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The Pronk Pops Show 1296, July 25, 2019, Part 2 — Story 1: Black Swan Song — Pathetic Incompetent Corrupt Swamp Swan Figurehead Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III Exposed As Fraud — “A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations” — Corrupt Democrat Punks — “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk? — “Go Ahead Make My Day” — Impeach Trump — Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Exposed — No Credibility and No Longer Trusted — No Evidence or Basis For Impeachment — Mueller “Outside My Purview”: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — American People Will Reelect Trump for Second Term in A Landslide Victory — Case Closed — Videos — Story 2: Investigation, Indicting, Prosecuting The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

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Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1241 April 18, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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Story 1: Black Swan Song — Pathetic Incompetent Corrupt Swamp Swan Figurehead Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III Exposed As Fraud — “A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations” — Corrupt Democrat Punks — “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk? — “Go Ahead Make My Day” — Impeach Trump — Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Exposed — No Credibility and No Longer Trusted — No Evidence or Basis For Impeachment — Mueller “Outside My Purview”: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — American People Will Reelect Trump for Second Term in A Landslide Victory — Videos

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Black Swan – Last Dance Scene (“I was perfect…”)

The Real ‘Black Swan’: Double Speaks

Magnum Force (10/10) Movie CLIP – A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations (1973) HD

A Good Man Always Has to Know His Limitations

Dirty Harry Do You ( I ) Feel Lucky Punk? ( high quality)

Dirty Harry – inadmissible

Dirty Harry Do You Feel Lucky Punk

Dirty Harry – Best Quotes, Lines (Clint Eastwood)

WATCH: Rep. Nunes calls Mueller hearing ‘spectacle” and ‘political theater’ | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Ben Cline’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Guy Reschenthaler’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Debbie Lesko’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Michael Turner’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Jim Jordan pushes Mueller on investigating ‘how the false accusations started’

Joe diGenova: The public got to see Mueller’s incompetence

Joe diGenova: IG Horowitz and John Durham Have Both Already interviewed Joseph Mifsud

Mueller’s testimony riddled with shaky moments, incomplete answers

Robert Mueller testifies before Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill (LIVE) | USA TODAY

Robert Mueller’s full testimony to House Judiciary committee

MUELLER HEARING: House Judiciary Committee Part 1

MUELLER HEARING: House Intelligence Committee Part 2

Full: Robert Mueller Testimony To Congress, Reaction And Analysis | NBC News

Collins at Mueller hearing: I hope this brings us closure

WATCH: Rep. Steve Chabot’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Ted Lieu’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Debbie Lesko’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Ratcliffe Questions Former Special Counsel Mueller on Report

Representative Turner questions Mueller

WATCH: Rep. Matt Gaetz’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Rep. Jim Jordan blasts Mueller for dodging questions

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan presses former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation. Jordan says maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started.

Rep. Gohmert grills Mueller: Did you know Strzok hated Trump?

Representative Nunes questions Mueller

WATCH: Rep. Ben Cline’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Joe diGenova: The public got to see Mueller’s incompetence

Whitaker says it was clear Mueller didn’t have a grasp of Russia report

Tucker: Democrats believed Mueller would save America

Hannity: Mueller’s testimony was an unmitigated disaster

Ingraham: Trump beats the elites again

Jim Jordan says Dems are never going to stop going after Trump

Gowdy on Mueller: I would’ve beaten the hell out of that exoneration

Trump’s legal team takes victory lap after Mueller hearings

WATCH: Key moments from Mueller’s testimony

Takeaways and analysis of Mueller hearings

 

 

‘Disoriented’ Mueller’s stumbling responses to questions during blockbuster hearing leave social media concerned the special counsel seems a ‘confused old man’ but some think it is all a strategy to frustrate the committee members

  • Mueller faced members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning at a highly-anticipated hearing on the Russia investigation
  • Viewers reacting on social media noticed Mueller stumbled at several points 
  • ‘Mueller is acting like he doesn’t know what’s going on,’ one viewer wrote on Twitter. ‘He’s acting like a confused old man’ 
  • Some viewers have said Mueller’s shaky demeanor calls his report into question
  • Others think the 74-year-old veteran prosecutor sounds uncertain because he is being overly-cautious about coming off as impartial
  • When it came to questions at the core of the report, Mueller has delivered firm answers without hesitation 
  • Another theory suggests the wobbly performance is a delaying tactic to frustrate Republican committee members determined to discredit the report
  • Viewers also noted that Mueller is hindered by the mammoth task of manually searching through 397 pages to effectively answer questions about the report

Perplexed viewers are questioning Robert Mueller’s ‘confused’ demeanor as he testifies in front of Congress.

The special counsel faced members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning at a highly-anticipated hearing on the Russiainvestigation.

Viewers reacting on social media have noticed that Mueller appeared to stumble at multiple points.

‘Robert Mueller comes across as a doddering old fool with a questionable moral compass based on situational ethics who should never have been appointed in the first place based on reduced mental capacity,’ one person tweeted.

‘Mueller is acting like he doesn’t know what’s going on,’ another wrote. ‘He’s acting like a confused old man.’

Some are saying the wobbly performance is a delaying tactic on the part of the special counsel to frustrate Republican committee members determined to discredit findings that are damaging to President Donald Trump.  

When it came to questions at the core of the report, Mueller has delivered firm answers without hesitation. 

Asked whether Trump had been exonerated or if he could be charged with obstruction of justice when he leaves office, Mueller replied: ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ respectively.

‘Lots of twitter folks are dogging Mueller out for looking old and feeble,’ MSNBC’s Joy Reid tweeted. ‘But optically, that just makes the Republicans yelling at him look more absurd. Mueller is quite definitive in his one word answers, which only Dems are eliciting from him so far.’

Perplexed viewers are questioning Robert Mueller's 'confused' demeanor as he testifies in front of members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning

Perplexed viewers are questioning Robert Mueller’s ‘confused’ demeanor as he testifies in front of members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning

Viewers reacting on social media noticed that Mueller appeared to stumble at multiple points

 

Viewers reacting on social media noticed that Mueller appeared to stumble at multiple points

 

MSNBC's Joy Reid defended Mueller's performance, saying his answers have been effective

Several Twitter users expressed the opinion that the 74-year-old veteran prosecutor’s shaky demeanor calls his entire report into question.

‘Listening too Mueller the cracking in his voice shows clearly that he is a conflicted Skunk and lying ! And I think he is senile !’

‘As I said when Mueller gave speech in May, he is feeble,’ radio personality Mark Levin tweeted. ‘I say that not as a personal attack but as a rational observation. It’s on display today during this hearing.

‘This underscores that the person who influenced this investigation most was Andrew Weissman, his top lieutenant.’

Replying to Levin’s tweet, one man wrote: ‘Agreed, Mueller looks geriatric and lost…. find that man a time machine.’ 

‘It’s quite entertaining. Mueller can’t make a coherent statement. Looks like the circus made a stop in DC,’ a woman tweeted.

‘I’d say Democrats right now regretting they ever subpoenaed Mueller. He looks confused,’ a man wrote.

Some viewers have said Mueller's shaky demeanor calls his report into question

Some viewers have said Mueller’s shaky demeanor calls his report into question

 

 

 

 

 

Others think Mueller sounds uncertain because he is being overly-cautious about coming off as impartial.

‘I’m concerned that Mueller is so concerned with not appearing political that he is really under-performing at times by failing to clarify things that need clarification,’ one woman wrote.

‘To let crazy GOP statements stand without clarification could be interpreted as agreement.’

Some noted that Mueller is being hindered by the mammoth task of manually searching through 397 pages to effectively answer questions about the report his team took two years to compile.

He repeatedly had to ask committee members for page numbers when asked to comment on specific sections.

One woman tweeted that Mueller would have a much easier time referring to the report if he had searchable copy on a computer.

‘Give Robert Mueller a computer, he desperately needs CTRL + F,’ Vice Media VP Katie Drummond wrote.

Ironically, the copy of the report released by the Justice Department was a scanned printout and thus couldn’t be searched. Several searchable versions have cropped up in the months since then.

Unfortunately for Mueller, witnesses are not allowed to use computers during hearings.

Mueller frequently had to pause and manually search through the 397-page report to effectively answer questions from lawmakers

Mueller frequently had to pause and manually search through the 397-page report to effectively answer questions from lawmakers

 

 

 

Throughout the hearing, Democrats, who hold the majority on both committees present, worked to elicit short, definitive answers from Mueller.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler asked him: ‘Director Mueller, the president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him. But that is not what your report said, is it?

‘That is correct. That is not what the report said,’ Mueller responding.

‘Does that say there was no obstruction?’ Nadler followed up later.

‘No,’ the former special counsel said.

‘In fact, your report expressly states that it does not exonerate the president,’ Nadler told him.

‘Yes it does,’ Mueller replied.

Most of Mueller’s fumbles came in response to Republicans trying to get him to stray from his typical dry, technical explanations.

‘Where are you reading from?’ he asked one member, Rep James Sensenbrenner. ‘I am reading from my question,’ the Wisconsin Republican lawmaker told him.

Under questioning by Republican Rep Steve Chabot, Mueller didn’t show immediate familiarity with political intelligence firm Fusion GPS, a key player in the trail of the Steele Dossier, and a fixture of attention of President Trump and GOP critics of the Mueller probe.

‘When you talk about the firm that produced the Steele reporting, the name of the firm was Fusion GPS, is that correct?’

‘I’m not familiar with that,’ said Mueller.

‘That’s not a trick question. It’s Fusion GPS.’

Most of Mueller's fumbles came in response to Republicans trying to get him to stray from his typical dry, technical explanations

Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan sought to draw Mueller out on the surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whose trips to Russia drew attention of investigators.

‘Director Mueller, the third FISA renewal happens a month after you’re named special counsel. What role did your office play in the third FISA renewal of Carter Page?’ Jordan asked.

‘I’m not going to talk to that,’ said Mueller.

In his prepared statement, Mueller began by defending his probe following an onslaught of attacks, and spelling out questions he will and will not answer.

He said he told his team at the start of the Russia probe to ‘work quietly, thoroughly and with integrity so that the public would have full confidence in the outcome.

‘We needed to do our work as thoroughly as possible and as expeditiously as possible. It was in the public interest for our investigation to be complete and not to last a day longer than necessary,’ Mueller said.

He said his team of lawyers and agents worked ‘fairly and with absolute integrity’ – minutes after President Trump once again attacked it as a ‘witch hunt’.

‘Our team would not leak or take other actions that would compromise the integrity of our work,’ said Mueller. ‘All decisions were made based on the facts and the law.’

Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan sought to draw Mueller out on the surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whose Russia trips drew investigators' attention

Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan sought to draw Mueller out on the surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whose Russia trips drew investigators’ attention

Rep Doug Collins tried to get Mueller to contradict his report by asking him whether ‘collusion’ and ‘conspiracy’ are the same thing after Mueller testified that they weren’t.

Collins cited a portion of the report that states: ‘Collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the U.S. Code; nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. To the contrary, even as defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in the general federal conspiracy statute.’

Mueller critics declared that the special counsel had been bested by Collins, while experts explained that Collins’ citation was taken out of context.

The part of the report in question was about collusion in the sense of corporate collusion – when companies conspire in an illegal fashion to help each other at consumers’ expense.

Corporate collusion is unrelated to ‘collusion with Russia’, the colloquial term adopted in the debate about potential cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Both sides sought to get Mueller on record on the question of whether he had any potential conflict that would prevent him from overseeing the probe.

Georgia Democrat Rep Hank Johnson asked Mueller if he had any conflicts of interest that prevented him from being special counsel. Mueller said he did not. Trump has repeatedly said Mueller was ‘highly conflicted,’ saying he had interviewed to be his FBI director and that the two men had a nasty business dispute. 

Some people on social media lambasted Republican committee members for trying to damage Mueller’s credibility.

‘No matter your political party, it’s absolutely disgusting to see those attacking Mueller’s integrity,’ one man tweeted.

‘The way the @JudiciaryGOP members talked and yelled at Robert Mueller is beyond awful. They’ve all lost their souls,’ another wrote.

‘Republicans can’t argue the facts, so they attack the investigation and the investigators,’ another said.

‘Remember this slander of Mueller the next time you hear republicans going on about their love & respect for veterans. They will throw anyone under the bus who doesn’t toe the party line.’

Some people on social media lambasted Republican committee members for trying to damage Mueller's credibility

 

Some people on social media lambasted Republican committee members for trying to damage Mueller’s credibility

TOP 10 MUELLER TAKEAWAYS

Below are the 10 most important takeaways gleaned from Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday.

Mueller said all he wanted to say in his report

When Mueller finally agreed to testify before Congress – after more than two years of silence about the Russia investigation – the special counsel said he ‘would not provide information beyond that which is already public’ in the report published in April.

He stuck to that promise throughout Wednesday’s hearing, declining or deferring nearly 200 questions from committee members.

Mueller’s reasons for not answering included not wanting to speculate, being unable to detail internal Justice Department deliberations and being under orders not to broach specific topics.

Trump was paying attention 

After saying that he couldn’t be bothered to watch Mueller’s testimony, President Trump made it clear that he was tuned in as he tweeted multiple reactions to the proceedings on Wednesday.

‘I’m not going to be watching Mueller because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday. ‘We had no collusion, no obstruction.’

Before the hearing even kicked off Trump had posted seven tweets about the hearing, echoing his go-to attacks on ‘Mueller & his band of 18 Angry Democrats’.

Over the next eight hours tweeted and retweeted 14 posts about Mueller’s testimony, including multiple videos of Republican lawmakers grilling the special counsel.

‘TRUTH IS A FORCE OF NATURE!’ he declared just after 2.30pm.

Mueller didn’t subpoena Trump to avoid a lengthy court battle  

The special counsel addressed why Trump wasn’t interviewed during the two-year-long investigation when New York Democratic Rep Sean Maloney asked him: ‘Why didn’t you subpoena the president?’

Trump’s legal team had refused to have him be interviewed in the probe because they felt such a meeting would amount to a ‘perjury trap’.

Before Congress Mueller stated that his team had ‘little success’ when pushing for an interview for over a year and decided that they didn’t want to delay the investigation with a lengthy court battle.

‘We did not want to exercise the subpoena power because of the necessity of expediting the end of the investigation,’ he said, adding that no one at the Justice Department pressured him to finish the probe.

Mueller acknowledged that Trump’s written answers to questions about possible conspiracy with Russia were ‘not as useful as the interview would be’.

Trump was not exonerated by the Russia investigation

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, kicked off Wednesday’s proceedings by asking Mueller directly if the Russia investigation exonerated President Trump.

‘No,’ Mueller stated without hesitation.

That goes against the president’s repeated claims that the probe proved there was ‘no obstruction, no collusion’.

Mueller’s team never determined whether Trump committed a crime

While the majority of his answers were straightforward and technical, Mueller struggled when questioned about why he did not indict the president.

During an exchanged with California Democratic Rep Ted Lieu, Mueller stated that the reason he did not even consider indicting Trump on obstruction charges was because of guidance from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

That goes against assertions by Attorney General William Barr, who has repeatedly said the OLC’s opinion was not the only reason Mueller did not indict Trump.  

Arizona Republican Rep Debbie Lesko asked Mueller to clarify that contradiction, at which point he said he ‘would have to look closer at it’. 

He later conceded that he had misspoken when he characterized the OLC’s guidance to Lieu.  

‘We did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime,’ he said.

‘Based on Justice Department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.’

Mueller was much less steady than in previous hearings

At times, Mueller, 74, stumbled during answers, asking fast-talking lawmakers to repeat page citations and repeat their questions. He sometimes had to scan the hearing room to locate questioners.

Although his stock answer was to say issues were beyond the purview of his mandate, he also appeared not to recall specific information at times.

‘Where are you reading from?’ he asked one member, Rep. James Sensenbrenner. ‘I am reading from my question,’ the Wisconsin Republican lawmaker told him.

Under questioning by Republican Rep Steve Chabot, Mueller didn’t show immediate familiarity with political intelligence firm Fusion GPS, a key player in the trail of the Steele Dossier, and a fixture of attention of President Trump and GOP critics of the Mueller probe.

Viewers reacting on social media called out Mueller’s unsteadiness early on, remarking that he was acting ‘like a confused old man’.

Some said the wobbly performance could be a delaying tactic on the part of the special counsel to frustrate Republican committee members determined to discredit findings that are damaging to Trump.

Mueller and Trump have opposing accounts of what led up to special counsel appointment

Republicans probed Mueller’s professional links with Trump in an attempt to show he may have had a reason to be biased against the president – specifically questioning whether he was turned down for the FBI director position the day before being tapped to lead the Russia investigation.

Trump gave his version of events on Wednesday morning, tweeting: ‘It has been reported that Robert Mueller is saying that he did not apply and interview for the job of FBI Director (and get turned down) the day before he was wrongfully appointed Special Counsel.

