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The Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017, Story 1: Trump Takes On Government Regulation Permitting Process for Infrastructure With Executive Order — Videos Story 2: President Trump Takes On Corporate Executives Manufacturing Abroad and Big Lie Media On Charlottesville — I Need The Facts — Videos — Story 3: Will Trump Cave To Critics of Bannon? If Trump Does He Will Lose A Large Part Of His Voter Base And Some Talk Radio Supporters — Videos

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Image result for president trump permitting process august 15, 2017 press conferenceImage result for branco cartoons president trump on infrastructure 2017Image result for branco cartoons on antifaImage result for branco cartoons president trump on infrastructure 2017Image result for jack web just the facts

Story 1: Trump Takes On Government Regulation Permitting Process for Infrastructure With Executive Order — Videos 

President Donald Trump Full EXPLOSIVE Press Conference 8/15/17

 

Trump Says ‘Both Sides’ to Blame in Charlottesville Violence

Remarks at odds with day-earlier statement condemning white supremacists

Trump Again Blames Both Sides for Charlottesville Violence
Responding to questions at a news conference Tuesday, President Donald Trump said “both sides” are to blame for violent weekend clashes in Charlottesville, Va. Here’s the 17-minute exchange with reporters. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

NEW YORK—President Donald Trump, in a combative news conference on Tuesday, defended his response to the racially charged protests over the weekend, saying both sides were to blame for the clashes in Charlottesville, Va.

“There is blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it,” Mr. Trump said of the confrontation between white nationalist protesters holding a demonstration in the city and the counterprotesters facing off against them.

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent and nobody wants to say that but I’ll say it right now,” he said, adding that there were “very fine people, on both sides.”

Mr. Trump’s remarks were at odds with his statement on Monday that singled out white supremacists for blame and was issued after the president faced heavy pressure for failing to do so two days earlier. One woman was killed during the violence when a car driven by an alleged white supremacist plowed into a crowd.

Explaining Tuesday why he waited to call out white nationalist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by name, Mr. Trump said: “Before I make a statement, I need the facts.”

The news conference was his first at Trump Tower since taking office, and was the most confrontational appearance since his last news conference at his New York skyscraper on Jan. 11, when he got into a shouting match with a CNN reporter.

Although the focus of the event was on Mr. Trump’s efforts to ease regulations and speed up infrastructure projects, the inquiries from reporters were almost exclusively about Mr. Trump’s handling of the protests, and why it took him three days to single out neo-Nazis or white nationalists, who organized the weekend rally.

Out of nearly two dozen questions aimed at the president, just one was about infrastructure. He received no questions about North Korea’s recent decision to back off its threat to fire missiles at Guam, or his first trade action aimed at China, which was announced on Monday.

An increasingly agitated president responded by calling the counterprotesters, who ranged from liberal activists, members of the clergy and students, the “alt-left”—a play on the term “alt-right” that is a catchall phrase for far-right groups that embrace tenets of white supremacy or reject mainstream conservatism.

He suggested there was a slippery slope from removing a statute of Civil War General Robert E. Lee, which sparked the demonstration, and scrubbing from history former Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” he said. “What about the fact that they came charging with their clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”

The president’s comments were praised by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who, on Twitter, thanked Mr. Trump for his “honor and courage to tell the truth about Charlottesville and condemn the leftist terrorists.” Mr. Duke ran for Senate as a Republican.

The tweet drew immediate rebukes from some Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, one of his party’s few black congressmen.

“I don’t think anybody should be looking at getting props from a grand dragon from the KKK as a definition of success,” Mr. Hurd said on CNN, adding that the president should “stick to the teleprompter and not go off the cuff.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis), who has often defended Mr. Trump this year, moved quickly to separate himself from the president’s remarks at Trump Tower.

“We must be clear,” Mr. Ryan posted on Twitter. “White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) tweeted: “As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President.”

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that the president “once again denounced hate today. The GOP stands behind his message of love and inclusiveness!”

Following days of criticism about his handling of Charlottesville, Mr. Trump came to the news conference aggrieved about his treatment, two advisers to the president said. One said he had been “stunned” by the reaction over the past few days and was feeling “overwhelming pressure.” Mr. Trump could have parried questions by referring to his statement on Monday singling out white nationalist groups by name. Instead, he gave the most extensive public comments on the episode to date.

One adviser to the president, speaking before the news conference, said Mr. Trump was facing pressure from aides, family and friends to clarify his statement on Saturday and condemn more directly the white nationalist protesters. The danger to Mr. Trump is that divisive racial rhetoric will leave him isolated, this person said.

“Congress will run from him. Any normal person will run from him,” he said.

Mr. Trump also was asked about his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and his future in the White House.

The president has been urged to fire Mr. Bannon by other top White House officials, some Republican lawmakers, as well as Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House. But on Tuesday, the president called Mr. Bannon a “friend” and suggested he was safe, at least for now.

Mr. Bannon, who helped steer Mr. Trump’s election victory, joined the campaign from Breitbart News, which he once described as a “platform for the alt-right.” Brietbart has published such articles as “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”

“We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon, but he’s a good person,” Mr. Trump said. “He is not a racist, I can tell you that.”

Some conservatives, though, said Mr. Trump is ill-served by Mr. Bannon’s presence in the West Wing, and calls for his ouster have risen since the Charlottesville violence.

Karl Rove, a former senior official in President George W. Bush’s White House and an op-ed writer for The Wall Street Journal, said Mr. Bannon’s ideology is out of step with that of Republican and conservative thought. “I personally believe that Bannon’s mind-set is unhelpful to the president,” Mr. Rove said. “The idea of blowing up the Republican Party and helping the alt-right infiltrate the conservative movement is unhelpful to my party and my cause.”

Mr. Trump said some protesters Saturday weren’t white supremacists but people there to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statute.

“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis,” he said. “I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.”

Mr. Trump also was asked about the executives who had left White House advisory positions in the wake of his slow condemnation of white nationalists.

He said: “Because they’re not taking their jobs seriously as it pertains to this country. … They’re leaving out of embarrassment because they’re making their products outside” of the country.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-both-sides-to-blame-in-charlottesville-violence-reversing-mondays-stance-1502830785

 

Story 2: President Trump Takes On Corporate Executives Manufacturing Abroad and Big Lie Media On Charlottesville — I Need The Facts — Videos —

President Donald Trump: Saturday’s Statement On Charlottesville Was A ‘Fine Statement’ | CNBC

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Dragnet 1967 – The Big Explosion

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Friday and Gannon investigate a burglary involving the theft of 400 pounds of high velocity gelatin dynamite from a consumer storage magazine. Friday and Gannon soon find out that the dynamite is used for something more sinister and deadly.

 

Story 3: Will Trump Cave To Critics of Bannion? — Videos

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Bannon could be gone ‘by the end of the week’: New claim of a Friday massacre in the cards for Trump’s chief strategist – and ally Sebastian Gorka could be next

  • Reports swirl that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon could be out of a job by week’s end
  • Trump administration is silent on the question but New York Times and CBS News paint a bleak picture for former Breitbart News executive chairman 
  • Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch has urged the president to fire Bannon
  • White House aide: Bannon ‘never expected to be here forever … but it’s not like his people are opening packages of banker’s boxes’ to collect their things
  • Another senior aide says flatly: ‘Steve’s staying’
  • Fellow nationalist Sebastian Gorka is seen as possible next domino to fall as new chief of staff tries to bring order to the West Wing 

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is a marked man, according to news reports and sources inside the West Wing who see the nationalist Trump-whisperer’s political hourglass quickly losing sand.

CBS News reported Monday night that the axe could fall as soon as Friday on the man credited with arranging the president’s marriage to millions of angry white working-class voters last year.

The former Breitbart News executive chairman was once an equal partner in a ruling triumvirate of deputies that included Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.

But Priebus’s star ran out of fuel last month. And his successor John Kelly is a no-nonsense retired Marine Corps general seen as a walking antidote to the chaos that marked Trump’s first half-year in office.

That prescription could oust a man known more for his Machiavellian streak than for playing well with others.

Reports swirled on Tuesday that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon could be out of a job by week's end

Reports swirled on Tuesday that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon could be out of a job by week’s end

Fellow nationalist Sebastian Gorka is seen as possible next domino to fall as new chief of staff tries to bring order to the West Wing

Fellow nationalist Sebastian Gorka is seen as possible next domino to fall as new chief of staff tries to bring order to the West Wing

Also looking over his shoulder is Sebastian Gorka, a hard-charging former Brietbart writer who speaks for the White House on terrorism and national security matters despite having no role with the National Security Council.

The Hill reported Tuesday that the administration has been slow to defend Gorka, but that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has so far been unable to sideline him.

Bannon has been accused of leveraging his relationships in the conservative media to undermine McMaster and National Economic Council chair Gary Cohn.

And he has feuded endlessly with Kushner, whose family ties with the president gave him a natural and undeniable leg up in any squabble.

President Trump has shown no public indication about whether Bannon has worn out his welcome.

Bannon himself did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

On Tuesday Bannon’s closest associates at the White House denied that he’s on the outs, even as The New York Times reported that he’s been placed in a sort of ‘internal exile’ without any precious presidential face-time.

‘He never expected to be here forever. That much is true,’ one aide told DailyMail.com on Tuesday, reacting to the Times’ description of Bannon’s fading fortunes.

‘But it’s not like his people are opening packages of banker’s boxes’ to collect their things, the source cautioned.

A second White House aide said flatly: ‘Steve’s staying’ – but wouldn’t elaborate.

The dissenting views are an indication of how warring factions in the White House can put contradictory spin on power struggles.

During an appearance on CBS' Late Show with Stephen Colbert, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Bannon should get his walking papers

During an appearance on CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Bannon should get his walking papers

Bannon was Trump's campaign CEO who was widely credited with arranging the president's marriage to millions of angry white working-class voters last year

Bannon was Trump’s campaign CEO who was widely credited with arranging the president’s marriage to millions of angry white working-class voters last year

North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, cautioned to the Times that right-wing America sees Bannon as its eyes and ears at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Without the 63-year-old swashbuckler, he said, ‘there is a concern among conservatives that Washington, D.C., will influence the president in a way that moves him away from those voters that put him in the White House.’

Bannon and Gorka are the heart of the Trump administration’s intersection with the ‘alt-right,’ a conservative fringe that has become an easy target because of its uneasy mingling with white supremacist and anti-Semitic influences.

‘If he doesn’t want this to consume his presidency, he needs to purge anyone involved with the alt-right,’ former Ted Cruz campaign spokesman Rick Tyler told The Hill.

‘Breitbart has become a pejorative … You can’t allow the Oval Office to be a vehicle for the alt-right.’

The Times also reported that media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News, has urged Trump to cut Bannon loose.

