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The Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018, Story 1: Investigate, Indict, Arrest, and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspirators To Subvert Trump Presidency: Clinton, Obama, Jarrett, Rice, Rhodes, Power, Clapper, Brennan, Lynch, Yates, Carlin, Comey, McCabe, Preistap, Strzok, Page and Accomplices — Betrayed Their Oath of Office To Preserve, Protect and Defend The United States Constitution, The American People and Election Process — Videos — Story 2: Secret Surveillance Spying Security State (S5) Abolishes Fourth Amendment With  National Security Agency and National Security Letters — Congress Does Nothing Fearing Secret Surveillance Spying Security State Disclosures By United States Intelligence Community (IC) — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Attacks MS-13 As Animals — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Defend MS -13 — All Humans Are Animals — MS-16 Members Are Violent Thugs — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

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Story 1: Investigate, Indict, Arrest, and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspirators To Subvert Trump Presidency: Clinton, Obama, Jarrett, Rice, Rhodes, Power, Clapper, Brennan, Holder, Lynch, Yates, Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page and Accomplices — Betrayed Their Oath of Office To Preserve, Protect and Defend The United States Constitution, The American People and Election Process — Videos —

CIA Director Brennan set up Trump

FBI and DOJ in turmoil over handling of Clinton emails

Did John Brennan lie about the Trump-Russia dossier?

Brennan’s own people contradict his “galactically stupid” statements about the dossier

DiGenova: John Brennan should get a good lawyer

John Brennan: ‘A Lot The Public Doesn’t Know’ About Trump Tower Meeting | MTP Daily | MSNBC

Tucker Carlson & Kim Strassel Destroy Lies & Spies Of The Deep Dark State

Joe DiGenova – John Brennan Headed to Grand Jury, 2229

CONFIRMED!! Rosenstein is a SELL OUT, He’s UNDER a HUGE HEAT

FBI and DOJ in turmoil over handling of Clinton emails

DOJ watchdog completes draft report on Clinton probe

Corey Lewandowski on allegations Obama FBI spied on Trump campaign

Drive-By Media At DEFCON 1 Hysteria

DiGenova on Obama’s FBI Placing a Spy Inside Trump Campaign

Rush Limbaugh Podcast Thursday – May 17, 2018

NYT: Russia probe code name inspired by Rolling Stones song

The New York Times reports that FBI agents started an investigation into Russian election interference and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign called “Crossfire Hurricane” just 100 days before Election Day.

NYT: How FBI’s Russia probe began

FBI Kept 2016 Investigation Into President Donald Trump Campaign Secret | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Roger Stone Exposes The FBI Mole Inside Trump Campaign

More Details Emerge On Deep State Mole Secretly Spying on President Trump Campaign

BREAKING: New York Times CONFIRMS FBI Conducted SPY OPERATION On President Trump! SPREAD THIS!

Former acting CIA director on Russia hacking report, Trump’s reaction

BREAKING: EX-OBAMA CIA DIR. JUST WENT ROGUE, SAYS THE 1 THING OBAMA DIDN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

#Trump Will Strike Down With Great Vengeance and Furious Anger Those Who Seek to Poison Our Republic

Why Mueller’s Witch Hunt Is Illegal, Unconstitutional and Crosses the Line

 

Trump: Report that Obama FBI spied on campaign could be ‘bigger than Watergate’

President Trump on Thursday touted a report saying the FBI under former President Obama spied on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential race, saying that the revelation could be “bigger than Watergate.”

“Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN IMBEDDED INFORMANT,'” the president tweeted in reference to a National Review report published last week.

“Andrew McCarthy says, ‘There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.’ If so, this is bigger than Watergate!”

The report alleges that Obama-led agencies used their surveillance powers to monitor the Trump campaign.

This is not the first time that the Obama administration has been accused of spying on the Trump campaign.

Last year, Trump accused the former president of wiretapping Trump Tower shortly before the 2016 election.

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped,’ in Trump Tower just before victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” the president tweeted in March 2017.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer later walked back the president’s claim, saying he did not mean that Obama literally wiretapped Trump Tower.

“The president used the word ‘wiretap’ in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities during that,” Spicer said. “There is no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 elections.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/388101-trump-report-that-obama-fbi-spied-on-campaign-could-be-bigger-than

10 Key Takeaways From The New York Times’ Error-Ridden Defense Of FBI Spying On Trump Campaign

It’s reasonable to assume that much of the new information in the New York Times report relates to leakers’ fears about information that will be coming out in the inspector general report.
Mollie Hemingway

By 

The New York Times published an article yesterday confirming the United States’ intelligence apparatus was used to spy on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Here are a few quick takeaways.

1. FBI Officials Admit They Spied On Trump Campaign

The New York Times‘ story, headlined “Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation,” is a dry and gentle account of the FBI’s launch of extensive surveillance of affiliates of the Trump campaign. Whereas FBI officials and media enablers had previously downplayed claims that the Trump campaign had been surveiled, in this story we learn that it was more widespread than previously acknowledged:

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said…

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said.

This is a stunning admission for those Americans worried that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies might use their powers to surveil, leak against, and target Americans simply for their political views or affiliations. As Sean Davis wrote, “The most amazing aspect about this article is how blasé it is about the fact that the Obama admin was actively spying on four affiliates of a rival political campaign weeks before an election.”

The story says the FBI was worried that if it came out they were spying on Trump campaign it would “only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.” It is easy to understand how learning that the FBI was spying on one’s presidential campaign might reinforce claims of election-rigging.

2. Terrified About Looming Inspector General Report

People leak for a variety of reasons, including to inoculate themselves as much as they can. For example, only when the secret funders of Fusion GPS’s Russia-Trump-collusion dossier were about to be revealed was their identity leaked to friendly reporters in the Washington Post. In October of 2017 it was finally reported that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee secretly paid for the Russia dossier, hiding the arrangement by funneling the money through a law firm.

The friendly reporters at the Washington Postwrote the story gently, full of reassuring quotes to downplay its significance. The information only came about because House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes subpoenaed the bank records of Fusion GPS, over the objections of Democrats on the committee. Even in this Times story, Clinton’s secret funding was not mentioned.

Likewise, the admissions in this New York Times story are coming out now, years after selective leaks to compliant reporters, just before an inspector general report detailing some of these actions is slated to be released this month. In fact, the Wall Street Journalreported that people mentioned in the report are beginning to get previews of what it alleges. It’s reasonable to assume that much of the new information in the New York Times report relates to information that will be coming out in the inspector general report.

By working with friendly reporters, these leaking FBI officials can ensure the first story about their unprecedented spying on political opponents will downplay that spying and even attempt to justify it. Of note is the story’s claim that very few people even knew about the spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, which means the leakers for this story come from a relatively small pool of people.

3. Still No Evidence of Collusion With Russia

In paragraph 69 of the lengthy story, The New York Times takes itself to task for burying the lede in its October 31, 2016, story about the FBI not finding any proof of involvement with Russian election meddling.

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

It is somewhat funny, then, to read what The New York Times buries in paragraph 70 of the story:

A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts.

No evidence of collusion after two years of investigation with unlimited resources? You don’t say! What could that mean?

4. Four Trump Affiliates Spied On

Thanks to the work of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee, Americans already learned that the FBI had secured a wiretap on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign official. That wiretap, which was renewed three times, was already controversial because it was secured in part through using the secretly funded opposition research document created by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. The secret court that grants the wiretap was not told about Hillary Clinton or the DNC when the government applied for the wiretap or its renewals.

Now we learn that it wasn’t just Page, but that the government was going after four campaign affiliates including the former campaign manager, the top foreign policy advisor, and a low-level advisor whose drunken claim supposedly launched the investigation into the campaign. The bureau says Trump’s top foreign policy advisor and future national security advisor — a published critic of Russia — was surveiled because he spoke at an event in Russia sponsored by Russia Today, a government-sponsored media outlet.

5. Wiretaps, National Security Letters, and At Least One Spy

The surveillance didn’t just include wiretaps, but also national security letters and at least one government informant to spy on the campaign.:

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.

This paragraph is noteworthy for the way it describes spying on the campaign — “at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos” — before suggesting that might not be spying. The definition of spying is to secretly collect information, so it’s not really in dispute whether a government informant fits the bill.

Despite two years of investigation and surveillance, none of these men have been charged with anything even approaching treasonous collusion with Russia to steal a U.S. election.

6. More Leaks About a Top-Secret Government Informant

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence recently subpoenaed information from the FBI and Department of Justice. They did not publicly reveal what information they sought, but the Department of Justice responded by claiming that they were being extorted by congressional oversight. Then they leaked that they couldn’t share the information because it would jeopardize the life of a government informant. They also waged a public relations battle against HPSCI Chairman Nunes and committee staff.

But far from holding the information close to the vest, the government has repeatedly leaked information about this informant, and even that it was information about an informant that was being sought by Congress. From leaks of personally identifying information to the Washington Post, we’ve learned that this source works with the FBI and CIA, and is a U.S. citizen.

In The New York Times, additional information about a government informant leaked, including that the source met with Papadopoulos and Page to collect information. The information on an alleged source in the Trump campaign is so sensitive they can’t give it to Congress, but they can leak it to friendly press outlets like the Post and Times. It’s an odd posture for the Justice Department to take.

It is unknown at this point whether the informants were specifically sent by a U.S. agency or global partner, or whether the sources voluntarily provided information to the U.S. government.

7. Ignorance of Basic Facts

One thing that is surprising about the story is how many errors it contains. The problems begin in the second sentence, which claims Peter Strzok and another FBI agent were sent to London. The New York Times reports that “[t]heir assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling.”

Of course, it was previously reported that Strzok had a meeting with the Australian ambassador. He describes the embassy where the meeting took place as the longest continually staffed embassy in London. The ambassador was previously reported to have had some information about a Trump advisor saying he’d heard that Russia had Clinton’s emails.

Another New York Times error was the claim, repeated twice, that Page ‘had previously been recruited by Russian spies.’

It’s also inaccurate to say this was “election meddling,” necessarily. Clinton had deleted 30,000 emails that were housed on her private server even though she was being investigated for mishandling classified information. This could be viewed as destruction of evidence. She claimed the emails had to do with yoga.

FBI Director James Comey specifically downplayed for the public the bureau’s belief that foreign countries had access to these emails. There is no evidence that Russia or any other country had these emails, and they were not released during the campaign. To describe this legitimate national security threat as “election meddling” is insufficient to the very problem for which Clinton was being investigated.

The story claims, “News organizations did not publish Mr. Steele’s reports or reveal the F.B.I.’s interest in them until after Election Day.” That’s demonstrably untrue. Here’s an October 31, 2016, story headlined “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.” It is sourced entirely to Steele. In September, Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff took a meeting with Steele then published “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin” on September 23, 2016. That story was even used in the Foreign Intelligence Service Act application against Page.

The New York Times writes, “Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election, but if agents were eager to investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign, as the president has suggested, the messages do not reveal it. ‘I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,’ Mr. Strzok wrote soon after returning from London.”

There are multiple problems with this claim. For one, Strzok wrote that text in all caps with obvious eagerness. As the Wall Street Journal noted months ago, “Mr. Strzok emphasized the seriousness with which he viewed the allegations in a message to Ms. Page on Aug. 11, just a few days before the ‘insurance’ text. ‘OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE WE ARE SERIOUSLY LOOKING AT THESE ALLEGATIONS AND THE PERVASIVE CONNECTIONS,’ he texted.”

For another, Strzok repeatedly talked about how important and time-sensitive he felt the investigation was. As Andrew McCarthy highlighted in his deep look at some of these texts, as Strzok prepared for his morning flight to London, he compared the investigations of Clinton and Trump by writing, “And damn this feels momentous. Because this matters. The other one did, too, but that was to ensure that we didn’t F something up. This matters because this MATTERS.”

Another New York Times error was the claim, repeated twice, that Page “had previously been recruited by Russian spies.” In fact, while Russian agents had tried to recruit him, they failed to do so, and Page spoke at length with the FBI about the attempt before the agents were arrested or kicked out of the country.

The New York Times falsely reported that “Mr. Comey met with Mr. Trump privately, revealing the Steele reports and warning that journalists had obtained them.” Comey has told multiple journalists that he specifically did not brief Trump on the Steele reports. He didn’t tell Trump there were reports, or who funded them. He didn’t tell him about the claims in the reports that the campaign was compromised. He only told him that there was a rumor Trump had paid prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel bed that the Obamas had once slept in.

The story also repeats long-debunked claims about the Republican platform and Ukraine.

8. Insurance: How Does It Work?

The story reminds readers that Strzok once texted Page “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected, but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” The article says Trump thought this “insurance policy” referred to a plan to respond to the unlikely event of a Trump victory. It goes on:

But officials have told the inspector general something quite different. They said Ms. Page and others advocated a slower, circumspect pace, especially because polls predicted Mr. Trump’s defeat. They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.

Mr. Strzok countered that even if Mr. Trump’s chances of victory were low — like dying before 40 — the stakes were too high to justify inaction.

It’s worth asking whether reporters understand how insurance works. As reader Matt noted, “The fundament intent of Insurance is ‘Indemnification.’ Restoring back to original condition prior to loss. Trump was the peril, MSM the adjuster & his impeachment, the policy limits.”

The article’s repeated claims that the FBI didn’t think Trump would win do not counter the notion that an “insurance policy” investigation was in the extremely rare case he might win. People don’t insure their property against fire damage because they expect it to happen so much as they can’t afford to fix things if it does happen.

9. Eavesdropping, Not Spying, And Other Friendly Claims

The story could not be friendlier to the FBI sources who are admitting what they did against the Trump campaign. A few examples:

“[P]rosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. Page,” The New York Timeswrites, making the wiretapped spying on an American citizen sound almost downright pleasant. When Comey briefs Trump only on the rumor about the prostitutes and urination, we’re told “he feared making this conversation a ‘J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,’ with the F.B.I. presenting embarrassing information to lord over a president-elect.” Reporters don’t ask, much less answer, why someone fearing a J. Edgar Hoover-type situation would go out of his way to create an extreme caricature of a J. Edgar Hoover situation.

The story also claimed, “they kept details from political appointees across the street at the Justice Department,” before using controversial political appointee Sally Yates to claim that there was nothing worrisome. In fact, the subtext of the entire story is that the FBI showed good judgment in its handling of the spying in 2016. Unfortunately, the on-the-record source used to substantiate this claim is Yates.

Yates, who was in the news for claiming with a straight face that she thought Flynn had committed a Logan Act violation, is quoted as saying, “Folks are very, very careful and serious about that [FISA] process. I don’t know of anything that gives me any concerns.” If Yates, who had to be fired for refusing to do her job under Trump, tells you things are on the up and up, apparently you can take it to the bank.

10. Affirms Fears of Politicized Intelligence

This New York Times story may have been designed to inoculate the FBI against revelations coming out of the inspector general report, but the net result was to affirm the fears of many Americans who are worried that the U.S. government’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies abused their powers to surveil and target Americans simply for their political views and affiliations. The gathered information has been leaked to media for years, leading to damaged reputations, and the launch of limitless probes, but not any reason to believe that Trump colluded with Russia to steal an election.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway

Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation

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Days after the F.B.I. closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton in 2016, agents began scrutinizing the presidential campaign of her Republican rival, Donald J. Trump.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.

The name, a reference to the Rolling Stones lyric “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau. Days after they closed their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, agents began scrutinizing the campaign of her Republican rival. The two cases have become inextricably linked in one of the most consequential periods in the history of the F.B.I.

 

[Read our briefing on secret government code names]

This month, the Justice Department inspector general is expected to release the findings of its lengthy review of the F.B.I.’s conduct in the Clinton case. The results are certain to renew debate over decisions by the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, to publicly chastise Mrs. Clinton in a news conference, and then announce the reopening of the investigation days before Election Day. Mrs. Clinton has said those actions buried her presidential hopes.

Those decisions stand in contrast to the F.B.I.’s handling of Crossfire Hurricane. Not only did agents in that case fall back to their typical policy of silence, but interviews with a dozen current and former government officials and a review of documents show that the F.B.I. was even more circumspect in that case than has been previously known. Many of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

Agents considered, then rejected, interviewing key Trump associates, which might have sped up the investigation but risked revealing the existence of the case. Top officials quickly became convinced that they would not solve the case before Election Day, which made them only more hesitant to act. When agents did take bold investigative steps, like interviewing the ambassador, they were shrouded in secrecy.

Fearful of leaks, they kept details from political appointees across the street at the Justice Department. Peter Strzok, a senior F.B.I. agent, explained in a text that Justice Department officials would find it too “tasty” to resist sharing. “I’m not worried about our side,” he wrote.

Only about five Justice Department officials knew the full scope of the case, officials said, not the dozen or more who might normally be briefed on a major national security case.

The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself.

In the Clinton case, Mr. Comey has said he erred on the side of transparency. But in the face of questions from Congress about the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. declined to tip its hand. And when The New York Times tried to assess the state of the investigation in October 2016, law enforcement officials cautioned against drawing any conclusions, resulting in a story that significantly played down the case.

Mr. Comey has said it is unfair to compare the Clinton case, which was winding down in the summer of 2016, with the Russia case, which was in its earliest stages. He said he did not make political considerations about who would benefit from each decision.

But underpinning both cases was one political calculation: that Mrs. Clinton would win and Mr. Trump would lose. Agents feared being seen as withholding information or going too easy on her. And they worried that any overt actions against Mr. Trump’s campaign would only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.

The F.B.I. now faces those very criticisms and more. Mr. Trump says he is the victim of a politicized F.B.I. He says senior agents tried to rig the election by declining to prosecute Mrs. Clinton, then drummed up the Russia investigation to undermine his presidency. He has declared that a deeply rooted cabal — including his own appointees — is working against him.

That argument is the heart of Mr. Trump’s grievances with the federal investigation. In the face of bipartisan support for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Mr. Trump and his allies have made a priority of questioning how the investigation was conducted in late 2016 and trying to discredit it.

“It’s a witch hunt,” Mr. Trump said last month on Fox News. “And they know that, and I’ve been able to message it.”

Congressional Republicans, led by Representative Devin Nunes of California, have begun to dig into F.B.I. files, looking for evidence that could undermine the investigation. Much remains unknown and classified. But those who saw the investigation up close, and many of those who have reviewed case files in the past year, say that far from gunning for Mr. Trump, the F.B.I. could actually have done more in the final months of 2016 to scrutinize his campaign’s Russia ties.

“I never saw anything that resembled a witch hunt or suggested that the bureau’s approach to the investigation was politically driven,” said Mary McCord, a 20-year Justice Department veteran and the top national security prosecutor during much of the investigation’s first nine months.

Crossfire Hurricane spawned a case that has brought charges against former Trump campaign officials and more than a dozen Russians. But in the final months of 2016, agents faced great uncertainty — about the facts, and how to respond.

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A Trump campaign rally in August 2016 in Texas. Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

Anxiety at the Bureau

Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election, but if agents were eager to investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign, as the president has suggested, the messages do not reveal it. “I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,” Mr. Strzok wrote soon after returning from London.

The mood in early meetings was anxious, former officials recalled. Agents had just closed the Clinton investigation, and they braced for months of Republican-led hearings over why she was not charged. Crossfire Hurricane was built around the same core of agents and analysts who had investigated Mrs. Clinton. None was eager to re-enter presidential politics, former officials said, especially when agents did not know what would come of the Australian information.

The question they confronted still persists: Was anyone in the Trump campaign tied to Russian efforts to undermine the election?

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. Each was scrutinized because of his obvious or suspected Russian ties.

 

[Here are the key themes, dates and characters in the Russia investigation]

Mr. Flynn, a top adviser, was paid $45,000 by the Russian government’s media arm for a 2015 speech and dined at the arm of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Manafort, the campaign chairman, had lobbied for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine and worked with an associate who has been identified as having connections to Russian intelligence.

Mr. Page, a foreign policy adviser, was well known to the F.B.I. He had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the campaign.

Lastly, there was Mr. Papadopoulos, the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation. Before hacked Democratic emails appeared online, he had seemed to know that Russia had political dirt on Mrs. Clinton. But even if the F.B.I. had wanted to read his emails or intercept his calls, that evidence was not enough to allow it. Many months passed, former officials said, before the F.B.I. uncovered emails linking Mr. Papadopoulos to a Russian intelligence operation.

Mr. Trump was not under investigation, but his actions perplexed the agents. Days after the stolen Democratic emails became public, he called on Russia to uncover more. Then news broke that Mr. Trump’s campaign had pushed to change the Republican platform’s stance on Ukraine in ways favorable to Russia.

The F.B.I.’s thinking crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies began collaborating to investigate that operation. The Crossfire Hurricane team was part of that group but largely operated independently, three officials said.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said that after studying the investigation as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he saw no evidence of political motivation in the opening of the investigation.

“There was a growing body of evidence that a foreign government was attempting to interfere in both the process and the debate surrounding our elections, and their job is to investigate counterintelligence,” he said in an interview. “That’s what they did.”

Andrew G. McCabe in December in Washington. Mr. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director, was cited by internal investigators for dishonesty, giving ammunition for Mr. Trump’s claims that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted.CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Abounding Criticism

Looking back, some inside the F.B.I. and the Justice Department say that Mr. Comey should have seen the political storm coming and better sheltered the bureau. They question why he consolidated the Clinton and Trump investigations at headquarters, rather than in a field office. And they say he should not have relied on the same team for both cases. That put a bull’s-eye on the heart of the F.B.I. Any misstep in either investigation made both cases, and the entire bureau, vulnerable to criticism.

And there were missteps. Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director, was cited by internal investigators for dishonesty about his conversations with reporters about Mrs. Clinton. That gave ammunition for Mr. Trump’s claims that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted. And Mr. Strzok and Lisa Page, an F.B.I. lawyer, exchanged texts criticizing Mr. Trump, allowing the president to point to evidence of bias when they became public.

The messages were unsparing. They questioned Mr. Trump’s intelligence, believed he promoted intolerance and feared he would damage the bureau.

The inspector general’s upcoming report is expected to criticize those messages for giving the appearance of bias. It is not clear, however, whether inspectors found evidence supporting Mr. Trump’s assertion that agents tried to protect Mrs. Clinton, a claim the F.B.I. has adamantly denied.

Mr. Rubio, who has reviewed many of the texts and case files, said he saw no signs that the F.B.I. wanted to undermine Mr. Trump. “There might have been individual agents that had views that, in hindsight, have been problematic for those agents,” Mr. Rubio said. “But whether that was a systemic effort, I’ve seen no evidence of it.”

Mr. Trump’s daily Twitter posts, though, offer sound-bite-sized accusations — witch hunt, hoax, deep state, rigged system — that fan the flames of conspiracy. Capitol Hill allies reliably echo those comments.

“It’s like the deep state all got together to try to orchestrate a palace coup,” Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, said in January on Fox Business Network.

The Kremlin in Moscow. Two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, senior American intelligence officials told him that Russia had tried to sow chaos in the election, undermine Mrs. Clinton and ultimately help Mr. Trump win.CreditMladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Cautious Intelligence Gathering

Counterintelligence investigations can take years, but if the Russian government had influence over the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. wanted to know quickly. One option was the most direct: interview the campaign officials about their Russian contacts.

That was discussed but not acted on, two former officials said, because interviewing witnesses or subpoenaing documents might thrust the investigation into public view, exactly what F.B.I. officials were trying to avoid during the heat of the presidential race.

“You do not take actions that will unnecessarily impact an election,” Sally Q. Yates, the former deputy attorney general, said in an interview. She would not discuss details, but added, “Folks were very careful to make sure that actions that were being taken in connection with that investigation did not become public.”

Mr. Comey was briefed regularly on the Russia investigation, but one official said those briefings focused mostly on hacking and election interference. The Crossfire Hurricane team did not present many crucial decisions for Mr. Comey to make.

Top officials became convinced that there was almost no chance they would answer the question of collusion before Election Day. And that made agents even more cautious.

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.

Looking back, some at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. now believe that agents could have been more aggressive. They ultimately interviewed Mr. Papadopoulos in January 2017 and managed to keep it a secret, suggesting they could have done so much earlier.

“There is always a high degree of caution before taking overt steps in a counterintelligence investigation,” said Ms. McCord, who would not discuss details of the case. “And that could have worked to the president’s benefit here.”

Such tactical discussions are reflected in one of Mr. Strzok’s most controversial texts, sent on Aug. 15, 2016, after a meeting in Mr. McCabe’s office.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected,” Mr. Strzok wrote, “but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Mr. Trump says that message revealed a secret F.B.I. plan to respond to his election. “‘We’ll go to Phase 2 and we’ll get this guy out of office,’” he told The Wall Street Journal. “This is the F.B.I. we’re talking about — that is treason.”

But officials have told the inspector general something quite different. They said Ms. Page and others advocated a slower, circumspect pace, especially because polls predicted Mr. Trump’s defeat. They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.

Mr. Strzok countered that even if Mr. Trump’s chances of victory were low — like dying before 40 — the stakes were too high to justify inaction.

Mr. Strzok had similarly argued for a more aggressive path during the Clinton investigation, according to four current and former officials. He opposed the Justice Department’s decision to offer Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers immunity and negotiate access to her hard drives, the officials said. Mr. Strzok favored using search warrants or subpoenas instead.

In both cases, his argument lost.

As agents tried to corroborate information from the retired British spy Christopher Steele, reporters began calling the F.B.I., asking whether the accusations in his reports were accurate.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

Policy and Tradition

The F.B.I. bureaucracy did agents no favors. In July, a retired British spy named Christopher Steele approached a friend in the F.B.I. overseas and provided reports linking Trump campaign officials to Russia. But the documents meandered around the F.B.I. organizational chart, former officials said. Only in mid-September, congressional investigators say, did the records reach the Crossfire Hurricane team.