‘Hope he doesn’t say that under oath in that we have numerous witnesses to the interview, including the Vice President of the United States!’

Mueller contradicted Trump’s account when Texas Republican Rep Louie Gohmert seized on his alleged conflicts of interest.

Gohmert asked Mueller about a meeting he had with Trump the day before the special counsel appointment and contended that it was a job interview for the FBI director slot.

Mueller stated that he was not interviewed ‘as a candidate’ for the position.

Mueller fiercely defended his team’s impartiality 

The special counsel was calm and composed throughout the proceedings, save for one moment when Florida Republican Rep Greg Steube decried the political affiliations of the lawyers on his team.

Mueller said never in his 25 years in his position had he felt the need to ask the people he works with about their political affiliation.

Rep Gohmert also called Mueller’s hiring practices into question, particularly his appointment of FBI agent Peter Strzok – who was later removed from the probe after he was found to have sent anti-Trump text messages to a woman he was involved with.   

Mueller said he did not know of Strzok’s disdain for Trump before the probe started and learned about it in the summer of 2017, several months into the investigation.

Republicans tried to collect evidence for a probe into Mueller’s investigation

Republicans committee members tried both the blast the origins of the Russia probe and potentially establish a record that might play out in an ongoing investigation overseen by Attorney General William Barr.

‘Before you arrested [Trump campaign foreign policy aide] George Papadopoulos in July of 2017, he was given $10,000 in ash in Israel. Do you know who gave him that cash?’ California Rep Devin Nunes asked Mueller.

‘Again, that’s outside our … questions such as that should go to the FBI or the department,’ said Mueller.

‘But it involved your investigation,’ said Nunes.

‘It involved persons involved in my investigation,’ said Mueller.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow released a statement saying: ‘This morning’s testimony exposed the troubling deficiencies of the Special Counsel’s investigation. The testimony revealed that this probe was conducted by a small group of politically-biased prosecutors who, as hard as they tried, were unable to establish either obstruction, conspiracy, or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. It is also clear that the Special Counsel conducted his two-year investigation unimpeded. The American people understand that this issue is over. They also understand that the case is closed.’ 

Democrats tried to breathe life into a dense, technical report

The Democrats, who hold a majority on both committees, made a concerted effort to present the investigation’s findings in a more provocative and damning light than they had been in the dense, 337-page report.

‘Your investigation determined that the Trump campaign — including Trump himself — knew that a foreign power was intervening in our election and welcomed it, built Russian meddling into their strategy, and used it,’ California Rep Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chair, said when the afternoon portion began.

‘Disloyalty to country. Those are strong words, but how else are we to describe a presidential campaign which did not inform the authorities of a foreign offer of dirt on their opponent, which did not publicly shun it, or turn it away, but which instead invited it, encouraged it, and made full use of it?’ Schiff continued.

‘That disloyalty may not have been criminal. Constrained by uncooperative witnesses, the destruction of documents and the use of encrypted communications, your team was not able to establish each of the elements of the crime of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, so not a provable crime, in any event’, he added.

However, a levelheaded Mueller didn’t play along, making for a rather mundane hearing.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7281303/Muellers-stumbling-responses-blockbuster-hearing-leave-social-media-concerned.html

 

 

Here’s Why Mueller Kept Getting Asked About a Mysterious Maltese Professor

BY VERA BERGENGRUEN 

JULY 24, 2019

In a moment that quickly made the rounds on conservative media on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan sharply questioned Robert Mueller on the origins of the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

The Ohio Republican pressed the former special counsel to detail who told George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy aide on the Trump campaign, that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. When Mueller said he would not go into it, Jordan became heated.

“Yes you can, because you wrote about it – you gave us the answer!” Jordan said. “Joseph Mifsud.”

The name of the shadowy Maltese academic kept coming up on Wednesday as Republicans accused Mueller of covering up how the FBI came to investigate the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, a popular talking point for Trump allies. At the House Intelligence Committee hearing, Rep. Devin Nunes pointed to a large photo of Mifsud with then-U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson as evidence that he “has extensive contacts with Western governments and the FBI”.

Mifsud’s name would have been familiar for regular consumers of Fox News and conservative outlets that have spent two years dissecting what they believe was a “deep state” attempt to take down the Trump campaign. The London-based professor at the center of the Trump-Russia probe has not been seen in public since October 2017, just days after Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with him. One of those was a key conversation in London in April 2016, in which Mifsud told him the Russians had damaging information on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” Mifsud also introduced him to a Russian graduate student that Papadopoulos believed to be Putin’s niece, and connected him with an official with ties to the Russian foreign ministry who said he could set up a meeting with the country’s ambassador, according to Mueller’s report. Papadopoulos later relayed that information to an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, who passed it on to U.S. government officials, setting into motion the FBI investigation into Russian contacts with the Trump campaign.

Papadopoulos’ interactions with Mifsud, and his allegation that the Maltese professor was an FBI plant, has been at the center of some Republicans’ efforts to discredit Mueller’s probe. Papadopoulos told TIME in May that he believes he was part of an elaborate set-up by U.S. intelligence to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign. Since serving a short sentence for lying to the FBI, Papadopoulos has continued to make the rounds alleging that Mifsud was a “Western intelligence operative” who tried to use him to entrap the Trump campaign.

“People are very fascinated about what I have to say, people are just like — their mouths are dropping,” he told TIME on April 17. “They’ve never heard this information because Mueller and the FBI wanted to keep me silenced.”

Perhaps anticipating this line of questioning, Mueller made it clear in his opening statement that he would be “unable to address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation” because it is the subject of an ongoing review by the Justice Department.

That did not stop Jordan and Nunes, both vocal Trump supporters, from trying.

“He’s the guy who starts it all, and when the FBI interviews him, he lies three times and yet you don’t charge him with a crime,” Jordan exclaimed, angrily listing others charged by Mueller, including Michael Flynn and “13 Russians no one’s ever heard of.”

“But the guy who puts the country through this whole saga, starts it off, for three years we have lived this now, he lies and you guys don’t charge him,” he said.

“I’m not sure I agree with your characterization,” Mueller tersely responded, but Jordan’s performance was already going viral in conservative corners of the internet with headlines like “WATCH: Jim Jordan Steals the Show, Calls into Question Entire Basis of Probe!” and “‘BRUTAL’: Jim Jordan grills Mueller about why ‘guy who put this whole story in motion’ lied but wasn’t held accountable.” On Wednesday afternoon, Trump himself retweeted a clip of the exchange, indicating that Mifsud is unlikely to fade from the debate over the Russia investigation.

 

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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.

MORE FROM FORBES

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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The Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018, Story 1: Obama “Deep Throat” Mole and Agent Provocateur In Trump Campaign — Obama FBI/CIA Confidential Informants (CI) or Confidential Human Sources Spied on Trump Campaign — Who Is FBI/CIA Deep Throat Mole and Agent Provocateur — Stefan Halper? — Trump Knows — Trump Waiting For Ideal Moment To Declassify Documents Congress Subpoenaed — 2018 October Surprise! –Videos — Story 2: President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome Home Three Americans Held Hostage in North Korea By Kim Jong-un Regime — Videos

Posted on May 14, 2018. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, James Comey, Japan, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mike Pompeo, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Nixon, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Networking, South Korea, Spying, Spying on American People, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Transportation, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Obama “Deep Throat” Mole and Agent Provocateur In Trump Campaign — Obama FBI/CIA Confidential Informants (CI) or Confidential Human Sources Spied on Trump Campaign — Who Is FBI/CIA Deep Throat Mole and Agent Provocateur — Stefan Halper? — Trump Knows — Trump Waiting For Ideal Moment To Declassify Documents Congress Subpoenaed — 2018 October Surprise! –Videos —

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May 12, 2018

World In Shock After CIA-MI6 Operative Stefan Halper Confirmed As Mole FBI Director Comey Used To Destroy Trump

By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

A somberly written new Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) report circulating in the Kremlin today states the entire world is in shock today after confirmation was received that an active CIA-MI6 operative named Stefan Halper was inserted as deep-cover spy (mole) into the US presidential campaign of Donald Trump by former FBI Director James Comey—and whose single role was to destroy Trump before he could achieve an election victory over his rival Hillary Clinton—but in whose failing to accomplish this feat, has exposed the United States as being a “failed statewhose grim future includes it possibly collapsing into civil war.  [Note: Some words and/or phrases appearing in quotes in this report are English language approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart.]

 

CIA-MI6 deep cover spy Stefan Halper’s task was to link and dirty up (make to look illicit) the connections between the Trump campaign and operatives associated with Russia

 

According to this report, though the United States has a long history of bitter and contentious presidential elections, the world community could always rely on the American’s conducting free and fair elections without interference from their powerful, and very secret, intelligence agencies—and that thus marked the US as being a reliable partner in the conducting of vital global affairs.

With the rise to US presidential power of New York City multi-billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, however, this report notes, America’s powerful state intelligence apparatus, for the first time in its history, obliterated the US Constitution and all US laws in order to destroy presidential candidate Trump—and whose “device” to do so was described by the FBI’s Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division Peter Strzok as “The Insurance Policy”—but known today as the “Trump-Russia Dossier”.

 

Once secret texts of FBI Deputy Counter Terror Chief Peter Strzok reveal existence of “The Insurance Policy” to destroy Donald Trump

 

The creation of “The Insurance Policy” to destroy Donald Trump, this report explains, was as comically stupid as it was insidious—and involved British MI6 operative Christopher Steele being illegally paid millions-of-dollars by Hillary Clinton and her Democratic National Committeeto create what is known as the “Trump-Russia Dossier—with Steele being aided in this effort by one of the Russian turncoat spies he had once recruited named Sergei Skripal—but with Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, being “taken out” after MI6 discovered that he had written to President Putin asking to be allowed to come back home to Russia.

 

 

Upon the completion of “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” by MI6 operative Christopher Steele, this report continues, it was given to CIA Director John Brennan—who then recruited the notorious CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper to lure Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos to London—with Halper paying $3,000 to Papadopoulos for a research paper, and that, also, covered the cost of his room, board, and flight to London.

Next to be ensnared by CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper, this report notes, was another Trump campaign volunteer named Carter Page—whom, like Papadopoulos before him, was lured to London by Halper.

 

 

Once he had the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy”, and whatever lies were concocted by CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper, this report explains, CIA Director Brennan couldn’t use them as the CIA is forbidden to interfere in US domestic affairs—but with the workaround being having US Senator John McCain take “The Insurance Policy” from the CIA and give it to FBI Director James Comey—that the FBI had to admit they couldn’t verify any of its spurious claims—but didn’t stop them from shockingly using this information to become the first US intelligence agency to obtain a warrant to spy on the presidential campaign in all of history.

 

 

With the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” having failed to keep Trump from winning the US presidency, this report continues, any rationally thinking state intelligence agency would have buried everything about this sordid plot so far down it would never see the light of day, particularly because of how rapidly it could be exposed—but that, of course, didn’t happen because of the insane hatred everyone in power in the US had because of their now having to deal with President Donald Trump.

So, and in one of the most ill conceived and transparent coup plots ever devised, this report details, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (who oversaw both the FBI and CIAordered FBI Director Comey to “brief” the newly elected President Trump about the existence of the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy—with Clapper, immediately afterwards, leaking” this information to the “fake news” cable television media giant CNN, thus giving them the “hook” to call it “real news—and for which Clapper was handsomely rewarded when CNN hired him for millions-of-dollars.

 

 

However, what DNI ClapperFBI Director Comey and CIA Director Brennan failed to realize when they unleashed the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” against President Trump in retribution for his daring to defeat Hillary Clinton, this report says, was that the most vulnerable flaw in any intelligence operation are the operatives involved in it—most particularly in this case being CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper.

In anyone ever attempting to create in writing a description of what a “Deep State” operative would be like, this report explains, they’d be best not to even try and, instead, just describe the life of Stefan Halper—who, upon his graduation from an Ivy League universitytraveled to London to get a Ph.D. at Cambridge, then returned to the United States where he was quickly hired by the President Nixon administrationmarried the daughter of one of the CIA’s most feared high-ranking directorsover the past nearly 50 years has worked in every single branch and department of the US governmentran a CIA covert operation to discredit former President Jimmy Carterbecame an operative for the British intelligence agency MI6—and in his spare time, created a private bank used by the President Ronald Reagan administration to funnel money to both Iran and Central American terrorists (called Contras) trying to illegally overthrow the government of Nicaragua.

 

On 27 January 2017, seven days after President Trump took his oath of office, this report continues, FBI Director Comey had his agents interview George Papadopoulos—which immediately exposed CIA-I6 operative Stefan Halper as being a spy (mole) secretly placed into Trump’scampaign, that even a novice intelligence agent could follow the trail of—and though the “Deep State” is working feverishly to keep this fact hidden from the American public, the truest reporting coming from the US states that “the Obama State department, CIA, and FBI conspired to set “Russian espionage traps” for minor players in the Trump campaign, and the FBI had a mole within the Trump campaign, that giant sucking sound you might hear is nothing short of the US Intelligence community starting to implode”.

With the so-called Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation of the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” being nothing more than a cover-up of Obama’s Department of Justice and FBI efforts to destroy the Trump Presidency, this report concludes, the real investigation currently ongoing is the one headed by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz—whose exposure of the entire plot to overthrow Trump is about to explode upon the American political landscape—with former FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano even warning his “fake news” colleagues at CNN what’s about to strike by his stating:

Sources with knowledge of the impending DOJ Inspector General Report confirm that it will be a fairly damning indictment of FBI’s seventh floor during the Comey era.

It’s worse than expected,” seems to be the consistent theme.

 

I’ve always won, and I’m going to continue to win. And that’s the way it is.

45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index2560.htm

About That FBI ‘Source’

Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 24 at National Harbor, Md.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 24 at National Harbor, Md. PHOTO:JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it agreed to brief House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

 

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?

And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.

Correction
The FBI briefed House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source but did not allow them to see documents. An earlier version of this article misstated this.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/about-that-fbi-source-1525992611

Secret intelligence source who aided Mueller probe is at center of latest clash between Nunes and Justice Dept.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Last Wednesday, senior FBI and national intelligence officials relayed an urgent message to the White House: Information being sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes could endanger a top-secret intelligence source.Top White House officials, with the assent of President Trump, agreed to back the decision to withhold the information. They were persuaded that turning over Justice Department documents could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI, according to multiple people familiar with the discussion and the person’s role.The showdown marked a rare moment of alignment between the Justice Department and Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top Justice officials for the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.But it is unclear whether Trump was alerted to a key fact — that information developed by the intelligence source had been provided to the Mueller investigation.

The debate over the risk to the source is now at the center of a pitched battle between House Republicans and the Justice Department.

After the White House sided with the department’s decision to refuse the request, Nunes (R-Calif.) publicly vented his frustration, saying Sunday that he may try to hold Sessions in contempt for refusing to comply. He said that his classified-document request and subsequent subpoena to the Justice Department did not refer to an individual.

“They are citing spurious national security concerns to evade congressional oversight while leaking information to The Washington Post ostensibly about classified meetings,” he said in a statement to The Post. “Congress has a right and a duty to get this information and we will succeed in getting this information, regardless of whatever fantastic stories the DOJ and FBI spin to the Post.”

Several administration officials said they fear Trump may reverse course and support Nunes’s argument.

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.

For the intelligence agencies, Nunes’s request threatened to cross a red line of compromising sources and methods of U.S. intelligence-gathering, according to people familiar with their views. Intelligence officials fear that providing even a redacted version of the information Nunes seeks could expose that person and damage relationships with other countries that serve as U.S. intelligence partners.

The role of the intelligence source in the Mueller investigation may now be seized upon by conservative Republicans who have publicly accused the Justice Department and intelligence agencies of overreach and misuse of their surveillance powers.

Some have alleged that officials within the government have worked against Trump, and they have criticized Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel probe, for refusing to let members of Congress see a “scope memo” outlining the people and issues under investigation by Mueller.

Last month, House allies of Trump drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein as a “last resort” if he does not provide Congress with more information.

It’s not clear what documents Nunes requested in his classified April 24 letter to the Justice Department. He told reporters this week that he is investigating the FBI’s abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “and other matters.”

Because Sessions is recused from the Russia investigation and investigations involving the 2016 campaign, he is not involved in the discussions surrounding Nunes’s request, according to a person familiar with the matter.

During a meeting at the White House last Wednesday, senior FBI and intelligence officials told Chief of Staff John F. Kelly that turning over the information could contradict years of policy about protecting intelligence sources, according to three people familiar with the matter. The people who described the meeting include those who support the release of the information and those opposed to it.

Kelly then consulted with Trump, who agreed it was important to protect intelligence sources, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd laid out those concerns to Nunes in a letter the following day, noting that the department made the decision after “consultations” with the White House and intelligence agencies.

