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The Pronk Pops Show 1279, June 24, 2019, Story 1: Trump Rules Out Military Response Against Iran For Now and Imposes More Sanctions — Iran Cannot Have Nuclear Weapons — Videos – – Story 2: American People Opinion on Illegal Alien Invasion — Trump To Have ICE Deport Millions Including Families That Have A Court Order of Removal — Videos

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Story 1: Trump Rules Out Military Response Against Iran For Now and Imposes More Sanctions — Iran Cannot Have Nuclear Weapons — Videos —

See the source imageSee the source image

Trump: Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon

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Story 2: American People Consider Immigration (23%) Second Only To Government (26%) As Most Important Problem _ — Trump To Have ICE Deport Millions Including Families That Have A Court Order of Removal — Trump Delays Raids For Two Weeks — Videos

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{youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtArfdYjQ4w]

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POLITICS

New High in U.S. Say Immigration Most Important Problem

New High in U.S. Say Immigration Most Important Problem

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • 23% mention immigration as most important problem, highest in Gallup trends
  • The government is the most commonly mentioned problem, at 26%
  • Most Americans still say immigration a good thing for the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ concern with immigration continues to be heightened, as 23% name it the most important problem facing the country. This is by one percentage point the highest Gallup has ever measured for the issue since it first began recording mentions of immigration in 1993.

Line graph. Americans’ mentions of immigration as the country’s most important problem reached a high of 23% in June.

The June 3-16 poll was conducted as the U.S. continues to grapple with how to handle a surge of Central American immigrants at the U.S.-Mexican border. Gallup has previously found spikes in mentions of immigration as the most important U.S. problem at other times when the immigration debate intensified, including:

  • 22% in July 2018 amid controversy over a U.S. policy to separate children and parents who were trying to enter the U.S. illegally
  • 17% in July 2014, when a wave of young immigrants from Central American countries crossed the U.S. border illegally
  • 19% in April 2006 as the Senate worked toward passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill it later passed but ultimately was not considered by the House of Representatives

Mentions of immigration have been higher on average in 2019 than in any prior year. The 20% average to date compares with 14% in 2018, and no more than 10% in any other year.

Yet immigration has typically finished behind the government as the nation’s top problem over the past three years, and did so again this month, when 26% of Americans named the government. Government has finished ahead of immigration in all but two months since February 2017 (July and November 2018). This included a record 35% naming the government in February.

Concern about the government is broadly distributed across the three major partisan groups, with 32% of Democrats and 23% of both Republicans and independents currently identifying it as the most important problem. In contrast, immigration mentions are far more common among Republicans (42%) than Democrats (7%). Twenty-one percent of independents name it.

One in Three Want Immigration Levels Decreased

Asked their preferences for U.S. immigration levels, 37% of Americans say it should be kept at its present level, while more say it should be decreased (35%) than increased (27%). The percentage wanting immigration reduced is higher than the average 30% holding this view in Gallup’s two prior surveys, in January 2019 and July 2018. However, in the past, many more Americans have called for a reduction than do so now, including 41% in June 2014, 58% in October 2001 (after 9/11), and a record 65% in the mid-1990s during a surge of illegal immigration in California.

In recent years, there has been an uptick in the percentage who want immigration to the U.S. increased. Before 2012, the percentage never reached 20%, but it has been above that mark since, including a record 30% in January.

Line graph. Among Americans, 37% want immigration kept at current levels, 35% would prefer it decreased and 27% increased.

As their differences in perceptions of immigration as the most important problem would suggest, partisans have divergent views on U.S. immigration levels. A slim majority of Republicans, 54%, want them decreased, while 31% want them kept the same and 13% increased. Democrats are about equally likely to prefer increased immigration (43%) as to want current levels maintained (42%); just 13% want immigration cut. Independents’ views essentially match those of all U.S. adults.

Public Mixed in Assessment of Immigration’s Effects

Even as they acknowledge immigration as one of the nation’s most pressing problems, Americans still view immigration positively in general, with 76% describing it as a good thing for the country today and 19% as a bad thing. Since Gallup first asked this question in 2001, no fewer than 52% have affirmed immigration’s value, with the current year’s figure the highest to date by one point.

Line graph. Three-quarters, 76%, of Americans say immigration is good for the country, 19% say it is bad for the U.S.

Notably, two-thirds of Americans who identify immigration as the most important problem still believe it is a good thing for the country.

Democrats (87%) are much more likely than Republicans (62%) to say immigration is a good thing, with 78% of independents holding that view.

Americans’ assessments of the effect of immigration on six aspects of U.S. society are mixed. In two areas — the economy and food, music, and the arts — more believe immigration has made the situation better than made it worse. The public is divided as to immigration’s effects on social and moral values and job opportunities for their family, but more evaluate immigration’s effect on crime and taxes negatively than positively.

Americans’ Views of Immigration’s Impact Mixed
For each of the following areas, please say whether immigrants to the United States are making the situation in the country better or worse, or not having much effect. How about — [RANDOM ORDER]?
Better Worse No effect Net (% Better – % Worse)
% % % pct. pts.
Food, music and the arts 57 10 32 +47
The economy in general 43 31 25 +12
Social and moral values 31 28 39 +3
Job opportunities for you and your family 19 25 56 -6
Taxes 20 42 37 -22
The crime situation 7 42 50 -35
GALLUP, JUNE 3-16, 2019

Americans’ opinions on the impact immigration has on these aspects of society have shifted in a more positive direction over the past two decades. Specifically, the public is much more positive today about immigration’s effect on the economy and job opportunities than they were in 2001, when Gallup first asked the question. While still negative overall today, Americans are less negative about immigration’s effect on taxes and the crime situation than they were 18 years ago.

Probing further on immigration’s impact on the economy, the poll asked Americans whether immigrants “mostly help the economy by providing low-cost labor” or “mostly hurt the economy by driving down wages for many Americans.” For the first time, a majority of Americans say immigrants mostly help the economy, with 55% holding this view, compared with 37% who see immigrants as harming the economy. In 1993 and 2004 surveys, large majorities of Americans saw immigrants as detrimental to the economy.

Line graph. More than half, 55%, of Americans see immigrants as mostly helping the U.S. economy; 37% see them as hurting it.

Republicans disagree with Democrats and independents on the effect of immigration on the economy. Whereas 60% of Republicans see immigration as hurting the economy, 72% of Democrats and 58% of independents believe it helps.

Implications

At a time when Americans are more likely to name immigration as the most important problem facing the country than any in recent memory, they hold mixed views about it. They still see immigration as a good thing for the country, and more believe it benefits than harms the economy. About one-third want to see immigration levels reduced, but that is a lower proportion than in past surveys, including times when fewer Americans viewed immigration as a pressing U.S. problem.

The issue continues to challenge U.S. lawmakers, as Congress and Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump have been unable to enact meaningful legislation to stem the flow of illegal immigrants to the country and develop a plan for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. As such, the issue promises to remain a major one in the coming presidential election.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/259103/new-high-say-immigration-important-problem.aspx

""

Western Unions being cleaned out as migrants pass through one Texas city

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The Pronk Pops Show 1276, June 18, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Orders Rounding Up The 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States Starting Soon — Trump Supporters Still Waiting For Trump’s Promise To Be Kept By Rolling Back The 33 Year Invasion of United States — Enforce Immigration Laws — Deport and Remove All Illegal Aliens — It Is The Law — Send Them Home — Videos — Story 2: Tension Mount Between United States and Islamic Republic of Iran — Neocons Banging The War Drums — Trump’s War? — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Press Opportunity on Way To Orlando, Florida Rally Starting 2020 Presidential Re-Election Campaign — Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan Resigns and Army Secretary Mark Esper Named Acting Secretary of Defense — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Orders Rounding Up The 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States Starting Soon — Trump Supporters Still Waiting For Trump’s Promise To Be Kept By Rolling Back The 33 Year Invasion of United States — Enforce Immigration Laws — Deport and Remove All Illegal Aliens — It Is The Law — Send Them Home — Videos —

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President Trump outlines four-pillar immigration plan

Trump: Illegal immigrants must leave and apply for entry

Donald Trump on illegal immigration in the U.S.

Trump vows to deport criminal illegal immigrants

Dobbs: Illegal immigrants are a ‘preferred group’ in the US

Trump: Deport immigrants without ‘judges or court cases’

Trump Doubles, Triples Down on Immigration Plans

Trump: It is realistic to deport all illegal immigrants

Trump: Undocumented immigrants ‘have to go’

Donald Trump explains his immigration plan

How to solve the illegal immigration problem

 

 

Trump says US will begin deporting millions

Trump says US will begin deporting millions

an hour ago

President Donald Trump is threatening to deport millions of people living in the United States illegally, heralding a plan that could help energize his supporters just ahead of formally announcing his reelection bid .

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement next week will “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump said in a pair of tweets Monday night.

“They will be removed as fast as they come in,” he wrote.

An administration official said the effort would focus on the more than 1 million people who have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges but remain at large in the U.S. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to explain the president’s tweets.

Other U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said the operation was not imminent, and that ICE officials were not aware the president would make public sensitive law enforcement plans on Twitter. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

It is unusual for law enforcement agencies to announce raids before they take place. Some in Trump’s administration believe that decisive shows of force — like mass arrests — can serve as effective deterrents, sending a message to those considering making the journey to the U.S. that it’s not worth coming.

Mexico deployed more troops to its southern border with Guatemala on Monday amid growing evidence that the heightened military presence was deterring some migrants from trying to cross the border. (June 18)

The acting head of ICE Mark Morgan said in an interview with journalists earlier this month that there would be enforcement action coming that would include deporting families, and that it would be done humanely.

Trump has threatened a series of increasingly drastic actions as he has tried to stem the flow of Central American migrants crossing the southern border, which has risen dramatically on his watch. He recently dropped a threat to slap tariffs on Mexico after the country agreed to dispatch its national guard and step-up coordination and enforcement efforts.

A senior Mexican official said Monday that, three weeks ago, about 4,200 migrants were arriving at the U.S. border daily. Now that number has dropped to about 2,600.

Immigration was a central theme of Trump’s 2016 campaign and he is expected to hammer it as he tries to fire up his base heading into the 2020 campaign.

Trump will formally launch his re-election bid Tuesday night at a rally in Orlando, Florida — a state that is crucial to his path back to the White House.

https://apnews.com/e32b4a65baf74afab5bb5b2aa061f734

 

 

Trump says U.S. agency will begin removing millions of illegal immigrants

President Donald Trump said on Monday that U.S. authorities would begin next week removing millions of immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump tweeted, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. “They will be removed as fast as they come in,” he said. He did not offer specifics.

There are an estimated 12 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally, mainly from Mexico and Central America.

Under a deal reached earlier this month, Mexico has agreed to take Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the United States until their cases are heard in U.S. courts.

The agreement, which included Mexico pledging to deploy National Guard troops to stop Central American immigrants from reaching the U.S. border, averted a Trump threat to hit Mexican imports with tariffs.

Trump also said in the tweet that Guatemala “is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement.”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence suggested last week that Guatemala could receive asylum seekers from its neighbors as a so-called safe third country.

Details of the plan have not been made public, and Guatemala has not publicly confirmed talks that the U.S. State Department said were taking place in Guatemala on Friday.

U.S. rights group Human Rights First said, however, it was “simply ludicrous” for the United States to assert that Guatemala was capable of protecting refugees, when its own citizens are fleeing violence.

Mexico has agreed that if its measures to stem the flow of migrants are unsuccessful, it will discuss signing a safe third country agreement with the United States.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney)

 

Story 2: Tension Mount Between United States and Islamic Republic of Iran — Neocons Banging The War Drums — Trump’s War? — Videos

 

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HOW THE U.S. MILITARY WOULD STRIKE IRAN: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW || RHINO 2019

The State Department’s War On Americans Against War On Iran

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“American neoconservatives: a history and overview” Jim Lobe

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US to send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East as tensions escalate with Iran

The United States is sending 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The decision follows last week’s attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the U.S. blamed on Tehran, with the Pentagon releasing new images on Monday that officials said show Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members removing an unexploded mine from one of the ship’s hulls.

Interested in Iran?

Add Iran as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Iran news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

“In response to a request from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) for additional forces, and with the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in consultation with the White House, I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East,” acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a statement on Monday.

The additional personnel are mostly part of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and force protection units, a U.S. official told ABC News.

PHOTO: Airmen conduct flight control checks during preflight of a Reaper drone launch at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 21, 2019.Staff Sgt. Arielle Vasquez/U.S. Air Force
Airmen conduct flight control checks during preflight of a Reaper drone launch at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 21, 2019.more +

The U.S. has already accelerated the deployment to the Middle East of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and sent B-52 bombers after what it said were credible threats by Iran against U.S. forces and interests in the region. Since then, the U.S. has sent an additional 1,500 troops and increased defensive capabilities to continue to help deter Iran.

“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said.

“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran,” the statement continued. “The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests. We will continue to monitor the situation diligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats.”

Iran attempted to shoot down a U.S. drone that was surveilling the attack on one of two tankers hit in the Gulf of Oman last week, CENTCOM said. The attempt missed the MQ-9 Reaper by “approximately one kilometer.”

The U.S. has also blamed Iran for an attack on four commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in May.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Congress must be briefed on the plans.

“Americans must have no illusions about the Iranian regime, and must remain committed to holding Iran accountable for its dangerous activities in the region. But we must be strong, smart and strategic – not reckless and rash – in how to proceed,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The Congress must be immediately briefed on the Administration’s decisions and plans”

“This deeply concerning decision may escalate the situation with Iran and risk serious miscalculations on either side. Diplomacy is needed to defuse tensions, therefore America must continue to consult with our allies so that we do not make the region less safe,” the statement added.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-send-1000-additional-troops-middle-east-tensions/story?id=63772858

 

 

Key events raising tensions in the Persian Gulf

FILE - In this May 29, 2019 file photo released by the U.S. Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force Desert Falcons fly in formation with U.S. F-35A Lightning IIs in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Tensions between the United States and IThe Associated Press
FILE – In this May 29, 2019 file photo released by the U.S. Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force Desert Falcons fly in formation with U.S. F-35A Lightning IIs in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared in recent weeks, with Washington dispatching warships and bombers around the Persian Gulf, and Tehran threatening to resume higher uranium enrichment. The tensions come a year after President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord with world powers and restored crippling sanctions. (Staff Sgt. Chris Drzazgowski/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)more +

Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared in recent weeks, with Washington dispatching warships and bombers around the Persian Gulf, and Tehran threatening to resume higher uranium enrichment. The tensions come a year after President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran‘s 2015 nuclear accord with world powers and restored crippling sanctions.

A timeline of recent events:

May 5: John Bolton, the White House national security adviser and a longtime Iran hawk, announces the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” without providing details. He threatens “unrelenting force” in response to any attack.

———

May 8: Iran vows to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels, starting July 7, if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its nuclear deal. The U.S. responds by imposing sanctions on Iran’s metal industry.

———

May 9: The European Union urges Iran to respect the nuclear deal and says it plans to continue trading with the country despite U.S. sanctions. Trump says he would like Iran’s leaders to “call me.”

———

May 10: The U.S. says it will move a Patriot missile battery into the Middle East to counter threats from Iran.

———

May 12: The United Arab Emirates says four commercial ships off its eastern coast “were subjected to sabotage operations,” just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets air false reports of explosions at a nearby Emirati port.

———

May 13: European foreign ministers urge the United States and Iran to show restraint, while U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs his counterparts on the alleged threats from Iran. Trump warns that if Tehran does “anything” in the form of an attack, “they will suffer greatly.”

———

May 14: Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels launch a drone attack on Saudi Arabia, striking a major oil pipeline and taking it out of service.

— The New York Times reports the White House is reviewing military plans that could result in sending 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces or steps up work on nuclear weapons. Trump says it’s “fake news,” but that he would “absolutely” be willing to send troops if necessary.

— Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says “no one is seeking war,” but that it wouldn’t be difficult for Iran to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.

— A senior military officer in the U.S.-backed coalition fighting the Islamic State group says “there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.” In a rare public rebuttal, U.S. Central Command says his remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats.”

———

May 15: The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad orders all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq immediately. The Netherlands and Germany say they are suspending their training of Iraqi forces.

———

May 16: Saudi Arabia blames Iran for the drone attack on its pipeline and an English-language newspaper close to the palace calls for the U.S. to launch “surgical” strikes in retaliation.

—Trump says he hopes the U.S. is not on a path to war with Iran amid fears that his two most hawkish advisers could be angling for a conflict with the Islamic Republic. Asked if the U.S. was going to war with Iran, the president replied, “I hope not” — a day after he repeated a desire for dialogue, tweeting, “I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon.”

———

May 19: A rocket lands near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, without harming anyone. It’s not clear who is behind the attack, but after the initial reports, Trump tweets: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” Iran’s foreign minister responded by tweeting that Trump had been “goaded” into “genocidal taunts.”

———

May 20: Semi-official media in Iran report that it has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium, which is used for civilian applications but not nuclear weapons. Iran is allowed to enrich uranium to the low level of 3.67%, but increased production could lead it to exceed the stockpile limits in the nuclear deal.

———

May 24: Trump says the U.S. will bolster its military presence in the Middle East with an additional 1,500 troops. He says the troops will have a “mostly protective” role.

— Senior Pentagon officer Vice Admiral Michael Gilday says the U.S. has a high degree of confidence that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was responsible for the explosions of the four tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and that Iranian proxies in Iraq fired rockets into Baghdad.

———

May 31 and June 1: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman hosts three high-level summits in Mecca, drawing heads of state from across the Middle East and Muslim countries to present a unified Muslim and Arab position on Iran. The monarch calls on the international community to use all means to confront Iran and accuses the Shiite power of being behind “terrorist operations” that targeted Saudi oil interests.

———

June 12: Saudi Arabia says 26 people were wounded in an attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting an airport in kingdom’s southwestern town of Abha. The Houthis claim they’d launched a cruise missile at the airport.

———

June 13: Two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz are hit in an alleged assault that leaves one ablaze and adrift as 44 sailors are evacuated from both vessels and the U.S. Navy rushes to assist. America later blames Iran for the attack, something Tehran denies.

———

June 17: Iran says it will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/key-events-raising-tensions-persian-gulf-63758209?cid=referral_taboola_feed

THE NEOCONS

WAR WITH IRAN WOULD BECOME ‘TRUMP’S WAR’

Pat Buchanan identifies usual suspects pushing for military action against Tehran


Read more at https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/war-with-iran-would-become-trumps-war/#g2uQZVM20y58K1f0.99

President Donald Trump cannot want war with Iran.

Such a war, no matter how long, would be fought in and around the Persian Gulf, through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil travels. It could trigger a worldwide recession and imperil Trump’s reelection.

 

It would widen the “forever war,” which Trump said he would end, to a nation of 80 million people, three times as large as Iraq. It would become the defining issue of his presidency, as the Iraq War became the defining issue of George W. Bush’s presidency.

And if war comes now, it would be known as “Trump’s War.”

For it was Trump who pulled us out of the Iran nuclear deal, though, according to U.N. inspectors and the other signatories – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China – Tehran was complying with its terms.

Trump’s repudiation of the treaty was followed by his reimposition of sanctions and a policy of maximum pressure. This was followed by the designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a “terrorist” organization.

Then came the threats of U.S. secondary sanctions on nations, some of them friends and allies, that continued to buy oil from Iran.

U.S. policy has been to squeeze Iran’s economy until the regime buckles to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 12 demands, including an end to Tehran’s support of its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Sunday, Pompeo said Iran was behind the attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman and that Tehran instigated an attack that injured four U.S. soldiers in Kabul, though the Taliban claimed responsibility.

The war hawks are back.

“This unprovoked attack on commercial shipping warrants retaliatory military strikes,” said Sen. Tom Cotton on Sunday.

But as Trump does not want war with Iran, Iran does not want war with us. Tehran has denied any role in the tanker attacks, helped put out the fire on one tanker and accused its enemies of “false flag” attacks to instigate a war.

If the Revolutionary Guard, which answers to the ayatollah, did attach explosives to the hull of the tankers, it was most likely to send a direct message: If our exports are halted by U.S. sanctions, the oil exports of the Saudis and Gulf Arabs can be made to experience similar problems.

Yet if the president and the ayatollah do not want war, who does?

Not the Germans or Japanese, both of whom are asking for more proof that Iran instigated the tanker attacks. Japan’s prime minster was meeting with the ayatollah when the attacks occurred, and one of the tankers was a Japanese vessel.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal Monday were Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neocon nest funded by Paul Singer and Sheldon Adelson.

In a piece titled, “America Can Face Down a Fragile Iran,” the pair make the case that Trump should squeeze the Iranian regime relentlessly and not fear a military clash, and a war with Iran would be a cakewalk.

“Iran is in no shape for a prolonged confrontation with the U.S. The regime is in a politically precarious position. The sullen Iranian middle class has given up on the possibility of reform or prosperity. The lower classes, once tethered to the regime by the expansive welfare state, have also grown disloyal. The intelligentsia no longer believes that faith and freedom can be harmonized. And the youth have become the regime’s most unrelenting critics.

“Iran’s fragile theocracy can’t absorb a massive external shock. That’s why Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has, for the most part, adhered to the JCPOA (the nuclear pact) and why he is likely angling for negotiation over confrontation with the Great Satan.”

