 1950, a few months into the Korean War, U.S. President Harry Truman said in a press conference that the use of an atomic bomb was under “active consideration.”

Truman’s nuclear threat remained just that, with the Korean War formally ending in an armistice in 1953. But U.S. forces still laid waste to North Korean targets, dropping over 650,000 tons of bombs and napalm, according to The Korean War: A History.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay estimated that the U.S. “killed off 20 per cent of the Korean population.”

WATCH: North Korea propaganda video puts White House in crosshairs, simulates strike on US Capitol

After the war, North Korea tried to convince its wartime ally China to share its nuclear weapons technologies. Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung, grandfather of present-day leader Kim Jong-Un, twice asked Chinese ruler Mao Zedong for help but was refused both times, according to The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History.

Denied an easy path to a nuclear bomb, North Korea set about cobbling together an indigenous nuclear weapons program.

Soviet support

It helped that the country already had basic nuclear infrastructure in place.

As a founding member of the Soviet-led Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, North Korea had for years sent its scientists to the Soviet Union for nuclear energy training, according to a timeline compiled by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

The Soviets even helped North Korea set up its first nuclear reactor in 1964. The reactor was used to produce radioactive isotopes for medicinal, industrial and research purposes.

READ MORE: Mike Pence urges China, Russia to pressure North Korea to abandon weapons program

But in the years that followed, the country began to explore weapons capabilities, summoning its best scientists home — including from Canada, according to NTI — to work on its fledgling nuclear weapons program.

But while North Korea’s scientists had the technical training, they lacked designs for the highly sophisticated facilities needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Path to a plutonium weapon

 In the ‘70s and ‘80s, North Korea set about acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies from Europe, taking advantage of the lack of adequate nuclear information safeguards at the time.

At one point, North Korean agents went to a conference in Vienna and chatted up some Belgian scientists who had a design for a plutonium separation plant, The Atlantic reported.

“Lo and behold, it wasn’t long before the North Koreans obtained the design information for that installation… and then eventually over a period of 10 to 15 years, they set that technology up, they deployed the plant, they started to experiment with it and use it,” Mark Hibbs, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Atlantic.

READ MORE: North Korea says it’s ready for war if Donald Trump wants

In 2003, CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea “probably” has one or two plutonium-based nuclear warheads, according to The Statesman’s Yearbook 2012.

The following year, second-generation Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il invited a delegation of Western nuclear scientists to North Korea to see its plutonium extraction facility. One of them, American scientist Dr. Siegfried Hecker, revealed in a Google Tech Talk lecture that North Korean officials at one point brought out two marmalade jars of plutonium.

“Inside one was a plutonium powder and the other one had plutonium metal,” Hecker said.

He even held one of the jars in his hand, and concluded from its appearance, weight and warmth that it contained radioactive plutonium.

In 2006, two years after Hecker’s visit, North Korean state media announced the country’s first nuclear weapon test.

By then, the country’s scientists had increasingly begun redirecting their efforts away from plutonium-based nuclear weapons to uranium-based ones, according to NTI. This is because the facilities needed to produce weapons-grade uranium can more easily be hidden underground, away from prying satellites and weapons inspectors.

North Korea wanted to cover all its bases.

Pakistani proliferation

The groundwork for North Korea’s uranium nuclear weapons program was laid in the ‘90s, with substantial help from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the pioneer of Pakistan’s atomic bomb program.

Khan orchestrated the clandestine transfer of uranium centrifuges, enrichment machines and technical data to North Korea over a period of several years, according to the book Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks.

According to the book’s author, Mark Fitzpatrick, some of Khan’s deals were likely tied to existing official agreements between the two countries, wherein North Korea provided ballistic missile technologies to Pakistan.

WATCH: Pakistan test fires submarine-based cruise missile

In 2003, the U.S. learned of North Korea’s plans to build a uranium-enrichment facility with Pakistan’s help. The following year, Khan admitted to running a global nuclear proliferation ring, with Iran and Libya among his other clients.

Khan later told German magazine Der Spiegel that he was merely acting on behalf of the Pakistani leadership.

He even released what he claimed was a 1998 letter from Jon Pyong-ho, one of the architects of North Korea’s nuclear program, in which Pyong-ho assures that $3 million has been transferred to Pakistan’s army chief, and asks that Khan dispatch “the agreed documents, components, etc.” via a North Korean emissary.

READ MORE: Pakistan refuses to release doctor who helped US find Osama bin Laden

Khan was later pardoned by Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“By freely selling enrichment equipment and putting the designs on computer disks, Khan significantly lowered the technical barriers to nuclear weapons development,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

And no country benefited more from Khan’s largesse than North Korea.

READ MORE: Pakistan issues nuclear warning to Israel on Twitter after fake news story

In 2010, Dr. Siegfried Hecker was again invited to North Korea, and was this time taken on a tour of a uranium enrichment facility. He described what he saw as “truly mind-boggling” — around 2,000 centrifuges that appeared to contain highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

“[The North Koreans] take whatever they can get, and then they build things themselves, and they do it quite well,” Hecker concluded in his Google Tech Talks lecture.

The Nuclear Silk Road

In early 2015, debris from a North Korean satellite launch were analyzed by experts and found to contain components manufactured in the U.K. and routed through Chinese companies, according to a United Nations Panel of Experts report.

The following year, foreign journalists on a tour of a Pyongyang factory spotted a shipment of boxes from Calgary-based chemical producer Dow Canada, the Washington Post reported.

These are but two of several known instances of North Korea evading international sanctions and export controls to procure weapons components.

WATCH: China says it will impose more sanctions on North Korea if missile test conducted: Tillerson


“North Korea is very creative in the way that it goes about sanctions evasion, and the patterns in which it goes about it vary,” Andrea Berger, a senior researcher with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told Global News.

Berger says North Korea often sends trusted nationals to China to set up front companies, often in collaboration with Chinese citizens. These companies then import equipment from Western manufacturers, who often have no way of knowing that the companies are really fronts controlled by the North Korean regime.

“Let’s say you’re Siemens in Germany and you get a purchase request from ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ in China. You look into that company and it doesn’t have a big web presence  —  because most Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises don’t  — and you assume, after some limited due diligence, that it’s probably fine,” Berger says.

READ MORE: China defends trade practices with North Korea after Chinese-made vehicles seen towing ballistic missiles

Even Chinese banks themselves often get deceived, she adds.

“The bank account might be under, say, ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ or a Chinese director,” Berger says. “The Bank of China might not immediately be the wiser that there’s a North Korean beneficiary behind that account.”

By covering their tracks in this manner, front companies procure sensitive goods before re-exporting them to North Korea, evading Chinese export controls via misleading shipping labels or creative smuggling techniques.

READ MORE: U.S. mulls North Korea sanctions, targeting cash that flows through Chinese banks

The racket doesn’t exclusively involve surreptitious front operations, however.

In 2015, a large Chinese company called Shenyang Machine Tools bought equipment from a European manufacturer under the explicit condition that the items wouldn’t be re-sold to North Korea, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

Shenyang Machine Tools promptly broke the agreement by embedding the products into its own line of industrial machines, which were then exported to North Korea.

The equipment in question is commonly used to manufacture missile parts and uranium centrifuges.

Financial skullduggery

So how does North Korea pay for the expensive parts that it acquires illegally?

Turns out it doesn’t just use front companies to buy  —  it also uses them to sell its own military products.

Earlier this year, the UN Panel of Experts reported the interception of a shipment of 45 military radios bound for Eritrea. The shipment was sent by a Malaysian-based company called Glocom — which investigators found to be controlled by the North Korean intelligence agency.

Glocom was selling the radios to developing countries at North Korea’s behest — for $8,000 per unit.

READ MORE: U.S. urges UN Security Council to increase economic pressure on North Korea over weapons program

Berger, who is familiar with the Glocom investigation, said the company was “being used to facilitate sales of that technology specifically.”

The combination of such clandestine military deals, the sale of missile technologies and the export of coal and minerals have enabled North Korea to fund its nuclear procurement, the UN report suggested.

The “disco ball” warhead

In March 2016, North Korean state media released photographs of Kim Jong-Un standing in front of what it claimed was a miniaturized nuclear warhead “standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles,” Reuters reported.

The object was silver, shiny and shaped like a giant orb. It was roundly mocked on Twitter for resembling a disco ball.

So you’re saying this new disco ball with old CDs stuck on the side will be more glittery? 

But experts aren’t laughing.

Melissa Hanham, a researcher who analyzes open source data and photos to assess North Korea’s weapons programs, says it’s “plausible” that the object is a working nuclear warhead.

“We can’t see inside it to say, ‘Yes, it is’ or ‘No, it isn’t’ a nuclear warhead,” Hanham told Global News. “But they’ve had five nuclear tests, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to have that kind of compact warhead by that many tests.

READ MORE: North Korea’s latest missile launch could be 2nd test of new technology, experts say

“I can tell you that we’ve measured it a lot, and it does fit into the payload of many of their missiles.”

Hanham admits it’s bizarre that North Korea would let its Supreme Leader stand so close to the real thing, but points out that “there are other photographs of Kim Jong-Un engaging in really dangerous activities that confuse us as well” — referring to photos of him smoking next to a solid-fuel rocket engine and standing underneath a heavy object dangling from a crane.

A legitimate threat

The purported warhead may have been goofy-looking, but it represented one of many milestones in a ramped-up schedule of North Korean nuclear weapons development over the past year and a half.

“North Korea in 2016 spent a lot of time doing a point-for-point refutation of every major narrative of the things it ‘couldn’t do’ in its nuclear missile program,” Berger says.

“All the developments we’re seeing in the nuclear missile program are deeply serious, and the more we continue to laugh about it, the more North Korea will attempt to demonstrate that it has a credible military program that is making rapid advancement.”

WATCH: Should we be worried about North Korea?