“Disclosure of responsive information to such requests can risk severe consequences including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities,” Boyd wrote.

Nunes told reporters Monday that the Justice Department’s stance was “awfully suspicious,” suggesting that the White House did not share the department’s concerns.

“The word that comes to me is obfuscation,” he said.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) said he had not discussed the matter with Nunes but added that he expected congressional subpoenas to be enforced.

“We expect the administration to comply with our document requests,” Ryan said.

The Justice Department has been sparring with lawmakers and congressional committees for months over document requests related to the FBI investigations. In most instances, officials have turned over materials.

At one point, Nunes had threatened to impeach top Justice Department officials when they did not immediately hand over an unredacted document detailing the origin of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The department later gave Nunes access to a version with modest redactions, and Nunes thanked Rosenstein for his cooperation.

Rosenstein has sought to make clear in recent weeks that while he is willing to compromise, he will go only so far. Last week, in response to the revelation that members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus drafted articles of impeachment, Rosenstein declared that the Justice Department was “not going to be extorted” and would not hand over documents that might harm national security or ongoing investigations.

“If we were to just open our doors to allow Congress to come and rummage through the files, that would be a serious infringement on the separation of powers, and it might resolve a dispute today, but it would have negative repercussions in the long run, and we have a responsibility to defend the institution,” Rosenstein said.

Josh Dawsey, Karoun Demirjian and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/risk-to-intelligence-source-who-aided-russia-investigation-at-center-of-latest-showdown-between-nunes-and-justice-dept/2018/05/08/d6fb66f8-5223-11e8-abd8-265bd07a9859_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7d4943870599

 

WSJ: The FBI Hid A Mole In The Trump Campaign

On Wednesday we reported on an intense battle playing out between House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Department of Justice, and the Mueller investigation concerning a cache of intelligence that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refuses to hand over – a request he equated to “extortion.”

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Nunes was denied access to the information on the grounds that it “could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.

After the White House caved to Rosenstein and Nunes was barred from seeing the documents, it also emerged that this same intelligence had already been shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 US election.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, news emerged that Nunes and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) would receive a classified Thursday briefing at the DOJ on the documents. This is, to put it lightly, incredibly significant.

Why? Because it appears that the FBI may have had a mole embedded in the Trump campaign.

In a bombshell op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel shares a few key insights about recent developments. Perhaps we should start with the ending and let you take it from there. Needless to say Strassel’s claims, if true, would have wide ranging implications for the CIA, FBI, DOJ and former Obama administration officials.

Strassel concludes: 

“I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it.”

Authored by Kimberley Strassel, op-ed via The Wall Street Journal,

About That FBI ‘Source’

Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?
And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.

I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it. But what is clear is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the FBI’s 2016 behavior, and the country will never get the straight story until President Trump moves to declassify everything possible. It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-10/wsj-fbi-hid-mole-trump-campaign

 

AN FBI INFORMANT IN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN?

Rush Limbaugh summarizes Kim Strassel’s Wall Street Journal column of this past Friday, today’s Wall Street Journal editorial (obviously written by Kim), and a related Washington Post story in which the deep state strikes back against House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. It’s a complicated story to unravel. In the transcript posted at his site, Rush links to each of the three sources and summarizes the salient details.

Close reading is required, and Rush zooms in to provide it. There seems to be a serious question whether the FBI had an informant in the Trump campaign.

At last word, Chairman Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy had met with Rod Rosenstein, FBI and intelligence authorities. They agreed to keep talking about obtaining the documents in issue (statement embedded in tweet below).

Jeremy Herb

@jeremyherb

Nunes and Gowdy issue statement saying they had a “productive” meeting at DOJ today, and will keep talking next week about latest doc request

What is going on here? Kim Strassel comments today in her tweet below. Support Devin Nunes!

Kimberley Strassel@KimStrassel

Alternate (and reality) read: DOJ/FBI don’t want HPSCI to see what shenanigans they were up to in 2016. And now gunning for Nunes, cuz he won’t give up. Side note: Ryan said in his presser this morning that he’s read HPSCI request and it is “wholly appropriate.” https://twitter.com/Susan_Hennessey/status/994322371443089408 

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/05/an-fbi-informant-in-the-trump-campaign.php

T H E ATTORNEY GENERAL’S GUIDELINES REGARDING
T H E USE OF FBI CONFIDENTIAL HUMAN SOURCES

EXCLUSIVE: A London Meeting Before The Election Aroused George Papadopoulos’s Suspicions

Photo of Chuck Ross

CHUCK ROSS

Two months before the 2016 election, George Papadopoulos received a strange request for a meeting in London, one of several the young Trump adviser would be offered — and he would accept — during the presidential campaign.

The meeting request, which has not been reported until now, came from Stefan Halper, a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor with connections to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6.

Halper’s September 2016 outreach to Papadopoulos wasn’t his only contact with Trump campaign members. The 73-year-old professor, a veteran of three Republican administrations, met with two other campaign advisers, The Daily Caller News Foundation learned.

Papadopoulos now questions Halper’s motivation for contacting him, according to a source familiar with Papadopoulos’s thinking. That’s not just because of the randomness of the initial inquiry but because of questions Halper is said to have asked during their face-to-face meetings in London.

According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”

Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. The professor did not follow up on the line of inquiry.

Halper first contacted Papadopoulos by email. In a Sept. 2, 2016, message sent to Papadopoulos’s personal email account, he offered the Trump aide $3,000 to write a policy paper on issues related to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and the Leviathan natural gas field. Halper also offered to pay for Papadopoulos’s flight and a three-night stay in London.

Papadopoulos accepted the proposal, flew to England, and met with Halper and one of his assistants. He delivered the paper electronically Oct. 2 and received payment days later, according to documents TheDCNF reviewed.

Halper’s encounters with Papadopoulos were not the only encounters that the professor had with the Trump campaign.

[Stefan Halper speaks at Wellesley College, Oct. 23, 2013. (YouTube screen capture)]

Halper met campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page at a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election, Page told TheDCNF. The pair remained in contact for several months.Halper also requested and attended a one-on-one meeting with another senior campaign official, TheDCNF learned. That meeting was held a day or two before Halper reached out to Papadopoulos. Halper offered to help the campaign but did not bring up Papadopoulos, even though he would reach out to the campaign aide a day or two later.

Halper’s intentions are unclear, while a source familiar with the investigations into Russian meddling told TheDCNF Halper’s name popped up on investigators’ radar. There is no indication of any wrongdoing on his part, and it is not clear if he has been in touch with investigators.

Halper’s activities are all the more eye-catching because Papadopoulos and Page are central figures in the Russia investigation. Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about contacts he had during the campaign with Russian nationals and a London-based professor with links to the Russian government.

That professor, Joseph Mifsud, told Papadopoulos in April 2016 he learned the Russians had possession of “thousands” of Clinton-related emails. That conversation would later spark the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign. It is not known whether Papadopoulos told anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s remarks.

Page is also a prominent figure in the investigation due to allegations made against him in the infamous Steele dossier. Page’s trip to Moscow in early July 2016 is a central piece of the dossier. Christopher Steele, the author of the Democrat-funded report, alleges Page met secretly with two Kremlin insiders as part of the Trump campaign’s collusion effort.

Page attended the Cambridge event Halper set up, four days after that trip to Moscow.

***

London was a veritable stomping ground for Papadopoulos during the campaign.

In addition to meetings there with Halper and Mifsud, the Chicago native had an encounter that would serve as the catalyst for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling.

In May 2016, a month after his meeting with Mifsud, an Israeli embassy official, who Papadopoulos knew, introduced him to Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alexander Downer.

During a barroom conversation at Kensington Gardens, Papadopoulos told Downer about the emails Mifsud mentioned to him, The New York Times reported in December 2016.

After WikiLeaks published a trove of stolen DNC emails in July 2016, Australian government officials told the FBI about Downer’s interaction with Papadopoulos. The bureau opened its counterintelligence investigation July 31, 2016.

[Alexander Downer, Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. (YouTube screen capture/BBC)]

What remains unclear is why Downer sought the meeting with Papadopoulos. Was it to become acquainted with a member of Trump’s foreign policy advisory team, or was it an opportunity to gather intelligence?The latter scenario — of a spy operation — is what Papadopoulos wonders was at play when Halper contacted him before the election. There are no clear connections between Halper and Downer, though the pair did speak on the same panel at a 2010 Cambridge seminar.

Papadopoulos and Halper met several times during the London trip, including at the Connaught Hotel and the Travellers Club — a classic 19th century club foreign diplomats and politicians frequent. Halper’s research assistant — a Turkish woman named Azra Turk — also met with Papadopoulos. The Connaught Hotel meeting was scheduled for Sept. 13, 2016, and the Travellers Club conclave was two days later.

While discussing the policy paper Papadopoulos was to write, Halper made an out-of-left-field reference to Russians and hacked emails, according to a source with direct knowledge of Papadopoulos’s version of events.

Turk contacted Papadopoulos to thank him for attending after the meeting. Papadopoulos delivered the paper through email Oct. 2.

Neither Halper nor Turk responded to numerous requests for comment. A phone call placed to a number listed for Halper was answered by a man who claimed Halper was not available. A message left with the man was not returned. Halper also did not reply to a detailed list of questions about his interactions with Trump campaign advisers.

Halper’s resume provides mixed clues about why he might have reached out to Papadopoulos.

On one hand, he worked on several geopolitical policy projects as a contractor for the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s in-house think tank. Federal records show he has been paid $928,800 since 2012 on four separate research projects.

At the time of the Papadopoulos meeting, Halper was working on a project related to China and Russia’s economic relations. There are no public records of Halper releasing reports on Turkey, Cyprus and Israel.

Fitting with Papadopoulos’s theory of Halper’s outreach is the professor’s longstanding connections to both British and American intelligence agency officials. He also worked at the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and in three presidential administrations.

Halper is a close associate of Sir Richard Dearlove — the former MI6 chief.

In December 2016, Halper, Dearlove and espionage historian Peter Morland made international news when they announced they were leaving an organization called the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar due to concerns Russian operatives had infiltrated the group.

Months earlier, in early fall 2016, Dearlove reportedly met with dossier author Steele. Steele sought out Dearlove’s advice on how to proceed with information he gathered on Trump’s ties to Russia, The Washington Post reported. Former MI6 Moscow station chief Steele had been told Trump campaign members were colluding with Kremlin operatives to release emails stolen from the DNC.

[Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6. (YouTube screen capture/BBC)]

Steele’s dossier does not mention Papadopoulos, though the former spy was made aware of the Trump campaign aide while he was working on his anti-Trump document. FBI agents asked Steele during an October 2016 meeting in Rome if he was aware of Papadopoulos. Steele did not have information on Papadopoulos, the former spy said.But Papadopoulos does have at least one possible connection to the dossier. During the campaign, Sergei Millian approached him. Millian is a Belarus-born businessman who was allegedly an unwitting source for some of the most salacious claims in the dossier.

Halper also had connections to the CIA — most notably through his late father-in-law, Ray Cline.

Cline once served as director of the CIA’s bureau of intelligence and research. He was also the agency’s top analyst during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Halper got a job as foreign policy director on George H.W. Bush’s unsuccessful 1980 presidential primary bid on Cline’s recommendation.

Halper, who has a residence in Virginia, was also allegedly in charge of a team of former CIA analysts who kept tabs on the Jimmy Carter campaign.

In an ironic twist given the Russia probe’s focus on election meddling, Halper was also linked to a Reagan-era scandal dubbed “Briefing-gate.”

Halper was one of several Reagan White House officials linked to the scandal, which involved campaign briefing materials stolen from Carter’s campaign. Prior to the 1980 election, stolen Carter-campaign briefing papers containing classified information ended up in the hands of Reagan’s campaign officials.

The theft was not revealed until 1983. Halper was not directly implicated in stealing the documents, but he was identified as one of the campaign advisers who handled and disseminated them.

http://dailycaller.com/author/chuck-ross/

Stefan Halper (born 1944) is a foreign policy scholar. He served as a White House official in the NixonFord, and Reagan administrations and is currently the Director of American Studies at the Department of Politics, University of Cambridge.[1] He is also a Life Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

He is the co-author of the bestselling book, America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order published by the Cambridge University Press (2004), and The Silence of the Rational Centre: Why American Foreign Policy is Failing (Basic Books, 2007). In April 2010, his book The Beijing Consensus: Legitimizing Authoritarianism in our Time, was published by Basic Books. Also a “best seller,” it has been published in Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea and France.

Background and education

Halper graduated from Stanford University in 1967 and gained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford (1971) and the University of Cambridge (2004).[2][1] Halper is the son-in-law of Ray S. Cline.[3]

Career

US government (1971 – 1984)

Halper began his US government career in 1971 in the United States Domestic Policy Council, part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, serving until 1973.[2] He then served in the Office of Management and Budget until 1974, when he moved to the Office of the White House Chief of Staff as Assistant to the Chief of Staff where he had responsibility for a range of domestic and international issues. During this time, Halper worked as an assistant for three Chiefs of Staff, Alexander HaigDonald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney. He held this position until January 20, 1977.[2]

In 1977 Halper became Special Counsel to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Legislative Assistant to Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R-Del.).[2] In 1979 he became National Policy Director for George H. W. Bush‘s Presidential campaign and then in 1980 he became Director of Policy Coordination for the Reagan- Bush Presidential campaign.[2] In connection with this position Halper’s name came up in the 1983/4 investigations into the Debategate affair.[3]

After Reagan entered the White House, Halper became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.[2] Upon leaving the Department in 1984, he remained a Senior Advisor to the Department of Defense and a Senior Advisor to the Department of Justice until 2001.[2]

Academic and media career

From 1986 to 2000 Halper wrote a national security and foreign policy-focused weekly newspaper column, syndicated to 30 newspapers.[2]

Halper has worked as a senior foreign policy advisor to various think-tanks and research institutions, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Center for the National Interest, where he is a Distinguished Fellow, and The Institute of World Politicswhere he is a Research Professor. He has served on the Advisory Board of Directors of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and contributed to various magazines, journals, newspapers and media outlets. These include: The National Interest, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, the BBC, CNN, SKY NEWS, ABC, CBS, NBC, C-Span, and a range of radio outlets.

Professor Halper is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, and the Travellers Club in London. He is a recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award, the Justice Department’s Director’s Award and the Defense Department’s Superior Honor Award.

Business career

From 1984 to 1990 Halper was chairman and majority shareholder of the Palmer National Bank of Washington, D.C., the National Bank of Northern Virginia and the George Washington National Bank.[2]

References

External links

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

 

Joseph Mifsud

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joseph Mifsud
Born 1960 (age 57–58)
Malta
Nationality Maltese
Academic background
Education University of Malta (BA)
University of Padua (MA)
Queen’s University Belfast (PhD)
Academic work
Discipline Education
Diplomacy
Institutions University of Stirling[1]
Link Campus University[1]

Joseph Mifsud (born 1960)[2] is a Maltese academic, with high level connections to the Russian state.[3]

He is a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta, a former principal in the London Centre of International Law Practice, a professorial teaching fellow at the University of Stirling[4] in Scotland, and director of the Diplomatic Academy of London,[5] where he held seminars on Brexit.[6]

He was awarded a PhD upon acceptance of his thesis entitled “Managing educational reform: a comparative approach from Malta (and Northern Ireland); a headteachers’ perspective” in 1995 from Queen’s University Belfast.[7]

Investigators say Mifsud enticed George Papadopoulos, an advisor to the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, with a promise of Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.[1][8]

He is a Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR),[9] and a former President of the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia (EMUNI).[10] He was a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, attended by Vladimir Putin.[8]

On February 27, 2018, Buzzfeed News reported that Mifsud claimed to his former girlfriend that he was friends with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.[11] Mifsud has subsequently gone missing, having been seen last on October 31, 2017.[12]

On March 21, 2018, The BBC revealed that Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos in April 2016 via email to Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the same month, Mifsud was in Moscow on a panel run by the Kremlin-backed Valdai Club with Timofeev and a third man, Dr Stephan Roh, a German multi-millionaire described as a “wheeler-dealer”. Roh could not be reached for comment by the BBC and has since attempted to erase links between the two men on his company website.[13]

See also

References

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

Story 2: President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome Home Three Americans Held Hostage in North Korea By Kim Jong-un Regime Regime — Videos

Special Report: Americans released by North Korea arrive at Joint Base Andrews

Freed North Korean prisoners arrive at Joint Base Andrews

Trump welcomes US prisoners released by North Korea

President Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome the Secretary of State and Three American Returnees

Cruz: Release of US prisoners is a ‘major victory’

3 US captives held in North Korea on way home with Pompeo

Gutfeld on Trump and the Americans freed from North Korea

Comedian Dennis Miller: I’m happy for Trump

Geraldo Rivera: Trump attained a tremendous triumph

‘We want to thank Kim Jong-un’: Trump praises North Korean leader for freeing three American prisoners ‘early’ as he and Melania give them heroes’ welcome as they land back at U.S. Air Force base

  • Kim Jong-un released Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim – who were greeted as heroes in the U.S.
  • Trump and Melania personally met with them after their plane from Pyongyang arrived at 2:00 a.m.
  • President said: ‘These are great people. Frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, but it did’
  • Trump aims to sit down with North Korean dictator in late May or early June and thanked him personally

Donald Trump welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to the U.S. in the wee hours of Thursday morning, and said words most observers thought no American president would ever utter: ‘We want to thank Kim Jong Un.’