This depiction of Iran’s political crisis and economic decline invites a question: If the Tehran regime is so fragile and the Iranian people are so alienated, why not avoid a war and wait for the regime’s collapse?

Trump seems to have several options:

  • Negotiate with the Tehran regime for some tolerable detente.
  • Refuse to negotiate and await the regime’s collapse, in which case the president must be prepared for Iranian actions that raise the cost of choking that nation to death.
  • Strike militarily, as Cotton urges, and accept the war that follows, if Iran chooses to fight rather than be humiliated and capitulate to Pompeo’s demands.

One recalls: Saddam Hussein accepted war with the United States in 1991 rather than yield to Bush I’s demand he get his army out of Kuwait.

Who wants a U.S. war with Iran?

Primarily the same people who goaded us into wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and who oppose every effort of Trump’s to extricate us from those wars.

Should they succeed in Iran, it is hard to see how we will ever be able to extricate our country from this blood-soaked region that holds no vital strategic interest save oil, and America, thanks to fracking, has become independent of that.

 

https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/war-with-iran-would-become-trumps-war/

Story 3: President Trump Press Opportunity on Way To Orlando, Florida Rally Starting 2020 Presidential Re-Election Campaign — Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan Resigns and Army Secretary Mark Esper Named Acting Secretary of Defense — Videos

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Tucker Carlson Tonight 6/18/2019 – FOX NEWS TODAY JUNE 18,2019

Patrick Shanahan drops out of running to be defense secretary

Shanahan out at Pentagon, Mark Esper named new acting defense secretary

Army Secretary Mark Esper on 2020 budget

Trump campaign gives sneak peek to official 2020 campaign ad

Ingraham: The president’s relaunch

Newt Gingrich breaks down Trump’s reelection chances in 2020

As Trump’s defense pick withdraws, he addresses violent domestic incidents

June 18 at 1:15 PM

Shanahan: ‘I’d be happy to serve’

Asked Feb. 12 if he would keep his post “for the long run,” acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan said he would act “in any capacity” Trump asked him to do. 

In the months that he has served as President Trump’s acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan has worked to keep domestic violence incidents within his family private. His wife was arrested after punching him in the face, and his son was arrested after a separate incident in which he hit his mother with a baseball bat. Public disclosure of the nearly decade-old episodes would re-traumatize his young adult children, Shanahan said.

On Tuesday, Trump announced in a tweet that Shanahan would not be going through with the nomination process — which had been delayed by an unusually lengthy FBI background check — “so that he can devote more time to his family.”

Shanahan spoke publicly about the incidents in interviews with The Washington Post on Monday and Tuesday.

 

“Bad things can happen to good families . . . and this is a tragedy, really,” Shanahan said. Dredging up the episode publicly, he said, “will ruin my son’s life.”

In November 2011, Shanahan rushed to defend his then-17-year-old son, William Shanahan, in the days after the teenager brutally beat his mother. The attack had left Patrick Shanahan’s ex-wife unconscious in a pool of blood, her skull fractured and with internal injuries that required surgery, according to court and police records.

Two weeks later, Shanahan sent his ex-wife’s brother a memo arguing that his son had acted in self-defense.

“Use of a baseball bat in self-defense will likely be viewed as an imbalance of force,” Shanahan wrote. “However, Will’s mother harassed him for nearly three hours before the incident.”

Details of the incidents have started to emerge in media reports about his nomination, including a USA Todayreport Tuesday about the punching incident in 2010.

In an hour-long interview Monday night at his apartment in Virginia, Shanahan, who has been responding to questions from The Post about the incidents since January, said he wrote the memo in the hours after his son’s attack, before he knew the full extent of his ex-wife’s injuries. He said that it was to prepare for his son’s initial court appearance and that he never intended for anyone other than his son’s attorneys to read it.

“That document literally was, I sat down with [my son] right away, and being an engineer at an aerospace company, you write down what are all of the mitigating reasons something could have happened. You know, just what’s the list of things that could have happened?” he said.

As he wrote in an ongoing custody battle stemming from their divorce, Shanahan said Monday that he does not believe there can be any justification for an assault with a baseball bat, but he went further in the interview, saying he now regrets writing the passage.

“Quite frankly it’s difficult to relive that moment, and the passage was difficult for me to read. I was wrong to write those three sentences,” Shanahan said.

“I have never believed Will’s attack on his mother was an act of self-defense or justified. I don’t believe violence is appropriate ever, and certainly never any justification for attacking someone with a baseball bat,” he said.

Kimberley Shanahan, who has since changed her name to Kimberley Jordinson, has not responded to repeated efforts by reporters since January to contact her via email, text, phone and social media seeking comment about the incidents.

Patrick Shanahan’s response when his family was split by acts of domestic violence — including steps he took to manage his son’s surrender to police and attempt to keep him out of jail — is detailed in court filings that have not been previously reported. Court records also contain an earlier episode in which both Shanahan and his wife alleged they were assaulted by one another, and she was arrested.

The Defense Department has long struggled with its own responses to domestic violence, and it has faced a fresh wave of criticism since shortly after Shanahan became deputy secretary of defense in July 2017.

In November of that year, an airman who had been court-martialed for assaulting his wife and stepson killed 26 people and wounded 22 others in a Texas church. A Defense Department investigation later faulted the Air Force for repeatedly failing to submit the serviceman’s fingerprints to a civilian database, which it said should have prevented him from purchasing the firearms used in the mass shooting.

Last month, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General admonished the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, saying they failed for decades to consistently follow policies requiring military police to thoroughly process crime scenes and interview witnesses following allegations of nonsexual domestic abuse. The watchdog said that in 180 of 219 cases it reviewed, the branches failed to submit criminal histories and fingerprints of offending servicemen to civilian authorities.

Shanahan said his personal experience with domestic violence has taught him there are no simple policy prescriptions. He said domestic violence rates in the military will improve only if the services can change the way they talk about the stresses of serving in the armed forces in a more honest and natural way.

“There’s not one size that fits all — I mean, it’s a very complicated issue,” he said. “It’s not as simple as take this training class or apply these resources or, you know, look for these kinds of symptoms. I mean, it’s not that simple. There are all sorts of dimensions, whether it’s mental health or addiction or stress in the home. It’s a very toxic concoction.

“The thing that’s probably, like a lot of other issues . . . is having a buddy system of people who really care about you and can intervene,” he said. “What I’ve learned is extremely important.”

‘I was seeing stars’

Patrick Shanahan, 56, climbed the ranks at Boeing over more than two decades, becoming vice president and general manager of the corporation’s commercial airplane program in 2008. An exacting, hard-charging executive who worked grueling hours, he earned the sobriquet “Mr. Fix It” for his ability to turn around sputtering projects worth billions of dollars, such as the aerospace giant’s delayed 787 Dreamliner program. 

By 2010, Shanahan was earning more than $935,000 annually in salary and bonuses, court records show. 

But there was turbulence in Shanahan’s personal life with his wife of 24 years. Shanahan and two of his children interviewed by The Post said Kimberley Shanahan was growing more erratic. One Thanksgiving, she threw the entire dinner on the floor, saying the family did not appreciate her efforts, they said. A birthday cake his daughter baked for Patrick Shanahan was similarly destroyed, they said.

Things culminated with a physical dispute in August 2010. According to Patrick Shanahan, the incident began when he was lying in bed, following an argument with his wife about their oldest child.

Shanahan said he had his eyes closed, trying to fall asleep, when his wife entered the bedroom and punched him in the face before landing blows to his torso.

“I was seeing stars,” Shanahan said, but he didn’t react, saying he believes that only further enraged his wife.

She then began throwing her husband’s clothes out of a window, according to police and court records, and tried to set them on fire with a propane tank she couldn’t dislodge from a barbecue grill, attempting again later by burning paper towels.

Another physical altercation ensued, with police records indicating that Kimberley Shanahan swung at Patrick Shanahan. She called the police and claimed he punched her in the stomach, an allegation he denies.

When officers arrived, they found him with a bloody nose and scratches on his face, police records show. Authorities charged his wife with domestic violence.

Patrick Shanahan soon filed for divorce and dropped the charges. The file would grow to more than 1,500 pages.

‘It was a hard time to see your son’

Kimberley Shanahan won custody of the children and moved to Florida. Patrick Shanahan remained in Seattle, but the couple’s eldest daughter would soon rejoin him to attend college.

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011, Kimberley Shanahan and William got into “a verbal dispute” over her suspicion that the 17-year-old was in a romantic relationship with a 36-year-old woman, according to a police report.

According to police, just after 1:30 a.m., William “shoved and pinned his mother against a bathroom wall” before grabbing a $400 Nike composite baseball bat “to swing at her head,” striking her multiple times.

“I attempted to run away from Will, but as I reached the laundry room, he struck me with the bat in the back of my head,” Kimberley Shanahan wrote in a court filing in the custody case. “The last thing I remember from before I lost consciousness is the impact of the bat, and blood gushing everywhere.”

William, Sarasota police wrote, struck several blows to his mother’s head and torso and left her “to lie in a pool of blood” and then “unplugged the landline phone cord depriving the victim and [the younger brother] the use of 911 to render aid.”

As William fled the home, situated in an exclusive barrier-island development called Bird Key just outside Sarasota, he “tossed a bottle of rubbing alcohol” to his younger brother and told him “you clean her up,” according to the police report.

The younger brother called 911 from a neighbor’s phone, according to police records.

Within hours, William contacted his father, who immediately booked a predawn flight to Florida, according to court records and documents provided by Shanahan.

Kimberley Shanahan was hospitalized early that morning and later required surgery, she wrote in a filing. Among her injuries were a fractured skull and elbow, according to the police report.

While she was in the hospital, authorities began to search for William, according to records released to The Post by Sarasota police.

Police distributed a photo of William to patrol cars on Bird Key. They tried to track the young man’s cellphone, but it appeared to be turned off, police wrote. They canvassed a local park and bridges to the mainland. They searched a local yacht club. But there was no trace of him, according to records.

Patrick Shanahan landed in Florida just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday. He arranged to stay with William in a hotel.

“Mr. Shanahan’s response when he learned of the assault was to book Will a hotel room,” Kimberley Shanahan wrote.

Patrick Shanahan said it’s a bit of a blur.

“It was a hard time to see your son — hopefully you’ll never be in that spot someday,” he said. “I wasn’t hiding. We got a hotel and talked to the attorney, and we just camped out.”

Shanahan did not visit the hospital where his ex-wife was taken, she later wrote in a custody filing. Instead, over four days that included Thanksgiving, he worked to assemble a defense team and enlist family members and friends to attend an initial hearing to try to persuade a judge to let his son stay out of jail while he fought the charges.

Derek Byrd, head of a well-known Sarasota defense firm hired by Patrick Shanahan to represent his son in the criminal case, said in an interview that the elder Shanahan acted appropriately by not contacting police until his son could consult a defense attorney, a process that was delayed by the Thanksgiving holiday.

Byrd also said that Patrick Shanahan was not aware that police were searching for his son in the days after the attack.

“I don’t think Pat handled that time frame inappropriately,” Byrd said in an interview. “I think he was just doing what a reasonable dad should probably do. I’m sure the timeline looks bad on paper, but he didn’t do anything that I consider out of the ordinary, and he wasn’t hiding Will.”

Byrd said Patrick Shanahan first contacted his firm within a day of arriving in Florida, either Wednesday night or Thursday, which was Thanksgiving. He said a lawyer from the firm could not meet with the Shanahans until Friday morning, after the holiday.

Later on Friday, another attorney from the firm contacted the detective handling the case, Kenneth Halpin.

According to the detective’s report, the attorney said he would arrange for the younger Shanahan to turn himself in — after two more days, on Sunday evening, Nov. 27.

“Detective Halpin trusted us to do that,” Byrd told The Post. “He said, ‘Fine.’ ”

Halpin told The Post that he could not recall the conversation but probably would have cast it differently:

“If someone calls and says they’re going to turn in a suspect on a Sunday night, and he’s already lawyered up with someone who has a reputation like Byrd, for being on TV, what can you do? You can’t force an attorney to turn in his client,” Halpin said, adding: “I’m sure I would have also told him that there’s paper out for him, so they’re still going to snatch him up if he’s found.”

That Sunday night, Patrick Shanahan drove William to a police station to surrender, according to police records and a timeline of events prepared by a Shanahan spokesman.

His mother attended his court appearance the next morning.

“My neighbor took me to the court hearing, and both of us were shocked to see Pat in the courtroom,” she wrote in the filing, saying she had believed until then that he had been in Seattle.

‘He doesn’t believe in violence’

Patrick Shanahan and Byrd came to the hearing prepared to plead for the younger Shanahan to remain out of custody, citing his baseball career at an exclusive youth sports academy and prep school attended by sons and daughters of major league athletes.

“He’s a college baseball prospect. He has dreams. He has a future. His father is an executive of Boeing,” Byrd said, according to an audio recording that the court released to The Post. “If he has to sit in jail for 21 days, not only is that going to traumatize him, he’s not going to finish the semester, probably get kicked off the baseball team . . . everything is going to be over for him.”

Patrick Shanahan also vouched for his son.

“He doesn’t believe in violence,” he told the judge. “I’ve never seen him act aggressively toward his brother or any other family members, so it’s a shock to me what has happened.”

The judge declined to release William Shanahan, calling pictures of the crime scene “horrendous.”

He was initially charged with two felonies, aggravated battery and tampering with a victim, and faced up to 15 years in prison.

In the custody filing is the four-page memo Patrick Shanahan wrote at the time.

It lists “mitigating circumstances” that should be considered in evaluating the alleged assault.

A Shanahan spokesman provided a copy of the email containing the memo retained by Shanahan’s brother-in-law, showing it had been sent on Dec. 8, 2011, two weeks after the attack, and 10 days after Patrick Shanahan was present at the court hearing with his injured ex-wife.

First, Patrick Shanahan wrote, his 17-year-old son had “acted in self-defense.”

“She fueled the situation by berating him repeatedly in his room in a manner that escalated emotionally and physically,” he wrote.

The memo continues, alleging a history of substance abuse, emotional abuse and violent tendencies by Kimberley Shanahan. “Over the last 7+ years I have worked as much as possible, partially out of a desire to avoid inevitable conflicts with Kim,” Shanahan wrote. It casts his ex-wife as the instigator in conflicts with him and their children. “It appears that when I was not around to yell at, she started becoming intensely focused on berating, terrorizing and beat them down emotionally.”

Kimberley Shanahan disputed those characterizations.

“I have always been a very loving and dedicated mom,” she wrote in a court filing responding to the memo, “and I have never emotionally abused any of my children for any period of time.”

Kevin Cameron, Kimberley Shanahan’s brother, said he was not bothered by Patrick Shanahan’s memo because he believed Shanahan wrote it before he had all of the facts about the assault.

“If anything, I believe Pat fully understands and is better equipped to deal with domestic violence than most people,” Cameron wrote in a letter to The Post. “He has seen it. He has lived it. He understands that domestic violence is real and prevalent. He understands that it can impact anyone of any age, gender, race and socioeconomic status.”

‘We moved on’

Kris Roberts, a police officer who assisted in the search for William Shanahan, recalled that after the arrest, his father was a “hindrance” in a follow-up matter, as police investigated whether there had been an inappropriate relationship between the adult woman and William. Under Florida law, William was too young at the time to have had a consenting sexual relationship with the woman. Roberts, a retired detective with the Longboat Key Police Department, said the father, whom she could not remember by name, would not turn over his son’s cellphone.

After the surrender to police, “his father would not talk to me; he wasn’t helping,” Roberts said. “I remember he had a West Coast address, Seattle maybe, and when he left, the son’s cellphone was just gone.” Roberts said she believes Patrick Shanahan took his son’s cellphone back to Seattle with him.

Roberts said that without the cooperation of the father, the investigation fell apart. “We only had one love letter between them, but it didn’t speak to anything sexual,” Roberts said. The adult woman “soon lawyered up, too, and we moved on.”

Byrd, the attorney for William Shanahan; an attorney who represents Patrick Shanahan in Seattle; and a Shanahan spokesman said they were not aware of a formal request for the cellphone.

Prosecutors would go on to charge William as an adult with one felony: aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He pleaded down to a third-degree felony, and in 2012, a state prosecutor agreed to a “withhold of adjudication,” curtailing the length of the sentence and probation. The post-sentencing maneuver is not recognized outside of Florida, and William’s record could not be sealed or expunged in the state because it involved a violent domestic assault.

William was ordered to spend 18 months at a Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch and sentenced to four years’ probation. Both penalties were later reduced.

The following year, in 2013, William enrolled at the University of Washington, according to his LinkedIn page. His father had recently joined the university’s board of regents. The family had other ties to the school. Patrick Shanahan’s father, Michael, had served as police chief for the university for more than two decades.

William graduated last June with a degree in political science, a university spokesman said.

Kimberley Shanahan lost custody of the couple’s youngest child in 2014, when a judge wrote that she had “engaged in abusive use of conflict that is seriously detrimental” to the child. According to multiple accounts, she is now estranged from all three of her children. At his last confirmation hearing, to become deputy secretary of defense in June 2017, all three children were sitting behind Patrick Shanahan.

None of the senators asked him about domestic violence.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/18/troubling-questions-raised-by-patrick-shanahans-pulled-nomination/?utm_term=.3210169d99a0

The troubling questions raised by Shanahan’s aborted nomination

June 18 at 4:31 PM

Patrick Shanahan’s bid to become defense secretary has been withdrawn, and The Washington Post’s Aaron C. Davis and Shawn Boburg have the big story about why. Reports about two incidents of domestic violence — one in which Shanahan’s then-wife was charged with assaulting him and another in which his then-teenage son hit her with a baseball bat in the head — have led President Trump to announce Shanahan’s withdrawal.

The first, inescapable emotion one has to have while reading the story is sadness. It’s an extremely messy family situation that sounds awful and painful.

But thing I felt is curiosity: How is it possible Shanahan thought he could become secretary of defense without this being publicized and litigated? And beyond that, how was he picked for the job in the first place, and how was he previously confirmed as deputy secretary of defense?

There are certainly many questions here — regarding Shanahan, the White House that picked him, the FBI that conducts background checks, and the Senate, which confirmed him in the deputy position.

From Shanahan’s perspective, it’s important to emphasize that he was never charged with becoming violent himself, though his wife did accuse him of that. But in interviews with The Post, he admitted fault for having suggested his son’s assault of his mother was justified as an act of self-defense. He had initially suggested she had drawn the attack by harassing the teenager over a period of hours. “I was wrong to write those three sentences,” he said of a memo in which he made that case.

Shanahan would surely have been forced to account for that situation and others. Now, he has pulled out before he could even really attempt to.

But why was he in contention in the first place? In the vetting process, the first things to check are divorce records, police records and court records. The Post’s reporting relied upon all three. The White House has never been big on actually vetting its nominees — even for top Cabinet posts — but is it really possible it didn’t check these very basic boxes? And it would seem very likely that an FBI background check was conducted that would provide such information to the White House counsel. Was that done? Either someone was negligent, or someone turned a blind eye.

And even setting that aside, did the GOP-controlled Senate dig into these things when it was confirming Shanahan as deputy defense secretary in July 2017? Shanahan was confirmed 92 to 7, despite some concerns about installing a former Boeing executive as a top Pentagon official. As Davis and Boburg noted, all three of his children sat behind him at the hearing; domestic violence didn’t come up once.

At least one Democratic senator, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, is already raising the prospect that Shanahan might have withheld this information on his disclosure forms.

“I feel there was a deliberate concealment here,” Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, told reporter Matt Laslo. “This is potentially a violation of criminal law.”

Matt Laslo

@MattLaslo

“I feel there was a deliberate concealment here,” Armed Services member Sen. Blumenthal says of Shanahan. “This is potentially a violation of criminal law” by Shanahan for lying on disclosure forms, he adds

113 people are talking about this

This is merely the latest vetting failure from the White House. It previously employed Rob Porter as staff secretary despite two ex-wives having accused him of physical abuse. It nominated and then withdrew Ronny L. Jackson for Veterans Affairs secretary despite some very serious accusations that quickly came to light. Trump’s first labor secretary nominee, Andy Puzder, quickly succumbed to accusations of domestic violence and employing an undocumented worker. And you could even throw now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh in there; even though he wound up winning confirmation, it was made much more difficult by sexual assault allegations against him.

In some of these instances, it’s perhaps somewhat understandable how these things could have slipped through the cracks; Kavanaugh had never been accused publicly, for example, and Jackson’s reputation was solid from when he served in the Obama White House. In the case of Shanahan, these are public records. The Washington Post has been asking Shanahan about these incidents since January, when he became acting secretary, and he was still nominated last month.