Mr. Steele was gathering information about Mr. Trump as a private investigator for Fusion GPS, a firm paid by Democrats. But he was also considered highly credible, having helped agents unravel complicated cases.

In October, agents flew to Europe to interview him. But Mr. Steele had become frustrated by the F.B.I.’s slow response. He began sharing his findings in September and October with journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere, according to congressional testimony.

So as agents tried to corroborate Mr. Steele’s information, reporters began calling the bureau, asking about his findings. If the F.B.I. was working against Mr. Trump, as he asserts, this was an opportunity to push embarrassing information into the news media shortly before the election.

That did not happen. Most news organizations did not publish Mr. Steele’s reports or reveal the F.B.I.’s interest in them until after Election Day.

Congress was also increasingly asking questions. Mr. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, had briefed top lawmakers that summer about Russian election interference and intelligence that Moscow supported the Trump campaign — a finding that would not become public for months. Lawmakers clamored for information from Mr. Comey, who refused to answer public questions.

Many Democrats see rueful irony in this moment. Mr. Comey, after all, broke with policy and twice publicly discussed the Clinton investigation. Yet he refused repeated requests to discuss the Trump investigation.

Mr. Comey has said he regrets his decision to chastise Mrs. Clinton as “extremely careless,” even as he announced that she should not be charged. But he stands by his decision to alert Congress, days before the election, that the F.B.I. was reopening the Clinton inquiry.

The result, though, is that Mr. Comey broke with both policy and tradition in Mrs. Clinton’s case, but hewed closely to the rules for Mr. Trump. Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that alone proves Mr. Trump’s claims of unfairness to be “both deeply at odds with the facts, and damaging to our democracy.”

Carter Page in December 2016. He had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign.CreditPavel Golovkin/Associated Press

Spying in Question

Crossfire Hurricane began with a focus on four campaign officials. But by mid-fall 2016, Mr. Page’s inquiry had progressed the furthest. Agents had known Mr. Page for years. Russian spies tried to recruit him in 2013, and he was dismissive when agents warned him about it, a half-dozen current and former officials said. That warning even made its way back to Russian intelligence, leaving agents suspecting that Mr. Page had reported their efforts to Moscow.

Relying on F.B.I. information and Mr. Steele’s, prosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. Page, who was no longer with the Trump campaign.

That warrant has become deeply contentious and is crucial to Republican arguments that intelligence agencies improperly used Democratic research to help justify spying on the Trump campaign. The inspector general is reviewing that claim.

Ms. Yates, the deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama, signed the first warrant application. But subsequent filings were approved by members of Mr. Trump’s own administration: the acting attorney general, Dana J. Boente, and then Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.

“Folks are very, very careful and serious about that process,” Ms. Yates said. “I don’t know of anything that gives me any concerns.”

After months of investigation, Mr. Papadopoulos remained largely a puzzle. And agents were nearly ready to close their investigation of Mr. Flynn, according to three current and former officials. (Mr. Flynn rekindled the F.B.I.’s interest in November 2016 by signing an op-ed article that appeared to be written on behalf of the Turkish government, and then making phone calls to the Russian ambassador that December.)

In late October, in response to questions from The Times, law enforcement officials acknowledged the investigation but urged restraint. They said they had scrutinized some of Mr. Trump’s advisers but had found no proof of any involvement with Russian hacking. The resulting article, on Oct. 31, reflected that caution and said that agents had uncovered no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts. But the article’s tone and headline — “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” — gave an air of finality to an investigation that was just beginning.

Democrats say that article pre-emptively exonerated Mr. Trump, dousing chances to raise questions about the campaign’s Russian ties before Election Day.

Just as the F.B.I. has been criticized for its handling of the Trump investigation, so too has The Times.

For Mr. Steele, it dashed his confidence in American law enforcement. “He didn’t know what was happening inside the F.B.I.,” Glenn R. Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, testified this year. “And there was a concern that the F.B.I. was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people.”

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, in January 2017. He assured Mr. Trump, who at the time was the president-elect, that the bureau intended to protect him as Mr. Steele’s reports were about to be published by news outlets.CreditAl Drago/The New York Times

Assurances Amid Doubt

Two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, senior American intelligence officials briefed him at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Russian hacking and deception. They reported that Mr. Putin had tried to sow chaos in the election, undermine Mrs. Clinton and ultimately help Mr. Trump win.

Then Mr. Comey met with Mr. Trump privately, revealing the Steele reports and warning that journalists had obtained them. Mr. Comey has said he feared making this conversation a “J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,” with the F.B.I. presenting embarrassing information to lord over a president-elect.

In a contemporaneous memo, Mr. Comey wrote that he assured Mr. Trump that the F.B.I. intended to protect him on this point. “I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook,” Mr. Comey wrote of Mr. Steele’s documents. “I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the F.B.I. had the material.”

Mr. Trump was not convinced — either by the Russia briefing or by Mr. Comey’s assurances. He made up his mind before Mr. Comey even walked in the door. Hours earlier, Mr. Trump told The Times that stories about Russian election interference were being pushed by his adversaries to distract from his victory.

And he debuted what would quickly become a favorite phrase: “This is a political witch hunt.”

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article misstated that news organizations did not report on the findings of the retired British spy Christopher Steele about links between Trump campaign officials and Russia. While most news organizations whose reporters met with Mr. Steele did not publish such reports before the 2016 election, Mother Jones magazine did.

Reporting was contributed by Michael S. Schmidt, Sharon LaFraniere, Mark Mazzetti and Matthew Rosenberg.

Follow Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos on Twitter: @adamgoldmanNYT and @npfandos.

A version of this art

The Russia Investigation Is Complicated. Here’s What It All Means.

The special counsel is investigating events that span years and cross international borders.

Image
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

THE BASICS

  • Russia carried out a campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 American presidential election, denigrating Hillary Clinton and boosting Donald J. Trump, according to American intelligence agencies. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia personally ordered it.

  • The F.B.I., citing four Trump campaign aides’ ties to Russia, opened a counterintelligence investigation in the summer of 2016 to determine whether Trump associates aided Russia’s election interference.

  • Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director, was appointed the special counsel in May 2017 to take over the investigation. The inquiry has expanded to examine whether President Trump tried to obstruct the investigation itself.

  • Nineteen people — including four Trump associates — and three companies have been indicted in the case. Five have pleaded guilty; 13 are Russians accused of meddling in the election. [See a breakdown of the charges here.]


THE MAJOR FOCUSES OF THE INVESTIGATION

Interference

Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the presidential race and sow discord by spreading inflammatory messages on social media and stealing emails from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee, which were then strategically released to undermine the Clinton campaign.

Coordination

Investigators are examining what Mr. Trump’s aides and associates knew about Russia’s meddling, particularly the release of thousands of stolen Democratic emails, and whether any of them aided Moscow’s effort.

Obstruction

Mr. Mueller is investigating an array of the president’s actions — including the firing of the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey — to determine whether Mr. Trump sought to impede the investigation into Russia’s actions.

Foreign Influence

Mr. Mueller is investigating whether Trump associates ran afoul of American lobbying or anti-corruption laws. Two aides to the Trump campaign, including its onetime chairman, were charged with financial crimes related to their work as advisers to a pro-Russia former president of Ukraine.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/us/politics/russia-investigation-guide.html

National security letter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Green herb with a few tiny yellow-white flowers
Three small white and yellow flowers before green-leaf background
A National security letter issued to the Internet Archive demanding information about a user

A national security letter (NSL) is an administrative subpoena issued by the United States government to gather information for national security purposes.[citation needed] NSLs do not require prior approval from a judge. The Stored Communications ActFair Credit Reporting Act, and Right to Financial Privacy Act authorize the United States government to seek such information that is “relevant” to authorized national security investigations. By law, NSLs can request only non-content information, for example, transactional records and phone numbers dialed, but never the content of telephone calls or e-mails.[1]

NSLs typically contain a nondisclosure requirement forbidding the recipient of an NSL from disclosing that the FBI had requested the information.[2] The nondisclosure provision must be authorized by the Director of the FBI, and only after he or she certifies “that otherwise there may result a danger to the national security of the United States, interference with a criminal, counterterrorism, or counterintelligence investigation, interference with diplomatic relations, or danger to the life or physical safety of any person.”[3] Even then, the recipient of the NSL may still challenge the nondisclosure provision in federal court.[4]

The constitutionality of such nondisclosure provisions has been repeatedly challenged. The requirement was initially ruled to be unconstitutional as an infringement of free speech in the Doe v. Gonzales case, but that decision was later vacated in 2008 by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals after it held the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act gave the recipient of an NSL that included a nondisclosure provision the right to challenge the nondisclosure provision in federal court. In March 2013, a judge in the Northern District of California held the nondisclosure provision in an NSL was unconstitutional. But on August 24, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s decision and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings. On remand, the district court held the “NSLs were issued in full compliance with the procedural and substantive requirements suggested by the Second Circuit in John Doe, Inc. v. Mukasey, 549 F.3d 861 (2d Cir. 2008), which had held that the 2006 NSL law could be constitutionally applied” … and “the NSL law, as amended [by the USA FREEDOM ACT of 2015], was constitutional.” The two petitioners then appealed. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court ruling, holding that NSLs are constitutional, and stated, “the nondisclosure requirement does not run afoul of the First Amendment.” Under Seal v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III, Attorney General, Nos. 16-16067, 16-16081, and 16-16082, July 17, 2017.

History

The oldest NSL provisions were created in 1978 as a little-used investigative tool in terrorism and espionage investigations to obtain financial records. Under the Right to Financial Privacy Act (RFPA), part of the Financial Institutions Regulatory and Interest Rate Control Act of 1978), the FBI could obtain the records only if the FBI could first demonstrate the person was a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Compliance by the recipient of the NSL was voluntary, and states’ consumer privacy laws often allowed financial institutions to reject the requests.[5] In 1986, Congress amended RFPA to allow the government to request disclosure of the requested information. In 1986, Congress passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), part of the Stored Communications Act), which created provisions similar to the RFPA that allowed the FBI to issue NSLs. Still, neither RFPA or ECPA act included penalties for not complying with the NSL. A 1993 amendment removed the restriction regarding “foreign powers” and allowed the use of NSLs to request information concerning persons who are not the direct subject of the investigation.

In 2001, section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act expanded the use of the NSLs. In March 2006, the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act allowed for judicial review of an NSL. A federal judge could repeal or modify an NSL if the court found the request for information was “unreasonable, oppressive, or otherwise unlawful.” The nondisclosure provision the government could include in an NSL was also weakened. The court could repeal the nondisclosure provision if it found it had been made in bad faith. Other amendments allowed the recipient of an NSL to inform their attorney about the request and the government had to rely on the courts to enforce compliance with an NSL.

Patriot Act

Section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act (2001) allowed the use of the NSLs when seeking information “relevant” in authorized national security investigations to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. The act also provided the Department of Defense when conducting a law enforcement investigation, counterintelligence inquiry, or security determination. The Central Intelligence Agency has also allegedly issued NSLs.[6] The Patriot Act reauthorization statutes passed during the 109th Congress added potential penalties for failure to comply with an NSL or disclosing an NSL if the NSL included a nondisclosure provision.

Contentious aspects

Two contentious aspects of NSLs are the nondisclosure provision and judicial oversight when the FBI issues an NSL. When the Director of the FBI (or his designee) authorizes the inclusion of a nondisclosure provision in an NSL, the recipient may face criminal prosecution if it reveals the contents of the NSL or that it was received. The purpose of a nondisclosure provision is to prevent the recipient of an NSL from compromising both the current FBI investigation involving a specific person and future investigations as well (see 18 U.S.C. 2709), which could fetter the Government’s efforts to address national security threats.[7] An NSL recipient (later revealed to be Nicholas Merrill[8][9]) writing in The Washington Post said,

“[L]iving under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case…from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been.”[7]

Like other administrative subpoenas, NSLs do not require judicial approval. For NSLs, that is because the U.S. Supreme Court has held the types of information the FBI obtains with NSLs provide no constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy. Because a person has already provided the information to a third party, e.g., their telephone company, they no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy to the information, and therefore there is no Fourth Amendment requirement to obtain a judge’s approval to obtain the information.[10] Nonetheless, the recipient of the NSL may still challenge the nondisclosure provision in federal court.[11]

The media reported in 2007 that a government audit found the FBI had violated the rules more than 1,000 times in an audit of 10% of its national investigations between 2002 and 2007.[12] Twenty such incidents involved requests by agents for information not permitted under the law. A subsequent report in 2014 by the Justice Department Office of Inspector General concluded the FBI had corrected its practices and that NSLs complied federal statutes.

According to 2,500 pages of documents the FBI provided to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the FBI had used NSLs to obtain information about individuals who were the subject of an FBI terrorism or counterintelligence investigation and information from telecommunications companies about individuals with whom the subject of the investigation had communicated. According to a September 9, 2007, New York Times report,

“In many cases, the target of a[n FBI] national security letter whose records are being sought is not necessarily the actual subject of a terrorism investigation. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, the FBI must assert only that the records gathered through the letter are considered relevant to a terrorism [or counterintelligence] investigation.”[13]

In April 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged that the military was using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans’ Internet service providers, financial institutions, and telephone companies. The ACLU based its allegation on a review of more than 1,000 documents provided by the Defense Department. The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General later determined the Department of Defense (not the FBI) had lawfully obtained the information under the National Security Act of 1947, not through NSLs.

Doe v. Ashcroft

Letter in Doe v. Ashcroft case

The lack of judicial oversight and the Supreme Court ruling in Smith v. Maryland was the core of Doe v. Ashcroft, a test case brought by the ACLU concerning the use of NSLs. The lawsuit was file on behalf of “John Doe” plaintiff Nicholas Merrill, founder of Calyx Internet Access,[14] who had received an NSL. The action challenged the constitutionality of NSLs, specifically the nondisclosure provision. At the district court, Judge of the Southern District of New York held in September 2004 that NSLs violated the Fourth Amendment (“it has the effect of authorizing coercive searches effectively immune from any judicial process”) and First Amendment. However, Judge Marrero stayed his ruling while the case proceeded to the court of appeals.

Because of the New York district court ruling, while the case was still on appeal, Congress amended the USA PATRIOT Act to provide for more judicial review of NSLs and clarified the NSL nondisclosure provision.[15] Based on the U.S. Supreme Court rulings, there is still no requirement to seek judicial approval for the FBI issuing an NSL.

The government appealed Judge Marrero’s decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in May 2006. In March 2008, the Second Circuit ruled that nondisclosure provisions were permissible only when the FBI certified that disclosure may result in certain statutorily enumerated harms (see, e.g., 18 U.S.C. 2709), and held the nondisclosure provision to a strict scrutiny standard. The Second Circuit then returned the case to the district court based on amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act that Congress had enacted while the case had been on appeal.

Letter in the Doe v. Gonzales case

Another effect of Doe v. Ashcroft was increased congressional oversight. The amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act mentioned above included requirements for semiannual reporting to Congress. Although the reports are classified, a nonclassified accounting of how many NSLs are issued is also required. On April 28, 2006, the Department of Justice reported to the House and Senate that in calendar year 2005, “The Government made requests for certain information concerning 3,501 United States persons pursuant to NSLs. During this period, the total number of NSL requests … for information concerning U.S. persons totaled 9,254.”[16]

In 2010, the FBI agreed to lift partially the nondisclosure provision to allow Merrill to reveal his identity.[17] Merrill has since created a corporation for the purposes of educating and researching privacy issues.[18]

On August 28, 2015, Judge Marrero rescinded the nondisclosure provision associated with the NSL Merrill had received, thereby allowing him to speak about the contents of the NSL. On November 30, 2015, the unredacted court ruling was published in full.[19]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005: A Legal AnalysisCongressional Research Service‘s report for Congress, Brian T. Yeh, Charles Doyle, December 21, 2006.
  2. Jump up^ Bustillos, Maria (June 27, 2013). “What It’s Like to Get a National-Security Letter”The New Yorker.
  3. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C.§ 2709(c)
  4. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C.§ 3511
  5. Jump up^ Andrew E. Nieland, National Security Letters and the Amended Patriot Act, 92 Cornell L. Rev. 1201, 1207 (2007) [1]
  6. Jump up^ Lichtblau, Eric; Mezzetti, Mark (January 14, 2007). Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S. “Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S.”Check |url= value (help)The New York Times.
  7. Jump up to:ab My National Security LetterThe Washington Post, 2007 Mar 23
  8. Jump up^ John Doe’ Who Fought FBI Spying Freed From Gag Order After 6 YearsKim Zetter, Wired.com, 2010 8 10
  9. Jump up^ “Doe v. Holder (Challenging Patriot Act’s National Security Letter provision and associated gag provision)”S.D.N.Y. 04 Civ. 2614 (VM) (direct). NYCLU (New York Civil Liberties Union). Archived from the original on 2010-11-13.
  10. Jump up^ Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979); Fourth Amendment, U.S. Const.
  11. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 3511
  12. Jump up^ “FBI agents broke the rules 1,000 times”RTÉ News Online. 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
  13. Jump up^ Lichtblau, Eric (2007-09-08). “F.B.I. Data Mining Reached Beyond Target Suspects”. The New York Times.
  14. Jump up^ “ACLU Sues Over Internet Privacy”cbsnews.com.
  15. Jump up^ “Congress.gov – Library of Congress”thomas.loc.gov.
  16. Jump up^ Report of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance ActArchived 2006-06-29 at the Wayback Machine., United States Department of Justice
  17. Jump up^ McLaughlin, Jenna (14 September 2015). “Federal Court Lifts National Security Letter Gag Order; First Time in 14 Years”. The Intercept. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  18. Jump up^ “National Security Letters and Gag Orders: Transcript”. On the Media. January 21, 2011. Although you’re allowed to challenge the gag every year now under the new [amended] law, the last time I did it, the government presented secret evidence that only they and the judge could see, and my attorneys could not see, and therefore could not challenge. It does kind of add up to a lot of responsibility, and that’s part of what motivated me to start my nonprofit organization, the Calyx Institute. Part of it is to defend people who are gagged. Part of it is also to promote best practices among telecommunications companies in regards to the privacy of customer data.
  19. Jump up^ “Nicholas Merrill able to reveal the national security letter previously undisclosed”Information Society Project. Yale University. Retrieved 2015-11-30.

External links

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

 

Indictment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An indictment (/ɪnˈdtmənt/ in-DYT-mənt) is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that use the concept of felonies, the most serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that do not use the concept of felonies often use that of an indictable offence—an offence that requires an indictment.

Historically, in most common law jurisdictions, an indictment was handed up by a grand jury, which returned a “true bill” if it found cause to make the charge, or “no bill” if it did not find cause.

Indictments by country

India

The criminal law in India[1] is derived from the colonial-era British system, does not use a jury system and is codified in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Criminal offenses are divided into two broad categories: cognisable offenses and non-cognisable offenses. The police are empowered to start investigating a cognisable offense. The complaint is considered merely an accusation. However, in both cognisable and non-cognisable offenses, the trial starts only with the “Framing of Charges” similar to the concept of indictment. The trial court does not proceed with the trial if the evidence is insufficient to make out a charge.

United Kingdom

England and Wales

In England and Wales (except in private prosecutions by individuals) an indictment is issued by the public prosecutor (in most cases this will be the Crown Prosecution Service) on behalf of the Crown, which is the nominal plaintiff in all public prosecutions under English law. This is why a public prosecution of a person whose surname is Smith would be referred to in writing as “R v Smith” (or alternatively as “Regina v Smith” or “Rex v Smith” depending on the gender of the Sovereign, Regina and Rex being Latin for “Queen” and “King” and in either case may informally be pronounced as such) and when cited orally in court would be pronounced “the Crown against Smith”.[2][3]

All proceedings on indictment must be brought before the Crown Court.[4] By virtue of practice directions issued under section 75(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, an indictment must be tried by a High Court judge, a Circuit judge or a recorder (which of these it is depends on the offence).

As to the form of an indictment, see the Indictments Act 1915 and the Indictment Rules 1971 made thereunder.

The Indictment Rules 1971 were revoked by the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2007[5] (on the whole) incorporated into the Criminal Procedure Rules 2010.[6] The form and content and the service of an indictment are governed by Rule 14 of the CPR 2012.[7]Additional guidance is contained in the Consolidated Criminal Practice Direction Part IV.34.[8]

As to the preferring of a bill of indictment and the signing of an indictment, see section 2 of the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933 and the Indictments (Procedure) Rules 1971 (S.I. 1971/2084) made thereunder, as amended and modified by the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1983 (S.I. 1983/284), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1988 (S.I. 1988/1783), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1992 (S.I. 1992/284), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1997 (S.I. 1997/711), the Indictments (Procedure) (Modification) Rules 1998 (S.I. 1998/3045) and the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 2000 (S.I. 2000/3360).

Northern Ireland[

See the Indictments Act (Northern Ireland) 1945.[9]

Scotland

In Scotland, all of these cases brought in the High Court of Justiciary are brought in the name of the Lord Advocate and will be tried on Indictment. In the Sheriff Court where trials proceed using the Solemn procedure they will also be tried on indictment and are brought in the name of the Procurator Fiscal.

United States

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states in part: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia when in actual service in time of War or public danger”. The requirement of an indictment has not been incorporated against the states; therefore, although the federal government uses grand juries and indictments, not all U.S. states do.[10]

In many, but not all, United States jurisdictions that use grand juries, prosecutors often have a choice between seeking an indictment from a grand jury and filing a charging document directly with the court. Such a document is usually called an informationaccusation, or complaint, to distinguish it from a grand-jury indictment. To protect the suspect’s due-process rights in felony cases (where the suspect’s interest in liberty is at stake), there is usually a preliminary hearing, at which a judge determines whether there was probable cause to arrest the suspect who is in custody. If the judge finds such probable cause, he or she binds, or holds over, the suspect for trial.

The substance of an indictment or other charging instrument is usually the same, regardless of the jurisdiction: it consists of a short and plain statement of where, when, and how the defendant allegedly committed the offense. Each offense usually is set out in a separate count. Indictments for complex crimes, particularly those involving conspiracy or numerous counts, may run to hundreds of pages. However, in other cases an indictment for a crime as serious as murder, may consist of a single sheet of paper.

Indictable offenses are normally tried by jury, unless the accused waives the right to a jury trial. Although the Sixth Amendment mandates the right to a jury trial in any criminal prosecution, the vast majority of criminal cases in the United States are resolved by the plea-bargaining process.

Direct indictment (Canada)

A direct indictment is one in which the case is sent directly to trial before a preliminary inquiry is completed or when the accused has been discharged by a preliminary inquiry.[11][12] It is meant to be an extraordinary, rarely used power to ensure that those who should be brought to trial are in a timely manner or where an error of judgment is seen to have been made in the preliminary inquiry.[13]

Sealed indictment

An indictment can be sealed so that it stays non-public until it is unsealed. This can be done for a number of reasons. It may be unsealed, for example, once the named person is arrested or has been notified by police.[14]

See also

References

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

Did the FBI Have a Spy in the Trump Campaign?

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., October 31, 2016. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

The Steele-dossier author told Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson about a ‘human source.’Something tells me Glenn Simpson did not make a mistake. Something tells me the co-founder of Fusion GPS was dead-on accurate when he testified that Christopher Steele told him the FBI had a “human source” — i.e., a spy — inside the Trump campaign as the 2016 presidential race headed into its stretch run.

When he realized how explosive this revelation was, Simpson walked it back: He had, perhaps, “mischaracterized” what he’d been told by Steele, the former British spy and principal author of the anti-Trump dossier he and Simpson compiled for the Clinton campaign.

Simpson gave his testimony about the FBI’s human source at a closed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on August 22, 2017. He did not try to retract it until the uproar that followed the publication of his testimony on January 9, 2018. The latter date is significant for reasons we’ll come to.

A Spy and a Stonewall
Simpson’s testimony on this point is worth revisiting because of a pitched battle between the House Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department. Essential reporting on the controversy has been done by the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel (see here and here). On Thursday, she related that, yet again, Congress had faced down a DOJ/FBI attempt to stonewall the committee’s probe of investigative irregularities during the 2016 election season — particularly, abuse of government surveillance powers, which the Obama-led agencies used to monitor the Trump campaign.

Unable to get voluntary cooperation, committee chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) issued a subpoena demanding that the Justice Department disclose information about a top-secret intelligence source who is said to have assisted the Russia investigation. That investigation is now being run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But more interesting is how it got started.

On that question, officials have been suspiciously fuzzy in their explanations, and hilariously inconsistent in their leaks: initially settling on an origination story that hinged on the Steele dossier and a trip to Moscow by the obscure Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page; later pivoting to a tale of boozy blathering by an even more obscure Trump-campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, when the first story proved embarrassing — the dossier allegations having been unverified when the Justice Department included them in warrant applications to the FISA court.

The Justice Department’s inability, or at least unwillingness, to reveal exactly how, when, and why the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation has fueled suspicions that a spy who worked for both the FBI and the CIA was deployed against the Trump campaign, probably in Britain — where Papadopoulos had met with suspected agents of the Kremlin, and where Steele compiled the dossier via reports from his unidentified sources.

From painstaking research, Nunes and committee staff believe they have identified such a spy. When they demanded information about this person — whose name remains unknown to the public — the Justice Department’s response was not “No, you’re wrong, there was no spying.” It was first to bloviate that the department would not be “extorted” (Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s unusual understanding of what is more commonly known as congressional oversight) and then to claim that providing the information sought by the committee would risk “potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities.”

By now, Nunes has learned that if he is catching flak, he is over the target.

Simpson’s Senate Testimony about the FBI’s ‘Human Source’
This brings us back to Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, which was retained by the Clinton campaign (through its lawyers at Perkins Coie) to generate the Steele dossier, opposition research that focused on Donald Trump and Russia.