The president and his wife Melania arrived at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington at 2:00 a.m. to greet Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim, and called them ‘incredible people.’

In extraordinary scenes, Trump and the first lady clapped and cheered as the men walked down the steps with their arms in the air and giving triumphant ‘V’ signs signifying both peace and victory.

Their first steps back on American soil came hours earlier, in Alaska, when the plane carrying them home stopped to refuel.

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On the tarmac in suburban Maryland, Trump said: ‘These are great people. Frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, but it did. It was important to get these people out. This is a special night for these three really great people.’

Trump also thanked Kim Jong-un for freeing ‘the folks early.’ calling it ‘a wonderful thing’ and adding he believes the North Korean despot ‘really wants to do something’ and bring the hermit kingdom ‘into the real world.’

He said: ‘We’re starting off on a new footing. I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful, and if anybody would’ve said that five years ago, 10 years ago, even a year ago, you would’ve said, ‘That’s not possible.’

‘My proudest achievement will be when we denuclearize that entire [Korean] peninsula,’ he added.

The freed trio were joined by a translator who relayed their sentiment that being home felt ‘like a dream’ and that the men were ‘very, very happy’ to be freed. They later gave President Trump a round of applause.

Kim Dong-chul, speaking about his time in North Korea, said: ‘We were treated in many different ways. For me, I had to do a lot of labor. But when I got sick, I was also treated by them.’

Scroll down for video 

Donald Trump and Melania welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to America to cheers and applause

Donald Trump and Melania welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to America to cheers and applause

Trump shook hands with former detainee Kim Dong-chul (center) upon his return with Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim (both behind) in extraordinary scenes

Trump shook hands with former detainee Kim Dong-chul (center) upon his return with Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim (both behind) in extraordinary scenes

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, warmly embraced former North Korean detainee Tony Kim upon tthe plane's 2:00 a.m. arrival at a Maryland air base

The prisoners walked onto American soil with their arms in the air giving triumphant 'V' signs signifying peace and victory

Trump called the prisoners 'wonderful people' and thanked Kim Jong-un for letting them come home ahead of the Trump-Kim summit

Trump also thanked the North Korean dictator for freeing 'the folks early,' calling it 'a wonderful thing' and adding that he believes Kim finally wants to bring his country 'into the real world'

President Trump, first lady Melania and Vice President Mike Pence walked with the freed Americans after they landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

President Trump, first lady Melania and Vice President Mike Pence walked with the freed Americans after they landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

The three men were released Wednesday after up to three years of imprisonment and hard labor when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Pyongyang following a meeting with Kim to formalize final plans for a Trump-Kim summit in late May or early June.

He added that the talks between his administration and the North Korean government have ‘never been taken this far.’

While Trump said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un ‘was excellent to these three incredible people,’ Vice President Mike Pence hinted in an ABC interview they had endured harsh conditions.

Pence said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told him that at a refueling stop in Anchorage, ‘one of the detainees asked to go outside the plane because he hadn’t seen daylight in a very long time.’

Who are the Americans freed by North Korea today?

Kim Dong Chul

Kim Dong Chul is pictured in tears while he was held by North Korea in 2016

Kim Dong Chul is pictured in tears while he was held by North Korea in 2016

A naturalized U.S. citizen born in South Korea, Kim Dong Chul was seized in North Korea on October 2, 2015 and accused of spying.

Though a resident of Virginia – he became an American citizen in 1987 – Kim had lived with his wife in Yanji, China since 2001.

He worked just across the North Korean border in the Rason-Sonbong special economic zone, where he ran a hotel services company. He was also a pastor.

Very little was known about his status until a CNN news crew interviewed him during their visit to Pyongyang in January 2016.

He told reporters during a news conference organized by the dictatorship two months later that he was a spy, explaining that he ‘apologized for trying to steal military secrets in collusion with South Koreans’ and called his own actions ‘unpardonable.’

The North accused him of receiving a USB drive and various papers containing nuclear secrets during a meeting with a defector from the regime.

After a one-day trial in April, he was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for his supposed espionage.

But previous victims of the regime have explained that they were forced to make similar public declarations of their guilt after being tortured, despite being innocent.

Kim Hak-song

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California

Kim Hak-song, also known as Jin Xue Song, had been working for the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), undertaking agricultural development work with the school’s farm.

He was arrested at a Pyongyang railway station in May 2017 on suspicion of committing ‘hostile acts’ against the government, as he was boarding a train headed for his home in Dandong, China.

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California, CNN reported, citing a man who had studied with him.

He said Kim returned to China after about 10 years of living in the U.S., where he is a citizen.

PUST was founded by evangelical Christians overseas and opened in 2010, and is known to have a number of American faculty members.

Pupils are generally children from among the North’s elite.

It is not known whether Kim was sentenced for his supposed ‘hostile acts.’

Kim Sang-duk

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border

Korean-American Kim Sang-duk – known as  Tony Kim – was arrested in April 2017 at Pyongyang’s main airport as he tried to leave the country after teaching for several weeks as a guest lecturer, also at PUST.

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border.

Its website lists his speciality as accounting.

He graduated from the University of California Riverside in 1990 with a master’s degree in business administration.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency has reported Kim as being in his late 50s and said he had been involved in relief activities for children in rural parts of North Korea.

It cited a source who described him as a ‘religiously devoted man.’

He was detained with his wife at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang on April 22, 2017 while waiting for a flight.

Police later arrested Kim but did not explain why. His wife was allowed to leave the country.

PUST said the arrest was not related to his work at the university.

In a Facebook post, Kim’s son had said that his family has had no contact with him since his arrest.

Kim will soon become a grandfather.

Trump said he will not disclose whether he will have any personal conversations with Kim as they prepare for their historic summit in the coming weeks.

But he did admit it was possible that ‘one day’ he may visit Pyongyang, should peace talks continue to go well.

The three former detainees were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for evaluation and medical treatment before being reunited with their families.

Singapore is the likely site for the historic meeting between the U.S. President and North Korea’s dictator. The summit could last up to two days.

When asked if the talks will lead to prolonged peace, the president said: ‘We’ll see how it all works out. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but it can be a great thing for North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the entire world. We hope it all works out.’

President Donald Trump tweeted after the reception to say: 'On behalf of the American people, WELCOME HOME!' A video showing the welcome was attached 

In usual Trumpian fashion, the president also joked with reporters, saying: ‘I think you probably broke the all-time-in-history television rating for 3 o’clock in the morning.’

The highly public display stood in stark contrast to the low-key private reception the State Department had envisioned, and in keeping with a tradition of trying to protect potentially traumatized victims from being thrust into the spotlight so soon after their ordeal.

Department officials took great pains on the prisoners’ release in North Korea, as well as on their flights to Japan and Alaska, to keep them sequestered not only from the two journalists traveling with Pompeo but also from staffers not immediately involved in their cases.

The trio, along with medical personnel, including a psychiatrist, were cloistered in the middle of Pompeo’s plane in a small section of 12 business class-size seats that was cordoned off by curtains on both ends.

Trump shakes hands with North Korea detainees welcomed back to US
 President Donald Trump greets the freed Americans aboard their plane after they landed in Maryland. The image is from a video posted by Trump on Twitter 

State Department officials refused to discuss anything but the most basic details of their conditions, citing privacy concerns in keeping with the minimal amount of information they had released since the men were imprisoned.

The Americans had boarded Pompeo’s plane out of North Korea without assistance and then transferred in Japan to the Boeing C-40 outfitted with medical facilities for the trip back to the US.

Shortly after they touched down on American soil in Alaska – for a refueling stop Wednesday afternoon – the State Department released a statement from the freed men.

‘We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home,’ they said. ‘We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world.’

The release of the three men was only sealed about an hour before the secretary of state left the North Korean capital.

They walked on their own from a van and onto the plane, the culmination of Pompeo’s 12-hour visit to the North Korean capital, which included a 90-minute meeting with leader Kim Jong Un.

Returning to his hotel from that meeting, Mr Pompeo had given reporters a fingers-crossed sign when asked if there was good news about the detainees.

Trump thanks North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for freeing hostages

The president and his wife Melania are waiting at Joint Base Andrews near Washington to meet Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim

President Donald Trump stands with Americans just released from North Korea, Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands nearby, at Joint Base Andrews early this morning

President Donald Trump greets the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on 

America's commander-in-chief salutes as he was met by members of the U.S. Armed Forces in the wee hours of Thursday morning

President Donald Trump arrives to greet the three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

The president and the first lady left the White House at 2:00 a.m. to make the short journey to Andrews

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence (together at center) arrive to greet the three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea

President Donald Trump talks to the media next to the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea, upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

President Trump arrives at air base to greet American detainees

A North Korean official came to the hotel shortly after to inform Pompeo that Kim had granted amnesties to the three and that they would be released at 7:00 p.m. local time, according to a senior U.S. official present for the exchange.

Carl Risch, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, and a doctor went to another hotel to pick up the men and bring them to the airport, the official said.

They finally left custody at 7.45 p.m., and by 8.42 p.m. they were flying home.

As soon as the plane cleared North Korean airspace, Mr Pompeo called Mr Trump to inform him of the releases – with the men all apparently in good health.

Even before Mr Pompeo’s plane had touched down for a stopover at Yokota Air Base in neighboring Japan, the president announced to the world on Twitter that the ‘3 wonderful gentlemen’ were free.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Kim Jong Un in North Korea

U.S. citizen Kim Hak-song was detained 'on suspicion of acts against the state'

Kim Dong-chul, pictured above had been detained since 2015. He was arrested for spying and had been sentenced to 10 years' hard labor

In a statement released by the State Department, the former detainees expressed their ‘deep appreciation’ to the U.S. government, Trump, Pompeo and the American people ‘for bringing us home.’

The three were the latest in a series of Americans who have been detained by North Korea in recent years for seemingly small offenses and typically freed when senior U.S. officials or statesmen personally visited to bail them out.

The last American to be released before this, college student Otto Warmbier, died in June 2017, days after he was repatriated to the U.S. with severe brain damage.

Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-Duk, was a Korean-American professor and aid worker before his arrest

Warmbier was arrested by North Korean authorities in January 2016, accused of stealing a propaganda poster and sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor. His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing the government of torturing and killing their son.

‘We are happy for the hostages and their families,’ the Warmbiers said in a statement Wednesday. ‘We miss Otto.’

After the release of the detainees, North Korea’s state-run media explicitly mentioned plans for the summit for the first time. Pyongyang has been exceptionally cautious about its public framing of Kim’s recent diplomatic moves, which are a major shift from the more aggressive focus on missile launches and nuclear development that heated tensions to a boil last year.

The trio’s release draws a line under an issue that had weighed on plans for a historic summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump that will focus on North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

‘We’re granting amnesty to the three detained Americans,’ the North Korean emissary told Mr Pompeo at Pyongyang’s Koryo Hotel, according to the senior U.S. official.

‘We issued the order to grant immediate amnesty to the detainees.’

‘That’s great,’ the secretary of state replied.

The North Korean official then advised that the releases would follow a ‘very brief ceremony’ – which he described as more like a legal process.

The official closed with a gentle warning for the United States to prevent a repeat: ‘You should make care that they do not make the same mistakes again,’ the official said. ‘This was a hard decision.’

Mr Trump pledged to show the world how happy he was that the three Americans are now free men

Mr Trump has thanks the North Korean leader for releasing the prisoners ahead of their summit

President Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he was 'Looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no longer) at 2:00 A.M.'

President Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he was ‘Looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no longer) at 2:00 A.M.’

President Trump triumphantly announced the release of the trio of Americans in his own style – with a pair of tweets

President Trump triumphantly announced the release of the trio of Americans in his own style – with a pair of tweets

University founded by Christian Korean-American who was once detained in North on suspicion of being a spy

The university where two of the latest three American detainees released by North Korea taught is unique: an institution founded and funded by foreign Christians in an isolated country that decries religion.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy.

Only North Korean citizens can enrol, and it is known to educate many children of the country’s elite.

Opened in 2010, it now has 560 students and 100 ‘international volunteers,’ according to its website, many of them coming to it through church organisations.

PUST says its mission is ‘to pursue excellence in education, with an international outlook, so that its students are diligent in studies, innovative in research and upright in character, bringing illumination to the Korean people and the world.’

But sources stress that it carries out no Christian proselytising, which is unwelcome by Pyongyang.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy. Pictured: The snow-covered campus 

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy. Pictured: The snow-covered campus

About half of PUST's 80-odd foreign faculty were Americans who have been unable to return for this academic year as a result, and it has filled the gaps with Chinese replacements. Pictured: People walk around the university's campus

Although religious freedom is enshrined in the North Korean constitution, it does not exist in practice and religious activity is severely restricted to officially recognized groups linked to the government.

Agricultural expert Kim Hak-song and former accounting professor Tony Kim were both lecturers at the institution but were arrested by North Korean authorities as they were leaving the country.

The university previously said their detentions were ‘not connected in any way with the work of PUST,’ and it is understood the duo may have come to the attention of the Pyongyang authorities through previous Christian activities elsewhere.

The two, along with fellow detainee Kim Dong-chul, were granted ‘amnesty’ by Pyongyang following a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and landed back in the United States on Thursday, to be welcomed by President Donald Trump.

‘Our hopes and prayers have been fulfilled by their release,’ PUST said in a statement. The university expressed ‘sincere hope’ that the detainees would be able to ‘now enjoy some peace and rest with their families and friends, and begin to rebuild normal life.’

The school itself has faced indirect repercussions from their detentions.

Tony Kim was arrested in April last year, Kim Hak-song the following month. Weeks later American student Otto Warmbier, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for trying to steal a propaganda poster, was released in a mysterious coma and died shortly afterwards.

The university (pictured) previously said their detentions were 'not connected in any way with the work of PUST,' and it is understood the duo may have come to the attention of the Pyongyang authorities through previous Christian activities elsewhere

That prompted Washington to slap a travel ban on American citizens.

About half of PUST’s 80-odd foreign faculty were Americans who have been unable to return for this academic year as a result, and it has filled the gaps with Chinese replacements.

It has also had problems transferring funds and importing materials due to the sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear programme by the UN Security Council and others.

‘We do of course hope that this is a step in a positive process that will lead to the U.S. administration ending the travel ban on U.S. citizens,’ a school official told AFP, ‘so that many of our regular faculty and leadership can come back to the PUST campus and we can resume operations in a more normal way.’

On its website, PUST says it is hiring new faculty members: English and Chinese instructors, and professors for subjects ranging from stem cell culture technology to genetic engineering.

It does not mention the detention of its lecturers.

Korean-American writer Suki Kim went to PUST undercover as an English teacher in 2011 and later wrote a book about her experiences.

‘PUST offers a mutually beneficial arrangement for both North Korea and the evangelicals,’ she wrote in an essay published in the Washington Post last year following Tony Kim’s detention.

‘The regime gets free education for its youth and a modern facility… while the evangelicals get a footing in the remote nation,’ she said.

Source: AFP

North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un has been photographed smiling and laughing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just moments before three American detainees boarded a flight home after months in captivity

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5712509/Trump-Melania-meet-three-Americans-imprisoned-North-Korea-land-2am.html#ixzz5FE2k7Baj

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 865, March 31, 2017, Story 1: Conservative and Libertarian Talk Radio Could Turn On Trump For Attacking Freedom Caucus and Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare By Law (Statute) Not Discretion of Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Thomas Price — Establishment Republican House Speaker Ryan’s Bad Faith, Bad Process, Bad Bill — Socialized Medicine Obamacare Lite vs. Good Faith, Good Process, Good Bill — Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Competitive Health Insurance Premiums and Deductibles Decreases! — Close The Deal Mr. President — Videos — Story 2: Obama Administration Spied On American Citizens Including Trump and Trump Team — Obama Scandal Far Worse Than Nixon’s Cover-up of Watergate Break-in — Legacy Fading Fast — Grand Jury Should Be Impaneled Now! — Videos

Posted on March 31, 2017. Filed under: American History, Applications, Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, Communications, Computers, Congress, Consitutional Law, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, History, House of Representatives, Human, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Language, Law, Life, Media, Medicare, Mike Pence, National Security Agency, News, Nixon, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Social Security, Software, Spying, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Welfare Spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Conservative and Libertarian Talk Radio Could Turn On Trump For Attacking Freedom Caucus and Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare By Law (Statute) Not Discretion of Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Thomas Price — Establishment Republican House Speaker Ryan’s Bad Faith, Bad Process, Bad Bill — Socialized Medicine Obamacare Lite  vs. Good Faith, Good Process, Good Bill — Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Competitive Health Insurance Premiums and Deductibles Decreases! — Close The Deal Mr. President — Videos —

 

“Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted,”

 Image result for trump tweet freedom caususImage result for Trump on freedom caucus ring leaders

Image result for cartoons obama spyied on trump

Image result for obama spied on trump

Limbaugh on Trump’s Shots at Freedom Caucus: These Guys Are Not the Enemy — Dems Are the Enemy

Laura Ingraham: ‘Really Unhelpful’ to Trump’s Agenda for Him to Be Slamming House Freedom Caucus

Hannity 3⁄31⁄17 ¦ HANNITY Fox News March 31, 2017

Laura Ingraham: Trump’s Attacks on Freedom Caucus ‘Ridiculous’

Hannity: Freedom Caucus not to blame for health care failure

Newt Gingrich outlines why GOP health care bill failed

Freedom Caucus Jim Jordan: Ryan’s Legislation Doesn’t Lower Premiums For Americans!