It’s a remarkably sad story — and one that many people involved probably should have prevented from ever needing to be told in the context of a Cabinet nomination.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/18/troubling-questions-raised-by-patrick-shanahans-pulled-nomination/?utm_term=.3210169d99a0

 

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1275, June 17, 2019, Story 1: Trump Hypothetical vs. Democrat Actual — Digging Up Dirt on Your Political Opponents — Opposition Research, Dirty Tricks, Blow Back — Legal vs Criminal Opposition Research –Criminal Conspiracy Smear Campaigns — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers —  Videos — Story 2: Radical Extremist Democrat Polls — Trump Loses — Reality Deniers — Videos — Story 3: Iran Promises To Break Nuclear Agreement If Sanctions Not Removed — Pathway To Nuclear Bomb and Long Range Missile and War — Videos

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See the source image

See the source image

Story 1: Trump Hypothetical vs. Clinton Actual — Digging Up Dirt on Your Political Opponents — Opposition Research, Dirty Tricks, Blow Back — Legal vs Criminal Opposition Research — Criminal Conspiracy Smear Campaigns — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers —  Videos

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President Trump: 30 Hours l Interview with George Stephanopoulos l Part 1

President Trump: 30 Hours l Interview with George Stephanopoulos l Part 2

President Trump: 30 Hours l Interview with George Stephanopoulos l Part 3

A preview of ABC News’ exclusive one-on-one interview with Trump

Trump says he may not alert FBI if info is offered by foreigners on 2020 candidates

Levin slams Democrats for declaring Trump a criminal

Shields and Brooks on Trump and foreign campaign help, Democratic debates

Partisan sparks fly over Trump’s opposition research remarks

Trump defends saying he’d take foreign intel on rivals

Ingraham: Democrats’ foreign phony outrage

Hannity: The left’s selective outrage on opposition research

Hannity: Steele dossier was full of lies, misinformation, propaganda

The ethical dos and don’ts of opposition research

[youtube-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE9X1hMhvwQ]

Inside the Democrats’ opposition research shop

FBI must identify origin of Trump-Russia collusion idea: Rep. DeSantis

Nunes: Not possible FBI didn’t know who paid for dossier

Strassel: FBI, DOJ obstructing on Trump dossier

Strassel: Fusion GPS dossier a dirty trick for the ages

Podesta, Wasserman Schultz deny knowledge of dossier funding

Did Hillary Clinton know about the Russian dossier?

Did Hillary Clinton Finance The Infamous Dossier?

Fusion GPS victim: They are out to destroy people

Does the dossier bombshell spell trouble for the Democrats?

Potential legal implications from Trump dossier scandal

Trump, Russia and Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm run by ex-journalists

Kurtz: Journalists don’t hire opposition research firms

York: Washington Free Beacon was original Fusion GPS funder

Conservative website funded Fusion GPS opposition research

Where does ‘opposition research’ cross a line?

Why Is The EPA Hiring GOP Oppo Research Firms??

Clinton campaign, DNC helped fund dossier research

The Curious Art and Science of Opposition Research

How Republican Opposition Research Dig Up Dirt on Dems

Political Opposition Research Reveals All – Alan Huffman

2015 Personality Lecture 12: Existentialism: Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard

Jordan Peterson on The Necessity of Virtue

Trump in testy exchange with Stephanopoulos: ‘You’re being a little wise guy’

President Trump pushed back at ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos during a testy interview, calling him “a little wise guy.”

Stephanopoulos was pressing the president on not answering questions in person from special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team.

“Wait a minute. I did answer questions. I answered them in writing,” Trump said

“Not on obstruction,” Stephanopoulos replied.

“George, you’re being a little wise guy, OK, which is, you know, typical for you,” Trump hit back.

“Just so you understand. Very simple. It’s very simple. There was no crime. There was no collusion. The big thing’s collusion. Now, there’s no collusion. That means … it was a setup, in my opinion, and I think it’s going to come out,” he continued.

Stephanopoulos, 58, was a White House communications director and senior advisor for policy and strategy for President Clinton.

He joined ABC News as a political analyst after Clinton’s first term in 1997 and is now ABC News’s chief anchor and host of “Good Morning America” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/448571-trump-in-testy-exchange-with-stephanopoulos-youre-being-a-little-wise-guy

 

Trump successfully baits his foes with comments to Stephanopoulos on foreign information on opponents

In classic Trumpian maneuver, President Trump yesterday chummed the waters of the House Democratic Caucus with raw meat the impeachment-crazed radicals driving Nancy Pelosi — who really doesn’t want to talk about impeachment — to distraction.  He also laid the groundwork for the coming prosecutions on the Russia Hoax.

In a clip that already has been endlessly run on every news channel, he told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that he would not necessarily turn down information on his opponent from a foreign source or call in the FBI.


YouTube screen grab.

Responding to a question from Stephanopoulos about his son Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, the POTUS let fly:

As summarized by Politico:

[T]he president pushed back when asked whether a candidate should report information on an opponent if it came from a foreign agent, and denied that accepting the information counted as election interference.

“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong.”

“It’s called oppo research,” he added.

Stephanopoulos pointed out that FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress that a candidate should offer that kind of information to the agency, but Trump flatly rebuffed the notion: “The FBI director is wrong.”

“Give me a break,” Trump said, scoffing. “Life doesn’t work that way.”

He got exactly what he wanted from the haters:

But the gasps of horror were not limited to haters.  Laura Ingraham and Victor Davis Hanson were aghast:

“Setting aside the question of why you would have George Stephanopoulos standing over the president in the Oval Office — I don’t know who approved that — what about this notion of accepting foreign Intel about an opponent? Is that a risk for President Trump, getting pulled back into Mueller? Again, why he was put in that situation is beyond me.”

Victor Davis Hanson agreed that “you shouldn’t ever talk to George Stephanopoulos,” and said Trump probably “intended to” bring up something like Adam Schiff getting called by Russian pranksters.

He added, “I think the cardinal rule is in Trump’s case you don’t even discuss that. You just say I don’t want to talk about it.”

Ingraham said it seemed like he was “playing with” Stephanopoulos a bit but added, “Putting him in that situation, I don’t get it.”

Here is some help for the perplexed: as the DOJ inspector general’s report looms and U.S. attorney John Durham’s mandate has been described in the broadest terms by A.G. Barr, Trump has the Democrats nattering on about how treasonous it is to accept any information from any foreign country.  How about paying Russian agents with campaign money for fake dirt on an opponent, even if laundered through a law firm and Fusion GPS?

When and if indictments related to Fusion GPS are revealed, the defense lines of the progressives will have some Trump-sized holes in them.

Even NeverTrump Erick Erickson, of the anti-Trump Resurgent, sees the trap:

[W]e should point out that the Steele dossier involved a lot of dirt about Donald Trump from Russia and we now know that a good bit of it was made up. The Mueller report itself notes the supposed ‘pee tape’ the Democrats have been all hot and bothered over was fabricated by the Russians.

Perhaps the President should not have said it, but let’s not pretend the Democrats would actually go racing to the FBI if presented with sensational information about Trump. They’d run to opposition research firms instead.

By the way, before you claim the Democrats handed the Steele dossier over to the FBI, please note that they used it to spread anti-Trump stories in the media for months before doing so not very long before Election Day 2016.

The Steele Dossier was an important foundation of the entire Russia Hoax.  Trump has now got many of his worst enemies on the record about how heinous it was to accept any intelligence from a foreign source.  Trump mentioned Norway.  Hillary and the DNC paid for dirt from Russia.

Trump, it must always be remembered, is the most successful reality TV producer in the history of the medium of television.  He knows how to set up a storyline for a payoff later in the season — in this case, the election season.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/06/trump_successfully_baits_his_foes_with_comments_to_stephanopoulos_on_foreign_information_on_opponents.html

 

 

Candidate Hillary Clinton endorsed idea of political dirt from overseas

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her phone after attending a U.S.-Russia meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 23, 2010. The revelation that Mrs. Clinton used an off-the-books email account during her time as secretary of state has raised fresh questions about her credibility heading into 2016. (Associated Press)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her phone after attending a U.S.-Russia meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 23, 2010. The revelation that Mrs. Clinton used an off-the-books email account during her time as secretary of state has raised … more >– The Washington Times – Thursday, June 13, 2019

Hillary Clinton has endorsed the idea of obtaining political dirt from overseas, saying her campaign’s Kremlin-sourced dossier was “part of what happens in a campaign.”

President Trump is taking heat from Democrats for telling ABC News on Wednesday that he would listen to negative information from a foreign country about a political opponent in 2020.

That is basically the same position Mrs. Clinton took when she was interviewed on Nov. 1, 2017, on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

A week earlier, the nation learned that the Christopher Steele dossier, with its dozen conspiracy charges against Trump associates, was financed by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The Robert Mueller report effectively destroyed the dossier. His 22-month investigation failed to establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the election that Mrs. Clinton lost.



Mrs. Clinton was asked on the show about the dossier, whose sources are listed in the document as Kremlin intelligence and government leaders.

“It’s part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try to make sure anything you put out in the public arena is accurate,” she said. “So this thing didn’t come out until after the election, and it’s still being evaluated.”

She provided this chronology: “When Trump got the nomination of the Republican Party, the people doing it came to my campaign lawyer and said, ‘Would you like us to continue it?’” she said. “He said ‘yes.’ He is an experienced lawyer. He knows what the law is. He knows what opposition research is.”

Work on the dossier didn’t begin until June 2016 when Fusion GPS, Mrs. Clinton’s opposition research firm, sought funds from her campaign, via her law firm, to pay Mr. Steele.

Mr. Steele’s claims about Mr. Trump did surface before Election Day, though the dossier didn’t.

Fusion arranged for Mr. Steele to brief a number of Washington reporters. Yahoo News published a story in September outlining Mr. Steele’s assertions that a Trump volunteer, Carter Page, had discussed bribes with top associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin in exchange for removing U.S. sanctions.

The Clinton campaign quickly cited the story.

Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, said on one broadcast, “Michael Isikoff had a piece yesterday about Carter Page, who is a foreign policy adviser of Trump’s and that he had met with someone from the Kremlin that … according to Michael’s reporting, U.S. intelligence officials believe is behind the hack.”

The Mueller report cleared Mr. Page of collusion with Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

Also before the election, then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, wrote a letter to the FBI summarizing Mr. Steele’s charges. The letter was leaked to The New York Times, which published a story.

Clinton operatives busily circulated the dossier before and after the election.

A Fusion GPS middleman took the dossier to the FBI on several occasions. Perkins Coie, Mrs. Clinton’s law firm, also tried to present Mr. Steele’s charges to the Justice Department.

The FBI put the dossier to extensive use. It cited Mr. Steele to judges to obtain a wiretap on Mr. Page for a year and briefed President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump.

FBI agents were briefed by Mr. Steele in July 2016 and again in October in Europe.

The FBI offered Mr. Steele $50,000 to continue investigating Mr. Trump, though it never confirmed the former British spy’s allegations.

The Justice Department inspector general is investigating how the FBI used the dossier. In addition, Attorney General William Barr has tapped John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to investigate how the Obama Justice Department and FBI decided to target the Trump campaign.

Perkins Coie briefed the Clinton campaign on the dossier, according to testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The communications director for Mr. Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign took to Twitter to slam the media’s “selective” memory.

“The selective outrage and short memory of the media are staggering. The DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign actually PAID FOR the discredited, fake Steele Dossier, which was compiled by a foreign national and contained information from alleged Russian sources,” Tim Murtaugh wrote.

• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jun/13/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-endorsed-idea-politic/

The FBI Tragedy: Elites above the Law

 

The Justice Department’s investigation of the investigators involved in the Trump-Russia probe will look at actions both by the U.S. government and by foreigners.

That’s what the agency said Monday, telling Congress its review is “broad in scope and multifaceted” in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

The DOJ said the wide-ranging inquiry led by Attorney General William Barr, along with his right-hand man U.S. Attorney John Durham, would seek to “illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals.”

The letter made it clear that DOJ’s review is not limited just to their specific agency, but would also scrutinize the intelligence community as a whole. The letter stated that the DOJ review team had already asked certain intelligence community agencies to preserve records, make witnesses available, and start putting together documents that the DOJ would need to carry out its inquiry.

And the DOJ made it clear that they weren’t just looking to see if policies were violated — they’ll be looking at whether any laws were broken, too.

In 2016, the DOJ and FBI launched an investigation into any links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller took over the ongoing effort in May 2017 after FBI Director James Comey was fired, and Mueller’s probe culminated in a 448-page report in April 2019. Mueller found that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 election through cyberattacks and social media disinformation campaigns, but did not establish that anyone associated with Trump criminally colluded with Russia. Mueller left the door open on obstruction of justice by Trump, but Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that he had not.

Barr believes “there remain open questions relating to the origins of this counter-intelligence investigation and the U.S. and foreign intelligence activities that took place prior to and during that investigation,” the letter states, and the DOJ review will look at “the efficacy and propriety“ of the steps that the DOJ, the FBI, the broader U.S. intelligence community, and foreign governments and actors took before and during the course of the probe — and to answer those questions “to the satisfaction of the Attorney General.”

The letter said Barr is coordinating with members of the U.S. intelligence community and “certain foreign actors” on the “collaborative” and “ongoing effort.”

Trump recently gave Barr “full and complete authority to declassify information” during his review, a move that has been harshly criticized by many Democrats. Nadler called the move part of a “plot to dirty up the intelligence community, to pretend that there’s something wrong with the beginning of the Mueller investigation and to persecute and bring into line the intelligence agencies.” And former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker called the move a “slap in the face” to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Apparently to push back against such concerns, DOJ said Monday it would work hard to make sure that U.S. intelligence agents as well as foreign partners were protected during the probe, along with sensitive methods, techniques, and materials that could compromise national security.

This broad probe by DOJ is separate from the investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse by the Justice Department and the FBI. That inquiry includes a focus on the FBI’s handling of the unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele and its extensive use in the FBI’s FISA applications and renewals to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Barr has previously said, however, that Horowitz’s “ability to get information from former officials or from other agencies outside the Department [of Justice] is very limited.” Thus, Barr picked Durham to carry out a beefed-up inquiry.

Durham will continue serving as Connecticut’s U.S. attorney, the DOJ said, but his review is already “being conducted primarily in the Washington D.C. area” and his DOJ team will operate out of “existing office space.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/doj-outlines-to-congress-its-investigation-of-the-investigators

Opposition research

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In the politics of the United Statesopposition research (also called oppo research) is the practice of collecting information on a political opponent or other adversary that can be used to discredit or otherwise weaken them. The information can include biographical, legal, criminal, medical, educational, or financial history or activities, as well as prior media coverage, or the voting record of a politician. Opposition research can also entail using “trackers” to follow an individual and record their activities or political speeches.[1]

The research is usually conducted in the time period between announcement of intent to run and the actual election; however political parties maintain long-term databases that can cover several decades. The practice is both a tactical maneuver and a cost-saving measure.[2] The term is frequently used to refer not just to the collection of information but also how it is utilized, as a component of negative campaigning.

Contents

Origins and history

In the 1st century BC, Cicero is said to have gathered information that was damaging to opponents and used it in attacks against them. He accused one political opponent, Catiline, of murdering one wife to make room for another. He attacked Mark Antony in speeches known as the Philippicae, eventually prompting Antony to chop off his head and right hand and display them at the Roman Forum.[3]

Opposition research also has its origins in military planning, as evident in such ancient texts as The Art of War, published in the 5th century BC by Sun Tzu. This manual for warriors describes the necessity for understanding an opponent’s weaknesses, for using spies, and for striking in moments of weakness.

In 18th-century England, opposition research took the form of scandal-mongering pamphlet wars between the Whig and Tory parties. Writers such as Daniel DefoeJonathan Swift, and Henry Fielding participated, often writing under assumed names.[4] This tradition of robust attack was replicated later in the American colonies, when writers such as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin conducted opposition research and published their results.

The first appearance of the phrase “opposition research” in the New York Times occurred on December 17, 1971, in an article that describes the infiltration of the Edmund Muskie presidential campaign by a female Republican volunteer: “…an article appeared in a Washington newspaper describing the ‘opposition research’ program at Republican headquarters…”[5]

Opposition research became systematized in the 1970s when Ken Khachigian, in the Nixon Administration, suggested that the GOP keep files on individuals as insurance against future races, rather than “scramble” in an ad hoc fashion race by race.[2]

Methods

Opposition research differs immensely depending on the size and funding of a campaign, the ethics of the candidate, and the era in which it is conducted. Information gathering can be classified into three main categories: open-source research enabled by the Freedom of Information Actcovert operations or “tradecraft, ” and maintenance of human systems of informants. Increasingly, data-mining of electronic records is used. Information is then stored for future use, and disseminated in a variety of ways.[6] A local election sometimes has a staff member dedicated to reading through all of the opponents’ public statements and their voting records; others initiate whisper campaigns that employ techniques of disinformation or “black ops” to deliberately mislead the public by advancing a pre-determined “narrative” that will present the opponent in a negative light.

Another technique is to infiltrate the opposition’s operations and position a paid informant there. “Gray propaganda” techniques are often used to release damaging information to news media outlets without its source being identified properly, a technique inherited from disinformation tactics employed by intelligence agencies such as the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.[7]

File-sharing between operatives of political parties is quite common. In the 2008 presidential election, a dossier of opposition research against Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin was posted in its entirety on a political blog site, Politico.com. The file was compiled by the staff of her opponent in the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial race, Tony Knowles.[8]

“Oppo dumps” are used by political campaigns to systematically supply files of damaging information to press outlets, including matters of the public record, video footage from party archives and private collections, as well as private intelligence gathered by operatives. Many prime time television and radio news commentaries rely on this supply of party-generated material because it is free, and therefore more cost-effective than paying investigative reporters.[9][10]

Candidates and incumbents who benefit from opposition research often choose to remain uninformed about their campaign’s operations and tactics, to ensure plausible deniability should criminal charges be brought against researchers.

“Trackers” and videography

Yet another technique is to position information or personnel within media outlets. Often the information is video footage gathered in campaign-funded “tracker programs” wherein videographers use candidates’ itineraries to track them and record as many remarks as possible, since anything they say can and will be used against them, as was the case in former Senator George Allen’s “macaca moment.”[2] In the 2006 election cycle, a Virginia senator, George Allen, was unseated because of videotape of the senator calling a videographer/opposition researcher as “macaca” or monkey. The name was considered to be an ethnic slur, and Allen’s campaign could not overcome the damage when the incident was broadcast widely in mainstream media and on the internet.[11]

Digital media and Wikipedia

A 2005 analysis of digital media strategies published by the American Academy of Political Science took the view that new technologies enable “political elites” to use database and Internet technologies to do opposition research more easily, but they use data-mining techniques that outrage privacy advocates and surreptitious technologies that few Internet users understand. Data becomes “richer” about political actors, policy options, and the diversity of actors and opinion in the public sphere, but citizenship is “thinner” by virtue of “the ease in which people can become politically expressive without being substantively engaged.”[12]

Facebook photos became a tool of opposition researchers in California’s 32nd congressional district special election, 2009 to replace Hilda Solis. Front-runner Democrat Gil Cedillo sent out mailers targeting 26-year-old Emanuel Pleitez, grouping Pleitez’s Facebook photos to suggest that he parties to excess with alcohol, and fraternizes with gangs. The text of the mailer suggested Pleitez, posing with a Latino stage actress and using a Latino voter registration drive hand sign, was “flashing gang signs”.[13]

In 2006, the campaign manager of Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cathy Cox, Morton Brilliant, resigned after Cox’s opponent, Lt. Gov, Mark Taylor, revealed Cox’s campaign had added information from an opposition research dossier to a Wikipedia page on Taylor. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales confirmed that the material had come from an IP address affiliated with the Cox campaign. Citing an Associated Press analysis, CNN reported that Wikipedia being used as a “popular tool” for opposition researchers became so widespread a problem that Wikipedia altered its submission guidelines and set up alerts so that its operators know when Capitol Hill staffers alter Wikipedia content.[14] However, anyone who wanted to could simply bypass this by using an IP address not associated with Capitol Hill.

Grassroots oppo-research

Opposition research is a necessary component of “grassroots” activist groups. Research on corporate or political opponents may enable activist groups to target neighborhoods from which to increase their numbers, to refine their focus or “target,” to pinpoint the target’s vulnerabilities, to reveal hidden sources of funding or little-known connections, to investigate scare tactics, and to augment a legislative initiative.[15]

In the presidential election of 2008, the blog Talking Points Memo pioneered “collaborative citizen-reporting projects” based on groups of volunteers examining public documents that shed light on the George W. Bush administration’s U.S. attorneys firings controversy. Other organizations such as the Sunlight Foundation encouraged citizen examination of such public domain records as Mitt Romney’s financial disclosure statements and Bill Clinton’s income statements.[16]

Preventive measures

Political strategies for campaigns often include coaching on preventive measures to avoid providing too much information in public disclosure procedures that can provide ammunition for opponents’ opposition researchers, particularly in itemized expenditure reports. “To eliminate some of these potential issues your campaign should take the time to review the wording of your campaign finance reports”, advises one strategist writing for The Hill:

Instead of reporting that you spent $3,000 on a ‘background check and public records search on Congressman X,’ list the expenditure as ‘issue research’ or simply ‘research’… One bonus financial filing tip: warn your candidate about spending campaign funds on fancy restaurants for ‘strategy meetings.’ Eating at Ruth’s Chris or Morton’s Steak House on your campaign’s dime just looks bad. The press may poke a little fun at your candidate’s expense; your donors may feel their donation in being misspent and may never give again.[17]

Funding and institutions

Congressional and presidential opposition research is often conducted by or funded by a political party, lobbying group, political action committee (PAC), or a 527 group that coalesces around a certain issue. In the U.S., both the Republican and Democratic parties employ full-time “Directors of Research” and maintain databases on opponents. In recent years the task of opposition research has been privatized in many areas. Full-time companies with permanent staff specializing in media productions or “grassroots” operations have replaced volunteers and campaign officials. Political media consultants may also opt for astroturfing techniques, which simulate wide popular appeal for a candidate’s platform.