In his Senate testimony on August 22, 2017, Simpson explained that Steele had met with at least one FBI agent in Rome in mid to late September 2016. The former British spy had provided the unverified allegations he had compiled to that point (i.e., his private “intelligence reports,” later assembled into the “dossier”). Steele had developed a close working relationship with the FBI when he was a British agent. It is not surprising, then, that the Bureau did not just take his information; it reciprocated, imparting some sensitive information to him. Simpson explained to the Senate committee (my italics):

Essentially, what [Christopher Steele] told me was [the FBI] had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source, and that — that they — my understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris’s information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing, and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump campaign.

Simpson declined to answer more questions about this unidentified “human source.” But when the media treated his revelation as a bombshell, he realized it would cause a feeding frenzy: Congress, the media, and the public would demand to know what would cause the FBI, in the stretch run of a presidential race, to use an informant against one candidate’s campaign.

On a dime, Simpson backpedaled. Fusion GPS explained to friendly media that he believed he had “mischaracterized” the source. He must have been talking about George Papadopoulos — not a “human source” in the sense of willing informant or spy, but a person attached to the campaign whose statements to an Australian diplomat had been passed to the FBI (through channels that, we shall see, have still not been explained).

On further review, I don’t buy this explanation (although I uncritically accepted it in a column about Simpson’s testimony early this year).

The Timing Doesn’t Compute
Simpson’s testimony was released to the public on January 9, 2018. That was just a few days after the New York Times had published its big New Year’s weekend story claiming, based on anonymous intelligence officials, that the Russia investigation had been opened sometime in July 2016. The catalyzing event, we were told, was a report to the FBI that Papadopoulos, a young Trump-campaign adviser, had alleged that Russia possessed thousands of stolen Hillary Clinton emails. According to the story, Papadopoulos had been informed of this by Joseph Mifsud, a London-based academic who professed to have Kremlin connections. A few weeks later, while drinking in a London bar in May 2016, Papadopoulos blabbed the news to Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat.

According to the Times, when hacked Democratic National Committee emails started being published in July 2016, Australian officials surmised that this development could be related to Papadopoulos’s boozy claim; therefore, the paper suggests, they routed the information to their American counterparts. But when we peruse the story, we find that the Times is drawing an inference that the FBI must have gotten the information from the Australian government; there is no solid confirmation that this happened. Indeed, the story evinces bewilderment that two months supposedly elapsed between the Papadopoulos–Downer meeting and the FBI’s learning about it. There is no attempt to describe how this assumed transmission occurred, and the Aussies refused to comment on the matter.

Though the Papadopoulos–Downer story is rickety, it nevertheless served Simpson’s purpose of backing away from his “human source” testimony. Alas, his story does not add up, either.

To repeat, while Simpson’s testimony became public in January 2018, he actually gave the testimony five months earlier, in August 2017. Papadopoulos’s name is not uttered in the 312-page transcript, just as it goes unmentioned in the Steele dossier.

Papadopoulos was virtually unheard of until October 30, 2017, when Special Counsel Mueller announced his guilty plea and filed a factual recitation of his offense conduct. Two weeks after that information became public, Simpson was asked about Papadopoulos in a fleeting exchange during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee (see November 14, 2017transcript, page 163.) Interestingly, the subject came up in the context of Trump-related research Simpson had done separate and apart from his collaboration with Steele. Simpson claimed that he had been looking at Papadopoulos “for a while” and regarded him as “a clone of Carter Page”; but he admitted that he actually knew nothing significant about Papadopoulos beyond what Mueller had included in the information filed in court at the time of the guilty plea.

The information Mueller had filed in October said nothing about either Papadopoulos’s meeting with Downer or the subsequent purported transmission of Papadopoulos’s claims from Australian authorities to the FBI. That story did not come out until the Times article on December 30.

When Simpson testified that Steele told him the FBI had a human source, I think Simpson meant exactly what that testimony implied.

Only after that, and in the uproar over the January 9 release of Simpson’s five-month-old Senate testimony, did Fusion suggest that Simpson must have been referring to Downer, the Australian diplomat, when he told the Senate that the FBI had a “human source” inside the Trump campaign. That, however, is not credible. When Simpson gave the “human source” testimony in August 2017, there is no indication that he knew anything about Downer. Even if we buy his House testimony in November that he had heard of Papadopoulos before the latter’s October plea, Simpson conceded then that he knew nothing more than what Mueller had disclosed — which did not include the Papadopoulos–Downer meeting and the communication of it to the FBI.

Simpson is a smart guy, an accomplished investigative journalist, and now a full-time professional researcher, whose attention to detail is impressive. Steele is an experienced intelligence officer. The two are longtime friends and collaborators who understand each other well. Informants are central to both of their professions. By their telling, Steele’s decision to bring their research to the FBI and his subsequent dealings with the Bureau were a matter of extensive discussion and great concern.

Consequently, I do not believe that Steele gave his friend Simpson a cryptic account of his meeting in Rome with the FBI; nor do I believe that Simpson got confused and “mischaracterized” what he was told. When Simpson testified that Steele told him the FBI had a human source, I think Simpson meant exactly what that testimony implied: that someone from the FBI told Steele in August 2016 — while the investigation was heating up, while the FBI was ramping up its efforts in preparation for seeking surveillance warrants from the FISA court — that the Bureau had an informant.

A Human Source . . . in Britain, Not Australia
Three other things to consider:

1. For months, the House Intelligence Committee sought disclosure of the “electronic communication” (EC) by which the FBI opened its counterintelligence-investigation file on Papadopoulos, reportedly in July 2016. Counterintelligence involves national-security powers, and it is a weighty matter to apply these powers — as opposed to criminal-investigative authorities — to American citizens. The committee therefore wanted to know what foreign intelligence had spurred the probe, particularly in light of intelligence leaks that an Australian government report about Papadopoulos was the cause.

Yet, when Nunes was finally allowed to look at the EC, only after threatening contempt proceedings against Justice Department officials, he learned that the FBI did not set forth any foreign intelligence — there was no Australian report, no “Five Eyes intelligence product” at all, Nunes told Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo.

Did the FBI’s British operation involve using a spy to interact with Trump-campaign figures, such as Papadopoulos, on British soil?

If the FBI was not explicitly relying on intelligence from a foreign ally, on what was it relying to open a counterintelligence investigation focusing on an American political campaign? According to what the New York Times reported in April 2017, “current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials” said the investigation was triggered by Carter Page’s trip to Moscow. That would implicate the Clinton-campaign-generated Steele dossier, which claimed that Page’s trip furthered a Trump–Russia conspiracy. I’ve detailed how, as reliance on the unverified dossier has become more controversial, the media and intelligence agencies have tried to minimize its importance to the opening of the investigation.

Did the dossier instigate not only FISA surveillance but human spying against the Trump campaign?

2. As Larry O’Connor has recounted in the Washington Times, Obama’s former CIA director John Brennan was asked, by NBC’s Chuck Todd, whether the FBI’s investigation was triggered by intelligence from the Five Eyes (i.e., the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia — five Anglosphere governments that have longstanding, unusually close intelligence-sharing arrangements). Brennan would not answer the question directly, but he emphasized U.S. ties not with Australia but with Britain:

The F.B.I. has [a] very close relationship with its British counterparts. And so, the F.B.I. had visibility into a number of things that were going on involving some individuals who may have had some affiliation with the Trump campaign. And so, the intelligence that we collected was pulsed against that. And I thought it would have been derelict if the F.B.I. did not pull the threads, investigative threads, on American persons who might have been involved with Russia and working on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly.

Sounds like the FBI, with support from the CIA, had some cooperative intelligence venture with British authorities that enabled the Bureau to monitor Trump-campaign figures. That is significant because Papadopoulos has acknowledged meeting in Britain with people who claimed Kremlin ties and who told him Russia had thousands of Clinton’s emails. Did the FBI’s British operation involve using a spy to interact with Trump-campaign figures, such as Papadopoulos, on British soil? Brennan didn’t say.

3. In December 2017, McCabe testified in a closed hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported that McCabe “said on more than one occasion that the FBI had worked hard to verify the dossier, telling lawmakers that the FBI had at one point sent investigators to London as part of that effort” (emphasis added).

Did the FBI’s work to verify the dossier in London involve a human source? Did it involve other human sources in other places?

Christopher Steele, the former British spy with extensive British intelligence and FBI connections, told his friend Glenn Simpson that the FBI had penetrated the Trump campaign with a “human source” who was helping corroborate the dossier. There seems to be more corroboration for this assertion than for the sensational allegations in Steele’s dossier.

Story 2: Secret Surveillance Spying Security State (S5) Abolishes Fourth Amendment With  National Security Agency and National Security Letters — Congress Does Nothing Fearing Secret Surveillance Spying Security State Disclosures By United States Intelligence Community (IC) — Videos

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Tragedy and Hope: Professor Carroll Quigley and the “Article that Said Too Little” by Kevin Cole

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United States Intelligence Community

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
United States Intelligence Community
United States Intelligence Community Seal.svg

Seal of the United States Intelligence Community
Agency overview
Formed December 4, 1981
Agency executive

The United States Intelligence Community (IC)[1] is a federation of 16 separate United States government agencies that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities to support the foreign policy and national security of the United States. Member organizations of the IC include intelligence agenciesmilitary intelligence, and civilian intelligence and analysis offices within federal executive departments. The IC is overseen by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which itself is headed by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who reports to the President of the United States.

Among their varied responsibilities, the members of the Community collect and produce foreign and domestic intelligence, contribute to military planning, and perform espionage. The IC was established by Executive Order 12333, signed on December 4, 1981, by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.[2]

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that were working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole includes 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.[3] According to a 2008 study by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, private contractors make up 29% of the workforce in the U.S. intelligence community and account for 49% of their personnel budgets.[4]

Etymology

The term “Intelligence Community” was first used during Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith‘s tenure as Director of Central Intelligence (1950–1953).[5]

History[

Intelligence is information that agencies collect, analyze, and distribute in response to government leaders’ questions and requirements. Intelligence is a broad term that entails:

Collection, analysis, and production of sensitive information to support national security leaders, including policymakers, military commanders, and Members of Congress. Safeguarding these processes and this information through counterintelligence activities. Execution of covert operations approved by the President. The IC strives to provide valuable insight on important issues by gathering raw intelligence, analyzing that data in context, and producing timely and relevant products for customers at all levels of national security—from the war-fighter on the ground to the President in Washington.[6]

Executive Order 12333 charged the IC with six primary objectives:[7]

  • Collection of information needed by the President, the National Security Council, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and other executive branch officials for the performance of their duties and responsibilities;
  • Production and dissemination of intelligence;
  • Collection of information concerning, and the conduct of activities to protect against, intelligence activities directed against the U.S., international terrorist and/or narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the U.S. by foreign powers, organizations, persons and their agents;
  • Special activities (defined as activities conducted in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad which are planned and executed so that the “role of the United States Government is not apparent or acknowledged publicly”, and functions in support of such activities, but which are not intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media and do not include diplomatic activities or the collection and production of intelligence or related support functions);
  • Administrative and support activities within the United States and abroad necessary for the performance of authorized activities and
  • Such other intelligence activities as the President may direct from time to time.

Organization

Members

The IC is headed by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), whose statutory leadership is exercised through the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The 16 members of the IC are:[8]

The official seals of U.S. Intelligence Community members.

Agency Parent Agency Federal Department Date est.
Twenty-Fifth Air Force United States Air Force Defense 1948
Intelligence and Security Command United States Army Defense 1977
Central Intelligence Agency none Independent agency 1947
Coast Guard Intelligence United States Coast Guard Homeland Security 1915
Defense Intelligence Agency none Defense 1961
Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence none Energy 1977
Office of Intelligence and Analysis none Homeland Security 2007
Bureau of Intelligence and Research none State 1945
Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence none Treasury 2004
Office of National Security Intelligence Drug Enforcement Administration Justice 2006
Intelligence Branch Federal Bureau of Investigation Justice 2005
Marine Corps Intelligence Activity United States Marine Corps Defense 1978
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency none Defense 1996
National Reconnaissance Office none Defense 1961
National Security Agency/Central Security Service none Defense 1952
Office of Naval Intelligence United States Navy Defense 1882

Programs

The IC performs under two separate programs:

  • The National Intelligence Program (NIP), formerly known as the National Foreign Intelligence Program as defined by the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended), “refers to all programs, projects, and activities of the intelligence community, as well as any other programs of the intelligence community designated jointly by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the head of a United States department or agency or by the President. Such term does not include programs, projects, or activities of the military departments to acquire intelligence solely for the planning and conduct of tactical military operations by the United States Armed Forces”. Under the law, the DNI is responsible for directing and overseeing the NIP, though the ability to do so is limited (see the Organization structure and leadership section).
  • The Military Intelligence Program (MIP) refers to the programs, projects, or activities of the military departments to acquire intelligence solely for the planning and conduct of tactical military operations by the United States Armed Forces. The MIP is directed and controlled by the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. In 2005 the Department of Defense combined the Joint Military Intelligence Program and the Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities program to form the MIP.

Since the definitions of the NIP and MIP overlap when they address military intelligence, assignment of intelligence activities to the NIP and MIP sometimes proves problematic.

Organizational structure and leadership

IC Circle.jpg

The overall organization of the IC is primarily governed by the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended) and Executive Order 12333. The statutory organizational relationships were substantially revised with the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) amendments to the 1947 National Security Act.

Though the IC characterizes itself as a federation of its member elements, its overall structure is better characterized as a confederation due to its lack of a well-defined, unified leadership and governance structure. Prior to 2004, the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) was the head of the IC, in addition to being the director of the CIA. A major criticism of this arrangement was that the DCI had little or no actual authority over the budgetary authorities of the other IC agencies and therefore had limited influence over their operations.

Following the passage of IRTPA in 2004, the head of the IC is the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The DNI exerts leadership of the IC primarily through statutory authorities under which he or she:

  • controls the “National Intelligence Program” budget;
  • establishes objectives, priorities, and guidance for the IC; and
  • manages and directs the tasking of, collection, analysis, production, and dissemination of national intelligence by elements of the IC.

However, the DNI has no authority to direct and control any element of the IC except his own staff—the Office of the DNI—neither does the DNI have the authority to hire or fire personnel in the IC except those on his own staff. The member elements in the executive branch are directed and controlled by their respective department heads, all cabinet-level officials reporting to the President. By law, only the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency reports to the DNI.

In light of major intelligence failures in recent years that called into question how well Intelligence Community ensures U.S. national security, particularly those identified by the 9/11 Commission (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States), and the “WMD Commission” (Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction), the authorities and powers of the DNI and the overall organizational structure of the IC have become subject of intense debate in the United States.

Interagency cooperation

Previously, interagency cooperation and the flow of information among the member agencies was hindered by policies that sought to limit the pooling of information out of privacy and security concerns. Attempts to modernize and facilitate interagency cooperation within the IC include technological, structural, procedural, and cultural dimensions. Examples include the Intellipedia wiki of encyclopedic security-related information; the creation of the Office of the Director of National IntelligenceNational Intelligence CentersProgram Manager Information Sharing Environment, and Information Sharing Council; legal and policy frameworks set by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, information sharing Executive Orders 13354 and Executive Order 13388, and the 2005 National Intelligence Strategy.

Budget[edit]

Data visualization of U.S. intelligence black budget (2013)

The U.S. intelligence budget (excluding the Military Intelligence Program) in fiscal year 2013 was appropriated as $52.7 billion, and reduced by the amount sequestered to $49.0 billion.[9] In fiscal year 2012 it peaked at $53.9 billion, according to a disclosure required under a recent law implementing recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.[10] The 2012 figure was up from $53.1 billion in 2010,[11] $49.8 billion in 2009,[12] $47.5 billion in 2008,[13] $43.5 billion in 2007,[14] and $40.9 billion in 2006.[15]

About 70 percent of the intelligence budget went to contractors for the procurement of technology and services (including analysis), according to the May 2007 chart from the ODNI. Intelligence spending has increased by a third over ten years ago, in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.[citation needed]

In a statement on the release of new declassified figures, DNI Mike McConnell said[when?] there would be no additional disclosures of classified budget information beyond the overall spending figure because “such disclosures could harm national security”. How the money is divided among the 16 intelligence agencies and what it is spent on is classified. It includes salaries for about 100,000 people, multibillion-dollar satellite programsaircraftweapons, electronic sensors, intelligence analysisspiescomputers, and software.

On August 29, 2013 the Washington Post published the summary of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s multivolume FY 2013 Congressional Budget Justification, the U.S. intelligence community’s top-secret “black budget.”[16][17][18] The IC’s FY 2013 budget details, how the 16 spy agencies use the money and how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress. Experts said that access to such details about U.S. spy programs is without precedent. Steven Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists, which provides analyses of national security issues stated that “It was a titanic struggle just to get the top-line budget number disclosed, and that has only been done consistently since 2007 … but a real grasp of the structure and operations of the intelligence bureaucracy has been totally beyond public reach. This kind of material, even on a historical basis, has simply not been available.”[19] Access to budget details will enable an informed public debate on intelligence spending for the first time said the co-chair of the 9/11 Commission Lee H. Hamilton. He added that Americans should not be excluded from the budget process because the intelligence community has a profound impact on the life of ordinary Americans.[19]

Oversight

Intelligence Community Oversight duties are distributed to both the Executive and Legislative branches. Primary Executive oversight is performed by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Joint Intelligence Community Council, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Management and Budget. Primary congressional oversight jurisdiction over the IC is assigned to two committees: the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee draft bills to annually authorize the budgets of DoD intelligence activities, and both the House and Senate appropriations committees annually draft bills to appropriate the budgets of the IC. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs took a leading role in formulating the intelligence reform legislation in the 108th Congress.

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Agrawal, Nina. “There’s more than the CIA and FBI: The 17 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  2. Jump up^ “Executive Order 12333”. Cia.gov. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  3. Jump up^ Dana Priest & William M Arkin (19 July 2010). “A hidden world, growing beyond control”The Washington Post.
  4. Jump up^ Priest, Dana (2011). Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State. Little, Brown and Company. p. 320. ISBN0-316-18221-4.
  5. Jump up^ Michael Warner; Kenneth McDonald. “US Intelligence Community Reform Studies Since 1947” (PDF). CIA. p. 4. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  6. Jump up^ Rosenbach, Eric & Aki J. Peritz (12 June 2009). “Confrontation or Collaboration? Congress and the Intelligence Community” (PDF). Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  7. Jump up^ Executive Order 12333 text
  8. Jump up^ User, Super. “Members of the IC”.
  9. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2013 National Intelligence Program”. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  10. Jump up^ DNI Releases FY 2012 Appropriated Budget Figure. Dni.gov (2012-10-30). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  11. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2010 National Intelligence Program” (PDF). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 2010-10-28. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  12. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2009 National Intelligence Program” (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  13. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2008 National Intelligence Program” (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  14. Jump up^ “DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2007 National Intelligence Program” (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  15. Jump up^ Hacket, John F. (2010-10-28). “FY2006 National Intelligence Program Budget, 10-28-10” (PDF). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  16. Jump up^ Matt DeLong (29 August 2013). “Inside the 2013 U.S. intelligence ‘black budget'”The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  17. Jump up^ Matthews, Dylan (29 August 2013). “America’s secret intelligence budget, in 11 (nay, 13) charts”The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  18. Jump up^ DeLong, Matt (29 August 2013). “2013 U.S. intelligence budget: Additional resources”The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  19. Jump up to:ab Barton Gellman & Greg Miller (29 August 2013). “U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives detailed in ‘black budget’ summary”The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2013.

Further reading

External links

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

 

he Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA)

50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-11, 1821-29, 1841-46, 1861-62, 1871.

Background. Like Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (the “Wiretap Act“), the FISA legislation was the result of congressional investigations into Federal surveillance activities conducted in the name of national security. Through FISA, Congress sought to provide judicial and congressional oversight of foreign intelligence surveillance activities while maintaining the secrecy necessary to effectively monitor national security threats. FISA was initially enacted in 1978 and sets out procedures for physical and electronic surveillance and collection of foreign intelligence information. Initially, FISA addressed only electronic surveillance but has been significantly amended to address the use of pen registers and trap and trace devices, physical searches, and business records.

FISA also established the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a special U.S. Federal court that holds nonpublic sessions to consider issuing search warrants under FISA. Proceedings before the FISC are ex parte, meaning the government is the only party present.

General Provisions. FISA, as amended, establishes procedures for the authorization of electronic surveillance, use of pen registers and trap and trace devices, physical searches, and business records for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence.

Electronic Surveillance Procedures – Subchapter I of FISA established procedures for the conduct of foreign intelligence surveillance and created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The Department of Justice must apply to the FISC to obtain a warrant authorizing electronic surveillance of foreign agents. For targets that are U.S. persons (U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, and U.S. corporations), FISA requires heightened requirements in some instances.

  • Unlike domestic criminal surveillance warrants issued under Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (the “Wiretap Act“) , agents need to demonstrate probable cause to believe that the “target of the surveillance is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power,” that “a significant purpose” of the surveillance is to obtain “foreign intelligence information,” and that appropriate “minimization procedures” are in place. 50 U.S.C. § 1804.
  • Agents do not need to demonstrate that commission of a crime is imminent.
  • For purposes of FISA, agents of foreign powers include agents of foreign political organizations and groups engaged in international terrorism, as well as agents of foreign nations. 50 U.S.C. § 1801

Record Destruction: Where the government has accidentally intercepted communications that “under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes, and if both the sender and all intended recipients are located within the United States,” the government is required to destroy those records, “unless the Attorney General determines that the contents indicate a threat of death or serious bodily harm to any person.” 50 U.S.C. § 1806.

Exception to Court Order Requirement: The President may authorize electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year without a FISC court order where the Attorney General certifies that there is “no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a U.S. person is a party,” provided the surveillance is directed solely at communications among or between foreign powers, or “the acquisition of technical intelligence … from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power.” 50 U.S.C. § 1802.

Physical Searches – Subchapter II of FISA establishes procedures for the physical search of “premises or property … owned, used, possessed by, or … in transit to or from a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” The procedures are substantially similar to the procedures established for electronic foreign intelligence surveillance.

Pen Registers and Trap & Trace Devices for Foreign Intelligence Purposes – Subchapter III of FISA establishes procedures for the use of pen registers and trap and trace devices for conducting telephone or e-mail surveillance.

Access to Certain Business Records for Foreign Intelligence Purposes – Subchapter IV of FISA establishes procedures for obtaining a FISC order for third-party production of business records to acquire foreign intelligence information.

Amendments.  FISA has been significantly amended by the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 103-359; 10/14/94), by the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1999, (Pub. L. 105-272; 10/5/98), by the USA PATRIOT Act (Pub. L. 107-56; 10/26/01), by the USA PATRIOT Additional Reauthorization Amendments Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-178; (3/9/06), the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Amendments Act of 2008 (Pub. L.110-261; 7/10/2008), and by the FISA Sunsets Extension Act (Pub. L. 112-3; 2/25/11).  It also “eas[ed] the restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States and afford[ed] the U.S. intelligence community greater access to information unearthed during a criminal investigation.” CRS Report RS21203, USA PATRIOT Act: A Sketch. Also see the other analyses of the PATRIOT Act for more on FISA changes as the result of passage of the PATRIOT Act. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 also amended the ECPA.

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Implications. FISA prohibits surveillance of or production of business records regarding a U.S. person based solely on First Amendment activities. 50 U.S.C. §§ 180518421861. Section 1806 provides guidance on the sharing of foreign intelligence information among Federal agencies and with State and local partners, as well as guidance as to disclosure of foreign intelligence information in criminal proceedings. Section 1825 provides similar guidance regarding the use and disclosure of foreign intelligence gathered via a physical search, while section 1845 provides similar guidance for the use and disclosure of information acquired through pen registers and trap and trace devices gathered under Subchapter III. Note that “agents of foreign powers” may include U.S. citizens and permanent residents suspected of being engaged in espionage and violating U.S. law on territory under United States control. Section 1801(b).

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, P.L. 108-458, amended the definition of “agent of a foreign power” in FISA (50 U.S.C. § 1801(b)(1)), to add a new category of covered individuals called the “lone wolf” provision. Under the “lone wolf” provision, a non-United States person who engages in international terrorism or activities in preparation for international terrorism is deemed to be an “agent of a foreign power” under FISA.

Further Information. The Federation of American Scientists, a non-profit organization that describes itself as providing “nonpartisan technical analysis on complex global issues that hinge on science and technology,” offers a compilation of links to FISA-related resources including annual FISA reports to Congress, various court cases, and Department of Justice memoranda.

 

Story 3: President Trump Attacks MS-13 As Animals — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Defend MS -13 — All Humans Are Animals — MS-16 Members Are Violent Thugs — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

See the source image

The left turns Trump’s ‘animals’ comment into a controversy

President Donald Trump Says ‘Animals’ Remark Referred To MS-13 Gang Members | NBC News

Nancy Pelosi Defends Violent MS-13 Gang Members In Response To Trump, Says They’re Not Animals

Trump calls MS-13 gang members ‘animals’

Sanders: Trump referred to gang as ‘animals’ not immigrants

Trump says ‘animals’ remark referred to MS-13 members

Media take Trump’s ‘animals’ remark out of context

MS-13 gang members: Trump makes us stronger

A look inside the world of MS-13 gangs

True roots of MS-13

MS-13: Violent gang targeting US suburbia

ICE Chasing Down MS-13 Gang (Compilation)

El Salvador declares war on gangs

Trump calls some illegal immigrants “animals” in meeting with sheriffs

Tucker: There’s no defending MS-13, but the Left is

‘Hunting MS-13’: What we learned

MS-13 ‘Amercanizing’ with female members

National Geographic – MS13 [Mara Salvatrucha ] : America’s Deadliest Gang – full Documentary HD

Brit snaps MS-13 gang at jail guards won’t step in

ICE Chasing Down MS-13 Gang (Compilation)

Washington DC MS 13 Documentary

Inside Long Island’s war with MS-13

MS 13 Murder Documentary

MS-13’s Active Members Are Laughing At Trump’s Crackdown (HBO)

National Geographic – MS13 [Mara Salvatrucha ] : America’s Deadliest Gang – full Documentary HD

MS-13’s biggest rival: Barrio 18

5 Most Dangerous Gangs In The World!

CNN Took Trump’s ‘Animals’ Remark About Immigrants ‘Out of Context,’ Network Admits

 

“Trump’s remarks late Wednesday were in response to comments about members of MS-13 and other undocumented immigrants,” network now says

Last Updated: May 18, 2018 @ 8:01 AM

CNN has officially clarified its reporting suggesting that President Donald Trump had referred to undocumented immigrants as “animals.”