Rep. Mo Brooks Files A Bill To Repeal Obamacare

Published on Mar 27, 2017

On the same day that the House of Representatives canceled its vote on Ryancare, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks filed a simple one-line bill to repeal Obama’s signature health care law.
The Huntsville Republican titled the bill ‘Obamacare Repeal Act.” It is short and to the point, AI.com reported.
“Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted,” the bill reads.
Brooks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told constituents last week that he was a “no” vote on the Obamacare repeal/replace bill offered by Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Also last week, in an interview with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, Brooks called the Speaker’s bill “a horrible replacement bill.”

Rep. Brooks: We need a bill that repeals Obamacare

Rep. Mo Brooks: ‘Deceptive’ to call GOP’s plan a repeal of Obamacare

Donald Trump THREATENS The Freedom Caucus, said Rush Limbaugh

SEAN SPICER ON TRUMP’S ANTI FREEDOM CAUCUS TWEET

Rand Paul: 75 Percent Chance We Repeal Obamacare

Ep. 239: Trump Needs To Lead Not Oppose The Freedom Caucus

Employers Will Cut Wages and Workers to Pay for Obamacare Premiums

News Wrap: Trump takes aim at the Freedom Caucus

SMOKING GUN Devastating New Email Released, Look What Obama’s Caught Ordering His Spy Ring To Do

The House Freedom Caucus: What You Need To Know | TIME

Wh On Changes Of President Trump Working With House Freedom Caucus Again: It Depends – Cavuto

Mark Levin Interviews Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows

Is The House Freedom Caucus Unwilling to take “Yes” For an Answer?

Freedom Caucus’s reasonable demand on Obamacare repeal

Poll: Just 17 percent of voters back ObamaCare repeal plan

 

Poll: Just 17 percent of voters back ObamaCare repeal plan

A majority of American voters oppose the Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, while very few voters support it, a new poll finds.

A poll published Thursday by Quinnipiac University found that 56 percent of voters disapprove of the GOP healthcare plan, while just 17 percent support it.

Even among Republicans, only 41 percent support the American Health Care Act, while 24 percent oppose it. And 80 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Independent voters disapprove of the plan.

Republicans are scrambling to shore up support for the repeal-and-replace bill ahead of an expected House vote later Thursday. President Trump is meeting with members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, who are seeking a number of changes to the bill in exchange for their support.But centrist Republicans are fleeing from the bill as it changes to fit the conservatives’ desires, complicating efforts to get the bill passed in the House.

The poll found that 46 percent of voters say they will be less likely to vote for their Congressional representative if they vote to approve the GOP health insurance plan.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from March 16 to 21 and surveyed 1,056 voters. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/325448-poll-majority-of-voters-disapprove-of-gop-obamacare-repeal-plan

 

Essential health benefits

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the context of health care in the United States, essential health benefits (EHBs) are a set of benefits that certain health insurance plans are required to cover for patients.[1]

Essential health benefits must be offered by health plans in individual and small group markets, both inside and outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace.[2][3] Large-group health plans, self-insured ERISA plans, and ERISA-governed multiemployer welfare arrangements not subject to state insurance law are exempt from the EHB requirement.[4]

Essential health benefits

The ACA sets forth the following ten categories of essential health benefits,[5][6] at Section 1302(b)(1) of the Affordable Care Act, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 18022(b):[7]

  1. Ambulatory patient services. [outpatient care]
  2. Emergency services.
  3. Hospitalization. [inpatient care]
  4. Maternity and newborn care
  5. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.
  6. Prescription drugs.
  7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
  8. Laboratory services
  9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management;
  10. Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

The essential health benefits are a minimum standard: “Qualified health plans are not barred from offering additional benefits, and states may require that qualified health plans sold in state health insurance exchanges also cover state-mandated benefits.”[8]

The ACA’s list of essential health benefits is defined in terms of ten broad classes.[9] The act gives “considerable discretion” to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine, through regulation, what specific services within these classes are essential. However, the Act provides certain parameters for the secretary to consider. The secretary (1) must “ensure that such essential health benefits reflect an appropriate balance among the categories … so that benefits are not unduly weighted toward any category”; (2) may “not make coverage decisions, determine reimbursement rates, establish incentive programs, or design benefits in ways that discriminate against individuals because of their age, disability, or expected length of life”; (3) must take into account “the health care needs of diverse segments of the population, including women, children, persons with disabilities, and other groups”; and (4) must ensure that essential benefits “not be subject to denial to individuals against their wishes on the basis of the individuals’ age or expected length of life or the individuals’ present or predicted disability, degree of medical dependency, or quality of life.”[10]

According to a Commonwealth Fund report in 2011:

As it stands, federal regulations for 2014 and 2015 do not establish a single, nationally uniform package of health services. Instead, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave states discretion to determine the specific benefits they deem essential. This approach was well-received by many state officials, who valued the opportunity to tailor benefit standards to reflect state priorities, and by insurers, who retained more control over benefit design. Groups representing consumers and providers were less supportive, however, expressing concern that the degree of flexibility found in the rules undermines the law’s promise of consistent, meaningful coverage.[11]

History

Coverage of essential health benefits was first required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) of 2010, which was a major piece of health care reform legislation.[1] The EHB provisions of the ACA was an amendment to the Public Health Service Act.[12]

Dr. Shana Alex Lavarreda, the director of health insurance studies for the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, explains that before the ACA’s passage, U.S. health insurance sector experienced “a race to the bottom, with insurers cutting benefits to lower premiums.”[1] The establishment of essential health benefits “set a standard for insurance. Anything below that is not true health insurance.”[1] The EHB requirement came into effect on January 1, 2014.[1]

Revision and repeal of essential health benefits coverage was proposed in the Republican part American Health Care Act of 2017.[13] House Freedom Caucus members lobbied during legislation discussion with House Speaker Paul Ryan to remove EHBs as a condition for approval of the AHCA bill.[14]

Comparison with minimum essential coverage

Essential health benefits should not be confused with minimum essential coverage (MEC). MEC is the minimum amount of coverage that an individual must carry to meet the individual health insurance mandate, while EHBs are a set of benefits that qualified health plans (QHPs) must offer.[15] MEC is a low threshold; many forms of coverage that do not provide essential health benefits are nevertheless considered minimum essential coverage.[15]

Notes

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Frank Lalli, The Health Care Law’s 10 Essential Benefits: The Affordable Care Act ensures you’ll have access to these medical and wellness services, AARP The Magazine (August/September 2013).
  2. Jump up^ Essential Health Benefits, HealthCare.gov (accessed November 12, 2015).
  3. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 2.
  4. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 3.
  5. Jump up^ 10 health care benefits covered in the Health Insurance Marketplace, HealthCare.gov (accessed November 12, 2015).
  6. Jump up^ Alexandra Ernst, 10 Essential Health Benefits Insurance Plans Must Cover Starting in 2014, FamiliesUSA (March 28, 2013).
  7. Jump up^ 42 U.S. Code § 18022 – Essential health benefits requirements
  8. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 3.
  9. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 3.
  10. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, pp. 3-4
  11. Jump up^ Giovannelli, Lucia & Corlette, p. 2.
  12. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 2.
  13. Jump up^ “Republicans may gut an overlooked provision of Obamacare — and disrupt health insurance”. Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  14. Jump up^ Luhby, Tami. “Essential Health Benefits and why they matter”. CNN. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  15. ^ Jump up to:a b Susan Grassli & Lisa Klinger, Understanding the Difference between Minimum Essential Coverage, Essential Health Benefits, Minimum Value, and Actuarial Value, Leavitt Group (January 27, 2014).

Sources

External links

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long title The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Acronyms(colloquial) PPACA, ACA
Nicknames Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Reform, Healthcare Reform, Obamacare
Enacted by the 111th United States Congress
Effective March 23, 2010; 7 years ago
Most major provisions phased in by January 2014; remaining provisions phased in by 2020
Citations
Public law 111–148
Statutes at Large 124 Stat.119through 124 Stat.1025(906 pages)
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Houseasthe “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009” (H.R. 3590) byCharles Rangel (DNY) on September 17, 2009
  • Committee consideration byWays and Means
  • Passed the House on October 8, 2009 (416–0)
  • Passed the Senate as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” on December 24, 2009 (60–39) with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on March 21, 2010 (219–212)
  • Signed into law by PresidentBarack Obamaon March 23, 2010
Major amendments
Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011
United States Supreme Court cases
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
King v. Burwell

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by PresidentBarack Obama on March 23, 2010. Under the act, hospitals and primary physicians would transform their practices financially, technologically, and clinically to drive better health outcomes, lower costs, and improve their methods of distribution and accessibility.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to increase health insurance quality and affordability, lower the uninsured rate by expanding insurance coverage and reduce the costs of healthcare. It introduced mechanisms including mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges.[1][2] The law requires insurers to accept all applicants, cover a specific list of conditions and charge the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex.[3]

The ACA has caused a significant reduction in the number and percentage of people without health insurance, with estimates ranging from 20-24 million additional persons covered during 2016.[4][5] Increases in overall healthcare spending have slowed since the law was implemented, including premiums for employer-based insurance plans.[6] The Congressional Budget Office reported in several studies that the ACA would reduce the budget deficit, and that repealing it would increase the deficit.[7][8]

As implementation began, first opponents, then others, and finally the president himself adopted the term “Obamacare” to refer to the ACA.[9]

The law and its implementation faced challenges in Congress and federal courts, and from some state governments, conservativeadvocacy groups, labor unions, and small business organizations. The United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate as an exercise of Congress’s taxing power,[10]found that states cannot be forced to participate in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion,[11][12][13] and found that the law’s subsidies to help individuals pay for health insurance are available in all states, not just in those that have set up state exchanges.[14]

Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system‘s most significant regulatory overhaul and expansion of coverage since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[15][16][17][18]

Contents

 [show] 

Provisions

The President and White House Staff react to the House of Representatives passing the bill on March 21, 2010.

The ACA includes provisions to take effect between 2010 and 2020, although most took effect on January 1, 2014. Few areas of the US health care system were left untouched, making it the most sweeping health care reform since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[15][16][17][19][18] However, some areas were more affected than others. The individual insurance market was radically overhauled, and many of the law’s regulations applied specifically to this market,[15] while the structure of Medicare, Medicaid, and the employer marketwere largely retained.[16] Most of the coverage gains were made through the expansion of Medicaid,[20] and the biggest cost savings were made in Medicare.[16] Some regulations applied to the employer market, and the law also made delivery system changes that affected most of the health care system.[16] Not all provisions took full effect. Some were made discretionary, some were deferred, and others were repealed before implementation.

Individual insurance

Guaranteed issue prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals due to pre-existing conditions. States were required to ensure the availability of insurance for individual children who did not have coverage via their families.

States were required to expand Medicaid eligibility to include individuals and families with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level, including adults without disabilities or dependent children.[21] The law provides a 5% “income disregard”, making the effective income eligibility limit for Medicaid 138% of the poverty level.[22]

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment process was simplified.[21]

Dependents were permitted to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until their 26th birthday, including dependents that no longer live with their parents, are not a dependent on a parent’s tax return, are no longer a student, or are married.[23][24]

Among the groups who remained uninsured were:

  • Illegal immigrants, estimated at around 8 million—or roughly a third of the 23 million projection—are ineligible for insurance subsidies and Medicaid.[25][26] They remain eligible for emergency services.
  • Eligible citizens not enrolled in Medicaid.[27]
  • Citizens who pay the annual penalty instead of purchasing insurance, mostly younger and single.[27]
  • Citizens whose insurance coverage would cost more than 8% of household income and are exempt from the penalty.[27]
  • Citizens who live in states that opt out of the Medicaid expansion and who qualify for neither existing Medicaid coverage nor subsidized coverage through the states’ new insurance exchanges.[28]

Subsidies

Households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level were eligible to receive federal subsidies for policies purchased via an exchange.[29][30] Subsidies are provided as an advanceable, refundable tax credit[31][32] Additionally, small businesses are eligible for a tax credit provided that they enroll in the SHOP Marketplace.[33] Under the law, workers whose employers offer affordable coverage will not be eligible for subsidies via the exchanges. To be eligible the cost of employer-based health insurance must exceed 9.5% of the worker’s household income.

Subsidies (2014) for Family of 4[34][35][36][37][38]
Income % of federal poverty level Premium Cap as a Share of Income Incomea Max Annual Out-of-Pocket Premium Premium Savingsb Additional Cost-Sharing Subsidy
133% 3% of income $31,900 $992 $10,345 $5,040
150% 4% of income $33,075 $1,323 $9,918 $5,040
200% 6.3% of income $44,100 $2,778 $8,366 $4,000
250% 8.05% of income $55,125 $4,438 $6,597 $1,930
300% 9.5% of income $66,150 $6,284 $4,628 $1,480
350% 9.5% of income $77,175 $7,332 $3,512 $1,480
400% 9.5% of income $88,200 $8,379 $2,395 $1,480
a.^ Note: In 2014, the FPL was $11,800 for a single person and $24,000 for family of four.[39][40] See Subsidy Calculator for specific dollar amount.[41] b.^ DHHS and CBO estimate the average annual premium cost in 2014 would have been $11,328 for a family of 4 without the reform.[36]

Premiums were the same for everyone of a given age, regardless of preexisting conditions. Premiums were allowed to vary by enrollee age, but those for the oldest enrollees (age 45-64 average expenses $5,542) could only be three times as large as those for adults (18-24 $1,836).[42]

Mandates

Individual

The individual mandate[43] is the requirement to buy insurance or pay a penalty for everyone not covered by an employer sponsored health plan, Medicaid, Medicare or other public insurance programs (such as Tricare). Also exempt were those facing a financial hardship or who were members in a recognized religious sect exempted by the Internal Revenue Service.[44]

The mandate and the limits on open enrollment[45][46] were designed to avoid the insurance death spiral in which healthy people delay insuring themselves until they get sick. In such a situation, insurers would have to raise their premiums to cover the relatively sicker and thus more expensive policies,[43][47][48] which could create a vicious cycle in which more and more people drop their coverage.[49]

The purpose of the mandate was to prevent the healthcare system from succumbing to adverse selection, which would result in high premiums for the insured and little coverage (and thus more illness and medical bankruptcy) for the uninsured.[47][50][51] Studies by the CBO, Gruber and Rand Health concluded that a mandate was required.[52][53][54] The mandate increased the size and diversity of the insured population, including more young and healthy participants to broaden the risk pool, spreading costs.[55] Experience in New Jersey and Massachusetts offered divergent outcomes.[50][53][56]

Business

Businesses that employ 50 or more people but do not offer health insurance to their full-time employees pay a tax penalty if the government has subsidized a full-time employee’s healthcare through tax deductions or other means. This is commonly known as the employer mandate.[57][58] This provision was included to encourage employers to continue providing insurance once the exchanges began operating.[59] Approximately 44% of the population was covered directly or indirectly through an employer.[60][61]

Excise taxes

Excise taxes for the Affordable Care Act raised $16.3 billion in fiscal year 2015 (17% of all excise taxes collected by the Federal Government). $11.3 billion was an excise tax placed directly on health insurers based on their market share. The ACA was going to impose a 40% “Cadillac tax” on expensive employer sponsored health insurance but that was postponed until 2018. Annual excise taxes totaling $3 billion were levied on importers and manufacturers of prescription drugs. An excise tax of 2.3% on medical devices and a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services were applied as well.[62]

Insurance standards

Essential health benefits

The National Academy of Medicine defined the law’s “essential health benefits” as “ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care”[63][64][65][66][67][68][69] and others[70] rated Level A or B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.[71] In determining what would qualify as an essential benefit, the law required that standard benefits should offer at least that of a “typical employer plan”.[68] States may require additional services.[72]

Contraceptives

One provision in the law mandates that health insurance cover “additional preventive care and screenings” for women.[73] The guidelines mandate “[a]ll Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity”.[74] This mandate applies to all employers and educational institutions except for religious organizations.[75][76] These regulations were included on the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine.[77][78]

Risk management

ACA provided three ways to control risk for insurers in the individual and business markets: temporary reinsurance, temporary risk corridors, and permanent risk adjustment.