That advancement is the result of over half a century of steadily accumulated scientific know-how and single-minded subterfuge, with North Korea taking advantage of lax regulations and shady foreign partners to hoodwink the international non-proliferation regime.

Berger says China’s “conscious negligence” — in relation to both clamping down on front companies and tightening export controls — has resulted in such a huge flow of illicit goods to North Korea that it would take “an enormous effort” to rein it in at this point.

“The problem we have is enormous policy inertia, and very few good ideas of how to address the situation,” Berger says.

READ MORE: Could North Korea’s nuclear missiles reach Canada?

Hanham agrees. “I think there are probably still opportunities to slow or disrupt their program, but they’ve already crossed a lot of important thresholds that make it unlikely that they will give up their [nuclear] program entirely,” she says.

“North Korea has shown that it’s dedicated to acquiring nuclear weapons, and it’s very hard to stop any country that’s completely dedicated.”

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

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Fed will finally wind down historic rescue program

The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates alone to give the economy room to keep growing.

But the central bank did take historic action on Wednesday: It will begin undoing the extraordinary steps it took to prop up the economy for almost a decade after the financial crisis. The Fed said it would begin shedding some of the $4.5 trillion in investments starting next month.

The announcement marks a milestone in the long recovery from 2008, and reflects confidence by Fed officials that the economy will continue to grow.

Starting in October, the Fed will begin unloading $10 billion of debt from its so-called balance sheet, including $6 billion in Treasury securities and $4 billion in agency debt each month through December.

For years, the central bank piled up purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, a strategy intended to stimulate the economy by reducing borrowing costs for everyone. At the time, it also reduced its benchmark interest rate to zero, and only began raising it in December 2015, seven year after the crisis.

On Wednesday, the Fed left rates unchanged, hovering between 1% and 1.25%.

Related: The CNNMoney Trump Jobs Tracker

The central bank has raised that rate three times since December as the economy has gradually improved. Raising rates too quickly could risk hobbling the recovery.

Still, the majority of Fed policymakers signaled on Wednesday that they expect to lift rates one more time this year.

Central bankers pointed to signs of strength in the U.S. economy, including a pickup in household spending and growth in business investments, in a statement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting.

“Job gains have remained solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low,” the Fed said in a statement.

While Fed officials cautioned that the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria would hold back the U.S. economy in the “near term,” they said the storms would not “materially alter” the country’s economy overall.

“Within a few months, rebuilding activity has typically kicked in, returning economic growth to normal—or maybe even a little higher than normal,” wrote Eric Winograd, AB senior economist in a note. “So, despite the storms, we’re still confident the U.S. economy will keep its momentum, because the foundations are sound.”

Related: Fed Chair Janet Yellen warns – Monitor your credit report!

Some Fed officials have warned against raising interest rates until inflation — which reflects the prices of everything from meat and cheese to houses and cars — meets the goal of 2% that they consider healthy for the economy.

But inflation is still running below that target, even though the job market has picked up and other explanations have fallen away. In a press conference, Fed chair Janet Yellen described it as something of a “mystery.”

In past years, she said the Fed has been able to point to root causes of low inflation: the gap between those employed versus those that aren’t, energy prices and a rising dollar.

“This year’s inflation shortfall is more of a mystery,” Yellen told reporters at the press conference. “I will not say that the committee clearly understands what the causes are.”

Central bankers have been in a bind over when to lift rates again. Inflation has been stubbornly low for years, suggesting the Fed should hold off. But economic growth and low unemployment suggest they should act.

Fed officials cautioned that they do expect inflation to be higher than normal — at least for a little while — following the hurricanes that have devastated Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico.

“Inflation remains the wild card of Fed policy and the temporary boost to gasoline prices following the hurricanes only clouds the picture further,” said Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride. “Whether the Fed hikes in December will remain an open question until December.”

Along with one more rate hike this year, the Fed also predicted three more possible moves next year.

“It is too soon for the committee to conclude that the recent slowing in inflation was sufficiently permanent to alter the Fed’s plans,” Michael Gapen, a Barclay’s analyst wrote in a research note.

The Fed said it continues to expect inflation to remain at 1.6%, below its target, and the unemployment rate to be 4.3%, based on its updated economic projections.

The central bank did, however, offer a rosier picture of the overall economy, upping its economic growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.2%.

Yellen again declined to address speculation about whether President Trump will nominate her for a second four-year term leading the Fed. Her first term ends in February.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/20/investing/federal-reserve-janet-yellen/index.html

Fed prepares to cut $4.5 trillion portfolio: What it means
By Matthew Rocco Published July 12, 2017 The Fed FOXBusiness Opens a New Window.

USA-FED/ The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will be on Capitol Hill for two days of congressional testimony starting Wednesday, and investors will be closely watching the proceedings for any clues about the central bank’s plans to shrink its securities portfolio.

The Fed has begun to pave the way toward cutting its balance sheet, which grew from about $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion in five years. The large increase is the result of an aggressive bond-buying stimulus program known as quantitative easing. The program was implemented to keep interest rates low and support a collapsed housing market. Since December 2015, the Fed has gradually raised the benchmark fed funds rate from near zero amid an improved labor market and U.S. economy. But its large portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities has remained in place.

With officials phasing out its crisis-era monetary policies, the Fed is now discussing a timeline to start winding down its portfolio to about half its current size.

“[The Fed] is in uncharted territory. They’ll be very cautious because they are committed to reducing interest rates and reducing the balance sheet. The first foray will be fairly limited,” said Nariman Behravesh, IHS Markit’s chief economist.

Investors have mostly prepared themselves for the Fed’s next move by anticipating an increase in interest rates. If anything, the Fed tends to “do less than the market expected,” Behravesh added.

“I think the good thing is the Fed is raising rates in an environment that’s not gangbusters, but it’s decent. Rates will go up, no question, but if they go gradually, it won’t do a great amount of damage to the economy,” he said, noting that the fed funds rate remains historically low. “Monetary policy is becoming tighter, but at the end of next year, it still won’t be tight.”

Fed members have already decided on a plan of action. Currently, the Fed purchases new bonds to replace the ones that come due. Once it starts the clock, the central bank will allow bonds to mature and roll off its balance sheet.

At their June policy-setting meeting, members of the Federal Open Market Committee set up a plan to shed as much as $6 billion worth of government bonds and $4 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month as a starting point. The Fed would raise the amount every quarter, eventually hitting a cap of $30 billion in Treasury and $20 billion in mortgage bonds per month.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2017. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTS1750PExpand / Contract
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
Demand for bonds will weaken once the Fed stays on the sidelines, thus lowering prices and forcing interest rates to climb. (Bond yields move in the opposite direction as prices.) The magnitude of that rate increase will depend on how gradually the Fed sells off its holdings, Behravesh explained.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has declined about 0.081 percentage points since the start of the year, hitting 2.36% in recent trading.

As for when the Fed will kick off the process, several officials prefer to “announce a start to the process within a couple of months,” according to minutes of their June meeting Opens a New Window. . Others believed that a decision later in 2017 would give the Fed more time to study inflation, which has fallen short of the central bank’s target, and U.S. economic activity.

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The general consensus is that the Fed will make an announcement in September. In her prepared remarks to Congress Opens a New Window. , Yellen affirmed that the Fed will “likely” implement the program this year, as long as the economy “evolves broadly as anticipated.”
“We do not intend to use the balance sheet as an active tool for monetary policy in normal times,” Yellen said, adding that the Fed is prepared to “resume reinvestments” if it sees a deterioration in the economic outlook.

No matter when the Fed begins to shrink its portfolio, economists expect it to move in the same way it raises interest rates: slowly.

“It’s hard to tell how slowly they are going to go,” Behravesh said, but the Fed is determined to move one step at a time. The impact on the financial and housing markets isn’t fully clear, and the Fed plans to raise the fed funds rate at the same time it dumps assets.

In June, the Fed raised the fed funds rate another quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The next rate hike is expected in December.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/07/12/fed-prepares-to-cut-4-5-trillion-portfolio-what-it-means.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 908, June 9, 2017, Story 1: Cover His Assets Comey Leaked Documents To Friend Who Leaked Them To Press — Crime of Mishandling Government Documents with Confession and Evidence — “I Could Be Wrong.” — Trump Winner and Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Left Losers — President Trump: No Investigation, No Collusion, No Obstruction, No Evidence — Videos — Story 2: Will Prime Minister May Remain Prime Minister? Yes, But Not For Very Long — Videos — Story 3: President Trump On New Infrastructure and Regulation — Videos

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The ‘Independent’ Mr. Comey

His prepared testimony shows why he deserved to be fired.

The desk in the Hart Senate Office Building from which former FBI director James Comey will testify, June 7.

The desk in the Hart Senate Office Building from which former FBI director James Comey will testify, June 7. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

The Senate Intelligence Committee released James Comey’s prepared testimony a day early on Wednesday, and it looks like a test of whether Washington can apprehend reality except as another Watergate. Perhaps the defrocked FBI director has a bombshell still to drop. But far from documenting an abuse of power by President Trump, his prepared statement reveals Mr. Comey’s misunderstanding of law enforcement in a democracy.

Mr. Comey’s seven-page narrative recounts his nine encounters with the President-elect and then President, including an appearance at Trump Tower, a one-on-one White House dinner and phone calls. He describes how he briefed Mr. Trump on the Russia counterintelligence investigation and what he calls multiple attempts to “create some sort of patronage relationship.”

But at worst Mr. Comey’s account of Mr. Trump reveals a willful and naive narcissist who believes he can charm or subtly intimidate the FBI director but has no idea how Washington works. This is not new information.

When you’re dining alone in the Green Room with an operator like Mr. Comey—calculating, self-protective, one of the more skilled political knife-fighters of modern times—there are better approaches than asserting “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Of course the righteous director was going to “memorialize” (his word) these conversations as political insurance.

