Rand Paul

The Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018, Story 1: President Trump All Caps Tweet Directed At Iranian Leadership — Don’t Mess With Trump — Vidoes — Story 2: Trump Explores Revoking Security Clearances of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper , former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe — Trump Should Order Attorney General Session to Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Waiting For Mueller Final Report and November 2018 Elections — Videos — Story 3: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Failed When Warrant Application Was Approved Allowing Department of Justice, FBI, and Intelligence Community To Spy on American People and Republican Party Based on Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Not Disclosed Nor Verified To FISA Court — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump All Caps Tweet Directed At Iranian Leadership — Don’t Mess With Trump — Vidoes

Sanders: Trump won’t stand for empty threats against America

Trump no nonsense approach on Iran is the right strategy: Gen. Jack Keane

Secretary Pompeo remarks on “Supporting Iranian Voices” – Speech only

Iran feeling the strain from Obama’s deal?

Trump weighs in after Iran threatens the ‘mother of all wars’ | In The News

US not afraid to sanction top Iran leaders: Pompeo

U.S. Pushes Confrontation with Iran: Trump Warns of “Consequences,” Pompeo Likens Leaders to “Mafia”

Scott Adams – President Trump’s All-Caps Tweet to Iran

 

Just tough Trump tweeting? US ratchets up Iran pressure

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s explosive twitter threat to Iran’s leader comes as his administration is ratcheting up a pressure campaign on the Islamic republic that many suspect is aimed at regime change.

No one is predicting imminent war. But Trump’s bellicose, all-caps challenge addressed to President Hassan Rouhani followed a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he accused Iran’s leadership of massive corruption and widespread rights abuses and urged Iranians to rise up in protest.

Trump’s tweet doesn’t appear to have been prompted by any notable shift in rhetoric from Iran.

It could have been an impulsive reaction to reports from Tehran quoting Rouhani as giving the U.S. an oft-repeated reminder that conflict with Iran would be “the mother of all wars.” Yet animosity directed at the Iranian leadership is an established part of the administration’s broader foreign policy.

The White House says President Donald Trump’s threatening tweet shows he’s not going to tolerate critical rhetoric from Iran, but claims the U.S. leader isn’t escalating tensions between the two countries. (July 23)

Iran publicly shrugged off Trump’s late Sunday message — “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Tweeted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday: COLOR US UNIMPRESSED: The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And Iranians have heard them —albeit more civilized ones_for 40 yrs. We’ve been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS!”

Asked at the White House if he had concerns about provoking Iran, Trump said simply, “None at all.”

Tehran is already aware of what is coming from the administration as consequences of Trump’s May withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord take shape.

As Pompeo noted in his speech to Iranian-Americans and others in California on Sunday, the centerpiece will be the re-imposition of U.S. economic sanctions; the first batch will go back into force on Aug. 4 targeting the Iranian automotive sector and trade in gold and other metals. A more significant set of sanctions that will hit Iran’s oil industry and central bank by punishing countries and companies that do business with them will resume on Nov. 4.

Pompeo also slammed Iran’s political, judicial and military officials, accusing several by name of participating in rampant corruption, and called its religious leaders “hypocritical holy men” who amassed wealth while allowing their people to suffer. He said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms,” and he hailed the “proud Iranian people (for) not staying silent about their government’s many abuses.”

“The United States under President Trump will not stay silent either,” he said.

He was right. True to form, Trump did not stay silent. But the White House blamed Rouhani for inciting the war of words with his comment that “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!,” Trump wrote.

Reaction from Congress, particularly Democrats, was swift and critical.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, acknowledged that Iran’s terrorist activities in the Middle East pose a threat but suggested it wouldn’t be solved through a tweet from Trump.

“Sadly, after pulling us out of the nuclear deal with Europe and Iran, there doesn’t seem to be strategy for how to move forward to fight Iran’s activities,” she said.

And Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the former Democratic vice presidential candidate, called the Twitter blast from the White House “another warning sign that Trump is blundering toward war with Iran.”

Trump’s National Security Council pushed back:

“Our differences are with the Iranian regime’s actions and, in particular, with the actions of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, not the Iranian people. The Trump administration’s Iran policy seeks to address the totality of these threats and malign activities and to bring about a change in the Iranian regime’s behavior.”

“If anybody’s inciting anything, look no further than to Iran,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. She added that Trump has been “very clear about what he’s not going to allow to take place.”

Trump has a history of firing off heated tweets that seem to quickly escalate long-standing disputes with leaders of nations at odds with the U.S.

In the case of North Korea, the verbal war cooled quickly and gradually led to the high-profile summit and denuclearization talks. Still there has been little tangible progress in a global push to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons program since the historic Trump-Kim Jong Un summit on June 12.

___

Associated Press writers Nasser Karimi and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, David Rising in Dubai, Aron Heller in Jerusalem, Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Michael Casey in Concord, New Hampshire contributed.

___

This story has been corrected to correct Trump tweet: ‘Likes’ of which, not ‘like.’

https://apnews.com/33bbdee2506645859222e0f5252b288f/White-House-blames-Iran-for-war-of-words-with-Trump

 

Story 2: President Trump Explores Revoking Security Clearances of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper , former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe — Trump Should Order Attorney General Session to Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Waiting For Mueller Final Report and November 2018 Elections — Videos —

Trump may revoke security clearances for Obama-era officials

Rand Paul urges Trump to pull security clearances

Ex-CIA chief Brennan: Trump’s comments nothing short of treasonous

Rand Paul SHUTS DOWN Trump’s Critics & DESTROYS Obama’s Former CIA John Brennan

Scott Adams – The Newest Reason to Love Rand Paul

Clapper On President Donald Trump Revoking Security Clearance: Very Petty | Hardball | MSNBC

What’s Needed Desperately: Operation Wrath of Trump

Trump looking into revoking security clearances for Brennan, other top Obama officials

President Trump is looking into revoking the security clearances of several top Obama-era intelligence and law enforcement officials, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday, accusing them of having “politicized” or “monetized” their public service.

She made the announcement at Monday’s press briefing, after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called on the president to specifically revoke Trump critic and former CIA Director John Brennan’s clearance.

Sanders said Trump is considering it — and also looking into the clearances for other former officials and Trump critics: former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former CIA Director Michael Hayden (who also worked under President George W. Bush).

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy on the political fallout from the IG report and the Mueller investigation.

Sanders said Trump is “exploring mechanisms” to remove the security clearances “because [the former officials] politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service and their security clearances in making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia.”

Sanders added that their clearances effectively give “inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”

“When you have the highest level of security clearance … when you have the nation’s secrets at hand, and go out and make false [statements], the president feels that’s something to be very concerned with,” Sanders said.

According McCabe’s spokesperson Melissa Schwartz, however, his security clearance had already been deactivated when he was fired.

“Andrew McCabe’s security clearance was deactivated when he was terminated, according to what we were told was FBI policy. You would think the White House would check with the FBI before trying to throw shiny objects to the press corps…,” Schwartz tweeted Monday.

Benjamin Wittes, a friend of Comey’s, tweeted Monday afternoon that he texted the former FBI director, who told him he doesn’t have a security clearance to revoke.

When asked whether former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden might have their security clearances revoked, Sanders said she did not have any further information.

FILE - In this June 7, 2017, file photo, FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington. McCabe drafted a memo on the firing of his onetime boss, ex-director James Comey. That’s according to a person familiar with the memo, who insisted on anonymity to discuss a secret document that has been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller. The person said the memo concerned a conversation McCabe had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about Rosenstein’s preparations for Comey’s firing. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

President Trump is looking into revoking former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s security clearance, but McCabe’s spokesman said that clearance had already been deactivated.  (AP)

The topic came into the spotlight Monday morning, with Paul’s tweets against the former CIA director.

“Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump?” Paul tweeted early Monday.

Brennan joined NBC News and MSNBC in February as a contributor and senior national security and intelligence analyst. A spokesperson for the networks did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Paul’s tweet, which did not list any specific allegations.

The Kentucky Republican, who last week jumped to Trump’s defense as the president faced bipartisan criticism over his summit and press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed up the original tweet by saying:

“Today I will meet with the President and I will ask him to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance!”

Paul’s tweets come as fellow congressional Republicans push for Brennan to testify on Capitol Hill regarding the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election.

The former CIA director has been a consistent and harsh critic of the president, blasting his performance with Putin in Helsinki as “nothing short of treasonous.”

But Brennan is not the only former intelligence official to take to the media world. In April, Comey began a media blitz promoting his new memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” while Hayden and Rice also frequently make media appearances.

On Twitter, just minutes after the announcement from the White House brieifing, Hayden responded in a tweet to several journalists that a loss of security clearance would not have an “effect” on him.

“I don’t go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write,” Hayden tweeted.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/23/trump-looking-into-revoking-security-clearances-for-brennan-other-top-obama-officials.html

 

 

Story 3: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Failed When Warrant Application Was Approved Allowing Department of Justice, FBI, and Intelligence Community To Spy on American People and Republican Party Based on Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Not Disclosed Nor Verified To FISA Court — Videos

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Hannity: FISA court was abused for political gain

Tucker: What the Carter Page FISA application proves

Carter Page reacts to ‘Russian spy’ accusations

DOJ RELEASES CARTER PAGE FISA DOCS

Andrew McCarthy Shocked FISA Application Used As Evidence To Spy On Carter

Judicial Watch urges WH to declassify Page FISA application

Trump calls for end to Russia probe after Carter Page surveillance records released

Bongino: Russia probe is biggest scam in modern US history

Dershowitz: FISA application provides support for both sides

BREAKING: Released FISA Warrants on Carter Page Confirm Obama FBI, DOJ Misled Courts to Spy on Trump

Malloch: My Book Details Deep State’s Plot to Destroy Trump

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Ted Malloch Detained By FBI? WHY? McMaster, Exposing Assault on Families or His New Book?

FISA Applications Confirm: The FBI Relied on the Unverified Steele Dossier

One-time advisor of Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

A salacious Clinton-campaign product was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.On a sleepy summer Saturday, after months of stonewalling, the FBI dumped 412 pages of documents related to the Carter Page FISA surveillance warrants — the applications, the certifications, and the warrants themselves. Now that we can see it all in black and white — mostly black, as they are heavily redacted — it is crystal clear that the Steele dossier, an unverified Clinton-campaign product, was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.

Based on the dossier, the FBI told the FISA court it believed that Carter Page, who had been identified by the Trump campaign as an adviser, was coordinating with the Russian government in an espionage conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

This sensational allegation came from Christopher Steele, the former British spy. The FISA court was not told that the Clinton campaign was behind Steele’s work. Nor did the FBI and Justice Department inform the court that Steele’s allegations had never been verified. To the contrary, each FISA application — the original one in October 2016, and the three renewals at 90-day intervals — is labeled “VERIFIED APPLICATION” (bold caps in original). And each one makes this breathtaking representation:

The FBI has reviewed this verified application for accuracy in accordance with its April 5, 2001 procedures, which include sending a copy of the draft to the appropriate field office(s).

In reality, the applications were never verified for accuracy.

What ‘Verify’ Means
Consider this: The representation that the FBI’s verification procedures include sending the application to “appropriate field offices” is standard in FISA warrant applications. It is done because the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG) mandates that the bureau “ensure that information appearing in a FISA application that is presented to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] has been thoroughly vetted and confirmed.” (See House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes March 1, 2018, letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, embedded here.) The point is to assure the court that the FBI has corroborated the allegations in the warrant application in the usual way.

A hypothetical shows how this works. Let’s say that X, an informant, tells the FBI in Washington that Y, a person in St. Louis, told him that Z, the suspect, is plotting to rob the bank.

X’s story is unverified; he doesn’t know anything firsthand about Z — he only knows what Y has told him. Obviously, then, the FBI does not instantly run to court and seek a warrant against Z. Instead, the bureau sends an investigative “lead” from headquarters in Washington to the FBI field office in St. Louis. FBI agents in St. Louis then go find and interview Y. Based on that interview, the FBI gathers supporting information (perhaps physical surveillance of Z, scrutiny of available documents and records about Z, etc.). Only then, after debriefing the witness with competent knowledge, do the Justice Department and FBI seek a warrant against Z from the court. In the application, they explain to the judge that they have verified X’s information by interviewing Y and then corroborating Y’s version of events. In fact, if they get solid enough information about Z from Y, there may be no reason even to mention X, whose tip to the FBI was sheer hearsay.

But that is not what happened with the Carter Page FISA warrants.

Were the allegations thoroughly vetted and confirmed by proof independent of Steele before being presented to the FISA court? No, they were not.

The FBI presented the court with allegations posited by Steele. He is in the position of X in our hypothetical. He is not the source of any of the relevant information on which the court was asked to rely for its probable-cause finding that Page was a clandestine agent of Russia. In this context, source means a reliable witness who saw or heard some occurrence on which the court is being asked to base its ruling.

Steele has not been in Russia for about 20 years. In connection with the dossier allegations, he was merely the purveyor of information from the actual sources — unidentified Russians who themselves relied on hearsay information from other sources (sometimes double and triple hearsay, very attenuated from the supposed original source).

In each Carter Page FISA warrant application, the FBI represented that it had “reviewed this verified application for accuracy.” But did the bureau truly ensure that the information had been “thoroughly vetted and confirmed”? Remember, we are talking here about serious, traitorous allegations against an American citizen and, derivatively, an American presidential campaign.