In a Thursday piece, media reporter Oliver Darcy conceded that CNN — like many other news organizations, including the New York Times and the Associated Press — had taken Trump’s remarks “out of context” and that the president had only been referring to members of the violent MS-13 gang, many of whom come from Central America, and not to all immigrants in the U.S. without proper documentation.

“Other outlets did not directly accuse the President of calling immigrants ‘animals,’ but failed to include in tweets the entire context for Trump’s remark. Those outlets included CNN, CBS News, and NBC News,” wrote Darcy.

“Trump’s remarks late Wednesday were in response to comments about members of MS-13 and other undocumented immigrants who are deported for committing crimes,” the network added in a thread response to its own (considerably more viral) original tweet that included the president’s quote without context.

CNN

@CNN

“We’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people — these are animals.” During a meeting with public officials who oppose California’s sanctuary policies, Pres. Trump criticized US immigration laws https://trib.al/jDvH1Vx  pic.twitter.com/SsmCdaofHb

CNN

@CNN

As reported in the article above, Trump’s remarks late Wednesday were in response to comments about members of MS-13 and other undocumented immigrants who are deported for committing crimes.

Also Thursday, the Associated Press went even further than CNN, deleting an earlier tweet about the president’s remarks.

“AP has deleted a tweet from late Wednesday on Trump’s ‘animals’ comment about immigrants because it wasn’t made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members,” the news organization offered in an explanation.

The Associated Press

@AP

AP has deleted a tweet from late Wednesday on Trump’s “animals” comment about immigrants because it wasn’t made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members.

The false narrative spread through the media this week after Trump made the tough remarks from the Cabinet Room of the White House.

“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — we’re stopping a lot of them,”said the president. “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

On Wednesday, the White House press briefing had an animated moment when Press Secretary Sarah Sanders laced into media companies for falsely reporting this story.

“If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they’re more than welcome to,” said Sanders. “It took an animal to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and rip his heart out … Frankly, I think that the term ‘animal’ doesn’t go far enough.”

“The president was very clearly referring to MS-13 gang members who enter the country illegally and whose deportations are hamstrung by our laws,” she added. “This is one of the most vicious and deadly gangs that operates by the motto of rape, control and kill.”

https://www.thewrap.com/cnn-took-trumps-animals-remark-immigrants-context-network-admits/

MS-13

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mara Salvatrucha
Marasalvatrucha13.png

Mara Salvatrucha gang member with gang’s name tattooed on his back
Founding location Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1980s–present
Territory United StatesCompton, CaliforniaLos Angeles, CaliforniaBoston, MassachusettsFresno, CaliforniaSanta Cruz, California
Ethnicity Mostly SalvadoransHondurans, and Guatemalans
Membership 8,000–10,000 (US)

30,000–50,000 (Worldwide)[1]

Criminal activities Drug trafficking, illegal immigration, people smuggling, robbery, larceny, human traffickingextortion, murder, money laundering, prostitution (including child prostitution), racketeering, battery, kidnapping, and arms trafficking
Allies SureñosSinaloa CartelGulf CartelLa Familia MichoacanaMexican MafiaLos Zetas[2]
Rivals 18th Street gangJuarez CartelLos NegrosSombra NegraTijuana CartelBeltrán-Leyva Cartel, The Rascals, Tiny Rascal GangBloodsCripsPirusFresno Bulldogs, Hoover Boyz, Hoover Criminals,[3] Latin Kings[4]

MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha; also known as simply MS or Mara) is an international criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles, California, US in the 1980s. The gang later spread to many parts of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America, and is active in urban and suburban areas. Most members are of Central American origin, principally El Salvador.

In the U.S., MS-13 has an especially heavy presence in California, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, New York City and New JerseyBostonCharlotte, North Carolina, and Houston. There is also a presence of MS-13 in TorontoOntario.

Members of MS are characterised by tattoos covering the body, previously including the face, and by the use of their own sign language. They are notorious for their violence and a subcultural moral code based on merciless retribution. This cruelty of the distinguished members of the “Maras” or “Mareros” earned them a path to be recruited by the Sinaloa Cartel battling against Los Zetas in an ongoing drug war in Mexico.[5][6][7] Their wide-ranging activities have drawn the attention of the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who have initiated wide-scale raids against known and suspected gang members, arresting hundreds across the country.[8]

Etymology

There is some dispute about the etymology of the name. Some sources state the gang is named for La Mara, a street gang in San Salvador, and the Salvatrucha guerrillas who fought in the Salvadoran Civil War.[9]Additionally, the word mara means gang in Caliche slang and is taken from marabunta, the name of a fierce type of ant. “Salvatrucha” may be a combination of the words Salvadoran and trucha, a Caliche word for being alert. The term “Salvatruchas” has been explained as a reference to Salvadorian peasants trained to become guerrilla fighters, referred to as “Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front.”[10]

Aspirants are beaten for 13 seconds in order to join the gang, a ritual known as a “beat-in”.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

Physical appearance

An MS gang sign and tattoos

Minors make up the majority of suspects arrested for killings attributed to MS-13. Many school districts were reluctant to admit unaccompanied teenagers when they initially arrived from Central America, which left them home alone and vulnerable to gang recruitment.[17]

Many Mara Salvatrucha members cover themselves in tattoos. Common markings include “MS”, “Salvatrucha”, the “Devil Horns”, the name of their clique, and other symbols.[18] A December 2007 CNN internet news article stated that the gang was moving away from face tattoos so as to be able to commit crimes without being noticed.[19]

Members of Mara Salvatrucha, like members of most modern American gangs, utilize a system of hand signs for purposes of identification and communication. One of the most commonly displayed is the “devil’s head” which forms an ‘M’ when displayed upside down. This hand sign is similar to the same symbol commonly seen displayed by heavy metal musicians and their fans. Founders of Mara Salvatrucha borrowed the hand sign after attending concerts of heavy metal bands.[20]

Presence

MS-13 presence     territories with a weaker presence     territories with a stronger presence

In the U.S., MS-13 has an especially heavy presence in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area in California; the Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas of Fairfax County, VirginiaMontgomery County, Maryland,[21] and Prince George’s County, MarylandQueensNew YorkLong Island, New York; Newark, New JerseyPlainfield, New JerseyJersey City, New JerseyElizabeth, New Jersey; the BostonMassachusetts area; Charlotte, North Carolina; and HoustonTexas. There is also a presence of MS-13 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

MS-13 appears to use Texas as a stopping point for travel from Los Angeles to the East Coast and for the trafficking of drugs, humans, and weapons between Mexico and the United States. The largest concentration of MS-13 in Texas is in Houston.[22]

History

The Mara Salvatrucha gang originated in Los Angeles, set up in the 1980s by Salvadoran immigrants in the city’s Pico-Union neighborhood who immigrated to the United States after the Central American civil wars of the 1980s.[23]

Originally the gang’s main purpose was to protect Salvadoran immigrants from other, more established gangs of Los Angeles, who were predominantly composed of Mexicans and African-Americans.[24]

Many Mara Salvatrucha gang members from the Los Angeles area have been deported after being arrested.[25] For example, Jose Abrego, a high-ranking member, was deported four times.[26] As a result of these deportations, members of MS-13 have recruited more members in their home countries.[27] The Los Angeles Times contends that deportation policies have contributed to the size and influence of the gang both in the United States and in Central America.[25] According to the 2009 National Gang Threat Assessment, “The gang is estimated to have 30,000 to 50,000 members and associate members worldwide, 8,000 to 10,000 of whom reside in the United States.[1]

Since the first decade of the twenty-first century the gang has expanded into the Washington, D.C. area, in particular the areas of Langley Park and Takoma Park, Maryland.[28]

In 2004 the US FBI started the MS-13 National Gang Task Force. The FBI also began teaming with law enforcement in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.[29]

In 2005 the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement started Operation Community Shield. By 2011 this operation had made over 20,000 arrests, including more than 3,000 arrests of alleged MS-13 members.[30]

NYPD said that MS-13 were responsible for 17 murders between January 2016 and April 2016 in Long Island.[31]

On July 28, 2017, one day after 113 suspected MS-13 gang members were arrested by Salvadoran authorities,[32] President Donald Trump declared his goal of “eradicating” MS-13, calling them “animals” whose victims “die slowly because that way it’s more painful.”[33]

In an interview with Bill Ritter in late 2017, Nassau County, New York District Attorney Madeline Singas, referring to crimes committed by MS-13 gang members, stated: “The crimes that we’re talking about are brutal. Their weapon of choice is a machete. We end up seeing people with injuries that I’ve never seen before. You know, limbs hacked off. And that’s what the bodies look like that we’re recovering. So they’re brutal. They’re ruthless, and we’re gonna be relentless in our attacks against them.”[34]

Illegal immigration and human smuggling

According to The Washington Times, MS-13 “is thought to have established a major smuggling center” in Mexico.[35] There were reports by the Minuteman Project that MS members were ordered to Arizona to target U.S. Border Patrol agents and Minuteman Projectvolunteers.[36]

Robert Morales, a prosecutor for Guatemala, indicated to The Globe and Mail that some Central American gang members seek refugee status in Canada. Superintendent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police integrated gang task force, John Robin, said in an interview that “I think [gang members] have a feeling that police here won’t treat them in the harsh manner they get down there.”[37] Robin noted that Canadian authorities “want to avoid ending up like the U.S., which is dealing with the problem of Central American gangsters on a much bigger scale”.[37]

The gang is violent to migrants on the southern border of Mexico.[38]

False Al-Qaeda connection

In 2005 Honduran Security Minister Oscar Álvarez and the President of El Salvador raised alarm by claiming that terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda was meeting with Mara Salvatrucha and other Central American gangs to help them infiltrate the United States. FBI agents said that the U.S. intelligence community and governments of several Central American countries found that there was no basis to believe that MS-13 was connected to Al-Qaeda or other Islamic radicals, although the head of the FBI task force on MS-13 did visit Central America to discuss the issue.[39]

Publicized crimes

The Central American population in North America is the primary victim of MS-13.[27] Many of the victims are minors.[17]

On July 13, 2003, Brenda Paz, a 17-year-old former MS-13 member turned informant was found stabbed to death on the banks of the Shenandoah River in Virginia. She was killed for informing the FBI about Mara Salvatrucha’s criminal activities; two of her former friends were later convicted of the murder.[40]

In 2004 the FBI created the MS-13 National Gang Task Force.[41] In 2005 the FBI helped create a National Gang Information Center (NGIC), and outlined a National Gang Strategy for Congress.[42]

On December 23, 2004, one of the most widely publicized MS-13 crimes in Central America occurred in Chamelecón, Honduras when an intercity bus was intercepted and sprayed with automatic gunfire from assault rifles,[43] killing 28 and wounding 14 civilian passengers, most of whom were women and children.[44] MS-13 organized the massacre as a protest against the Honduran government for proposing a restoration of the death penalty in Honduras. Six gunmen raked the bus with gunfire. As passengers screamed and ducked, another gunman climbed aboard and methodically executed passengers.[45] In February 2007 Juan Carlos Miranda Bueso and Darwin Alexis Ramírez were found guilty of several crimes including murder and attempted murder. Ebert Anibal Rivera was arrested over the attack after fleeing to Texas.[46] Juan Bautista Jimenez, accused of masterminding the massacre, was killed in prison; according to the authorities, fellow MS-13 inmates hanged him.[47] There was insufficient evidence to convict Óscar Fernando Mendoza and Wilson Geovany Gómez.[46]

An MS-13 suspect bearing gang tattoos is handcuffed.

On May 13, 2006, Ernesto “Smokey” Miranda, a former high-ranking soldier and one of the founders of Mara Salvatrucha, was murdered at his home in El Salvador a few hours after declining to attend a party for a gang member who had just been released from prison. He had begun studying law and working to keep children out of gangs.[48]

On June 6, 2006,[49] a teenage MS-13 gang member named Gabriel Granillo was stabbed to death at Ervan Chew Park, in the Neartown district in Houston, Texas.[50] Chris Vogel of the Houston Press wrote that the trial of the girl who stabbed Granillo, Ashley Paige Benton,[51] gave attention to MS-13.[52]

In 2007 Julio Chavez, a Long Island MS-13 member, allegedly murdered a man because he was wearing a red sweatshirt and mistaken for a member of the Bloods gang.[53]

On June 4, 2008, in Toronto, Ontario, police executed search warrants, made 21 arrests and laid dozens of charges following a five-month investigation.[54]

On June 22, 2008, in San Francisco, California, a 21-year-old MS-13 gang member, Edwin Ramos, shot and killed a father, Anthony Bologna, 48, and his two sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16 as they were returning home from a family barbecue. Their car had briefly blocked Ramos from completing a left turn down a narrow street .[55]

On November 26, 2008, Jonathan Retana was convicted of the murder of Miguel Angel Deras, which the authorities linked to an MS-13 initiation.[56]

Gang graffiti

In 2008 the MS-13 task force coordinated a series of arrests and crackdowns in the U.S. and Central America that involved more than 6,000 police officers in five countries. Seventy-three suspects were arrested in the U.S.; in all, more than 650 were taken into custody.[citation needed]

In February 2009 authorities in Colorado and California arrested 20 members of MS-13 and seized 10 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.3 kilograms (5 pounds) of cocaine, a small amount of heroin, 12 firearms, and $3,300 in cash.[57]

In June 2009 Edwin Ortiz, Jose Gomez Amaya and Alexander Aguilar, MS-13 gang members from Long Island who had mistaken bystanders for rival gang members, shot two innocent civilians. Edgar Villalobos, a laborer, was killed.[58]

On November 4, 2009, El Salvadoran leaders of the MS-13 gang allegedly put out a contract on the federal agent responsible for a crackdown on its New York factions, the Daily News learned. The plot to assassinate the unidentified Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was revealed in an arrest warrant for reputed gang member Walter (Duke) Torres. Torres tipped authorities to the plan after he and four MS-13 members were stopped by NYPD detectives for hassling passersby on Northern Boulevard. in Queens, New York. He told police he had information to pass on; he was debriefed on October 22 at Rikers Island, where he was being held on a warrant issued in Virginia, according to court papers. Torres said “the order for the murder came from gang leadership in El Salvador”, ICE agent Sean Sweeney wrote in an affidavit for a new warrant charging Torres with conspiracy. Torres, who belonged to an MS-13 “clique” in Virginia, said he was put in charge, and traveled to New York in August “for the specific purpose of participating in the planning and execution of the murder plot”, Sweeney wrote. Gang members were trying to obtain a high-powered rifle to penetrate the agent’s bulletproof vest. Another MS-13 informant told authorities the agent was marked for death because the gang was “exceedingly angry” at him for arresting many members in the past three years, the affidavit states. The murder was supposed to be carried out by the Flushing clique, according to the informant. Federal prosecutors have indicted numerous MS-13 gang members on racketeering, extortion, prostitution, kidnapping, illegal immigration, money laundering, murder, people smuggling, arms trafficking, human trafficking and drug trafficking charges; the targeted special agent was the lead federal investigator on many of the federal cases.[59]

Sinaloa Cartel hierarchy in early 2008

In 2010 Rene Mejia allegedly murdered a Long Island 2-year-old baby and his mother.[53]

In August 2011 six San Francisco MS-13 members were convicted of racketeering and conspiracy, including three murders, in what was the city’s largest-scope gang trial in many years. Another 18 defendants reported to have ties to the gang pleaded guilty before trial.[60]

In 2011 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in New Haven, Connecticut was vandalized several times with the “MS-13 tag” and “kill whites” in orange spray paint.[61]

In February 2012 a Federal judge convicted three MS-13 gang members of murder. Danilo Velasquez, the former leader of the San Francisco branch of MS-13, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 10 years, and is incarcerated at USP Hazelton.[62]

In January 2016, over 400 Boston police officers were involved in the arrests of 37 MS-13 members, 56 were charged altogether. Guns, knives and money were also seized at the homes of the gang members. Massachusetts State Police Lt. Col. Frank Hughes commented in a public conference “in my 30 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen a more violent gang out there. These are very very violent individuals. The violence is unspeakable.” The charges included immigration violations, racketeering, firearm and drug trafficking.[63]

In August 2017, two undisclosed members were charged with the January murder of civilian 19-year-old Julio Cesar Gonzales-Espantzay who was lured to a forest in Long Island where he was attacked with machetes and stabbed with knives. Nassau County police also said the two members were responsible for 21 murders in New York just short of 2 years. Authorities said the motive was to gain reputation.[64]

On 13/14 of August 2017, MS-13 New Jersey faction member Walter Yovany Gomez who was added to the FBI most wanted list in April 2017,[65] was apprehended and charged with the 2011 brutal murder of his friend Julio Matute for associating with another gang. After a night of drinking, Gomez and another MS-13 member smacked Matute on the head with a baseball bat, sliced his throat with a knife and stabbed him in the back with a screwdriver 17 times. Gomez managed to evade arrest but was later captured in Virginia where he was hiding out with other MS-13 gang members.[66]

The Washington, DC think tank Center for Immigration Studies released a report that listed 506 cases of MS-13 criminal acts in the United States between 2012 and 2018.[67]

In 2017, two MS-13 members, Miguel Alvarez-Flores and Diego Hernandez-Rivera, were arrested for kidnapping, raping, torturing, and drugging a 14-year-old girl for over 2 weeks. According to the 14-year-old, the members also held another victim, “Genesis”, hostage in the same apartment.[68]

The East Coast kingpin of the MS-13, Miguel Angel Corea Diaz, was arraigned April 19, 2018 in Nassau County Court in Mineola, New YorkLong Island, New York on charges including conspiracy to commit murder. He could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted. He was one of seventeen defendants in a 21 count indictment in January that charged him with several counts of conspiracy to commit murder and operating as a high level drug tracker of controlled substances. He was extradited on the week of April 23, 2018 from Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he was held since October. That earlier jailing was in lieu of $125,000 bail.[69]

Child prostitution

In 2011 Alonso “Casper” Bruno Cornejo Ormeno, an associate of MS-13 from Fairfax, Virginia was sentenced to 292 months in prison for child prostitution. Ormeno recruited juvenile females into a prostitution ring by locating runaway children.[70]

Rances Ulices Amaya, a leader of MS-13, of Springfield, Virginia was convicted in February 2012 for trafficking girls as young as 14 into a prostitution ring. He was sentenced in June 2012 to 50 years in prison for child prostitution. The girls were lured from middle schools, high schools, and public shelters. Once acquired by Amaya, they were required to have sex with as many as ten men per day.[71]

In September 2012 Yimmy Anthony Pineda Penado, also known as “Critico” and “Spike”, of Maryland was a former “clique leader” of MS-13. Penado became the eleventh MS-13 gang member to be convicted of child prostitution since 2011.[72]

Charlotte, North Carolina cases

In the first decade of the twenty-first century US authorities investigated MS-13 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Eventually the work led to charges against 26 MS-13 members, including 7 trial convictions in January 2010, 18 guilty pleas, and 11 multi-year prison sentences.[73]

This included the alleged first federal death-penalty conviction for an MS-13 member, Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umaña, aka “Wizard” (age 25).[73]

In 2005, in Los Angeles, according to a jury in a later sentencing phase, Umaña murdered Jose Herrera and Gustavo Porras on July 27, and participated in and aided and abetted the killing of Andy Abarca on September 28. He later came to Charlotte, North Carolina, according to witnesses, as a veteran member of MS-13, to reorganize the Charlotte cell of the gang.[73]

According to witnesses at his trial on December 8, 2007, while in the Las Jarochitas, a family-run restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina, Umaña shot Ruben Garcia Salinas fatally in the chest and Manuel Garcia Salinas in the head. Witnesses testified that the shootings took place after the Garcia Salinas brothers had “disrespected” Umaña’s gang signs by calling them “fake”. Firing three more shots in the restaurant, according to trial testimony, Umaña injured another person with his gunfire. Trial testimony and evidence showed that Umaña later fled back to Charlotte with MS-13 assistance. Umaña was arrested five days later in possession of the murder weapon. Additional evidence and testimony from the trial revealed that while Umaña was incarcerated awaiting trial he coordinated attempts to kill witnesses and informants.[73]

Umaña was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 23, 2008. During trial, he attempted to bring a knife with him to the courtroom, which was discovered by U.S. Marshals before he was transported to the courthouse. Thousands of hours were spent on the case over several years. International work was also involved.[73]

The case was investigated by the Charlotte Safe Streets Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Chief Criminal Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, and Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro from the Criminal Division’s Gang Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Don Gast and Adam Morris of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina were also members of the government’s trial team.[73]

Charges included:[73]

  • Murder in aid of the racketeering enterprise known as MS-13, two counts
  • Murder resulting from the use of a gun in a violent crime, two counts
  • Conspiracy to participate in racketeering
  • Witness tampering or intimidation, two counts
  • Possession of a firearm by an illegal alien
  • Extortion

On April 19, 2010, the jury convicted Umaña of all charges, and additionally found him responsible for the 2005 murders during the sentencing phase. On April 28 a 12-person federal jury in Charlotte voted unanimously to impose the death penalty. On July 27, 2010, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr., of Charlotte, NC, formally imposed the federal death penalty sentence. Also commenting on the decision in the government press release were Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina, Owen D Harris, Special Agent in charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI, and Rodney Monreo, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief.[73]

The case was automatically appealed under Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.[73]

Sanctions

In October 2012 the US Treasury Department announced a freeze on American-owned assets controlled by the organization and listed MS-13 as a Transnational Criminal Organization.[74] While the three leaders (José Luís Mendoza Figueroa, Eduardo Erazo Nolasco, and Élmer Canales Rivera) were imprisoned in El Salvador, they continued to give orders. As a result, the US Treasury Department imposed further sanctions in 2015, allowing the government to seize all assets controlled by these men and any business with these leaders would no longer be allowed.[75]

On November 16, 2017 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officials announced that they arrested a total of 267 alleged MS-13 gang members and associates in Operation Raging Bull, which was carried out in two phases. The first phase was in September 2017, and resulted in 53 arrests in El Salvador. The second phases was between October 8 and November 11, 2017, and resulted in 214 arrests in the U.S. Charges included drug traffickingchild prostitutionhuman smugglingracketingconspiracy to commit murder.[76][77][78][79]

In film

  • Principal characters of the feature movie Sin Nombre (2009) are members of MS in ChiapasMexico and many of the traditions and practices of MS are depicted accurately (killings, tattoos, initiation, exploitation of migrants, etc.).
  • Violence by MS-13 against immigrants at Guatemala–Mexico border is pictured in the feature movie La vida precoz y breve de Sabina Rivas (2012).
  • National Geographic created a documentary in 2005 titled World’s Most Dangerous Gang,[80][81] portraying MS-13.
  • In the debut season of The History Channel’s television series Gangland released two full episodes covering MS-13:
  1. 2007 season 1 episode 2, titled “You Rat, You Die” – Former gang member turned informant Brenda Paz had been supplying the authorities with first-hand accounts of MS-13’s operations, later she was found dead.[82]
  2. 2008 season 1 episode 13, titled “Root of All Evil” – Reports on the drugs and prostitution rackets run by MS-13.[83][84]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS-13

In reference to ‘animals,’ Trump evokes an ugly history of dehumanization

 May 16 

President Trump on Thursday pointedly referred to undocumented immigrants as “animals” in a statement his critics say betrays a gross misunderstanding of the plight of people who came to the United States illegally, and beyond that, little sympathy for them.

During an immigration roundtable at the White House with administration aides, political leaders and California law enforcement officials, Trump said his administration was deporting undocumented immigrants who commit violent crimes.

Here’s the transcript:

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.

President Trump: We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.

When it comes to undocumented immigrants, you don’t always know which Trump you are going to get. The same president who encourages attendees at his rally to chant “build that wall” also pledged to approach those who illegally immigrated to the United States as children with “great heart.”

The Post’s Robert Costa points out this isn’t the first time he’s used the term in an illegal immigration context.

Robert Costa

@costareports

President Trump has used the “animal” phrase going back, at least, to 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/07/12/listening-to-donald-trump-swear-and-talk-politics-on-his-private-plane/  https://twitter.com/cspan/status/996845374819192833 

Listening to Donald Trump swear and talk politics on his private plane

The real estate mogul says, ‘I’ll keep doing my thing.’

washingtonpost.com

More recently, during a March news conference for the signing of a spending bill, Trump said, “I can tell you this, and I say this to DACA recipients, that the Republicans are with you. They want to get your situation taken care of. The Democrats fought us. But I do want the Hispanic community to know and DACA recipients to know that Republicans are much more on your side than the Democrats, who are using you for their own purposes.”

And that comment came about two months after Trump reportedly expressed his frustration with staffers while discussing the protection of immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal.

“Why are we having all these people from s—hole countries come here?” Trump asked, according to several people at the meeting, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Since Trump launched his presidential campaign calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “murderers,” he has attracted scorn and praise for his hard-line immigration policies.

But while his critics previously called his policy proposals inhumane, these recent words caught on tape display how lowly Trump views those who commit crimes after arriving in the United States illegally.