Murdoch made his comments about Bannon during dinner with Trump, new White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner at Trump’s private golf club on August 4, according to the Times.

During the dinner, Trump vented about his frustrations with Bannon and did not push back.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch reportedly urged Trump to fire Bannon and the president offered no pushback

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch reportedly urged Trump to fire Bannon and the president offered no pushback

Bannon and Trump, pictured on the third day of the president's term in office, were once inseparable but are now estranged 

Bannon and Trump, pictured on the third day of the president’s term in office, were once inseparable but are now estranged

During an appearance on CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci discussed if he thought Bannon was ‘a leaker’ in the White House.

‘I said he was, and I obviously got caught on tape saying he was, so I have no problem saying that,’ Scaramucci replied.

‘If it was up to me, he would be gone,’ continued Scaramucci. ‘But it’s not up to me.’

Asked if he believed Bannon was a white supremacist, a passive-aggressive Scaramucci replied: ‘I don’t think he’s a white supremacist though I’ve never asked him.’

‘What I don’t like is the toleration of it, for me it’s something that should not be tolerated.’

This is not the first time Scaramucci expressed his feelings over Bannon, who previously called Breitbart a ‘platform for the alt-right.’

Over the weekend Scaramucci blamed Bannon’s ideology for some of the president’s recent missteps, including Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.

The president initially condemned the Saturday incident as an ‘egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides – on many sides,’ a phrase that led some to believe he was tacitly supporting racism.

But on Monday, under pressure from critics, Trump said that ‘racism is evil’ and described members of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who take part in violence as ‘criminals and thugs.’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for Trump to fire Bannon anyway.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4792752/Steve-Bannon-gone-end-week.html#ixzz4prpJ7eoa

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: Special Counsel Robert Mueller III Impanels Grand Jury for Russian Investigation and Alleged Russia/Trump Collusion Conspiracy Theory — Videos — Story 2: Proposed Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act will Expose Hypocrisy of Democrats and Republicans In Promoting Open Borders with 30-60 Million Illegal Invasion of United States Over The Last 30 Years and  Rising Legal Immigration Instead of Protecting The American Worker and Middle Class — The Betrayal Of American People By The Political Elitist Establishment — Videos

Posted on August 3, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mexico, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Privacy, Progressives, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Science, Social Security, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, Uncategorized, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Violence, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939,  August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936, July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935, July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931, July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925, July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923, July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 921, June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920, June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919, June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918, June 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 917, June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916, June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915, June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914, June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913, June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912, June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911, June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910, June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909, June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908, June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907, June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906, June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905, June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904, June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903, June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902, May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901, May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900, May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899, May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898, May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897, May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896, May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895, May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894, May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893, May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892, May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891, May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890, May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889, May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888, May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887, May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886, May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885, May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884, May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Image result for cartoon mueller investigate russia trump collusionImage result for cartoons illegal alien invasion of united states

Image result for cartoons illegal alien invasion of united states

Image result for cartoons illegal alien invasion of united states

Image result for cartoons illegal alien invasion of united states

Legal Immigration

Image result for Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. charts on numbers 

Illegal Alien Invasion of United States

For Every 1 Apprehension A Minimum of 3 Get Away

Image result for us border patrol apprehensions 1990-2015

Image result for us border patrol apprehensions 1990-2015

Image result for us border patrol apprehensions 1990-2015

Image result for us border patrol apprehensions 1990-2015

Image result for us border patrol apprehensions 1990-2015

Image result for us border patrol apprehensions 1990-2015Image result for cartoons illegal alien invasion of united states by illegal aliens

Breaking News — Story 1: Special Counsel Robert Mueller III Impanels Grand Jury for Russian Investigation and Alleged Russia/Trump Collusion Conspiracy Theory — Videos —

TRUMP BREAKING NEWS 8/3/17 WSJ: MUELLER IMPANELS GRAND JURY IN RUSSIA PROBE

Report: Mueller empowers grand jury in Russia investigation

Trump attorney: Grand jury not a surprise, not unusual

Mueller using grand jury as part of Russia investigation

Senators Take Action to Protect Robert Mueller’s Trump Investigation

Mary Clare Jalonick / AP
10:54 AM ET

(WASHINGTON) — Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are moving to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job, putting forth new legislation that aims to ensure the integrity of current and future independent investigations.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware plan to introduce the legislation Thursday. The bill would allow any special counsel for the Department of Justice to challenge his or her removal in court, with a review by a three-judge panel within 14 days of the challenge.

The bill would apply retroactively to May 17, 2017 — the day Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.

“It is critical that special counsels have the independence and resources they need to lead investigations,” Tillis said in a statement. “A back-end judicial review process to prevent unmerited removals of special counsels not only helps to ensure their investigatory independence, but also reaffirms our nation’s system of check and balances.”

Mueller was appointed as special counsel following Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey. Mueller, who was Comey’s predecessor as FBI director, has assembled a team of prosecutors and lawyers with experience in financial fraud, national security and organized crime to investigate contacts between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Trump has been critical of Mueller since his appointment, and the president’s legal team is looking into potential conflicts surrounding the team Mueller has hired, including the backgrounds of members and political contributions by some members of his team to Hillary Clinton. He has also publicly warned Mueller that he would be out of bounds if he dug into the Trump family’s finances.

Mueller has strong support on Capitol Hill. Senators in both parties have expressed concerns that Trump may try to fire Mueller and have warned him not to do so.

“Ensuring that the special counsel cannot be removed improperly is critical to the integrity of his investigation,” Coons said.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another member of the judiciary panel, said last week that he was working on a similar bill that would prevent the firing of a special counsel without judicial review. Graham said then that firing Mueller “would precipitate a firestorm that would be unprecedented in proportions.”

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is also working on Graham’s legislation, according to Booker’s office. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has yet to signal support for either measure.

The Tillis and Coons bill would allow review after the special counsel had been dismissed. If the panel found there was no good cause for the counsel’s removal, the person would be immediately reinstated. The legislation would also codify existing Justice Department regulations that a special counsel can only be removed for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest or other good cause, such as a violation of departmental policies.

In addition, only the attorney general or the most senior Justice Department official in charge of the matter could fire the special counsel.

In the case of the current investigation, Rosenstein is charged with Mueller’s fate because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all matters having to do with the Trump-Russia investigation.

http://time.com/4885770/robert-mueller-investigation-senate-legislation/

 

Exclusive: top FBI officials could testify against Trump

The acting head of the bureau told top officials to prepare.

Shortly after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in May, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told several of the highest-ranking managers of the bureau they should consider themselves possible witnesses in any investigation into whether President Donald Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials.

McCabe has told colleagues that he too is a potential witness in the probe of whether Trump broke the law by trying to thwart the FBI’s Russia investigation and the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Two senior federal law enforcement officials have told me that the new revelations illustrate why they believe the potential case against Trump is stronger than outsiders have thought.

“What you are going to have is the potential for a powerful obstruction case,” a senior law enforcement official said. “You are going to have the [former] FBI director testify, and then the acting director, the chief of staff to the FBI director, the FBI’s general counsel, and then others, one right after another. This has never been the word of Trump against what [James Comey] has had to say. This is more like the Federal Bureau of Investigation versus Donald Trump.”

Trump and his supporters have long argued that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the special counsel to bring an obstruction case against Trump. The case would rely on the word of one man versus another, that of the president of the United States versus the FBI director he fired. But this was never the case.

Including Comey, as many as 10, and possibly more, of the nation’s most senior law enforcement officials are likely to be questioned as part of the investigation into whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, according to two government investigators with firsthand knowledge of the matter. Comey’s notes on his conversations could also be used as evidence, according to many reports.

The White House declined to comment. First contacted by email by on July 27, White House spokesperson Kelly Love responded late Wednesday saying, “This would be a question for outside counsel.” Love did not name which of the president’s many lawyers to contact. Marc E. Kasowitz, an attorney for the president, did not respond to a phone message Wednesday evening. The FBI also declined to comment.

FBI agents are experienced witnesses who routinely testify in high-pressure cases. Plus, the FBI itself is a rare public institution that is widely respected and trusted by the American public. The witness list and breadth of possible evidence, including notes Comey and several other senior FBI officials made at the time, could add up to a much stronger obstruction of justice case than Trump ever could have imagined.

Among those who McCabe and other law enforcement officials have privately believed are potential witnesses are six of the highest-ranking officials of the agency: They include McCabe himself; Jim Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff; James Baker, the general counsel of the FBI; David Bowdich, who as the FBI’s associate director is the agency’s third-highest official; and Carl Ghattas, the head of the FBI’s national security division and a legal adviser to McCabe. McCabe was deputy director of the FBI until May, when he became acting director after President Trump fired Comey.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and a third senior Justice Department official are believed by law enforcement officials to be crucial fact witnesses in the obstruction probe. Their testimony is likely to support Comey and harm Trump, according to investigators and outside experts.

Mueller’s case is looking stronger than Trump surrogates say

In May, Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate whether Trump colluded with the Russian government to help defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. A related area of inquiry for the special counsel is whether Trump obstructed justice when he allegedly asked Comey to shut down his inquiry of Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump made sure he and Comey were alone when he allegedly pressured the then-FBI director to curtail the FBI’s Russia investigation. At a private White House dinner on January 27, Trump allegedly pressed Comey to pledge his personal loyalty. The dinner came right after the president learned Flynn was under criminal investigation.

Later, on February 14, Trump allegedly leaned on Comey privately in an Oval Office meeting to shut down the FBI’s investigation of Flynn. Comey did not drop the investigation or take other steps Trump requested that the then-director of the FBI felt were improper. Trump then fired Comey on May 9.

Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s pressure on Comey to shut down his investigation — combined with other efforts to thwart the investigation, including firing Comey — are an obstruction of justice. As such, Comey is the central witness against Trump in any such obstruction investigation. That Trump was ordinarily alone with Comey when these various incidents occurred has led Trump and his surrogates to argue that it would be difficult for any obstruction of justice case to be brought because it would be based solely on Comey’s word.

“We have to keep in mind that is one person’s record of what happened,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said on Fox News in one typical comment repeated by White House surrogates. “The only two people who know what happened in these meeting are the president and James Comey.”

But even though Trump took great pains to try to be alone with Comey when they spoke, Comey regularly spoke to the six high-ranking FBI managers, often right after a distressing conversation with Trump about the Russia probe.

Comey spoke to these FBI officials almost always within 24 to 48 hours after such a contact took place, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials. A person familiar with the matter told me they know for certain there were at least eight such conversations — and likely more than a dozen — that Comey had with these high-ranking FBI managers, sometimes one on one, sometimes in groups of several officials. More than one such meeting was longer than an hour.