When the FBI averred that it had verified for accuracy the application that posited these allegations, it was, at best, being hyper-technical, and thus misleading. What the bureau meant was that its application correctly stated the allegations as Steele had related them. But that is not what “verification” means. The issue is not whether Steele’s allegations were accurately described; it is whether they were accurate, period. Were the allegations thoroughly vetted and confirmed by proof independent of Steele before being presented to the FISA court — which is what common sense and the FBI’s own manual mean by “verified”?

No, they were not.

There Is No Reason to Believe the Redactions Corroborate Steele
I have been making this point for months. When I made it again in a Fox and Friends interview on Sunday morning, critics asked how I could say such a thing when the warrants are pervasively redacted — how could I be so sure, given all we concededly don’t know, that the redactions do not corroborate Steele?

The critics’ tunnel vision on the redactions ignores the months of hearings and reporting on this core question, which I’ve continuously detailed. Here, for example, is what two senior Judiciary Committee senators, Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham, wrote in a classified memo early this year after reviewing FISA applications (the memo was finally declassified and publicized over the objections of the FBI):

The bulk of the [first Carter Page FISA] application consists of allegations against Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Mr. Steele and are also outlined in the Steele dossier. The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page.

The senators went on to recount the concession by former FBI director James Comey that the bureau had relied on the credibility of Steele (who had previously assisted the bureau in another investigation), not the verification of Steele’s sources. In June 2017 testimony, Comey described information in the Steele dossier as “salacious and unverified.”

Moreover, the FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, told Congress that the bureau tried very hard to verify Steele’s information but could provide no points of verification beyond the fact that Page did travel to Russia in July 2016 — a fact that required no effort to corroborate since the trip was unconcealed and widely known. (Page delivered a public commencement address at the New Economic School.) Furthermore, in British legal proceedings, Steele himself has described the information he provided to the FBI as “raw intelligence” that was “unverified.”

I freely acknowledge that we do not know what the redactions say. But we have been very well informed about what they do not say. They do not verify the allegations in the Steele dossier. I have no doubt that they have a great deal to say about Russia and its nefarious anti-American operations. But the FBI has been taking incoming fire for months about failing to corroborate Steele. No institution in America guards its reputation more zealously than does the FBI. If Steele had been corroborated, rest assured that the bureau would not be suffering in silence.

When the government seeks a warrant, it is supposed to show the court that the actual sources of information are reliable.

Plus, do you really think the FBI and Justice Department wanted to use the Steele dossier? Of course they didn’t. They undoubtedly believed Steele’s allegations (the applications say as much). That is no surprise given how much their top echelons loathed Donald Trump. But they were also well aware of the dossier’s significant legal problems — the suspect sourcing, the multiple hearsay. If they had solid evidence that verified Steele’s allegations, they would have used that evidence as their probable cause showing against Page. Instead, they used the dossier because, as McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee, without it they would have had no chance of persuading a judge that Page was a clandestine agent.

Whatever is in the redactions cannot change that.

There Is No Vicarious Credibility
To repeat what we’ve long said here, there is no vicarious credibility in investigations. When the government seeks a warrant, it is supposed to show the court that the actual sources of information are reliable — i.e., they were in a position to see or hear the relevant facts, and they are worthy of belief. It is not sufficient to show that the agent who assembles the source information is credible.

The vast majority of our investigators are honorable people who would never lie to a judge. But that is irrelevant because, in assessing probable cause, the judge is not being asked to rely on the honesty of the agent. The agent, after all, is under oath and supervised by a chain of command at the FBI and the Justice Department; the judge will generally assume that the agent is honestly and accurately describing the information he has gotten from various sources.

The judge’s main task is not to determine if the agent is credible. It is to weigh the reliability of the agent’s sources. Are the sources’ claims supported by enough evidence that the court should approve a highly intrusive warrant against an American citizen?

Here, Steele was in the position of an investigative agent relaying information. He was not a source (or informant) who saw or heard relevant facts. Even if we assume for argument’s sake that Steele is honest and reliable, that would tell us nothing about who his sources are, whether they were really in a position to see or hear the things they report, and whether they have a history of providing accurate information. Those are the questions the FBI must answer in order to vet and confirm factual allegations before presenting them to the FISA court. That was not done; the FBI relied on Steele’s reputation to vouch for his source’s claims.

The FISA Judges
In my public comments Sunday morning, I observed that the newly disclosed FISA applications are so shoddy that the judges who approved them ought to be asked some hard questions. I’ve gotten flak for that, no doubt because President Trump tweeted part of what I said. I stand by it. Still, some elaboration, which a short TV segment does not allow for, is in order.

I prefaced my remark about the judges with an acknowledgment of my own personal embarrassment. When people started theorizing that the FBI had presented the Steele dossier to the FISA court as evidence, I told them they were crazy: The FBI, which I can’t help thinking of as myFBI after 20 years of working closely with the bureau as a federal prosecutor, would never take an unverified screed and present it to a court as evidence. I explained that if the bureau believed the information in a document like the dossier, it would pick out the seven or eight most critical facts and scrub them as only the FBI can — interview the relevant witnesses, grab the documents, scrutinize the records, connect the dots. Whatever application eventually got filed in the FISA court would not even allude en passant to Christopher Steele or his dossier. The FBI would go to the FISA court only with independent evidence corroborated through standard FBI rigor.

Should I have assumed I could be wrong about that? Sure, even great institutions go rogue now and again. But even with that in mind, I would still have told the conspiracy theorists they were crazy — because in the unlikely event the FBI ever went off the reservation, the Justice Department would not permit the submission to the FISA court of uncorroborated allegations; and even if that fail-safe broke down, a court would not approve such a warrant.

It turns out, however, that the crazies were right and I was wrong. The FBI (and, I’m even more sad to say, my Justice Department) brought the FISA court the Steele-dossier allegations, relying on Steele’s credibility without verifying his information.

It turns out, however, that the crazies were right and I was wrong.

I am embarrassed by this not just because I assured people it could not have happened, and not just because it is so beneath the bureau — especially in a politically fraught case in which the brass green-lighted the investigation of a presidential campaign. I am embarrassed because what happened here flouts rudimentary investigative standards. Any trained FBI agent would know that even the best FBI agent in the country could not get a warrant based on his own stellar reputation. A fortiori, you would never seek a warrant based solely on the reputation of Christopher Steele — a non-American former intelligence agent who had political and financial incentives to undermine Donald Trump. It is always, always necessary to persuade the court that the actual sources of information allegedly amounting to probable cause are believable.

Well, guess what? No one knows that better than experienced federal judges, who deal with a steady diet of warrant applications. It is basic. Much of my bewilderment, in fact, stems from the certainty that if I had been so daft as to try to get a warrant based on the good reputation of one of my FBI case agents, with no corroboration of his or her sources, just about any federal judge in the Southern District of New York would have knocked my block off — and rightly so.

That’s why I said it.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/carter-page-fisa-applications-fbi-steele-dossier/

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1111, Story 1: President Trump Invites Russian President Putin to Washington This Fall and Rejects Putins ‘s Request to Question Former Ambassador McFaul and Other Americans and Senate Votes 98-0 To Also Reject Putin’s Request — Videos — Story 2: President Trump and Republican Party Failure to Cut Government Spending and Balance The Budget and Failure To Support Federal Reserve’s Increase in Interest Rates Will Adversely Impact Economic Growth of U.S. Economy Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — Recession in 2019? — Videos

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Trump: I’m not pro-Russia, I just want our country safe

The Ingraham Angle with Jason Chaffetz July 20,2018 Full Show

President Trump invites Putin for a US visit this fall

Senate Votes 98 – 0 to Reject Putin Proposal Interview Americans

See intel chief stunned by Trump’s invite to Putin

Trump invites Putin to the White House

Trump is inviting Putin to the White House

US Diplomat Reacts: Would Donald Trump Give Fmr. US Diplomat To Putin? | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

The Matt Couch Show 07-19-18 Senate Votes 98-0 opposing former Administration being quesitoned by Russia

McFaul: Putin Used The Same Tactics In Russia, ‘In The United States’ | Meet The Press | NBC News

Here’s what’s in the Senate’s new Russia sanctions

PBS NewsHour

Published on Jun 15, 2017

The Senate overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against both Iran and Russia on Thursday. While the overall bill is aimed at Iran’s missile program, an amendment expands sanctions on Russia for meddling in last year’s election, and another amendment affects the president’s ability to roll back sanctions. Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to take a closer look at the details.

White House: Trump ‘disagrees’ with Putin’s request to question Americans

 

The White House on Thursday backed off a proposal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to question U.S. citizens over alleged crimes in Russia after initially indicating President Trump would consider the matter.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

The White House response comes after almost 24 hours of criticism from Democrats, Republicans and former diplomats that added to the hailstorm of criticism Trump has received over his meeting with Putin in Helsinki earlier this week.It also marks the third time in as many days where Trump or the White House has walked back or clarified comments the president made in relation to his meeting with Putin that frustrated or flabbergasted lawmakers.

Trump on Tuesday had to reiterate his confidence in the U.S intelligence community’s assessment that Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election after casting doubt on that conclusion the day before.

On Wednesday, Trump appeared to say “no” to questions about whether Russia still posed a threat to the U.S., prompting the White House to clarify hours after that the president was trying to say “no” to taking additional questions.

Sanders’s statement on Thursday was issued less than an hour before the Senate, in a rare display of bipartisan unity, passed, 98-0, a resolution that warns Trump against handing over former U.S. diplomats to Russia.

Putin suggested during Monday’s meeting with Trump that he would let U.S. law enforcement travel to Russia and observe the questioning of 12 Russian intelligence officials indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe in exchange for Russian authorities being allowed to question U.S. citizens “who have something to do with illegal actions in the territory of Russia,” including Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow.

Trump initially called it an “incredible offer” at Monday’s joint press conference with Putin. His comments gained more widespread attention among lawmakers on Wednesday, when Sanders said at a press briefing that the president would discuss Putin’s offer with his team.

However, the president appeared to be increasingly on an island in his consideration of Putin’s proposal.

In an interview shortly before the White House reversal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo bluntly shut down any consideration of Putin’s request.

“Yeah, that’s not going to happen,” he said, one day after the State Department called the request “absurd.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray chuckled when asked about the potential quid pro quo during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday night.

“I never want to say never about anything, but it’s certainly not high on our list of investigative techniques,” Wray said, prompting laughter and cheers in the room.

On Thursday, Democrats, former diplomats and some Republicans seemed confounded that the White House would even consider the idea.

Multiple lawmakers and ex-diplomats acknowledged it was unlikely the U.S. government would make its own citizens available to Russians for questioning, but warned that the appearance of considering the offer sends a troubling message.

“I challenge you to find one member of the House and the Senate that believes this is a good idea,” Graham added.

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called it “dangerous” to even entertain Putin’s offer.

A group of House Democrats wrote to the president on Thursday, urging him to denounce the “preposterous offer” and saying it “defies belief” that the U.S. government would allow Russian investigators to conduct business on American soil.

“Certainly that would be a pretty phenomenal scene watching McFaul being put onto a plane to go interview in Moscow, or any Americans for that matter,” said Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee.

“I can’t imagine that ever happening,” he added. “So I don’t think it is worth speculating on.”

McFaul has been outspoken in the past 24 hours, urging the president to walk back yet another statement in the aftermath of his meeting with the Russian president and warning it damages his credibility in the diplomatic community.

“The president of the United States needs to come out and categorically denounce it. It’s crazy. Maybe he doesn’t understand it,” McFaul said Thursday morning on MSNBC.

“I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but now he needs to correct the record and stand up strong,” McFaul added. “What the president doesn’t understand, he looks weak in the eyes of Putin when he doesn’t push back on elementary things like that.”

Updated at 3:31 p.m. Olivia Beavers contributed.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/397907-white-house-trump-disagrees-with-putins-request-to-question-americans

Trump ‘disagrees’ with Putin offer to interview Americans

ZEKE MILLER, KEN THOMAS and LISA MASCARO

,

Trump invites Putin to Washington, rejects his request to interrogate Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia

JUL 19, 2018 
Trump invites Putin to Washington, rejects his request to interrogate Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia
At their news conference Monday in Helsinki, President Trump expressed interest in a proposal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to let Russian officials interrogate a former U.S. ambassador. Thursday, the White House disowned the idea. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

President Trump, after coming under fire for even considering the idea, on Thursday decided not to allow Russia to interrogate a former U.S. ambassador and other Americans, as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin proposed during their summit in Helsinki.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

As Trump tried for a third straight day to answer critics, by taking a tougher line with Putin than he did when they met Monday, he also extended an olive branch — inviting Putin to Washington. Sanders said discussions are underway for a visit in the fall, just weeks before midterm elections.

Putin had floated the idea of the interrogations as part of a swap: He would allow 12 Russian operatives indicted last week in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Moscow’s election interference to be questioned, but by Russian officials with U.S. investigators present — and only if the U.S. gave Russia access to a dozen Americans it accuses of crimes, including the former U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Obama, Michael McFaul.

In her statement, Sanders expressed hope that despite Trump’s belated rejection of Putin’s request, he “will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

Trump, as he stood beside Putin at their summit, had labeled the Russian leader’s proposal an “incredible offer.” On Wednesday, Sanders confirmed that the president was considering the idea, provoking broad outrage across Washington.