This would not likely be a problem for much of Trump’s base. The president campaigned on a law-and-order platform, regularly providing examples of undocumented immigrants committing horrific crimes. To many of his supporters, honoring the humanity of individuals who behaved so inhumanely is not a priority.

But those who want to see the president take a more compassionate approach on immigration see statements like this as conflating the minority of undocumented immigrants who get involved with criminal activity with the “dreamers” and other law-abiding immigrants.

There’s important historical context here, too, that many social media users pointed out: Referring to marginalized groups as subhuman has been a way dictators have justified the abuse of those groups. This happened with the Jewish people during the Holocaust. It happen with the Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide. And it is happening with the Rohingya people in Burma.

Clint Smith

@ClintSmithIII

Before enslavement Africans were called “apes”

Before the Holocaust Jewish people were called “rats”

Before the Rwandan genocide Tutsis were called “cockroaches”

Calling undocumented people “animals” as the president just did is gravely serious. It’s not just an offensive word

Clint Smith

@ClintSmithIII

It’s easy to dismiss what Trump said as nonsense & it’s easy to see discussion about its potential impact as hyperbolic, but there is a long tradition of entire groups of people being likened to animals before & during periods of mass violence against them. pic.twitter.com/Ap943mO8x7

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Generalizations and stereotypes led many citizens of those countries to view entire ethnic groups of people so negatively that respecting their lives was of little priority. This empowered people to discriminate against or even physically harm and kill them.

That’s a scary evocation, but more practically in the near term, Trump’s rhetoric will be fodder for his opponents as his party hurtles toward a midterm in which many of its endangered members will be saddled with Trump’s words.

This post has been updated.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/05/16/trumps-animals-comment-on-undocumented-immigrants-earn-backlash-historical-comparisons/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.79eed67d784c

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018, Story 1: North Korea Kim Regime Threatens To Cancel U.S./North Korea Summit with Trump If U.S. and South Korea Go Forward With Annual Joint Military Exercises — Trump — “We Will See” — “Maximum Pressure” — Videos — Story 2: The End of $20 Million Mueller Investigation/Witch Hunt with No Evidence of Russian/Trump Collusion on First Annual Anniversary On 17 May 2018 — Case Is Over! — Videos — Story 2: FBI Detains Book Author — Videos — Story 3: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Enforcing Immigration Law — Senator Kamala Harris Objects To Enforcement of Immigration Law — Race Baiting Race Card Players — Videos

Posted on May 16, 2018. Filed under: American History, Assault, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Communications, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Israel, James Comey, Japan, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, Mike Pompeo, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Science, South Korea, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unemployment, Unions, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: North Korea Kim Regime Threatens To Cancel U.S./North Korea Summit with Trump If U.S. and South Korea Go Forward With Annual Joint Military Exercises — Trump — “We Will See” — “Maximum Pressure” — Videos —

WH Press Secretary Sanders On North Korea Canceling Talks: ‘Something We Fully Expected’ | NBC News

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North Korea threatens to CANCEL nuclear summit with Trump because it believes ‘provocative military ruckus’ of joint U.S.-South Korea drills are rehearsal for invasion

  • June 12 Singapore summit between Trump and Kim is suddenly in jeopardy
  • North Korean government blames joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises 
  • Pyongyang sees the drills as a rehearsal for a full-scale invasion
  • Kim also canceled meeting with South Korea’s president on a few hours’ notice

Kim’s regime said through state-run news agency KCNA that ongoing ‘Max Thunder’ joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea are actually a ‘rehearsal for invasion’ of the North.

‘The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities,’ KCNA said.

The White House made no immediate moves to slow down preparations for the summit on Tuesday.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders simply said: ‘We are aware of the South Korean media report. The United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies.’

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

US President Donald Trump

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s government threatened on Wednesday (local time) to call off a planned nuclear summit with President Donald Trump (right)

This photo from 2017 shows a vehicle carrying what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile during a military parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea

President Trump last week greeted three Americans who were released from North Korea as they returned in the wee hours of the morning to an air case in suburban Maryland

President Trump last week greeted three Americans who were released from North Korea as they returned in the wee hours of the morning to an air case in suburban Maryland

President Trump ignored reporters asking for an update twice on Tuesday as he came and went from the White House to Walter Reed hospital, where his wife was recovering from a benign kidney surgery.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency had earlier reported that Pyongyang also canceled high-level talks with Seoul, scheduled for later in the day.

The North Koreans cited the military drills as the reason.

The meeting was to happen in the border town of Panmunjom, as a followup to Kim’s April meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-In.

The Trump administration has appeared to be making progress in recent weeks toward a new diplomatic framework with the hermit kingdom.

Tempers had cooled following months of belligerence on both sides – Trump called Kim ‘Little Rocket Man’ and Kim responded by branding him a ‘mentally deranged U.S. dotard.’

Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang on a mission to retrieve three Americans held prisoner in the communist nation.

He returned a day later with Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim on board his government jet. Trump, eager to reap the PR benefit of a public splash, went to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland at 2:00 in the morning to greet them personally.

The prisoner release was seen as a first step toward the planned summit, which Trump announced last week would take place June 12 in Singapore.

The North Korean statement got a jump on the U.S State Department

U.S.-KOR Combine Force take part in an annual best warrior competition at U.S. military base Camp Casey in Dongducheon, South Korea, on 12 April 2018

U.S.-KOR Combine Force take part in an annual best warrior competition at U.S. military base Camp Casey in Dongducheon, South Korea, on 12 April 2018

‘We have no information on that,’ said spokeswoman Heather Nauert, NBC reported. ‘Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We need to verify it.’

The snag comes after North Korea began dismantling a key nuclear test site just weeks before Kim due to meet Trump for what would be historic summit.

Satellite images examined by American researchers appear to show building demolitions, removal of railways, and overturned mining carts at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Korea.

The researchers are relying on commercial satellite imagery from May 7, according to the 38 North web site.

The site analyzed images which show significant changes that have been made at the location which are consistent with decommissioning.

Critics have argued that the cite already is in need of decommissioning, making its decommissioning less of a concession than it might otherwise seem.

‘Between April 20 and May 7, 2018, the probable engineering office building and a possible instrumentation shed located just outside the North Portal (where the last five underground nuclear tests have been conducted) were razed along with at least two smaller buildings or sheds,’ according to 38 North.

Meanwhile, the hermetic nation plans to join international efforts to implement a total ban on nuclear weapons tests, its ambassador told the United Nations today.

Pyongyang has pledged dismantle the test site some time between May 23 and May 25 in order to uphold its pledge to cease tests, its state media reported on Saturday.

No personnel or significant activity is observed at the barracks areaNo personnel or significant activity is observed at the barracks area

Earlier today, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Han Tae-song announced the country’s intentions to work towards a complete ban on tests.

‘DPRK will join international desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests,’ Han Tae-song said in an address to the Conference on Disarmament, using North Korea’s official acronym.

Han told the UN assembly that his country aimed to make more ‘efforts to achieve the development of intra-Korean relations, defuse acute military tensions and substantially remove the danger of the war on the Korean peninsula.’

‘It will make sincere efforts… to establish a durable lasting peace mechanism’ with its neighbour to the south, he said, urging the international community to ‘extend its active support in encouraging and promoting the current positive climate.’

The military exercises that apparently provoked the North Korean side are known as ‘Maximum Thunder.’ The drill involves F-15 and F-16 aircraft numbering more than 80, NBC News reported.

The annual drill has regularly been a thorn in the side of the North Koreans. U.S. military officials say it is needed to practice the kind of cooperation that would be necessary in any real live military situation on the heavily-armed Korean peninsula.

It includes both air-to-air and air-to ground mission practice.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5732893/North-Korea-threatens-CANCEL-Trumps-nuclear-summit.html#ixzz5FhcXeA43

Story 2: FBI Detains and Question Ted Mallock Author of Book On Plot To Destroy Trump and FBI Takes Phone — Videos –

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

Ex-Trump adviser: My encounter with Mueller’s investigators

 

Story 3: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Enforcing Immigration Law — Senator Kamala Harris Objects To Enforcement of Immigration Law — Race Baiting Race Card Players — Videos

See the source image

 

Secretary Nielsen talks immigration, relationship with Trump

Kamala Harris Spars with Kirstjen Nielsen over Family Separation at the Border

Kirstjen Nielsen LAUGHS at Senator Kamala Harris and Makes Her Look Like A Fool

Kamala Harris Tries to Bully Kirstjen Nielsen then Kirstjen Gets Fed Up And Fights Back!

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The Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018, Story 1: Devin Nunes, Chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,   Warns Attorney General Sessions of Contempt of Congress if  Doesn’t Comply with Subpoena — Cover-up and Stonewalling At Department of Justice To Protect Who? — Embarrassing and Criminal Activity of FBI and DOJ Employees — President Trump Should Order Declassification and Release of All Documents Under Congressional Subpoena — Clean Up Obama’s Mess at DOJ and FBI — American People Demand It —  Videos — Story 2 : First Lady Melania Trump’s Be Best Initiative — Videos — Story 3: Iran and Obama Lied To American People — President Trump’s Goal: Stop Nuclear Proliferation in Far East and Middle East By Diplomacy, Negotiation or Military Means — Videos

Posted on May 9, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Applications, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Egypt, Elections, Empires, Extortion, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, James Comey, Killing, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mike Pompeo, National Interest, National Security Agency, Nerve Gas, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Servers, Social Science, South Korea, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Devin Nunes, Chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,   Warns Attorney General Sessions of Contempt of Congress if  Doesn’t Comply with Subpoena — Cover-up and Stonewalling At Department of Justice To Protect Who? — Embarrassing and Criminal Activity of FBI and DOJ Employees — President Trump Should Order Declassification and Release of All Documents Under Congressional Subpoena — Clean Up Obama’s Mess at DOJ and FBI — American People Demand It —  Videos —

Rep. Nunes discusses DOJ stonewalling

Tucker: Democrats want to impeach Trump, but lie about it

Nunes warns of contempt of Congress if Sessions doesn’t comply with subpoena

Rep. Nunes threatens AG sessions with contempt of Congress

Devin Nunes should hold Sessions in contempt of Congress: Rep. DeSantis

Rep. Dave Brat on GOP vs. DOJ

Robert Mueller on the defensive after a bad week in court?

The Ingraham Angle 5/7/18 | Breaking Fox News | May 7, 2018

Time for Mueller to show his cards: Fmr. Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy

Mueller probe is investigating people looking for crimes: Marc Lotter

Nunes: Documents about Flynn show Comey has been lying

Tucker: What’s at stake in the Rosenstein battle

Freedom Caucus members draft Rosenstein impeachment articles

“You’re Out of Order!” Nunes Is the Only Person Who Cares About FISA Abuse and Must Be Congratulated

Tucker Carlson Tonight 5/7/18 | Breaking Fox News | May 7, 2018

Outrageous Redactions to the Russia Report

Michael Flynn departs a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., December 1, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The FBI and DOJ have been burying the investigators’ questionable judgments and information helpful to Flynn.Cute how this works: Kick off the week with some “the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted” bombast from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, by which he rationalizes that his defiance of subpoenas and slow-walking document production to Congress — which is probing investigative irregularities related to the 2016 campaign — is required by DOJ policy and “the rule of law.” Then end the week with the Friday-night bad-news dump: the grudging removal of DOJ and FBI redactions from a House Intelligence Committee report on Russia’s election meddling.

Now that we can see what they wanted to conceal, it is clear, yet again, that the Justice Department and the FBI cannot be trusted to decide what the public gets to learn about their decision-making.

They tell us that their lack of transparency is necessary for the protection of national security, vital intelligence, and investigative operations. But what we find out is that they were concealing their own questionable judgments and conflicting explanations for their actions; their use of foreign-intelligence and criminal-investigative authorities to investigate Michael Flynn, Trump’s top campaign supporter and former national-security adviser; and their explicitly stated belief that Flynn did not lie in the FBI interview for which Special Counsel Robert Mueller has since prosecuted him on false-statements charges.

It is simply ridiculous for President Trump to continue bloviating about this situation on Twitter and in friendly media interviews, and for congressional Republicans to continue pretending that the problem is Justice Department and FBI leadership — as if Trump were not responsible for his own administration’s actions. The president has not only the authority but the duty to ensure that his subordinates honor lawful disclosure requests from Congress.

What happened with these redactions is inexcusable.

BACKGROUND

A little over a week ago, the House committee chaired by Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) published its lengthy report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The report was actually completed weeks earlier but was withheld while the committee battled to disclose information that the Justice Department and FBI insisted on blacking out. As usual, the DOJ claimed that the declassification and release of the information would damage investigations and national security. No, it wouldn’t, countered Chairmen Nunes and other Republicans who knew what had been redacted.

When the Comey memos were finally disclosed, we learned that there was no investigative or national-security reason to have concealed them.

This has become a depressingly familiar dance. Justice and the Bureau previously insisted that the sky would fall if Congress forced the release of an Intelligence Committee report on government abuse of foreign-intelligence surveillance powers. To the contrary, we learned that the FBI and DOJ had used the unverified Steele dossier to obtain surveillance warrants on at least one person tied to the Trump campaign, in contravention of express guidelines that “only documented and verified information may be used to support FBI applications to the [FISA] court” (see Nunes’s March 1 letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions). In addition, we learned that the FISA court was not told that the dossier was a Clinton campaign opposition-research project, and that its author, Christopher Steele, had been terminated as an informant for lying to the FBI about his contacts with the media.

More recently, the FBI severely restricted access to former FBI director James Comey’s memos of his meetings with President Trump. Finally, three congressional committees protested that there was no legal basis for such restriction. When the memos were finally disclosed, we learned that there was no investigative or national-security reason to have concealed them. They did, however, provide greater insight about such matters as how a briefing of then-president-elect Trump on a salacious sliver of the dossier (but not on its sensational allegations of a traitorous conspiracy with the Kremlin) led to an intelligence-community leak about the briefing and the consequent media publication of the dossier — the backbone of the media-Democratic “collusion with Russia” narrative. (See Mollie Hemingway’s analysis at The Federalist.)

That leads us to last Friday’s disclosure of some — but not nearly all — previously redacted sections of the Intelligence Committee’s Russia Report.

COMEY VS. THE COMMITTEE: DID AGENTS BELIEVE FLYNN LIED?

When the House first issued its report on the Russia investigation, a heavily redacted portion (pp. 53–54) related that Trump’s original national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, had pled guilty to a false-statements charge based on misleading statements to FBI agents about his December 2016 conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The report explained that Flynn had been rebuffed by Kislyak when, based on instructions from the Trump transition team, Flynn asked Russia to refrain from voting in favor of a U.N. resolution condemning Israel. Flynn also discussed with the transition team what, if anything, he should communicate to Kislyak about Trump’s position on the sanctions that President Obama had imposed on Russia over its interference in the 2016 election.

None of this was new information. Indeed, the committee noted that it was drawn from public court filings by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in connection with Flynn’s guilty plea. But there was one intriguing disclosure in the redacted report: Flynn pled guilty “even though the [FBI] agents did not detect any deception during Flynn’s interview.” There was no elaboration on this point — no discussion of why Flynn was interrogated by FBI agents in the first place; no insight on deliberations within the FBI and Justice Department about whether Flynn had deceptive intent; no explanation of how he came to be charged months later by Mueller’s prosecutors even though the trained investigators who observed Flynn’s demeanor during the interview did not believe he’d lied.

This news that Flynn’s interrogators had not sensed deception was not altogether new. It had been reported that then–FBI director James Comey had made this revelation in closed-session testimony before the committee on March 2, 2017. (See my column.) Yet, during media interviews to promote his just-released memoir, Comey — who has rebuked the House Intelligence Committee report as an effort to tear down our law-enforcement institutions — repeatedly expressed bafflement that anyone could possibly have construed his testimony to imply that the agents believed Flynn had not lied. Byron York recounts the interviews at the Washington Examiner. In one, Comey told ABC host and Clinton pal George Stephanopoulos:

I don’t know where that’s coming from. . . . That — unless I’m — I said something that people misunderstood, I don’t remember even intending to say that. So, my recollection is I never said that to anybody.

The now-unredacted passages reveal that top Obama DOJ and FBI officials provided the committee with ‘conflicting testimony’ about why the FBI interviewed Flynn as if he were a criminal suspect.

Well, shortly after the redactions were lifted late on Friday, The Federalist’s Sean Davis got busy on Twitter, posting side-by-side comparisons of the original heavily redacted pages and the new, more transparent version. The disclosures are stunning. I know this will amaze you, but it turns out the redactions had absolutely nothing to do with concerns about the need to protect national security or pending investigations. Instead, the now-unredacted passages:

  • Elaborate on why the FBI did not believe Flynn had lied, including quotations from Comey’s testimony.
  • Reveal that for some period of time during 2016, the FBI conducted a counterintelligence (CI) investigation of Flynn.
  • Note that top Obama Justice Department and FBI officials provided the committee with “conflicting testimony” about why the FBI interviewed Flynn as if he were a criminal suspect.
  • Illustrate that the FBI and Justice Department originally insisted on concealment of facts helpful to Flynn that are already public.

 

COUNTERINTELLIGENCE INVESTIGATION OF FLYNN

The now-unredacted passages relate that, for some period of time during 2016, the FBI was conducting a “CI investigation into General Flynn.” It was Comey’s recollection that he had “authorized the closure” of that investigation “by late December 2016.”

As we have discussed in connection with Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser against whom the Obama Justice Department obtained FISA surveillance warrants, a CI investigation on an American citizen proceeds on the suspicion that the citizen is an agent of a foreign power whose clandestine activities violate federal criminal law. That is, it appears possible (if not likely) that the Justice Department was operating on the theory that Flynn — a decorated combat veteran and co-author of a 2016 book that brands Russia as an implacable enemy of the United States — was an agent of the Kremlin.

At some point, moreover, Justice rationalized the investigation into Flynn, at least in part, by relying on the Logan Act. An almost surely unconstitutional 18th-century statute, the Logan Act purports to prohibit Americans from unauthorized freelancing in foreign-policy. It has never been successfully used to prosecute anyone. (Compare then-director Comey’s July 5, 2016, press conference and subsequent testimony, in which he theorized that charging Hillary Clinton for a rarely prosecuted classified-information offense would violate Justice Department policy against selective prosecution.)

The startling fact that there was a CI investigation of Flynn does not, of course, tell us on what evidence suspicions against him were based. As I’ve previously contended (when it was not known that there was a CI investigation, but it was apparent that Flynn had been seen as a criminal suspect), there are profound reasons to question the legitimacy of Flynn’s treatment.

Notwithstanding Friday night’s unveiling of blacked-out passages, the report still contains redacted paragraphs about Flynn. Two of them (on pp. 52–53) sandwich a passage about a business trip Flynn took to Moscow in late 2015 (seven months before he branded Russia a committed enemy in his book). The trip followed a visit to Kislyak by Flynn and his son at the ambassador’s Washington residence.

Though not mentioned in the unredacted passage, it has been reported that Flynn was paid more than $45,000 by Russia’s state-owned propaganda network, RT, for a speech he gave while in Moscow — an event at which he sat next to President Vladimir Putin. On the current state of disclosure, we do not know how, if at all, this incident played into the decision to investigate Flynn. Neither do we know whether the FBI and Justice Department took any action when former President Bill Clinton received $500,000  from a Kremlin-connected bank for a short speech delivered in 2010 on a trip to Russia, during which he met with Putin — even as his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was among the U.S. officials considering and ultimately green-lighting Russia’s effort to acquire rights to one-fifth of America’s uranium stock.

The suggestion that Flynn’s post-election contacts with Russia were improper, let alone unlawful, is absurd. Flynn was the designated national-security adviser for the incoming administration and a key member of the Trump transition team. To have communications with officials of foreign governments was a legitimate and necessary part of his job.

It is worth noting that Flynn had been fired by Obama from his post as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and is despised by Obama intelligence officials for having become an ardent public adversary against Obama’s national-security policy, most prominently as candidate Trump’s most visible supporter. The interest of Obama’s DOJ and FBI in Flynn appears to have intensified after Trump won the election, when Flynn was presumed to be laying groundwork to reverse Obama’s positions — as Trump promised to do throughout the campaign.

While it is only natural that Obama officials would seethe over Flynn’s ascendancy, the suggestion that his post-election contacts with Russia were improper, let alone unlawful, is absurd. Flynn was the designated national-security adviser for the incoming administration and a key member of the Trump transition team. To have communications with officials of foreign governments was a legitimate and necessary part of his job. Plus, Kislyak was a foreign agent subject to FISA surveillance, so the FBI had recordings of his communications with Flynn and knew that Flynn had done nothing improper. (It has been presumed that Flynn’s communications with Kislyak were intercepted because Kislyak, not Flynn, was the subject of a FISA warrant; now, with confirmation that Flynn was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation, we may need to revisit that presumption.)

Whatever prompted the CI investigation of Flynn, the now-unredacted passages of the report recount that it had come to nothing by the end of 2016. The FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, told the committee that “we really had not substantiated anything particularly significant against General Flynn.” As noted above, Comey stated that he had approved the closure of the investigation in late December. It seems strange that the file was not closed at that time. Comey indicated that it was “kept open due to the public discrepancy surrounding General Flynn’s communications with Kislyak.” But that “discrepancy” did not arise until mid January, as Trump’s inauguration neared.

It was not much of a discrepancy, which no doubt factored into the interviewing agents’ perception that Flynn did not make intentional misstatements. To the Obama Justice Department, the pressing matter was whether Flynn had promised the Russian ambassador that Trump would undo the sanctions and other penalties Obama had imposed on December 29. The recorded phone call between Flynn and Kislyak proved that Flynn had made no such commitment.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, what do you suppose the FBI wanted redacted from the report? If you guessed “the paragraph describing the Flynn-Kislyak phone call,” you have caught on to how this wretched game is played. Here’s the paragraph that was originally blacked out:

In the call between General Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak, General Flynn “requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. sanctions in a reciprocal manner.” [Endnote (EN) 90] Russia decided not to reciprocate, which eventually led senior U.S. government officials to try to understand why. [There follows a passage of about two lines followed by EN 91, both redacted.] In a subsequent call with General Flynn, Ambassador Kislyak attributed the action to General Flynn’s request. [EN 92]

I’ve left in the endnotes (report, p. 58) because they confirm that the information in this paragraph comes from a document submitted to the court by Special Counsel Mueller when Flynn pled guilty. (See Statement of the Offense, p. 3, paras. e–g.) It is a public document. To be sure, there is a classified sentence in the middle of the paragraph that may well relate to steps senior U.S. officials took to try to understand Putin’s motive for refraining from retaliating against Obama’s sanctions. But what conceivable good reason can there have been for the FBI and Justice Department to redact from the report information that was already publicly disclosed? Why black out public information showing that Flynn merely did what any Obama official, or any other U.S. official, would have done — namely, suggest that Russia would only make things worse by escalating the dispute?

Is it because this action, simply communicating with the Russian ambassador, is the real reason Flynn was prosecuted?

Yes, yes, I know — technically, Flynn was prosecuted for making false statements about the conversation, not for having the conversation. Obama officials had hoped to nail Flynn on a heinous crime — a corrupt deal to drop the sanctions as a quid pro quo for Putin’s election-meddling that purportedly helped Trump win. Instead, all they could show was a trivial misstep: Flynn’s failure to acknowledge that sanctions were mentioned in his conversation with Kislyak — a mention so innocuous that the FBI couldn’t decide whether Flynn’s failure to describe it was a lie or an innocent failure of recollection.

Is this misstatement really why Flynn was pursued? I don’t think so. Obama officials hounded Flynn because, to this day, they remain vindictive toward political opponents who dared to engage in foreign affairs while Obama was still president. Democrats today are cheering former Secretary of State John Kerry’s rallying of foreign governments against President Trump’s determination to undo Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. They make no mention of possible violations of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from acting on behalf of the U.S. in foreign-policy matters. Apparently, the Logan Act, which has never been successfully used to prosecute anyone, is alive and well only when it comes to General Flynn.

Testifying before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee in May 2017, former acting attorney general Sally Yates — the same Sally Yates fired by Trump for insubordination over her refusal to execute his so-call travel-ban — explained that it was she who alerted Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn about problems with Flynn. She told him that Flynn’s claim that there had been no discussion of sanctions with Kislyak — an assertion later repeated by Vice President Pence, among other Trump officials, in public statements — was wrong.

Yates stressed, however, that “the first thing we did was to explain to Mr. McGahn that the underlying conduct that General Flynn engaged in was problematic in and of itself.

The underlying conduct. Get it? For Obama officials, the real “crime” was that Flynn was talking to Kislyak in the first place — the Logan Act.

As I’ve previously noted, since this prosecution theory doesn’t pass the laugh test, Obama officials conjured up an alternative “blackmail” theory that is even more ludicrous than the Logan Act bunkum. As Yates told the subcommittee (with a straight face, no less) Russia had “leverage” over Trump’s national-security adviser because the Kremlin knew that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak and, hence, must have lied to Pence — a lie Putin could threaten to reveal unless Flynn did his bidding.

Your average high-school student would readily grasp how silly this is. First, Flynn and Russia also knew that the U.S. intelligence services had a recording of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak. Blackmail only works if the compromising information is secret. The very fact that Yates knew what was on the recording illustrates that Russia had no unique knowledge it could hope to exploit against Flynn. In fact, the Kremlin knew that so many American officials were aware of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak that one of them had leaked it to the Washington Post’s David Ignatiustwo weeks before Yates met with McGahn.

Second, Russia would not have concluded that Flynn necessarily misled Pence just because Pence repeated an inaccuracy. Knowing that misinformation about diplomatic contacts is common, the Kremlin would probably have assumed that the fledgling Trump administration was telling a politically useful lie — the media and Democrats were so agitated about Obama’s sanctions that by merely mentioning them, a Trump official risked cries of “Treason!”