In presidential elections

Opponents of Andrew Jackson in the 1824 and 1828 presidential elections unearthed his marriage records to imply that he was an adulterer for marrying Rachel Robards before she was legally divorced from her first husband. Jackson had married her in 1791 on the strength of a statement from her husband that he had divorced her; Jackson had two wedding ceremonies, the not-recognizable one of 1791 and the legally corrective one of 1794. His political opponents used this information decades later against him, and he fought many duels over his wife’s honor. Rachel Robards died before Jackson took office in his first term; he maintained that the stress of the opposition had killed her.[18]

In 1858, William Herndon, the law partner of Abraham Lincoln, did research in the Illinois State Library to collect “all the ammunition Mr. Lincoln saw fit to gather” to prepare for the run against Stephen A. Douglas in the 1860 presidential race.[19]

In preparation for Ronald Reagan’s debate with President Jimmy Carter in the presidential race 1980, Reagan’s campaign staff acquired under mysterious circumstances a 200-page briefing book, including information on Carter’s strategy, which staffers David Stockmanand David Gergen had used to prepare Reagan. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department investigated to see how the information had been obtained by the Reagan camp. Two law professors filed suit in federal district court in Washington to request a special investigation, based on the 1978 Ethics in Government Act.[20] Carter’s staff believed the book to have been stolen from the White House, but the inquiry did not uncover any credible evidence that any law had been violated. The House of Representatives conducted its own investigation, and concluded in a 2,314-page report that the Reagan staff had two copies of the book, one from Reagan’s campaign director William J. Casey, future head of the Central Intelligence Agency.[21] James Baker attributed the acquisition of the documents to Casey, who claimed to know nothing about them, and an analysis of Carter campaign documents found in the “Afghanistan” files of Reagan aide David Gergen indicated they came from three White House offices: the National Security Council, Vice President Walter Mondale and Domestic Adviser Stuart Eizenstat.[22] Many years afterward, Carter himself stated in a PBS interview that the book had been taken by columnist George Will, but Will denied it, calling Carter “a recidivist liar.”[23]

Lee Atwater is considered to be the “father” of modern aggressive “oppo” techniques. Atwater honed his style working in his native South Carolina for Senator Strom Thurmond and to elect Congressman (later Governor) Carroll Campbell. From his posts on the 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Atwater encouraged and helped direct what was then the advanced oppo work of the Republican National Committee against Democrats Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. During the 1988 presidential campaign, dozens of RNC researchers worked three shifts around the clock to feed the then-burgeoning 24-hour news cycle. The now-infamous “Willie Horton” TV ads crafted by Floyd Brown helped turn voters away from Dukakis and towards the Republican, although Atwater and Bush were protected by plausible deniability because Brown’s ads were independently funded and produced. Academic research into the Bush archives decades later revealed that a Bush staffer, Candice Strother, had released a dossier of information on Willie Horton to Elizabeth Fediay, of the non-profit group that contracted for the ad.[24] (The Horton story had been completely public for an entire year, part of news coverage that won a Pulitzer Prize for the Lawrence (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune newspaper.) Willie Horton was an African-American convicted murderer released on a weekend furlough during Governor Dukakis’s tenure, who escaped and committed a brutal rape in Maryland, also stabbing his victim’s husband.[25] Atwater is also credited with originating “push polls” and “whisper campaigns” that use disinformation strategies to alienate voters from opponents. A biography of Atwater, quotes him as saying in an interview toward the end of his life that he regretted some of his less ethical techniques.[26]

In the 1992 presidential campaign, Republicans reported that they spent $6 million on a “state of the art (opposition research) war machine” to investigate Bill Clinton, who was running against George H. W. Bush. In the same election, the Clinton campaign paid more than $100,000 to a private investigator to look into allegations about Clinton’s womanizing, investigating more than two dozen women.[27]

In the 2000 presidential election, longtime opposition researcher and Nixon loyalist Roger Stone was recruited by former Secretary of State James Baker to oversee the recount of the disputed Presidential election in Miami-Dade County in 2000. Stone is credited with organizing the street demonstrations and eventual shut-down of the recount in that pivotal county.[28]

In the 2004 presidential race, Chris Lehane, a Democratic opposition researcher attracted notoriety and built a reputation not for deploying his skills against Republican opponents, but for using them against other Democrats in the primary races. Working for retired Army general Wesley Clark, Lehane sought to establish a media “narrative” that Howard Dean was hypocritical and dishonest, based on surveys of his administrative archive as governor of Vermont.[29]

A protege of Atwater’s, Karl Rove, is considered to be the “architect” of George W. Bush’s election to the governor’s office in Texas, and to the presidency in 2000 and 2004. In the 2000 race, Rove is credited with masterminding the push poll that initiated the “John McCainhas a black love child” whisper campaign in South Carolina.[30] Anonymous telephone pollsters, upon determining that a voter was pro-McCain, asked the question, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if you knew he had fathered a black child out of wedlock?” The question was not overt slander, but it prompted the president of Bob Jones University to launch his own internet campaign against McCain, and succeeded in crippling the trust of voters McCain had attracted. The Bush camp knew, as the general public did not, that in reality, John McCain was the adoptive father of a dark-skinned Bangladeshi refugee who was rescued by his wife Cindi.[31]

In the 2008 presidential election, opposition researchers for Barack Obama unearthed the fact that John Edwards had paid $400 for haircuts at campaign expense, and supplied Politico’s Ben Smith with the tip, according to a memoir later published by campaign manager David Plouffe.[32] Though the Democratic National Committee continues to fund a research department, after the 2008 presidential election, the New York Times reported that “The legacy of the Democratic National Committee itself is hardly clear going forward. Mr. Obama effectively subsumed all the responsibilities in his campaign: fundraising, voter turn-out and opposition research.[33]

Executive branch

  • Franklin Roosevelt Administration: In 1940, the White House accidentally taped a conversation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt instructing a lower level aide to disseminate a rumor about his opponent Wendell Willkie having an extramarital affair: “We can’t have any of our principal speakers refer to it, but the people down the line can get it out.”[34]
  • Johnson Administration: In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent 30 FBI agents to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., to avert assassination attempts, and to monitor his political rival Robert Kennedy and civil rights activists. Johnson later also placed his Republican challenger, Barry Goldwater, under FBI surveillance, with a federal wiretap.[35]
  • Nixon Administration: During the Richard Nixon administration, White House staffers compiled lists of names of political opponents, journalists who had criticized Nixon, and artists and actors (such as Jane Fonda and Paul Newman) who had dissented with Nixon policy, especially on the subject of Vietnam, with the intent of prompting Internal Revenue Service investigations. The full extent of Nixon’s surveillance of private citizens solely on the basis of their dissent was not known until years after Nixon was forced to resign, as former staff members such as Charles Colson and John Dean began to disclose details.[citation needed] Nixon’s Enemies List is the informal name of what started as a list of President Richard Nixon’s major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson, written by George T. Bell [1] (assistant to Colson, special counsel to the White House) and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971. The list was part of a campaign officially known as “Opponents List” and “Political Enemies Project.” The official purpose, as described by the White House Counsel’s Office, was to “screw” Nixon’s political enemies, by means of tax audits from the IRS, and by manipulating “grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc.”[36]
  • Ford Administration: During the Gerald Ford presidency, Deputy Assistant Dick Cheney suggested in a now-infamous memo to Donald Rumsfeld that the White House use the United States Justice Department to conduct opposition research and retaliate against political opponents and critical journalists such as Seymour Hersh and the New York Times, arguing that the executive branch had the power to prosecute journalists as they saw fit, under the provisions of the Espionage Act of 1917.[37]
  • Reagan Administration: In 1984, during the Ronald Reagan presidency, the Republican National Committee formed The Opposition Research Group, with its own budget of $1.1 million. These staff amassed information on eight Democratic presidential candidates based on data from voting records, Congressional Record speeches, media clippings and transcripts, campaign materials, all of which was stored on a computer for easy access. In this way the Reagan team was able to track inconsistencies and attack them. This original data base evolved into a network that linked information gleaned by Republicans in all 50 states, creating a master data base accessible to high-ranking Republican staff, even aboard Air Force One.[38] Though this RNC database was accessible to both the Reagan White House and campaign team, no evidence has surfaced that U.S. federal dollars funded The Opposition Research Group or its efforts.
  • Clinton Administration: During the Bill Clinton administration, the “Filegate” scandal erupted when White House staffers said to be acting on the directions of First Lady Hillary Clinton improperly accessed 500 FBI files compiled for security checks of Reagan and Bush staffers in previous administrations. Craig Livingstone, said to be hired by Mrs. Clinton with dubious credentials, resigned amid public outcry. In testimony under oath during the Kenneth Starr special prosecutor’s investigation, Mrs. Clinton stated that she had neither hired Livingstone nor improperly perused the files.[39]
  • George W. Bush Administration: Two former opposition researchers for the RNC appointed to Justice Department posts, Timothy Griffin and Monica Goodling, were implicated in efforts to use data collected on Democratic-appointed federal attorneys as ground for dismissal. See Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy. See also Karl Rove. Also during this administration, Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), an intelligence gathering arm of the Pentagon was disbanded in 2008, after investigations into the bribery activities directed at Duke Cunningham revealed that the U.S. government kept a sizeable database of information about 126 domestic peace activist groups, including Quakers, about 1,500 “suspicious incidents” including peace demonstrations outside armed forces recruiter offices, even though the groups posed no specified threat to national security. The program was known as Talon. About two years elapsed between the program’s disbanding and the Post report. The Washington Post quoted an unnamed “official” as saying,”On the surface, it looks like things in the database that were determined not to be viable threats were never deleted but should have been,” the official said. “You can also make the argument that these things should never have been put in the database in the first place until they were confirmed as threats.”[40]
  • Barack Obama Administration: In February 2009, Shauna Daly, a former opposition researcher for the Democratic National Committee was appointed as a researcher for the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel. Daly was Barack Obama‘s deputy research director during the presidential campaign, spent much of the cycle rebutting viral online attacks on Obama’s character and biography under the rubric of “Stop the Smears.” Shortly thereafter, amid speculations that she would be conducting research against political opponents, she was reassigned as Research Director to the DNC. Politico.com reported on February 27, 2009 that “the counsel’s office – which doesn’t face the sort of rapid-response demands that were common in the late Clinton years – doesn’t plan to fill the research post.”[41]The American Spectator reported on its “Washington Prowler” blog that Daly was posted in the White House Counsel’s Office for “about a month,” and thus had access to “reams of Bush administration documents related to such things as the firings of U.S. Attorney, the use and internal debate over the USA PATRIOT ActFISA and the Scooter Libby and Karl Rove investigations. The “Prowler” quoted “a DNC staffer” as saying, “She realized that she could do more with all the material she saw outside of the building than inside where she’d be bound by the rules and legalities of the White House Counsel’s Office. Now she isn’t. She’s good at what she does; her time at the White House means we’ve got a mother load (sic) of material that will have Republicans scrambling. At least that’s what we hope.”[42]

Supreme Court

In 1916, after President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis for the Supreme Court, “concerned” citizens seeking to block his confirmation offered information that Brandeis was a “radical Zionist,” even though he was not a practicing Jew. Brandeis aggressively outmaneuvered his detractors by mounting his own opposition research efforts, including a carefully constructed chart that exposed the social and financial connections of the group, mostly from Boston’s Back Bay, and including Harvard president Lawrence Lowell, as well as a group headed by former President William Howard Taft and a host of American Bar Association past presidents. Brandeis sent the chart to Walter Lippman at the New Republic who penned an editorial condemning “the most homogeneous, self-centered, and self-complacent community in the United States.” Brandeis was confirmed after four months of hearings, in a Senate vote of 47–22.[43]

Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, prompting a Senate floor speech from Democratic Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy, which later became known as the “Robert Bork’s America” speech:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is – and is often the only – protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.

Kennedy’s speech prompted a rapid-response opposition research effort from Democrats, but the White House waited two and a half months to respond. The Senate Judiciary Committee, under the direction of Delaware senator and presidential hopeful Joseph Biden, commissioned a report in response to the materials Reagan’s staff had released in support of Bork’s nomination. Prepared by a panel of lawyers, including two Duke University law professors, the 78-page became known as “The Biden Report.” The report detailed Bork’s record, and analyzed the pattern of his rulings, and deeming him to be a conservative “activist” rather than an impartial jurist Ultimately, Bork’s embattled nomination failed, and Anthony Kennedy (no relation to Ted) was later confirmed to fill the position.[44][45] The fierce research-based opposition to Bork’s nomination attracted significant media attention, even though a Gallup Poll on the eve of the confirmation vote showed that very few Americans could name the nominee in question, much less recall his rulings.[46] A new verb was later coined; “to bork” a candidate or nominee by mounting such voluminous research and vocal opposition that the person in question would be forced to withdraw.[47]

After President George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Boston Globe reported that Republican conservative advocacy groups were conducting opposition research against her: “Groups are circulating lists of questions they want members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask Miers at her confirmation hearings. The activists’ thinly veiled hope is that Miers will reveal ignorance of the law and give senators a reason to oppose her.”[48] Miers later withdrew her name from consideration for the court.

On July 7, 2005, soon after the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the Democratic National Committee gathered and circulated information on the “anti-civil rights” and “anti-immigrant” rulings of Samuel A. Alito, Jr., by then nominated by President George W. Bush to replace her. Upon inspection, the documents were revealed to have been amended by Devorah Adler, research director for the DNC. Alito’s “record” had been pointedly altered to present him in a negative light. While the incident was not unusual, it received publicity in prominent places because it drew attention to the “meta-data” that is often unwittingly stored in documents that are altered and forwarded electronically.[49]

On May 2, 2009, after Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced his intent to retire from the court, the New York Times reported that Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, had noted that conservatives were “focusing opposition research efforts on 17 women, whom they have divided into two tiers based on their perceived chances.”[50]

U.S. states

Seven aides to members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives pleaded guilty on January 7, 2010, to illegal use of state resources for campaign activities, including opposition research against the political opponents of incumbent officeholders during 2007. These seven were Democrats; a total of 25 indictments have been handed down to a mix of Democrats and Republican politicians.[51]

During Lamar Alexander‘s 2002 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Alexander’s campaign staff received an anonymous mailing of a photograph of opponent Bob Clement obviously serving as a board member of a failed bank whose owners had been imprisoned for bank fraud. When the Alexander campaign raised the issue of Clement’s financial ties with the convicted felons, Clement denied any connection. When the Alexander campaign produced the photograph as evidence, Clement claimed his role was only an informal advisory one.[52]

In early July 2009 Alaska governor Sarah Palin announced that she would be resigning as governor, partly due to complications from opposition research and ethics inquiries after her inclusion on the 2008 GOP presidential race ballot as John McCain’s running mate. At a later news conference Palin told reporters, “Obviously conditions had changed so drastically on August 29, the day I was tapped to be VP,” she said. “The opposition research and the games that began there — which I think is the new normal in Alaska politics, until I hand the reins over to Sean Parnell — have been so distracting.”[53]

In the Pennsylvania state legislature in July 2009, former state House Democratic Campaign Committee Chair, Rep. Stephen Stetler found himself amidst an investigation when he rejected a plan that would have shifted the job of opposition research from employees on the state payroll to private firms. Attorney General Tom Corbett alleged that millions in public funds were paid to state employees who did such research on the 2006 and 2004 campaigns of Democrats in the state. Stetler left the House after 2006 to become the state’s revenue secretary. A former aide, Dan Wiedemer testified before grand jurors that the suggestion to remove politically motivated research from the hands of public employees “was more or less shot down.” Though Stetler has not been charged, 12 former House members and members of their staff were charged with diverting public funds for political campaign work.[54] Stetler was among those subpoenaed, said Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. The hearing will be held before President Judge Richard Lewis in September.[55]

In other countries

Australia

In October 2011, a media storm erupted in Australia over the leaking of ‘dirt files’ compiled by the Liberal National Party and further revelations that a former Australian Labor Party operative had been engaged to help compile the dossiers.[56]

Despite protestations that key party personnel had no knowledge of the dossiers it was later revealed a Liberal National Party opposition research strategist had been compiling the files as part of a SWOT analysis at previous elections which formed the basis of negative attack messaging for a ‘rapid response unit’.[57]

South Africa

In January 2017, the African National Congress (ANC) was exposed when Sihle Bolani filed an affidavit in the Johannesburg High Court, demanding payment for her part in project War Room. The War Room’s mandate was to “disempower DA and EFF campaigns” and set a pro-ANC agenda using a range of media, without revealing the ANC’s hand.[58]

Mass media ethics

The practice of using tips from opposition research sources was examined in 1994 by Howard Kurtz, media analyst for The Washington Post. Kurtz surveyed the major networks, NewsweekThe Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and other influential media outlets, and found varying levels of use of oppo research information on David Hale as a witness in the Whitewater controversy. At this time, Brown confirmed that he had been the source of four mainstream media stories that had received attention from the Columbia Journalism Review because they bore striking resemblance to the opposition research being disseminated by Citizens United.[59]

“Far from being detached observers, reporters constantly call oppo staffs looking for tidbits and sometimes trading information,” wrote three reporters, Matthew CooperGloria Borger, and Michael Barone, for U.S. News & World Report in 1992.[60]

Political infighting

In spring 2007, Roger Stone, a political consultant in the employ of New York state senator Joseph Bruno, resigned after leaving threatening phone messages on the answering machine of the 85-year-old father of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, alleging that Spitzer’s campaign finances were conducted improperly.[61] In November of that same year, Stone sent a letter to the FBI detailing Spitzer’s sexual preferences with prostitutes and sexual props, right down to his black calf-length socks.[62] Stone was considered to be an authoritative source because he frequented the same prostitutes himself as a client. A subsequent Justice Department investigation produced evidence that ultimately led to Spitzer’s resignation as governor. Bruno, Stone’s client, has been a longtime political enemy of Spitzer.

In popular culture

The television show House of Cards depicts many examples of opposition research, particularly the character of Doug Stamper, the loyal adviser to Francis “Frank” Underwood, who regularly engages in the practice with little morality and few ethics.

References …

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

 

Christopher Steele

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Christopher Steele
Born 24 June 1964 (age 54)

Education Girton College, Cambridge (BA)
Occupation Secret Intelligence Service(1987–2009)
Private intelligence consultant

Christopher David Steele (born 24 June 1964) is a British former intelligence officer with the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 from 1987 until his retirement in 2009. He ran the Russia desk at MI6 headquarters in London between 2006 and 2009. In 2009 he co-founded Orbis Business Intelligence, a London-based private intelligence firm.

Steele authored a dossier that claims Russia collected a file of compromising information on U.S. President Donald Trump.[1][2]

It has been claimed[3][4] by President Donald Trump and his supporters that U.S. intelligence community probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election were launched due to Steele’s dossier.[5] The House Intelligence Committee, then in Republican control, concluded in an April 2018 report that the probe was triggered based on information on Trump adviser George Papadopoulos; meanwhile the February 2018 Nunes memo written by staff members for that committee also reached the same conclusion.[6][7]

Contents

Early life

Christopher David Steele was born in the Yemeni city of Aden (then part of the Federation of South Arabia), on 24 June 1964.[8][9] His parents, Perris and Janet, had met while working at the Met Office, the United Kingdom’s national weather service. His paternal grandfather was a coal miner from Pontypridd in Wales.[10] Steele spent time growing up in Aden, the Shetland Islands, and Cyprus, as well as at Wellington College, Berkshire.[10]

Steele matriculated at Girton College, Cambridge in 1982. While at the University of Cambridge, he wrote for the student newspaperVarsity.[8][10][11] In the Easter term of 1986, Steele was President of The Cambridge Union debating society.[12][13] He graduated with a degree in Social and Political Sciences in 1986.[14]

Career

Steele was recruited by MI6 directly following his graduation from Cambridge, working in London at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1987 to 1989.[9] From 1990 to 1993, Steele worked under diplomatic cover as an MI6 agent in Moscow, serving at the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Moscow.[8][13][15] Steele was an “internal traveller”, visiting newly-accessible cities such as Samara and Kazan.[10][16][17]

He returned to London in 1993, working again at the FCO until his posting with the British Embassy in Paris in 1998, where he served under diplomatic cover until 2002. But Steele’s identity as an MI6 officer and a hundred and sixteen other British spies had their cover blown by an anonymously published list that Her Majesty’s Government attempted to suppress through a DSMA-Notice in 1999.[18][8][15][19][20][21]

In 2003, Steele was sent to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan as part of an MI6 team, briefing Special Forces on “kill or capture” missions for Taliban targets, and also spent time teaching new MI6 recruits.[15] Steele returned to London and between 2006 and 2009 he headed the Russia Desk at MI6.[8][10][13][22]

Steele’s expertise on Russia remained valued, and he served as a senior officer under John Scarlett, Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), from 2004 to 2009.[22] Steele was selected as case officer for Alexander Litvinenko and participated in the investigation of the Litvinenko poisoning in 2006.[15] It was Steele who quickly realised that Litvinenko’s death “was a Russian state ‘hit'”.[22] Twelve years later he allegedly was included himself into a hit list of the Russian Federal Security Service, along with Sergei Skripal who was poisoned in 2018 by a binary chemical weapon Novichok in Britain.[23]

Since 2009 Steele has not been to Russia, or visited any former Soviet states and in 2012, an Orbis informant quoted an FSB-agent describing him as an “enemy of Mother Russia”.[8] Steele has refrained from travelling to the United States since his identity became public, citing the political and legal situation.[24]

Steele has worked with Oleg Deripaska.[25]

Private sector

In March 2009, Steele with his fellow MI6-retiree Chris Burrows co-founded the private intelligence agency Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., based in Grosvenor Square Gardens.[26][13] Between 2014 and 2016, Steele created over 100 reports on Russian and Ukrainian issues, which were read within the United States Department of State, and he was viewed as credible by the United States intelligence community.[10] The business was commercially successful, grossing approximately $20,000,000 in the first nine years of operation.[8]

Steele ran an investigation dubbed “Project Charlemagne”, which noted Russian interference in the domestic politics of FranceItalyGermanyTurkey, and the United Kingdom.[8] Steele concluded in April 2016 that Russia was engaged in an information warfarecampaign with the goal of destroying the European Union.[8]

In 2017, Steele established a new company called Chawton Holdings, again with Christopher Burrows.[27] In November 2018, Steele sued the German industrial group Bilfinger, alleging that the company owed €150,000 for an investigation into Bilfinger’s activities in Nigeria and Sakhalin.[28]

FIFA research

In 2010, The Football Association (FA), England’s domestic football governing body, organized a committee in hopes of hosting the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.[29] The FA hired Steele’s company to investigate FIFA (International Federation of Association Football). In advance of the FBI launching its 2015 FIFA corruption case, members of the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force met with Steele in London to discuss allegations of possible corruption in FIFA.[26][30] Steele’s research indicated that Russian Deputy Prime MinisterIgor Sechin had rigged the bidding of the 2018 World Cups by employing bribery.[8]

Trump dossier

Background and information gathering

In September 2015, the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication, retained the services of Fusion GPS, a private Washington D.C. political research firm, to conduct research on several primary Republican Party candidates including candidate Trump. The research was unrelated to Russia and was ended once Trump was determined to be the presidential nominee.