And in at least one previously unreported instance — that of a phone conversation between the president and Comey, during which Trump pressed Comey to say that Trump wasn’t personally under investigation — Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff, was present for the entirety of the phone call.

Trump had unexpectedly called Comey while Comey was in a meeting with Rybicki. As Trump and the then-FBI director spoke, Rybicki stayed put and listened to the entirety of Comey’s side of the conversation, according to Comey’s testimony to Congress and a senior federal law enforcement official.

In addition, Comey often emailed Rybicki accounts of his troublesome discussions with Trump about the Russia investigation — if not immediately after, sometimes the same day, according to a senior federal law enforcement official.

Baker, the FBI general counsel, took methodical notes during his discussions with Comey and others in the FBI hierarchy about Trump’s efforts to thwart the FBI’s investigation, according to these same sources.

Law enforcement officials are likely to be questioned

I interviewed current and former law enforcement officials, including some who, though not directly involved in the investigation, have held key positions working for independent counsels or special prosecutors investigating earlier presidents. They told me they agree with McCabe’s assertions that the senior FBI managers are almost certainly to be questioned for any investigation of President Trump for obstruction of justice.

Sam Buell, a Duke University law professor who has previously served as a federal prosecutor in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, and Houston, similarly told me that Mueller will almost certainly interview all six senior FBI officials that Comey confided in, as well as Sessions and Rosenstein: “In any high-stakes matter, you are going to want to talk to anyone in the vicinity of a conversation. It doesn’t mean that they end up as trial witness. But at an investigative stage, you are going to talk to all of these people. You want their stories locked in. You want to know if what they have to say would help you or hurt you.”

John Keker, who during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations prosecuted retired Lt. Oliver North for the Iran-Contra special prosecutor, explained to me: “Think of any crime. The defense might make the case that the accuser made it up. The questions for the witness are: ‘Did you just make this up?’ ‘Are you just saying this now?’ ‘Why didn’t you say something before?’ ‘Whom did you say something to? Did you write it down?’

“But if they told people when it happens, it makes their story more plausible. It helps their credibility. In this case, the people Comey told were multiple senior FBI officials.”

Other evidence is there too

In addition to the actual testimony of Comey and nine other senior federal law enforcement officials against the president, there is other related corroboratory evidence created as a result of those conversations. And this could bolster any potential obstruction of justice case against Trump.

There are Comey’s now-famous notes, which are careful, meticulous accounts of his meetings with the president. They are powerful not only for their detail but even for the atmospherics that tell a compelling story, according to people who have read portions of them.

Explaining why he took these notes, Comey told Congress: “I knew that there might come a day when I would need a record of what had happened, not just to defend myself but also to defend the FBI and our integrity as an institution and the independence of our investigative function. … [I]t was a combination of circumstances, subject matter, and the particular person.”

FBI agents and managers are inveterate note takers. It is part of the culture of the FBI. Several of the senior FBI managers Comey consulted with are also attorneys, who have similar traditions of memorializing important matters by taking careful and contemporaneous notes.

“That’s the culture of the FBI — you habitually document everything you do,” Lauren C. Anderson, a former senior FBI official who worked for the bureau for 29 years, told the New York Times, explaining why Comey made notes of his crucial conversations with the president. Her comments also would appear to explain why other senior FBI managers might have made similar sets of notes about their conversations with Comey.

Although it is unclear which FBI managers took notes and which did not, at least one person familiar with the matter said that James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel, made detailed notes of virtually every conversation with Comey or others about the Russia probe.

Those notes by Baker are crucial to investigators because Baker was a lively participant in discussions about whether to inform the Justice Department of the president’s pressure on Comey to end the Flynn investigation. During discussions about whether Comey or the Justice Department should give in to Trump’s request to say the investigation had not focused on him, Baker was the primary and strongest proponent that they not do so.

The potential testimony by Comey, McCabe, and so many other FBI witnesses could prove damning to Trump for other reasons. FBI agents and their managers are more than just highly credible witnesses. In the course of a typical FBI agent’s career, he or she works closely with federal prosecutors in making cases based on the testimony of witnesses first interviewed by the agent, and often testifies as a witness in cases, some dozens of times in the course of a career.

While most major governmental institutions have, according to most polls and surveys, faced some of their lowest ratings ever, the American public still retains strong confidence in its FBI. A November 2015 Pew Research national survey found that 68 percent of all Americans viewed the FBI favorably. Only four other federal agencies ranked higher: the US Postal Service, the National Park Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and NASA.

Even Trump allies could hurt Trump

Comey testified to Congress that he shared with senior managers of the FBI the president’s efforts to thwart the bureau’s Russia investigation. But he did not inform the Justice Department of those efforts prior to Trump firing him. A major reason he didn’t do so, Comey said, was because the FBI’s leaders told him, “Look, it’s your word against the president’s. There’s no way to corroborate this.”

But Comey testified that during a private meeting with Sessions about another matter — “the president’s concerns about leaks” — he took the opportunity “to implore the attorney general to prevent any future direct communication between the president and me.” Comey told Sessions that leaving him alone with Trump “was inappropriate and should never happen again.” Comey said that Sessions “did not reply at all, his body language suggesting he was helpless or unwilling to do anything.”

Comey also testified that he expressed similar concerns to Rosenstein: “I explained my serious concern about the way in which the president is interacting, especially with the FBI.”

In his own testimony to Congress, Sessions sharply disputed Comey’s claim that he said or did nothing when Comey raised these concerns, saying he told Comey “that the FBI and Department of Justice needed to follow department policies regarding appropriate contact with the White House.”

But more importantly, while taking issue with that one aspect of the story, Sessions largely corroborated Comey’s account under oath — about how uncomfortable the then-FBI director felt with the president’s interactions with the FBI. Sessions is a Trump loyalist, the first US senator to endorse Trump, and the Trump administration’s attorney general — this only enhances his credibility as a witness whose testimony would harm Trump. (Of course, that relationship is now severely strained.) That Sessions recommended Comey’s firing as FBI director also, ironically, enhances his credibility as a corroboratory witness of Comey’s and against the president.

Rosenstein is yet to be heard from.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/3/16084246/mueller-obstruction-case-stronger-trump-surrogates

Story 2: Proposed Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act will Expose Hypocrisy of Democrats and Republicans In Promoting Open Borders with 30-60 Million Illegal Invasion of United States Over The Last 20 Years and  Rising Legal Immigration Instead of Protecting The American Worker and Middle Class — The Betrayal Of American People By The Political Elitist Establishment — Videos

Image result for cartoons illegal alien invasion of united states

Trump Endorses Bill That Reduces Legal Immigration

Trump To Cut LEGAL Immigration IN HALF

TUCKER REACTS TO JIM ACOSTA GETTING DESTROYED BY STEPHEN MILLER | TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT

CNN’s Jim Acosta HUMILIATED by White House Advisor Stephen Miller at Press Briefing

GREG GUTFELD REACTS TO JIM ACOSTA GETTING DESTROYED BY STEPHEN MILLER | THE FIVE

The History of The Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty in a Nutshell

Jim Acosta vs Stephen Miller – Immigration – White House Press Briefing 8/2/17

Huckabee Sanders: Stephen Miller put Jim Acosta in his place

Jim Acosta vs Stephen Miller – Immigration – White House Press Briefing 8/2/17

Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act

Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton RAISE Act Press Conference

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

Sen.Barbara Jordan Legal Immigration Recommendations

2015 Barbara Jordan TV ad

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 1

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 2

Immigration battle brewing in the GOP

Republicans are barreling toward a fight over immigration policy that could expose deep divisions in the party.

A renewed push by GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) to crack down on legal immigration is threatening to pit President Trump, who endorsed their legislation, against GOP senators who want broader reforms.

The bill, which got a White House rollout on Wednesday, would fundamentally overhaul the immigration system. It would curtail the number of legal immigrants admitted into the country, cutting the total roughly in half.

The legislation, supporters say, would help enshrine a shift in Republican Party politics that was prominent in Trump’s campaign rhetoric, where he frequently warned that immigrants were taking American jobs.”As a candidate I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects American workers and tax payers,” Trump said at the White House while standing next to Cotton and Perdue.

The measure faces a difficult path to 60 votes in the Senate, which would require the support of at least eight Democrats, not to mention every GOP senator — a scenario that appears highly unlikely.

Pressed Wednesday about how the bill could pass Congress, White House aide Stephen Miller said the legislation represented a “major promise” to Americans.

“This is what President Trump campaigned on. He talked about it throughout the campaign, throughout the transition, and since coming into office,” said Miller, who was formerly a staffer for then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of the Senate’s most vocal immigration hawks who is now attorney general.

But many in the GOP are opposed to reshaping the party’s immigration policies in Trump’s image

Critics of Trump’s approach fear opposition to immigration reform will damage the party’s long-term electoral chances, given the nation’s growing Latino and Asian populations. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won 65 percent of the Latino and Asian vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to exit polling.

There are already early signs of pushback from multiple factions within the Senate GOP conference to the legal immigration limits, including members who are worried about the impact on businesses.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said there could be an “awful lot” in the bill that he could support but warned against limiting his state’s labor pool.

“Dairy farmers need migrant labors. … So we really need to take a look at the reality of the situation,” Johnson, who has close ties to the business community, told reporters. “I don’t want to limit what our economy needs.”

Cotton, responding to some of his colleague’s criticism, noted the legislation wouldn’t touch the guest worker program, which allows immigrants to temporarily come into the country.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), part of the “Gang of Eight” that helped craft the 2013 immigration bill, ripped the Cotton–Perdue proposal within hours of its White House rollout.

“If this proposal were to become law, it would be devastating to our state’s economy, which relies on this immigrant workforce,” Graham said.

He added he is worried the legislation “incentivizes more illegal immigration,” saying “after dealing with this issue for more than a decade, I know that when you restrict legal labor to employers it incentivizes cheating.”

Illustrating the wider disagreement in the GOP about immigration policy, Graham has worked on two bills this year with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that would allow undocumented immigrants brought into country as children to remain here legally, at least temporarily.

GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have signed on to at least one of Graham’s bills. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is currently undergoing treatment for brain cancer, also signaled earlier this year that he was opposed to attempts to crack down on legal immigration.

The Cotton–Perdue bill seems likely to rekindle the long-running debate over which section of the party — those who want broader immigration reforms or the protectionist strain that rose to new prominence with Trump — has the public’s support.

The legislation would curb the number of green cards, which give immigrants permanent residence, issued each year and establishes a “merit-based” points system for individuals who want to come into the country.

Cotton and Perdue will have to walk a political tightrope to get their bill enacted. They will be under pressure from moderate GOP senators and Democrats to make fundamental revisions to their bill, but any move to make it more lenient toward or address undocumented immigration could erode conservative support.

Perdue said for the moment he is focused on trying to garner support for the legislation.