Risk corridor program

The risk-corridor program was a temporary risk management device defined under the PPACA section 1342[79]:1 to encourage reluctant insurers into the “new and untested” ACA insurance market during the first three years that ACA was implemented (2014-2016). For those years the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “would cover some of the losses for insurers whose plans performed worse than they expected. Insurers that were especially profitable, for their part, would have to return to HHS some of the money they earned on the exchanges”[80][81] According to an article in Forbes, risk corridors “had been a successful part of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and the ACA’s risk corridors were modeled after Medicare’s Plan D.”[82] They operated on the principle that “more participation would mean more competition, which would drive down premiums and make health insurance more affordable” and “[w]hen insurers signed up to sell health plans on the exchanges, they did so with the expectation that the risk-corridor program would limit their downside losses.”[80] The risk corridors succeeded in attracting ACA insurers. The program did not pay for itself as planned with “accumulated losses” up to $8.3 billion for 2014 and 2015 alone. Authorization had to be given so that HHS could pay insurers from “general government revenues”. Congressional Republicans “railed against” the program as a ‘bailout’ for insurers. Then-Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), on the Appropriations Committee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services and the Labor Department “[slipped] in a sentence” — Section 227 — in the “massive” appropriationsConsolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (H.R. 3547) that said that no funds in the discretionary spending bill “could be used for risk-corridor payments.” This effectively “blocked the administration from obtaining the necessary funds from other programs”[83] and placed Congress in a potential breach of contract with insurers who offered qualified health plans, under the Tucker Act[79] as it did not pay the insurers.[84][84] On February 10, 2017, in the Moda Health v the US Government, Moda, one of the insurers that struggled financially because of the elimination of the risk corridor program, won a “$214-million judgment against the federal government”. Justice Thomas C. Wheeler stated, “the Government “made a promise in the risk corridors program that it has yet to fulfill. Today, the court directs the Government to fulfill that promise. After all, ‘to say to [Moda], ‘The joke is on you. You shouldn’t have trusted us,’ is hardly worthy of our great government.”[85]

Temporary reinsurance

Temporary reinsurance for insurance for insurers against unexpectedly high claims was a program that ran from 2014 through 2016. It was intended to limit insurer losses.[citation needed]

Risk adjustment

Of the three risk management programs, only risk adjustment was permanent. Risk adjustment attempts to spread risk among insurers to prevent purchasers with good knowledge of their medical needs from using insurance to cover their costs (adverse selection). Plans with low actuarial risk compensate plans with high actuarial risk.[citation needed]

Other provisions

In 2012 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse created this summary to explain his view on the act.

The ACA has several other provisions:

  • Annual and lifetime coverage caps on essential benefits were banned.[86][87]
  • Prohibits insurers from dropping policyholders when they get sick.[88]
  • All health policies sold in the United States must provide an annual maximum out of pocket (MOOP) payment cap for an individual’s or family’s medical expenses (excluding premiums). After the MOOP payment cap is reached, all remaining costs must be paid by the insurer.[89]
  • A partial community rating requires insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and location without regard to gender or most pre-existing conditions (excluding tobacco use).[90][91][92] Premiums for older applicants can be no more than three times those for the youngest.[93]
  • Preventive care, vaccinations and medical screenings cannot be subject to co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles.[94][95][96] Specific examples of covered services include: mammograms and colonoscopies, wellness visits, gestational diabetes screening, HPV testing, STI counseling, HIV screening and counseling, contraceptive methods, breastfeeding support/supplies and domestic violence screening and counseling.[97]
  • The law established four tiers of coverage: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. All categories offer the essential health benefits. The categories vary in their division of premiums and out-of-pocket costs: bronze plans have the lowest monthly premiums and highest out-of-pocket costs, while platinum plans are the reverse.[68][98] The percentages of health care costs that plans are expected to cover through premiums (as opposed to out-of-pocket costs) are, on average: 60% (bronze), 70% (silver), 80% (gold), and 90% (platinum).[99]
  • Insurers are required to implement an appeals process for coverage determination and claims on all new plans.[88]
  • Insurers must spend at least 80–85% of premium dollars on health costs; rebates must be issued to policyholders if this is violated.[100][101]

Exchanges

Established the creation of health insurance exchanges in all fifty states. The exchanges are regulated, largely online marketplaces, administered by either federal or state government, where individuals and small business can purchase private insurance plans.[102][103][104]

Setting up an exchange gives a state partial discretion on standards and prices of insurance.[105][106] For example, states approve plans for sale, and influence (through limits on and negotiations with private insurers) the prices on offer. They can impose higher or state-specific coverage requirements—including whether plans offered in the state can cover abortion.[107] States without an exchange do not have that discretion. The responsibility for operating their exchanges moves to the federal government.[105]

State waivers

From 2017 onwards, states can apply for a “waiver for state innovation” that allows them to conduct experiments that meet certain criteria.[108] To obtain a waiver, a state must pass legislation setting up an alternative health system that provides insurance at least as comprehensive and as affordable as ACA, covers at least as many residents and does not increase the federal deficit.[109] Such states can exempt states from some of ACA’s central requirements, including the individual and employer mandates and the provision of an insurance exchange.[110] The state would receive compensation equal to the aggregate amount of any federal subsidies and tax credits for which its residents and employers would have been eligible under ACA plan, if they cannot be paid out due to the structure of the state plan.[108]

In May 2011, Vermont enacted Green Mountain Care, a state-based single-payer system for which they intended to pursue a waiver to implement.[111][112][113] In December 2014, Vermont decided not to continue due to high expected costs.[114]

Accountable Care Organizations

The Act allowed the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which are groups of doctors, hospitals and other providers that commit to give coordinated, high quality care to Medicare patients. ACOs were allowed to continue using a fee for service billing approach. They receive bonus payments from the government for minimizing costs while achieving quality benchmarks that emphasize prevention and mitigating chronic disease. If they fail to do so, they are subject to penalties.[115]

Unlike Health Maintenance Organizations, ACO patients are not required to obtain all care from the ACO. Also, unlike HMOs, ACOs must achieve quality of care goals.[115]

Others

Legislative history

President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010

Background

An individual mandate coupled with subsidies for private insurance as a means for universal healthcare was considered the best way to win the support of the Senate because it had been included in prior bipartisan reform proposals. The concept goes back to at least 1989, when the conservativeHeritage Foundation proposed an individual mandate as an alternative to single-payer health care.[125] It was championed for a time by conservative economists and Republican senators as a market-based approach to healthcare reform on the basis of individual responsibility and avoidance of free rider problems. Specifically, because the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires any hospital participating in Medicare (nearly all do) to provide emergency care to anyone who needs it, the government often indirectly bore the cost of those without the ability to pay.[126][127][128]

President Bill Clintonproposed a healthcare reform bill in 1993 that included a mandate for employers to provide health insurance to all employees through a regulated marketplace of health maintenance organizations. Republican Senators proposed an alternative that would have required individuals, but not employers, to buy insurance.[127]Ultimately the Clinton plan failed amid an unprecedented barrage of negative advertising funded by politically conservative groups and the health insurance industry and due to concerns that it was overly complex.[129] Clinton negotiated a compromise with the 105th Congress to instead enact the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997.[130]

John Chafee

The 1993 Republican alternative, introduced by Senator John Chafee as the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act, contained a “universal coverage” requirement with a penalty for noncompliance—an individual mandate—as well as subsidies to be used in state-based ‘purchasing groups’.[131] Advocates for the 1993 bill included prominent Republicans such as Senators Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett and Kit Bond.[132][133] Of 1993’s 43 Republican Senators, 20 supported the HEART Act.[125][134] Another Republican proposal, introduced in 1994 by Senator Don Nickles (R-OK), the Consumer Choice Health Security Act, contained an individual mandate with a penalty provision;[135] however, Nickles subsequently removed the mandate from the bill, stating he had decided “that government should not compel people to buy health insurance”.[136] At the time of these proposals, Republicans did not raise constitutional issues with the mandate; Mark Pauly, who helped develop a proposal that included an individual mandate for George H. W. Bush, remarked, “I don’t remember that being raised at all. The way it was viewed by the Congressional Budget Office in 1994 was, effectively, as a tax.”[125]

Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts went from 90% of its residents insured to 98%, the highest rate in the nation.[137]

In 2006, an insurance expansion bill was enacted at the state level in Massachusetts. The bill contained both an individual mandate and an insurance exchange. Republican Governor Mitt Romney vetoed the mandate, but after Democrats overrode his veto, he signed it into law.[138] Romney’s implementation of the ‘Health Connector’ exchange and individual mandate in Massachusetts was at first lauded by Republicans. During Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, Senator Jim DeMint praised Romney’s ability to “take some good conservative ideas, like private health insurance, and apply them to the need to have everyone insured”. Romney said of the individual mandate: “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be the model for the nation.”[139]

In 2007, a year after the Massachusetts reform, Republican Senator Bob Bennett and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Healthy Americans Act, which featured an individual mandate and state-based, regulated insurance markets called “State Health Help Agencies”.[128][139] The bill initially attracted bipartisan support, but died in committee. Many of the sponsors and co-sponsors remained in Congress during the 2008 healthcare debate.[140]

By 2008 many Democrats were considering this approach as the basis for healthcare reform. Experts said that the legislation that eventually emerged from Congress in 2009 and 2010 bore similarities to the 2007 bill[131] and that it was deliberately patterned after Romney’s state healthcare plan.[141]

Healthcare debate, 2008–10

Healthcare reform was a major topic during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. As the race narrowed, attention focused on the plans presented by the two leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and the eventual nominee, Barack Obama. Each candidate proposed a plan to cover the approximately 45 million Americans estimated to not have health insurance at some point each year. Clinton’s proposal would have required all Americans to obtain coverage (in effect, an individual mandate), while Obama’s proposal provided a subsidy but rejected the use of an individual mandate.[142][143]

During the general election, Obama said that fixing healthcare would be one of his top four priorities as president.[144] Obama and his opponent, Sen. John McCain, proposed health insurance reforms though they differed greatly. Senator John McCain proposed tax credits for health insurance purchased in the individual market, which was estimated to reduce the number of uninsured people by about 2 million by 2018. Obama proposed private and public group insurance, income-based subsidies, consumer protections, and expansions of Medicaid and SCHIP, which was estimated at the time to reduce the number of uninsured people by 33.9 million by 2018.[145]

President Obama addressing Congress regarding healthcare reform, September 9, 2009

After his inauguration, Obama announced to a joint session of Congress in February 2009 his intent to work with Congress to construct a plan for healthcare reform.[146][147] By July, a series of bills were approved by committees within the House of Representatives.[148] On the Senate side, from June to September, the Senate Finance Committee held a series of 31 meetings to develop a healthcare reform bill. This group — in particular, Democrats Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman and Kent Conrad, along with Republicans Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe — met for more than 60 hours, and the principles that they discussed, in conjunction with the other committees, became the foundation of the Senate healthcare reform bill.[149][150][151]

Congressional Democrats and health policy experts like MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber[152] and David Cutler argued that guaranteed issue would require both community rating and an individual mandate to ensure that adverse selection and/or “free riding” would not result in an insurance “death spiral”.[153] This approach was taken because the president and congressional leaders had concluded that more progressive plans, such as the (single-payer)Medicare for All act, could not obtain filibuster-proof support in the Senate. By deliberately drawing on bipartisan ideas — the same basic outline was supported by former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Tom Daschle and George J. Mitchell—the bill’s drafters hoped to garner the votes necessary for passage.[154][155]

However, following the adoption of an individual mandate, Republicans came to oppose the mandate and threatened to filibuster any bills that contained it.[125] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to prevent defections:[156]

It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out.[157]

Republican Senators, including those who had supported previous bills with a similar mandate, began to describe the mandate as “unconstitutional”. Journalist Ezra Klein wrote in The New Yorker that “a policy that once enjoyed broad support within the Republican Party suddenly faced unified opposition.”[128] Reporter Michael Cooper of The New York Times wrote that: “the provision … requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.”[127][134]

Tea Party protesters at the Taxpayer March on Washington, September 12, 2009

The reform negotiations also attracted attention from lobbyists,[158] including deals between certain lobby groups and the advocates of the law to win the support of groups that had opposed past reforms, as in 1993.[159][160] The Sunlight Foundation documented many of the reported ties between “the healthcare lobbyist complex” and politicians in both parties.[161]

During the August 2009 summer congressional recess, many members went back to their districts and held town hall meetings on the proposals. The nascent Tea Party movement organized protests and many conservative groups and individuals attended the meetings to oppose the proposed reforms.[147] Many threats were made against members of Congress over the course of the debate.[162][163]

When Congress returned from recess, in September 2009 President Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress supporting the ongoing Congressional negotiations.[164] He acknowledged the polarization of the debate, and quoted a letter from the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy urging on reform: “what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”[165] On November 7, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act on a 220–215 vote and forwarded it to the Senate for passage.[147]

Senate

The Senate began work on its own proposals while the House was still working. The United States Constitution requires all revenue-related bills to originate in the House.[166] To formally comply with this requirement, the Senate used H.R. 3590, a bill regarding housing tax changes for service members.[167] It had been passed by the House as a revenue-related modification to the Internal Revenue Code. The bill became the Senate’s vehicle for its healthcare reform proposal, discarding the bill’s original content.[168] The bill ultimately incorporated elements of proposals that were reported favorably by the Senate Health and Finance committees. With the Republican Senate minority vowing to filibuster, 60 votes would be necessary to pass the Senate.[169] At the start of the 111th Congress, Democrats had only 58 votes; the Senate seat in Minnesota ultimately won by Al Franken was still undergoing a recount, while Arlen Specter was still a Republican (he became a Democrat in April, 2009).

Negotiations were undertaken attempting to satisfy moderate Democrats and to bring Republican senators aboard; particular attention was given to Republicans Bennett, Enzi, Grassley and Snowe. On July 7 Franken was sworn into office, providing a potential 60th vote. On August 25 Ted Kennedy—a longtime healthcare reform advocate—died. Paul Kirk was appointed as Senator Kennedy’s temporary replacement on September 24.

After the Finance Committee vote on October 15, negotiations turned to moderate Democrats. Majority leader Harry Reid focused on satisfying centrists. The holdouts came down to Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucused with Democrats, and conservative Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson. Lieberman’s demand that the bill not include a public option[153][170] was met,[171] although supporters won various concessions, including allowing state-based public options such as Vermont’s Green Mountain Care.[171][172]

Senate vote by state.

  Democratic yes (58)
  Independent yes (2)
  Republican no (39)
 Republican not voting (1)

The White House and Reid addressed Nelson’s concerns[173] during a 13-hour negotiation with two concessions: a compromise on abortion, modifying the language of the bill “to give states the right to prohibit coverage of abortion within their own insurance exchanges”, which would require consumers to pay for the procedure out of pocket if the state so decided; and an amendment to offer a higher rate of Medicaid reimbursement for Nebraska.[147][174] The latter half of the compromise was derisively termed the “Cornhusker Kickback”[175] and was repealed in the subsequent reconciliation amendment bill.

On December 23, the Senate voted 60–39 to end debate on the bill: a cloture vote to end the filibuster. The bill then passed, also 60–39, on December 24, 2009, with all Democrats and two independents voting for it, and all Republicans against (except Jim Bunning, who did not vote).[176] The bill was endorsed by the AMA and AARP.[177]

On January 19, 2010, Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown was elected to the Senate in a special election to replace Kennedy, having campaigned on giving the Republican minority the 41st vote needed to sustain Republican filibusters.[147][178][179] His victory had become significant because of its effects on the legislative process. The first was psychological: the symbolic importance of losing Kennedy’s traditionally Democratic Massachusetts seat made many Congressional Democrats concerned about the political cost of passing a bill.[180][181]

House

House vote by congressional district.

  Democratic yes (219)
  Democratic no (34)
  Republican no (178)
  No representative seated (4)

Brown’s election meant Democrats could no longer break a filibuster in the Senate. In response, White House Chief of StaffRahm Emanuel argued that Democrats should scale back to a less ambitious bill; House SpeakerNancy Pelosi pushed back, dismissing Emanuel’s scaled-down approach as “Kiddie Care”.[182][183]

Obama remained insistent on comprehensive reform. The news that Anthem Blue Cross in California intended to raise premium rates for its patients by as much as 39% gave him new evidence of the need for reform.[182][183] On February 22, he laid out a “Senate-leaning” proposal to consolidate the bills.[184] He held a meeting with both parties’ leaders on February 25. The Democrats decided that the House would pass the Senate’s bill, to avoid another Senate vote.