Yet the State Department on Wednesday dismissed Russia’s allegations against McFaul and the others as “absurd.” Republicans as well as Democrats objected that Trump hadn’t immediately rejected Putin’s request, signaling that agreeing to such a proposal could be a red line for Congress.

“Under no circumstances should #Putin officials ever be allowed to come into the U.S. & ‘question’ Americans on their list,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote in a tweet Thursday, hours before the White House announced Trump’s decision.

That decision came just after Trump met at the White House with Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo. Pompeo had strongly opposed the idea of allowing Russia access to the Americans, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network on Thursday, “That’s not going to happen.”

Even after the announcement, in a rebuke of the president, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 98-0 for a resolution opposing the “making available of current and former diplomats, officials, and members of the Armed Forces of the United States for questioning by the government of Vladimir Putin.”

Afterward, McFaul tweeted, “Bipartisanship is not dead yet in the US Senate. Thank you all for your support.”

The new dispute between Trump and Putin over the issue came as the two leaders otherwise offered remarkably similar takes on their summit, both insisting that it was a success and attacking American media and Trump investigators for standing in the way of U.S.-Russia cooperation.

Early Thursday, Trump tweeted that the summit “was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media.”

Trump claimed that the media “are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin.” He went so far as to say that the media badly wants “a confrontation that could lead to war.”

Putin, in his first public comments about the summit, told Russian diplomats in a speech Thursday that relations with the United States had been “in some ways worse than during the Cold War” but their meeting put the two nations on “the path to positive change.”

“It is important that at last a full-scale meeting took place that allowed talking directly, and it was generally successful,” Putin said, according to Russian state news agencies.

However, there are “forces in the United States that are ready to sacrifice Russian-American relations for their ambitions in the domestic political struggle,” Putin added.

That seemed clearly an echo of Trump’s own complaints about the political cloud over his presidency: the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s election interference and possible Trump campaign complicity.

Both leaders have claimed that their private, two-hour conversation yielded agreements in various policy areas, though by Thursday, the White House, State and Defense departments had been unable to provide details, with many officials professing to be in the dark themselves.

Even the director of national intelligence, former Sen. Dan Coats, acknowledged that he doesn’t know what took place between the two presidents, and said he opposed their meeting alone.

“That is the president’s prerogative,” Coats said. “I would have suggested a different way.”” He did not rule out the “risk” that the Russians recorded the conversation.

Coats, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, also said that he “wished” Trump hadn’t initially accepted Putin’s denial of election interference. After the joint Trump-Putin news conference, Coats immediately issued an unusual statement of his own; at Aspen he said he wanted “to correct the record.”

He expressed some satisfaction with Trump’s subsequent statement on Tuesday that he accepted the intelligence community’s findings that Russia undermined the election campaign, but said he wished the president hadn’t added that “others” might have been involved as well.

Before news of Trump’s invitation to Putin, in a pair of tweets early Thursday he stated that he looks forward “to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed.” He listed stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyberattacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace and North Korea.

“They can ALL be solved!” he wrote.

Neither country has offered any specifics about particular agreements or future plans for bilateral collaboration. Some congressional Democrats have suggested subpoenaing the American translator — only the presidents’ respective interpreters were in the room for their initial meeting — to solve the mystery of what they discussed.

Republicans, who on the whole have been obsequious toward Trump, were quick to criticize him after he stood beside Putin and accepted the Russian’s denial of election interference over the unanimous conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies.

While some Republicans eased up on Trump following his subsequent reversal and acceptance of his government’s intelligence findings, party leaders suggested they would consider additional sanctions on Russia amid ongoing concerns that it is attempting to interfere with the looming 2018 midterm elections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that he has directed two Senate committees to offer recommendations for measures “that could respond to or deter Russian malign behavior.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray, also speaking at the Aspen conference, an annual gathering of national security experts in Colorado, reiterated his belief in the conclusions about Russian election interference and even hinted that he has considered resigning.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, speaking at the same conference, also acknowledged that she “agrees with” the U.S. intelligence findings.

But she dismissed the idea that Putin, who acknowledged Monday that he wanted Trump to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, did so on her boss’ behalf — as the intelligence agencies have concluded.

“I haven’t seen any evidence that the attempt to interfere in our election infrastructure was to favor a particular political party,” Nielsen said.

While Cabinet officials are wary of angering Trump, Republicans appear to be walking a political tightrope, responding to a potential national security issue but careful not to upset the president or his most loyal supporters, whose turnout will be critical to Republicans’ chances in November.

A new CBS News poll Thursday showed that only about a third of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of relations with Russia, but 68% of Republicans approve, illustrating the bind that GOP elected officials are in.

Special correspondent Sabra Ayres in Moscow contributed to this report.

 

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-putin-07192018-story.html

Trump plans to invite Putin to Washington this fall

President Donald Trump asked his national security adviser to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington this fall, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday afternoon.

The statement comes after Trump teased a second meeting with Putin on Twitter earlier in the day. Sanders says the president tasked National Security Adviser John Bolton with extending an invitation to the Russian leader.

“In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs. President Trump asked @AmbJohnBolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway,” Sanders said in a tweet.

Trump wrote online Thursday that he is looking forward to a second sitdown with Putin, insisting that his much-criticized bilateral meeting with him on Monday was in fact a “great success” that the media have unfairly covered negatively.

“The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more,” the president wrote on Twitter. “There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems…but they can ALL be solved!”

If Putin receives an invitation and accepts it, the trip would likely mark his first visit to the White House in more than a decade. Putin last visited the White House in the early 2000s, when former President George W. Bush was in office.

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said she would not object to Trump meeting again with Putin but recommended that a member of the administration accompany him to take notes, unlike the meeting earlier this week.

“I’m not saying anything against the president. But I would say we just have to be cautious because what’s to stop Putin from saying: ‘Oh yeah he agreed to all this stuff,’” she said in an interview Thursday.

The president has faced a tidal wave of criticism since his meeting Monday with Putin in Finland, where he told reporters at a bilateral news conference that he saw no reason why Russia would be to blame for a 2016 campaign of cyberattacks intended to impact the outcome of that year’s U.S. presidential election. That Trump would accept Putin’s denial that Russia was involved over the word of his own intelligence agencies prompted a bipartisan backlash that has yet to ebb.

Outrage over Trump’s comment was so strong that the president took the rare step Tuesday of admitting a mistake, telling reporters that he had meant to say he saw no reason why Russia “wouldn’t” have been to blame for the 2016 election meddling, the opposite of what he had said a day earlier.

But Trump has since returned to his defiant stance, insisting that the media have unfairly painted his Finland meeting with Putin as something less than a total success. Earlier Monday, he wrote online that the media want to see a “major confrontation” with Russia, even one “that could lead to war.”

“They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin. We are doing MUCH better than any other country!” he wrote.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/19/trump-russia-putin-second-meeting-732358

 

 

Story 2: President Trump and Republican Party Failure to Cut Government Spending and Balance The Budget and Failure To Support Federal Reserve’s Increase in Interest Rates Will Adversely Impact Economic Growth of U.S. Economy Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — Recession in 2019? — Videos

What Would Happen If USA Stopped Paying Its Debt?

Trump opposed to more rate hikes, Here’s what that means for the market

CNBC Television

Published on Jul 19, 2018

Fed Chairman Powell expects gradual rate hikes

Published on Jul 17, 2018

Fed Chairman Powell expects gradual rate hikes

ARIRANG NEWS

Published on Jul 17, 2018

Fed lifts interest rates

Financial Times

Published on Jun 13, 2018

PETER SCHIFF – Increasing Short Term Interest Rates Will End Up With Recession

 

Interest Rates Are About to Shoot Through The Roof – Peter Schiff

How the Federal Reserve raising interest rates will affect you

The Fed’s timing behind raising interest rates

Fox Business

Published on Mar 15, 2017

What does a Trump presidency mean for the Fed?

CNNMoney

Published on Nov 14, 2016

Stockman: Trade Wars + the Fed’s QT + Spiking Deficit = Major Recession Ahead

David Stockman Blame the Fed. for USA Trade Deficit

We created a catastrophe for fiscal 2019: David Stockman

Which Countries Will Survive Economic Crisis? Mike Maloney

What Is The Timeframe For US Dollar Collapse? Mike Maloney

Could USA Default On Its Debt? Mike Maloney

Carmen Reinhart: Financial Repression Requires A Captive Audience | McAlvany Commentary

Financial Repression, The War on Cash & The War on Gold

FINANCIAL REPRESSION For Dummies PODCAST w/ Gordon T Long

Trump Blasts Powell’s Rate Hikes, Trespassing on Fed’s Independence

 Updated on 
  • President says he’s ‘not thrilled’ by higher borrowing costs
  • Comments break with 20 years of avoiding public views on rates
Kathleen Gaffney oEaton Vance and Bloomberg’s Vince Cignarella react to President Trump’s comments on the Fed.

“I’m not thrilled” the Fed is raising borrowing costs and potentially slowing the economy, he said in an interview with CNBC broadcast Thursday. “I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up.”

The dollar relinquished gains from earlier in the day and Treasury yields dropped following the president’s remarks.

“I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best,” Trump said.

The Fed has raised interest rates five times since Trump took office in January 2017, with two of those coming this year under Chairman Jerome Powell, the president’s pick to replace Janet Yellen. In the interview, Trump called Powell a “very good man.”

Personal compliments aside, Trump aimed his complaints at a government agency that enjoys a degree of independence from politics because its funding isn’t subject to congressional appropriations.

Powell, nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate with broad bipartisan support, has a four-year term as chairman that ends in 2022. According to the Federal Reserve Act, a Fed chairman can only be removed from office before his or her term ends “for cause,” which isn’t defined.

Central Banks Want Freedom, Politicians Want Control: QuickTake

Most developed-world central banks are given a degree of independence from governments so monetary policy doesn’t succumb to the whims of politicians. In emerging markets such as Turkey, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has felt no such restraint.

“This is such a risky thing for the Fed, and for the president, and for central bank independence,” said Peter Conti-Brown, a Fed historian at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Now, even if the Fed pauses its rate-hike campaign for valid economic reasons, it could look politicized. There will be many “who see that as the Fed yielding to a combative president,” Conti-Brown said.

Wharton Fed Historian Says Trump’s Criticism of Rate Hikes Is Risky

Wharton Fed Historian Peter Conti-Brown says Trump’s criticism of the Fed is risky.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Powell addressed Congress this week and told lawmakers that “for now — the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate.” Fed officials have penciled in two more hikes this year. The probability investors assigned to a Fed rate hike in September was little changed near 90 percent after the president’s remarks, while the probability of a December hike was also holding near 65 percent, according to trading in federal funds futures.

Long Tradition

Fed spokeswoman Michelle Smith declined to comment. Powell last week told American Public Media’s “Marketplace” program that the Fed has “a long tradition here of conducting policy in a particular way, and that way is independent of all political concerns.”

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in an emailed statement that the president “respects the independence of the Fed,” adding that his views on rates “are well known and his comments today are a reiteration of those long-held positions.”

Trump’s remarks come as the U.S. economy enjoys its second-longest economic expansion on record which has seen unemployment fall close to the lowest levels in 50 years. While the Fed has raised rates, they remain low on a historical basis.

The current target range for its policy benchmark is 1.75 percent and 2 percent. Subtracting inflation, the rate is slightly negative in real terms and still “accommodative” for growth and borrowing, as the Fed said in its June statement.

Indeed, overall financial conditions in the U.S. are largely unchanged since Trump took office in January 2017 despite the Fed’s gradual tightening campaign, and looser than they were on average in 2016, according to a Goldman Sachs index.

It wasn’t the first time in history the Fed has faced pressure from a U.S. president. But the past three administrations under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have refrained from publicly commenting on policy decisions.

“The Fed’s independence from short-term political pressures is critical to enabling it to take the longer-run perspective that is essential for achieving its legislated dual mandate for jobs and price stability,” said Donald Kohn, a former Fed vice chairman who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Trump Hated Low Interest Rates. Then He Became President

It’s long been speculated that the taboo of commenting on U.S. monetary policy could change under Trump, who slammed the Fed during his election campaign and has demonstrated repeatedly his willingness to flout the conventions and sensibilities of establishment Washington.

While it’s been many years, the White House has also been known to exert other forms of pressure. In December 1965, Lyndon Johnson famously summoned Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin to his ranch in Stonewall, Texas, to confront him over Martin’s decision to lift rates. Martin held his ground.

The same couldn’t be said for Arthur Burns under Richard Nixon. Oval Office tapes later revealed that Nixon demanded Burns goose the economy with low rates ahead of the 1972 election. When Burns didn’t immediately cooperate, the White House planted a false story in the press that Burns was seeking a big pay raise, according to a book by Nixon speech writer William Safire. Eventually Burns relented, aiding Nixon but also helping to feed runaway inflation that dogged the U.S. economy for nearly a decade.

The last known example of U.S. presidential strong-arming came when George H. W. Bush was fighting for re-election. Bush’s White House pushed Alan Greenspan behind the scenes on rates and openly called on the Fed to lower its benchmark in June 1992. Greenspan did lower rates 13 times over 1991-92, but slowed the pace of cuts in the latter year, much to the White House’s annoyance.

— With assistance by Benjamin Purvis, Rich Miller, and Justin Sink

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-19/trump-trespasses-on-fed-independence-blasting-powell-rate-hikes

Who Is Buying US Treasuries?