The firm was subsequently hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through their shared attorney at Perkins Coie, Marc Elias. Fusion GPS then hired Steele[31] to investigate Trump’s Russia-related activities.[26] According to CNNHillary Clinton‘s campaign and the Democratic National Committee took over the financing of the inquiry into Donald Trump and produced what became known as the Trump dossier.[32]

In July 2016, Steele supplied a report he had written to an FBI agent in Rome.[33] His contact at the FBI was the same senior agent with whom he had worked when investigating the FIFA scandal.[15][8]

In September 2016, Steele held a series of off the record meetings with journalists from The New York TimesThe Washington PostYahoo! NewsThe New Yorker and CNN.[10] In October 2016, Steele spoke about his discoveries to David Corn of the progressive American political magazine Mother Jones. Steele said he decided to pass his dossier to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that the material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Trump, but was a matter of national security for both countries.[34] Corn’s resulting 31 October article in Mother Jones was the first to publicly mention the dossier, although the article did not disclose Steele’s identity.[34] The magazine did not publish the dossier itself, however, or detail its allegations, since they could not be verified.[35]

Post-election work on the dossier

Steele continued to work for Fusion GPS on the dossier without a client to pay him.[36] After the election, Steele’s dossier “became one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets, and journalists worked to verify the allegations.[36] On 18 November 2016, Sir Andrew Wood, British ambassador to Moscow from 1995 to 2000, met with U.S. Senator John McCain at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, and told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump.[37] Wood vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[38] In early December, McCain obtained a copy of the dossier from David J. Kramer, a former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University.[36] On 9 December 2016, McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[37]

In a second memo Steele wrote in November 2016, after the termination of his contract with Fusion, he reported that Russian officials had claimed that Russia had blocked Donald Trump from nominating Mitt Romney to be his Secretary of State, due to Romney’s hawkishness on Russia.[8][39]

Revealed identity

On 11 January 2017, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Steele was the author of the dossier about Trump, citing “people familiar with the matter”.[2] Although the dossier’s existence had been “common knowledge” among journalists for months at that point and had become public knowledge during the previous week, Steele’s name had not been revealed. The Telegraph asserted that Steele’s anonymity had been “fatally compromised” after CNN published his nationality.[31]

The Independent reported that Steele left his home in England several hours before his name was published as the author of the dossier, as he was fearful of retaliation by Russian authorities.[31] In contrast, The Washington Post reported that he left after he had been identified earlier in the day by the initial Wall Street Journal report.[40]

Christopher Burrows, director of Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., said he would not “confirm or deny” that Orbis had produced the dossier.[41]

Steele’s relationship with the FBI ended, variously associated with either the public revelation of Steele’s identity, or Steele’s release of information to the press, or Steele’s denial to the FBI of having spoken to the press.[42][43] One source dates this event to late October 2016.[44]

On 7 March 2017, as some members of the United States Congress were expressing interest in meeting with or hearing testimony from Steele, he reemerged after weeks in hiding, appearing publicly on camera and stating, “I’m really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis’s offices in London today”.[45]

Disclosure and reactions

In early January 2017, a two-page summary of the Trump dossier was presented to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in meetings with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.[46]

On 10 January 2017, BuzzFeed was the first media outlet to publish the full 35-page dossier. In publishing the Trump dossier, BuzzFeed stated that it had been unable to verify or corroborate the allegations.[47] The UK issued a DSMA notice on 10 January 2017, requesting that the media not release Steele’s identity,[48] although the BBC and other UK news media released the information in news stories the same day.[16] Trump vigorously denied the dossier’s allegations, calling it fake news during a press conference.[49] Vladimir Putin also dismissed the claims.[50]

Ynet, an Israeli online news site, reported that American intelligence advised Israeli intelligence officers to be cautious about sharing information with the incoming Trump administration, until the possibility of Russian influence over Trump, suggested by Steele’s report, has been fully investigated.[51]

Former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Tony Brenton, read Steele’s report. Speaking on Sky News he said, “I’ve seen quite a lot of intelligence on Russia, and there are some things in it which look pretty shaky”. Brenton expressed some doubts due to discrepancies in how the dossier described aspects of the hacking activities, as well as Steele’s ability to penetrate the Kremlin and Russian security agencies, given that he is an outsider.[52]

On 15 March 2017, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell raised questions about the dossier. He was concerned about the accuracy of the information, due to the approach taken by Steele to gather it. Steele gave money to intermediaries and the intermediaries paid the sources. Morell said, “Unless you know the sources, and unless you know how a particular source acquired a particular piece of information, you can’t judge the information – you just can’t”. Morell continues to believe that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[53]

Role in the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation

Although the dossier later became one factor among many in the Russia investigation, it had no role in the start of the investigation. This fact has been the subject of intense discussion and controversy, largely fueled by false claims made by Trump and his supporters.[54][55][56]

In early February 2018, the Nunes memo, written by aides of Republican U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (who was at the time the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee), described that the information on George Papadopoulos “triggered the opening of” the original FBI investigation in late July 2016 into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.[57] In late February 2018, a rebuttal memo by Democrats in the House Intelligence Committee stated that “Christopher Steele’s reporting … played no role in launching the counterintelligence investigation … In fact, Steele’s reporting did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016, more than seven weeks after the FBI opened its investigation, because the probe’s existence was so closely held within the FBI.”[58][59]

In April 2018, the House Intelligence Committee, then in Republican control, released a final report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential American election, which stated that the House Intelligence Committee found that “in late July 2016, the FBI opened an enterprise CI [counterintelligence] investigation into the Trump campaign following the receipt of derogatory information about foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos”.[6][7][60]

Role in subsequent investigations

In the summer of 2017, two Republican staffers for the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence travelled to London to investigate the dossier, visiting the office of Steele’s lawyer but not meeting with Steele.[61] In August 2018, RepresentativeDevin Nunes, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, travelled to London in an attempt to meet with the heads of MI5MI6, and GCHQ for information about Steele, but was rebuffed by the three agencies.[62][63]

Steele reportedly revealed the identities of the sources used in the dossier to the FBI.[64] Investigators from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation team met with Steele in September 2017 to interview him about the dossier’s claims.[65][66] The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is in continued contact with lawyers representing Steele.[67]

On April 5, 2019 the Senate Intelligence Committee sent a letter to Walter Soriano the owner of USG Security Limited based in Britain and Israel for his communication with Paul ManafortMichael Flynn, Psy-Group,Wikistrat, and Black CubeOrbis Business Intelligence(a firm co-founded by Christopher Steele).[68][69]

Legal action

In February 2017, lawyers for Russian internet entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev filed a libel suit against Steele in London. Gubarev claimed he was defamed by allegations in the dossier.[70]

In August 2017, lawyers for Gubarev demanded Steele give a deposition regarding the dossier, as part of a libel lawsuit against BuzzFeed News[71][72][73] filed in February.[74] Steele objected to testifying but his objections were rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Mancusi Ungaro, who allowed the deposition to proceed.[75][76][74]

In April 2018, Mikhail FridmanPetr Aven, and German Khan – the owners of Alfa Bank – filed a libel suit against Steele, who mentioned the bank in the Trump–Russia dossier. The lawsuit is filed in Washington D.C.[77] The lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Anthony C. Epstein on August 20, 2018.[78][79]

Senate Republicans’ referral for a criminal investigation[edit]

On 5 January 2018, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, joined by senior Republican member Lindsey Graham, issued a criminal referral regarding Steele to the Justice Department for it to investigate whether Steele had lied to the FBI about his interactions with the media.[80][81][82][83] Because the referral is based on classified FBI documents, the context in which the Republican senators allege Steele to have lied is limited to references that he discussed the dossier with media outlets.[83] Both Grassley and Graham declared that they were not alleging that Steele “had committed any crime. Rather, they had passed on the information for ‘further investigation only'”.[84]

The referral was met with skepticism from legal experts, as well as members of both parties on the Judiciary Committee.[82] Fusion GPS lawyer Joshua A. Levy said that the referral was just another effort to discredit the investigation into Russian interference in the election and that: “After a year of investigations into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the only person Republicans seek to accuse of wrongdoing is one who reported on these matters to law enforcement in the first place”.[82] Veteran prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg called the referral “nonsense” because “the FBI doesn’t need any prompting from politicians to prosecute people who have lied to them.”[82] Another former federal prosecutor, Justin Dillon said that “it was too early to assume the letter was simply a political attack”. The senior Democrat on the Committee, Dianne Feinstein, said that the referral was made without consultation of any Democrats on the committee and released a five-page rebuttal.[85] A Republican aide said that Grassley and Graham were “carrying water for the White House”; that their actions did not reflect the views of the committee as a whole; and that other members were upset with Grassley over the matter.[82]

In an opinion-editorial for Politico, former CIA official John Sipher said that the attacks on Steele, a private citizen who provided information to the FBI that alarmed him, will make future tipsters less likely to approach American law enforcement with information that bears on national security.[86]

Personal life

His first wife, Laura, with whom he had three children, died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2012; he and his second wife Katherine had one child and are raising all four children together.[8] He currently lives in Farnham, Surrey.[8]

References …

Further reading

External links

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

 

Fusion GPS

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Fusion GPS
Founded 2011
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Key people
Glenn R. Simpson
Website www.fusiongps.com

Fusion GPS is a commercial research and strategic intelligence firm based in Washington, D.C. The company conducts open-source investigations and provides research and strategic advice for businesses, law firms and investors, as well as for political inquiries, such as opposition research.[1] The “GPS” initialism is derived from “Global research, Political analysis, Strategic insight”.[2]

Contents

History

The company was co-founded in 2011 by Glenn R. Simpson, a former investigative reporter and journalist for Roll Call and The Wall Street Journal; Peter Fritsch, former Wall Street Journal senior editor; and former Wall Street Journal journalist Thomas Catan.[3]

Work

Opposition research on Mitt Romney

Fusion GPS was hired in 2012 to do opposition research on U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney.[3] In February 2012, the magazine Mother Jones published an article on Frank VanderSloot and his company Melaleuca, who combined had given $1 million to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. After the article was published, an intern at Fusion GPS did a search of Idaho court records on VanderSloot by phone and fax. In January 2013, VanderSloot sued Mother Jones for defamation in the February 2012 article. In the course of the litigation, VanderSloot deposed Fusion GPS founder Simpson on the “theory that Mother Jones conspired with Obama’s team to defame VanderSloot”.[4][5][6] The seventh Judicial District Court of the State of Idaho dismissed the lawsuit in 2015.[7]

Planned Parenthood

In August 2015, Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to defensively investigate the veracity of a series of undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt from The Center for Medical Progress that they claim showed Planned Parenthood officials agreeing to sell fetal tissues obtained through abortions to medical researchers. Fusion GPS hired video and transcription experts to analyze the videos and summarized the findings in a forensic report.[8] The report claimed that the “unedited” videos posted by activists had been “heavily edited”. The anti-abortion activists attributed the gaps to “bathroom breaks and waiting periods.”[9] The report was provided to U.S. congressional leadership as evidence as they were considering funding and other issues related to Planned Parenthood operations.[10]

After a grand jury declined to indict Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, on March 28, 2017, Daleiden and Merritt were charged with 15 felonies in the State of California – one for each of the people whom they had filmed without consent, and one for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy.[10] On 21 June 2017, fourteen of these charges were dismissed, with leave to amend, on the grounds that they were legally insufficient.[11] On June 30, 2017, state prosecutors refiled the 14 dismissed charges with numerical identifications for each video.[12][13] On August 24, 2017, the San Francisco Superior Court rejected new defense motions to dismiss the charges and allowed the case to proceed. Daleiden then pleaded not guilty, while Merritt did not enter a plea at the time.[13]

Prevezon Holding

In 2013, the US Department of Justice, represented by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, sued Prevezon Holding, a Republic of Cyprus corporation registered in New York State as a foreign business corporation, under the Magnitsky Act for money-laundering part of $230 million stolen. The lawsuit sought forfeiture of various assets and real estate holdings in the US.[14][15] In May 2017, two months after President Trump had dismissed Bharara, the lawsuit was settled for $6 million, less than half what Bhahara sought[16], without Prevezon admitting to any wrongdoing and with both sides claiming victory.[14][17]

The sole shareholder of Prevezon was Russian citizen Denis Katsyv, whose father is Petr Katsyv, vice president of Russia’s state-run rail monopoly and “reportedly a business associate of Vladimir Yakunin, a confidant of Vladimir Putin“.[15][18] Katsyv’s Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was not licensed to practice in the US, and Katsyv hired the law firm of BakerHostetler to represent Prevezon; BakerHostetler hired Fusion GPS in early 2014 to provide research help for the litigation.[19][20][18][21]

On October 18, 2016, the appellate court disqualified BakerHostetler from the case because they had represented Bill Browder’s hedge fund Hermitage Capital Management for nine months in 2008/2009 when the U.S. Justice Department was investigating a tax fraud scheme in Russia involving “co-opted Hermitage portfolio companies”. The U.S. Justice Department had argued that Hermitage Capital was a victim of the tax fraud and that BakerHofstetler’s prior work on behalf of Hermitage Capital created a conflict of interest.[22][19] As part of their litigation support for BakerHostetler and their client Verezon, Fusion GPS investigated Browder, a witness central to the U.S. Justice Department’s case.[23]

On July 27, 2017, Fusion GPS accused the White House of trying to “smear” it for investigating the president’s alleged ties to Russia. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed to Browder’s testimony as vindication of Trump’s claims that ongoing investigations into potential ties between his campaign and Moscow are political ploys to undermine his presidency. Fusion GPS countered that it worked only with a law firm in New York “to provide support for civil litigation” unrelated to Russian efforts to do away with the Magnitsky Act, saying it had no reason to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).[24]

Browder lodged a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department in 2016 that Fusion GPS may have lobbied “for Russian interests in a campaign to oppose the pending Global Magnitsky Act [and] failed to register under [U.S. law]”.[20][25] The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (not to be confused with the Magnitsky Act) is a human rights law passed on December 23, 2016.[26] It is also named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor working for Browder who died in a Russian prison after uncovering a corruption scheme that he was then charged with having helped concoct.[18]

On March 30, 2017, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa called for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into purported connections between Fusion GPS and Russia, and an inquiry as to whether Fusion GPS was acting as an unregistered foreign agent. The company denied the claims that they were engaged in lobbying or had violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.[25][20] According to the Washington Post′s “Fact Checker” column, there is “no evidence that the Russian government paid for Fusion’s work on the Prevezon defense at the same time Fusion investigated Trump’s business dealings in Russia.”[27]

Trump dossier and Christopher Steele

In September 2015, Fusion GPS was hired by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative political website, to do opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. In spring 2016 when Trump had emerged as the probable Republican candidate, the Free Beacon stopped funding investigation into Trump.[28] From April 2016 through October 2016, the law firm Perkins Coie, on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, retained Fusion GPS to continue opposition research on Trump.[29][30][31] In June 2016, Fusion GPS retained Christopher Steele, a private British corporate intelligence investigator and former MI-6 agent, to research any Russian connections to Trump. Steele produced a 35-page series of memos from June to December 2016, which became the document known as the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.[29][32] Fusion GPS provided Marc Elias, the lead election lawyer for Perkins Coie, with the resulting dossier and other research documents.[30][31]

The firm is being sued for defamation by three Alfa-Bank owners named in the dossier as connected to Putin. German Khan, one of the litigants and one of Russia’s wealthiest citizens, is the father-in-law of lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who was charged in the Mueller probe for making false statements to the FBI.[33] He pleaded guilty to one count and in April 2018 was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a fine of $20,000.[34][35]

House Intelligence Committee investigation

On October 4, 2017, Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to the management of the company, demanding documents and testimony in late October and early November 2017. According to a Democratic committee source, the subpoenas were issued unilaterally by the Republican majority of the committee.[36]

On October 18, 2017, the House Intelligence Committee held a private meeting with two executives of Fusion GPS, Peter Fritsch, and Thomas Catan. The purpose was to seek information about their creation of “the opposition-research dossier that makes salacious claims about President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.”[37] The meeting was attended by committee staff and a single committee member, Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL). In response to the questions asked at the meeting, Fritsch and Catan invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Their attorney, Joshua Levy, said that prior to the meeting he had informed the committee in writing that his clients would invoke their rights, but they were compelled to appear nevertheless. He added they would cooperate with “serious” investigations but that a “Trump cabal has carried out a campaign to demonize our client for having been tied to the Trump dossier.”[37][38]

On October 23, 2017, Fusion GPS filed for a court injunction against Nunes’ subpoena seeking the firm’s bank records for a period of more than two years, arguing it would damage and possibly destroy the business as well as violate their First Amendment rights.[39] On January 4, 2018 U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon struck down Fusion’s application, ruling that Fusion’s bank must turn over the financial records subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee; Fusion asked the judge to stay his order because they plan to appeal.[40]

On October 28, 2017, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative political website, told the House Intelligence Committee that it had retained Fusion GPS’s services from 2015 to May 2016, to research Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. The objective was the discovery of damaging information. The Free Beacon and its primary source of funding, hedge fund manager Paul Singer, denied any involvement in the creation of the Steele dossier, pointing out that they had stopped funding research on Trump before Steele was engaged.[28]

On January 2, 2018, the founders of Fusion GPS, Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting that Republicans “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony” and further explaining that, “the Steele dossier was not the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”[41]

The committee interviewed Simpson for seven hours on November 14, 2017. The transcript of the interview was released on January 18, 2018.[42][43]

Senate Judiciary Committee investigations

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein made arrangements in July 2017 for Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson to testify before their committee. It was agreed that Simpson would not testify in public but would be interviewed privately.[44][45] The committee wanted to question Simpson about the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). A previous witness, banker and human rights activist Bill Browder, had accused Simpson and Fusion GPS of evading registration as foreign agents for campaigning to influence and overturn the Magnitsky Act.[24] Fusion GPS said through their attorney that they were not required to register under FARA.[24] Senators were expected to also use the hearing “to press Justice Department officials on what they know about Veselnitskaya, Prevezon, Fusion GPS and their connections to both the Trump campaign or the Russian government.”[46]

On August 22, 2017, Simpson was questioned for 10 hours by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a closed-door meeting. The Committee did not release a transcript of the hearing, but indicated that Fusion GPS had given more than 40,000 documents for the investigation.[47] Simpson kept the identities of the firm’s clients confidential;[48][49] the client names—conservative website The Washington Free Beacon,[28] and a law firm representing the DNC and the Clinton presidential campaign[30]—were revealed in October 2017 as a result of the House Intelligence Committee investigation.