House Democrats had expected to be able to negotiate changes in a House-Senate conference before passing a final bill. Since any bill that emerged from conference that differed from the Senate bill would have to pass the Senate over another Republican filibuster, most House Democrats agreed to pass the Senate bill on condition that it be amended by a subsequent bill.[181] They drafted the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which could be passed by the reconciliation process.[182][185][186]

As per the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation cannot be subject to a filibuster. But reconciliation is limited to budget changes, which is why the procedure was not used to pass ACA in the first place; the bill had inherently non-budgetary regulations.[187][188] Although the already-passed Senate bill could not have been passed by reconciliation, most of House Democrats’ demands were budgetary: “these changes—higher subsidy levels, different kinds of taxes to pay for them, nixing the Nebraska Medicaid deal—mainly involve taxes and spending. In other words, they’re exactly the kinds of policies that are well-suited for reconciliation.”[185]

The remaining obstacle was a pivotal group of pro-life Democrats led by Bart Stupak who were initially reluctant to support the bill. The group found the possibility of federal funding for abortion significant enough to warrant opposition. The Senate bill had not included language that satisfied their concerns, but they could not address abortion in the reconciliation bill as it would be non-budgetary. Instead, Obama issued Executive Order 13535, reaffirming the principles in the Hyde Amendment.[189] This won the support of Stupak and members of his group and assured the bill’s passage.[186][190] The House passed the Senate bill with a 219–212 vote on March 21, 2010, with 34 Democrats and all 178 Republicans voting against it.[191] The next day, Republicans introduced legislation to repeal the bill.[192] Obama signed ACA into law on March 23, 2010.[193] Since passage, Republicans have voted to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act over sixty times; no such attempt by Republicans has been successful.[194] The amendment bill, The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, cleared the House on March 21; the Senate passed it by reconciliation on March 25, and Obama signed it on March 30.

Impact

Coverage rate, employer market cost trends, budgetary impact, and income inequality aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

This chart illustrates several aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including number of persons covered, cost before and after subsidies, and public opinion.

Coverage

The law has caused a significant reduction in the number and percentage of people without health insurance. The CDC reported that the percentage of people without health insurance fell from 16.0% in 2010 to 8.9% during the January–June 2016 period.[195] From Q4-2013 to Q1-2016, a Gallup survey found that the uninsured rate among adults declined from 17.1% to 11.0%, a decline of 6.1 percentage points.[196] In a 2016 review, Obama presented data showing that the uninsured rate had declined by 43%, from 16.0% in 2010 to 9.1% in 2015, mostly in 2014.[197] The uninsured rate dropped in every congressional district in the U.S. between 2013 and 2015.[198]

In March 2016, the CBO reported that there were approximately 27 million people without insurance in 2016, a figure they expected would range from 26-28 million through 2026. CBO also estimated the percentage of insured among all U.S. residents would remain at 90% through that period, 92-93% excluding unauthorized immigrants.[4]

Those states that expanded Medicaid had a 7.3% uninsured rate on average in the first quarter of 2016, while those that did not expand Medicaid had a 14.1% uninsured rate, among adults aged 18 to 64.[199] As of December 2016 there were 32 states (including Washington DC) that had adopted the Medicaid extension, while 19 states had not.[200]

The Congressional Budget Office reported in March 2016 that there were approximately 12 million people covered by the exchanges (10 million of whom received subsidies to help pay for insurance) and 11 million made eligible for Medicaid by the law, a subtotal of 23 million people. An additional 1 million were covered by the ACA’s “Basic Health Program,” for a total of 24 million.[4] CBO also estimated that the ACA would reduce the net number of uninsured by 22 million in 2016, using a slightly different computation for the above figures totaling ACA coverage of 26 million, less 4 million for reductions in “employment-based coverage” and “non-group and other coverage.”[4] The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimated that 20.0 million adults (aged 18–64) gained healthcare coverage via ACA as of February 2016, a 2.4 million increase over September 2015. HHS estimated that this 20.0 million included: a) 17.7 million from the start of open enrollment in 2013-2016; and b) 2.3 million young adults aged 19–25 who initially gained insurance from 2010-2013, as they were allowed to remain on their parent’s plans until age 26. Of the 20.0 million, an estimated 6.1 million were aged 19–25.[5]

By 2017, nearly 70% of those on the exchanges could purchase insurance for less than $75/month after subsidies, which rose to offset significant pre-subsidy price increases in the exchange markets.[201] Healthcare premium cost increases in the employer market continued to moderate. For example, healthcare premiums for those covered by employers rose by 69% from 2000-2005, but only 27% from 2010 to 2015,[6] with only a 3% increase from 2015 to 2016.[202]

The ACA also helps reduce income inequality measured after taxes, due to higher taxes on the top 5% of income earners and both subsidies and Medicaid expansion for lower-income persons.[203] CBO estimated that subsidies paid under the law in 2016 averaged $4,240 per person for 10 million individuals receiving them, roughly $42 billion. For scale, the subsidy for the employer market, in the form of exempting from taxation those health insurance premiums paid on behalf of employees by employers, was approximately $1,700 per person in 2016, or $266 billion total in the employer market. The employer market subsidy was not changed by the law.[4]

Insurance exchanges

As of August 2016, 15 states operated their own exchanges. Other states either used the federal exchange, or operated in partnership with or supported by the federal government.[204]

Medicaid expansion

Medicaid expansion by state.[205]

  Adopted the Medicaid expansion
  Medicaid expansion under discussion
  Not adopting Medicaid expansion

As of December 2016 there were 32 states (including Washington DC) that had adopted the Medicaid extension, while 19 states had not.[200] Those states that expanded Medicaid had a 7.3% uninsured rate on average in the first quarter of 2016, while those that did not expand Medicaid had a 14.1% uninsured rate, among adults aged 18 to 64.[199] Following the Supreme Court ruling in 2012, which held that states would not lose Medicaid funding if they didn’t expand Medicaid under the ACA, several states rejected expanded Medicaid coverage. Over half of the national uninsured population lived in those states.[206] In a report to Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that the cost of expansion was $6,366 per person for 2015, about 49 percent above previous estimates. An estimated 9 million to 10 million people had gained Medicaid coverage, mostly low-income adults.[207] The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated in October 2015 that 3.1 million additional people were not covered because of states that rejected the Medicaid expansion.[208]

States that rejected the Medicaid expansion could maintain their Medicaid eligibility thresholds, which in many states were significantly below 133% of the poverty line.[209]Many states did not make Medicaid available to childless adults at any income level.[210] Because subsidies on exchange insurance plans were not available to those below the poverty line, such individuals had no new options.[211][212] For example, in Kansas, where only able-bodied adults with children and with an income below 32% of the poverty line were eligible for Medicaid, those with incomes from 32% to 100% of the poverty level ($6,250 to $19,530 for a family of three) were ineligible for both Medicaid and federal subsidies to buy insurance. Absent children, able-bodied adults were not eligible for Medicaid in Kansas.[206]

Studies of the impact of state decisions to reject the Medicaid expansion calculated that up to 6.4 million people could fall into this status.[213] The federal government initially paid for 100% of the expansion (through 2016). The subsidy tapered to 90% by 2020 and continued to shrink thereafter.[214] Several states argued that they could not afford their 10% contribution.[214][215] Studies suggested that rejecting the expansion would cost more than expanding Medicaid due to increased spending on uncompensated emergency care that otherwise would have been partially paid for by Medicaid coverage,[216]

A 2016 study led by Harvard University health economics professor Benjamin Sommers found that residents of Kentucky and Arkansas, which both accepted the Medicaid expansion, were more likely to receive health care services and less likely to incur emergency room costs or have trouble paying their medical bills than before the expansion. Residents of Texas, which did not accept the Medicaid expansion, did not see a similar improvement during the same period.[217] Kentucky opted for increased managed care, while Arkansas subsidized private insurance. The new Arkansas and Kentucky governors have proposed reducing or modifying their programs. Between 2013 and 2015, the uninsured rate dropped from 42% to 14% in Arkansas and from 40% to 9% in Kentucky, compared with 39% to 32% in Texas. Specific improvements included additional primary and preventive care, fewer emergency departments visits, reported higher quality care, improved health, improved drug affordability, reduced out-of-pocket spending and increased outpatient visits, increased diabetes screening, glucose testing among diabetes patients and regular care for chronic conditions.[218]

A 2016 DHHS study found that states that expanded Medicaid had lower premiums on exchange policies, because they had fewer low-income enrollees, whose health on is worse than that of those with higher income.[219]

Healthcare insurance costs

U.S. healthcare cost information, including rate of change, per-capita, and percent of GDP. (Data source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services[220])

The law is designed to pay subsidies in the form of tax credits to the individuals or families purchasing the insurance, based on income levels. Higher income consumers receive lower subsidies. While pre-subsidy prices rose considerably from 2016 to 2017, so did the subsidies, to reduce the after-subsidy cost to the consumer. For example, a study published in 2016 found that the average requested 2017 premium increase among 40-year-old non-smokers was about 9 percent, according to an analysis of 17 cities, although Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed increases of 40 percent in Alabama and 60 percent in Texas.[221] However, some or all of these costs are offset by subsidies, paid as tax credits. For example, the Kaiser Foundation reported that for the second-lowest cost “Silver plan” (a plan often selected and used as the benchmark for determining financial assistance), a 40-year old non-smoker making $30,000 per year would pay effectively the same amount in 2017 as they did in 2016 (about $208/month) after the subsidy/tax credit, despite large increases in the pre-subsidy price. This was consistent nationally. In other words, the subsidies increased along with the pre-subsidy price, fully offsetting the price increases.[222]

Healthcare premium cost increases in the employer market continued to moderate after the implementation of the law. For example, healthcare premiums for those covered by employers rose by 69% from 2000-2005, but only 27% from 2010 to 2015,[6] with only a 3% increase from 2015 to 2016.[202] From 2008-2010 (prior to Obamacare) health insurance premiums rose by an average of 10% per year.[223]

Several studies found that the financial crisis and accompanying recession could not account for the entirety of the slowdown and that structural changes likely share at least partial credit.[224][225][226][227] A 2013 study estimated that changes to the health system had been responsible for about a quarter of the recent reduction in inflation.[228] Paul Krawzak claimed that even if cost controls succeed in reducing the amount spent on healthcare, such efforts on their own may be insufficient to outweigh the long-term burden placed by demographic changes, particularly the growth of the population on Medicare.[229]

In a 2016 review of the ACA published in JAMA, Barack Obama himself wrote that from 2010 through 2014 mean annual growth in real per-enrollee Medicare spending was negative, down from a mean of 4.7% per year from 2000 through 2005 and 2.4% per year from 2006 to 2010; similarly, mean real per-enrollee growth in private insurance spending was 1.1% per year over the period, compared with a mean of 6.5% from 2000 through 2005 and 3.4% from 2005 to 2010.[230]

Effect on deductibles and co-payments

While health insurance premium costs have moderated, some of this is because of insurance policies that have a higher deductible, co-payments and out-of-pocket maximums that shift costs from insurers to patients. In addition, many employees are choosing to combine a health savings account with higher deductible plans, making the impact of the ACA difficult to determine precisely.

For those who obtain their insurance through their employer (“group market”), a 2016 survey found that:

  • Deductibles grew by 63% from 2011 to 2016, while premiums increased 19% and worker earnings grew by 11%.
  • In 2016, 4 in 5 workers had an insurance deductible, which averaged $1,478. For firms with less than 200 employees, the deductible averaged $2,069.
  • The percentage of workers with a deductible of at least $1,000 grew from 10% in 2006 to 51% in 2016. The 2016 figure drops to 38% after taking employer contributions into account.[231]

For the “non-group” market, of which two-thirds are covered by the ACA exchanges, a survey of 2015 data found that:

  • 49% had individual deductibles of at least $1,500 ($3,000 for family), up from 36% in 2014.
  • Many marketplace enrollees qualify for cost-sharing subsidies that reduce their net deductible.
  • While about 75% of enrollees were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their choice of doctors and hospitals, only 50% had such satisfaction with their annual deductible.
  • While 52% of those covered by the ACA exchanges felt “well protected” by their insurance, in the group market 63% felt that way.[232]

Health outcomes

Insurance coverage helps save lives, by encouraging early detection and prevention of dangerous medical conditions. According to a 2014 study, the ACA likely prevented an estimated 50,000 preventable patient deaths from 2010 to 2013.[233]City University public health professors David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler wrote in January 2017 that a rollback of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion alone would cause an estimated 43,956 deaths annually.[234]

Federal deficit

CBO estimates of revenue and impact on deficit

The CBO reported in several studies that the ACA would reduce the deficit, and that repealing it would increase the deficit.[7][8][235][236] The 2011 comprehensive CBO estimate projected a net deficit reduction of more than $200 billion during the 2012–2021 period:[8][237] it calculated the law would result in $604 billion in total outlays offset by $813 billion in total receipts, resulting in a $210 billion net deficit reduction.[8] The CBO separately predicted that while most of the spending provisions do not begin until 2014,[238][239] revenue would exceed spending in those subsequent years.[240] The CBO claimed that the bill would “substantially reduce the growth of Medicare’s payment rates for most services; impose an excise tax on insurance plans with relatively high premiums; and make various other changes to the federal tax code, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs”[241]—ultimately extending the solvency of the Medicare trust fund by 8 years.[242]

This estimate was made prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling that enabled states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, thereby forgoing the related federal funding. The CBO and JCT subsequently updated the budget projection, estimating the impact of the ruling would reduce the cost estimate of the insurance coverage provisions by $84 billion.[243][244][245]

The CBO in June 2015 forecasted that repeal of ACA would increase the deficit between $137 billion and $353 billion over the 2016–2025 period, depending on the impact of macroeconomic feedback effects. The CBO also forecasted that repeal of ACA would likely cause an increase in GDP by an average of 0.7% in the period from 2021 to 2015, mainly by boosting the supply of labor.[7]

Major new sources of increased tax receipts include:[95] higher Medicare taxes; annual fees on insurance providers; fees on the healthcare industry such as manufacturers and importers of brand-name pharmaceutical drugs and certain medical devices; limits on tax deductions of medical expenses and flexible spending accounts; a 40% excise tax on plans with annual insurance premiums in excess of $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family; revenue from mandate penalty payments; a 10% federal sales tax on indoor tanning services. Predicted spending reductions included a reduction in Medicare reimbursements to insurers and drug companies for private Medicare Advantage policies that the Government Accountability Office and Medicare Payment Advisory Commission found to be excessively costly relative to government Medicare;[246][247] and reductions in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that failed standards of efficiency and care.[246]

Although the CBO generally does not provide cost estimates beyond the 10-year budget projection period because of the degree of uncertainty involved in the projection, it decided to do so in this case at the request of lawmakers, and estimated a second decade deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion.[241][248] CBO predicted deficit reduction around a broad range of one-half percent of GDP over the 2020s while cautioning that “a wide range of changes could occur”.[249]

Opinions on CBO projections

The CBO cost estimates were criticized because they excluded the effects of potential legislation that would increase Medicare payments by more than $200 billion from 2010 to 2019.[250][251][252] However, the so-called “doc fix” is a separate issue that would have existed whether or not ACA became law – omitting its cost from ACA was no different from omitting the cost of other tax cuts.[253][254][255]

Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton health economist, wrote. “The rigid, artificial rules under which the Congressional Budget Office must score proposed legislation unfortunately cannot produce the best unbiased forecasts of the likely fiscal impact of any legislation”, but went on to say “But even if the budget office errs significantly in its conclusion that the bill would actually help reduce the future federal deficit, I doubt that the financing of this bill will be anywhere near as fiscally irresponsible as was the financing of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.”[256]Douglas Holtz-Eakin, CBO director during the George W. Bush administration, who later served as the chief economic policy adviser to U.S. Senator John McCain‘s 2008 presidential campaign, alleged that the bill would increase the deficit by $562 billion because, he argued, it front-loaded revenue and back-loaded benefits.[257]

Scheiber and Cohn rejected critical assessments of the law’s deficit impact, arguing that predictions were biased towards underestimating deficit reduction. They noted that for example, it is easier to account for the cost of definite levels of subsidies to specified numbers of people than account for savings from preventive healthcare, and that the CBO had a track record of overestimating costs and underestimating savings of health legislation;[258][259] stating, “innovations in the delivery of medical care, like greater use of electronic medical records[260] and financial incentives for more coordination of care among doctors, would produce substantial savings while also slowing the relentless climb of medical expenses… But the CBO would not consider such savings in its calculations, because the innovations hadn’t really been tried on such large scale or in concert with one another—and that meant there wasn’t much hard data to prove the savings would materialize.”[258]

In 2010 David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General then working for The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, stated that the CBO estimates are not likely to be accurate, because they were based on the assumption that the law would not change.[261] The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities objected that Congress had a good record of implementing Medicare savings. According to their study, Congress followed through on the implementation of the vast majority of provisions enacted in the past 20 years to produce Medicare savings, although not the payment reductions addressed by the annual “doc fix”.[262][263]

Economic consequences

CBO estimated in June 2015 that repealing the ACA would:

  • Decrease aggregate demand (GDP) in the short-term, as low-income persons who tend to spend a large fraction of their additional resources would have fewer resources (e.g., ACA subsidies would be eliminated). This effect would be offset in the long-run by the labor supply factors below.
  • Increase the supply of labor and aggregate compensation by about 0.8 and 0.9 percent over the 2021-2025 period. CBO cited the ACA’s expanded eligibility for Medicaid and subsidies and tax credits that rise with income as disincentives to work, so repealing the ACA would remove those disincentives, encouraging workers to supply more hours of labor.
  • Increase the total number of hours worked by about 1.5% over the 2021-2025 period.
  • Remove the higher tax rates on capital income, thereby encouraging additional investment, raising the capital stock and output in the long-run.[7]

In 2015 the Center for Economic and Policy Research found no evidence that companies were reducing worker hours to avoid ACA requirements[264] for employees working over 30 hours per week.[265]

The CBO estimated that the ACA would slightly reduce the size of the labor force and number of hours worked, as some would no longer be tethered to employers for their insurance. Cohn, citing CBO’s projections, claimed that ACA’s primary employment effect was to alleviate job lock: “People who are only working because they desperately need employer-sponsored health insurance will no longer do so.”[266] He concluded that the “reform’s only significant employment impact was a reduction in the labor force, primarily because people holding onto jobs just to keep insurance could finally retire”, because they have health insurance outside of their jobs.[267]

Employer mandate and part-time work

For more details on health insurance mandates, see Health insurance mandate.