The newly unredacted passages in the House report recount that on January 24, “following a call from Deputy Director McCabe to General Flynn, made at the direction of Director Comey,” two agents were dispatched to speak to Flynn. (Though not identified in the House report, news coverage indicates that one of these agents was Peter Strzok, then chief of the Bureau’s counterespionage section.)

Three days into his job as national-security adviser, Flynn had been meeting with many government national-security agents. Strzok’s visit must have seemed routine. Having no notice that he was to be interrogated as a criminal suspect, Flynn spoke with the agents alone, without a lawyer. But why was he being treated as a suspect? The newly unredacted report elaborates:

The Committee received conflicting testimony from Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Yates, Director Comey, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General [Mary] McCord, and Deputy Director McCabe about whether the primary purpose of the interview was investigating potentially misleading statements to the Vice President, which the Vice President echoed publicly[,] about the content of those calls [EN 94, citing Yates]; a possible violation of the Logan Act [EN 95, citing Yates]; or a desire to obtain more information as part of the counterintelligence investigation into General Flynn. [EN 96, citing McCabe, who did not recall that Comey had authorized closing the counterintelligence investigation a month earlier.]

Ask yourself: Was this passage previously blacked out due to proper concerns about national security, or because the relevant officials couldn’t get their stories straight?

 

DID THE INTERVIEWING AGENTS BELIEVE FLYNN LIED TO THEM?

Interestingly, in her Senate testimony, Yates recalled that McGahn’s commonsense response, upon being told that the FBI had interviewed Flynn on January 24, 2017, was to ask how he did – i.e., did the agents think he lied? Yates primly told the senators that she, of course, had declined to answer that question — as if, having gone this far, she was suddenly concerned about political interference in an ongoing criminal investigation.

We learn from the newly unredacted paragraphs in the House report, however, that Yates had a more strategic reason for declining to answer: Her depiction to McGahn of a cunning, compromised national-security adviser who was a threat to the president would not have been much of a story if she had to admit that the FBI believed Flynn had not lied in his interview.

As earlier described, Comey has expressed bewilderment in recent media appearances over the Intelligence Committee’s assertion, based on his testimony, that interviewing agents did not believe Flynn lied. But now that the previously blacked-out passages have been unredacted, the Committee’s thinking is apparent. The report quotes Comey himself:

[T]he agents . . . discerned no physical indications of deception. They didn’t see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them. [EN 97, citing then-Director Comey’s closed-session Committee testimony on March 2, 2017.]

To be fair to Comey, we have only this snippet of his testimony. Perhaps there are other sections that would put this passage in a different light. Perhaps he recalls saying something that has not been disclosed and that is more consistent with a conclusion that Flynn lied. That’s why, in addition to unredacting more of the report, there should be broad disclosure of the underlying testimony and interviews that are now classified.

There is no Department of Justice in the Constitution. It is an executive-branch component created by Congress, funded with taxpayer funds appropriated by Congress, and subject to congressional oversight.

At the moment, though, we know two things for sure: 1) Comey unambiguously stated that, at least initially, the agents did not find that Flynn had lied; and 2) as long as Comey was FBI director, Flynn was never charged with lying.

If anything, McCabe’s December 19, 2017, testimony (currently also under lock and key) was even more favorable to Flynn. The report’s newly unredacted passages quote him:

[The] conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although [the agents] didn’t detect deception in the statements that [Flynn] made in the interview . . . the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation he had actually had with the [Russian] ambassador.

McCabe added, in another just unredacted passage:

The two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn’t think he was lying, [which] was not [a] great beginning of a false statement case.

 

CONCLUSION

There is no Department of Justice in the Constitution. It is an executive-branch component created by Congress, funded with taxpayer funds appropriated by Congress, and subject to congressional oversight to ensure that its operations are conducted in accordance with their statutory purposes. Because of the sensitivity of their law-enforcement and intelligence missions, the Justice Department and its premier agency, the FBI, are shown great deference when lawmakers make requests — or even demands — for information. Contrary to what Justice Department leadership apparently believes, this deference is not an entitlement. It is result of respect earned over time by an institution that — its proud alumni like to believe — has a tradition of dealing honorably and transparently with peer branches of government.

It is a fact of life that the precious commodity of a good reputation takes much less time to lose than to build.

Republican committees can carp all they like about Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. The buck stops with the president.

Story 2 : First Lady Melania Trump’s Be Best Initiative — Videos —

First Lady Melania Trump’s Initiative Launch

First Lady Melania Trump’s Initiative Launch

First Lady Melania Trump Unveils ‘Be Best’ Campaign On Child Well-Being | NBC News

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Melania Trump On Her Life, Marriage And 2016 | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Melania Trump: I’m not a ‘yes’ person … I have thick skin

 

Melania Trump debuts ‘Be Best’ campaign for kids’ well-being

WASHINGTON (AP) – Melania Trump gave a splashy launch Monday to her public awareness campaign to help children, calling it “Be Best.” In a rare twist on their White House roles, she commanded the Rose Garden lectern while President Donald Trump watched from the audience.

The first lady said the “Be Best” campaign will focus on childhood well-being, social media use and opioid abuse.

“As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide,” she said.

President Donald Trump kisses first lady Melania Trump following an event where Melania Trump announced her initiatives in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 7, 2018. The first lady gave her multipronged effort to promote the well-being of children a minimalist new motto: "BE BEST." The first lady formally launched her long-awaited initiative after more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump kisses first lady Melania Trump following an event where Melania Trump announced her initiatives in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 7, 2018. The first lady gave her multipronged effort to promote the well-being of children a minimalist new motto: “BE BEST.” The first lady formally launched her long-awaited initiative after more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“I feel strongly that as adults, we can and should ‘be best’ at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life,” she added.

Trump embraced his wife after she finished her speech and kissed her cheeks five times in a rare public display of affection. They held hands as they walked into the Oval Office after Trump signed a proclamation declaring Monday as “Be Best” day.

“America is truly blessed to have a first lady who is so devoted to our country and to our children,” he said before signing the declaration.

The first lady kicked off the event as the White House pushed back against a published report that referenced rumors Mrs. Trump does not live with the president, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denouncing it as “outrageous” and “ridiculous.”

“The first lady lives here at the White House. We see her regularly,” Sanders told reporters. “I think that’s something that belongs in tabloid gossip, not on the front pages of The Washington Post. And I hope that they’ll do better next time.”

The first lady lived full-time in New York during the administration’s opening months so the couple’s son, Barron, now 12, would not have to change schools midyear. She and Barron moved into the White House last June and since then the first lady has gradually been raising her public profile.

Mrs. Trump joined her husband last month to host the prime minister of Japan for a two-day summit at the Trumps’ Florida estate, and the Trumps hosted the president of France at the White House on a three-day state visit, including a lavish state dinner. Mrs. Trump also represented the administration at the April funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush.

Mrs. Trump’s launch of her platform came as her husband faces questions over $130,000 in hush money paid by one of his attorneys to a porn actress who says she had sex with Trump in 2006. Trump has acknowledged reimbursing his lawyer for the payment to Stormy Daniels, but denies her allegations. Separately, a former Playboy model has revived her allegations of a 10-month affair with Trump in 2006. Trump also denies the allegations from Karen McDougal.

Such reports have kept the first lady’s relationship with her husband under intense scrutiny, and Mrs. Trump has, at times, has been noticeably absent from her husband’s side. But both made a point of displaying affection during the Rose Garden event.

A brief video that played before the first lady appeared recapped some of her public appearances with children. Several Cabinet members attended, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, along with Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. The first lady’s mother, Amalija Knavs, was also in the audience.

During nearly 16 months as first lady, Mrs. Trump has demonstrated her interest in children. She visited young hospital patients in the U.S. and during overseas trips with the president, often reading to them and encouraging them to do their best.

Her interest in the opioid drug crisis has taken her to care centers and hospitals in West Virginia and Ohio to learn about the epidemic’s effect on babies born to mothers addicted to the powerful painkillers. She convened a White House roundtable on the issue last fall.

The first lady invited representatives of major online and social media companies to the White House in March to discuss internet safety, a meeting that came more than a year after she promised to use her White House platform to discourage cyberbullying. Her choice was ridiculed almost immediately, given her husband’s habit of name-calling on Twitter, but Mrs. Trump said at the meeting that she wouldn’t be discouraged from doing what she thinks is right.

Sanders also pushed back Monday against the notion that the president has worsened online bullying.

“When it comes to kids, this is something that has been problematic, and something that we have seen over the last decade,” Sanders said. “And the first lady sees it to be an important issue, and something that she wants to address.”

Written material distributed in support of the initiative includes a booklet adults can use to talk to children about being online. It is similar to one the Federal Trade Commission released during the Obama administration. A spokeswoman for the first lady said the agency asked Mrs. Trump to include the booklet in her materials. The agency also wrote a blog post thanking the first lady for distributing it.

Modern first ladies typically highlight personal causes.

Nancy Reagan encouraged kids to “Just Say No” to drugs, while Barbara Bush and Laura Bush emphasized literacy and education. Michelle Obama launched her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity about a year after moving to the White House.

___

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

First lady Melania Trump speaks on her initiatives during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Washington. The first lady gave her multipronged effort to promote the well-being of children a minimalist new motto: "BE BEST." The first lady formally launched her long-awaited initiative after more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

First lady Melania Trump speaks on her initiatives during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Washington. The first lady gave her multipronged effort to promote the well-being of children a minimalist new motto: “BE BEST.” The first lady formally launched her long-awaited initiative after more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump and First lady Melania Trump embrace during Melania's "Be Best" initiative event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Washington. Sixteen months into the president's term, Melania Trump unveils plans for her initiatives to improve the well-being of children. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Donald Trump and First lady Melania Trump embrace during Melania’s “Be Best” initiative event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Washington. Sixteen months into the president’s term, Melania Trump unveils plans for her initiatives to improve the well-being of children. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5700877/Melania-Trump-launches-BE-BEST-awareness-campaign-kids.html#ixzz5EsCZB2RB

 

Looking their best! Melania Trump wears heavy $6,000 LEATHER trench to unveil her ‘Be Best’ campaign in the D.C. heat, while Ivanka looks ladylike in a white bell-sleeve top and shades

  • Melania, 48, launched her ‘Be Best’ initiative in the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday afternoon 
  • The first lady wore a tan Ralph Lauren jacket and a white pencil skirt to take the stage at the event attended by her husband, President Donald Trump 
  • Her stepdaughter Ivanka, 36, donned a white bell-sleeve top and a black belt
  • Ivanka’s husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, Vice President Mike Pence, and Kellyanne Conway were also in attendance 
  • The goal of her public awareness campaign is to encourage parents and other adults to teach children how to be good citizens 

Although temperatures were in the high 70s, the 48-year-old first lady opted to wear a tan Ralph Lauren trench, pairing the heavy leather jacket with a white pencil skirt and matching Christian Louboutin pumps to unveil her long-awaited initiative focusing on the well-being of children.

Melania wore her highlighted brown hair loose around her shoulders, and she had a bright smile on her face as she addressed the audience at the event attended by her husband, President Donald Trump, and his daughter Ivanka.

Melania Trump launched her 'Be Best' initiative in the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday afternoon

The first lady wore a $5,990 Ralph Lauren trench jacket despite the soaring temperatures in Washington, D.C.

 FLOTUS unveiled her BE BEST platform and for the special occasion, Melania opted for one of her favorite American designers, Mr. Ralph Lauren.

Melania has worn Ralph Lauren on numerous occasions, most recently while on holiday in Florida. She favors the classic shapes and sophisticated palette that the brand always identifies with.

Shop Melania’s exact same leather trench jacket via Saks Fifth Avenue for a hefty $5990.

Should the near $6K price tag put you off, we have you covered with our more budget conscious picks that are just as chic as Melania’s.

Melania's stepdaughter Ivanka Trump attended the event wearing a white bell-sleeve top 

Melania’s stepdaughter Ivanka Trump attended the event wearing a white bell-sleeve top

Ivanka, 36, looked elegant in a white bell-sleeve top, which she cinched at the waist with a black belt.

The first daughter’s long blonde hair was styled in loose waves around her shoulders, and she donned dark sunglasses to shield her eyes from the afternoon sun.

As guests made their way to the Rose Garden, Ivanka mingled with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the senior adviser appeared to be laughing during their chat.

Ivanka’s husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, Vice President Mike Pence, and Kellyanne Conway were also in attendance.

After more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs, and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying, Melania took the stage to launch her ‘Be Best’ campaign on Monday afternoon.

The 38-year-old paired the leather trench with a white skirt and matching pump

Melania's Christian Louboutin pumps feature the brand's trademark red sole and retail for $775
Melania's Christian Louboutin pumps feature the brand's trademark red sole and retail for $775

Melania’s Christian Louboutin pumps feature the brand’s trademark red sole and retail for $775

Melania had a bright smile on her face as she addressed the audience on Monday 

Melania had a bright smile on her face as she addressed the audience on Monday

The first lady wore her highlighted brown hair loose around her shoulders

The first lady wore her highlighted brown hair loose around her shoulders

‘As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and often times turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide,” she said in prepared remarks.

‘I feel strongly that as adults, we can and should “be best” at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life.’

The first lady said early on that she would focus on child well-being. The goal of her public awareness campaign is to encourage parents and other adults to teach children how to be good citizens, including being kind, not bullying on social media or anywhere else, staying away from drugs and taking care of themselves.

‘If we truly listen to what our kids have to say, whether it be their concerns or ideas, adults can provide them the support and tools they need to grow up to be happy and productive adults who contribute positively to society and their global communities,’ Melania said.

While the first lady was making the announcement, President Trump looked on from the audience before joining her on stage and giving her a kiss on the cheek.

Ivanka, 36, paired her white top with black pants and a black belt to cinch her waist 

Melania's husband, President Donald Trump, was in the front row when she unveiled her 'Be Best' initiative, which aims to encourage adults to teach children how to be good citizens

Melania’s husband, President Donald Trump, was in the front row when she unveiled her ‘Be Best’ initiative, which aims to encourage adults to teach children how to be good citizens

Trump clapped for his wife when he joined her on stage after her speech 

The president gave Melania a kiss on the cheek while taking the stage 

Melania wore very little jewelry aside from her diamond wedding band 

Melania wore very little jewelry aside from her diamond wedding band

In addition to sharing some words of his own, Trump signed a proclamation for ‘Be Best’ day while participating in the initiative launch.

Melania’s announcement comes as her husband remains under intense legal pressure from a special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The president is also facing questions over $130,000 in hush money paid by one of his attorneys to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who says she had sex with Trump in 2006. Trump denies her accusation.

During nearly 16 months as first lady, Melania demonstrated her interest in children by visiting with young hospital patients in the U.S. and during overseas trips with the president, often reading to them and encouraging them to do their best.

Her interest in the opioid drug crisis, developed during the presidential campaign, has taken her to care centers and hospitals in West Virginia and Ohio to learn about the epidemic’s effect on babies born to mothers addicted to the powerful painkillers. She convened a White House roundtable on the issue last fall.

Melania watched as Trump signed a proclamation for 'Be Best' day while participating in the initiative launch

Melania watched as Trump signed a proclamation for ‘Be Best’ day while participating in the initiative launch

Melania has demonstrated her interest in children over her past 16 months as first lady 

Melania and her husband held hands as they left the Rose Garden together 

Melania and her husband held hands as they left the Rose Garden together

In March, the first lady hosted representatives of the major online and social media companies at the White House to discuss cyberbullying and internet safety.

That meeting came more than a year after she promised to use her White House platform to discourage cyberbullying. Her choice was ridiculed almost immediately, given her husband’s longtime habit of calling people names on Twitter, but Melania said the criticism wouldn’t discourage her from doing what she thinks is right.

She said on Monday that social media is too often used in negative ways and that it is important for children to learn positive online behaviors at a young age.

‘I do believe that children should be both seen and heard, and it is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind them that when they are using their voices — whether verbally or online — they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion,’ she said.

Modern first ladies typically highlight personal causes, from Nancy Reagan’s campaign to get kids to ‘Just Say No’ to drugs to the emphasis the late Barbara Bush and her daughter-in-law Laura Bush placed on literacy and education.

Ivanka donned oversize black sunglasses throughout the event 

Ivanka donned oversize black sunglasses throughout the event

The 36-year-old  mingled with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos while guests were arriving 

Ivanka appeared to be laughing at something that was said during the chat 

When Ivanka lifted her arm, she revealed a red string tied around her wrist. It bears a resemblance to the type of red string Kabbalah practitioners wear to ward off the 'evil eye'

Michelle Obama launched her signature ‘Let’s Move’ campaign against childhood obesity about a year after moving to the White House.

Melania took a little more time to pull her initiative together. She did not live in the White House for the first five months of the administration to avoid having their son, Barron, now 12, change schools during the year. She has a smaller staff than her predecessors and only hired her policy director in January of this year.

The first lady plans said she will travel as part of the initiative.

Melania has achieved a new high in her personal approval rating – even as her husband battles the Stormy Daniels’ allegations and the Russia probe.

The first lady’s public approval rating hit 57 per cent in a new CNN poll, up ten percentage points from mid-January.

The first daughter cinched her waist with a black belt featuring a large buckle 

Ivanka gave Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a kiss while greeting him at the launch

Ivanka gave Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a kiss while greeting him at the launch

Ivanka's husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner (left), also attended the event 

The couple stood side-by-side while waiting for Melania to unveil her initiative 

Ivanka wore her long blonde hair in loose waves that flowed past her shoulders 

At the start of the year, the first lady’s approval rating was 47 per cent, with an unfavorable rating of 37 per cent. By contrast, her husband’s approval rating is at 42 percent in the latest fivethirtyeight average.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are living highly public – and mostly separate – lives.

‘They spend very little to no time together,’ a longtime friend of the president told the Washington Post, as Melania prepares to roll out her own White House initiatives to focus on children.

Although the pair are sometimes photographed smiling in public as when they attend joint events or board government aircraft en route to Mar-a-Lago, they spend considerable time apart.

They have separate bedrooms inside the White House, and Trump awakes at early hours to lob tweets at his rivals.

‘They are not that couple that holds hands just because; she is old-world European and it’s not who she is,’ said Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who previously held a volunteer White House. Her firm got paid $1.62 million for consulting and production related to Trump’s inauguration.

Ivanka's bell-sleeve top was perfect for the weather, which reached 76 degrees on Monday 

The first daughter topped off her outfit with large diamond stud earrings in her ears 

The first daughter topped off her outfit with large diamond stud earrings in her ears

Jared donned a navy suit, a light blue shirt, and a gray tie for his day at the White House 

Jared donned a navy suit, a light blue shirt, and a gray tie for his day at the White House

Jared, 37, was photographed speaking with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Jared, 37, was photographed speaking with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Melania’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, knocked down a ‘persistent rumor’ that the first lady doesn’t even live in the White House and stays with her parents near son Barron Trump’s school.

 ‘It’s 1,000 percent false. We laugh at it all the time,’ Grisham said. White House social secretary Rickie Niceta Lloyd called it an ‘urban legend.’

The two have carved out largely separate public lives. While the president makes regular appearances with his cabinet, staff aides, and world leaders, the first lady focuses on her own, less-frequent events.

When the couple travels to Florida for weekends, the only image of them together is frequently of them boarding and de-boarding an aircraft.

President Trump sent his wife birthday wishes during an appearance on Fox News last month where he said: ‘Maybe, I didn’t get her so much. I got her a beautiful card, you know I’m very busy to be running out looking for presents.’

She hasn’t spoken about the Stormy Daniels scandal that has rocked his administration.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is representing Trump, said he was ‘trying to help the family’ with a $130,000 payment to silence porn star. Daniels alleges she had a sexual affair with Trump while Melania was pregnant with Barron.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5701099/Melania-Ivanka-Trump-look-effortlessly-stylish-White-House-launch.html#ixzz5Ewi1WnVN

 

 

Story 3: Iran and Obama Lied To American People — President Trump’s Goal: Stop Nuclear Proliferation in Far East and Middle East By Diplomacy, Negotiation or Military Means — Videos

See the source image

Is the U.S. being pushed into a possible war with Iran?

Emily Landau: “Iran is strongly, strongly motivated to become a nuclear state”

Published on May 6, 2018

Dr. Emily Landau, one of the foremost experts on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, claims that Iran’s threats to pull out of the deal if Trump tries to renegotiate it are exaggerated – the deal has been great for Iran Read the full story: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-n…

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See the source imageImage result for branco cartoons obama iran cash paymentsSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

 

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East
© Getty Images

U.S. geopolitical and nuclear nonproliferation objectives are on a potential collision course as Saudi Arabia seeks to join the Middle East’s growing nuclear power club by soliciting bids for the construction of two reactors. An agreement between the two countries to allow U.S.-supplied nuclear technology to flow to the kingdom must limit nuclear weapons potential and serve geostrategic objectives.

With the nuclear supplier-recipient relationship lasting up to 100 years, it is important that the United States be a principal nuclear partner with Saudi Arabia. It can provide proven technology, strong regulatory capability, and has a long history of strengthening global nuclear governance and opposing proliferation, providing confidence in the Saudis’ nascent program.

But the pathway to achieving the balance between geopolitical and non-proliferation goals is fraught and the decision-making timeline short, presenting a significant challenge to the Trump administration that conducts the negotiations and the Congress that controls final approval.

If the United States insists that the Saudis renounce the possession of nuclear technologies that have dual civil and weapons uses the negotiations may fail, raising geopolitical and security concerns. If it relies on international norms and guidelines instead, they will need to be firmly enforced and strengthened or risk proliferation concerns.

A major worry about Saudi nuclear ambitions is that it will try to match Iran atom-for-atom by possessing uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons materials. While energy diversity is an underlying rationale for the shift from fossil to nuclear generation, a significant impetus is to respond to the nuclear advances by Iran, its regional competitor. Iran’s nuclear program is currently limited under a multilateral agreement because of its weapons implications, but important restrictions will expire in coming years.

The United States has several nuclear cooperation agreements with nations in the Middle East, including Egypt and Morocco, but the most recent one with the United Arab Emirates is significant. This agreement prohibits enrichment and reprocessing and is dubbed the “gold standard.” This restriction exists in only one other agreement, between Taiwan and the United States. But, post-9/11, it has been proposed as a new threshold for future U.S. nuclear collaboration in the Middle East and beyond.

The Saudis have indicated resistance to this restriction, although they have not stated an intention to enrich uranium and have not publicly expressed an interest in plutonium reprocessing.

A consequence of insistence on the “gold standard” is that it could push the Saudis away from American technology and into the embrace of Russia or China, whose reactors likely will come with fewer strings and a cheaper price. This would open the door to greater geopolitical influence by strategic competitors of the United States undermining its political, nonproliferation and security goals. The choice of South Korea to fill the Saudis’ order, as it did for UAE, could partly serve U.S. interests, but would still require a U.S.-Saudi agreement if controlled American componentry is involved.

An alternative to the “gold standard” requires that the United States focus on ensuring the effectiveness of other constraints. This includes enforcing the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) restrictions on the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology if it may aid a weapons effort and closing loopholes that non-NSG nations could use to skirt the controls. The Saudis can enhance their nonproliferation credentials by accepting the Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. This would allow in-depth verification that its nuclear activities are peaceful.

Bilaterally, the United States maintains consent rights over the use and disposition of the nuclear fuel it provides. An additional step can be copied from the U.S.-South Korea nuclear pact, which faced similar pressures to provide access to weapons capable technologies. It allowed for a multi-year joint examination of a sensitive technology without pre-authorizing its use. A comparable approach would recognize the Saudis’ rights under the Nonproliferation Treaty but eliminate immediate concerns about weapon-grade materials in the kingdom.

Nuclear geopolitical and nonproliferation imperatives cannot be in conflict in the Middle East — both are critically important. There are serious concerns about the dangers posed by the production of weapon-grade materials in the region, including a potential Iran-Saudi nuclear arms race and the temptation for nuclear terrorism. There are equally real dangers that without a central U.S. role in the Saudi program nuclear and global security will suffer.

The balance between these goals can be found, but it will require creativity, compromise and a commitment to limit the inevitable imperfections.

Kenneth N. Luongo is president and founder of the Partnership for Global Security and the Center for a Secure Nuclear Future. He served from 1994-1997 as senior advisor to the Secretary of Energy for Nonproliferation Policy and simultaneously as the Department of Energy’s director of the Office of Arms Control and Nonproliferation.

http://thehill.com/opinion/international/375585-preventing-a-nuclear-meltdown-in-the-middle-east

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018, Story 1: Commander in Chief Trump Orders National Guard To Secure The Mexican/United States Border in 2018 As Bush Did In 2006 and Obama in 2010 — Election Year Politics? — Enforce Immigration Law By Deporting All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos — Story 2: Trump Is Not A Target But Subject of Mueller Investigation — No Evidence of Criminal Conspiracy — Videos — Story 3: When Should 4,000+ U.S. Troops/Advisers Be Withdrawn From Syria and Iraq? When ISIS Is Destroyed — Videos

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Story 1: Commander in Chief Trump Orders National Guard To Secure The Mexican/United States Border in 2018 As Bush Did In 2006 and Obama in 2010 — Election Year Politics? — Enforce Immigration Law By Deporting All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos —

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Tucker vs. Jorge Ramos: Caravan of migrants debate

 

Trump signs proclamation sending National Guard to Mexico border immediately

By Adam Shaw | Fox News

President Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday night to send the National Guard to the southern border immediately, a senior White House official told Fox News, in response to what the administration described as an “unacceptable” flow of drugs, criminal activity and illegal immigrants.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the White House press briefing that the signing would be done in conjunction with governors and that the administration hoped the deployment would begin “immediately.”

“Despite a number of steps this administration has taken…we continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity transnational criminal organizations and illegal immigration flow across our border,” she said.

“The president has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy our National Guard to our southwest border  to assist the border patrol,” she said. “The president will be signing a proclamation to that effect today.”