  BY    0   0

The Japanese and Chinese aren’t buying US Treasuries. In fact, both countries reduced their holdings in April.

According to the US Treasury Department, the Japanese disposed of $12.3 billion in US debt. Meanwhile, Chinese Treasury holdings fell by $5.8 billion.

This could be a troubling development for the US government as it scrambles to fund its massive deficits and ever-growing debt.

Earlier this year, we asked the question: who is going to buy all of this US debt? The US Treasury Department plans to auction off around $1.4 trillion in Treasuries this year. And it won’t end there. The department expects that pace of borrowing to continue over the next several years. That’s a lot of bonds. Who will buy them? Because the biggest purchasers of US debt aren’t in a buying mood. In fact, they appear to be selling.

The Japanese rank as the second-largest holder of US Treasuries, but they’ve been systematically selling. Over the past six months, the Japanese have shed $63 billion in US debt. Since July 2016, they have reduced Treasury holdings by $123 billion.

The Chinese haven’t been dumping Treasuries at the same rate as the Japanese – at least not until recently – but they haven’t been buying either. China’s holdings have remained within the same range since August 2017.

But as the trade war between the US and China continues to intensify, China could use its holdings of US debt as a weapon. The Chinese can’t out-tariff Trump. The US imports far more products than the Chinese. But China does have an ace up its sleeve. They could start more aggressively selling US Treasuries. If China starts dumping large amounts of debt on the market, interest rates will likely soar and the dollar would plunge.

As Wolf Street noted, you can more clearly see that Japan and China are less eager to service US debt when you look at it in terms of the percentage of the US gross national debt.

There are two reasons for the steady decline.

  1. The US gross national debt has soared.
  2. The holdings of China and Japan have fallen over the past two years.

The Federal Reserve is another big player in the US Treasury market. The central bank holds about $2.39 trillion on federal debt, much of it purchased over the last decade through its QE programs. But the Fed isn’t buying right now either. Its Treasury holdings fell by $70 billion from the beginning of its QE unwind last fall through April.

And on an interesting side-note, the Russians cut its Treasury holdings in half in April, selling off $47.4 billion of its $96.1 billion in US debt.

As Wolf Street points out, the Russians don’t hold very much US debt, so their sell-off isn’t particularly meaningful in the big scheme of things. But imagine if China or Japan were to hold a similar fire sale. That would be headline news – and not the good kind.

So, if the big three – China, Japan and the Fed – aren’t buying US bonds, who is?

According to Wolf Street, “Mostly American institutional and individual investors, directly and indirectly, through bond funds, pension funds, and other ways.”

The question is how much of the load can these investors absorb? And how high will interest rates have to climb in order to keep them buying? Keep in mind, rising interest rates don’t just impact bond yields. On the flip-side, debtors are paying more to service their debts. That means leveraged companies and consumers with massive credit card balances. That’s not good news in a world drowning in debt.

The bottom line is interest rates will most likely continue to rise. It’s a simple supply and demand calculation. The Treasury Department has to sell more than a trillion dollars in bonds. Nobody wants to buy. Interest rates will go up to entice more buyers into the market. The Sovereign Man summed up the implications in an article last winter. It’s worth repeating.

Make no mistake: higher interest rates will have an enormous impact on just about EVERYTHING. Many major asset prices tend to fall when interest rates rise. Rising rates mean that it costs more money for companies to borrow, reducing their leverage and overall profitability. So stock prices typically fall. It’s also important to note that, over the last several years when interest rates were basically ZERO, companies borrowed vast sums of money at almost no cost to buy back their own stock. They were essentially using record low interest rates to artificially inflate their share prices. Those days are rapidly coming to an end.”

https://schiffgold.com/key-gold-news/who-is-buying-us-treasuries/

 

 

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The Pronk Pops 1110, July 18, 2018, Story 1: Mass Hysteria of Big Lie Media — Pathetic Progressive Propaganda Peddling Meddling Mischief– Blaming Russians for Their Lying Lunatic Leftist Loses — “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” — Videos — Story 2: More Obama Globalist Propaganda — Takes A Lying Politician To Know One — Obama Keeps On Lying — Obama The Appeaser Did Not Stop China and Russian Interventions in The United States — Unindicted Co-conspirator Obama Lead The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy! — Videos

Posted on July 18, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, James Comey, Killing, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mike Pompeo, National Interest, News, Nixon, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Senate, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

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Story 1: Mass Hysteria of Big Lie Media — Pathetic Progressive Propaganda Peddling Meddling Mischief– Blaming Russians for Their Lying Lunatic Leftist Loses — “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” — Videos —

YouTube Debate: Would You Meet with Iran/Syria/North Korea?

Obama on meeting anti-US leaders

Tucker: The main reason Trump’s Russia critics hate him

Bruce: Americans know Trump loves the US

Analyzing the media coverage of the Trump-Putin summit

‘Special Report’ panel on fallout from Trump-Putin summit

Rand Paul sides with Trump over US intel

Sen. Rand Paul on John Brennan, the Mueller Investigation, and Diplomacy – July 18, 2018

Sen. Rand Paul Discusses Trump-Putin Meeting with Neil Cavuto – July 16, 2018

Mark Levin on media freakout over Trump-Putin summit

RUSH: What’s really behind this hysteria over Trump-Putin meeting? (July 17 2018)

Tomi Lahren slams selective outrage from the left on Russia

Ann Coulter Responds to the Trump-Putin Summit

Dr. Sebastian Gorka sounds off about the Helsinki hysteria

Dr. Gorka on the left’s reaction to the Trump-Putin summit

Hannity: Worst 24 hours in history of mainstream media

Trump Capitulates And Reads Incongruous Apologia, Still Distrusts Intel Fantasy of Russian Collusion

Ignore Leftie News Sockpuppets: Trump Was Magnificent With Putin in Helsinki, We’re Lucky He’s POTUS

Irin Burnett: How stupid does Trump think we are?

‘Sounds Like Collusion’: Hannity Rips Media for ‘Double Standard’

Ingraham: Trump Committed ‘Unforced Error,’ But Critics Should Look at His Actions Against Russia

Trump: Witch hunt drove a phony wedge between US, Russia

Anderson Cooper: Disgraceful performance by Trump during Putin meeting

John King on Trump: Never seen a president surrender to Russia

President Donald Trump Accused of Committing Treason | Good Morning Britain

Schumer: Possibility that Putin has damaging info on Trump

‘Nothing Short of Treasonous’: Former CIA Director Brennan Blasts Trump After Appearance With Putin

Aspects of Collective Behavior: Fads, Mass Hysteria, and Riots | Behavior | MCAT | Khan Academy

 

Mass Hysteria

by Mike Mish Shedlock

The mass hysteria following Trump’s meeting with Putin is likely to last for days. Most are outraged. Few see the light.

My article Congratulations to President Trump for an Excellent Summit with Putin spawned numerous some I could not tell if they were sarcastic or not.

For example, reader Brian stated ” There is zero doubt now that Putin stole the election from Hillary. So much so that she MUST be given the nomination again in 2020. All potential challengers must step aside. To refuse her the 2020 nomination would be evidence of traitorous activities with Putin.”‘

I congratulated Brian for brilliant sarcasm but he piled on. It now seems he was serious.

Mainstream media, the Left an the Right were in general condemnation.

Numerous cries of treason emerged from the Left and the Right (see the above link)

It Happened – No Trial Necessary

A friend I highly respect commented “There is simply no question that they did it. You can legitimately claim that it’s not important or that there has been no tie to Trump shown. On the Russians’ side, they can say, screw off, we were pursuing our interests. But you can’t take the view it did not happen. It happened.

There is a question who did it. Indictments are just that, not proof.

The US fabricated evidence to start the Vietnam war and the US fabricated WMD talk on the second war in Iraq. US intelligence had no idea the Berlin Wall was about to fall. The US meddled in Russia supporting a drunk named Yeltsin because we erroneously thought we could control him.

They Are All Liars

It’s a mystery why anyone would believe these proven liars. That does not mean I believe Putin either. They are all capable liars.

Let’s step back from the absurd points of view to reality.

US Meddling

The US tries to influence elections in other countries and has a history of assisting the forcible overthrow of governments we don’t like.

  • Vietnam
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Libya
  • Drone policy

All of the above are massive disasters of US meddling. They are all actions of war, non-declared, and illegal.

I cannot and do not condone such actions even if they were legal.

911 and ISIS resulted from US meddling. The migration crisis in the EU is a direct consequence of US meddling. The Iranian revolution was a direct consequence of US meddling.

Now we are pissing and moaning that Russia spent a few million dollars on Tweets to steal the election. Please be serious.

Let’s Assume

Let’s assume for one second the DNC hack was Russia-based.

Is there a reason to not be thankful for evidence that Hillary conspired to deny Bernie Sanders the nomination?

Pity Hillary?

We are supposed to pity Hillary?

The outrage from the Right is amazing.

It’s pretty obvious Senator John McCain wanted her to win. Neither faced a war or military intervention they disapproved of.

Common Sense

Let’s move on to a common sense position from Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept.

Greenwald vs. Joe Cirincione

​GLENN GREENWALD: In 2007, during the Democratic presidential debate, Barack Obama was asked whether he would meet with the leaders of North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran without preconditions. He said he would. Hillary Clinton said she wouldn’t, because it would be used as a propaganda tool for repressive dictators. And liberals celebrated Obama. It was one of his greatest moments and one of the things that I think helped him to win the Democratic nomination, based on the theory that it’s always better to meet with leaders, even if they’re repressive, than to isolate them or to ignore them. In 1987, when President Reagan decided that he wanted to meet with Soviet leaders, the far right took out ads against him that sounded very much just like what we just heard from Joe, accusing him of being a useful idiot to Soviet and Kremlin propaganda, of legitimizing Russian aggression and domestic repression at home.

GLENN GREENWALD: It is true that Putin is an authoritarian and is domestically repressive. That’s true of many of the closest allies of the United States, as well, who are even far more repressive, including ones that fund most of the think tanks in D.C., such as the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. And I think the most important issue is the one that we just heard, which is that 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons are in the hands of two countries—the United States and Russia—and having them speak and get along is much better than having them isolate one another and increase the risk of not just intentional conflict, but misperception and miscommunication, as well.

JOE CIRINCIONE: Right. Let’s be clear. Glenn, there’s nothing wrong with meeting. I agree with you. Leaders should meet, and we should be negotiating with our foes, with those people we disagree with. We’re better off when we do that. And the kind of attacks you saw on Barack Obama were absolutely uncalled for, and you’re right to condemn those.

JOE CIRINCIONE: What I’m worried about is this president meeting with this leader of Russia and what they’re going to do. That’s what’s so wrong about this summit coming now, when you have Donald Trump, who just attacked the NATO alliance, who calls our European allies foes, who turns a blind eye to what his director of national intelligence called the warning lights that are blinking red. About what? About Russian interference in our elections. So you just had a leader of Russia, Putin, a skilled tactician, a skilled strategist, interfere in a U.S. election. To what? To help elect Donald Trump.

GLENN GREENWALD: I think this kind of rhetoric is so unbelievably unhinged, the idea that the phishing links sent to John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee are the greatest threat to American democracy in decades. People are now talking about it as though it’s on par with 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, that the lights are blinking red, in terms of the threat level. This is lunacy, this kind of talk. I spent years reading through the most top-secret documents of the NSA, and I can tell you that not only do they send phishing links to Russian agencies of every type continuously on a daily basis, but do far more aggressive interference in the cybersecurity of every single country than Russia is accused of having done during the 2016 election. To characterize this as some kind of grave existential threat to American democracy is exactly the kind of rhetoric that we heard throughout the Bush-Cheney administration about what al-Qaeda was like.

JOE CIRINCIONE: Why does Donald Trump feel that he has to meet alone with Putin? What is going on there? I mean, that—when Ronald Reagan met with Gorbachev at Reykjavik, at least he had George Shultz with him. The two of them, you know, were meeting with Gorbachev and his foreign minister at the time. This is—it’s deeply disturbing. It makes you feel that Trump is hiding something, that he is either trying to make a deal with Putin, reporting something to Putin. I tell you, I know U.S. intelligence officials—I’m probably going right into Glenn’s wheelhouse here. But U.S. intelligence officials are concerned about what Donald Trump might be revealing to the Russian leader, the way he revealed classified information to the Russian foreign minister when he met privately with him in the Oval Office at the beginning of his term. No, I don’t like it one bit.

GLENN GREENWALD: I continue to be incredibly frustrated by the claim that we hear over and over, and that we just heard from Joe, that Donald Trump does everything that Vladimir Putin wants, and that if he were a paid agent of the Russian government, there’d be—he would be doing nothing different. I just went through the entire list of actions that Donald Trump has taken and statements that he has made that are legitimately adverse to the interest of the Russian government, that Barack Obama specifically refused to do, despite bipartisan demands that he do them, exactly because he didn’t want to provoke more tensions between the United States and Russia. Sending lethal arms to Ukraine, bordering Russia, is a really serious adverse action against the interest of the Russian government. Bombing the Assad regime is, as well. Denouncing one of the most critical projects that the Russian government has, which is the pipeline to sell huge amounts of gas and oil to Germany, is, as well. So is expelling Russian diplomats and imposing serious sanctions on oligarchs that are close to the Putin regime. You can go down the list, over and over and over, in the 18 months that he’s been in office, and see all the things that Donald Trump has done that is adverse, in serious ways, to the interests of Vladimir Putin, including ones that President Obama refused to do. So, this film, this movie fairytale, that I know is really exciting—it’s like international intrigue and blackmail, like the Russians have something over Trump; it’s like a Manchurian candidate; it’s from like the 1970s thrillers that we all watched—is inane—you know, with all due respect to Joe. I mean, it’s—but it’s in the climate, because it’s so contrary to what it is that we’re seeing. Now, this idea of meeting alone with Vladimir Putin, the only way that you would find that concerning is if you believed all that.