Mr. Trump’s ham-handed demand for loyalty doesn’t seem to extend beyond the events of 2016, however. In Mr. Comey’s telling, the President is preoccupied with getting credit for the election results and resentful that the political class is delegitimizing his victory with “the cloud” of Russian interference when he believes he did nothing wrong.

Mr. Comey also confirms that on at least three occasions he told Mr. Trump that he was not a personal target of the Russia probe. But Mr. Comey wouldn’t make a public statement to the same effect, “most importantly because it would create a duty to correct” if Mr. Trump were implicated. This is odd because the real obligation is to keep quiet until an investigation is complete.

More interesting is that Mr. Trump’s frustration at Mr. Comey’s refusal raises the possibility that the source of Mr. Trump’s self-destructive behavior isn’t a coverup or a bid to obstruct the investigation. The source could simply be Mr. Trump’s wounded pride.

The most troubling part of Mr. Comey’s statement is his belief in what he calls “the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch,” which he invokes more than once. Independent? This is a false and dangerous view of law enforcement in the American system.

Mr. Comey is describing an FBI director who essentially answers to no one. But the police powers of the government are awesome and often abused, and the only way to prevent or correct abuses is to report to elected officials who are accountable to voters. A director must resist intervention to obstruct an investigation, but he and the agency must be politically accountable or risk becoming the FBI of J. Edgar Hoover.

Mr. Comey says Mr. Trump strongly suggested in February that he close the Michael Flynn file, but after conferring with his “FBI senior leadership” he decided not to relay the conversation to Attorney General Jeff Sessions or any other Justice Department superior. If he thought he was being unduly pressured he had a legal obligation to report, and in our view to resign, but he says he didn’t because “we expected” that Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from Russia involvement.

Well, how did he know? Mr. Sessions didn’t recuse himself until two weeks later. Mr. Comey also didn’t tell the acting Deputy AG, who at the time was a U.S. attorney whom Mr. Comey dismisses as someone “who would also not be long in the role.”

This remarkable presumptuousness is the Comey mindset that was on display last year. He broke Justice Department protocol to absolve Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified material, without the involvement of Justice prosecutors or even telling then Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Mr. Comey’s disregard for the chain of legal command is why Mr. Trump was right to fire him, whatever his reasons.

Also on Wednesday two leaders of the intelligence community told the Senate Wednesday that they had not been pressured to cover up anything. “I have never been pressured—I have never felt pressured—to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relation to an ongoing investigation,” said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers added that he never been asked “to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump announced that he is nominating respected Justice Department veteran Christopher Wray as the next FBI director. Let’s hope Mr. Wray has a better understanding of the FBI’s role under the Constitution than Mr. Comey does.

Appeared in the June 8, 2017, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-independent-mr-comey-1496878266

Comey: ‘Lordy, I Hope There are Tapes’
AP

COMEY SAYS HE WAS FIRED BECAUSE OF RUSSIA INVESTIGATION


AP Photo
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former FBI Director James Comey asserted Thursday that President Donald Trump fired him to interfere with his investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 election and its ties to the Trump campaign.

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey told the Senate intelligence committee in explosive testimony that threatened to undermine Trump’s presidency.

“I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted,” Comey testified under oath. “That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me.”

Comey also accused the Trump administration of spreading “lies, plain and simple” about him and the FBI in the aftermath of his abrupt firing last month, declaring that the administration then “chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI” by claiming the bureau was in disorder under his leadership. And in testimony that exposed deep distrust between the president and the veteran lawman, Comey described intense discomfort about their one-on-one conversations, saying he decided he immediately needed to document the discussions in memos.

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it really important to document,” Comey said. “I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened not only to defend myself but to protect the FBI.”

The revelations came as Comey delivered his much anticipated first public telling of his relationship with Trump, speaking at a packed Senate intelligence committee hearing that brought Washington and parts of the country to a standstill as all eyes were glued to screens showing the testimony. The former director immediately dove into the heart of the fraught political controversy around his firing and whether Trump interfered in the bureau’s Russia investigation, as he elaborated on written testimony delivered Wednesday. In that testimony he had already disclosed that Trump demanded his “loyalty” and directly pushed him to “lift the cloud” of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the FBI probe into his campaign’s Russia ties.

Comey said that he declined to do so in large part because of the “duty to correct” that would be created if that situation changed. Comey also said in his written testimony that Trump, in a strange private encounter near the grandfather clock in the Oval Office, pushed him to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia asked Comey the key question: “Do you believe this rises to obstruction of justice?”

“I don’t know. That’s Bob Mueller’s job to sort that out,” Comey responded, referring to the newly appointed special counsel who has taken over the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

In a startling disclosure, Comey revealed that after his firing he actually tried to spur the special counsel’s appointment by giving one of his memos about Trump to a friend of his to release to the press.

“My judgment was I need to get that out into the public square,” Comey said.

Trump’s private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, seized on Comey’s affirmation that he told Trump he was not personally under investigation. Though Comey said he interpreted Trump’s comments as a directive to shut down the Flynn investigation, Kasowitz also maintained in his written statement that Comey’s testimony showed that the president “never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that that Mr. Comey ‘let Flynn go.'”

The Republican National Committee and other White House allies worked feverishly to lessen any damage from the hearing, trying to undermine Comey’s credibility by issuing press releases and even ads pointing to a past instance where the FBI had had to clean up the director’s testimony to Congress. Republicans and Trump’s own lawyer seized on Comey’s confirmation, in his written testimony, of Trump’s claim that Comey had told him three times the president was not directly under investigation.

Trump himself was expected to dispute Comey’s claims that the president demanded loyalty and asked the FBI director to drop the investigation into Flynn, according to a person close to the president’s legal team who demanded anonymity because of not being authorized to discuss legal strategy. The president has not yet publicly denied the specifics of Comey’s accounts but has broadly challenged his credibility, tweeting last month Comey “better hope there are no ‘tapes'” of the conversations.

“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey remarked at one point Thursday, suggesting such evidence would back up his account over any claims from the president.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California asked the question that many Republicans have raised in the weeks since Comey’s firing as one media leak followed another revealing Comey’s claims about Trump’s inappropriate interactions with him.

Discussing the Oval Office meeting where Comey says Trump asked him to back off Flynn, Feinstein asked: “Why didn’t you stop and say, ‘Mr. President, this is wrong,’?”

“That’s a great question,” Comey said. “Maybe if I were stronger I would have. I was so stunned by the conversation I just took it in.”

The hearing unfolded amid intense political interest, and within a remarkable political context as Comey delivered detrimental testimony about the president who fired him, a president who won election only after Comey damaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the final days of the campaign. Clinton has blamed her defeat on Comey’s Oct. 28 announcement that he was re-opening the investigation of her email practices. “If the election were on Oct. 27, I would be your president,” Clinton said last month.

Thursday’s hearing included discussion of that email investigation, as Comey disclosed that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed him to refer to the issue as a “matter,” not an “investigation.”

“That concerned me because that language tracked how the campaign was talking about the FBI’s work and that’s concerning,” Comey said. “We had an investigation open at the time so that gave me a queasy feeling.”

Many Democrats still blame Comey for Clinton’s loss, leading Trump to apparently believe they would applaud him for firing Comey last month. The opposite was the case as the firing created an enormous political firestorm that has stalled Trump’s legislative agenda on Capitol Hill and taken over Washington.

Under questioning Thursday, Comey strongly asserted the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia did indeed meddle in the 2016 election.

“There should be no fuzz on this. The Russians interfered,” Comey stated firmly. “That happened. It’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.”

Trump has begrudgingly accepted the U.S. intelligence assessment that Russia interfered with the election. But he has also suggested he doesn’t believe it, saying Russia is a “ruse” and calling the investigation into the matter a “witch hunt.”


http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_COMEY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-06-08-12-37-50

Former FBI Director James Comey’s planned testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday will provide President Trump’s opponents with plenty of opportunities to attack his conduct, while also giving his supporters the context they need to defend his actions.The seven-page opening statement Comey provided to the committee this week sheds new light on a series of private conversations and meetings between the president and the former FBI director that had previously been described only through anonymous leaks to the press.However, the statement contained few new revelations, and GOP allies — including the Republican National Committee quickly seized on the document to argue Trump had done nothing wrong.Here are seven takeaways from Comey’s opening statement, which he is slated to deliver before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning.Comey really did tell Trump he was not under investigation three times.In his letter last month asking Comey to resign, Trump thanked the former FBI director for telling him, on three occasions, that he was not personally the subject of an FBI probe.On Jan. 6, according to Comey’s statement, the former FBI director sought permission from the bureau’s “leadership team” to inform the president-elect that he was not under investigation.

“That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him,” Comey wrote. He noted the team concluded that he should indeed tell Trump he was not under investigation “if circumstances warranted” during a “sensitive” conversation at Trump Tower about an unverified dossier of salacious allegations against the president-elect.

“During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance,” Comey wrote.

Then, during a Jan. 27 dinner at the White House, Comey cautioned Trump against calling publicly for an investigation of the salacious dossier by warning him that doing so “might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t.”

Finally, during a March 30 phone call, Comey again told the president he was not the subject of an investigation.

“I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump. I reminded him I had previously told him that,” Comey noted.

The former FBI director noted, however, that counter-intelligence investigations and criminal investigations differ in their scope and methods.

Comey had far more contact with Trump than with Obama.

The former FBI director noted that he decided to document his conversations with Trump shortly after their first meeting on Jan. 6 at Trump Tower.

“Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward,” Comey wrote in the statement. “This had not been my practice in the past.”

Comey said he had spoken with former President Obama alone just two times throughout his presidency, and said he did not feel compelled to take notes about either encounter.

“I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone,” Comey wrote.

Comey did not perceive any interference on the Russia front.

After a Feb. 14 conversation with Trump in the Oval Office, Comey said he felt uncomfortable with comments the president made about his former national security adviser, Gen. Mike Flynn.