“We have had conversations with them. We’ve met with [Senate Judiciary Committee] Chairman [Chuck] Grassley. … We know we’re going to work it through committee and go regular order, obviously. What we’re trying to do right now is garner support inside the Senate,” he said, when asked if he has talked to GOP leadership.

The bill could face its first test in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Republicans have a two-seat advantage. Graham and Flake are both members of the committee and signaled concern about an earlier version of the legislation rolled out in February.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, is working on a border security bill that is expected to include some immigration components. That legislation is expected to unveiled on Thursday.

Asked if his legislation could be wrapped in with border security, Perdue said he wants the bill to move on its own.

“What we’ve done in the past with these immigration issues is we keep adding on and adding on and adding on. I think this one stands on its own merit,” he said.

Republican lawmakers have shown little appetite for another big debate on immigration.

But once Trump makes a decision on the 750,000 immigrants who are protected from deportation by former President Barack Obama‘s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, they might not be able to avoid one.

Johnson warned against trying to package the legislation into a broader immigration bill.

“I don’t think we do a very good job at it. … If you demand comprehensive, you pretty well limit what you can accomplish,” he said.

Moderate GOP senators and Democrats will also be under pressure from conservative outside groups, not to mention the White House, to support the Cotton–Perdue bill.

Perdue noted that while it was early, he was hopeful that he would be able to win some Democratic backing for the bill.

“We’re trying to now get coordinated and start moving out to develop Republican and Democratic support,” he said. “I just think that we’ve got an opportunity to get some bipartisan support.”

There are 10 Senate Democrats running for reelection in states Trump won in 2016, and those members could face pressure to support tougher immigration laws.

“Ultimately members of Congress will have a choice to make … and whatever happens as a result of that would be somewhat predictable,” Miller said.

But Democratic senators are showing no immediate signs of being willing to support the bill. The earlier version of the legislation, introduced in February, garnered zero cosponsors.

“Instead of focusing on xenophobic half measures, the Trump administration should support comprehensive immigration reform and help create a pathway to citizenship for the millions of immigrants who are our family members, neighbors, co-workers and friends,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

“Still shocking to see senior WH staff misunderstand American values,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said on Twitter. “I just realized I should be more specific. I’m talking about Miller.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/345052-immigration-battle-brewing-in-the-gop

RAISE Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
RAISE Act
Great Seal of the United States
Full title Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act
Introduced in 115th United States Congress
Introduced on February 13, 2017
Sponsored by Tom Cotton and David Perdue
Legislative history

The RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment) Act is a bill introduced in the United States Senate in 2017. Co-sponsored by Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, the bill seeks to reduce levels of legal immigration to the United States by 50% by halving the number of green cards issued. The bill would also impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and would end the visa diversity lottery. The bill received the support of President Donald Trump, who promoted a revised version of the bill in August 2017, but was opposed by Democrats, immigrant rights groups, and some Republicans.

History

The bill is co-sponsored by Republican senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, who introduced the bill to the Senate on February 13, 2017, as S. 354.[1][2][3] The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[2]

On August 2, 2017, Cotton introduced a revised version of the bill, designated S. 1720; this bill was also referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[4] President Donald Trump, along with Cotton and Perdue, announced it at the White House.[5] Within the Trump White House, Trump advisers Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon promoted and helped shape the bill.[6] The odds of the bill being enacted are seen as remote.[3][7][6] The bill has not attracted any additional co-sponsors, and Republican leaders in Congress have no plans to vote on immigration in 2017.[8]

Provisions and analysis

The bill would cut the legal immigration by half, reducing the number of green cards from more than 1 million to about 500,000.[3] The bill would also remove pathways for siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to apply for permanent lawful residency status in the U.S., limiting the family path to spouses and minor children.[7] The bill would also impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and would end the visa diversity lottery.[3]

In promoting the legislation, Trump administration officials contend that the bill would increase economic growth and increase wages.[9][10][11] This contention was challenged by economists,[10] who “overwhelmingly predict” that cuts in immigration would have a negative impact on GDP growth.[11] In April 2017, a group of more than 1,400 economists, with views ranging across the political spectrum, sent an open letter to Trump noting the “near universal agreement” on “the broad economic benefit that immigrants to this country bring” and urging him not to seek immigration cuts.[11] Cato Institute immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh said that the legislation “would do nothing to boost skilled immigration and it will only increase the proportion of employment-based green cards by cutting other green cards. Saying otherwise is grossly deceptive marketing.”[3]

The “only evidence that the administration has cited as justifying its proposals” is the work of economist George Borjas,[12] who has defended the bill, arguing that it “makes sense” and that “low-skill immigration, which would likely suffer the largest cuts in the proposed bill, imposes costs on taxpayers and it imposes costs on low-skill workers already here.”[13] Other economists have sharply contested Borjas’s conclusions; economist Giovanni Peri stated that “The average American worker is more likely to lose than to gain from immigration restrictions” and “most studies put the negative impact on low-skilled wages closer to zero,”[12] and Michael Clemens argues that Borjas’s position is based on a study with critical flaws.[14][15]

Support and opposition

The bill and Trump’s support for it was hailed by groups favoring restrictive immigration policies, such as NumbersUSA[3] and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.[16] The bill was also seen as likely to appeal to anti-immigration Republican base voters.[17]

The bill is opposed by Democrats as well as some Republicans.[7] Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez said that “Trump wants to tear apart communities and punish immigrant families that are making valuable contributions to our economy.”[7] Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called the bill “nothing but a series of nativist talking points and regurgitated campaign rhetoric that completely fails to move our nation forward toward real reform.”[3] Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the proposal would be “devastating” to South Carolina’s economy.[18] The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and immigrant rights groups both condemned the legislation.[3]

The National Immigration Law Center called the bill “cruel and un-American” and issued a statement saying that it would “devastate families, eliminating the traditional and long-accepted means by which family members such as grandparents, mothers, fathers and siblings are able to reunite with their families who have emigrated to the United States.”[16] The technology industry immigration-policy advocacy group FWD.us said the bill, if enacted, “would severely harm the economy and actually depress wages for Americans.”[16] The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and NAFSA: Association of International Educators also oppose the bill, describing it as flawed and a step backward.[16] The Anti-Defamation League also opposed the legislation, calling it “cruel, anti-family and un-American.”[19]

References

 

 

  1. ADL slams Trump-backed GOP plan on immigration as ‘cruel, un-American’, Times of Israel/Associated Press (August 3, 2017).

 

 

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Breaking News — Story 1: President Trump For National Unity Furiously Signs Flawed Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Bill — Videos —

President Trump signs Russian sanctions bill Fox News Video

President Trump signs new Russia sanctions, questions whether bill interferes with foreign policy 

BREAKING NEWS 8/2/17 PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS BILL

January 3, 2017: Sen. Tom Cotton joined Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News

Trump Signs Sanctions Bill – Another Deep State Victory

Real Bipartisanship: Republicans And Democrats Unite For New Cold War

Germany growing sick of US sanctions on Russia

Russians See Sanctions Regime as a Blessing in Disguise

Trump signs Russia sanctions bill but blasts Congress

In a pair of statements, the president said parts of the law violate the Constitution.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bipartisan bill placing new sanctions on Russia — but in a statement, he claimed multiple aspects of the legislation violate the Constitution.

The sanctions, aimed at punishing Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, limit the president’s power to lift the sanctions without congressional approval and were initially resisted by the administration.

In one of two statements released almost simultaneously Wednesday morning by the White House, Trump said he supports the law’s efforts to crack down on the actions of Iran, North Korea and Russia. But the White House protested what it sees as congressional encroachment on the president’s power in foreign affairs.

“In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions,” Trump said in one statement. “My Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies.”

The president’s second statement included a stepped-up defense of his own administration’s foreign policy and input on the legislation. Trump said that “despite its problems,” he had signed the bill “for the sake of national unity.” The statement characterized the governments of Iran and North Korea as “rogue regimes,” a label he did not apply to the Russian government.

Even as he continues to label Russian interference in the election a “hoax,” the statement went further in acknowledging the intrusion than Trump has in the past.

“I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization,” the statement said.

Still, Trump was quick to push back on what he views as congressional overreach.

“The bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking,” Trump said, in reference to congressional Republicans’ latest failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected,” the president continued. “As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”

The statements drew mixed reaction on Capitol Hill.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a leading architect of the sanctions bill, told reporters he was not concerned about Trump’s statement, though he said he had not yet seen it.

“Both countries talk privately in ways that are very different from how they talk publicly,” the Tennessee Republican said of U.S.-Russia relations. “But this was a necessary step that we took, and I’m glad we took it.”

In addition to allowing lawmakers to handcuff Trump on any future changes to Russia sanctions, the legislation converts some existing sanctions from executive orders into law, making them more difficult to roll back, and imposes new sanctions focused on Moscow’s reported cyber-meddling in the November election. The legislation’s Iran and North Korea sanctions were broadly popular in both parties and with the Trump administration.

Although White House officials asserted that some of the preferred changes to the legislation were included before its final passage last week, the administration had long underscored its opposition to provisions that will impede Trump’s ability to warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The action by the Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way that they did, neither the president nor I are very happy about that,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Tuesday. “We were clear that we didn’t think it was going to be helpful to our efforts.”

Still, Tillerson added, “we can’t let it take us off track of trying to restore the relationship” with Russia.

Even as Trump criticized the measure, he added that “I nevertheless expect to honor the bill’s waiting periods to ensure that Congress will have a full opportunity to avail itself of the bill’s review procedures.”

That apparent concession by Trump did not assuage Democratic concerns about his signing statement. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California warned in a statement that Trump’s interpretation of the sanctions bill “raises serious questions about whether his administration intends to follow the law, or whether he will continue to enable and reward Vladimir Putin’s aggression.”

And some Republicans who played a key role in the sanctions package raised their own alarms.

“Look, whether it was President Bush, President Obama, or President Trump, I’ve never been a fan of signing statements,” said Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. “I think they’re a way for any president to usurp the role of the legislative branch. And that’s why I’ve always been concerned, regardless of who issued them, on any matter.”

The bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support. The House passed the sanctions by a vote of 419-3, and the Senate cleared it 98-2 — making any presidential veto futile and sure to be overridden.

With multiple investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, a veto also would have been politically disastrous.

After weeks of waffling, the White House confirmed over the weekend that Trump would sign the bill.

The White House still sought to characterize the bill as a win, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying in a statement on Friday that Trump “negotiated regarding critical elements of it” and decided to sign it “based on its responsiveness to his negotiations.”

The statement Wednesday also contained a warning — not to Russia, but to Congress.