JOE CIRINCIONE: So, Trump knew that this indictment was coming down, before he went to Europe, and still he never says a word about it. What he does is continue his attacks on our alliances, i.e. he continues his attacks on our free press, he continues his attacks on FBI agents who were just doing their job, and supports this 10-hour show hearing that the House of Representatives had. It’s really unbelievable that Trump is doing these things and never says one word about it. He still has not said a word about those indictments.

GLENN GREENWALD: That’s because the reality is—and I don’t know if Donald Trump knows this or doesn’t know this, has stumbled into the truth or what—but the reality is that what the Russians did in 2016 is absolutely not aberrational or unusual in any way. The United—I’m sorry to say this, but it’s absolutely true. The United States and Russia have been interfering in one another’s domestic politics for since at least the end of World War II, to say nothing of what they do in far more extreme ways to the internal politics of other countries. Noam Chomsky was on this very program several months ago, and he talked about how the entire world is laughing at this indignation from the United States—”How dare you interfere in our democracy!”—when the United States not only has continuously in the past done, but continues to do far more extreme interference in the internal politics of all kinds of countries, including Russia.

GLENN GREENWALDThe United States funds oppositional groups inside Russia. The United States sent advisers and all kinds of operatives to try and elect Boris Yeltsin in the mid-1990s, because they perceived, accurately, that he was a drunk who would serve the interests of the United States more than other candidates who might have won. The United States interferes in Russian politics, and they interfere in their cyber systems, and they invade their email systems, and they invade all kinds of communications all the time. And so, to treat this as though it’s some kind of aberrational event, I think, is really kind of naive.

GLENN GREENWALD: It wasn’t just Hillary Clinton in 2016 who lost this election. The entire Democratic Party has collapsed as a national political force over the last decade. They’ve lost control of the Senate and of the House and of multiple statehouses and governorships. They’re decimated as a national political force. And the reason is exactly what Joe said. They become the party of international globalization. They’re associated with Silicon Valley and Wall Street billionaires and corporate interests, and have almost no connection to the working class. And that is a much harder conversation to have about why the Democrats have lost elections than just blaming a foreign villain and saying it’s because Vladimir Putin ran some fake Facebook ads and did some phishing emails. And I think that until we put this in perspective, about what Russia did in 2016 and the reality that the U.S. does that sort of thing all the time to Russia and so many other countries, we’re going to just not have the conversation that we need to be having about what these international institutions, that are so sacred—NATO and free trade and international trade organizations—have done to people all over the world, and the reason they’re turning to demagogues and right-wing extremists because of what these institutions have done to them. That’s the conversation we need to be having, but we’re not having, because we’re evading it by blaming everything on Vladimir Putin. And that, to me, is even more dangerous for our long-term prospects than this belligerence that’s in the air about how we ought to look at Moscow.

Indictments and First Year Law

Mish: I now wish to return to a statement my friend made regarding the idea “No question Russia did it“.

From Glenn Greenwald

As far as the indictments from Mueller are concerned, it’s certainly the most specific accounting yet that we’ve gotten of what the U.S. government claims the Russian government did in 2016. But it’s extremely important to remember what every first-year law student will tell you, which is that an indictment is nothing more than the assertions of a prosecutor unaccompanied by evidence. The evidence won’t be presented until a trial or until Robert Mueller actually issues a report to Congress. And so, I would certainly hope that we are not at the point, which I think we seem to be at, where we are now back to believing that when the CIA makes statements and assertions and accusations, or when prosecutors make statements and assertions and accusations, unaccompanied by evidence that we can actually evaluate, that we’re simply going to believe those accusations on faith, especially when the accusations come from George W. Bush’s former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who repeatedly lied to Congress about Iraq and a whole variety of other issues. So, I think there we need some skepticism. But even if the Russians did everything that Robert Mueller claims in that indictment that they did, in the scheme of what the U.S. and the Russians do to one another and other countries, I think to say that this is somehow something that we should treat as a grave threat, that should mean that we don’t talk to them or that we treat them as an enemy, is really irrational and really quite dangerous.

Mish – Six Questions

  1. Is this a trial or a witch hunt?
  2. Do we need to see the evidence or do we believe known liars?
  3. Is Trump guilty of treason? Before we even see proof Putin was involved?
  4. Is the CIA incapable of fabricating evidence?
  5. Even if Russia interfered in the election, why should anyone have expected otherwise?
  6. Has everyone forgotten the US lies on WMDs already?

Irrational and Dangerous

I don’t know about you, but I have no reason to believe known liars and hypocrites.

I disagree with Trump all the time, in fact, more often than not.

The amount of venom on Trump over this is staggering.

Adding a missing word, I stand by my previous statement: “Nearly every political action that generates this much complete nonsense and hysteria from the Left and Right is worthy of immense praise.”

If you disagree please provide examples. The only two I can come up with are Pearl Harbor and 911. In both, the US was directly attacked.

For rebuttal purposes I offer Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, Russia, Iran, WWI, treatment of Japanese-American citizens in WWII, and McCarthyism.

Greenwald accurately assesses the situation as “really irrational and really quite dangerous.”

Indeed.

And if indictments and accusations were crimes, we wouldn’t need a jury.

 

How the left’s tactic of mass hysteria against Trump is playing out with the general public

By Rick Moran

Donald Trump has yet to be inaugurated, he has yet to make any specific proposals for legislation, has yet to issue any executive orders, and has yet to even comment on many of the cultural issues that divide America.

That lack of specificity has played directly into the hands of his opponents on the left.  Into the void, the left has substituted mass hysteria about what Trump might do rather than reasoned argument against the positions he took during the campaign.

The left in America doesn’t have that luxury – at least, not officially.  But there is little doubt that their attempts to massively exaggerate the danger of a Trump presidency to certain minority groups has found a mainstream media compliant, even eager in their efforts to conciously aid in spreading propaganda, hyperbole, even lies in the cause of opposing Trump.

How is the left’s campaign to convince large numbers of people that their freedoms, even their lives are in danger going?

Not bad at all.

Huffington Post asked 14 women who never participated in a demonstration before why they were going to take part in the Women’s March on Washington later this week.  Here are some of the answers:

I’m attending the march with my partner because I’m gay, scared and I want to be a part of history. The day after the election, three young white men came up to her and started yelling “Trump!” I went to a few of the protests in New York City and posted about it on Facebook, and I got horrible backlash, mostly from men I don’t know. I’ve also had extended family comment on some of my political posts. One went on a rant cursing all over my page. But I’m not going to make myself small to make others feel comfortable.

I actually have been to a march before, but not really by choice. When I was 15, I attended a Christian high school that was very pro-life and I did the March for Life. I was really afraid of hell and I had some sense that I was queer, so I was absolutely terrified. I went to the march because I felt like God would love me if I did. I remember holding up a big sign with all these photoshopped images of dead fetuses. It was traumatic.

What is this young, gay woman so scared of?  During the campaign, a gay Republican wrote on op-ed in the gay publication The Blade and put it simply:

The fact is that any honest look at Trump’s record and views on gay rights shows that most of the attacks by gay Democrats on his views are simply incorrect.

In fact, the attacks on Trump’s record on gay rights are dishonest.  Trump has been a social liberal most of his life, although he has trimmed some of those views to satisfy culturally conservative Republican voters.  He has been a passionate supporter of anti-discrimination laws against gays since 2000 and became the first GOP nominee to acknowledge the LGBT community in his acceptance speech.  He has come out strongly against violence directed at gays.  Again, what does this woman have to fear from a Trump presidency?

I’m going to take the bus in for the day. So far, I’m going alone, but I’m trying to convince my mother and some friends to come with me. Either way, I feel like I have to march because I’m frightened. I’m black. I’m Muslim. I don’t wear the hijab, but I think a lot about why my reaction would be if I saw someone else being harassed. I’m a protector and I worry about how defensive I would get.

I’m very excited not only for this first march, but to be part of a movement. I’m not just a woman. I’m black. I’m Muslim. I represent a lot of different groups and to me, this is about sending a message about civil rights on a broader scale.

There has been some highly publicized incidents of morons making idiots of themselves by harassing or even attacking Muslims – just as there have been morons making idiots of themselves attacking Trump supporters.  We don’t see mass hysteria among Trump supporters because the media really don’t care if they’re attacked or harassed.  But Trump’s election has clearly generated strong feelings against one’s political opponents, and the press have been willing partners in promoting the hate.

Sidney: I feel like it’s my obligation to support my wife and to be a man who stands up for women in these times. We’re taking alarming steps back in the fight for women’s rights and equality. I don’t want our side to falter. We need to stand up against belligerent cynicism and misguided machismo.

What legal “steps back” for women have there been under Trump?  None, of course, because he hasn’t even taken office yet.  But there has been a constant babble for the last several years that has implied that all men are rapists, or could be rapists, and any expression of masculinity threatens women.  This is an example of what could happen under a Trump presidency – that is, if Trump is as evil and misogynistic as the left says he is.

I am a 38-year-old mother of four and I will be flying to D.C. for the march with my sister, mother and niece. This election has brought out a fierceness in me that I didn’t know I had, mostly because of my children and my health. My kids are biracial (Korean and white) and are being raised in a small, mostly Republican farm community. My daughter has come home from school telling me that the kids there were afraid for her that Trump would “send her back to where she came from.” That really jarred me.

I’m also a breast cancer survivor. A lot of the women in my family are breast cancer survivors. We’ve always made it a point to get together and do breast cancer walks, but we have never done anything political. This feels big. I fear the day when [Republicans] do away with the Affordable Care Act, and my preexisting condition makes me ineligible for insurance.

Another example of someone getting hysterical over absolutely nothing.  It is very likely that the Obamacare requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions will remain in any replacement legislation.  Few Republicans have come out in favor of repealing that requirement.  But the left has ginned up fear and terror among sick people that they will all lose their insurance when Obamacare is repealed.

Mass hysteria is a kind of delusion that fits well with people who consider themselves “victims.”  This virulent form of Trump hate is easy to promote, given that so many Americans are comfortable with the “victim” label and can’t imagine life without it.  But the reality is, even if you’re a Trump-hater like me, a reasonable person would give the new president a chance to prove his detractors right or wrong.

Unfortunately, reason left the building in November.

Donald Trump has yet to be inaugurated, he has yet to make any specific proposals for legislation, has yet to issue any executive orders, and has yet to even comment on many of the cultural issues that divide America.

That lack of specificity has played directly into the hands of his opponents on the left.  Into the void, the left has substituted mass hysteria about what Trump might do rather than reasoned argument against the positions he took during the campaign.

As a political tactic, generating mass hysteria against an opponent has been wildly successful in history.  The two largest purveyors of mass hysteria – Nazi Germany and Communist Russia – used the ploy to convince large majorities of their populations of a clear and present danger in society, be it the Jews or “counterrevolutionaries.”  In this, they were ably aided by a captive media, where the state controlled all information disseminated to the public.

The left in America doesn’t have that luxury – at least, not officially.  But there is little doubt that their attempts to massively exaggerate the danger of a Trump presidency to certain minority groups has found a mainstream media compliant, even eager in their efforts to conciously aid in spreading propaganda, hyperbole, even lies in the cause of opposing Trump.

How is the left’s campaign to convince large numbers of people that their freedoms, even their lives are in danger going?

Not bad at all.

Huffington Post asked 14 women who never participated in a demonstration before why they were going to take part in the Women’s March on Washington later this week.  Here are some of the answers:

I’m attending the march with my partner because I’m gay, scared and I want to be a part of history. The day after the election, three young white men came up to her and started yelling “Trump!” I went to a few of the protests in New York City and posted about it on Facebook, and I got horrible backlash, mostly from men I don’t know. I’ve also had extended family comment on some of my political posts. One went on a rant cursing all over my page. But I’m not going to make myself small to make others feel comfortable.

I actually have been to a march before, but not really by choice. When I was 15, I attended a Christian high school that was very pro-life and I did the March for Life. I was really afraid of hell and I had some sense that I was queer, so I was absolutely terrified. I went to the march because I felt like God would love me if I did. I remember holding up a big sign with all these photoshopped images of dead fetuses. It was traumatic.

What is this young, gay woman so scared of?  During the campaign, a gay Republican wrote on op-ed in the gay publication The Blade and put it simply:

The fact is that any honest look at Trump’s record and views on gay rights shows that most of the attacks by gay Democrats on his views are simply incorrect.

In fact, the attacks on Trump’s record on gay rights are dishonest.  Trump has been a social liberal most of his life, although he has trimmed some of those views to satisfy culturally conservative Republican voters.  He has been a passionate supporter of anti-discrimination laws against gays since 2000 and became the first GOP nominee to acknowledge the LGBT community in his acceptance speech.  He has come out strongly against violence directed at gays.  Again, what does this woman have to fear from a Trump presidency?