Trump asked Comey to “let this go,” referring to an investigation into whether Flynn made misleading statements to FBI agents about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, Comey said.

But the former FBI director clarified that he did not believe the president was asking him to abandon the bureau’s probe of Russian meddling in the presidential race.

“I did not understand the president to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign,” Comey noted.

Comey never told Sessions about his concerns.

The former FBI director defended his decision not to alert the attorney general to his concerns in February about Trump by arguing that he did not expect Attorney General Jeff Sessions or the acting deputy attorney general beneath him to remain involved in the Russia investigation for much longer.

“We concluded it made little sense to report it to Attorney General Sessions, who we expected would likely recuse himself from involvement in Russia-related investigations. (He did so two weeks later.),” Comey noted.

However, Sessions did not recuse himself until his campaign-era contact with the Russian ambassador surfaced in news reports.

Trump told Comey “it would be good” to find out whether his associates “did something wrong.”

Rather than press Comey to close an investigation of his more distant associates, Trump told the former FBI director he would prefer to learn whether any had committed a crime.

“The president went on to say that if there were some ‘satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out that we weren’t investigating him,” Comey wrote in his opening statement.

Several of Trump’s former campaign advisers — such as Carter Page, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort — have come under scrutiny for their activities during the presidential race. All three were dismissed from the campaign long before Trump won the White House in November 2016.

Yet one former campaign hand, Flynn, joined Trump in the administration and has since emerged as a top target of investigative focus. And the president did suggest Comey end his efforts to probe Flynn, although the former FBI director suggested the request fell short of obstruction.

Comey does not describe nearly half of his interactions with Trump.

Although the former FBI director claims he interacted one-on-one with Trump on nine separate occasions, his opening statement describes only five of those conversations.

Comey described all three in-person encounters in the statement he provided to the Senate. However, he described just two of the six phone calls he says he had with Trump between Jan. 6 and April 11, the day Comey said he last spoke with the president.

Comey feared Trump wanted a “patronage relationship.”

Comey said Trump’s unexpected move to host him for a private dinner at the White House on Jan. 27 “was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.”

The former FBI director based that assessment on “[m]y instincts.”

Comey went on to describe an “awkward” moment that occurred when the president described his desire for “loyalty.”

“[T]he president said, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’ I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner,” Comey noted.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/7-takeaways-from-comeys-opening-statement/article/2625257

Obstruction of justice

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The crime of obstruction of justice, in United States jurisdictions, refers to the crime of obstructing prosecutors or other (usually government) officials. Common law jurisdictions other than the United States tend to use the wider offense of perverting the course of justice.

Legal overview

Generally, obstruction charges are laid when it is discovered that a person questioned in an investigation, other than a suspect, has lied to the investigating officers. However, in most common law jurisdictions, the right to remain silent can be used to allow any person questioned by police merely to deny answering questions posed by an investigator without giving any reason for doing so. (In such a case, the investigators may subpoena the witness to give testimony under oath in court, though the witness may then exercise their rights, for example in the Fifth Amendment, if they believe their answer may serve to incriminate themselves.) If the person willfully and knowingly tried to protect a suspect (such as by providing a false alibi) or to hide from investigation of their own activities (such as to hide their involvement in another crime), this may leave them liable to prosecution. Obstruction charges can also be laid if a person alters, destroys, or conceals physical evidence.[1]Obstruction charges may also be laid in unique situations such as refusal to aid a police officer, escape through voluntary action of an officer and refusing to assist prison officers in arresting escaped convicts.

Obstruction can include crimes committed by judges, prosecutors, attorneys general, and elected officials in general. It is misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in the conduct of the office. Most commonly it is prosecuted as a crime for perjury by a non governmental official primarily because of prosecutorial discretion.

Notable examples

  • Richard Nixon was being investigated for obstruction of justice for his alleged role in the cover-up of the break-in at the Watergate hotel during his re-election campaign in 1972. Although it is unknown whether Nixon had foreknowledge of his re-election committee’s “dirty tricks” campaign against Democratic presidential candidates that led to the break-in, he was aware of it after the fact and paid money to keep the participants quiet.
  • Former Vice-Presidential adviser I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice in March 2007 for his role in the investigation of a leak to reporters that named a CIA agent, Valerie Plame. His prison sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush in July 2007, so that Libby was no longer required to serve a two and a half year prison sentence, but was still required to pay a $250,000 fine, be recorded as a convicted felon, obey probation terms, and be disbarred.
  • Conrad Black was convicted of obstruction of justice in July 2007[2] for removing 13 boxes containing financial records from his office in Toronto after they had been sealed by a court order, returning the boxes a few days later.
  • Barry Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice on April 13, 2011 for his testimony in front of the grand jury during the BALCO steroid scandal.[3] The conviction was later overturned by an appellate court.[4]
  • In United States v. Binion, malingering (feigning illness) during a competency evaluation was held to be obstruction of justice and led to an enhanced sentence.[5]

Obstruction trends

“Anticipatory obstruction of justice” has recently appeared on the horizon in cases such as US v. Wolff.[6] However, the operative section, 1519, passed in 2002, has thus far languished in quasi-obscurity. Titled “Destruction, Alteration or Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations and Bankruptcy,” the provision was passed under Section 802 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

The text of the statute is relatively straightforward:

Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsified, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under Title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Aside from Section 1519’s 20-year maximum prison sentence (no small benefit to the government in big-dollar fraud loss cases such as Wolff), its primary appeal is that it uniquely removes certain key proof burdens from prosecutors’ collective shoulders.

Prosecutors charging violations of Section 1519 must still establish both of the following:

  • The accused knowingly directed the obstructive act to affect an issue or matter within the jurisdiction of any U.S. department or agency.
  • The accused acted at least “in relation to” or “in contemplation’” of such issue or matter.

Not on the list, however, is the requirement that prosecutors demonstrate to the finder of fact which specific “pending proceeding” the accused attempted to obstruct. That is a significant benefit to the government.[7]

See also

Footnotes

External links

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

Story 2: How Long Will Prime Minister May Remain Prime Minister? — Videos

 

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TABLE-British election results: PM May falls short of majority

LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May faced calls to quit on Friday after her election gamble to win a stronger mandate backfired as she lost her parliamentary majority, throwing British politics into turmoil and potentially disrupting Brexit negotiations. Below is a running total for how many seats each party holds. May is unable to get the 326 seats her Conservative party needs for an outright majority. She would need nine more seats, with only two more seats left to declare Party Seats so far Conservative 317 Labour 261 Lib Dems 12 SNP 35 Greens 1 UKIP 0 DUP 10 Other 12 Unreported 2 (Reporting by Alistair Smout and Georgina Prodhan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-4586860/TABLE-British-election-results-seats-far-party.html#ixzz4jY3jgxZV

 

Humbled Theresa May says losing Tory candidates ‘didn’t deserve it’ but vows to be PM for five more years with support of the DUP… but do her rivals have other ideas?

  • Prime Minister Theresa May has lost seats in the general election in a stunning reversal of her hopes
  • Ashen faced Mrs May vows to stay on despite hammering insisting she can provide ‘certainty’ for the country
  • Mrs May said her government will keep Britain safe by cracking down on terrorism in the recent attacks
  • Serious questions remain over how terrorists behind the atrocities slipped through the net on her watch 
  • She has struck a deal with the 10 MPs from the DUP and is going to see the Queen to ask to form government 
  • But Tories are already breaking ranks to make clear that Mrs May must consider her position after the result
  • Mrs May is expected to reshuffle her cabinet this evening in an attempt to keep a grip on power
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has demanded that Mrs May ‘go’ and make way for government led by him
  • With just one seat left to count, Conservatives are down from 330 to 318, and Labour up from 232 to 262
  • Ministers including Jane Ellison and Ben Gummer have been ousted in a surge by Mr Corbyn’s party 
  • The US woke to the news of a Tory humiliation and President Donald Trump said the result was ‘surprising’ 
  • Fully 23 hours after polls closed across UK, Kensington was claimed by Labour to draw a line under the results 

Theresa May has finally apologised to the Tory MPs who lost their seats overnight but refused to say if her election disaster had weakened her hand in Brexit negotiations

Theresa May has finally apologised to the Tory MPs who lost their seats overnight but refused to say if her election disaster had weakened her hand in Brexit negotiations

A humbled Theresa May has finally apologised to defeated Tory MPs and pledged to stay for five more years – but is now too ‘weak’ to sack rivals including Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson, it was revealed today.

The Prime Minister’s political career is hanging by a thread after she promised to offer ‘certainty’ for Britain as PM – despite the Tories suffering humiliating losses when her election gamble backfired.

She will now rely on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland to prop her up when she had hoped for a landslide victory.

Mrs May has said Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon – five favourites to replace her as leader – will keep their jobs.

The Chancellor and Foreign Minister could have been ‘goners’ but she is now ‘too weak to sack them’, a source said, while another expert suggested she has has been ‘taken prisoner’ by her Cabinet colleagues.

Earlier Mrs May stood in Downing Street and declared her determination to carry on for a full five-year term after getting permission from the Queen to form a government, even though she spectacularly lost her Commons majority overnight.

Incredibly she failed to mention that she had humiliatingly lost seats to Labour after calling the election three years early in a bid to capitalise on sky-high poll ratings.

Around two hours later she appeared on TV again and apologised to defeated Tory MPs after she was accused ‘lacking humility’.

Mrs May acknowledged that she had called an election three years early hoping for a ‘large’ majority, adding: ‘That was not the result that we secured’.

She said: ‘As I reflect on the result, I will reflect on what we need to do in the future to take the party forward.

‘I am sorry for those candidates and hard-working party workers who weren’t successful but also particularly sorry for those colleagues who were MPs or ministers who had contributed so much to our country and who lost their seats and didn’t deserve to lose their seats.’