“The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President,” Trump said. “This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/02/trump-signs-bipartisan-russia-sanctions-bill-241242

 

Furious Trump signs Russian sanctions into law – then issues tirade against ‘unconstitutional’ bill and boasts his billions show why Congress shouldn’t stop him making deals with Putin

  • President Donald Trump signed legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran
  • The White House did not organize a ceremony of any kind for it
  • Trump said in a statement he signed the bill for the sake of ‘national unity’ 
  • The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill
  • It passed Congress overwhelmingly with veto-proof majorities
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he and the president were not ‘very happy’ about the sanctions bill 

President Donald Trump signed legislation Wednesday that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers – but at the same time issued a furious statement calling it ‘flawed’.

He signed the bill, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly said he wasn’t happy about, in private.

Then the White House sent out statement by the president revealing the depths of his unhappiness and boasting that his billions showed he was far better at deal-making than Congress.

Trump said despite some changes, ‘the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.’

He called parts of it ‘unconstitutional’ and signaled fresh tensions with Republicans by criticizing their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

President Donald Trump has signed legislation that slaps sanctions on Russia and limits his own ability to create waivers

‘Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.

‘The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice,’ Trump said in a statement.

‘Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.’

In a message to Congress in response to the bill, Trump singled out provisions his lawyers considers in conflict with Supreme Court case law – and asserts his own latitude to carry out the law as he sees fit.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn't happy with the bill

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump wasn’t happy with the bill

‘My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions,’ the president said in one point – in language certain to irk lawmakers who consider the law much more than a preference.

‘My administration … expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies,’ he said.

The president also complained about what he said were ‘clearly unconstitutional provisions’ in the legislation relating to presidential powers to shape foreign policy.

 White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed the signing on Fox News.

The bill passed Congress by overwhelming margins sufficient to override a presidential veto. The White House lobbied to water down restrictions in the bill.

The bill contains language meant to prevent the president from lifting them without approval from Congress – provisions that got drafted amid concerns Trump would lift or limit sanctions amid his frequent praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and desire to improve ties between the two powers.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters he shared misgivings with the president, as they try to improve relations with Russia.

‘Neither the president nor I are very happy about that,’ Tillerson said. ‘We were clear that we didn’t think that was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that’s the decision they made.’

The FBI and congressional intelligence panels are probing Trump campaign connections to Russians during the election.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 8, 2017

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Then-candidate Donald Trump holds up a signed pledge during a press availability at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York September 3, 2015

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Justice Department lawyers and security officials were reviewing Russia sanctions legislation Tuesday

Trump during the campaign repeatedly called for better relations with Russia. The U.S. intelligence community concluded that the Russian government backed a campaign to interfere in the presidential election.

Despite communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin capped off by two one-on-one meetings in Europe, Trump has struggled to meet his goal.

Putin said last weekend that Russia would expel more than 700 U.S. diplomats from Russia in retaliation for the sanctions legislation.

I’M WORTH BILLIONS – I CAN MAKE BETTER DEALS THAN CONGRESS

Today, I signed into law the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,’ which enacts new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. I favor tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.

That is why, since taking office, I have enacted tough new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and shored up existing sanctions on Russia.

Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies.

My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.

Still, the bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together. The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.

Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.

Further, the bill sends a clear message to Iran and North Korea that the American people will not tolerate their dangerous and destabilizing behavior. America will continue to work closely with our friends and allies to check those countries’ malignant activities.

I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.

In his statement about the bill, Trump highlighted a series of concerns about the legislation. Had he vetoed it, Congress could have easily overridden him.

‘Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies,’ Trump complained.

‘My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies – who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions – regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.’

 Russia hawk Sen. John McCain of Arizona responded in a statement: ‘I welcome President Trump’s decision to sign legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The enactment of this legislation, which enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, sends a strong message to friend and foe alike that the United States will hold nations accountable for aggressive and destabilizing behavior that threatens our national interests and those of our allies and partners.’

McCain also called out Trump’s signing statement. ‘The concerns expressed in the President’s signing statement are hardly surprising, though misplaced. The Framers of our Constitution made the Congress and the President coequal branches of government. This bill has already proven the wisdom of that choice,’ he wrote.

“While the American people surely hope for better relations with Russia, what this legislation truly represents is their insistence that Vladimir Putin and his regime must pay a real price for attacking our democracy, violating human rights, occupying Crimea, and destabilizing Ukraine.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4754014/President-Donald-Trump-signs-Russia-sanctions-bill.html#ixzz4ocylqTKe

 

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met with President Trump for the first time during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, this month. CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

MOSCOW — The last time the Kremlin forced a sweeping reduction of local staff at the American Embassy in Moscow, a young diplomat named Steven Pifer found himself working four days a week on arms control, as usual. But on the fifth day, he navigated the capital in a big truck to move furniture or haul mammoth grocery loads.

The entire staff of the embassy, except the ambassador, was assigned one day each week to grunt work called All Purpose Duty, Mr. Pifer recalled in an interview on Monday, when they shed their dark suits and polished loafers to mow the lawns, fix the plumbing, cook in the cafeteria and even clean the toilets.

That was a last hurrah for the Cold War in 1986, and although the embassy now functions on a far more complex scale, many current and former diplomats expect a similar effort in the wake of President Vladimir V. Putin’s announcement on Sunday that the United States diplomatic mission in Russia must shed 755 employees by Sept. 1.

“The attitude in the embassy was if they think that they will shut us down, we will show them,” said Mr. Pifer, who went on to become an American ambassador to Ukraine and is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “I think the embassy will adapt this time, too.”

Russia demanded that the United States reduce its diplomatic staff to equal the 455 Russian diplomats working in the United States, including at the mission to the United Nations. That means cutting about 60 percent of a work force estimated at 1,200 to 1,300 people, the vast majority of whom are Russians.

Given the continuing deterioration in relations between the two countries, core functions like political and military analysis will be preserved, along with espionage, experts said, while programs that involve cooperation on everything from trade to culture to science are likely to be reduced or eliminated.

Besides the State Department, a dizzying array of American government agencies have employees at the embassy, including the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce as well as NASA and the Library of Congress.

The other area expected to take a heavy hit will be public services, like issuing visas to Russian travelers to the United States, which is likely to slow to a glacial pace.

The Russian staff can be broken down into two broad categories: specialists who help individual departments in the embassy like public relations, and basic service workers employed as security guards, drivers, janitors, electricians and a host of other maintenance functions.

As of 2013, the latest year for which public records are available, there were 1,279 staff members working in the American Embassy in Moscow and in consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, according to a report by the Inspector General’s Office. Of those, 934 were not Americans, including 652 basic service workers. The numbers are believed to have stayed roughly the same.

Russian staff members working in various departments like the political or economic section often provide the embassy’s institutional memory, because they stay on the job for years while American diplomats rotate every two or three years. (If the Russian employees stay for at least 15 years, they are eligible for special immigration visas to the United States and their salaries are high by Russian standards.)

It is the Russians who tend to notice nuances in domestic news coverage or in Mr. Putin’s speeches, or who direct diplomats toward public events or responsible journalists. The Russian employees provide continuity, an American diplomat who recently left Moscow said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Gen. Bruce McClintock, the American Defense attaché from 2014 to 2016 and now a RAND Corporation analyst, said Russian employees were often more effective in organizing meetings with government officials, while experienced translators ensured that the positions of both sides were clear in often complex discussions.

Russia had already chipped away at embassy programs, anyway, he noted. In 2013, it shuttered USAID, for example, and in 2014, in response to the West’s cutting off military cooperation after the Ukraine crisis, it closed the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Although the work continued, it was much harder to coordinate because its 10 employees had departed, said General McClintock.

Russian nationals are not given the security clearances needed to work in the more clandestine branches of the embassy. Indeed, in the chancellery itself, no Russians worked above the fourth floor in the roughly 10-story building, former Russian employees said.

The American Embassy, which held a staff meeting on Monday to confirm the news to its employees, refused to comment on the events, while in Washington the State Department would say only that it was studying the Russian government’s request.

The general hostility toward the United States means Moscow was already considered a hardship post for American diplomats, and the new measures will lower morale further, diplomats said.

Russian employees are confused and do not yet understand how the changes will be carried out, a former Russian employee now working outside the country said, adding with dark humor that Stalin used to say there were no irreplaceable people.

Russian employees who worked for specialized departments feel especially vulnerable because they carry a certain stigma in Russia’s current nationalistic mood. Michael McFaul, a Stanford University professor who was the American ambassador from 2012 to 2014, remembered trying to help find work for 70 Russians who were let go when the Kremlin closed the USAID office.

It was especially hard because “many Russian companies would not consider hiring these ‘tainted’ people,” he said in an email.

In recent years, local employees have come under increasing pressure from the Russian security service, the F.S.B., according to current and former employees. Russians escorting delegations of American musicians around the country were harassed, for example, or some in Moscow returned home from work to find agents sitting in their living rooms, demanding that they inform on their employers, they said.

Mr. Pifer said American diplomats who lived through the 1986 clampdown learned all kinds of things about Soviet life that they would not have otherwise.

One of his colleagues, who had to navigate customs, wrote a slightly tongue-in-cheek diplomatic cable titled “The 29 Steps Needed to Clear a Container of Furniture,” detailing every stamp issued on every piece of paper. The cable was a huge hit back in Washington, he said.

In previous spats with the United States or the West in general, Mr. Putin often chose measures that hurt Russians the most, not least because Russia’s limited economic reach globally means it does not have many options.

Angered over sanctions imposed by Congress under the Magnitsky Act in 2012, he banned Americans from adopting Russian children. When the West imposed economic and military sanctions after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, he barred a broad array of food imports, forcing up prices and limiting the options for Russian consumers.

This time, hundreds of Russians will lose their jobs and Russian travelers hoping to visit the United States are likely to wait months for visas. Some 50 Russians were employed in the consular section that processes visas, according to the inspector general’s report.

“I don’t think Mr. Putin is terribly worried about this,” Mr. Collins said, noting the presidential election looming in March. “As he is running for election, it is comfortable for him to show that he can stand up to the Americans and to protect Russian interests and that is what he is doing.”

Outside the embassy on Monday, many of those emerging from the visa section suggested the Russian measures could only make a bad situation worse. Anecdotal evidence suggested that on both sides, what used to take weeks had already slowed to months.

Shavkat Butaev, 50, who works for a company that helps Russians get visas, said rejections were way up, too. “It was never like this before. Fifty, 60 people get rejected every day,” he said.

Oleg Smirnov, an 18-year-old student studying in the United States to become a psychiatrist, said that he had hoped President Trump would improve relations and that he was worried about possible fallout on immigration policy.

“These mutual sanctions look like a game played with water guns,” he said

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/world/europe/russia-sanctions-embassy.html

Story 2: Trump Announces New Immigration Policy — Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act — Videos

Trump announces new immigration policy

Published on Aug 2, 2017

President Trump announced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act on Aug. 2, which aims to cut immigration by half from the current level of more than 1 million green cards granted per year.