I’m going to take the bus in for the day. So far, I’m going alone, but I’m trying to convince my mother and some friends to come with me. Either way, I feel like I have to march because I’m frightened. I’m black. I’m Muslim. I don’t wear the hijab, but I think a lot about why my reaction would be if I saw someone else being harassed. I’m a protector and I worry about how defensive I would get.

I’m very excited not only for this first march, but to be part of a movement. I’m not just a woman. I’m black. I’m Muslim. I represent a lot of different groups and to me, this is about sending a message about civil rights on a broader scale.

There has been some highly publicized incidents of morons making idiots of themselves by harassing or even attacking Muslims – just as there have been morons making idiots of themselves attacking Trump supporters.  We don’t see mass hysteria among Trump supporters because the media really don’t care if they’re attacked or harassed.  But Trump’s election has clearly generated strong feelings against one’s political opponents, and the press have been willing partners in promoting the hate.

Sidney: I feel like it’s my obligation to support my wife and to be a man who stands up for women in these times. We’re taking alarming steps back in the fight for women’s rights and equality. I don’t want our side to falter. We need to stand up against belligerent cynicism and misguided machismo.

What legal “steps back” for women have there been under Trump?  None, of course, because he hasn’t even taken office yet.  But there has been a constant babble for the last several years that has implied that all men are rapists, or could be rapists, and any expression of masculinity threatens women.  This is an example of what could happen under a Trump presidency – that is, if Trump is as evil and misogynistic as the left says he is.

I am a 38-year-old mother of four and I will be flying to D.C. for the march with my sister, mother and niece. This election has brought out a fierceness in me that I didn’t know I had, mostly because of my children and my health. My kids are biracial (Korean and white) and are being raised in a small, mostly Republican farm community. My daughter has come home from school telling me that the kids there were afraid for her that Trump would “send her back to where she came from.” That really jarred me.

I’m also a breast cancer survivor. A lot of the women in my family are breast cancer survivors. We’ve always made it a point to get together and do breast cancer walks, but we have never done anything political. This feels big. I fear the day when [Republicans] do away with the Affordable Care Act, and my preexisting condition makes me ineligible for insurance.

Another example of someone getting hysterical over absolutely nothing.  It is very likely that the Obamacare requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions will remain in any replacement legislation.  Few Republicans have come out in favor of repealing that requirement.  But the left has ginned up fear and terror among sick people that they will all lose their insurance when Obamacare is repealed.

Mass hysteria is a kind of delusion that fits well with people who consider themselves “victims.”  This virulent form of Trump hate is easy to promote, given that so many Americans are comfortable with the “victim” label and can’t imagine life without it.  But the reality is, even if you’re a Trump-hater like me, a reasonable person would give the new president a chance to prove his detractors right or wrong.

Unfortunately, reason left the building in November.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/01/how_the_tactic_of_mass_hysteria_against_trump_is_playing_out_with_the_general_public.html#ixzz5Le2TkIzK

 

Interfering In Democratic Elections: Russia Against The U.S., But U.S. Against The World

Doug Bandow

 2,806 views #ForeignAffairs

The Cold War finally and dramatically ended almost 30 years ago when the Berlin Wall fell, soon followed by the disintegration of the Soviet Union. But despite the election of Donald Trump, the U.S. and Russia have descended into what increasingly looks like a Little Cold War with Moscow’s decision to expel 755 U.S. diplomats.

The Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow.President Vladimir Putin on July 30, 2017 said the United States would have to cut 755 diplomatic staff in Russia. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Indeed, paranoia seems more intense in Washington than Moscow. Democrats and Republicans alike have convinced themselves that Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation, a shadow of the old U.S.S.R., threaten the combined colossus of America and Europe.

Both parties also are angry over Moscow’s apparent interference with the 2016 election. By an almost unanimous vote frenzied legislators voted to tighten sanctions and end the president’s discretion to relax the penalties. Yet Russia’s most rabid critics, such as Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, also are among the most enthusiastic supporters of American intervention overseas, including meddling in other nations’ elections.

Russia behaved badly, but hacking emails which put a candidate in a poor light is much different than manipulating election results. The latter would be extremely serious, threatening a genuinely vital American interest, in free and fair elections. For that reason the controversy should act as Thomas Jefferson’s famous “fire bell in the night” and force states in particular to improve election security. Imagine the constitutional crisis if Moscow had changed the election outcome.

Of course, hacking the campaign still was illegal and improper. Nevertheless, it didn’t undermine the election process. After all, revealing hidden truths about one of the candidates actually increased voter knowledge. The method was wrong, but the result was positive. In fact, Ukraine engaged in a more limited and less intrusive effort on behalf of Hillary Clinton, mostly researching and disseminating embarrassing information about the Trump campaign.

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In any case, Russia’s presumed Clinton hack seems minor compared to attempts by foreign governments to influence U.S. policy. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates recently invested heavily to win Washington’s support against Qatar, creating the spectacle of countries which have financed terrorism accusing a neighbor of financing terrorism.

Israel’s political influence is legendary. There may be no more powerful lobby, domestic or foreign, with a greater stranglehold over policy. Simply attempting to debate the issue is politically dangerous for Israel’s critics. Turkey and Greece routinely battle each other. Other countries hire lobbyists, some permanently. That’s no surprise: the U.S. imposes itself on other nations, which understandably seek to turn that power to their advantage or forestall its use against them.

Most striking about the ongoing controversy is how U.S. policymakers appear oblivious to the fact that America has routinely interfered in other nations’ elections. Washington is understandably outraged that someone else would interfere with Americans’ sacred right to choose their own government. However, the same officials believe that they have a sacred right to interfere with the right of others to choose their own governments. Sadly, Russia’s efforts really were not “unprecedented,” as claimed by Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Commander in Chief of the Russian Navy Vladimir Korolev (L) watch a terrestrial globe while visiting Russia’s Navy Headquarters during Navy Day in Saint Petersburg on July 30, 2017. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Some of America’s foreign interventions have been dramatic and violent. Washington backed the 1973 ouster of Chilean President Salvador Allende. Thankfully years of brutal repression passed into history as the country returned to democracy. But the U.S. continues to pay the price of its support for the coup which overthrew Iran’s elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossedegh in 1953. The victorious Shah ruled for a quarter century, but then was overthrown by an Islamic revolution, the consequences of which continue to roil the Middle East and U.S. policy.

More common has been more mundane electoral interference—closer to the Russian model. Indeed, Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University identified 81 instances between 1946 and 2000 in which Washington attempted to influence other nations’ elections. (In contrast, the Soviet Union did so less than half as often, 36 times.) Levin does not include in this number coups and other post-election “remedies,” such as in Chile and Iran.

During the Cold War America’s focus was containing communism. Explained Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment: “The U.S. didn’t want to see left-wing governments elected and so it did engage fairly often in trying to influence elections in other countries.”  However, attitudes in Washington haven’t changed much. In 2014 the U.S. backed a street putsch against the elected Ukrainian president and then American officials shamelessly plotted to get their favored candidate appointed prime minister.

The U.S. uses numerous tools to advance its interests. Explained Nina Agrawal of the Los Angeles Times: “These acts, carried out in secret two-thirds of the time, include funding the election campaigns of specific parties, disseminating misinformation or propaganda, training locals of only one side in various campaigning or get-out-the-vote techniques, helping one side design their campaign materials, making public pronouncements or threats in favor of or against a candidate, and providing or withdrawing foreign aid.”

It’s not clear how much impact Washington’s efforts had: Levin figured the vote increase for U.S.-backed candidates averaged three percent. The consequences often didn’t seem to satisfy Washington; in almost half of the cases America intervened at least a second time in the same country’s electoral affairs.

Ironically, given the outrage directed at Moscow today, in 1996 Washington did what it could to ensure the reelection of Boris Yeltsin over the communist opposition. The U.S. backed a $10.2 billion IMF loan, an ill-disguised bribe were used by the Yeltsin government for social spending before the election. Americans also went over to Russia to help. Time magazine placed Boris Yeltsin on the cover holding an American flag; the article was entitled “Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisers Helped Yeltsin Win.”

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris, France, Friday, June 2, 2006.  (Photographer: Caroline Blumberg/Bloomberg News.)

However, America’s election interventions started decades before. Levin pointed to the 1948 Italian poll, into which the U.S. “threw everything, including the kitchen sink.” The U.S. provided money for pork barrel projects, experts to run the campaign, and cash for campaign expenses, as well as threatened to cut aid if the Communists triumphed. CIA case officer F. Mark Wyatt remembered: “We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their political expenses, their campaign expenses, for posters, for pamphlets.” Washington didn’t stop then: it intervened in seven subsequent Italian elections. Japan came in second with five separate interventions. Israel, Laos, and Sri Lanka shared third place at four times.

Not all meddling was tied to the Cold War. After the overthrow of Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the U.S. supported opponents, including military officers, against popular (and elected) demagogue Jean-Bertrande Aristide. Ironically, President Bill Clinton later threatened to invade if the military did not yield control back to Aristide.

In 1990 the U.S. mimicked Russia’s apparent efforts last year by leaking information on alleged corruption by Sandinista leader (and again now president) Daniel Ortega to German newspapers. The winning opposition candidate used the information to her advantage. Also in 1990 Washington provided aid, money and training to Vaclav Havel’s party in that nation’s first free election since the takeover by Nazi Germany decades before.

Two years ago Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to influence the debate over the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran. But the U.S. preceded his meddling by a couple of decades. In 1996 the Clinton Administration supported Shimon Peres against Netanyahu, hosting a peace conference and White House summit in advance of Israel’s vote. Three years later Clinton administration political strategists decamped to Israel to assist Ehud Barak against Netanyahu.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (Photo: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg)

In 2000 Washington backed opposition presidential candidate Vojislav Kostunica against Slobodan Milosevic, America’s beta noire in the Balkans. The U.S. provided money and communications equipment to the opposition, which Levin figured was critical for Kostunica’s victory. The U.S. subsequently turned against Kostunica for being too independent, and used “pro-democracy” financial aid to help his opponents.

There’s no authoritative list of countries in which Washington intervened in elections, since the form of involvement varied widely. However, according to Levin and Michael Brenner of the University of Pittsburgh, countries suffering from America’s malign attention included: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic,  Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malta, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, and Yugoslavia.

When Washington admits to its role, it claims to be nonpartisan. For instance, in Russia the U.S. would did nothing wrong, wrote Tom Malinowski, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, since Washington would merely “help fund some of the country’s leading nongovernmental organizations.” However, groups backed by the West typically lean toward the West and rarely look disinterested to the governments they criticize.

In fact, U.S.-backed organizations participated in the “color revolutions” and Arab Spring. Joseph Thomas of the Thai journal The New Atlas said of their activities: such groups “as well as myriad fronts around the world … fund, support and direct, are openly dedicated to manipulating foreign elections, creating U.S.-friendly opposition movements and even overthrowing governments that impede U.S. interests worldwide.”

Washington’s objective is clear, and it is not democracy in the abstract. American groups such as the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute choose who and how to help. Complained my colleague Ted Galen Carpenter: “The reality is that they fund and help train political factions that are deemed friendly to the United States, and specifically to Washington’s foreign policy.” In one Balkan nation a friend informedme that the ambassador forbade officials from even meeting with democratically elected parliamentarians deemed too nationalist and insufficiently pro-EU. America was never very interested in supporting “color revolutions” against its allies, irrespective of how tyrannical.

At least Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) acknowledged the appearance problem caused by promiscuous American election interference: “we live in a big glass house and there are a lot of rocks to throw.”

President George W. Bush makes remarks at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, emphasizing his push for democratic changes in the Middle East 06 November, 2003, in Washington, DC. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Of course, there is an obvious logic to U.S. behavior. American officials want to secure the U.S. from foreign interference while helping advance Washington’s international interests by supporting friendly politicians, movements, and parties in as many foreign states as possible. However, such dramatic inconsistency has become even more embarrassing with all the sanctimonious rhetoric regarding Russia’s conduct emanating from Washington.

The Trump administration should make the security of America’s elections a priority. Russia should know that any future attempt to interfere in U.S. elections would result in serious retaliation. However, Washington should begin with a pledge to stay out of other nations’ elections. Let people in a democracy make their own choices and select their own leaders. After all, if that policy is appropriate for America, it should be right for the world’s other democracies as well.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2017/08/01/interfering-in-democratic-elections-russia-against-the-u-s-but-u-s-against-the-world/#28358d7e6644

 

Database Tracks History Of U.S. Meddling In Foreign Elections

NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks to Carnegie Mellon University researcher Dov Levin about his historical database that tracks U.S. involvement in meddling with foreign elections over the years.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is hardly the first time a country has tried to influence the outcome of another country’s election. The U.S. has done it, too, by one expert’s count, more than 80 times worldwide between 1946 and 2000. That expert is Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University. I asked him to tell me about one election where U.S. intervention likely made a difference in the outcome.

DOV LEVIN: One example of that was our intervention in Serbia, Yugoslavia in the 2000 election there. Slobodan Milosevic was running for re-election, and we didn’t want him to stay in power there due to his tendency, you know, to disrupts the Balkans and his human rights violations.

So we intervened in various ways for the opposition candidate, Vojislav Kostunica. And we gave funding to the opposition, and we gave them training and campaigning aide. And according to my estimate, that assistance was crucial in enabling the opposition to win.