The employer mandate requires employers meeting certain criteria to provide health insurance to their workers. The mandate applies to employers with more than 50 employees that do not offer health insurance to their full-time workers.[268] Critics claimed that the mandate created a perverse incentive for business to keep their full-time headcount below 50 and to hire part-time workers instead.[269][270] Between March 2010 and 2014 the number of part-time jobs declined by 230,000, while the number of full-time jobs increased by 2 million.[271][272] In the public sector full-time jobs turned into part-time jobs much more than in the private sector.[271][273] A 2016 study found only limited evidence that ACA had increased part-time employment.[274]

Several businesses and the state of Virginia added a 29-hour-a-week cap for their part-time employees,[275][unreliable source?][276][unreliable source?] to reflect the 30-hour-or-more definition for full-time worker.[268] As of yet, however, only a small percent of companies have shifted their workforce towards more part-time hours (4% in a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis).[270] Trends in working hours[277] and the effects of the Great Recession correlate with part-time working hour patterns.[278][279] The impact of this provision may have been offset by other factors, including that health insurance helps attract and retain employees, increases productivity and reduces absenteeism; and the lower training and administration costs of a smaller full-time workforce over a larger part-time work force.[270][277][280] Relatively few firms employ over 50 employees[270] and more than 90% of them offered insurance.[281] Workers without employer insurance could purchase insurance on the exchanges.[282]

Most policy analysts (on both right and left) were critical of the employer mandate provision.[269][281] They argued that the perverse incentives regarding part-time hours, even if they did not change existing plans, were real and harmful;[283][284] that the raised marginal cost of the 50th worker for businesses could limit companies’ growth;[285] that the costs of reporting and administration were not worth the costs of maintaining employer plans;[283][284] and noted that the employer mandate was not essential to maintain adequate risk pools.[286][287] The effects of the provision generated vocal opposition from business interests and some unions not granted exemptions.[284][288]

A 2013/4 survey by the National Association for Business Economics found that about 75 percent of those surveyed said ACA hadn’t influenced their planning or expectations for 2014, and 85 percent said the law wouldn’t prompt a change in their hiring practices. Some 21 percent of 64 businesses surveyed said that the act would have a harmful effect and 5 percent said it would be beneficial.[289]

Hospitals

From the start of 2010 to November 2014, 43 hospitals in rural areas closed. Critics claimed that the new law caused these hospitals to close. Many of these rural hospitals were built using funds from the 1946 Hill–Burton Act, to increase access to medical care in rural areas. Some of these hospitals reopened as other medical facilities, but only a small number operated emergency rooms (ER) or urgent care centers.[290]

Between January 2010 and 2015, a quarter of emergency room doctors said they had seen a major surge in patients, while nearly half had seen a smaller increase. Seven in ten ER doctors claimed that they lacked the resources to deal with large increases in the number of patients. The biggest factor in the increased number of ER patients was insufficient primary care providers to handle the larger number of insured patients.[291]

Insurers claimed that because they have access to and collect patient data that allow evaluations of interventions, they are essential to ACO success. Large insurers formed their own ACOs. Many hospitals merged and purchased physician practices. The increased market share gave them more leverage in negotiations with insurers over costs and reduced patient care options.[115]

Public opinion

Prior to the law’s passage, polling indicated the public’s views became increasingly negative in reaction to specific plans discussed during the legislative debate over 2009 and 2010. Polling statistics showed a general negative opinion of the law; with those in favor at approximately 40% and those against at 51%, as of October 2013.[292][293] About 29% of whites approve of the law, compared with 61% of Hispanics and 91% of African Americans.[294]Opinions were divided by age of the person at the law’s inception, with a solid majority of seniors opposing the bill and a solid majority of those younger than forty years old in favor.[295]

Congressional Democrats celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in March 2016 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Congressional Democrats celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in March 2016 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Specific elements were popular across the political spectrum, while others, such as the mandate to purchase insurance, were widely disliked. In a 2012 poll 44% supported the law, with 56% against. By party affiliation, 75% of Democrats, 27% of Independents and 14% of Republicans favored the law overall. 82% favored banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, 61% favored allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, 72% supported requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employees, and 39% supported the individual mandate to own insurance or pay a penalty. By party affiliation, 19% of Republicans, 27% of Independents, and 59% of Democrats favored the mandate.[296] Other polls showed additional provisions receiving majority support, including the creation of insurance exchanges, pooling small businesses and the uninsured with other consumers so that more people can take advantage of large group pricing benefits and providing subsidies to individuals and families to make health insurance more affordable.[297][298]

In a 2010 poll, 62% of respondents said they thought ACA would “increase the amount of money they personally spend on health care”, 56% said the bill “gives the government too much involvement in health care”, and 19% said they thought they and their families would be better off with the legislation.[299] Other polls found that people were concerned that the law would cost more than projected and would not do enough to control costs.[300]

Some opponents believed that the reform did not go far enough: a 2012 poll indicated that 71% of Republican opponents rejected it overall, while 29% believed it did not go far enough; independent opponents were divided 67% to 33%; and among the much smaller group of Democratic opponents, 49% rejected it overall and 51% wanted more.[296] In June 2013, a majority of the public (52–34%) indicated a desire for “Congress to implement or tinker with the law rather than repeal it”.[301] After the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, a 2012 poll held that “most Americans (56%) want to see critics of President Obama’s health care law drop efforts to block it and move on to other national issues”.[302]A 2014 poll reported that 48.9% of respondents had an unfavorable view of ACA vs. 38.3% who had a favorable view (of more than 5,500 individuals).[303]

A 2014 poll reported that 26% of Americans support ACA.[304] Another held that 8% of respondents say that the Affordable Care Act “is working well the way it is”.[305] In late 2014, a Rasmussen poll reported Repeal: 30%, Leave as is: 13%, Improve: 52%, i.e., 65% wanted to leave ACA alone or improve upon it.[306]

In 2015, a CBS News / New York Times poll reported that 47% of Americans approved the health care law. This was the first time that a major poll indicated that more respondents approved ACA than disapproved of it.[307] The recurring Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from December 2016 reported that: a) 30% wanted to expand what the law does; b) 26% wanted to repeal the entire law; c) 19% wanted to move forward with implementing the law as it is; and d) 17% wanted to scale back what the law does, with the remainder undecided.[308]

Separate polls from Fox News and NBC/WSJ both taken during January 2017 indicated more people viewed the law favorably than did not for the first time. One of the reasons for the improving popularity of the law is that Democrats who opposed it in the past (many prefer a “Medicare for All” approach) have shifted their positions since the ACA is under threat of repeal.[309]

A January 2017 Morning Consult poll showed that 35% of respondents either believed that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were different or did not know.[310] Approximately 45% were unsure whether the repeal of Obamacare also meant the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.[310] 39% did not know that “many people would lose coverage through Medicaid or subsidies for private health insurance if the A.C.A. were repealed and no replacement enacted,” with Democrats far more likely (79%) to know that fact than Republicans (47%).[310]

A 2017 study found that personal experience with public health insurance programs leads to greater support for the Affordable Care Act, and the effects appear to be most pronounced among Republicans and low-information voters.[311]

Political aspects

“Obamacare”

The term “Obamacare” was originally coined by opponents as a pejorative. The term emerged in March 2007 when healthcare lobbyist Jeanne Schulte Scott used it in a health industry journal, writing “We will soon see a ‘Giuliani-care’ and ‘Obama-care’ to go along with ‘McCain-care’, ‘Edwards-care’, and a totally revamped and remodeled ‘Hillary-care‘ from the 1990s”.[9][312] According to research by Elspeth Reeve, the expression was used in early 2007, generally by writers describing the candidate’s proposal for expanding coverage for the uninsured.[313] It first appeared in a political campaign by Mitt Romney in May 2007 in Des Moines, Iowa. Romney said, “In my state, I worked on healthcare for some time. We had half a million people without insurance, and I said, ‘How can we get those people insured without raising taxes and without having government take over healthcare?’ And let me tell you, if we don’t do it, the Democrats will. If the Democrats do it, it will be socialized medicine; it’ll be government-managed care. It’ll be what’s known as Hillarycare or Barack Obamacare, or whatever you want to call it.”[9]

By mid-2012, Obamacare had become the colloquial term used by both supporters and opponents. In contrast, the use of “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” or “Affordable Care Act” became limited to more formal and official use.[313] Use of the term in a positive sense was suggested by Democrat John Conyers.[314] Obama endorsed the nickname, saying, “I have no problem with people saying Obama cares. I do care.”[315]

In March 2012, the Obama reelection campaign embraced the term “Obamacare”, urging Obama’s supporters to post Twitter messages that begin, “I like #Obamacare because…”.[316]

In October 2013 the Associated Press and NPR began cutting back on use of the term.[317] Stuart Seidel, NPR’s managing editor, said that the term “seems to be straddling somewhere between being a politically-charged term and an accepted part of the vernacular”.[318]

Common misconceptions

“Death panels”

Main article: Death panel

On August 7, 2009, Sarah Palin pioneered the term “death panels” to describe groups that would decide whether sick patients were “worthy” of medical care.[319] “Death panel” referred to two claims about early drafts.

One was that under the law, seniors could be denied care due to their age[320] and the other that the government would advise seniors to end their lives instead of receiving care. The ostensible basis of these claims was the provision for an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).[321] IPAB was given the authority to recommend cost-saving changes to Medicare by facilitating the adoption of cost-effective treatments and cost-recovering measures when the statutory levels set for Medicare were exceeded within any given 3-year period. In fact, the Board was prohibited from recommending changes that would reduce payments to certain providers before 2020, and was prohibited from recommending changes in premiums, benefits, eligibility and taxes, or other changes that would result in rationing.[322][323]

The other related issue concerned advance-care planning consultation: a section of the House reform proposal would have reimbursed physicians for providing patient-requested consultations for Medicare recipients on end-of-life health planning (which is covered by many private plans), enabling patients to specify, on request, the kind of care they wished to receive.[324] The provision was not included in ACA.[325]

In 2010, the Pew Research Center reported that 85% of Americans were familiar with the claim, and 30% believed it was true, backed by three contemporaneous polls.[326] A poll in August 2012 found that 39% of Americans believed the claim.[327] The allegation was named PolitiFact‘s “Lie of the Year”,[319][328] one of FactCheck.org‘s “whoppers”[329][330] and the most outrageous term by the American Dialect Society.[331]AARP described such rumors as “rife with gross—and even cruel—distortions”.[332]

Members of Congress

ACA requires members of Congress and their staffs to obtain health insurance either through an exchange or some other program approved by the law (such as Medicare), instead of using the insurance offered to federal employees (the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program).[333][334][335][336][337]

Illegal immigrants

ACA does not provide benefits to illegal immigrants.[338] It explicitly denies insurance subsidies to “unauthorized (illegal) aliens”.[25][26][339]

Exchange “death spiral”

One argument against the ACA is that the insurers are leaving the marketplaces, as they cannot profitably cover the available pool of customers, which contains too many unhealthy participants relative to healthy participants. A scenario where prices rise, due to an unfavorable mix of customers from the insurer’s perspective, resulting in fewer customers and fewer insurers in the marketplace, further raising prices, has been called a “Death Spiral.”[340]During 2017, the median number of insurers offering plans on the ACA exchanges in each state was 3.0, meaning half the states had more and half had fewer insurers. There were five states with one insurer in 2017; 13 states with two; 11 states with three; and the remainder had four insurers or more. Wisconsin had the most, with 15 insurers in the marketplace. The median number of insurers was 4.0 in 2016, 5.0 in 2015, and 4.0 in 2014.[341]

Further, the CBO reported in January 2017 that it expected enrollment in the exchanges to rise from 10 million during 2017 to 13 million by 2027, assuming laws in place at the end of the Obama administration were continued.[342] Following a 2015 CBO report that reached a similar conclusion, Paul Krugman wrote: “But the truth is that this report is much, much closer to what supporters of reform have said than it is to the scare stories of the critics–no death spirals, no job-killing, major gains in coverage at relatively low cost.”[343]

Opposition

Opposition and efforts to repeal the legislation have drawn support from sources that include labor unions,[344][345]conservative advocacy groups,[346][347] Republicans, small business organizations and the Tea Party movement.[348] These groups claimed that the law would disrupt existing health plans, increase costs from new insurance standards, and increase the deficit.[349] Some opposed the idea of universal healthcare, viewing insurance as similar to other unsubsidized goods.[350][351] President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to “repeal and replace” it.[352][353]

As of 2013 unions that expressed concerns about ACA included the AFL-CIO,[354] which called ACA “highly disruptive” to union health care plans, claiming it would drive up costs of union-sponsored plans; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and UNITE-HERE, whose leaders sent a letter to Reid and Pelosi arguing, ” ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”[345] In January 2014, Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and D. Taylor, president of Unite Here sent a letter to Reid and Pelosi stating, “ACA, as implemented, undermines fair marketplace competition in the health care industry.”[344]

In October 2016, Mark Dayton, the governor of Minnesota and a member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, said that the ACA had “many good features” but that it was “no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people” and called on the Minnesota legislature to provide emergency relief to policyholders.[355] Dayton later said he regretted his remarks after they were seized on by Republicans seeking to repeal the law.[356]

Legal challenges

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius

Opponents challenged ACA’s constitutionality in multiple lawsuits on multiple grounds.[357][358][not in citation given] In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court ruled on a 5–4 vote that the individual mandate was constitutional when viewed as a tax, although not under the Commerce Clause.

The Court further determined that states could not be forced to participate in the Medicaid expansion. ACA withheld all Medicaid funding from states declining to participate in the expansion. The Court ruled that this withdrawal of funding was unconstitutionally coercive and that individual states had the right to opt out without losing preexisting Medicaid funding.[359]

Contraception mandate

In March 2012 the Roman Catholic Church, while supportive of ACA’s objectives, voiced concern through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that aspects of the mandate covering contraception and sterilization and HHS‘s narrow definition of a religious organization violated the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion and conscience. Various lawsuits addressed these concerns.[360][361]

On June 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 that federal subsidies for health insurance premiums could be used in the 34 states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges.[362]

House v. Burwell

In United States House of Representatives v. Burwell the House sued the administration alleging that the money for premium subsidy payments to insurers had not been appropriated, as required for any federal government spending. The Obamacare subsidy that helps customers pay premiums was not part of the suit. Without the cost-sharing subsidies, the government estimated that premiums would increase by 20 percent to 30 percent for silver plans.[363]

Non-cooperation

Officials in Texas, Florida, Alabama, Wyoming, Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri opposed those elements of ACA over which they had discretion.[364][365] For example, Missouri declined to expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance marketplace engaging in active non-cooperation, enacting a statute forbidding any state or local official to render any aid not specifically required by federal law.[366] Other Republican politicians discouraged efforts to advertise the benefits of the law. Some conservative political groups launched ad campaigns to discourage enrollment.[367]