 

Pres Trump and Sens Cotton and Perdue Introduce “The Raise Act”. Excellent!

August 2, 2017: Sen. Cotton and Sen. Perdue Answer Questions about the RAISE Act at the White House

 

Jim Acosta vs Stephen Miller – Immigration – White House Press Briefing 8/2/17

Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration Reform, and the RAISE Act

Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton RAISE Act Press Conference

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

Sen.Barbara Jordan Legal Immigration Recommendations

2015 Barbara Jordan TV ad

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 1

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 2

Why Free Markets Work: Milton Friedman on Political Economy (1996)

Obama’s Amnesty & How Illegal Immigration Affects Us

The Impact of Immigration on Jobs and Income

 

Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

Trump, GOP senators unveil measure to cut legal immigration

President Trump on Wednesday teamed up with two conservative Republican senators to roll out new legislation aimed at dramatically curbing legal immigration to the United States, a key Trump campaign promise.

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) have been working with White House officials to revise and expand a bill released earlier this year that would halve the number of people who receive legal permanent residence over a decade.

The senators joined Trump at a White House ceremony to announce the measure.

The president told reporters in the Roosevelt Room that the measure “would represent the most significant reform to our immigration system in a half a century.”
They say the legislation would move the United States to a “merit-based” immigration system and away from the current model, which is largely based on family ties.
The measure reflects Trump’s rhetoric during the 2016 campaign, when he argued that the spike in legal immigration over the past several decades has taken job opportunities away from American citizens and threatened national security.
“As a candidate, I campaigned on creating a merit-based immigration system that protects U.S. workers and taxpayers and that’s why we are here today,” he said, adding the measure would “reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars.”
Trump met with Cotton and Perdue in March to discuss the legislation, known as the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act.
The bill would mark a dramatic change in U.S. immigration laws, and could open up a nasty internal fight among Republicans.

The legislation would eliminate immigration preferences currently given to extended family members and adult children of U.S. citizens seeking green cards, and it would cap the number of accepted refugees at 50,000 — half of the Obama administration’s target for 2017.

It would also end the State Department’s Diversity visa lottery, which the senators say is “plagued with fraud.” The program had been allotted 50,000 visas for the 2018 fiscal year.

About 1 million immigrants receive green cards per year.

Conservative outside groups immediately praised the legislation and called for the Senate to vote on the bill.

“The RAISE Act helps realize President Trump’s vision of making America great again by making immigration great again as well. It provides a pathway for a modern, smarter immigration system while protecting those Americans struggling to make ends meet,” said Dan Stein, president of Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, added that the Cotton-Perdue bill will “do more than any other action to fulfill” Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration.

The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate, however, where it’s expected to get pushback from Democrats as well as GOP senators who oppose strict limits on legal immigration and want a broader reform effort that would address the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

If Cotton and Perdue can get GOP leadership to bring the legislation up for a vote, supporters will need to cobble together 60 senators, including at least eight Democrats or independents, to agree to start debate on the legislation.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and a handful of Republicans — including GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Dean Heller (Nev.) — have been working on bills this year to allow undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children to, at least temporarily, remain in the country legally.

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants have been granted temporary reprieves from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But it does not confer legal status on immigrants.

Cotton and Perdue would need to win over their votes, as well as Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment, was critical of their earlier bill.

The White House roll out could give the legislation a boost of momentum, but the earlier version of the Cotton-Perdue bill garnered zero cosponsors.

Critics of the measure say it would devastate families’ effort to reunite with their overseas relatives while providing few economic benefits.

“If this is an acknowledgement that our immigration system is broken, the Trump administration and these senators are right, but this is the wrong way to fix it,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Cutting legal immigration for the sake of cutting immigration would cause irreparable harm to the American worker and their family.”

“Congress should focus on stopping illegal immigration – not on restricting the legal immigration that grows our economy,” said John Feinblatt, president of the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg-backed group New American Economy.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/344924-trump-gop-senators-unveil-measure-to-cut-legal-immigration

Sen. Cotton Officially Introduces RAISE Act

PUBLISHED:

Thu, FEB 16th 2017 @ 9:40am EST

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has officially introduced the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, S. 354, in the Senate. The bill would reduce legal immigration by up to 50% by ending future chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.

Roy Beck, President and Founder of NumbersUSA responded saying, “the RAISE Act has a number — S. 354 — and one that we will do all possible to ensure that lives on through history as one of the great achievements of this period of our country.”

The RAISE Act would:

  • End the Visa Lottery
  • Limit annual refugee admissions to 50,000
  • End chain migration
  • Reduce the worldwide level of family-sponsored immigrants from 480,000 to 88,000 by prioritizing nuclear family
  • Add a nonimmigrant visa for parents of adult U.S. citizens (W-Visa)
    • 5-year renewable visa
    • No work authorization or ability to receive public benefits

The RAISE Act would reduce legal immigration to the United States by 50% in an effort to diminish its impact on vulnerable American workers. First, it eliminates the visa lottery and limits refugee admissions to 50,000 per year, removing the ability of the President to unilaterally adjust upward refugee admissions. Further, it eliminates chain migration by limiting family-sponsored immigration to the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

While U.S. citizens maintain the ability to sponsor nuclear family members without numerical limitation, the worldwide level of family-sponsored immigration is reduced from 480,000 to 88,000 to account for the elimination of the extended-family categories. Finally, a new nonimmigrant visa category is created for parents of adult U.S. citizens. Under this new category, sponsored alien parents would receive a renewable 5-year visa, but must be financially independent or supported financially by the adult son or daughter, as the visa does not authorize the alien to work or receive any form of public benefit.

https://www.numbersusa.com/news/sen-cotton-officially-introduces-raise-act

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 906, June 7, 2017, Story 1: Will Congress Reauthorize Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? Yes with changes to protect the privacy of American People. — How About Executive Order 12333 That Allow The President To Target Americans Without A Warrant — Unconstitutional and Illegal — Happens Every Day! — Oversight My Ass –Videos — Story 2: National Security Agency Under Obama Spied On American People —  Obama’s Abuse of Power — Huge Scandal Ignored By Big Lie Media — Videos — Story 3: President Trump To Nominate Christopher A. Wray For FBI Director — Videos

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Story 1: Will Congress Reauthorize Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? Yes with changes to protect the privacy of American People — How About Executive Order 12333 That Allows The President To Target American Citizens Without A Warrant — Unconstitutional and Illegal — Happens Every Day! — Oversight My Ass –Videos

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FISA: 702 Collection

In 2008, Congress passed a set of updates to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), including Section 702 which authorized warrantless surveillance of non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be outside the country. However, documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that 702 was being used far more heavily than many expected, serving as the legal basis for the collection of large quantities of telephone and Internet traffic  passing through the United States (and unlike 215, including content rather than just metadata). Still, as 702 only permits overseas collection, most criticism of the provision has come from abroad. But many domestic privacy advocates also worry that large amounts of American communication are being swept up “incidentally” and then used as well.

How the Senate hearing on surveillance turned into a Russia hearing

Blunt Questions National Security Officials Regarding Russia Investigation & FISA 6/7/17

FULL: Rosenstein, Intel Chiefs Testify at Senate Hearing on President Trump and Russia Investigation

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Trump Russia Collusion Investigation, Part 1 – Senate Intelligence Committee – FISA 6/7/2017

Trump Russia Collusion Investigation, Part 2 – Senate Intelligence Committee – FISA 6/7/2017

Trump Russia Collusion Investigation, Part 3 – Senate Intelligence Committee – FISA 6/7/2017

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June 7, 2017: Sen. Cotton’s Q&A at Senate Intel Committee FISA Hearing

OPENING STATEMENT: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats Testifies at Senate Intel Committee

Senate Russia Investigation: National security officials testify to intelligence committee on FISA

Rand Paul on Unmaskings: ‘We Can’t Live in Fear of Our Own Intelligence Community’

Rand Paul on Obama Illegally Spying on Americans | NSA Wiretapping

Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act

FISA Hearing – Sec 702 Intel Surveillance – IMPORTANT

NSA Spying On Americans ‘Widespread’ – Let Sec. 702 Expire!

Bill Binney explodes the Russia witchhunt

Obama’s NSA conducted illegal searches on Americans for years: Report

NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney on Tucker Carlson 03.24.2017

NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney On 9/11

William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

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State of Surveillance: Police, Privacy and Technology

The Fourth Amendment Explained: US Government Review

Why We’re Losing Liberty

Sen. Rand Paul Defends the Fourth Amendment – February 11, 2014

Rand Paul Shames Homeland Security on Spying on Americans

Top Intel Community Officials Deny That Trump Pressured Them On Russia Probe

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CHUCK ROSS
Reporter

The directors of the Office of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency testified on Wednesday that they have not been pressured by President Trump on the ongoing Russia investigation, undercutting recent reports that they were.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Adm. Mike Rogers, the director of NSA, largely declined to discuss details about their interactions with Trump when pressed on the matter during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

According to news reports published last month, Trump asked both Coats and Rogers to rebut stories that Trump was under investigation as part of the Russia probe.

Both Coats and Rogers reportedly felt uncomfortable with the requests from Trump.

But when asked about those interactions on Wednesday, both declined to discuss their specific conversations with Trump while stating that they have never felt pressure from the White House.

“In the three-plus years that I have been the director of the National Security Agency, to the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything that I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate. And to the best of my collection … I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so,” Rogers told Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate panel.

“Did the president … ask you in any way, shape or form to back off or downplay the Russia investigation?” Warner asked.

Rogers said that he would not discuss specifics of conversations he had with Trump, but added: “I stand by the comment I just made, sir.”

Coats, a former Indiana senator who was appointed by Trump, also denied ever being pressured to downplay the Russia investigation or any other.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Coats told associates on March 22 that Trump asked him to intervene with former FBI Director James Comey to push back against the Russia investigation.

“In my time of service … I have never been pressured, I have never felt pressure, to intervene or interfere in any way, with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relationship to an ongoing investigation,” Coats testified Wednesday.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/07/top-intel-community-officials-deny-that-trump-pressured-them-on-russia-probe/

The Way the NSA Uses Section 702 is Deeply Troubling. Here’s Why.

MAY 7, 2014

This blog post was updated at 5:10 pm PST 5/8/14.

The most recent disclosure of classified NSA documents revealed that the British spy agency GCHQ sought unfettered access to NSA data collected under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Not only does this reveal that the two agencies have a far closer relationship than GCHQ would like to publicly admit, it also serves as a reminder that surveillance under Section 702 is a real problem that has barely been discussed, much less addressed, by Congress or the President.