Mrs May today refused to say if her election disaster has killed off Britain’s chances of a good deal to leave the EU – with former Chancellor George Osborne saying: ‘Hard Brexit went in the rubbish bin last night’.

Senior MPs such as Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan have openly called for Mrs May to step aside – with the latter suggesting she should go within ‘weeks or months’ because her credibility is shot.

One senior Tory MP told ITV News: ‘We all f***ing hate her. But there is nothing we can do. She has totally f***ed us’.

Mrs May declared her determination to carry on in Downing Street after going to see the Queen to request permission to form a government – even though she has lost her Commons majority

The PM was flanked by husband Philip on the steps of No10 as she delivered her statement after seeing the Queen today

The PM was flanked by husband Philip on the steps of No10 as she delivered her statement after seeing the Queen today

Mrs May was welcomed back into Downing Street by staff after the Queen gave her permission to form a new government

Mrs May was welcomed back into Downing Street by staff after the Queen gave her permission to form a new government

But the Tory leader looked slightly awkward being clapped by No10 staff after her poor showing in the general election

But the Tory leader looked slightly awkward being clapped by No10 staff after her poor showing in the general election

ELECTION 2017 RESULTS

UK results

Show
previous

SeatsVotes

650 of 650 seats declared 326 seats needed for majority
Con Theresa May (48.92%)
318
8short
Prev. held: 331
Lab Jeremy Corbyn (40.31%)
262
64short
Prev. held: 232
SNP Angus Robertson (5.38%)
35
291short
Prev. held: 56
Lib Dem Tim Farron (1.85%)
12
314short
Prev. held: 8
DUP Arlene Foster (1.54%)
10
316short
Prev. held: 8
Green Caroline Lucas (0.15%)
1
325short
Prev. held: 1
UKIP Paul Nuttall
0
Prev. held: 1
Lab vs. ConTurnout: 32,196,224 (68.73%)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4586042/Stunning-exit-poll-suggests-Theresa-LOST-seats.html#ixzz4jYp3DZSs

 

Story 3: President Trump On New Infrastructure and Regulation — Videos

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

~President Ronald Reagan

January 20, 1981: From Reagan’s Inaugural Address.

“Prosperity is the best protector of principle.”

~ Mark Twain

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The Pronk Pops Show 896, May 18, 2017, Story 1: A Broadcasting Legend, Roger Ailes, Dies at Age 77, Rest in Peace — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Tweets: “The is The Single Greatest Witch Hunt of A Politician in American History” — Special Counsel: Bad Idea — Robert Mueller: Good Choice — Videos

Posted on May 18, 2017. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Benghazi, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Congress, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Employment, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Law, Media, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Image result for roger ailes dead at 77Image result for roger ailes and familyImage result for cartoons branco trump witch huntImage result for trump russian investigation a witch hunt

Story 1: A Broadcasting Legend, Roger Ailes, Dies at Age 77, Rest in Peace — Videos

Image result for roger ailes and familyImage result for roger ailes and family

Rupert Murdoch statement on Roger Ailes’ passing

Brit Hume on the life and legacy of Roger Ailes

Sean Hannity: I am forever grateful for Roger Ailes

Martha MacCallum remembers Roger Ailes

Rush Limbaugh Remembers Roger Ailes: “Roger And I Were Passengers In History”

Neil Cavuto remembers Roger Ailes

Gutfeld remembers Roger Ailes

The Sean Hannity Show May 18, 2017 || Remembering Roger Ailes

Laura Ingraham Show 5/18/17 – (FULL) Roger Ailes Built Success By Out Thinking His Competitors

Mark Levin Show: Tribute to Roger Ailes (audio from 05-18-2017)

Glenn & Bill React To Roger Aile’s Death | Bill O’Reilly’s First Interview Since Fox News Exit

Bill O’Reilly No Spin News: Paying Respects To Roger Ailes(RIP) & Hysterical Press (5/18/2017)

Rachel Maddow On The Passing Of Roger Ailes: ‘I Considered Him To Be A Friend’

Kimberly Guilfoyle pays tribute to Roger Ailes

Shepard Smith pays tribute to Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes, Who Built Fox News Into an Empire, Dies at 77

Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes dead at 77

Remembering Roger Ailes

World reacts to the death of Roger Ailes

Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes dead at 77

Roger Ailes leaves behind complicated legacy

Lionel Nation YouTube Live Stream: Roger Ailes Eulogium, Mueller the DNC Nightmare & Comey the Clown

Fox News anchors learned of the death of former chairman and CEO Roger Ailes from Drudge

  • Fox News anchors learned of death of former chairman and CEO from Drudge
  • Fox published a breaking news segment on Twitter following Roger Ailes’ death
  • Steve Doocy said: ‘They have published, Drudge has, a statement from his wife’
  • Ainsley Earhardt added: ‘Beth you are in our thoughts and our prayers, and so is Zachary, their beautiful son. Roger, rest in peace.’
  • Ailes died aged 77, according to his wife, who released statement to Matt Drudge
Roger Ailes has died at the age of 77, his wife Elizabeth revealed in a statement on Thursday

Roger Ailes has died at the age of 77, his wife Elizabeth revealed in a statement on Thursday

Fox News anchors only learned of the death of its former chairman and CEO from Drudge Report.

Roger Ailes died aged 77, according to his wife Elizabeth, who released a statement to Matt Drudge.

In a breaking news segment tweeted by the network on Thursday morning, Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy reported: ‘Roger Ailes, one of the founders of the Fox News channel has died.

‘They have published, Drudge has, a statement from his wife Elizabeth.’

The statement was then read out before Ainsley Earhardt added: ‘Beth you are in our thoughts and our prayers, and so is Zachary, their beautiful son. Roger, rest in peace.’

His death comes less than a year after he resigned from the company over allegations of sexual harassment.

His wife Elizabeth, with whom he has one son, said: ‘I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning. Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many.

‘He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise — and to give back.

‘During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions.

‘And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life,’ the statement reads.

Steve Doocy (left) reported: ‘Roger Ailes, one of the founders of the Fox News channel has died'

Steve Doocy (left) reported: ‘Roger Ailes, one of the founders of the Fox News channel has died’

There was no further information on the cause of Ailes’ death. He celebrated his 77th birthday on Monday.

Ailes had struggled with his health. He had hemophilia, multiple surgeries to replace his joints and a secret prostate surgery a few years ago that put him on an extended leave from the network, according to New York magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman.

Last year, Sherman reported that Ailes was still having trouble walking and rarely left his executive suite.

A friend who ran into Ailes in Palm Beach over the 2015-2016 holidays told the magazine that he was using a walker at the time.

In an excerpt from the 2013 biography Roger Ailes Off Camera, Ailes said he knew he didn’t have long left to live.

‘My doctor told me that I’m old, fat, and ugly, but none of those things is going to kill me immediately,’ he told the author, Zev Chafets, shortly before his 72nd birthday. ‘The actuaries say I have six to eight years. The best tables give me 10. Three thousand days, more or less.’

He added: ‘I’d give anything for another 10 years.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4518872/Fox-News-learned-Roger-Ailes-death-Drudge.html#ixzz4hSwIC0Lw

Michael Wolff on Roger Ailes’ Final Days and a Complicated Murdoch Relationship

Matt Furman
Roger Ailes in his Fox News office in 2014.

The Fox News exec understood the intensity of the unhappiness and anger in another America that liberal media people are only now waking up to with Donald Trump.

I made a mental note last night to call Roger in the morning and get his take on the Trump events of the last few days. There are few conversations more entertaining and insightful than Roger Ailes on Republican politics, where he’s known all the players, their strengths and particularly their weaknesses. While the bet noir to liberals, his most scathing and often hilarious critiques have often been reserved for conservatives. His 50 years among the kahunas of GOP politics — as one of the creators of modern Republican politics — made him, among his other political claims to fame, among his party’s sharpest observers. On his friend Donald Trump, no one has been keener. But at 8:30 this morning, his wife Beth texted me that he had died a few minutes ago at age 77.

It was a particular cruelty of the anti-Ailes press that it often focused on Beth, with rumors of a breakdown in their marriage and impending divorce. In fact, she was fierce in her devotion to him, and his most implacable defender. In the 10 months since he had been forced out as chairman of Fox News Channel, the network —arguably, the most significant political force in American life for a generation — that he launched, built and ran for 20 years, she carried him. This past autumn, after their hard summer of accusations and media conviction, she had flown down to Palm Beach and bought for themselves a waterfront mansion, where she hoped he would retire and where living well would at least be some revenge.

Retirement was more Beth’s idea than his. Roger and I spoke a week ago, just after the last ouster at Fox — Bill Shine, his lieutenant who had taken over his job, following by a week the ouster of Bill O’Reilly — and, invariably, the subject was Fox’s quickly eroding fortunes and the possibilities for a new conservative network. Roger, yet proscribed by the non-compete provisions of his separation agreement, nevertheless had a plan in his head, and was taking calls. “I can’t call. But I can’t stop people from calling me,” he said. As we spoke, Beth texted pictures of their view and of a newly svelte Roger lying lazily in the sun.

All things considered, it was a happy winter. Or, anyway, he was certainly weighing the benefits of being out of the office and out of the fray. Still, clearly, both he and Beth could only get so far from the bitterness they felt about his end at Fox. Worse still, the terms of his departure from Fox put draconian limits on what he could say and how he might defend himself. The payout that he believed he had earned — having created a $30 billion asset and 21st Century Fox’s most profitable business — was the price of his silence. The most voluble and pugnacious man in American media was forced to keep still.

But privately, angrily, he couldn’t wait to settle scores.

In his view, the political showdown that was always bound to happen — which, to me, he had predicted several years before — had finally happened, albeit uglier, and with more finality, than he had ever expected. “They got the memo,” he said, with some forbearance. “If you strike the king, you better kill him.”