SHAPIRO: How often are these interventions public versus covert?

LEVIN: Well, it’s – basically there’s about – one-third of them are public, and two-third of them are covert. In other words, they’re not known to the voters in the target before the election.

SHAPIRO: Your count does not include coups, attempts at regime change. It sounds like depending on the definitions, the tally could actually be much higher.

LEVIN: Well, you’re right. I don’t count and discount covert coup d’etats like the United States did in Iran in 1953 or in Guatemala in 1954. I only took when the United States is trying directly to influence an election for one of the sides. Other types of interventions – I don’t discuss. But if we would include those, then of course the number could be larger, yeah.

SHAPIRO: How often do other countries like Russia, for example, try to alter the outcome of elections as compared to the United States?

LEVIN: Well, for my dataset, the United States is the most common user of this technique. Russia or the Soviet Union since 1945 has used it half as much. My estimate has been 36 cases between 1946 to 2000. We know also that the Chinese have used this technique and the Venezuelans when the late Hugo Chavez was still in power in Venezuela and other countries.

SHAPIRO: The U.S. is arguably more vocal than any other country about trying to promote democracy and democratic values around the world. Does this strike you as conflicting with that message?

LEVIN: It depends upon if we are assisting pro-democratic side – could be like in the case of Slobodan Milosevic that I talked about earlier. I believe that that could be helpful for democracy. If it helps less-nicer candidates or parties, then naturally it can be less helpful.

SHAPIRO: Obviously your examination of 20th century attempts to influence elections does not involve hacking because computers were not widespread until recently.

LEVIN: Yeah.

SHAPIRO: In your view, is technology – the way that we saw in the November election – dramatically changing the game? Or is this just the latest evolution of an effort that has always used whatever tools are available?

LEVIN: I would say it’s more the latter. I mean the Russians or the Soviets before unfrequently did these type of intervention, just, you know, without the cyber-hacking tools – you know, the old style people meeting in the park in secret giving out and getting information and things like that, so to speak.

SHAPIRO: Dov Levin is with the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University. Thanks for joining us.

LEVIN: Thank you very much.

https://www.npr.org/2016/12/22/506625913/database-tracks-history-of-u-s-meddling-in-foreign-elections

 

Story 2: More Obama Globalism — Takes A Lying Politician To Know One — Obama Keeps On Lying — Obama The Appeaser Did Not Stop China and Russian Interventions — Unindicted Co-conspirator Obama Lead The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — Videos

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President Obama delivers the Nelson Mandela Lecture in South Africa

REPLAY – Former US president Barack Obama honours Nelson Mandela on the centerary of his birth

Obama sounds off on “lying politicians” in speech

‘Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly’: Key moments from Obama’s Mandela lecture

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Obama made a rare public appearance to deliver a biting critique of Trump’s worldview — without saying his name

Obama

President Barack Obama delivered a speech in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday in South Africa on Tuesday.

 Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

  • Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered a sharp rebuke of his successor’s worldview.
  • Obama delivered the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa, slamming “strongman politics” and the rejection of intellectualism he feels is permeating today’s political culture.
  • Obama did not once say President Donald Trump’s name during the address, but his words represented a biting critique of the current president’s political philosophy.
  • Obama concluded his speech by encouraging young people to stay politically active and have faith in democracy despite how “slow” and “frustrating” it can be at times.

Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered a sharp rebuke of his successor’s worldview as he delivered the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa, slamming “strongman politics” and the rejection of intellectualism he feels is permeating today’s political culture.

Obama did not once say President Donald Trump’s name during the address, held one day before what would’ve been Mandela’s 100th birthday. But his target was clear as he offered a biting critique of the current president’s political philosophy.

The former president used the speech as an opportunity to outline what he views as troubling trends in the political arena.

—CBS News (@CBSNews) July 17, 2018 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js ” data-e2e-name=”embed-container” data-media-container=”embed” style=”box-sizing: border-box; margin: 20px 0px;”>

CBS News

@CBSNews

Obama: “Strong man politics are ascendant suddenly. Whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained the form of it. But those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.” https://cbsn.ws/2JvKIhe 

“Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly,” Obama said. “Whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it. But those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.”

‘The free press is under attack’

As Trump on Tuesday again used Twitter to denounce “Fake News,” a phrase he typically employs in response to negative coverage of his actions or rhetoric, Obama said that “the free press is under attack.”

Obama also urged people to reject xenophobia and “rabid nationalism,” warning that history shows countries that embrace “doctrines of tribal, racial, or religious superiority” eventually “find themselves consumed by civil war or external war.”

—CBS News (@CBSNews) July 17, 2018 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js ” data-e2e-name=”embed-container” data-media-container=”embed” style=”box-sizing: border-box; margin: 20px 0px;”>

CBS News

@CBSNews

“The fact that countries which rely on rabid nationalism and xenophobia and doctrines of religious or racial superiority… Eventually those countries find themselves consumed by civil or external war,” Obama says during keynote speech https://cbsn.ws/2JvKIhe 

“You can be proud of your heritage without denigrating those of a different heritage,” Obama added.

Obama’s speech came after Trump’s high-profile visit to Europe, which Trump claimed was losing its “culture” because of immigration policies.

“These people who are so intent on putting people down and puffing themselves up, they’re small-hearted,” Obama said. “There’s something they’re just afraid of.”

‘You have to believe in facts’

In addition to warning against the dangers of excessive nationalism, the former president expressed concern over the apparent rejection of objective truth among leaders.

“You have to believe in facts. Without facts, there’s no basis for cooperation,” Obama said, adding: “Unfortunately, too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up.”

An analysis from The Washington Post in May found that Trump had made at least 3,001 false or misleading claims so far as president.

Obama concluded his speech by encouraging young people to stay politically active and to have faith in democracy despite how “slow” and “frustrating” it can be at times.

“Keep believing. Keep marching. Keep building. Keep raising your voice. Every generation has the opportunity to remake the world,” Obama said. “Mandela said, ‘Young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.’ Now is a good time to be aroused.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-speech-in-south-africa-trump-transcript-2018-7?r=UK&IR=T

 

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Five Eyes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Five Eyes
UKUSA Map.svg
Official languages English(de facto)
Type Intelligence alliance
Contributors  Australia
 Canada
 New Zealand
 United Kingdom
 United States
Establishment
14 August 1941
17 May 1943

The Five Eyes, often abbreviated as FVEY, is an intelligence alliance comprising AustraliaCanadaNew Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. These countries are parties to the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence.[1][2][3]

The origins of the FVEY can be traced back to the post-World War II period, when the Atlantic Charter was issued by the Allies to lay out their goals for a post-war world. During the course of the Cold War, the ECHELONsurveillance system was initially developed by the FVEY to monitor the communications of the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, although it is now used to monitor billions of private communications worldwide.[4][5]

In the late 1990s, the existence of ECHELON was disclosed to the public, triggering a major debate in the European Parliament and, to a lesser extent, the United States Congress. As part of efforts in the ongoing War on Terror since 2001, the FVEY further expanded their surveillance capabilities, with much emphasis placed on monitoring the World Wide Web. The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as a “supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the known laws of its own countries”.[6] Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 revealed that the FVEY have been spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on surveillance of citizens.[7][8][9][10]

In spite of continued controversy over its methods, the Five Eyes relationship remains one of the most comprehensive known espionage alliances in history.[11]

Overview

NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland, United States

GCHQ, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

CSE, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Since processed intelligence is gathered from multiple sources, the intelligence shared is not restricted to signals intelligence (SIGINT) and often involves defence intelligence as well as human intelligence (HUMINT) and geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). The following table provides an overview of most of the FVEY agencies involved in such forms of data sharing.[1]

Country Agency Abbr Role[1]
 Australia Australian Secret Intelligence Service ASIS HUMINT
Australian Signals Directorate ASD SIGINT
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation ASIO Security intelligence
Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation AGO GEOINT
Defence Intelligence Organisation DIO Defence intelligence
 Canada Canadian Forces Intelligence Command CFINTCOM Defence intelligence
Communications Security Establishment CSE SIGINT
Canadian Security Intelligence Service CSIS HUMINT, Security intelligence
Canadian Forces Intelligence Command CFINTCOM GEOINT
 New Zealand Directorate of Defence Intelligence and Security DDIS Defence intelligence
Government Communications Security Bureau GCSB SIGINT
New Zealand Security Intelligence Service NZSIS HUMINT
 United Kingdom Defence Intelligence DI Defence intelligence
Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ SIGINT
Security Service MI5 Security intelligence
Secret Intelligence Service MI6, SIS HUMINT
 United States Central Intelligence Agency CIA HUMINT
Defense Intelligence Agency DIA Defense intelligence
Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI Security intelligence
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency NGA GEOINT
National Security Agency NSA SIGINT

History

Origins (1940s–1950s)

The cover page of the first version of the secret UKUSA Agreement in 1946, which was disclosed to the public in 2011.

The origins of the Five Eyes alliance can be traced back to the Atlantic Charter, which was issued in August 1941 to lay out the Allied goals for the post-war world. On 17 May 1943, the British–U.S. Communication Intelligence Agreement, also known as the BRUSA Agreement, was signed by the UK and U.S. governments to facilitate co-operation between the U.S. War Department and the British Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS). On 5 March 1946, the secret treaty was formalized as the UKUSA Agreement, which forms the basis for all signal intelligence cooperation between the NSA and the GCHQ to this day.[12][13]

In 1948, the treaty was extended to include Canada, followed by Norway (1952), Denmark (1954), West Germany (1955), Australia (1956), and New Zealand (1956).[13] These countries participated in the alliance as “third parties”. By 1955, the formal status of the remaining Five Eyes countries was officially acknowledged in a newer version of the UKUSA Agreement that contained the following statement:

At this time only CanadaAustralia and New Zealand will be regarded as UKUSA-collaborating Commonwealth countries.[13]

The “Five Eyes” term has its origins as a shorthand for a “AUS/CAN/NZ/UK/US EYES ONLY” (AUSCANNZUKUS) classification level.[14]

Cold War (1950s–1990s)

During the Cold War, the GCHQ and the NSA shared intelligence on the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and several eastern European countries (known as Exotics).[15] Over the course of several decades, the ECHELON surveillance network was developed to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies.[16]

During the Vietnam War, Australian and New Zealand operators in the Asia-Pacific region worked directly to support the United States, while GCHQ operators stationed in the (then) British colony of Hong Kong were tasked with monitoring North Vietnamese air defence networks.[17][18] During the Falklands War, the British received intelligence data from its FVEY allies such as Australia, as well as from third parties such as Norway and France.[19][20][21] In the aftermath of the Gulf War, a technician of the ASIS was used by SIS to bug Kuwaiti government offices.[20]

In the 1950s, SIS and the CIA jointly orchestrated the overthrow of Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.[22][23][24][25] In the 1960s, SIS and the CIA jointly orchestrated the assassination of the Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba.[26][27][28] In the 1970s, the ASIS and the CIA jointly orchestrated the overthrow of Chile’s President Salvador Allende.[29][30][31][32] During the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989SIS and the CIA took part in Operation Yellowbird to rescue dissidents from the Chinese regime.[33]

ECHELON network disclosures (1988–2000)

By the end of the 20th century, the ECHELON surveillance network had evolved into a global system capable of sweeping up massive amounts of private and commercial communications, including telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic. This was done through the interception of communication bearers such as satellite transmission and public switched telephone networks.[34]

The Five Eyes has two types of information collection methods: the PRISM program and the Upstream collection system. The PRISM program gathers user information from technology firms such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, while the Upstream system gathers information directly from the communications of civilians via fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past.[citation needed] In 1988, Duncan Campbell revealed in the New Statesman the existence of ECHELON, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence [Sigint]. The story, ‘Somebody’s listening,’ detailed how the eavesdropping operations were not only being employed in the interests of ‘national security,’ but were regularly abused for corporate espionage in the service of US business interests. The piece passed largely unnoticed outside of journalism circles.[35] In 1996, a detailed description of ECHELON was provided by New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager in a book titled “Secret Power – New Zealand’s Role in the International Spy Network“, which was cited by the European Parliament in a 1998 report titled “An Appraisal of the Technology of Political Control” (PE 168.184).[36] On 16 March 2000, the Parliament called for a resolution on the Five Eyes and their ECHELON surveillance network, which, if passed, would have called for the “complete dismantling of ECHELON”.[37]

Three months later, the Temporary Committee on ECHELON was set up by the European Parliament to investigate the ECHELON surveillance network. However, according to a number of European politicians such as Esko Seppänen of Finland, these investigations were hindered by the European Commission.[38]

In the United States, congressionallegislators warned that the ECHELON system could be used to monitor U.S. citizens.[39] On 14 May 2001, the U.S. government cancelled all meetings with the Temporary Committee on ECHELON.[40]

According to a BBC report in May 2001, “the US Government still refuses to admit that Echelon even exists”.[16]

War on Terror (2001–present)

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the surveillance capabilities of the Five Eyes were greatly increased as part of the global War on Terror.