In fact, the “manager’s amendment” to the USA FREEDOM Act, which passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary Committee, has weakened the minimal changes to Section 702 that USA FREEDOM originally offered. Although Representative Zoe Lofgren—who clearly understands the import of Section 702—offered several very good amendments that would have addressed these gaps, her amendments were all voted down. There’s still a chance though—as this bill moves through Congress it can be strengthened by amendments from the floor.

Section 702 has been used by the NSA to justify mass collection of phone calls and emails by collecting huge quantities of data directly from the physical infrastructure of communications providers. Here’s what you should know about the provision and why it needs to be addressed by Congress and the President:

  • Most of the discussion around the NSA has focused on the phone records surveillance program. Unlike that program, collection done under Section 702 capturescontent of communications. This could include content in emails, instant messages, Facebook messages, web browsing history, and more.
  • Even though it’s ostensibly used for foreign targets, Section 702 surveillance sweeps up the communications of Americans. The NSA has a twisted, and incredibly permissive, interpretation of targeting that includes communications about a target, even if the communicating parties are completely innocent. As John Oliver put it in his interview with former NSA General Keith Alexander: “No, the target is not the American people, but it seems that too often you miss the target and hit the person next to them going, ‘Whoa, him!'”
  • The NSA has confirmed that it is searching Section 702 data to access American’s communications without a warrant, in what is being called the “back door search loophole.”  In response to questions from Senator Ron Wyden, former NSA director General Keith Alexander admitted that the NSA specifically searches Section 702 data using “U.S. person identifiers,” for example email addresses associated with someone in the U.S.
  • The NSA has used Section 702 to justify programs in which the NSA can siphon off large portions of Internet traffic directly from the Internet backbone. These programs exploit the structure of the Internet, in which a significant amount of traffic from around the world flows through servers in the United States. In fact, through Section 702, the NSA has access to information stored by major Internet companies like Facebook and Google.
  • Section 702 is likely used for computer security operations. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper noted Section 702’s use to obtain communications “regarding potential cyber threats” and to prevent “hostile cyber activities.” Richard Ledgett, Deputy Director of NSA, noted the use of intelligence authorities to mitigate cyber attacks.
  • The FISA Court has little opportunity to review Section 702 collection. The court approves procedures for 702 collection for up to a year. This is not approval of specific targets, however; “court review [is] limited to ‘procedures’ for targeting and minimization rather than the actual seizure and searches.” This lack of judicial oversight is far beyond the parameters of criminal justice.
  • Not only does the FISA Court provide little oversight, Congress is largely in the dark about Section 702 collection as well. NSA spying defenders say that Congress has been briefed on these programs. But other members of Congress have repeatedly noted that it is incredibly difficult to get answers from the intelligence community, and that attending classified hearings means being unable to share any information obtained at such hearings. What’s more, as Senator Barbara Mikulski stated: “‘Fully briefed’ doesn’t mean that we know what’s going on.”  Without a full picture of Section 702 surveillance, Congress simply cannot provide oversight.
  • Section 702 is not just about keeping us safe from terrorism. It’s a distressingly powerful surveillance tool. While the justification we’ve heard repeatedly is that NSA surveillance is keeping us safer, data collected under Section 702 can be shared in a variety of circumstances, such as ordinary criminal investigations. For example, the NSA has shared intelligence with the Drug Enforcement Agency that has led to prosecutions for drug crimes, all while concealing the source of the data.
  • The President has largely ignored Section 702. While the phone records surveillance program has received significant attention from President Obama, in his speeches and his most recent proposal, Section 702 remains nearly untouched.
  • The way the NSA uses Section 702 is illegal and unconstitutional—and it violates international human rights law. Unlike searches done under a search warrant authorized by a judge, Section 702 has been used by the NSA to get broad FISA court authorization for general search and seizure of huge swathes of communications. The NSA says this is OK because Section 702 targets foreign citizens. The problem is, once constitutionally protected communications of Americans are swept up, the NSA says these communications are “fair game” for its use.
  • Innocent non-Americans don’t even get the limited and much abused protections the NSA promises for Americans. Under international human rights law to which the United States is a signatory, the United States must respect the rights of all persons. With so many people outside the United States keeping their data with American companies, and so much information being swept up through mass surveillance, that makes Section 702 the loophole for the NSA to violate the privacy rights of billions of Internet users worldwide.

The omission of Section 702 reform from the discourse around NSA surveillance is incredibly concerning, because this provision has been used to justify some of the most invasive NSA surveillance. That’s why EFF continues to push for real reform of NSA surveillance that includes an end to Section 702 collection. You can help by educating yourself and engaging your elected representatives. Print out our handy one-page explanation of Section 702. Contact your members of Congress today and tell them you want to see an end to all dragnet surveillance, not just bulk collection of phone records.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/05/way-nsa-uses-section-702-deeply-troubling-heres-why

 

By ZACK WHITTAKER CBS NEWS June 30, 2014, 4:02 PM
Legal loopholes could allow wider NSA surveillance, researchers say
CBS NEWS

NEW YORK — Secret loopholes exist that could allow the National Security Agency to bypass Fourth Amendment protections to conduct massive domestic surveillance on U.S. citizens, according to leading academics.

The research paper released Monday by researchers at Harvard and Boston University details how the U.S. government could “conduct largely unrestrained surveillance on Americans by collecting their network traffic abroad,” despite constitutional protections against warrantless searches.

One of the paper’s authors, Axel Arnbak of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, told CBS News that U.S. surveillance laws presume Internet traffic is non-American when it is collected from overseas.

“The loopholes in current surveillance laws and today’s Internet technology may leave American communications as vulnerable to surveillance, and as unprotected as the internet traffic of foreigners,” Arnbak said.

Although Americans are afforded constitutional protections against unwarranted searches of their emails, documents, social networking data, and other cloud-stored data while it’s stored or in-transit on U.S. soil, the researchers note these same protections do not exist when American data leaves the country.

Furthermore, they suggest that Internet traffic can be “deliberately manipulated” to push American data outside of the country. Although the researchers say they “do not intend to speculate” about whether any U.S. intelligence agencies are actually doing this, they say it could provide a loophole for vacuuming up vast amounts of U.S. citizen data for intelligence purposes, thus “circumventing constitutional and statutory safeguards seeking to protect the privacy of Americans,” they warned.

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Snowden: NSA programs “uncontrolled and dangerous”
The academic paper lands just over a year since the Edward Snowden revelations first came to light, outlining the massive scope of U.S. government surveillance, under the justification of preventing terrorism. Although the classified programs that make up the NSA’s data acquisition arsenal have only recently been disclosed over the past year, the laws that govern them have been under close scrutiny for years. The paper only adds fuel to the fire of the intelligence agency’s alleged spying capabilities, which have been heavily criticized by civil liberties and privacy groups alike.

“The fix has to come from the law — the same laws that apply to Internet traffic collected domestically should also apply to traffic that is collected abroad,” the paper’s co-author, Sharon Goldberg of Boston University’s Computer Science Department, said.

While the researchers do not say whether these loopholes are being actively exploited — saying their aim is solely to broaden the understanding of the current legal framework — the current legislation as it stands “opens the door for unrestrained surveillance,” they write.

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the subsequent introduction of the Patriot Act allowed certain kinds of data to be collected to help in the fight against terrorism — so-called “metadata,” such as the time and date of phone calls and emails sent, including phone numbers and email addresses themselves. But the contents of those phone calls or emails require a warrant. The classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed that while the public laws have been in effect for years or even decades, the U.S. government has used secret and classified interpretations of these laws for wider intelligence gathering outside the statutes’ text.

The Obama administration previously said there had been Congressional and Judicial oversight of these surveillance laws — notably Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorized the collection of Americans’ phone records; and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which authorized the controversial PRISM program to access non-U.S. residents’ emails, social networking, and cloud-stored data.

But the researchers behind this new study say that the lesser-known Executive Order (EO) 12333, which remains solely the domain of the Executive Branch — along with United States Signals Intelligence Directive (USSID) 18, designed to regulate the collection of American’s data from surveillance conducted on foreign soil — can be used as a legal basis for vast and near-unrestricted domestic surveillance on Americans.

The legal provisions offered under EO 12333, which the researchers say “explicitly allows for intentional targeting of U.S. persons” for surveillance purposes when FISA protections do not apply, was the basis of the authority that reportedly allowed the NSA to tap into the fiber cables that connected Google and Yahoo’s overseas to U.S. data centers.

An estimated 180 million user records, regardless of citizenship, were collected from Google and Yahoo data centers each month, according to the leaked documents. The program, known as Operation MUSCULAR, was authorized because the collection was carried out overseas and not on U.S. soil, the researchers say.

The paper also said surveillance can also be carried out across the wider Internet by routing network traffic overseas so it no longer falls within the protection of the Fourth Amendment.

However, an NSA spokesperson denied that either EO 12333 or USSID 18 “authorizes targeting of U.S. persons for electronic surveillance by routing their communications outside of the U.S.,” in an emailed statement to CBS News.

“Absent limited exception (for example, in an emergency), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires that we get a court order to target any U.S. person anywhere in the world for electronic surveillance. In order to get such an order, we have to establish, to the satisfaction of a federal judge, probable cause to believe that the U.S. person is an agent of a foreign power,” the spokesperson said.

The report highlights a fundamental fact about Internet traffic: Data takes the quickest route possible rather than staying solely within a country’s borders. Data between two U.S. servers located within the U.S. can still sometimes be routed outside of the U.S.

Although this is normal, the researchers warn data can be deliberately routed abroad by manipulating the Internet’s core protocols — notably the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which determines how Internet traffic is routed between individual networks; and the Domain Name Service (DNS), which converts website addresses to numerical network addresses.

If the NSA took advantage of the loophole by pushing Internet traffic outside of the U.S., it would have enough time to capture the data while it is outside the reach of constitutional protection.

The researchers rebuffed the NSA’s statement in an email: “We argue that these loopholes exist when surveillance is conducted abroad and when the authorities don’t ‘intentionally target a U.S. person’. There are several situations in which you don’t ‘target a U.S. person’, but Internet traffic of many Americans can in fact be affected.”

“We cannot tell whether these loopholes are exploited on a large scale, but operation MUSCULAR seems to find its legal and technical basis in them.”

Mark M. Jaycox, a legislative analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said: “If you are intentionally spying on a U.S. person, the government must go to the FISA Court,” he said. “That’s the way the law is supposed to operate.”

Describing how the NSA says it never “intentionally collects” U.S. information, he warned the agency’s foreign data dragnet would inevitably include U.S. data.

“The NSA is an intelligence organization — it’s going to be targeting foreigners. But it’s the way that its targeting millions of foreigners, and millions of foreign communications that will eventually pick up U.S. persons’ data and information. And once that data has been collected, it must be destroyed.”