Details about what the National Guard would do and how many would be deployed and for how long were not immediately disclosed.

Under the George W. Bush administration, deploying the National Guard to the border cost $415 million dollars.

Nielsen pointed to what she described as increasing fraud and exploited loopholes among arrivals on the southern border, saying traffickers have been advertising that if migrants have children with them, then they are more likely to be released into the U.S. She also said that almost 50 percent of arriving aliens are from Central America.

“Traffickers and smugglers know that these individuals cannot under U.S. law be easily removed in an expeditious way back to their country of origin and so they exploit the loophole,” she said, adding that the ability to game the system acts as a magnet for more migrants.

She said that the administration has drafted legislation and will ask Congress to provide legal authority and resources to address the problem.

“We will not allow illegal immigration levels to become the norm,” she said. “More than 1,000 people a day, 300,000 a year violating our sovereignty as a nation will never be acceptable to this president.”

Trump had tweeted earlier Wednesday that he would “be taking strong action today” on the Mexico border, a day after he said that he wants to send the military to secure it until a wall is built.

Trump pledges to send U.S. military to the southern border until wall is built. Border Angels director Enrique Morones and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley debate on 'The Ingraham Angle.'

Arguing that the U.S. border laws “are very weak” compared to Mexico and Canada, he accused Democrats of wanting immigrants “to pour into our country unchecked.”

Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush had deployed the National Guard to the border in response to security issues.

The Associated Press reported that the White House was considering a model similar to a Bush-era operation, where in 2006 6,000 National Guard troops were sent to assist the border patrol with non-law enforcement duties while additional border agents were hired and trained.

Trump’s recent focus on illegal immigration appeared to have been partly motivated by a caravan of more than 1,000 Central American migrants heading toward the U.S. border.

Trump had threatened to end the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and to cut foreign aid to countries such as Honduras, from where many of the migrants originate, if the caravan was not stopped.

Trump said Tuesday that he believes the caravan is being broken up after he had a conversation with Mexican officials.

Nielsen said on Tuesday that she had been advised by Mexican officials that “the caravan is dissipating” and that several hundred migrants had been repatriated.

“We will not accept the lawlessness of these types of efforts and those who choose to violate our laws, and those who conspire to assist others to violate our laws, will face criminal prosecution,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “The Department of Justice fully supports the efforts of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security announced today to secure our border. I will soon be announcing additional Department of Justice initiatives to restore legality to the southern border.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Serafin Gomez, Jennifer Griffin, Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/04/04/trump-to-sign-proclamation-sending-national-guard-to-border-immediately.html

 

 

A ‘people without borders’ is a people without democracy

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018, Story 1: Two Party Tyranny of Big Government Parties Passes Senate Bipartisan Budget Busters Bill — Would Add Over $1,000,000,000,000 In Deficits and National Debt In Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 And Even More in Unfunded Liabilities/Obligations Burdening Future Generations — Federal Government Spending is Out of Control — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) Congress is Beyond Obese — Vote Out Of Office All The Democrat and Republican Big Spenders  —  Tea Party Time — Videos — Story 2: Clinton Obama Conspiracy To Fix FBI Clinton Email Investigation and Exonerate Clinton and Spying on Republican Presidential Candidate and President-Elect Trump Using Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign Paid For Opposition Research Based on Russian Government Salacious and Unverifiable Disinformation Summarize in Christopher Steele Dossier   — American People Demand Appointment of Special Counsel Now! — Videos

Posted on February 7, 2018. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, James Comey, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Science, Social Security, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

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Story 1: Two Party Tyranny of Big Government Parties Passes Senate Bipartisan Budget Busters Bill — Would Add Over $1,000,000,000,000 In Deficits and National Debt In Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 And Even More in Unfunded Liabilities/Obligations Burdening Future Generations — Federal Government Spending is Out of Control — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) Congress is Beyond Obese — Vote Out Of Office All The Democrat and Republican Big Spenders  —  Tea Party Time — Videos

Big Spender

Big Spender
The minute you walked in the joint
I could see you were a man of distinction
A real big spender
Good lookin’ so refined
Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s goin’ on in my mind?
So let me get right to the point
I don’t pop my cork for every man I see
Hey big spender,
Spend a little time with me
Wouldn’t you like to have fun, fun, fun
How’s about a few laughs, laughs
I could show you a good time
Let me show you a good time!
The minute you walked in the joint
I could see you were a man of distinction
A real big spender
Good lookin’ so refined
Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s goin’ on in my mind?
So let me get right to the point,
I don’t pop my cork for every guy I see
Hey big spender
Hey big spender
Hey big spender
Spend, a little time with me
Yes
Songwriters: Cy Coleman / Dorothy Fields
Big Spender lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

U.S. Debt Clock Real Time

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Senate reaches bipartisan budget deal

Senate Leaders McConnell & Schumer Reach Budget Deal As Shutdown Looms | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC

Breaking News – US senators agree to raise spending

Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff on the Implications of Rising National Debt

Laurence Kotlikoff-US in Worse Shape Financially Than Russia

US Debt & Unfunded Liabilities-Where we are going-Dr. Yaron Brook

Consequences of Printing Money/ Inflation- Dr. Yaron Brook

How Big is the U.S. Debt? – Learn Liberty

Published on Feb 12, 2016

“Economics: How Big is the U.S. Debt?” presented by Learn Liberty. How do you feel the government should be spending or saving money? Let us know in the comments below. Learn More: http://www.learnliberty.org/

 

Senate leaders see two-year budget deal within their grasp

 February 6 at 10:29 PM 
Top Senate leaders were working Tuesday to finalize a sweeping long-term budget deal that would include a defense spending boost President Trump has long demanded alongside an increase in domestic programs championed by Democrats.As negotiations for the long-term deal continued, the House passed a short-term measure that would fund the government past a midnight Thursday deadline and avert a second partial shutdown in less than a month.The House bill, which passed 245 to 182, would fund most agencies through March 23 but is a nonstarter in the Senate because of Democratic opposition.But the top Senate leaders of both parties told reporters earlier in the day that a breakthrough was at hand on a longer-term budget deal. Spending has vexed the Republican-controlled Congress for months, forcing lawmakers to rely on multiple short-term patches.“We’re on the way to getting an agreement and on the way to getting an agreement very soon,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

From left, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at an event honoring Bob Dole last month. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) echoed him, “I am very hopeful that we can come to an agreement, an agreement very soon.”

Despite the optimism, no agreement was finalized with less than three days until Thursday’s deadline. And even as congressional leaders were sounding an upbeat note, Trump was raising tensions by openly pondering a shutdown if Democrats did not agree to his immigration policies.

“I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of,” Trump said at a White House event focused on crime threats posed by some immigrants. “If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety . . . let’s shut it down.”

Trump’s remarks appeared unlikely to snuff out the negotiations, which mainly involved top congressional leaders and their aides — not the president or his White House deputies — and have largely steered clear of the explosive immigration issue.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday afternoon that Trump was not pushing for the inclusion of immigration policies in the budget accord, something that would upend the sensitive talks.

“I don’t think that we expect the budget deal to include specifics on the immigration reform,” she said. “But we want to get a deal on that.”

The agreement McConnell and Schumer are contemplating, with input from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), would clear the way for a bipartisan accord that would break through the sharp divides that helped prompt a three-day government shutdown last month.

If Congress doesn’t reach agreement on crucial immigration issues and pass a spending bill, the costly consequence would be another government shutdown.

Under tentative numbers discussed by congressional aides who were not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations, defense spending would get an $80 billion boost above the existing $549 billion in spending for 2018. Nondefense spending would rise by $63 billion from its current $516 billion. The 2019 budget would include similar increases.

“Democrats have made our position in these negotiations very clear,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “We support an increase in funding for our military and our middle class. The two are not mutually exclusive. We don’t want to do just one and leave the other behind.”

Among the other issues that could be addressed in the deal is an increase in the federal debt limit, which could be reached as soon as early March, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The aides said that an increase was being discussed in the negotiations but that no final decisions have been made.

“It’s a question of what the traffic will bear,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 Senate GOP leader, describing the likelihood of a debt-ceiling increase.

A disaster aid package aimed at the victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires is also part of the talks, potentially adding $80 billion or more to the deal’s overall price tag. That provision could help win support from lawmakers representing affected areas in California, Florida and Texas but further repel conservatives concerned about mounting federal spending.

Even the rumors of a coming deal were enough to send some hard-liners reeling.

“This is a bad, bad, bad, bad — you could say ‘bad’ a hundred times — deal,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus. “When you put it all together, a quarter-of-a-trillion-dollar increase in discretionary spending — not what we’re supposed to be doing.”

If the parties cannot reach an agreement in the next two days, it is unclear how a shutdown might be averted.

Multiple House Republicans said Tuesday that if the Senate takes their spending bill and substitutes its version with a significant boost for domestic programs, they could not vote for it. House Democrats, meanwhile, have showed only limited willingness to help pass temporary spending measures absent a broader agreement.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the Freedom Caucus chairman, said a broad deal encompassing a debt-limit increase and a huge disaster package would be “considered a lead balloon” among hard-line conservatives. “It’d get zero support” from the caucus, he said, aside from a member or two representing states affected by the disasters.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that Congress should “not let disagreements on domestic policy continue to hold our nation’s defense hostage.” He warned that a failure to pass long-term funding would imperil troop paychecks, inhibit the maintenance of planes and ships, stunt recruiting and otherwise harm military readiness.

“To carry out the strategy you rightly directed we develop, we need you to pass a budget now,” he said.

The House bill would increase Pentagon funding to $584 billion and guarantee it through Sept. 30, while the rest of the government would continue to be funded at 2017 levels through March 23.

The bill also would affect many other moving parts in the health-care system. It would postpone planned cuts in funding to hospitals that treat an especially large share of poor patients, eliminating reductions in “disproportionate share” payments for this year and 2019 and shifting the $6 billion in reductions to 2021 through 2023.

Amy Goldstein and Paul Sonne contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/spending-plan-remains-unsettled-as-clock-ticks-toward-shutdown-deadline/2018/02/06/1639ab26-0b53-11e8-8b0d-891602206fb7_story.html?utm_term=.1cad6154d736

 

Congressional leaders reach budget deal

The agreement would raise stiff spending caps and help stave off a shutdown.

Updated

Congressional leaders clinched a two-year deal to lift strict budget caps on defense and domestic spending, putting an end to a series of short-term spending bills and shutdown fights that have defined Washington the past few months.

The deal is expected to increase defense and domestic spending by roughly $300 billion over two years, according to administration and congressional sources, as well as lift the debt ceiling through the election and include tens of billions in disaster aid.

“This bill is the product of extensive negotiations among congressional leaders and the White House. No one thinks this bill is perfect. But we worked hard to find common ground and stay focused on serving the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in announcing the agreement.

“The budget deal doesn’t have everything Democrats want. It doesn’t have everything the Republicans want. But it has a great deal of what the American people want,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “After months of legislative logjams, this budget deal is a genuine breakthrough.”

The Senate is expected vote on the pact on Thursday, according to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). It’s likely to pass easily, though House approval will be more difficult.

And though President Donald Trump suggested that the government could shut down without action on immigration, a top White House aide signaled that Trump supports the bill.

“I’m not going to say every piece of it. But obviously we’re excited about the defense numbers,” said Marc Short, the White House legislative director. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also told reporters the deal accomplished “our top priority,” with the defense boost.

The agreement increases defense spending this year by $80 billion and domestic spending by $63 billion beyond strict budget caps, according to a summary of the deal obtained by POLITICO. Next year defense spending will increase by $85 billion and domestic funding will be boosted by $68 billion beyond the caps. The deal also includes $140 billion for defense and $20 billion for domestic in emergency spending over two years.

A plan to lift the debt limit, which requires action in the coming weeks, and whether to extend expiring tax provisions were among the few outstanding issues that could be attached to the deal, according to aides in both parties familiar with the talks. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said the debt ceiling is likely to be suspended through next March in tandem with the budget deal. Cornyn said nearly $90 billion of disaster aid for wildfires and hurricane damage will also be included.

In order for such a large package to be passed before funding expires, all 100 senators will need to agree to speedy action on the spending bill and budget package. Any one senator can object to moving forward and derail the leaders’ plan, though McConnell said it was unlikely that the budget deal would fall apart at this late stage.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who opposes the deal, said he hadn’t decided whether he would deny a swift vote — and potentially cause a government shutdown.

McConnell briefed the Senate GOP on the contours of the deal at a party lunch Wednesday, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also read in his members across the Capitol. Both GOP leaders faced pushback, but allies exuded confidence the budget deal will be on Trump’s desk by Thursday evening.

“The House, and Republicans in the Senate and some Democrats in the Senate, are totally committed to increasing defense. And you weren’t going to increase defense successfully without a big increase in non-defense,” Blunt said.

“I’ve got mixed feelings,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). “This has been a hard-fought negotiation. I think our leadership really worked hard. It’s obviously not our leadership’s first preference. But we had to work it out with the other side.”

Support from GOP defense hawks, especially in the House, will be critical to passing the bill. Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) — at home in Arizona while being treated for brain cancer — and House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) came out strongly in support of the package.

“This budget agreement is indispensable for our national security,” the two Republicans said in a joint statement. “Without it, our military would not be able to defend our nation, as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and our military leaders have repeatedly warned.”

However, the negotiations hit a major snag on Wednesday: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she cannot support any budget agreement without a commitment from Ryan to vote on an immigration bill to protect immigrants covered under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program.

Still, both McConnell and Schumer are bullish about success. The two leaders, along with Ryan and Pelosi, have been engaged in high-level spending talks for weeks.

If all goes to plan, the Senate will amend a short-term spending bill passed by the House to include the deal to lift strict budget caps and send the package back for the House’s approval before a Thursday night deadline to fund the government. House Democrats moved their annual retreat from Maryland’s Eastern Shore to the Capitol in anticipation of having to vote on the Senate’s plan.

Hard-line GOP conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus oppose the deal, meaning that Ryan will need some votes from Pelosi. But many Republicans are expected to back it.

“There’s substantial support within our caucus. So I don’t think we’ll need that many Democrat votes,” said Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).

Pelosi is facing pressure from some of her rank-and-file members — as well as progressive groups — to reject a budget caps agreement unless Trump and the Republicans agree to a legislative fix for Dreamers. After surveying her caucus, she implored Ryan on the House floor to “Let Congress work its will. What are you afraid of?”

“Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support,” Pelosi said. McConnell promised to hold a floor debate on various Dreamers proposals later this month as long as the government remains open.

Ryan has said he would bring up a Dreamers deal if Trump signs off on it.

“We’ve been very clear about this,” Ryan said at a press conference earlier this week. “We will take a bill that the president supports.”

Republicans said privately they were not going to overreact to Pelosi’s comments, even as she held the House floor for hours demanding action for Dreamers. Pelosi and her aides have been part of the budget caps negotiations from the start, and no deal will occur unless all four party leaders on the Hill support any agreement and work to pass it.

On Tuesday, Schumer said that he and Pelosi are aligned strategically on moving forward, potentially defusing another government shutdown.

And many Democrats and Republicans will find relief in a break from budget brinkmanship and in boosting domestic programs and defense spending. The House passed a bill Tuesday funding the government until March 23, which would allow Congress to write a new spending bill for the rest of the year at levels set by the emerging budget deal, potentially avoiding more shutdown fights in an election year.

Though Democrats were unable to secure complete parity in domestic spending alongside the big boost in military dollars, they were quick to note the agreement includes $20 billion for infrastructure, $5.8 billion for childcare and $6 billion to fight opioid addiction. The bill also includes a two-year extension of expired Community Health Centers funding and a 10-year extension of Children’s Health Insurance Plan funding.

Separately, Schumer and McConnell have been discussing how the Senate will handle a debate on immigration to protect immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from deportation. While House Democrats had been pushing Senate Democrats to clinch a DACA deal in tandem with the budget, there is little hope of a deal on immigration this week.

All McConnell would promise is a wide-ranging floor debate to begin next week.

Jennifer Scholtes contributed to this report.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/07/government-shutdown-senate-budget-deal-395984

Senate leaders reach ‘genuine BREAKTHROUGH’ in bipartisan two-year budget deal to lift caps and provide billions in new government spending

  • Senate Majority Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schume announced a new two-year budget deal
  • Schumer hailed it as a ‘genuine breakthrough’ and McConnell called it a ‘significant agreement’
  • Boost for defense, veterans, and domestic spending
  • Appropriations bills would lay out agency-by agency funding 
  • Nearly $300 billion in new funding 
  • $131 billion in new domestic spending 
  • $90 billion in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico 
  • Trump leveled the threat during a roundtable at the White House as he revisited his immigration reform  demands
  • ‘We’ll do a shutdown and it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of,’ Trump said on Tuesday 
  • The president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said Trump is ‘not advocating’ for a shutdown at a press conference immediately after
  • The House passed a six-week stopgap measure on Tuesday that fully funds the military for an entire year, fulfilling a budgetary request of the president’s  
  • Senators have other designs for bill that would keep the government running beyond the Thursday deadline until March 23
  • They’re considering a $100 billion rider for disaster relief and debt ceiling hike that will get legislators past that hump until after the November elections.

The deal, which is not finalized, came just as government funding was set to expire at the end of the week.

It pumps nearly $300 billion into defense and domestic programs above current budget limits.

‘After months of fiscal brinkmanship this budget deal is the first real sprout of bipartisanship and it should break the long cycle of spending crises that have snarled this congress and hampered the middle class,’ said Schumer on the Senate floor after his counterpart, majority leader Mitch McConnell, announced the deal.

The deal ‘will ensure that for the first time in years our armed forces will have more of the resources they need to keep America safe,’ said McConnell.

‘No one would suggest it is perfect,’ McConnell added.

Lawmakers are furtively working on another, short-term spending agreement as a shutdown circles once more over the U.S. Capitol

Lawmakers are furtively working on another, short-term spending agreement as a shutdown circles once more over the U.S. Capitol

He said it will ‘unwind the sequestration cuts that have hamstrung our armed forces and jeopardized our national security.’

The plan also contains almost $90 billion in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

The deal repeals spending caps put in place during a previous budget deal – the so-called sequester that became loathed by members of both parties.

Any deal would still have to make it through the House, where GOP conservatives were already slamming it as a bad deal. House Democrats have already grumbled that it does not include a deal to protect DACA recipients.

But McConnell provided new assurances for how an upcoming immigration debate will proceed.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., center, accompanied by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., at left, speaks on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., center, accompanied by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., at left, speaks on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

He promised it would have an ‘amendment process that will ensure a level playing field at the outset’ and be ‘fair to all sides,’ though he stopped short of guaranteeing any outcome.

While McConnell touted the boost to the military, Schumer lauded other spending increases in infrastructure and other areas.

He said the deal would allow for a $131 increase in domestic non-defense spending by lifting the cap. That includes $57 billion in additional funds including $6 billion to fight the opioid crisis, $5.8 billion for childcare block grants, $4 billion for veterans’ hospitals, and $20 billion for existing infrastructure programs.

The deal also includes disaster relief for states and territories that got socked by hurricanes.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) walks towards the Senate chamber at the Capitol February 7, 2018 in Washington, DC

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) walks towards the Senate chamber at the Capitol February 7, 2018 in Washington, DC

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., confer as they arrive to meet with reporters following a closed-door GOP strategy session at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. The GOP-controlled House is slated Tuesday to pass a plan to keep the government open for six more weeks while Washington grapples with a potential follow-up budget pact and, perhaps, immigration legislation

The House’s top Democrat, however, swung out against the plan.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California announced she would oppose the budget measure unless her chamber’s GOP leaders promised a vote on legislation to protect “Dreamer” immigrants who face deportation after being brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to keep the government running through March 23, marrying the stopgap spending measure with a $659 billion Pentagon spending plan, but the Senate plan would rewrite that measure.

Schumer, in his floor remarks, called on House Speaker Paul Ryan would follow McConnell’s lead and ‘allow a fair and open process to debate a dreamers bill on the house floor.’

‘Without that commitment from Speaker Ryan comparable to the commitment from leader McConnell, this package does not have my support,’ Pelosi said on the House floor, referring to a DREAMers bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., smiles as he meets with reporters as work continues on a plan to keep the government as a funding deadline approaches, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018

The deal also raises the federal statutory debt ceiling.

Senate Democratic leaders dropped their strategy of using the funding fight to extract concessions on immigration, specifically on seeking extended protections for the “Dreamer” immigrants.

Instead, Schumer went with a deal that would reap tens of billions of dollars for other priorities – including combatting opioids – while hoping to solve the immigration impasse later.

Lawmakers were simultaneously furtively working on another, short-term spending agreement as a shutdown circles once more over the U.S. Capitol.

The House passed a six-week stopgap measure on Tuesday that fully funds the military for an entire year, fulfilling a budgetary request of the president’s.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2018

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2018

But senators have other designs for bill that would keep the government running beyond the Thursday deadline until March 23. They’re considering a $100 billion rider for disaster relief and debt ceiling hike that will get legislators past that hump until after the November elections.

President Donald Trump nearly derailed a deal on Tuesday as he fumed about Democrats‘ rejection of his immigration compromise. ‘Let’s have a shutdown,’ he said.

Trump said that Republicans should force a government shutdown unless Democrats agree to all of his immigration demands during a roundtable in which he railed against ‘loopholes’ in the law that have been taken advantage of by a violent, transnational gang of immigrants.

‘Let’s have a shutdown. We’ll do a shutdown and it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of,’ Trump said.

Democrats dropped an earlier bid to hold up government funding unless an immigration deal is brokered after a spending fight with Republicans led to a three-day shutdown in January.

As agreement between Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell necessitates an open debate in the upper chamber on immigration reforms next week.

Trump has slapped down every recent immigration proposal to arise in the Senate, however. Typically, because they have not included the desired funding for his border wall.

Now Trump says he’d be willing to ride out a shutdown to get what he wants out of immigration negotiations.

‘I would shut it down over this issue,’ Trump said Tuesday. ‘I can’t speak for everybody at the table but I will tell you, I would shut it down over this issue.’

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Republicans should force a government shutdown unless Democrats agree to close 'loopholes' that allow immigrant gang members to enter the country

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Republicans should force a government shutdown unless Democrats agree to close ‘loopholes’ that allow immigrant gang members to enter the country

Continuing, Trump said, ‘If we don’t straighten out our border, we don’t have a country. Without borders we don’t have a country. So would I would shut it down over this issue? Yes.

‘I can’t speak for our great representatives here but I have a feeling they may agree with me,’ he added.

Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, who was present at the meeting, made her position clear after Trump’s original assertion that he’d ‘love’ a shutdown.

‘We don’t need a government shutdown on this,’ she said.

The president fired back:  ‘We are not getting support from the Democrats.’

The president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, claimed that Trump is ‘not advocating’ for a shutdown at a press conference immediately after.

‘The president isn’t looking for this, but if the Democratic Party is going to continue to threaten a shutdown because they won’t include responsible immigration reforms, including fixing MS-13 loopholes and other issues,’ Sanders said, ‘then the president welcomes that fight.’

‘But let me repeat, our goal is to get a two-year budget deal and to also get a deal on immigration, which we have laid out. The president has generously laid out a plan that addresses both Republicans and Democrats’ concerns, and we’re hopeful we’ll come to an agreement on both of those fronts.’

Sanders reminded that to this point, ‘The only people that have caused a shutdown are the Democrats who have repeatedly held the government hostage over their politics.

‘Democrats actually shut the government down. Let’s not forget that, just a couple weeks ago,’ she said, referring to the funding lapse in January.

His blast about a shutdown came on a day when Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer huddled with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in delicate talks over agreeing to raise spending caps on non-defense areas of government spending.

The House would later pass, mostly along party lines in a 245-182 vote, a six-week measure that the White House’s Office of Management and Budget said the president would support.

In his rant Tuesday, the president had specifically mentioned military spending as a sticking point in addition to immigration.

‘If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety, and unrelated – but still related – they don’t want to take care of our military, then shut it down. We’ll go with another shutdown,’ he said.

An emerging agreement in the Senate would add disaster spending to the package and deal with the debt ceiling, which is also due for an increase in March.

The behemoth package will let lawmakers off the hook when it comes to raising the debt limit until after they face voters in the midterm elections.

Trump had not taken a stance on the Senate’s package as of this morning.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5362881/Federal-funding-wire-again.html#ixzz56T5QLkjw

In addressing the challenges facing Congress in 2015, Jim DeMint, President of The Heritage Foundation, noted that “Americans expect more from their leaders than just tapping the brakes as we drive off a fiscal cliff.” Indeed.

The 114th Congress has an opportunity and obligation to stop Washington’s taxpayer-financed spending spree. Over the past 20 years, spending has grown 63 percent faster than inflation. Unless leaders emerge with the courage to change the nation’s course for the better, the future looks like more of the same as total annual spending will grow from $3.5 trillion in 2014 to $5.8 trillion in 2024.1

Congress is financing the profligate spending by increasing taxes and incurring stunning amounts of debt. In 2014, Congress borrowed 14 cents of every dollar it spent, totaling a half a trillion dollars. Even more alarming, the country just surpassed $18 trillion in cumulative national debt. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the country is projected to borrow another $9.6 trillion over the next 10 years.2

The Danger of Inaction

Every generation confronts a defining challenge by which it will be judged, and so does every Congress. To understand why controlling spending and debt is the signature challenge of the 114th, one must understand the consequences of inaction. In its long-term projections, the CBO warns3 that failure to get spending and debt under control include:

  • A Slower Economy. According to the CBO, inaction on federal spending and taxes means that in 25 years—just when today’s kids and their children are trying to make their way in the world—“gross national product in 2039 would be roughly 3 percent lower.”
  • A National Security Risk. In addition, the CBO notes that growing debt “could also compromise national security by constraining defense spending in times of international crises.”
  • Limitations in Responding to Unexpected Challenges. Finally, if Congress does not tackle spending and debt sooner rather than later, the CBO warns that policymakers’ ability “to respond to unexpected challenges, such as economic downturns or financial crises” is far more limited.