On January 2, 2018, Simpson and Fritsch co-authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting the two congressional committees to “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony”.[41] On January 8, 2018, a spokesman for Grassley said he did not plan to release the transcript of Simpson’s August 22, 2017, testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.[50] The next day, January 9, 2018, Feinstein unilaterally released the transcript.[51][52]

See also

References …

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

 

 

The Washington Free Beacon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Washington Free Beacon
Washington Free Beacon.jpg
Type Online news site
Format Website
Editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti
Managing editors Sonny Bunch, Victorino Matus, Stephanie Wang
Founded 2012
Political alignment conservative
Language English
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Website freebeacon.com

The Washington Free Beacon is an American conservative political journalism website launched in 2012. It states that it is “dedicated to uncovering the stories that the powers that be hope will never see the light of day” and producing “in-depth investigative reporting on a wide range of issues, including public policy, government affairs, international security, and media.”[1]

The website is financially backed by Paul Singer, an American billionaire hedge fund manager and conservative activist.[2]

Contents

History

The Free Beacon was founded by Michael Goldfarb, Aaron Harrison, and Matthew Continetti, who remains its editor-in-chief. It launched on February 7, 2012, as a project of the 501(c)4 organization Center for American Freedom.[3] In August 2014, it announced it was becoming a for-profit news site.[4]

The site is noted for its conservative reporting, modeled after liberal counterparts in the media such as ThinkProgress and Talking Points Memo, intended to publicize stories and influence the coverage of the mainstream media.[3][5][6] Jack Hunter, a staff member of U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s office, resigned in 2013 after a Free Beacon report detailing his past as a radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger” who wore a luchador mask of the Confederate flag.[7] The publication also broke several stories about former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s successful 1975 legal defense of an accused child rapist that attracted national media attention.[5][8] In May 2017, it received an award from The Heritage Foundation for its journalism.[9]

From October 2015 to May 2016, the Washington Free Beacon hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on “multiple candidates” during the 2016 presidential election, including Donald Trump. The Free Beaconstopped funding this research when Donald Trump had clinched the Republican nomination.[10] Fusion GPS would later hire former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and produce a dossier alleging links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Paul Singer, a billionaire and hedge fund manager, who is a major donor to the Free Beacon, said he was unaware of this dossier until it was published by BuzzFeed in January 2017.[11]On October 27, 2017, the Free Beacon publicly disclosed that it had hired Fusion GPS, and stated that it “had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele.”[12]

The Free Beacon came under criticism for its reporting on Fusion GPS. Three days before it was revealed that it was the Free Beacon that had funded the work by Fusion GPS, the Free Beacon wrote that the firm’s work “was funded by an unknown GOP client while the primary was still going on.”[13] The Free Beacon has also published pieces that have sought to portray the work by Fusion GPS as unreliable “without noting that it considered Fusion GPS reliable enough to pay for its services.”[13] In an editor’s note, Continetti said “the reason for this omission is that the authors of these articles, and the particular editors who reviewed them, were unaware of this relationship,” and that the outlet was reviewing its editorial process to avoid similar issues in the future.[14]

Reception

Jim Rutenburg of The New York Times described the reporting style of the Free Beacon as “gleeful evisceration.”[15]

Its tactics have also led to attacks from media critics and watchdog groups. The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf called the Free Beacon‘s mission “decadent and unethical”.[16]

Ben Howe wrote in The Daily Beast that the Washington Free Beacon established “itself as a credible source of conservative journalism with deep investigative dives and exposes on money in politics,” but that after Trump’s election “shifted away from the template they were establishing and more towards the path of least resistance: spending their time criticizing the left and the media, along with healthy doses of opinion writing.”[17] McKay Coppins in the Columbia Journalism Review writes of the Free Beacon that while the website contains “a fair amount of trolling… it has also earned a reputation for real-deal journalism…If a partisan press really is the future, we could do worse than the Free Beacon.”[18]

Jeet Heer writes in The New Republic of the Free Beacon, “Unlike other comparable conservative websites, the Free Beacon makes an effort to do original reporting. Its commitment to journalism should be welcomed by liberals.”[19] In 2015, Mother Jones wrote positively of the Free Beacon, noting that it is far better than contemporary conservative outlets such as The Daily Caller.[20] Mother Jones however noted that “the Beacon hasn’t always steered clear of stories that please the base but don’t really stand up,” and that it pieces inflammatory pieces that “push conservatives’ buttons”.[20] That same year, the Washingtonian wrote that “The Beacon’s emphasis on newsgathering sets it apart among right-facing publications”.[21]

See also

References …

External links

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

Story 2: Radical Extremist Democrat Polls — Trump Loses — Reality Deniers —  Videos —

New poll shows Trump trailing Biden and four other Democrats

Brian KNOWLTON

AFP

A nationwide Fox News poll released Sunday shows President Donald Trump trailing former vice president Joe Biden and no fewer than four other Democratic contenders as early campaigning for the 2020 election begins to gain steam.

A separate survey of battleground states, by CBS, shows Democrats strongly favor Biden as the candidate most likely to beat Trump in next year’s elections.

The Fox poll showed Biden leading Trump by 49 percent to 39 percent among all registered voters nationwide, while Senator Bernie Sanders held nearly the same advantage over the president, at 49 percent to 40 percent.

Holding edges of 1 or 2 points over Trump — albeit within the poll’s 3-point margin of error — were Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

The polling comes more than 500 days before the November 3, 2020 election, an eternity in the political world. One widely viewed tweet this week shows five presidential candidates in recent decades who trailed at this point in their campaigns — including Trump — but who went on to win.

The president does not officially launch his re-election campaign until Tuesday, at a rally-style event in a huge arena in Orlando, Florida.

– Battleground states –

Still, the Fox poll, conducted June 9 to June 12, is seen as heartening by Democrats eager to chip away at Trump’s popularity, particularly in key battleground states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump’s campaign recently dismissed leaked data from its own pollsters showing Biden with double-digit leads in battleground states. The campaign at first denied the data, but then acknowledged it, branding it as “ancient” because it dated from March.

But the new CBS poll confirms a clear Biden lead in battleground states among Democratic voters, as the crowded race for that party’s nomination begins to take shape.

A belief among Democratic voters that Biden is best positioned to defeat Trump in 2020 was cited by three-quarters of Democrats as a decisive factor in their support.

https://news.yahoo.com/poll-shows-trump-trailing-biden-four-other-democrats-164318873.html

Story 3: Iran Promises To Break Nuclear Agreement If Sanctions Not Removed — Pathway To Nuclear Bomb and Long Range Missile and War — Videos

Iran says it will breach nuclear deal ‘in days’ as its uranium stockpile limit nears

Iran threatens to violate nuclear deal

Iran to increase uranium stockpile as US considering ‘all options’

Iran nuclear deal: Tehran to lift cap on uranium enrichment | Al Jazeera English

The Heat: US-Iran sanctions

 

Iran speeds up uranium enrichment as Mideast tensions mount

24 minutes ago

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows the oil tanker Front Altair off the coast of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, Monday, June 17, 2019. New satellite photos released Monday show two oil tankers apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week. The U.S. alleges Iran used limpet mines to strike the two tankers. Iran has denied being involved. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will surpass the uranium-stockpile limit set by its nuclear deal in the next 10 days, an official said Monday, raising pressure on Europeans trying to save the accord a year after the U.S. withdrawal lit the fuse for the heightened tensions now between Tehran and Washington.

The announcement by Iran’s nuclear agency marked yet another deadline set by Tehran. President Hassan Rouhani already has warned Europe that a new deal needs to be in place by July 7 or the Islamic Republic would increase its enrichment of uranium.

Atomic energy spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi suggested that Iran’s enrichment could reach up to 20%, just a step away from weapons-grade levels.

It appears as if Iran has begun its own maximum pressure campaign on the world after facing one from President Donald Trump’s administration that deeply cut into its sale of crude oil abroad and sent its economy into freefall. Europe has so far been unable to offer Iran a way around the U.S. sanctions.

The development follows apparent attacks last week in the Strait of Hormuz on oil tankers, assaults that Washington has blamed on Iran. While Iran has denied being involved, it laid mines in the 1980s targeting oil tankers around the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s crude oil passes.

“If this condition continues, there will be no deal” anymore, Kamalvandi said. He accused the Europeans of “killing time” as the clock runs down.

Rouhani, greeting France’s new ambassador to Tehran on Monday, similarly warned that time was running out on the deal.

“The current situation is very critical and France and the other parties to the (deal) still have a very limited opportunity to play their historic role for saving the deal,” Rouhani said, according to his website.

The announcement appeared timed to strike just as European foreign ministers met in Luxembourg. Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top diplomat, declined to specifically address the Iranian announcement.

“At the moment, as of today, Iran is still technically compliant and we strongly hope, encourage and expect that Iran continues to comply,” Mogherini told journalists. She insisted she would await the next report on the issue from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Under terms of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran can keep a stockpile of no more than 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of low-enriched uranium. Kamalvandi said that given Iran’s recent decision to quadruple its production of low-enriched uranium, it would pass the 300-kilogram limit on Thursday, June 27.

The Vienna-based IAEA said last month that Iran remained within its stockpile limits and declined to comment on Iran’s announcement. Kamalvandi said Iran would continue to allow the U.N. to inspect its nuclear facilities for the time being.

He also raised the specter of increasing its enrichment levels, saying Iran needs 5% enriched uranium for its nuclear power plant in southern Iranian port of Bushehr and 20% enriched fuel for its Tehran research reactor.

The nuclear deal limits Iran to enriching uranium only to 3.67%, enough for power plants and other peaceful purposes.

But after America pulled out of the nuclear accord and escalated sanctions, Rouhani set a July 7 deadline for Europe to come up with better terms for the deal or Tehran would boost enrichment further. So far, a European mechanism called INSTEX to protect trade with Iran has yet to take off.

The danger, nuclear nonproliferation experts warn, is that at 20% enrichment, only a fraction of atoms need to be removed to enrich up to weapons-grade levels of 90%. Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the 2015 deal grew out of Western concerns about the program.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Since Trump took office, the U.S. has steadily stripped away at the accord, and he pulled America out of the deal in May 2018.

However, Iran’s announcement that it was on the verge of surpassing the uranium-stockpile limit set by the nuclear agreement put the U.S. is the awkward position of having to push Iran to abide by the deal Trump has disparaged.

“It’s unfortunate that they have made this announcement today,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. “It doesn’t surprise anybody and this is why the president has often said that the JCPOA needs to be replaced with a better deal.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the international community should reinstate sanctions if Iran follows through on its threats, adding: “In any case, Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.”

Tensions have risen in the region since last month. The U.S. rushed an aircraft carrier strike group and other military assets to the Middle East in response to what it said were threats from Iran.

Meanwhile, a series of mysterious attacks have targeted oil tankers, and the U.S. blames Iranian-laid limpet mines. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen also have launched a series of drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon on Monday released new photos intended to bolster its case that Iran was responsible for the attacks.

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which the U.S. suspects in the attacks, answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and operates outside of the traditional military’s control.

Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the chief of the general staff of Iran’s armed forces, denied Tehran was involved in the tanker attacks, saying Monday the country only would respond in “an open, strong and severe way” if needed.

But he also reiterated Iran’s traditional stance on the Strait of Hormuz.

“If we decide to block the Strait of Hormuz, we will to do it in a way that even a drop of oil won’t pass the strait,” Bagheri added.

Kamalvandi spoke to Iranian journalists at the country’s Arak heavy water nuclear reactor. Such reactors produce plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons. Iran, under the nuclear deal, had reconfigured the facility to address Western concerns on that issue.

However, Kamalvandi said the country could rebuild the facility to make it produce plutonium. He made a point to give an interview to Iranian state television, standing next to the open pit where the reactor would be in the facility.

As the camera panned down to what would be the reactor’s core, Kamalvandi stressed that piping could be replaced and the reactor could be built to make plutonium. Hard-liners opposed to the nuclear deal had constantly accused the agency of filling the entire pit with concrete.

“They had previously photoshopped a picture of this place having been filled up with concrete,” Kamalvandi said.

He added: “The message that we tried to get across to Europeans today was that not much time is left for them.”

https://www.apnews.com/30353bd0f0494522b9f5753e23f3f9b9

ATOMIC THREAT 

Iran reveals it will break America’s uranium stockpile limits within 10 DAYS dramatically ramping up tensions with Trump

US releases photos to bolster claim Iran attacked tankers

53 minutes ago

1 of 3
This image released by the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday, June 17, 2019, and taken from a U.S. Navy helicopter, shows what the Navy says are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy removing an unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous. (U.S. Department of Defense via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an effort to bolster its public case against Iran, the Pentagon on Monday released new photos that officials said show that members of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard were responsible for attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.

The images, many taken from a Navy helicopter, show what the Pentagon said were Iranian forces removing an unexploded mine from the side of the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman.

Officials last week said the move appeared to be an attempt to remove forensic evidence from the scene of the attack. But it’s not clear if examination of the mine would have made it definitively clear that the device was planted by the IRGC.

Other photos show a large hole on the side of the Courageous, above the water line, that officials say appears to have been caused by another similar mine.

The release of the photos came as the U.S. works this week to convince members of Congress and allies that the accusations against Tehran are true. Iran has denied involvement in the tanker attacks and has accused America of promoting an “Iranophobic” campaign. Tehran, however, has repeatedly threatened to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world’s oil flows.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he made a number of calls Sunday and Monday to international leaders, trying to convince them that keeping the Strait of Hormuz safe and open is a problem they all must deal with.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran have deteriorated in recent months, as the Trump administration restored crippling sanctions and designated the Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organization.

That increased pressure preceded a string of attacks that the U.S. has blamed on Iran. In late May, four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were attacked with what appeared to be mines, and there was a rocket attack in Baghdad. Last week, similar attacks were launched against the Courageous and the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair in the Gulf of Oman.

The U.S. military has also accused Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops of trying but failing to shoot down a U.S. drone to disrupt surveillance of the tankers during the attacks.

https://apnews.com/e479acedfd38465ab17e15e579f243ad

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The Pronk Pops Show 1274, June 13, 2019, Story 1: Two Tankers Transitioning The Strait of Hormus  in Gulf of Oman Shelled, Torpedoed and On Fire — Videos — Story 2: Totally Fiscally Irresponsible Democrat and Republican Parties: U.S. Federal Government Spending Totally Out-of-Control Should Exceed $4,000 Billion With $1,000 Billion Deficits For Fiscal Year 2019 and Forever! — National Debt Approaching 100% of Gross Domestic Product By 2020 — Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Entitlement, Welfare and Tax Reform Absolutely Must Happen To Avoid Massive Increases in Interest Rates — Videos — Story 3: United States Government To Purchase 478 New Joint Strike Fighter F-35s Lightning II for the Air Force, Navy and Marines and Allied Militaries From and Lockheed Martin for About $34 Billion — Videos — Story 4: What Will Cause The Next Recession In United States — Videos

Posted on June 14, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Applications, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, China, Coal, Communications, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, European History, European Union, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Food, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Islamic Republic of Iran, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Middle East, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Software, Space, Spying, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, U.S. Dollar, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Vessels, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Two Tankers Transitioning The Strait of Hormus  in Gulf of Oman Shelled, Torpedoed and On Fire — Videos —

Why isn’t the oil market reacting to the oil tanker attacks?

Iran responsible for attack on two tankers: Pompeo

US has video of Iran removing unexploded mine from oil tanker: Report

Iran rejects US accusation of involvement in tanker attacks

U.S. officials: Iran likely behind new tanker attacks

BREAKING – 2 Oil Tankers in Gulf of Oman (straight of Hormuz) on fire

Crew have been rescued after abandoning two oil tankers hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman

US Navy Heads for Oil Tanker Incident in Gulf of Oman

 

Two Oil Tankers Attacked Near Straight of Hormuz

Tanker Attacks In Gulf of Oman Fuel Security, Oil Supply Fears

 

Oil tanker attacks echo Persian Gulf’s 1980s ‘Tanker War’

 Mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz this week show how one of the world’s crucial chokepoints for global energy supplies can be easily targeted, 30 years after the U.S. Navy and Iran were entangled in a similarly shadowy conflict called the “Tanker War.”

While the current tensions are nowhere near the damage done then, it underscores how dangerous the situation is and how explosive it can become.

The so-called “Tanker War” involved American naval ships escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf and the strait after Iranian mines damaged vessels in the region. It culminated in a one-day naval battle between Washington and Tehran, and also saw America accidentally shoot down an Iranian passenger jet, killing 290 people.

U.S. estimates suggest Iran attacked over 160 ships in the late 1980s confrontation.

“We need to remember that some 30% of the world’s crude oil passes through the straits,” said Paolo d’Amico, the chairman of the oil tanker association INTERTANKO. “If the waters are becoming unsafe, the supply to the entire Western world could be at risk.”

So far, six oil tankers have been damaged in suspected limpet mine attacks, explosives that can be magnetically stuck to the side of a ship. The first attack happened May 12 off the coast of the Emirati port city of Fujairah and targeted four tankers. Thursday’s apparent attack damaged two other tankers.

The U.S. has blamed Iran for both incidents, offering a video on Friday it said showed Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces spirit away one mine stuck to a tanker that didn’t explode in Thursday’s assault. For its part, Iran denies being involved and calls the allegations part of America’s “Iranophobic campaign” against it.

Meanwhile, the owner of the tanker Kokuka Courageous said its sailors saw “flying objects” before the attack, suggesting it wasn’t damaged by mines and contradicting the U.S. military.

Confusion pervaded the start of the “Tanker War” as well.

That conflict grew out of the bloody eight-year war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s, which began when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Iran. The war killed 1 million people. The U.S. supported Saddam by providing intelligence, weaponry and other aid.

Iraq first targeted Iran’s shipping and by 1984 attacked Kharg Island, a crucial oil-tanker-loading terminal for Iran. Its air force also attacked ships in the Persian Gulf. After the Kharg attack, Iran began a concerted campaign to attack shipping in the region.

Iraq ultimately would attack over 280 vessels to Iran’s 168, according to the U.S. Naval Institute.

The Iran’s mining campaign began in earnest in 1987. At night, the Revolutionary Guard would drop mines from vessels disguised as traditional dhows, which ferry cargo around the waters of the Persian Gulf.

As attacks targeted Kuwaiti oil tankers, the U.S. ultimately stepped in to protect them. The Soviet Union also volunteered.

https://www.newsday.com/news/world/oil-tanker-attacks-echo-persian-gulf-s-1980s-tanker-war-1.32361954

 

MISCHIEVOUS PLOT’

Iran accuses the US of LYING about the ‘suspicious’ attack on American-linked oil tanker and denies ordering ‘torpedo’ assault

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the “blatant” attacks on two tankers which burst into flames in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

 A huge fire rages on board the Front Altair after it was reportedly hit by a torpedo in the Gulf of Oman

A huge fire rages on board the Front Altair after it was reportedly hit by a torpedo in the Gulf of Oman

 The tanker was one of two ships attacked today sparking an evacuation of all crew members

The tanker was one of two ships attacked today sparking an evacuation of all crew members

 The Pentagon released this image which is says shows Iranian involvement in the oil tanker attacks

The Pentagon released this image which is says shows Iranian involvement in the oil tanker attacks

But Iran has hit back at the “unfounded and reckless” claims and accused the US of “warmongering” as part of a “disinformation campaign”.

“The US and its regional allies must stop warmongering and put an end to mischievous plots and false flag operations in the region,” Iran’s mission to the United Nations said.

“Warning, once again, about all of the US coercion, intimidation and malign behaviour, Iran expresses concern over suspicious incidents for the oil tankers that occurred today.”

It came after Pompeo pointed the finger at Iran and the Pentagon released images and footage as “proof” of Iranian involvement.


What we know so far:

  • Two oil tankers were seriously damaged in the suspected torpedo attack
  • The US believes Iran is definitely to blame for the shocking attacks
  • Tehran has accused America of ‘Iranophobia’ and says it is innocent
  • Almost 50 sailors had to be rescued from the stricken tankers in the Gulf
  • Oil prices surged by 3.5 per cent after today’s suspected terror attack
  • Iran’s foreign minister has branded the explosions as “suspicious”
  • The US Navy’s 5th Fleet is now investigating the suspected torpedo attack

Pompeo said the attacks were part of a “campaign” of “escalating tension” by Iran which posed a threat to international peace and security.

Iran blasted his “inflammatory remarks” and said they amounted to “another Iranophobic campaign”.

“Iran categorically rejects the U.S. unfounded claim with regard to 13 June oil tanker incidents and condemns it in the strongest possible terms,” the Iranian mission said in a statement.

The hardline Islamic nation added that the US poses the “most significant threat” to the peace and security of the Persian Gulf region.

“The US economic war and terrorism against the Iranian people as well as the massive military presence in the region have been and continue to be the main sources of insecurity and instability in the wider Persian Gulf region and the most significant threat to its peace and security,” the statement said.

Iran’s foreign minister later dismissed the US accusations as “sabotage diplomacy”.

 The Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous is believed to have been targeted by a magnetic mine

The Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous is believed to have been targeted by a magnetic mine

 An aerial picture showing the huge blaze raging on the oil tanker after the attack this morning

An aerial picture showing the huge blaze raging on the oil tanker after the attack this morningCredit: AP:Associated Press

 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the blatant attacks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the blatant attacksCredit: Getty Images – Getty

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blames Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in blast at the Islamic state

Both the Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous burst into flames and were forced to evacuate in the troubled region on Thursday.

Reports suggested the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous may have been targeted by a magnetic mine causing a series of massive explosions on board.

The Pentagon released a video that it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from the tanker.

This suggests the Islamic Republic may have sought to remove evidence of its involvement from the scene.

SMOKING GUN?

The black-and-white footage, as well as still photographs released by the US military’s Central Command, appeared to show the limpet mine on the Kokuka Courageous.