During the run-up to the Iraq War, the communications of UN weapons inspector Hans Blix were monitored by the Five Eyes.[41][42] The office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was bugged by British agents.[43][44] An NSA memo detailed plans of the Five Eyes to boost eavesdropping on UN delegations of six countries as part of a “dirty tricks” campaign to apply pressure on these six countries to vote in favour of using force against Iraq.[43][45][46]

SIS and the CIA forged a surveillance partnership with Libya’s ruler Muammar Gaddafi to spy on Libyan dissidents in the West, in exchange for permission to use Libya as a base for extraordinary renditions.[47][48][49][50][51]

As of 2010, the Five Eyes also have access to SIPRNet, the U.S. government’s classified version of the Internet.[52]

In 2013, documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the existence of numerous surveillance programs jointly operated by the Five Eyes. The following list includes several notable examples reported in the media:

  • PRISM – Operated by the NSA together with the GCHQ and the ASD[53][54]
  • XKeyscore – Operated by the NSA with contributions from the ASD and the GCSB[55]
  • Tempora – Operated by the GCHQ with contributions from the NSA[56][57]
  • MUSCULAR – Operated by the GCHQ and the NSA[58]
  • STATEROOM – Operated by the ASD, CIA, CSE, GCHQ, and NSA[59]

In March 2014, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Australia to stop spying on East Timor. This marks the first time that such restrictions are imposed on a member of the FVEY.[60]

Domestic espionage sharing controversy

The Five Eyes alliance is sort of an artifact of the post World War II era where the Anglophone countries are the major powers banded together to sort of co-operate and share the costs of intelligence gathering infrastructure. … The result of this was over decades and decades some sort of a supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries.

Edward Snowden[6]

In recent years, documents of the FVEY have shown that they are intentionally spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on spying. [7][8][9][10][61]Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the advocacy group Liberty, claimed that the FVEY alliance increases the ability of member states to “subcontract their dirty work” to each other.[62] The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the FVEY as a “supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries”.[6]

As a result of Snowden’s disclosures, the FVEY alliance has become the subject of a growing amount of controversy in parts of the world:

  •  Canada: In late 2013, Canadian federal judge Richard Mosley strongly rebuked the CSIS for outsourcing its surveillance of Canadians to overseas partner agencies. A 51-page court ruling asserts that the CSIS and other Canadian federal agencies have been illegally enlisting FVEY allies in global surveillance dragnets, while keeping domestic federal courts in the dark.[63][64][65]
  •  New Zealand: In 2014, the NZSIS and the GCSB of New Zealand were asked by the New Zealand Parliament to clarify if they had received any monetary contributions from members of the FVEY alliance. Both agencies withheld relevant information and refused to disclose any possible monetary contributions from the FVEY.[66]David Cunliffe, leader of the Labour Party, asserted that the public is entitled to be informed.[66]
  •  European Union: In early 2014, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs released a draft report which confirmed that the intelligence agencies of New Zealand and Canadahave cooperated with the NSA under the Five Eyes programme and may have been actively sharing the personal data of EU citizens.[67][68]

Other international cooperatives

Since the addition of two members in 1956, the specific Five Eyes consist of Australia (accepted 1956), Canada (accepted 1948), New Zealand (accepted 1956), the United Kingdom (co-creator 1946), and the United States (co-creator 1946).[69][70] Further, there is a group of nations termed ‘3rd Party Partners’, which share their intelligence with the 5 Eyes.

While the Five Eyes is a very specific agreement with specific operations amongst the five nations, other non-FVEY sharing agreements have been set up independently and for specific purposes. For example, according to Edward Snowden, the NSA has a “massive body” called the Foreign Affairs Directorate that is responsible for partnering with foreign countries.[71]

Six Eyes

According to the news magazineL’Obs, in 2009, the United States proposed to France to join the Five Eyes, that would then have become the “Six Eyes”. Nicolas Sarkozy however made the requirement to be granted the same status as other allies, including the signing of a “no-spy agreement”. This requirement was approved by the director of the NSA, but not by the director of the CIA, and furthermore not by President Barack Obama, resulting in a refusal from France.[72]

In 2013 it was reported that Germany was interested in joining the Five Eyes alliance.[73][74] At that time, several members of the United States Congress, including Tim Ryan and Charles Dent, were pushing for Germany’s entrance to the Five Eyes alliance.[75]

Israel is, reportedly, an observer in Five Eyes.[76]

Singapore is reported to have partnered with the Five Eyes.[77]

Nine Eyes

A map of the Nine Eyes countries

The Nine Eyes is a different arrangement that consists of the same members of Five Eyes working with DenmarkFrancethe Netherlands and Norway.[69][70] A fictionalized Nine Eyes, with a different list of member states (including South Africa and China), was a key plot device in the 2015 film Spectre.

Fourteen Eyes

A map of the Fourteen Eyes countries

According to a document leaked by Edward Snowden, there is another working agreement amongst 14 nations officially known as SIGINT Seniors Europe, or “SSEUR“.[78] These “14 Eyes” consist of the same members of 9 Eyes plus GermanyBelgiumItalySpain and Sweden.[69][70]

Further intelligence sharing collaborations

As spelled out by Privacy International, there are a number of issue-specific intelligence agreements that include some or all the above nations and numerous others, such as:[79][80]

  • An area specific sharing amongst the 41 nations that formed the allied coalition in Afghanistan;
  • A shared effort of the Five Eyes nations in “focused cooperation” on computer network exploitation with Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey;
  • Club of Berne: 17 members including primarily European States; the US is not a member;
  • The Counterterrorist Group: a wider membership than the 17 European States that make up the Club of Berne, and includes the US;
  • NATO Special Committee: made up of the heads of the security services of NATO‘s 28 member countries;

List of FVEY surveillance targets

Notable individuals

As the surveillance capabilities of the FVEY continue to increase to keep up to pace with technological advancements, a global surveillance system has been gradually developed to capture the communications of entire populations across national borders.[81] The following list contains a handful of targets of the FVEY who are public figures in various fields. In order for a person to be included in the list, there must be well-documented evidence based on reliable sources, such as leaked or declassified documents or whistleblower accounts, which demonstrate that the person involved is, or was, intentionally targeted for FVEY surveillance.

Picture Name Lifetime Surveillance agencies Notes Ref.
Charlie Chaplin portrait.jpg Charlie Chaplin 1889–1977
  • MI5
  • FBI
A British comedian, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the silent era, Charlie Chaplin became one of the most important figures in the film industry through his screen persona “the Tramp“. Due to his alleged ties to communism, he was placed under surveillance in the early 1950s by MI5 agents, who acted on behalf of the FBI as part of a campaign to banish him from the United States. [82][83][84]
Strom Thurmond.jpg Strom Thurmond 1902–2003
  • Various
Dixiecrat candidate in the 1948 U.S. presidential election, Strom Thurmond represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 until 2003, when he became 100 years old and was recognized at that time as the longest-serving senator in U.S. history. In 1988, Margaret Newsham, a Lockheed employee, told a closed-door session of the United States Congress that Thurmond’s telephone calls were being intercepted by the FVEY via their ECHELON surveillance system. [85][86][87]
Nelson Mandela-2008 (edit).jpg Nelson Mandela 1918–2013
  • CIA
  • SIS
A South African activist, lawyer, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, Nelson Mandela was denounced as a terrorist by critics and was placed under surveillance by British SIS agents. In 1962, Mandela was arrested after details of his terrorist activities were picked up by the CIA and handed over to local authorities. [88][89][90][91]
Jane Fonda Cannes nineties.jpg Jane Fonda 1937–
  • GCHQ
  • NSA
An American actress, writer, political activist and former fashion model. Due to her political activism, her communications as well as those of her husband, Tom Hayden, were intercepted by the GCHQ and handed over to the NSA. [92][93]
Seyyed Ali Khamenei.jpg Ali Khamenei 1939–
  • GCHQ
  • NSA
Shiacleric and a former President of Iran, Ali Khamenei is the current Supreme Leader of Iran. During a rare visit to Iranian Kurdistan in 2009, he and his entourage were targeted for surveillance under a high-tech espionage mission involving the analysis and processing of satellite imagery. The operation was jointly conducted by the GCHQ and the NSA. [94]
JohnLennonpeace.jpg John Lennon 1940–1980
  • FBI
  • MI5
A British musician, songwriter, and a lead singer of The Beatles, John Lennon engaged in anti-war activism through several iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)“. In 1971, he moved to New York City to join activists in the United States to protest against the Vietnam War. Over the next 12 months, the U.S. government launched an extensive surveillance operation to monitor his activities and to deport him back to Britain. The operation was conducted by the FBI with the help of MI5. [95][96][97][98]
Olmert.jpg Ehud Olmert 1949–
  • GCHQ
  • NSA
An Israeli politician, lawyer, and a former Mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert is the 12th Prime Minister of Israel. He and the Israeli Minister of DefenseEhud Barak, were included in a list of surveillance targets used by the GCHQ and the NSA. [99]
SusiloBambangYudhoyono.jpg Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono 1949–
  • ASD
  • NSA
A former chief military observer of the United Nation Peacekeeping Force in Bosnia and the former President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife were placed under surveillance by the ASD, which shared details of the operation with the NSA. [100][101][102]
Angela Merkel (August 2012) cropped.jpg Angela Merkel 1954–
  • Various
A German politician, former research scientist, and the Chancellor of Germany since 2005, Angela Merkel’s phone communications were monitored by the Special Collection Service, which is part of the STATEROOM surveillance program of the FVEY. [103][104][105]
Diana, Princess of Wales.jpg Diana, Princess of Wales 1961–1997
  • GCHQ
  • NSA
A firm opponent of the international usage of land mines, the Princess of Wales was placed under surveillance by the GCHQ and the NSA, which kept a top secret file on her containing more than 1,000 pages. The contents of Diana’s NSA file cannot be disclosed because of national security concerns. [106][107][108]
Kim Schmitz cropped and edited.jpg Kim Dotcom 1974–
  • FBI
  • GCSB
A German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur, businessman, and hacktivist, Kim Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) is the founder of the file hosting service Megaupload. On behalf of the FBI, the GCSB of New Zealand conducted illegal surveillance on Dotcom. Prime Minister John Keylater issued an apology for the GCSB’s illegal surveillance. [109][110][111][112]

Notable organisations

Airlines
Broadcasting networks
Financial institutions
Multinational corporations
Oil corporations
Search engines
Telecom operators
United Nations
Universities

See also

References

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

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

Posted on April 17, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Bombs, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Chemical Explosion, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Egypt, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, France, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hate Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Israel, James Comey, Jordan, Killing, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nerve Gas, News, Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, Pro Abortion, Pro Life, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Syria, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Vietnam, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

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100 years of chemical weapons – BBC News

Theresa May defends Syria strikes in parliament

Syria air strikes: Latest updates- BBC News

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

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

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

President Trump Announces Precision Strikes In Syria | NBC News

Mattis: Assad didn’t get the message last year

President Donald Trump Bombs Syria. Again.

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

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

Daniel McAdams on What You Need to Know About Syria

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

Tucker Carlson Goes on Epic Rant Against War in Syria

Act of War: The Real Reason Syria was Attacked

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Dunford will provide a military update.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FRIDAY NIGHT ADDRESS TO THE NATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Dunford will provide a military update.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theresa May's statement in full 

Theresa May’s statement in full

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Willful blindness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Description

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

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

Precedent in the United States

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

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

See also

References

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

External links

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

James Comey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early life

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

Early career (1985–1993)

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

Clinton administration (1996–2001)

Assistant U.S. Attorney

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

Bush administration (2002–2005)

U.S. Attorney

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

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

Deputy Attorney General

NSA domestic wiretapping

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

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

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

Enhanced interrogation techniques

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

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

Private sector (2005–2013)

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

Testimony before congressional committees

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy

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

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

Supreme Court considerations

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

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

FBI Director

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

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

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

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

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

Police and African Americans

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

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

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

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

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

Comments on Poland and the Holocaust

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

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

OPM hack

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

Hillary Clinton email investigation

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

Release of information about the investigation

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

Comey’s October letter

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

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

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

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

Investigations

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

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

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

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

Russian election interference investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government surveillance oversight

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

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

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

Dismissal

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

Trump’s letter firing Comey

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

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

Reasons for dismissal

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

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

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

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

Reference to tapes

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

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

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

Aftermath

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writings

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

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

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

Post-government life

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

Party affiliation

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

Personal life

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

References

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

Dismissal of James Comey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Letter from President Donald Trump dismissing FBI Director James Comey

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The dismissal

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

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

Termination letter

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

Dear Director Comey:

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

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

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

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

— Donald J. Trump

Reasons for dismissal

Recommendations of the Attorney General Sessions and Rosenstein

Letter from Atty. GeneralSessions recommending the dismissal

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

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

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

Based on other reasons

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

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

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

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

Announcement of dismissal

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

Timing of the dismissal

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

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

Other events of May 9

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

Reactions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post-dismissal

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

Reactions from within the FBI

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

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

Messaging from the White House

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

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

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

Succession

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

FBI investigation of Russian interference

Assurances to Trump by Comey

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

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

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

Possible existence of recordings

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

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

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

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

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

Comey memos

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

February 14 meeting

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

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

Leaks to the press

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

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

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

Congressional requests

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

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

Motivation

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

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

Legal considerations

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

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

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

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

Pursuit of leakers

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

Appointment of special counsel

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

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

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

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

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

Reactions from Congress

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

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

Among members of Congress:

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

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

Congressional testimony by Comey

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary

Scholars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comey memos and obstruction of justice

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

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

Comey testimony and obstruction of justice

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

Former United States Attorney Preet Bharara said in an interview with ABC News om June 11, 2017,