Can any Member of Congress, in good conscience, leave a nation under their stewardship with decreased economic vitality and at greater risk for national security or financial crises?

Of course not.

Where to Begin

As the Chinese philosopher Laozi noted, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This compilation of recommendations is about single steps. In fact, it offers the 535 lawmakers holding the purse strings more than 100 ways to cut federal spending and reduce the size and scope of the federal government.

Much more needs to be done to address 2014’s federal spending of $3.5 trillion.4 But the recommendations in this report deal not just with dollars; they also address the size, scope, and character of the federal government.

When Congress actually eliminates wasteful programs or reins in runaway spending, it sends a powerful message. Like the relatively recent congressional ban on earmarks for pet projects like the “bridge to nowhere,” any move to cut federal spending tells Americans that Congress has the discipline to say “no” and act in the best interests of the nation—not just their own self-preservation. It says that individual Members of Congress have the courage to stare down the special interests, the cronyism of the powerful, and a Washington culture that thrives on handing out more federal dollars.

Eliminating or scaling back programs that constitute federal overreach also has far greater—but often unseen and unmeasured—economic benefits than the federal dollars saved. Whenever the federal role is downsized to return to its constitutional role, new economic opportunities are created for the private sector to innovate and fill needs based on market demand and competition. So many of the programs cited in this Budget Book do not just cost money, they actually distort and retard economic growth because they tilt the playing field toward vested interests and engage in tasks in which the federal government has no business. An example is the Export–Import Bank, which provides subsidized export financing primarily for the benefit of multinational corporations, while disadvantaging others.

Entitlements: The Ultimate Challenge

Almost half of all federal spending goes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Clearly, any effort to rein in federal spending will absolutely require major reforms to these and other entitlement programs. Toward that end, The Heritage Foundation has written extensively on how to restructure Social Security5 and Medicare,6 and Medicaid,7 as well as the need to repeal Obamacare8 and replace it with market-based, patient-centered reforms.9

Entitlement reform involves complex and extensive policy changes that require far more explanation than this book’s format allows. Readers are encouraged to explore The Heritage Foundation’s many resources on these topics.10

Defense: A National Priority

The Heritage Foundation’s recommendations for spending reforms in the Department of Defense come with a unique caveat: Any savings should be reinvested back into strengthening the country’s defense capabilities. Despite the overall Washington spending spree of the last 20 years, defense has not been adequately funded.

First, President Barack Obama cut $400 billion from the nation’s defense budget in 2009 and 2010. Then, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which is scheduled to cut an additional $1 trillion from defense through 2021.11 In fact, relative to other federal spending, the automatic cuts from the BCA have and will continue to hit defense hardest. Defense discretionary spending is scheduled to bear 49.5 percent of total cuts,12 despite representing just 16.8 percent of total spending. On the other hand, mandatory spending will bear just 14.4 percent of total cuts despite representing 63.8 percent of total spending.13

The underfunding of the Defense Department is further exacerbated by the fact that increases in defense spending after 9/11 were dedicated to the rising cost of maintaining an aging inventory, the growth in compensation and benefits for military personnel and retirees, and to fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The combination of too little defense spending and internal cost growth has resulted in declining military capabilities. The Defense Department continues to reduce the size of its forces, investments in weapon systems are continuously delayed, and declining readiness means that the men and women in uniform are ill-prepared for combat.

Defense of the country is a core constitutional function of the federal government. Unlike the ever widening array of social services being assumed by the federal government, defending the country is a true national priority.14 It should not continue to be weakened by spending cuts or a growing federal debt. As part of its effort to strengthen national security, the Defense Department must limit waste and control unnecessary cost growths, channeling savings into defense areas of need.15 The Heritage Foundation’s recommendations reflect that mission.

Moving Forward

As Members of Congress take up the public policy challenge of their lifetimes—putting government back on a constitutional path—the following recommendations should be part of their action plan. The proposals in this volume offer Members of Congress who pledged to get government spending under control specific recommendations that can make their promises concrete. In this way, they can become the “conscience of Congress.” Paired with strong reforms of the major entitlement programs of Medicare and Social Security, and repeal of Obamacare, the 114th Congress can get spending under control.

For greater detail on 2014 federal spending facts and trends, see The Heritage Foundation’s “Federal Spending By the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points.

Endnotes

  1. Romina Boccia, John W. Fleming, and Spencer Woody, “Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points (Including 51 Examples of Government Waste),” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 162, December 8, 2014. 
  2. Congressional Budget Office, “The 2014 Long-Term Budget Outlook,” July 15, 2014, 
(accessed December 15, 2014). 
  3. Congressional Budget Office, “Answers to Questions for the Record Following a Hearing on ‘The 2014 Long-Term Budget Outlook’ Conducted by the House Committee on the Budget,” September 30, 2014, 
 (accessed December 15, 2014). 
  4. Romina Boccia, John W. Fleming, and Spencer Woody, “Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points (Including 51 Examples of Government Waste),” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 162, December 8, 2014. 
  5. Rachel Greszler and Romina Boccia, “Social Security Trustees Report; Unfunded Liability Increased $1.1 Trillion and Projected Insolvency in 2033,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2936, August 4, 2014. 
  6. Robert E. Moffit and Alyene Senger, “Real Medicare Reform: Why Seniors Will Fare Better,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2800, May 20, 2013. 
  7. Nina Owcharenko, “Medicaid Reform: More than a Block Grant Is Needed,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 3590, May 4, 2012. 
  8. Robert E. Moffit, “Four Years of Obamacare: Early Warning Come True,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2907, April 28, 2014 
  9. Edmund F. Haislmaier et al., “A Fresh Start for Health Care Reform,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2970, October 30, 2014. 
  10. The Heritage Foundation
  11. Mackenzie Eaglen and Diem Nguyen Salmon, “Super Committee Failure and Sequestration Put at Risk Ever More Military Plans and Programs,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2625, December 5, 2011. 
  12. Patrick Louis Knudsen, “$150 Billion in Spending Cuts to Offset Defense Sequestration,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2744, November 15, 2012. 
  13. Congressional Budget Office, “An Update to the Economic and Budget Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022,” August 22, 2012, 
Tables 1-3 and 1-4. 
  14. Jim Talent, “America’s Strategic Drift,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, October 6, 2014. 
  15. Mackenzie Eaglen and Julia Pollak, “How to Save Money, Reform Processes, and Increase Efficiency in the Defense Department,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2507, January 10, 2011. 

http://budgetbook.heritage.org/introduction/

Amount Added to the Debt for Each Fiscal Year Since 1960:

Barack Obama:Added $7.917 trillion, a 68 percent increase from the $11.657 trillion debt at the end of George W. Bush’s last budget, FY 2009.

  • FY 2016 – $1.423 trillion.
  • FY 2015 – $327 billion.
  • FY 2014 – $1.086 trillion.
  • FY 2013 – $672 billion.
  • FY 2012 – $1.276 trillion.
  • FY 2011 – $1.229 trillion.
  • FY 2010 – $1.652 trillion.
  • FY 2009 – $253 billion. (Congress passed the Economic Stimulus Act, which spent $253 billion in FY 2009. This rare occurrence should be added to President Obama’s contribution to the debt.)

George W. Bush:Added $5.849 trillion, a 101 percent increase from the $5.8 trillion debt at the end of Clinton’s last budget, FY 2001.

  • FY 2009 – $1.632 trillion. (Bush’s deficit without the impact of the Economic Stimulus Act).
  • FY 2008 – $1.017 trillion.
  • FY 2007 – $501 billion.
  • FY 2006 – $574 billion.
  • FY 2005 – $554 billion.
  • FY 2004 – $596 billion.
  • FY 2003 – $555 billion.
  • FY 2002 – $421 billion.

Bill Clinton: Added $1.396 trillion, a 32 percent increase from the $4.4 trillion debt at the end of George H.W. Bush’s last budget, FY 1993.

  • FY 2001 – $133 billion.
  • FY 2000 – $18 billion.
  • FY 1999 – $130 billion.
  • FY 1998 – $113 billion.
  • FY 1997 – $188 billion.
  • FY 1996 – $251 billion.
  • FY 1995 – $281 billion.
  • FY 1994 – $281 billion.

George H.W. Bush: Added $1.554 trillion, a 54 percent increase from the $2.8 trillion debt at the end of Reagan’s last budget, FY 1989.

  • FY 1993 – $347 billion.
  • FY 1992 – $399 billion.
  • FY 1991 – $432 billion.
  • FY 1990 – $376 billion.

Ronald Reagan: Added $1.86 trillion, a 186 percent increase from the $998 billion debt at the end of Carter’s last budget, FY 1981. Reaganomics didn’t work to grow the economy enough to offset tax cuts.

  • FY 1989 – $255 billion.
  • FY 1988 – $252 billion.
  • FY 1987 – $225 billion.
  • FY 1986 – $297 billion.
  • FY 1985 – $256 billion.
  • FY 1984 – $195 billion.
  • FY 1983 – $235 billion.
  • FY 1982 – $144 billion.

Jimmy Carter: Added $299 billion, a 43 percent increase from the $699 billion debt at the end of  Ford’s last budget, FY 1977.

  • FY 1981 – $90 billion.
  • FY 1980 – $81 billion.
  • FY 1979 – $55 billion.
  • FY 1978 – $73 billion.

Gerald Ford: Added $224 billion, a 47 percent increase from the $475 billion debt at the end of Nixon’s last budget, FY 1974.

  • FY 1977 – $78 billion.
  • FY 1976 – $87 billion.
  • FY 1975 – $58 billion.

Richard Nixon: Added $121 billion, a 34 percent increase from the $354 billion debt at the end of LBJ’s last budget, FY 1969.

  • FY 1974 – $17 billion.
  • FY 1973 – $31 billion.
  • FY 1972 – $29 billion.
  • FY 1971 – $27 billion.
  • FY 1970 – $17 billion.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Added $42 billion, a 13 percent increase from the $312 billion debt at the end of JFK’s last budget, FY 1964.

  • FY 1969 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1968 – $21 billion.
  • FY 1967 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1966 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1965 – $6 billion.

John F. Kennedy: Added $23 billion, an 8 percent increase from the $289 billion debt at the end of Eisenhower’s last budget, FY 1961.

  • FY 1964 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1963 – $7 billion.
  • FY 1962 – $10 billion.

Dwight Eisenhower: Added $23 billion, a 9 percent increase from the $266 billion debt at the end of Truman’s last budget, FY 1953.

  • FY 1961 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1960 – $2 billion.
  • FY 1959 – $8 billion.
  • FY 1958 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1957 – $2 billion surplus.
  • FY 1956 – $2 billion surplus.
  • FY 1955 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1954 – $5 billion.

Harry Truman: Added $7 billion, a 3 percent increase from the $259 billion debt at the end of FDR’s last budget, FY 1945.

  • FY 1953 – $7 billion.
  • FY 1952 – $4 billion.
  • FY 1951 – $2 billion surplus.
  • FY 1950 – $5 billion.
  • FY 1949 – slight surplus.
  • FY 1948 – $6 billion surplus.
  • FY 1947 – $11 billion surplus.
  • FY 1946 – $11 billion.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Added $236 billion, a 1,048 percent increase from the $23 billion debt at the end of Hoover’s last budget, FY 1933.

  • FY 1945 – $58 billion.
  • FY 1944 – $64 billion.
  • FY 1943 – $64 billion.
  • FY 1942 – $23 billion.
  • FY 1941 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1940 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1939 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1938 – $1 billion.
  • FY 1937 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1936 – $5 billion.
  • FY 1935 – $2 billion.
  • FY 1934 – $5 billion.

Herbert Hoover: Added $6 billion, a 33 percent increase from the $17 billion debt at the end of Coolidge’s last budget, FY 1929.

  • FY 1933 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1932 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1931 – $1 billion.
  • FY 1930 – $1 billion surplus.

Calvin Coolidge: Subtracted $5 billion from the debt, a 26 percent decrease from the $21 billion debt at the end of Harding’s last budget, FY 1923.

  • FY 1929 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1928 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1927 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1926 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1925 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1924 – $1 billion surplus.

Warren G. Harding: Subtracted $2 billion from the debt, a 7 percent decrease from the $24 billion debt at the end of Wilson’s last budget, FY 1921.

  • FY 1923 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1922 – $1 billion surplus.

Woodrow Wilson: Added $21 billion to the debt, a 727 percent increase from the $2.9 billion debt at the end of Taft’s last budget, FY 1913.

  • FY 1921 – $2 billion surplus.
  • FY 1920 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1919 – $13 billion.
  • FY 1918 – $9 billion.
  • FY 1917 – $2 billion.
  • FY 1916 – $1 billion.
  • FY 1915 – $0 billion (slight surplus).
  • FY 1914 – $0 billion.

FY 1789 – FY 1913: $2.9 billion debt created. (Source: Historical Tables, U.S. Treasury Department.)

https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

Joint Statement of Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, and Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Budget Results for Fiscal Year 2017


10/20/2017

Receipts by Source
Outlays by Agency

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney today released details of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 final budget results. The deficit in FY 2017 was $666 billion, $80 billion more than in the prior fiscal year, but $36 billion less than forecast in the FY 2018 Mid-Session Review (MSR). As a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the deficit was 3.5 percent, 0.3 percentage point higher than the previous year.[1]

Growth in spending outpaced growth in tax receipts for the second year in a row as a result of historically subpar economic growth. Rising deficits show that smart spending restraint and pursuing policies that promote economic growth, like tax reform and reductions in regulatory burden, are critically necessary to promote long-term fiscal sustainability.

“Today’s budget results underscore the importance of achieving robust and sustained economic growth. Through a combination of tax reform and regulatory relief, this country can return to higher levels of GDP growth, helping to erase our fiscal deficit,” said Secretary Mnuchin. “The Administration’s pro-growth policies will create better, higher-paying jobs, make American businesses competitive again, and bring back cash from offshore to invest here at home. This will help place the nation on a path to improved fiscal health and create prosperity for generations to come.”

“These numbers should serve as a smoke alarm for Washington, a reminder that we need to grow our economy again and get our fiscal house in order. We can do that through smart spending restraint, tax reform, and cutting red tape,” said Director Mulvaney.

Summary of Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Results

Year-end data from the September 2017 Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the United States Government show that the deficit for FY 2017 was $666 billion, $80 billion higher than the prior year’s deficit. As a percentage of GDP, the deficit was 3.5 percent, an increase from 3.2 percent in FY 2016 and above the average of 3.1 percent over the last 40 years.

The FY 2017 deficit of $666 billion was $63 billion greater than the estimate in the FY 2018 Budget (Budget), and $36 billion less than estimated in the MSR, a supplemental update to the Budget published in July.

Table 1. Total Receipts, Outlays, and Deficit (in billions of dollars)
Receipts Outlays Deficit
FY 2016 Actual 3,267 3,852 -586
    Percentage of GDP 17.7% 20.9% 3.2%
FY 2017 Estimates:
    2018 Budget 3,460 4,062 -603
    2018 Mid-Session Review 3,344 4,045 -702
FY 2017 Actual 3,315 3,981 -666
    Percentage of GDP 17.3% 20.7% 3.5%
Note: Detail may not add to totals due to rounding.

 

Government receipts totaled $3,315 billion in FY 2017. This was $48 billion higher than in FY 2016, an increase of 1.5 percent, below expectations from both the Budget and the MSR. As a percentage of GDP, receipts equaled 17.3 percent, 0.4 percentage point lower than in FY 2016 and 0.1 percentage point below the average over the last 40 years. The dollar increase in receipts for FY 2017 can be attributed to higher social insurance and retirement receipts and net individual income taxes, partially offset by lower deposits of earnings by the Federal Reserve.

Outlays grew in FY 2017, but by less than expected in the Budget and the MSR, and decreased slightly as a percentage of GDP. Outlays were $3,981 billion, $128 billion above those in FY 2016, a 3.3 percent increase. As a percentage of GDP, outlays were 20.7 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than in the prior year, but above the 40-year average of 20.5 percent. Contributing to the dollar increase over FY 2016 were higher outlays for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and interest on the public debt. In addition, one-time upward revisions in estimates of credit subsidy for outstanding Federal loans and loan guarantees, primarily in the Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, increased outlays relative to FY 2016 by $55 billion. Lower spectrum auction receipts and higher spending by the Federal Emergency Management Administration for hurricane relief and recovery also contributed to the increase.

Total Federal borrowing from the public increased by $498 billion during FY 2017 to $14,667 billion. The increase in borrowing included $666 billion in borrowing to finance the deficit, partly offset by $167 billion related to other transactions that on net reduced the Government’s financing requirements, such as changes in cash balances and net disbursements for Federal credit programs. As a percentage of GDP, borrowing from the public declined from 76.7 percent of GDP at the end of FY 2016 to 76.3 percent of GDP at the end of FY 2017.

Below are explanations of the differences between estimates in the MSR and the year-end actual amounts for receipts and agency outlays.

Fiscal Year 2017 Receipts

Total receipts for FY 2017 were $3,314.9 billion, $28.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate of $3,343.6 billion. This net decrease in receipts was primarily attributable to lower-than-estimated collections of deposits of earnings by the Federal Reserve, other miscellaneous receipts, and corporation income tax receipts.  Table 2 displays actual receipts and estimates from the Budget and the MSR by source.

 

  • Individual income taxes were $1,587.1 billion, $3.2 billion higher than the MSR estimate. This increase is the net effect of higher withheld payments of individual income tax liability of $2.7 billion, lower nonwithheld payments of $1.7 billion, and lower-than-estimated refunds of $2.2 billion.
  • Corporation income taxes were $297.0 billion, $5.4 billion below the MSR estimate.  This difference reflects lower-than-expected payments of 2017 corporation income tax liability of $3.2 billion and higher-than-estimated refunds of $2.2 billion.
  • Social insurance and retirement receipts were $1,161.9 billion, $1.0 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This reduction is the result of lower-than-estimated deposits by States to the unemployment insurance trust fund of $1.0 billion.
  • Excise taxes were $83.8 billion, $3.7 billion below the MSR estimate.
  • Estate and gift taxes were $22.8 billion, $0.4 billion below the MSR estimate.
  • Customs duties were $34.6 billion, roughly equal to the MSR estimate.
  • Miscellaneous receipts were $127.7 billion, $21.5 billion below the MSR estimate. Lower-than-expected deposits of earnings by the Federal Reserve accounted for $10.3 billion of this decrease relative to the MSR. The remaining decrease was attributable to lower-than-expected collections of various fees, penalties, forfeitures, and fines.

Fiscal Year 2017 Outlays

Total outlays were $3,980.6 billion for FY 2017, $64.7 billion below the MSR estimate. Table 3 displays actual outlays by agency and major program as well as estimates from the Budget and the MSR. The largest changes in outlays from the MSR were in the following areas:

Department of Defense — Outlays for the Department of Defense were $568.9 billion, $9.9 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This difference is mostly due to lower-than-expected outlays for operation and maintenance, which were $7.8 billion less than the MSR estimate. Operation and maintenance disbursements were less than anticipated for Army contracts from FY 2016 and prior years, reimbursements from the Coalition Support Fund, and Defense Health Program and counter-ISIL “train and equip” contracts. Additionally, outlays were lower than expected by $1.5 billion for Army military personnel, $1.4 billion for revolving and management funds due to lower-than-expected fuel costs, and $1.0 billion for disbursements against aircraft procurement contracts. These differences were partially offset by $2.2 billion of higher-than-expected outlays for research, development, test and evaluation.

Department of Education — Outlays for the Department of Education were $111.7 billion, $1.8 billion higher than the MSR estimate. This difference was driven by outlays for higher education programs. In the Pell Grant program, outlays were $0.9 billion higher than projected in the MSR, due to faster-than-expected disbursement patterns. For the Federal Direct Student Loan program, because of changes in the mix of activity in direct student loans, $0.7 billion more in positive subsidy outlays for the FY 2017 loan cohort were recorded in FY 2017 than estimated in the MSR.

Department of Health and Human Services — Outlays for the Department of Health and Human Services were $1,116.8 billion, $11.8 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays for Medicaid spending were $3.8 billion less than projected at MSR, driven primarily by lower benefit expenditures than was anticipated during the second half of the year. National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s outlays were $1.5 billion lower than projected, due in part to lower-than-expected disbursement for research grants in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. The Service and Supply Fund (SSF) outlaid $0.9 billion less than expected at MSR. SSF expected higher outlays in FY 2017 mainly due to an anticipated increase in contracts serviced; however many of these contracts will be outlaid starting in FY 2018 instead. Outlays for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) were lower than expected due to procurements that occurred much later in the fiscal year than originally planned.

Department of Homeland Security — Outlays for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were $50.5 billion, $2.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays in a number of DHS components were below the MSR estimates. Outlays for Customs and Border Protection were $1.4 billion below the MSR estimates, due to slower-than-expected spending for procurements and construction for customs enforcement and border protection infrastructure projects. Outlays for the National Protection and Programs Directorate were $1.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate, due to slower-than-expected outlays of the agency’s cyber budget. Outlays for the Transportation Security Administration were $0.9 billion lower than the MSR estimate, due to slower-than-expected outlays from obligations for airport security construction projects. Partially offsetting these decreases, outlays for the Federal Emergency Management Agency were $2.0 billion higher than the MSR estimates because of response activities related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Department of Justice — Outlays for the Department of Justice were $31.0 billion, $3.4 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This difference is primarily due to payments from the Assets Forfeiture Program being $2.3 billion less than estimated in the MSR. Also contributing to the overall difference was higher-than-expected receipts from fines and penalties, which were $0.7 billion higher than the MSR estimate. Outlays were $0.5 billion lower than the MSR for programs within the Office of Justice Programs partially due to pending litigation. Outlays were also lower across many other programs due to delayed action on FY 2017 appropriations.

Department of Labor — Outlays for the Department of Labor were $40.1 billion, $3.6 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Nearly $2 billion of this difference is attributable to lower-than-projected unemployment insurance benefit outlays because the actual unemployment rate was lower than assumed in the MSR economic forecast. Another $1.5 billion of the difference is attributable to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), due to both gross outlays being less than expected and offsetting receipts being greater than expected. The majority of the change in outlays is related to lower-than-expected payouts in the single employer program. PBGC also anticipated a substantial investment loss in FY 2017, but experienced a profit, leading to much higher offsetting receipts than anticipated in the MSR.

Department of State — Outlays for the Department of State were $27.1 billion, $3.0 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays were lower than expected for Department of State foreign assistance programs by $1.6 billion, mostly due to lower-than-anticipated spending for Global Health Programs, which was driven primarily by a delay in lump sum payments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The delay was necessary due to a shortfall in confirmed statutorily required matching payments from other donors. In addition, lower-than-expected outlays for capital-intensive programs such as new overseas facility construction and delayed payments for contributions to international organizations and peacekeeping were primarily responsible for the remaining difference of $1.3 billion from the MSR estimate.

Department of Transportation — Outlays for the Department of Transportation were $79.4 billion, $2.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Nearly $0.9 billion of this difference is due to lower-than-expected outlays for highways and transit programs. Most of the remaining difference is an accumulation of lower-than-expected spending across a number of programs.  Late-year congressional action on FY 2017 appropriations delayed grant-making and hiring activity across the agency.

Department of the Treasury — Outlays for the Department of the Treasury were $546.4 billion, $17.3 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Virtually all of the difference is due to interest on the public debt, which was $16.4 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Interest on the public debt is paid to the public and to trust funds and other Government accounts. The difference is the result of lower-than-projected interest paid to the public on inflation-indexed securities and other marketable Treasury securities, as well as lower-than-projected interest paid to Government accounts.

International Assistance Programs — Outlays for International Assistance Programs were $18.9 billion, $4.1 billion lower than the MSR estimate. This difference is largely due to net outlays for Department of State Foreign Military Sales that were more than $3 billion lower than the MSR estimate due to higher-than-anticipated receipts received from foreign governments for weapons purchases.

Social Security Administration — Outlays for the Social Security Administration were $1,000.8 billion, $1.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate. The difference, which is relatively small in comparison to total program outlays, is primarily attributable to lower-than-expected outlays for the Disability Insurance Trust Fund and Supplemental Security Income programs.

United States Postal Service — Net outlays for the United States Postal Service were -$2.2 billion, $5.5 billion lower than the MSR estimate. Outlays were lower than the MSR estimate due largely to the failure of the Postal Service to make required payments for health and pension contributions.

Railroad Retirement Board — Outlays for the Railroad Retirement Board were $5.2 billion, $1.7 billion lower than the MSR estimate, due largely to the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust’s unrealized gains and losses on investments. Actual returns to the Trust were much higher than projected in the MSR due to favorable market conditions in the last few months of FY 2017.

Undistributed Offsetting Receipts — Undistributed Offsetting Receipts were -$236.9 billion, $6.6 billion higher than the MSR estimate. Net outlays for interest received by trust funds were $3.0 billion higher than the MSR estimate (lower net collections). The difference is due largely to the interest earnings of the Military Retirement Fund, which were $4.2 billion lower than the MSR estimate, partly offset by higher-than-projected interest earnings in some other programs. This intragovernmental interest is paid out of the Department of the Treasury account for interest on the public debt and has no net impact on total Federal Government outlays. In addition, receipts for employer share, employee retirement were $2.5 billion higher than MSR estimates (lower net collections) primarily due to the failure of the Postal Service to make required accrual payments to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund.

 

___________________________

 

[1] The estimates of GDP used in the calculations of the deficit and borrowing relative to GDP reflect the revisions to historical data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in July 2017. GDP for FY 2017 is based on the economic forecast for the President’s 2018 Budget, adjusted for the BEA revisions.

https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0184.aspx

 

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