But the owner has since said the tanker crew saw “flying objects” before the attack, suggesting the ship was not damaged by mines, according to AP.

Pompeo said the US will defend its forces and interests in the region but gave no specifics about any plans and he took no questions.

Hours later it was revealed the US Navy is sending the guided missile destroyer USS Mason to the scene of the attacks.

The USS Bainbridge rescued 21 of the 44 stricken sailors involved in the incident near the Strait of Hormuz.

BRITAIN BLASTS ‘DEEPLY UNWISE’ ATTACKS

Britain is working on the basis that Iran is responsible for the attacks and warned Iran that these actions were “deeply unwise”.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This is deeply worrying and comes at a time of already huge tension.

“I have been in contact with Pompeo and, while we will be making our own assessment soberly and carefully, our starting point is obviously to believe our U.S. allies.

“We are taking this extremely seriously and my message to Iran is that if they have been involved it is a deeply unwise escalation which poses a real danger to the prospects of peace and stability in the region.”

Norwegian shipping firm Frontline, which owns the Altair, has denied Iranian reports that the tanker had sunk.

The ship was built in 2016 and is flagged to the Marshall Islands – a US associated state in the Pacific Ocean.

Chartered by Taiwan’s state oil refiner CPC Corp, the huge vessel set sail from the UAE port of Ruwais on Tuesday and was due to arrive in Kaohsiung on June 30.

Speaking to Reuters, the CEO of CPC’s petrochemical division Wu I-Fang said the tanker was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo.”

He said it was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, which trade sources estimate to be worth more than $30 million.

Gulf of Oman attack- 23 oil tanker crew members filmed safe in Jask after suspected attack

Paolo d’Amico, chairman of the tanker association, Intertanko, said concern was rising for other crews braving the powder keg shipping lanes.

He said: “If the waters are becoming unsafe, the oil supply to the entire Western world could be at risk.”

It comes as tensions in the Persian Gulf between the United States and Iran are threatening to reach boiling point.

A Saudi-led coalition has described the attack as a “major escalation”.

In recent weeks, Washington has sent a number of battleships to the region in response to what it says are Iranian threats against American interests and its allies in the region.

The Kokuka Courageous – which is owned by Japanese firm Kokuka Sangyohad – set sail from Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia on June 10 and was due to reach Singapore by June 22.

Oil prices rose by 3.5 per cent following news of the explosions, according to reports.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif branded the explosions as “suspicious” calling them “reported attacks on Japan-related oil tankers.”

He said the incident had happened as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a close American ally.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet said it is aware of a “reported attack” in the area and is investigating.

A statement said: “US naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6.12 am local time and a second one at 7.00 am.

“US Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”

 The incident reportedly happened in the Gulf of Oman this morning

12
The incident reportedly happened in the Gulf of Oman this morning

Speaking about the attacks, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said: “The President has been briefed on the attack on ships in the Gulf of Oman.

“The US Government is providing assistance and will continue to assess the situation.”

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by the British Navy, urged “extreme caution” and said it was investigating the incident.

“We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Gulf of Oman. We are in contact with local authorities and partners in the region.”

Authorities do not believe that any British nationals were on the two ships.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are deeply concerned by reports of explosions and fires on vessels in the Gulf of Oman. We are in contact with local authorities and partners in the region.”

This comes after the US claimed Iran used explosives to blow huge holes in four ships – including two Saudi oil tankers – anchored in the Persian Gulf last month.

The ships reportedly had ruptures measuring up to ten foot across  in their hulls as a result of the May 12 sabotage attacks.

Recent US and Iran tensions

  • May 5: USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force is deployed in Middle East in response to ‘a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings’ by Iran.
  • May 8: Iran vows to enrich its uranium stockpile if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its nuclear deal. The US responds by imposing sanctions on Iran’s metals industry.
  • May 10: The US says it will move a Patriot missile battery into the Middle East to counter threats from Iran.
  • May 24: President Trump says the US will bolster its military presence in the Middle East with an additional 1,500 troops.
  • May 12: The UAE says four commercial ships off its eastern coast “were subjected to sabotage operations,” just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets air false reports of explosions at a nearby Emirati port.

 Huge plumes of thick black smoke billow from the massive tanker in the Gulf of Oman following a suspected torpedo attack

Huge plumes of thick black smoke billow from the massive tanker in the Gulf of Oman following a suspected torpedo attackCredit: AP:Associated Press

 One of the tankers on fire in the Gulf of Oman following the suspected torpedo attack

One of the tankers on fire in the Gulf of Oman following the suspected torpedo attackCredit: AFP or licensors

 The Front Altair, from the US-linked Marshall Islands, was one of the ships reportedly attacked today near Iran

The Front Altair, from the US-linked Marshall Islands, was one of the ships reportedly attacked today near IranCredit: Shipspotting.com

Two tankers: all you need to know

  • Front Altair was built in 2016 and is flagged to the Marshall Islands
  • It is owned by Norwegian company Frontline and is operated by Dubai-based International Tanker Management
  • The ship was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, a petrochemical product, worth $30m when it was attacked
  • It was carrying 23 crew members who were all rescued
  • The vessel can carry up to 62,849 tonnes of cargo
  • It weighs a staggering 109,894 tonnes
  • Kokuka Courageous was built in 2010 and is flagged to Panama
  • It is owned by Japanese firm Kokuka Sangyo and is operated by BSM Ship Management
  • The ship was carrying 25,000 tonnes of methanol when it was attacked
  • 21 sailors on board were rescued. One suffered minor injuries

They were targeted near the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates – with one of the tankers due to be loaded with Saudi crude oil bound for the US.

A Washington-based official told the Associated Press that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or its allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships.

A huge US naval presence has built up in the Gulf over recent weeks amid a fevered standoff between Washington and Tehran.

US intelligence revealed Iran was on the verge of carrying out offensive action to disrupt and attack American and partner interests in the region.

It led to the deployment of US aircraft carriers, Patriot missiles and B52 bombers over recent days.

The general-secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council described the sabotage as a “serious escalation” in an overnight statement.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman called the incidents near the coast of Fujairah on May 12 “worrisome and dreadful” and asked for an investigation into the matter.

US and Iran – a troubled history

  • Before the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran was one of America’s biggest allies in the Middle East and was led by the US-backed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
  • However, since the seismic revolt, Iran has been led by murderous Islamic fundamentalists and tensions with Washington have remained ever since.
  • On November 4, 1979, the Iranian regime took 52 US diplomats hostage in response to President Carter’s administration allowing Iran’s deposed former leader into America.
  • The hostage crisis lasted for 444 days and also included a failed rescue mission which cost the lives of eight US soldiers.
  • In April 1980, the US ended diplomatic relations with Iran – a break which lasted for more than 30 years.
  • In April 1983, Washington blamed the Iranian-funded terror group Hezbollah for carrying out a bombing attack on the American embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • The assault, carried out amid a brutal civil war in Lebanon, killed 17 Americans.
  • In November of that year, two truck bombs in Beruit killed 241 US peace keepers. The US again blamed Hezbollah for the incident.
  • The Clinton White House, in 1995, placed a total embargo on Iran meaning US companies could not trade with the country.
  • And in 2002, George W Bush included the Islamic Republic in his famous “Axis of evil” speech along with North Korea and Iraq.

 The latest explosions in the region come after four ships were attacked with explosives last month in the Persian Gulf

The latest explosions in the region come after four ships were attacked with explosives last month in the Persian GulfCredit: Reuters
 The United States deployed an additional warship to the Gulf
The United States deployed an additional warship to the GulfCredit: AFP

What is the Iran nuclear deal?

The deal is an agreement between the Islamic Republic and a group of world powers aimed at scrapping the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear weapons programme.

It saw Iran agree to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium by 98 per cent.

According to the deal, Iran would receive relief from the US, the European Union and the United Nations Security Council on all nuclear-related economic sanctions.

The agreement was reached on July 14, 2015, and was signed by world powers in Vienna, Austria.

However,  on May 8, 2018, President Trump announced the US would withdraw from the agreement – which he has repeatedly called “insane” and ridiculous”.

America’s withdrawal from the deal mean crippling economic sanctions will once again be placed on Iran – further heightening tensions between the two countries.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9292305/iran-oil-tanker-attack-gulf-of-oman/

 

Tankers ablaze in suspected attacks near Gulf oil chokepoint

A picture obtained by AFP from Iranian News Agency ISNA on June 13, 2019 reportedly shows fire and smoke billowing from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker, one of two vessels hit by suspected attacks in the waters of the Gulf of Oman

A picture obtained by AFP from Iranian News Agency ISNA on June 13, 2019 reportedly shows fire and smoke billowing from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker, one of two vessels hit by suspected attacks in the waters of the Gulf of Oman

Suspected attacks left two tankers ablaze in the waters of the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, sparking fears of a broader conflict and sending world oil prices soaring.

The mysterious incident came amid spiralling tensions between Iran and the US, which pointed the finger at the Islamic republic last month over similar attacks in the strategic sea lane.

The UN Security Council is to hold a closed-door meeting later on Thursday at the request of the United States to discuss the suspected attacks.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority said three explosions were reported on board the Norwegian-owned tanker Front Altair after it was “attacked” along with the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.

Iran said its navy rescued 44 crew members after the two vessels, which were carrying highly inflammable material, caught fire.

Footage aired on television showed thick, black plumes of smoke and flames billowing from one of the tankers as it lay out to sea.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the timing of the “reported attacks” was “suspicious”, coming as Japan’s prime minister held talks in Iran.

Suspected attacks involving tankers in Gulf

Suspected attacks involving tankers in Gulf

The US Fifth Fleet, based in the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, said its warships had received separate distress calls from each vessel.

The White House said US President Donald Trump was briefed on the suspected attacks and the government was assessing the situation.

UN chief Antonio Guterres condemned the “security incidents” and warned the world cannot afford a major confrontation in the Gulf, while the European Union called for “maximum restraint”.

State media in Iran said the incidents happened one hour apart in the early morning.

The Front Altair, a 111,000-tonne vessel carrying ethanol from Qatar to Taiwan, caught fire first off Bandar-e-Jask in southern Iran, the official IRNA news agency said.

“As the ship caught fire, 23 of the crew jumped into the water and were saved by a passing ship and handed over to the Iranian rescue unit,” it said.

Robert Hvide Macleo, chief executive for the ship’s owner Frontline, wrote in a text message to AFP: “I can confirm that the vessel has NOT sunk” and the crew were “all safe”.

– ‘Security incident’ –

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the "reported attacks" on two tankers in the Gulf were "suspicious" as it happened while the Japanese prime minister was having talks in Tehran

The Kokuka Courageous was headed to Singapore from Saudi Arabia with a cargo of methanol, IRNA said.

Singapore-based BSM Ship Management said it had “launched a full-scale emergency response following a security incident” involving the Kokuka.

“The 21 crew of the vessel abandoned ship after the incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship’s hull starboard side,” it said of the vessel owned by Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo Ltd.

“One crew man from the Kokuka Courageous was slightly injured… and is receiving first aid.”

In Tokyo, Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said: “A tanker carrying Japan-related goods was attacked. There were no injuries among the crew members. They got off the tanker. There were no Japanese members.”

Front Altair was reportedly still burning late Thursday, but the fire aboard the Kokuka Courageous was under control extinguished, said an Iranian official involved in the rescue operation.

The incident came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on an unprecedented visit to Iran, seeking to defuse tensions between Tokyo’s ally Washington and the Islamic republic.

– Oil price spike –

World oil prices surged following reports of the suspected attacks, exacerbating tensions in the crude-rich Middle East, analysts said.

“Tension across the Middle East is high — and the attacks on two tankers has further exacerbated the situation, even though there does not appear to have been any damage to the cargos,” said John Hall, chairman of British-based consultancy Alfa Energy.

London’s Brent North Sea oil jumped more than four percent in morning deals before trimming gains.

The strategic Strait of Hormuz

In afternoon trading, Brent for August delivery stood at $61.99 per barrel, up $2.02, or nearly 3.4 percent from Wednesday.

New York’s West Texas Intermediate was up $1.60 or around 3.1 percent at $52.74 per barrel.

The Gulf of Oman lies at the other end of the strategic Strait of Hormuz from the Gulf, part of a vital chokepoint through which at least 15 million barrels of crude oil and hundreds of millions of dollars of non-oil imports pass.

On May 12, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were damaged in still unexplained attacks off the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

US national security adviser John Bolton said Iranian naval mines were almost certainly behind those attacks without providing any evidence.

The UAE said initial findings of a five-nation investigation delivered to the UN pointed to the likelihood a state was involved.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia warned this month that “terrorist” attacks in the Gulf could imperil global oil supplies, as he sought to galvanise support against arch-rival Iran.

The kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, ratcheted up tensions with Iran after the attacks off Fujairah, which were followed by a drone strike on a key Saudi oil pipeline claimed by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Huthi rebels.

“We are in a dangerous moment in the region with this emerging pattern of attacks,” said Elizabeth Dickinson, senior analyst with International Crisis Group.

“Any miscalculation or misunderstanding risks a spiral toward more direct confrontation,” she told AFP.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-7136677/Two-oil-tankers-evacuated-new-incident-Gulf-Oman.html

Iran Has Little to Gain From Oman Tanker Attacks

Julian Lee,
Bloomberg

Two oil tankers have been damaged in a suspected attack in the waters between the United Arab Emirates and Iran as they were leaving the Persian Gulf. This is the second incident in four weeks, and raises the question of who gains what from them.

Fingers will certainly be pointed at Iran as the mastermind behind these events. But the potential benefits to the Persian Gulf nation are outweighed by the risks. And even if Tehran isn’t responsible, it will still suffer the consequences.

The first tanker to report a problem was the Front Altair. It was reported to be carrying 75,000 tons of naphtha, loaded in Abu Dhabi, to Japan, although it was signaling a destination of Kaosiung in Taiwan when it was damaged. The second vessel was the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore with a cargo of methanol.

A person who’s heard local radio transmissions between ships in the region told Bloomberg that a torpedo attack is suspected to have caused an explosion and fire on the Front Altair. The managers of the Kokuka Courageous said in a statement that “the 21 crew of the vessel abandoned ship after the incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship’s hull starboard side.”

Who gains from these attacks?

The obvious answer is Iran. If Tehran is attacking tankers leaving the Persian Gulf – either directly, or through proxies – it sends a message that transit through the world’s most important choke point for global oil flows is not safe without its consent. If Iran is pushed to the brink economically by sanctions, it will not go quietly. Other nations in the region will bear the cost of disruptions to their own oil exports, while America and its allies will have to cope with higher crude prices and disruptions to supplies.

Not since 2005 have the world’s insurers considered shipping in the Persian Gulf so dangerous for oil tankers. Nevertheless, we are still far from the level of tension that existed during the so-called Tanker War of the 1980s, when 451 vessels (259 of them oil or refined petroleum product tankers) suffered some sort of attack in the region, according to a report from the U.S. Naval Institute. The incidents took place during the Iran-Iraq war, and the culprits were forces from both countries.

Then, the U.S. navy resorted to escorting vessels through the Persian Gulf. That would be an expensive operation to repeat and would tie up a large part of the U.S. and allied fleets in the region. It would also raise the cost of the U.S. drive against Iran, which began with President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.

Brent crude was up by as much as 4.45% on Thursday, shortly after news of the attacks broke, although it has since lost some of those gains. The nation’s oil exports have been seriously curtailed by U.S. sanctions, and higher prices are its only route to increasing revenues. But the benefits are likely to be relatively small, given the dwindling volumes and steep discounts that the country probably has to offer to shift its oil.

There is another group that will benefit from the incident – the people who want to see the U.S. step up its campaign against Iran and move from an economic war to a military one. There are plenty of those, both in the U.S. and among its allies in the Persian Gulf and wider Middle East regions.

The timing of the attacks also raises questions.

They come as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting Tehran, with the blessing of President Trump. On Wednesday Abe urged Tehran to avoid conflict at all costs and pledged to do his utmost to ease tensions. The tankers damaged on Thursday were carrying cargoes related to Japan,  Hiroshige Seko, minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, said on the ministry’s Twitter feed.

A day earlier, Iran freed a U.S. resident imprisoned on espionage charges.

This would seem very clumsy timing from a country seeing the first tangible signs of any easing of the crippling sanctions imposed by the Americans. But it is absolutely understandable if you’re someone whose ultimate goal is to derail any easing of tensions between the two nations, and to effect regime change in Tehran. Whoever is behind the attacks is no friend of Iran.

–With assistance from Elaine He.

Oil rallies after apparent attack on tankers near Strait of Hormuz, but finish off session high

Oil futures rallied Thursday, as an attack on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz raised fears of a potential disruption to the global flow of oil, but failed to recoup the previous days losses by the close.

“Supply concern flare-ups are not infrequent occurrences in crude markets,” said Ryan Giannotto, director of research at GraniteShares.

“The nature of these events is that the outcomes are quite binary: either a major supply disruption event transpires or it does not,” he said. “This lack of a middle ground in outcomes stokes fear in commodities markets, but the added risk premium tends to abate rapidly.”

West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery CLN19, -0.33%  rose $1.14, or 2.2%, to end at $52.28 a barrel after tapping an intraday high of $53.45. The gains contrasted with a 4% drop that took the U.S. benchmark down to $51.14 Wednesday, the lowest front-month contract finish since Jan. 14, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-rebound-from-five-month-lows-on-reports-of-gulf-of-oman-tanker-fire-2019-06-13

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Federal Spending Tops $3 Trillion Through May for First Time; Deficit Hits $738 Billion

By Terence P. Jeffrey | June 12, 2019 | 2:25 PM EDT

(Getty Images/Win McNamee)

(CNSNews.com) – For the first time in the history of the United States, the federal government has spent more than $3 trillion in the first eight months of the fiscal year, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

The record $3,013,541,000,000 that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal 2019 was $181,157,920,000 more than the previous record of $2,832,383,080,000 (in constant May 2019 dollars) that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal 2009.

Total federal tax revenues in the first eight months of fiscal 2019 hit $2,274,902,000,000, which fell $5,612,990,000 short of the record $2,280,514,990,000 (in constant May 2019 dollars) that the Treasury collected in total tax revenues in the first eight months of fiscal 2016.

Even with the second highest tax revenues ever collected in the first eight months of the fiscal year, the federal government still ran a deficit for those eight months of $738,639,000,000.

Table 3 of the Monthly Treasury Statement, which summarizes federal receipts and outlays for the current fiscal year to date, indicated the Department of Health and Human Services cost the most money, accounting for $834,346,000,000 in federal spending in the first eight months of the fiscal year. The Social Security Administration cost the second most, accounting for $730,000,000,000 in federal spending during the period.

The Department of Defense was third, accounting for $439,289,000,000 in federal spending.

The combined $1,564,346,000,000 the federal government spent on HHS and the Social Security Administration during the first eight months of the fiscal year equaled 51.9 percent of the record total of $3,013,541,000,000 in federal spending during the period.

The combined $1,564,346,000,000 spent on HHS and Social Security was 3.56 times as much as the $439,289,000,000 spent on the Defense Department.

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Pentagon, Lockheed Martin Reach ‘Handshake’ Deal For Hundreds Of F-35s

If the deal goes through, the company will produce a whopping 478 F-35s. That’s the largest procurement in the Pentagon’s history.

The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin have reached a “handshake” agreement on a $34 billion contract to make hundreds of new F-35 fighter jets.

According to a press release from Lockheed Martin, if the deal goes through, the company will produce a whopping 478 F-35s. That’s the largest procurement in the Pentagon’s history.

As a Pentagon spokesperson told The Washington Post, buying the jets in large quantities should allow the Defense Department to lower the average unit cost per plane significantly.

The F-35 program has been repeatedly criticized for its hefty price tag. After all, the estimated lifetime cost of the program is more than $1 trillion.

https://www.newsy.com/stories/dod-lockheed-martin-reach-tentative-deal-for-f-35-jets/

 

Pentagon and Lockheed Martin reach tentative $34 billion deal for hundreds of F-35 fighter jets

One Pentagon official described it as the largest procurement in the history of the Defense Department.


A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft in Berlin. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt (Axel Schmidt/Reuters)

June 11 at 5:22 PM

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have reached a tentative agreement to procure 470 new F-35 fighter jets for the Air Force, Navy and Marines and allied militaries, the Defense Department announced Tuesday. A finalized contract award is expected in August, officials said.

If the massive order for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters is finalized, it will be the largest procurement in the history of the Defense Department. Its value is estimated at $34 billion.

The $34 billion agreement “marks the largest procurement in the history of the Department and provides a best value for our warfighter and taxpayer, incentivizes industry to continuously improve their performance and achieves the lowest F-35 unit prices per aircraft to date,” Vice Adm. Mathias Winter, F-35 program executive, said in an email to reporters.

Buying the jets in bulk should allow the Pentagon to decrease the average unit cost of the plane by about 15 percent, a Pentagon spokeswoman said. And it should bring the cost of the most common F-35 variant below $80 million one year ahead of schedule.

Lockheed Martin program general manager Greg Ulmer touted the company’s cost savings in the most recent contract, which he chalked up to “smart acquisition strategies and a relentless focus on cost reduction.”