James Murdoch

Michael Wolff: It’s James Murdoch’s Fox News Now

By “they,” he meant Rupert Murdoch’s sons. And most particularly James Murdoch, who, two years ago, was elevated to CEO of his father’s company, who Ailes regarded as an impetuous, grandiose, self-satisfied rich kid. Wryly, he admitted bringing this feud on himself. “I made the money those kids spent. So, no, I wasn’t going to suck up to them.”

Indeed, not long before his ouster, Ailes had enraged James by going around his back and helping to convince his father to squelch a plan for a new, temple-like 21st Century Fox headquarters that James wanted to build.

The relationship of Ailes to Murdoch senior, often his loyal patron but frequently just a boss stuck having to indulge his highest earner, was also always a fraught one. When I wrote my Murdoch biography in 2009, one of the few stipulations of my access to Murdoch was that I not interview Ailes, who, I gathered, Rupert felt got too much credit for the company’s success.

In July, over a two week period of press leaks after former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, Ailes was ousted without opportunity to defend himself. Even when James hired the law firm Paul, Weiss, to investigate the charges against Ailes, Ailes himself wasn’t called. In effect, in order to get his payout, he had to accept his disgrace — and it was enough money that he agreed to what he surely considered a devil’s bargain.

It is, of course, impossible to know what might be true or not. And now it can never entirely be known. Surely, his political enemies, the legions of them, were concerned much less for the truth than that he be gone. As surely, less is true than what the various lawsuits allege, because that is the nature of lawsuits. All of us who know what Roger reflexively talks like, irascibly, caustically and with retrograde vividness, give him, at least privately, the benefit of the doubt.

In the end, the larger story is about someone who, from Nixon’s “silent majority” to Reagan’s “Reagan Democrats” to Fox News, understood the intensity of the unhappiness and anger in another America that we liberal media people are only now waking up to with Donald Trump.

More personally, when you’re in the media business, what you look for is someone who is at the top of his craft, who understands the real score, who knows how to gossip and who has stories to tell. If you missed knowing Roger, you missed out.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/michael-wolff-roger-ailes-final-days-a-complicated-murdoch-relationship-1005194

Image result for cartoons department of justice special couselor

Image result for trump tweet with all the illegal acts

Image result for cartoons branco trump witch hunt

Image result for cartoons branco trump witch hunt

 

Image result for cartoons branco hillary clinton public corruption

Image result for cartoons branco hillary clinton public corruption

Image result for cartoons branco hillary clinton public corruptionImage result for cartoons branco hillary clinton public corruption

Robert Meuller Named Special Prosecutor in Trump-Russia Probe. Tucker and Jason Chaffetz Weigh In.

Trump Blasts Russia Investigation as a ‘Witch Hunt’ on Twitter

Explaining Robert Mueller’s New Role as Special Counsel

While Most Sing Mueller’s Praises, Louie Gohmert Says He’s a Big Problem!

Bill Bennett talks pros and cons of Russia special counsel

Ingraham: Left has been trying to impeach since Election Day

What does special counsel mean for the Russia probe?

As special counsel, Mueller to have significant power in Russia probe

Brit Hume: Mueller is the grownup needed for Russia probe

Remarks from Robert Mueller III

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead lyrics

Play “Ding Dong! The Witc…”
on Amazon Music
Munchkins
Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.
Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead. She’s gone where the goblins go,
Below – below – below. Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
The Wicked Witch is dead!
Mayor
As Mayor of the Munchkin City, In the County of the Land of Oz, I welcome you most regally.
Barrister
But we’ve got to verify it legally, to see
Mayor
To see?
Barrister
If she
Mayor
If she?
Barrister
Is morally, ethic’lly
Father No.1
Spiritually, physically
Father No. 2
Positively, absolutely
Munchkins
Undeniably and reliably Dead
Coroner
As Coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her.
And she’s not only merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead.
Mayor
Then this is a day of Independence For all the Munchkins and their descendants
Barrister
If any.
Mayor
Yes, let the joyous news be spread The wicked Old Witch at last is dead!

A Special Enemy

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was born and bred to torment Donald Trump.

Donald Trump went to sleep Wednesday night with a new enemy outside his window: former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

LEON NEYFAKH

Leon Neyfakh is a Slate staff writer.

Mueller, a 72-year-old former prosecutor who left the FBI in 2013, has been called upon by the Justice Department to serve as a special counsel to investigate Trump and his associates. In accordance with an order issued Wednesday by the deputy attorney general, it will be up to Mueller—whose last name is pronounced Muh-lur—to decide whether anyone involved in the Trump campaign should be charged with a crime. “I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability,” Mueller said in a statement Wednesday.

Even if Mueller’s investigation doesn’t result in any charges being brought, it’s almost certain Mueller and his team will end up asking Trump questions he doesn’t want to answer and demanding to see documents he doesn’t want to provide. Barring a drastic change in Trump’s disposition, the president will respond to these affronts by publishing angry tweets about Mueller and snarling about him in interviews. Maybe he’ll even compare him to a “dog,” as he did recently when talking about former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Or perhaps he could threaten Mueller, as he did last week in a tweet directed at former FBI Director James Comey.

While Trump loathes a lot of people, his hatred of Mueller is likely to be particularly intense. That’s because Mueller is exactly the kind of guy Trump always hates. He’s also exactly the kind of law enforcement official Trump doesn’t understand.

Raised in a wealthy suburb of Philadelphia, Mueller has Roman numerals in his name and attended a New Hampshire boarding school alongside John Kerry. Later, he followed in his father’s footsteps to Princeton, where he played lacrosse, and received a master’s from New York University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. According to NPR, former CIA Director George Tenet described Mueller in 2013 as a “high Protestant with a locked jaw [and a] blue blazer, khaki pants, penny loafers, maybe a little Vitalis and Old Spice to boot.”

Mueller was an oddity at the FBI, said Tim Weiner, author of Enemies: A History of the FBI. “There are not a lot of people named Robert Swan Mueller III in the directory of the FBI,” he told me. “Bobby is very patrician. He’s very well-bred.”

It helped that Mueller was also a Marine who fought in Vietnam, having served as the leader of a rifle platoon and been awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Journalists who’ve profiled him invariably note that Mueller’s time in the Marines shaped him profoundly and informed his demanding leadership style. When David Margolis showed up to his first day of work as Mueller’s deputy at the FBI, on the Monday after George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001, he discovered an unsigned note on his desk that was unmistakably from Mueller: “It’s 0700. Where are you?”

Sworn in exactly one week before 9/11, Mueller found himself in charge of fixing a broken FBI that had failed to make sense of crucial clues before the attacks. Writing in Time in 2011, Barton Gellman described the state of the bureau before Mueller’s arrival: “The labor force—heavily white and male, with a blue collar culture that prized physical courage over book smarts lacked the language and technical skills to adapt.” Gellman explained that in the aftermath of 9/11, questions arose as to whether the FBI “was irreparably broken, ill equipped to collect intelligence and disinclined to share it anyway.”

Over the course of 12 years, Mueller worked to transform the agency into an organization that could both hold people responsible for past crimes and suss out malfeasance that hadn’t yet been committed—terrorist plots in particular. Mueller, Gellman wrote, “remade the bureau in his image,” as “[o]utsiders displaced agents with badges and guns as assistant directors in charge of finance, human resources, information technology and the directorate of weapons of mass destruction.” In his office, according to a Washingtonian piece by Garrett Graff, Mueller kept shelves lined with “counterterrorism books, manuals on IT and computers, and business books on such topics as ‘change management’ by corporate thinkers like Jack Welch.” Only a “tiny section,” Graff wrote, was “devoted to crime.”

Mueller, who is not an imposing street soldier who wears a cool uniform, doesn’t fit Trump’s image of a law enforcement official. As evidenced by the fact that villainous Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke appears to have landed a job in the Department of Homeland Security, Trump prefers guys who are cartoonishly “tough on crime.” He also tends to focus his political attention on rank-and-file members of police unions, presenting himself as a friend to regular cops while ignoring the senior “brass” who tell them what to do.  Trump has refused to even acknowledge the memo he was sent in February in which a raft of high-profile police chiefs—including Bill Bratton from the NYPD and David Brown, who was head of the Dallas Police Department at the time of the deadly sniper attack that killed five officers—urged him to reconsider his preferred crime-reduction strategy of putting as many people as possible in prison for as long as the law allows.

It’s possible, though unlikely, that under different circumstances Trump would be impressed by a fancy, smart guy like Mueller and would try to impress him back. But there’s one more thing about Mueller that’s going to make it impossible for Trump to show him any respect: The former FBI director is practically blood brothers with James Comey.

The bond between the two men was forged in early 2004—years before Comey succeeded Mueller as FBI director. Comey, who was then serving as the deputy attorney general under John Ashcroft, was locked in a high-stakes dispute with George W. Bush, who wanted to overrule the Justice Department’s conclusion that an NSA domestic surveillance program was illegal. As Graff tells it in his Washingtonian piece, Ashcroft was in a hospital room recovering from surgery when he was ambushed by a pair of White House aides. Here’s Graff:

Comey was driving home on Constitution Avenue with his security escort of U.S. marshals the night of Tuesday, March 10, 2004, when he got a call. … White House chief of staff Andy Card and White House counsel [Alberto] Gonzales were on their way to see Ashcroft in the hospital.

Comey told his driver to turn on the emergency lights and head to the hospital. Then he began calling other Justice officials to rally them at George Washington University Hospital.

Mueller was at dinner with his wife and daughter when he got the call from Comey at 7:20 pm. “I’ll be right there,” he said.