“Beating our long-stated goal and delivering an F-35A below $80 million … is a testament to our joint government and industry team ― and we look forward to working with the Joint Program Office to finalize the agreement,” Ulmer wrote in an email.

Both Lockheed and the Defense Department are trying to address decades of criticism from congressional hawks and doves alike, who have characterized the F-35 program as too costly.

Almost since its inception, the F-35 has been a lighting rod for criticism around wasteful defense spending. And it has been a financial bedrock for Lockheed, propelling the Bethesda-based manufacturer to a dominant position atop the defense contracting hierarchy.

Proponents argue that the plane’s stealthiness, advanced sensors, targeting capabilities and extended flying range would make it an important asset in a war against a so-called “near-peer” competitor such as Russia or China.

But it is also the single most expensive military program in U.S. history by a wide margin, leading some to worry it will starve the Pentagon of resources it needs for other missions. The late senator John McCain called the F-35 a “poster child for acquisition malpractice” a “scandal” and a “tragedy” at different points during his tenure as Senate Armed Services Committee chairman.

President Trump also took an interest in the plane early in his presidency when he criticized its “tremendous cost and cost overruns,” and asked the Pentagon to consider buying one of Boeing’s F-18 jets instead. In early 2017, the Pentagon awarded Lockheed a contract that shaved roughly $728 million in costs ― an amount roughly equivalent to cost reductions already in place during the Obama administration.

Even Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive who is the acting defense secretary, has criticized the plane.

“The F-35, unequivocally, I can say, has a lot of opportunity for more performance,” Shanahan said in response to questions about whether he is biased toward his former employer.

Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia said the contract announced Tuesday draws attention to the sheer size of the program. The agreement means Lockheed Martin will benefit from years of taxpayer-funded military contracts, and will be able to confidently plan for the future.

“With contracts you recognize the sheer enormity of the [F-35] program,” Aboulafia said. “We could still see four or five more of these [multiyear production] contracts.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/06/11/pentagon-lockheed-martin-reach-tentative-billion-deal-hundreds-f-fighter-jets/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ae8a8f28df8e

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Story 1: President Trump’s New Immigration Proposal — What Happened To Border Security First With A 1,000 Mile Wall? — Build Big Beautiful Border Barrier — Additional 1500 Miles Required! — What Happened To Deporting and Removing All The Illegal Aliens (The 30-60 Million?) Living and Working in United States? — Then and Only Then Talk About Common Sense Comprehensive Immigration Reform — No Sale Mr. President! — Videos

President Trump unveils new immigration proposal

Sarah Sanders: There’s one agenda, one decisionmaker, that’s Trump

Trump‘s immigration plan could have a strong impact on the U.S. economy

Jared Kushner And President Donald Trump’s Immigration Proposal Comes Out DOA | Deadline | MSNBC

MAJOR TRUMP IMMIGRATION PLAN: Watch As Donald Trump Outlines His Immigration Executive Plan FNN

Trump elaborates on plan to deport illegal immigrants

How would Donald Trump deport millions of immigrants?

Your tax dollars supporting deported illegal immigrants?

Trump to unveil ‘merit-based’ immigration plan with English tests for new arrivals which White House insists IS ‘designed to become law’ despite Republican saying it is dead on arrival

  • Donald Trump will unveil his immigration overhaul Thursday afternoon, providing a road map for weary lawmakers tired of anticipating what he wants 
  • In Rose Garden remarks, Trump will announce changes to America’s ‘screwed up’ asylum laws and seek to build GOP support for a new merit-based plan   
  • GOP senator who introduced a plan Wednesday suggested White House’s plan cannot pass, because it includes a border wall and merit-based immigration
  • Lindsey Graham said at a press conference that Trump’s plan ‘isn’t designed to become law – it was meant to ‘unify’ the GOP on border security
  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted it’s more than set of goals and bullet points as she spoke to DailyMail.com on Thursday morning
  • ‘We think it certainly is designed to become law. We think it should. That’s why we put it out,’ she said on the White House driveway
  • Plan does away with the diversity visa lottery and prioritizes skilled workers 

 

Donald Trump will unveil his ideal immigration plan in a speech today, calling for new criteria and a point-based system for legal entry into the United States.

The proposal eliminates the diversity visa lottery for potential green card holders and refocuses the legal immigration system around skilled workers. It proposes English-language tests for visa holders and requires applicants to pass a U.S. citizenship test.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the proposal the White House previewed to Congress ‘isn’t designed to become law.’ He said it was intended to ‘unify’ the GOP on border security and a merit-based admission system.

A presentation by senior officials to press before Trump’s speech came in the form of a slideshow and did not include go into detail.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Thursday that Trump’s proposal is more than a set of goals and bullet points, however.

‘We think it certainly is designed to become law. We think it should. That’s why we put it out, and that’s why we’ve spent a lot of time developing and making sure that this is something that could have buy-in from both sides and actually fix our system that hasn’t been upgraded or touched in decades,’ she told DailyMail.com.

President Trump will unveil his immigration overhaul Thursday, providing a road map for weary lawmakers who've tired of failed negotiations

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the proposal the White House previewed to Congress 'isn't designed to become law.' He said it was intended to 'unify' the GOP on border security and a merit-based admission system

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the proposal the White House previewed to Congress ‘isn’t designed to become law.’ He said it was intended to ‘unify’ the GOP on border security and a merit-based admission system

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Thursday that Trump's proposal is more than a set of goals as she spoke to DailyMail.com and other press

Graham unveiled an immigration plan Wednesday that zeros in on the humanitarian crisis at the border. The White House said the GOP senator’s proposal is a ‘subset’ of Trump’s and the plans are complimentary to each other.

‘These two things compliment one another,’ Sanders told Fox News.

She characterized Graham’s comprehensive immigration reform proposal as a quick fix.

‘The president’s plan, that he’s going to talk about later this afternoon, is more of a long-term thing looking at modernizing and updating our entire immigration system.’

Sanders said there’s nothing in Trump’s plan Democrats should be against. 

‘We want to move to this merit-based system. Democrats right now, unless they get on board with this, the only thing they’ve said they want is open borders. I think that is a terrible thing for our country and I think it’s a terrible message for them going into 2020 so I think it would be wonderful to watch them get on board with something that helps secure our border,’ she warned.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday at a news conference that Democrats want a plan that secures the border, has a path to citizenship, and respects the family. She said they would only support a package that has ‘certain principles’ that her party agrees to.

Graham had put the White House on blast the afternoon before, as he revealed his plan, telling reporters, ‘The White House’s plan is not designed to become law. This is designed to become law.’

He said the White House plan emphasizing a border wall and merit-based immigration cannot win bipartisan support.

‘I don’t think it’s designed to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security,’ he said Tuesday after seeing the White House’s presentation.

Graham’s bill would require asylum applicants from Central American countries to apply for refugee status before they migrate to the U.S. Asylum claims from those migrants would be automatically rejected at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The senator wants to create processing centers in Mexico to review asylum claims – something Trump has also tried to establish.

Graham’s bill would also allow families to be held together for up to 100 days, revising a 20-day limit that’s currently in place. It would cut down on family separations but drive up the number of beds in use and the length of time that migrants can be detained to more than three months.

He would hire 500 new immigration judges to cut down on wait times. 

In Rose Garden remarks this afternoon, Trump will announce changes to America’s ‘screwed up’ asylum laws and seek to build GOP support for his plan, a senior administration official told White House press. on Wednesday.

Jared Kushner, a senior White House official and the president’s son-in-law, crafted the current proposal with the input of economic and border security experts such as senior policy advisor Stephen Miller.

At a briefing for press, officials stressed that it is the ‘Trump plan’ even though it was billed as ‘The Republican Proposal’ in the slideshow.

‘Right now, this is the Trump plan. We’re hoping this will become the Republican plan,’ an official clarified in response to to an inquiry from DailyMail.com on Wednesday, ‘and we’ll keep evolving.’

Whether Trump will be able to get a majority of lawmakers from its own party on board was an unknown as the White House made its second attempt at comprehensive immigration reform following a skirmish with the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives earlier in the year.

White House officials were hopeful and were working hard to fill in the proposal’s details.

Trump met with Republican senators last week and sent his proxies to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

WHAT’S IN TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION PLAN?

  •  Expedited adjudication for asylum seekers & quicker removal process
  • Wall in ‘high-priority locations’ along border with Mexico
  • Change eligibility for visas, adding a point-based system 
  • Points include: U.S civics test; health screening, background check
  • Other factors: age, English proficiency, offer of employment, educational & vocational certificates
  • Plan would increase education and skills of new legal immigrants

A report after the GOP luncheon claimed that Trump’s plan was lacking in details and Kushner had trouble handling the information. 

An official disputed the claims on Wednesday, insisting senators’ reactions had been ‘misreported’ and telling DailyMail.com, ‘People were very, very enthusiastic about it.’

White House officials have briefed half of the Senate’s 53 Republican members on the president’s plan, the Trump adviser claimed. ‘And there’s been no negative public comments from GOP senators, as well, on the record.’

The person suggested that leakers claiming otherwise were intentionally trying to derail the plan that seeks to decrease the number of immigrants who come because of family connections and increase the number of skilled workers.

A slide in the presentation said that within the current system, just 12 percent of immigrants are coming because of employment and skill, while 66 percent are relocating because of family ties. Another 22 percent are allowed in for humanitarian causes and through the diversity visa lottery.

Trump’s plan, which the slide mistakenly referred to as ‘The Republican Proposal’ even though officials said that wasn’t the case, set up new categories of 57 percent employment and skill based, and a reduction to 33 percent for family links and 10 percent for humanitarian purposes.

The administration based its plan on systems in Australia, Japan and Canada.

Jared Kushner, a senior White House official and the president's son-in-law, crafted the current proposal with the input of economic and border security experts such as senior policy advisor Stephen Miller

Jared Kushner, a senior White House official and the president’s son-in-law, crafted the current proposal with the input of economic and border security experts such as senior policy advisor Stephen Miller

Australia’s point-based system prioritizes merit-based workers at 68 percent of its total with 30 percent relocating for family reasons and 2 percent coming for other reasons.

Trump would totally do away with the diversity visa lottery in America, which he incorrectly claimed on Wednesday involves countries picking its worst citizens and sending them to America.

Non-Americans apply for visas and are selected by the State Department at random through the system. If they pass background checks administered by the United States, they are allowed to come to America.

Many illegal immigrants attempt to take advantage of America’s asylum laws, which are meant for refugees. The Trump administration wants to scale back the number of asylum seekers and unclog the asylum system.

‘Right now we have a lot of people who want to use our asylum system. Right now it’s so screwed up that those people aren’t getting the adjudication they need,’ a senior official told press. ‘So we want to make sure that people who have legitimate claims can come through quickly, and that people who are trying to take advantage of the system, use it as a back door, are ejected and removed in an expedited fashion but also given due process.’

Trump has pushed for a system that allows him to reject most Central American migrants’ asylum requests and immediately send them back to their home countries.

Last week a senior White House official told DailyMail.com that Trump envisions a ‘big door’ that immigrants with skill sets the U.S. wants will be able to walk through, ant that’s the focus of his overhaul.

In the interim, Trump has floated a plan to send illegal immigrants to San Francisco and other sanctuary cities that provide safe harbor to undocumented migrants.

The official said that under the president’s proposed new law, the president’s controversial sanctuary cities plan wouldn’t be necessary.

‘I think that if this plan gets enacted, then the amount of illegal immigrants coming into this country should plummet,’ the senior official told DailyMail.com, ‘because you’ll have the secure border and you’ll have the ability to detain, adjudicate – with due process – and then remove people who coming in illegally.’

The person added, ‘And then we’ll have a big door, which is the people who are coming in legally will be able to come in in a much simpler, expedited fashion, and that’s what we, I think, should expect, and aim for as a country.’

President Trump threatened last week to resort to ‘harsh measures’ to address problems in the immigration system, if Democrats continue to stand in the way of his overhaul.

The Republican president tweeted before a meeting with GOP senators to say, ‘Democrats in Congress must vote to close the terrible loopholes at the Southern Border. If not, harsh measures will have to be taken!’

He did not elaborate on the threat and details of the immigration proposal his White House is preparing with the help of lawmakers remained murky, even after officials held a background briefing for the press.

An outline of Trump’s comprehensive plan laid of six areas of concern: securing the border, protecting American wages and recruiting the best and brightest migrants, family reunification and the preservation of humanitarian values, in that order.

A senior official who spoke to a group of reporters last Tuesday said Trump will reveal a more detailed plan when he’s ready, and the meeting with senators was merely a first step in putting together a coalition.

‘I think he was very happy with the meeting today. I think we got a very positive reaction from people whose opinions he wanted to seek, and I think that was a good step forward to validate a lot of his instincts on what he wanted to produce and the work that he has subsequently done,’ the official stated.

A week later, the White House claimed it was ready to present the broad strokes of a proposal as it continued to work with legislators, however.

Officials said they were focused on winning the support of seven GOP senators, although they refused to say which lawmakers they were.

One who briefed press a week prior told DailyMail.com that what had changed in over the last eight days was that, ‘We got ready.’

‘We’re fairly fluid in terms of how we do these things, but what we’ll do is: when we’re ready,’ the senior Trump aide said.

The official explained that president approved the draft proposal and immediately brought in a focus group of 12 senators to solicit their input.

While it could have went poorly, the person said, ‘Turned out it went very, very well.

‘Feedback in the room was great, and these are all people who are not bashful about telling you both privately and publicly about when they’re not happy with what you put forward,’ the White House official assessed.

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser, to the president, is seen on Tuesday on Capitol Hill

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser, to the president, is seen on Tuesday on Capitol Hill

The White House promoted the meeting with senators as a ‘sounding board’ for options and claimed that a timeline for introducing the plan had not been set.

‘We had a good opportunity to share with them the outline that we’ve been working on, and then get some of their feedback, so it was a very constructive meeting. We’ll work on further refining it based on some of the things we heard today,’ the Trump aide who requested anonymity to brief the press said.

Trump is trying to avoid the mistakes Republicans made the first time they attempted to secure enough votes for an immigration overhaul after he assumed office, the White House official intimated.

‘People are always too quick to try and rush in to make deals,’ the person explained. ‘Once we have finalized what we believe is the right position, we’ll try to unify as many of the Republicans around that as possible, and then we’ll see.’

The person suggested that Democrats could come on board without much wrangling if the White House goes about rolling out its plan correctly.

‘Maybe the Democrats will like it. a lot of them say they’re for border security, a lot of Democrats say they’re for a merit-based system and so I think that we’re taking the first step of putting together these ideas in a very detailed format, and hopefully, that starts a very positive discussion,’ the Trump aide said.

Asked Wednesday whether the president seriously believes he can get a plan passed with Democratic senators vying for his job in hot pursuit, the official said the immediate goal is to get GOP senators on board.

‘It’s very easy to be pessimistic, right? We recognize how hard it is. But again the president’s mandate to us is come up with something that … represents my position on immigration, put it out there, let’s unify Republicans. That’s the immediate task. Once you do that, a lot of things become possible,’ the person said.

The aide said of the plan’s legislative viability, ‘I don’t know, maybe we can, maybe can’t but we’re gonna try like hell to see if we can do it.’

‘And the president’s a dealmaker, and he’s flexible and he wants to see this happen,’ the aide insisted.

Trump’s speech on Thursday is not anticipated to get into the nuts and bolts of the proposal.

‘We’re going to release some details tomorrow,’ the official said. ‘We’re going to release more details later on.’

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested to DailyMail.com and other reporters Tuesday morning that the new plan would be similar to one Trump sent to Congress his first year in office

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested to DailyMail.com and other reporters Tuesday morning that the new plan would be similar to one Trump sent to Congress his first year in office

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested to DailyMail.com and other reporters last Tuesday morning that the president’s new plan would be similar to one Trump sent to Congress his first year in office.

‘This president submitted to Congress, in October of 2017, a 70-point immigration plan, that has never been acted on,’ she asserted.

Conway said Trump prioritizes securing the border, ending chain migration and the diversity visa lottery and moving to a merit-based immigration system.

‘This president has shown in the past a serious willingness to solve our Dreamers and DACA challenges, as well,’ she said. ‘So Jared Kushner and others have been talking about for awhile a big immigration plan, and we’re happy that the senators are coming over to be briefed on that.’

She declined to say, in response to a question from DailyMail.com, what is different about the new plan that Trump will be selling to senators.

The senior White House official suggested that the political climate could make immigration reform easier the second crack of the bat.

‘That the Democrats actually come to the table and their serious about it, because this will be our second attempt. Where’s their plan? What is their idea?’ she said.

Specific details of the White House plan are still under wraps, too.  Trump has only said that it will prioritize merit-based workers.

‘They have skills, they have talent. We have people coming in under these crazy laws that – I mean under these crazy laws that – I mean if they – if they need welfare or if they need hand outs in the next 50 years, they – they’re almost incentivized,’ he said in a recent interview. ‘Those are the people that we’re supposed to be taking and we take as few as possible of them, I’ll tell you.’

He said Wednesday at a Capitol Hill service for slain police officers that he would keep out illegal immigrant killers like the one who killed a California cop he was honoring.

‘Not one more American life should be lost because our lawmakers failed to secure our borders. Tremendous problems are caused at the southern border — from drugs, to the wrong people being allowed to come in because of a corrupt and broken system that can be changed in 20 minutes — 20 minutes, if they want to change it.’

He said, ‘In the meantime, we have to do it the tough way. And there’s no reason for that. That’s why we are calling on Congress to fix our terrible immigration laws, stop catch-and-release; you catch them and you release them.

‘To end deadly sanctuary cities. To stop the visa lottery program, where they take lottery systems and a country will put you into a lottery and then deposit you into the United States. I don’t think most countries are giving us their finest. Do you agree? And that’s what’s happening. And it’s causing tremendous problems with crime and other things.

Trump claimed an illegal immigrant who killed Officer Ronil Singh ‘could have been kept out with border security, with the wall, with whatever the hell it takes’ and he would make it happen.

‘We’re getting it there. We’re building the wall. We’re beefing up like you wouldn’t believe. The military is come into action,’ he said, ‘People are trying to come into our country illegally because our country is doing well. They can’t come in illegally. They have to come in through the legal system. They have to come in through merit.’

The president insisted, ‘They can’t come in like this killer came in. Just rode across the border, went through every sign he could go through,’ he alleged.

Kushner said at a Time 100 summit last month that  border security, including a wall or a barrier, remains the president’s first priority.

‘We want to protect our country’s humanitarian values. We want to make sure we’re reunifying families, and we want to do this in a way that allows our country to be competitive long term,’ he said. ‘And my hope is we can really do something that unifies people around what we’re for on immigration.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7036913/White-House-insists-Trumps-merit-based-immigration-proposal-designed-law.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1238, April 11, 2019, Breaking News — Story 1: Wikileaks Co-Founder Julian Assange Arrested In Great Britain — Videos — Story 2: Obama vs. Trump Using Drones To Kill Terrorists and Many Innocent Civilians — Videos — Story 3: Fake Sanctuary Cities Oppose Sending Illegal Aliens To Their Cities — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1238 April 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1237 April 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1236 April 9, 201

Pronk Pops Show 1235 April 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

Pronk Pops Show 1232 March 29, 2019 Part 1

Pronk Pops Show 1231 March 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1230 March 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1229 March 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1228 March 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1227 March 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1226 March 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1225 March 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1224 March 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1223 March 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1222 March 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1221 March 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1220 March 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1219 March 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1218 March 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1217 February 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1216 February 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1215 February 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1214 February 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1213 February 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1212 February 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1211 February 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1210 February 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1209 February 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1208 February 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1207 February 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1206 February 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1205 February 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1204 February 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1203 February 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1202 February 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1201 February 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1200 February 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1199 January 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1198 January 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1197 January 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1196 January 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1195 January 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1194 January 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1193 January 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1192 January 8, 2019

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The Real Reason Julian Assange Was Arrested

Collateral Murder?

WikiLeaks video: ‘Collateral murder’ in Iraq

Published on Apr 7, 2010
WikiLeaks, a website that publishes anonymously sourced documents, has released a video showing what apparently is a US military helicopter firing at unarmed civilians in Iraq. WikiLeaks said the footage, filmed from a helicopter cockpit, shows a missile strike and shooting on a square in a Baghdad neighbourhood in July 2007. The website said 12 civilians were killed in the attack, including two journalists, Namir Nour El Deen and Saeed Chmagh, who worked for the Reuters news agency. This is the full, unedited version of the footage.

WikiLeaks’ Collateral Murder: U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord

Controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

What U.S. charges against Julian Assange mean for journalists

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Arrested In London, Facing Possible US Extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

‘The Five’ reacts to Julian Assange’s charges

Former MI5 Agent on Assange’s arrest

Bill Binney (former NSA) on the Arrest of Julian Assange

Former intel chief reacts to Assange arrest

LIVE: Wikileaks Editor in chief holds press briefing on Assange’s “new criminal case”

‘The arrest of Julian Assange is spiteful self-interested politics’

Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London- BBC News

Wikileaks Co-founder Julian Assange Arrested

How Julian Assange Became a Household Name

Why has Julian Assange been holed up? BBC News

Who Is Julian Assange? (2010)

Secret World of US Election: Julian Assange talks to John Pilger (FULL INTERVIEW)

What 33,000 pages of leaked emails teach us about Hillary Clinton

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