In 2007, Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he believed Card and Gonzales intended to use Ashcroft’s semiconscious state to get the attorney general to sign off on the surveillance program he had previously opposed. By intercepting them in Ashcroft’s hospital room, Comey and Mueller may have prevented the Bush administration officials from getting the attorney general’s signature. (Comey said in his testimony that Ashcroft made the ultimate decision to rebuff Card and Gonzales.) They also helped put the White House and the Justice Department on course for an epic confrontation. Not long after the incident at the hospital, Mueller told Bush he would resign if the surveillance program continued. Bush, realizing he faced a situation on par with Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” backed down. Afterward, Graff wrote, Mueller and Comey “shared a dark laugh” before going back to work.

“I think that experience, of having to stand together and say, ‘No, Mr. President, you can’t do this,’ really mind-melded them,” said Weiner. “It was a moment of brotherhood.”

At this point, no friend of Jim Comey is ever going to be a friend of Donald Trump, especially when he’s leading the same investigation that Comey led before his ouster. Odds are good, in fact, that Trump will use Mueller’s closeness with Comey to accuse him of bias and question the legitimacy of his inquiry.

If and when Trump does go after Mueller—he dipped his toe in the water Thursday morning by tweeting about how it was unfair that a special counsel had been appointed to conduct the “witch hunt” against him—their showdown will be marked by a pleasing irony. In one corner will be the patrician and brainy Mueller, who has little in common with the “real cops” the president so admires. In the other will be Trump, who will soon find out what being ”tough on crime” really means. …

THE SCOPE OF THE SPECIAL COUNSEL APPOINTMENT IS TOTALLY INADEQUATE

Rod Rosenstein just appointed former FBI Director (and, before that, US Attorney) Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to take over the investigation into Trump and his associates.

I’m agnostic about the selection of Mueller. He has the benefit of credibility among FBI Agents, so will be able to make up for some of what was lost with Jim Comey’s firing. He will be regarded by those who care about such things as non-partisan. With Jim Comey, Mueller stood up to Dick Cheney on Stellar Wind in 2004 (though I think in reality his willingness to withstand Cheney’s demands has been overstated).

But Mueller has helped cover up certain things in the past, most notably with the Amerithrax investigation.

My bigger concern is with the scope, which I believe to be totally inadequate.

Here’s how the order describes the scope:

(b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James 8. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

As I read this, it covers just the investigation into ties between the Russian government and people associated with Trump’s campaign. Presumably, that includes Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page, among others.

But there are other aspects of the great swamp that is the Trump and Russia orbit that might not be included here. For example, would Manafort’s corrupt deals with Ukrainian oligarchs be included? Would Flynn’s discussions with Turkish officials, or Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to excuse Turkey’s violation of Iran sanctions? Would the garden variety money laundering on behalf of non-governmental Russian mobbed up businessmen be included, something that might affect Manafort, Jared Kushner, or Trump himself?

And remember there are at least two other aspects of the Russian hacking investigation. Back in February, Reuters reported that San Francisco’s office was investigating Guccifer 2.0 and Pittsburgh was investigating the actual hackers.  Somewhere (San Francisco would be the most logical spot), they’re presumably investigating whoever it is that has been dumping NSA’s hacking tools everywhere. I’ve learned that that geography has either changed, or there are other aspects tied to those issues in other corners of the country.

Plus, there’s the Wikileaks investigation in EDVA, the same district where the Mueller-led investigation might reside, but a distinct investigation.

Any one of those investigations might present strings that can be pulled, any one of which might lead to the unraveling of the central question: did Trump’s associates coordinate with the Russian government to become President. Unless Mueller can serve to protect those other corners of the investigation from Trump’s tampering, it would be easy to shut down any of them as they become productive.

Yet, as far as I understand the scope of this, Mueller will only oversee the central question, leaving those disparate ends susceptible to Trump’s tampering.

Update: In its statement on the appointment, ACLU raises concerns about whether this would include the investigation into Trump’s attempt to obstruct this investigation.

Update: WaPo’s Philip Rucker reminds that Mueller is law firm partners with Jamie Gorelick, who has been representing both Ivanka and Kushner in this issue.

Update: Mueller is quitting WilmberHale to take this gig. He’s also taking two WilmerHale former FBI people with him. Still, that’s a close tie to the lawyer of someone representing key subjects of this investigation.

Update: One addition to the ACLU concern about investigating the Comey firing. In the most directly relevant precedent, the Plame investigation, when Pat Fitzgerald expanded his investigation from the leak of Plame’s identity to the obstruction of the investigation, he asked for approval to do so from the Acting Attorney General overseeing the investigation — in that case, Jim Comey.

The Acting Attorney General in this case is Rod Rosenstein. So if Mueller were as diligent as Fitzgerald was, he would have to ask the guy who provided the fig leaf for Comey’s firing to approve the expansion of the investigation to cover his own fig leaf.

Update: Petey noted to me that Jeff Sessions’ narrow recusal may limit how broadly Rosenstein’s order may be drawn. It’s a really interesting observation. Here’s what I said about Sessions’ recusal (which is very similar to what I tried to address in this post).

There are two areas of concern regarding Trump’s ties that would not definitively be included in this recusal: Trump’s long-term ties to mobbed up businessmen with ties to Russia (a matter not known to be under investigation but which could raise concerns about compromise of Trump going forward), and discussions about policy that may involve quid pro quos (such as the unproven allegation, made in the Trump dossier, that Carter Page might take 19% in Rosneft in exchange for ending sanctions against Russia), that didn’t involve a pay-off in terms of the hacking. There are further allegations of Trump involvement in the hacking (a weak one against Paul Manafort and a much stronger one against Michael Cohen, both in the dossier), but that’s in no way the only concern raised about Trump’s ties with Russians.

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The Pronk Pops Show 856, March 20, 2017, Story 1: National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey Confirm There Is No Evidence That Russians Changed The Votes or Results of Presidential Election And No Collusion Between Russians and Trump Campaign –But FBI Is Still Investigating and Cannot Say More — Big Lie Media Lied Again — Videos — Story 2: National Security Agency (NSA) Collects And Stores All Communications Over The Internet Including Trump’s and Advisers — No Need For Warrants — Who Was The National Security Target? — Who Leaked The Content and Transcript of General Mike Flynn’s Conversations With Russian Ambassador? Time To Release The Full Transcripts of All Conversations — Videos

Posted on March 20, 2017. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Impeachment, Independence, Law, Life, Media, National Security Agency, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Security, Spying, Success, Taxation, Taxes, Terrorism, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

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Story 1: National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey Confirm There Is No Evidence That Russians Changed The Votes or Results of Presidential Election And No Collusion Between Russians and Trump Campaign –But FBI Is Still Investigating and Cannot Say More —  Big Lie Media Lied Again — Videos — 

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FBI Director James Comey’s Testifies at House Intelligence Committee Hearing – Opening Statement

Comey: Putin hated Hillary Clinton | Comey, Rogers testify on Russia, wiretapping

Comey confirms FBI is investigating possible Russia/Trump camp collusion

James Comey Testifies On Trump Wiretapping Claims and Russian Interference 3/20/2017

Comey and Rogers Congressional Hearing: No Evidence of Russian Hacking or Stealing the 2016 Election

FBI and NSA give ONE Shocking Evidence about Russia Hacking Election

FBI COMEY: WE WIRE TAPPED THE PRESIDENT

Limbaugh on Comey Hearing: Message to Trump Is Stop the ‘Drain-the-Swamp Stuff’ or Face Impeachment

“It’s Okay For You To Cite Sources But Not Trump?” Sean Spicer Slams CBS Reporter

FBI Director On Trump’s Wiretap Allegations: No Info To Support That – Full Comments

Rep. Schiff previews FBI director’s House hearing on Russia probe

Sean Spicer HEATED press briefing on James Comey Trump Wiretap Claims Russian Interference 3/20/2017

FULL: James Comey Testifies On President Trump Wiretapping Claims & Russian Interference (3/20/2017)

FULL: James Comey Testifies On President Trump Wiretapping Claims & Russian Interference (3/20/2017)

While many Democrats frequently say Russia “hacked” the presidential election, National Security Administration Director Adm. Michael Rogers and FBI Director James Comey both confirmed today that Russian activities had no impact on tallying votes in states.

“On January 6, 2017, the intelligence community assessment assessing Russian activities and intentions in recent US elections stated that the types of systems Russians actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said.

Going to Adm. Rogers, Nunes said, “Do you have any evidence that Russian actors changed vote tallies in the state of Michigan?” referring to a battleground state Hillary Clinton lost.

“No, I do not,” Rogers responded, before emphasizing the NSA is a foreign intelligence agency, and does not focus domestically.

“How about the state of Pennsylvania?” Nunes asked.

“No, sir,” Rogers responded.

“The state of Wisconsin?”

“No, sir,” Rogers said.

He gave similar answers when asked about vote tallying in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

Turning to Comey, Nunes said, “Do you have any evidence that the FBI that any votes were changed in the states I mentioned to Adm. Rogers?”

“No,” Comey responded

 

http://www.theamericanmirror.com/fbi-nsa-no-evidence-russia-manipulated-us-vote-tallying/

 

The Democrats’ Trump-Russia Conspiracy Campaign Collapses

Is sanity finally returning? After weeks of ranting and raving about Russian “interference” and Putin-Trump conspiracies, so-called ‘intelligence’ agencies and high-ranking Democrats are quietly walking back their rhetoric and managing their base’s expectations – simply put: there’s no ‘there’, there.

‘Moon of Alabama’ reminds us that a while ago Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone warned: Why the Russia Story Is a Minefield for Democrats and the Media:

If we engage in Times-style gilding of every lily the leakers throw our way, and in doing so build up a fever of expectations for a bombshell reveal, but there turns out to be no conspiracy – Trump will be pre-inoculated against all criticism for the foreseeable future.

And now, as The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald writes, key Democratic officials are now warning their base not to expect

From MSNBC politics shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. “We had no evidence of such collusion,” Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20.

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”

What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made “against interest.”

Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.” Smith added: “It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.” And Smith’s core warning is this:

Trump’s critics last year were horrified at the rise of “fake news” and the specter of a politics shaped by alternative facts, predominantly on the right. They need to be careful now not to succumb to the same delusional temptations as their political adversaries, and not to sink into a filter bubble which, after all, draws its strength not from conservative or progressive politics but from human nature.

And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.

For so long, Democrats demonized and smeared anyone trying to inject basic reason, rationality, and skepticism into this Trump/Russia discourse by labeling them all Kremlin agents and Putin lovers. Just this week, the Center for American Progress released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a “Fifth Column” in the U.S. that serves Russia (similar to Andrew Sullivan’s notorious 2001 decree that anyone opposing the war on terror composed an anti-American “Fifth Column”), while John McCain listened to Rand Paul express doubts about the wisdom of NATO further expanding to include Montenegro and then promptly announced: “Paul is working for Vladimir Putin.”

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-17/democrats-trump-russia-conspiracy-campaign-collapses

FROM MSNBC POLITICS shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. “We had no evidence of such collusion,” Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20.

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”

What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made “against interest.”

Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.” Smith added: “It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.” And Smith’s core warning is this:

Trump’s critics last year were horrified at the rise of “fake news” and the specter of a politics shaped by alternative facts, predominantly on the right. They need to be careful now not to succumb to the same delusional temptations as their political adversaries, and not to sink into a filter bubble which, after all, draws its strength not from conservative or progressive politics but from human nature.

And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.

For so long, Democrats demonized and smeared anyone trying to inject basic reason, rationality, and skepticism into this Trump/Russia discourse by labeling them all Kremlin agents and Putin lovers. Just this week, the Center for American Progress released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a “Fifth Column” in the U.S. that serves Russia (similar to Andrew Sullivan’s notorious 2001 decree that anyone opposing the war on terror composed an anti-American “Fifth Column”), while John McCain listened to Rand Paul express doubts about the wisdom of NATO further expanding to include Montenegro and then promptly announced: “Paul is working for Vladimir Putin.”

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/16/key-democratic-officials-now-warning-base-not-to-expect-evidence-of-trumprussia-collusion/

ONE OF THE most bizarre aspects of the all-consuming Russia frenzy is the Democrats’ fixation on changes to the RNC platform concerning U.S. arming of Ukraine. The controversy began in July when the Washington Post reported that “the Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces.”

Ever since then, Democrats have used this language change as evidence that Trump and his key advisers have sinister connections to Russians and corruptly do their bidding at the expense of American interests. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke for many in his party when he lambasted the RNC change in a July letter to the New York Times, castigating it as “dangerous thinking” that shows Trump is controlled, or at least manipulated, by the Kremlin. Democrats resurrected this line of attack this weekend when Trump advisers acknowledged that campaign officials were behind the platform change.

This attempt to equate Trump’s opposition to arming Ukraine with some sort of treasonous allegiance to Putin masks a rather critical fact: namely, that the refusal to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons was one of Barack Obama’s most steadfastly held policies. The original Post article that reported the RNC platform change noted this explicitly:

Of course, Trump is not the only politician to oppose sending lethal weapons to Ukraine. President Obama decided not to authorize it, despite recommendations to do so from his top Europe officials in the State Department and the military.

Early media reports about this controversy from outlets such as NPR also noted the irony at the heart of this debate: namely, that arming Ukraine was the long-time desire of hawks in the GOP such as John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, but the Obama White House categorically resisted those pressures:

Republicans in Congress have approved providing arms to the Ukrainian government but the White House has resisted, saying that it would only encourage more bloodshed.

It’s a rare Obama administration policy that the Trump campaign seems to agree with.

Indeed, the GOP ultimately joined with the hawkish wing of the Democratic Party to demand that Obama provide Ukraine with lethal weapons to fight Russia, but Obama steadfastly refused. As the New York Times reported in March, 2015, “President Obama is coming under increasing pressure from both parties and more officials inside his own government to send arms to the country. But he remains unconvinced that they would help.” When Obama kept refusing, leaders of the two parties threatened to enact legislation forcing Obama to arm Ukraine.

The general Russia approach that Democrats now routinely depict as treasonous – avoiding confrontation with and even accommodating Russian interests, not just in Ukraine but also in Syria – was one of the defining traits of Obama’s foreign policy. This fact shouldn’t be overstated: Obama engaged in provocative acts such as moves to further expand NATO, non-lethal aid to Ukraine, and deploying “missile defense” weaponry in Romania. But he rejected most calls to confront Russia. That is one of the primary reasons the “foreign policy elite” – which, recall, Obama came into office denouncing and vowing to repudiate – was so dissatisfied with his presidency.

A new, long article by Politico foreign affairs correspondent Susan Glasser – on the war being waged against Trump by Washington’s “foreign policy elite” – makes this point very potently. Say what you will about Politico, but one thing they are very adept at doing is giving voice to cowardly Washington insiders by accommodating their cowardice and thus routinely granting them anonymity to express themselves. As journalistically dubious as it is to shield the world’s most powerful people with anonymity, this practice sometimes ends up revealing what careerist denizens of Washington power really think but are too scared to say. Glasser’s article, which largely consists of conveying the views of anonymous high-level Obama officials, contains this remarkable passage:

In other words, Democrats are now waging war on, and are depicting as treasonous, one of Barack Obama’s central and most steadfastly held foreign policy positions, one that he clung to despite attacks from leading members of both parties as well as the DC National Security Community. That’s not Noam Chomsky drawing that comparison; it’s an Obama appointee.

The destructive bipartisan Foreign Policy Community was furious with Obama for not confronting Russia more, and is now furious with Trump for the same reason (though they certainly loath and fear Trump for other reasons, including the threat they believe he poses to U.S. imperial management through a combination of ineptitude, instability, toxic PR, naked rather than prettified savagery, and ideology; Glasser writes: “‘Everything I’ve worked for for two decades is being destroyed,’ a senior Republican told me”).

 

ALL OF THIS demonstrates how fundamental a shift has taken place as a result of the Democrats’ election-related fixation on The Grave Russian Threat. To see how severe the shift is, just look at this new polling data from CNN this morning that shows Republicans and Democrats doing a complete reversal on Russia in the span of eight months:

The Democrats’ obsession with Russia has not just led them to want investigations into allegations of hacking and (thus far evidence-free) suspicions of Trump campaign collusion – investigations which everyone should want. It’s done far more than that: it’s turned them into increasingly maniacal and militaristic hawks – dangerous ones – when it comes to confronting the only nation with a larger nuclear stockpile than the U.S., an arsenal accompanied by a sense of fear, if not outright encirclement, from NATO expansion.

Put another way, establishment Democrats – with a largely political impetus but now as a matter of conviction – have completely abandoned Obama’s accommodationist approach to Russia and have fully embraced the belligerent, hawkish mentality of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, the CIA and Evan McMullin. It should thus come as no surprise that a bill proposed by supreme warmonger Lindsey Graham to bar Trump from removing sanctions against Russia has more Democratic co-sponsors than Republican ones.

This is why it’s so notable that Democrats, in the name of “resistance,” have aligned with neocons, CIA operatives and former Bush officials: not because coalitions should be avoided with the ideologically impure, but because it reveals much about the political and policy mindset they’ve adopted in the name of stopping Trump. They’re not “resisting” Trump from the left or with populist appeals – by, for instance, devoting themselves to protection of Wall Street and environmental regulations under attack, or supporting the revocation of jobs-killing free trade agreements, or demanding that Yemini civilians not be massacred.

Instead, they’re attacking him on the grounds of insufficient nationalism, militarism, and aggression: equating a desire to avoid confrontation with Moscow as a form of treason (just like they did when they were the leading Cold Warriors). This is why they’re finding such common cause with the nation’s most bloodthirsty militarists – not because it’s an alliance of convenience but rather one of shared convictions (indeed, long before Trump, neocons were planning a re-alignment with Democrats under a Clinton presidency). And the most ironic – and over-looked – aspect of this whole volatile spectacle is how much Democrats have to repudiate and demonize one of Obama’s core foreign policy legacies while pretending that they’re not doing that.

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/06/democrats-now-demonize-the-same-russia-policies-that-obama-long-championed/

Trump claims Democrats ‘made up’ reports about Russia’s election interference

President Trump on Monday dismissed widespread reports of Russia’s meddling in the presidential election as “FAKE NEWS.” In a series of tweets, Trump alleged Democrats “made up and pushed the Russian story,” seemingly referring to the FBI- and CIA-backed reports that Russia interfered in the election to dash Hillary Clinton’s chances, thus helping Trump.

Trump claimed Democrats fabricated the story “as an excuse for running a terrible campaign”:

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

Trump then noted former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s remark earlier this month that a paper compiled by the DNI, NSA, FBI, and CIA included “no evidence” of Trump associates’ collusion with Russia. Clapper said neither he nor the agencies had uncovered any “evidence of such collusion.”

James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!

Top House Intelligence Committee Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) later said he was “surprised” by Clapper’s comment because he did not think that claim could be made “categorically.” “I would characterize it this way: At the outset of the investigation, there was circumstantial evidence of collusion,” Schiff said. “There was direct evidence, I think, of deception.”

Later Monday, FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Mike Rogers will testify before Congress about possible connections between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Becca Stanek

http://theweek.com/speedreads/687068/trump-claims-democrats-made-reports-about-russias-election-interference

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Comey won’t commit to investigating Obama officials over Flynn leaks

Autoplay: On | Off

FBI Director James Comey declined to say Monday whether his team has launched an investigation into the leaks that led to former White House national security advisor Mike Flynn’s ouster.

Comey was pressed by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to say whether he could confirm such an investigation is taking place, but Comey said he could not because it might confirm that classified information was leaked.

“I can’t, but I hope people watching know how seriously we take leaks of classified information,” he said during Monday’s hearing on Russia’s influence on the election. “But I don’t want to confirm it by saying that we’re investigating it.”