“It’s a question the NSA can’t reconcile, so they lean heavily on saying they never ‘intentionally collect’ the U.S. person information,” he said

A recent primer on EO 12333 written by the privacy group said the order “mandates rules for spying… on anyone within the United States.” The group also notes because the order remains inside the Executive Branch, the Obama administration could “repeal or modify” it at will.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a post on its website that the U.S. government interprets USSID 18 to “permit it to sweep up Americans’ international communications without any court order and with little oversight.”

Patrick Toomey, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, said: “Today, Americans’ communications increasingly travel the globe — and privacy protections must reliably follow. This academic paper raises key questions about whether our current legal regime meets that standard, or whether it allows the NSA to vacuum up Americans’ private data simply by moving its operations offshore.”

He added that there should be a uniform set of laws that protect Americans’ privacy regardless of where they are in the world, and that Congressional oversight of all rules governing surveillance is needed for comprehensive reforms.

The ACLU has also filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit with a federal court in New York, questioning “whether it [EO 12333] appropriately accommodates the constitutional rights of American citizens and residents whose communications are intercepted in the course of that surveillance.”

Although there is no direct evidence yet to suggest the NSA has exploited this loophole, network monitoring firm Renesys observed two “route hijacking” events in June and November 2013 that led Internet traffic to be redirected through Belarus and Iceland on separate occasions. These events are virtually unnoticeable to the ordinary Internet user, but the side effect is that U.S. data may be readable by foreign governments traveling through their country’s infrastructure. It also could allow the NSA to capture that data by treating it as foreign data.

These legal and technical loopholes can allow “largely unrestrained surveillance on Americans communications,” the researchers wrote.

The NSA, whose job it is to produce intelligence from overseas targets, said for the first time in August 2013 that it derives much of its “foundational authority” for its operations from EO 12333. Recent Snowden disclosures shed new light on understanding the capabilities of the executive order.

It was also recently revealed that Snowden himself questioned the legal authority of EO 12333, according to one declassified email exchange released by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

According to John Schindler, a former NSA chief analyst, speaking to The Washington Post in October, the sole aim of the NSA’s “platoon” of lawyers’ is to figure out “how to stay within the law and maximize collection by exploiting every loophole.”

“It’s fair to say the rules are less restrictive under [EO] 12333 than they are under FISA,” he added.

FISA expanded the NSA’s powers allowing it to obtain foreign intelligence — including economic and political surveillance of foreign governments, companies, news outlets and citizens. But the amended law in 2008 also restricted what can be collected on U.S. citizens.

The so-called “targeting” and “minimization” procedures, which remain classified but were reported as a result of the Snowden leaks, were introduced to ensure any data inadvertently collected on U.S. citizens from overseas would not be used in investigations. These were later criticized following subsequent leaks which suggested the rules on collecting U.S. persons’ data were more relaxed than the statute led the public to believe.

U.S. intelligence agencies can only do so much with U.S. data, therefore they have a “strong incentive to conduct surveillance abroad,” the researchers say, because legal protections under the Fourth Amendment and FISA do not apply outside U.S. territory.

“Programs under EO 12333 may collect startling amounts of sensitive data on both foreigners and Americans,” the paper summarizes, “without any meaningful congressional or judiciary involvement.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/legal-loopholes-could-let-nsa-surveillance-circumvent-fourth-amendment-researchers-say/

 

FISA Authority and Blanket Surveillance: A Gatekeeper Without Opposition

Vol. 40 No. 3

The author is with ZwillGen PLLC in Washington, D.C.

Surveillance and espionage were once practices ordinary Americans only read about in novels or saw in movie theaters. That is no longer true. America is at the center of a worldwide communications network. It is home to the world’s most popular telecommunications, email, instant message, and video chat providers. Because of America’s unique role, hundreds of millions of users send communications through American soil. At the same time, America’s enemies have grown from nation-states, like the Soviet Union, to small cells of terrorists that use ordinary communications networks. Taken together, it is not surprising that signals intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), which intercept and analyze these signals, would seek and use surveillance powers to conduct more surveillance at home.

Part of this new regime means that more legal process to gather intelligence is being served on companies in the United States. Recent revelations have declassified documents describing the NSA’s broad “collect now, search later” approach to surveillance. This means that some electronic communications providers, and their in-house and outside counsel, are faced with new forms of legal process. But unlike criminal process, which is rooted in a large body of publicly available case law and which often comes to light in the course of criminal trials, this new process comes to these providers in secret. As documents recently declassified by the director of national intelligence demonstrate, the government has served a number of different kinds of orders on providers—each of whom must assess when and how they might comply with or challenge those orders.

My firm and I represented one such provider in In re Directives [Redacted] Pursuant to Section 105B of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [Redacted], 551 F.3d 1004 (FISA Ct. Rev. 2008). That case presented a challenge that more providers may face as the NSA explores its surveillance capabilities. The provider received process known as a 105B directive (which is now called a 702 directive) starting in 2007. In contrast with typical criminal process, there was no prior court review or approval of particular surveillance targets. Instead, a 702 directive, like the one served on that provider, approved of the government’s procedure for conducting surveillance—not its targets.

 

Faced with this process, the provider had to make decisions about how it could respond. The provider chose not to comply with the process, and the government filed a motion to compel in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a secret court charged with reviewing and approving some types of surveillance.

The course of that litigation proved complex. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR), which handles appeals from the FISC, had published a single opinion before the In re Directives case, and while the lower court, the FISC, had rules for proceedings, there were no publicly available decisions on which to rely in litigating the procedural aspects of the case. The merits of the case too were litigated in the dark. No docket was made available, and there was no public mention of the case until after it was appealed and the FISCR entered its decision. Some documents related to the case are still being declassified, but in the words of the FISCR’s declassified decision, there was “multitudinous briefing” in the FISC and ample briefing on appeal.

The FISCR released its opinion in In re Directives in 2009, and a beam of light shone on its decisions for the first time in seven years. But then the FISC went dark again. In late 2013, however, the director of national intelligence, in response to increased public pressure seeking information on surveillance activities, began releasing more FISC opinions that are instructive on how the FISC operates and how it has been interpreting the Fourth Amendment and process under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1801 et seq. (FISA) in the intervening years, giving much needed guidance to providers and outside counsel.

 

The History of FISA

Understanding how to advise clients faced with FISA process, the challenges they face, and how to revise FISA to address public concerns about the NSA’s “collect now, search later” surveillance requires some history, legal analysis, and creative thinking. FISA’s history provides context for the reforms needed to adjust the balance between surveillance and privacy. Current events provide information about the extent of the problem. And creative thinking is required to create solutions.

FISA occupies an uneasy place. It resides where intelligence gathering meets the Fourth Amendment. FISA addresses the problem of how, and when, the government can conduct surveillance for intelligence-gathering purposes on United States soil. Over time, Congress has addressed this delicate balance by amending FISA to expand and contract surveillance capabilities. Today, FISA provides a comprehensive set of procedures for obtaining and using “foreign intelligence information” within the United States.

Before Congress passed FISA in 1978, there were no clear rules for when the executive branch could conduct clandestine surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes. Prior to FISA, every president since at least 1931 used surveillance to protect national security interests—even when no law specifically allowed that surveillance. See Sen. Rep. No. 94-755 (1976), Book III, Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans [hereinafter Church Report], available at www.intelligence.senate.gov/pdfs94th/94755_III.pdf. Presidents justified this surveillance by pointing to their role as commander-in-chief combined with their duty and authority to execute the laws of the United States. U.S. Const. art. II, § 1, § 2, cl. 1; see Church Report, supra, at 279.

This power remained relatively untested until the seminal case United States v. U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, 407 U.S. 297 (1972), also known as the Keith case. There, the government prosecuted three individuals for conspiring to bomb an office of the Central Intelligence Agency in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Keith defendants moved to compel the government to disclose electronic surveillance information the government collected without first getting a warrant. The attorney general argued the surveillance satisfied the Fourth Amendment because it was necessary “to gather intelligence information deemed necessary to protect the nation from attempts of domestic organizations to attack and subvert the existing structure of the Government.” Id. at 300. The Supreme Court found that the government must get a warrant before engaging in domestic surveillance, but limited its opinion to “domestic aspects of national security” and stated that it “express[ed] no opinion as to the issues which may be involved with respect to activities of foreign powers or their agents.” Id. at 321. Keith changed the landscape of domestic surveillance, but lower courts struggled to decide when surveillance required a warrant and when surveillance fell outside Keith’s holding; as a result, they increasingly invalidated surveillance. See Zweibon v. Mitchell, 516 F.2d 594, 651 (D.C. Cir. 1975).

Faced with this uncertainty and the revelations about warrantless surveillance, the Senate created the Church Committee to investigate the executive branch’s use of warrantless surveillance. The committee’s report provided revelations much like those that are coming to light today as a result of Edward Snowden’s leaks. The committee’s report, which is actually 14 separate reports regarding intelligence abuses, provides one of the most extensive, in-depth examinations of the use and abuse of surveillance powers in the United States. The Church Report revealed that from the early 1960s to 1972, the NSA targeted certain Americans’ international communications by placing their names on a watch list. It contended that intercepting these Americans’ communications was part of monitoring programs it was conducting against international communications channels. As is the case in news reports today, “to those Americans who have had their communications—sent with the expectation that they were private—intentionally intercepted and disseminated by their Government, the knowledge that NSA did not monitor specific communications channels solely to acquire their message is of little comfort.” Church Report, supra, at 735.

History tends to repeat itself. Today, newspapers have reported that the NSA engages in bulk telephone records surveillance using the “Business Records” provision in section 215 of FISA (50 U.S.C. § 1861). This bulk surveillance, however, isn’t anything new. The Church Report provides shockingly similar revelations about the NSA’s Operation SHAMROCK. Much like recent revelations about today’s bulk records collection, Operation SHAMROCK, which lasted all the way from August 1945 until May 1975, collected millions of telegrams leaving or transiting the United States and monitored certain telephone links between the United States and South America. As part of this monitoring, the NSA intercepted Americans’ international communications and disseminated those communications to other intelligence agencies. In doing so, the NSA “never informed the companies that it was analyzing and disseminating telegrams of Americans.” Unlike today, however, “the companies, who had feared in 1945 that their conduct might be illegal, apparently never sought assurances that NSA was limiting its use to the messages of foreign targets once the intercept program had begun.” Church Report, supra, at 740–41.

The NSA discontinued SHAMROCK in 1975, but it still incidentally collected Americans’ communications—much like it does (to a lesser extent) today. The Church Committee described the NSA’s “initial interception of a stream of communications” as “analogous to a vacuum cleaner.” “NSA picks up all communications carried over a specific link that it is monitoring. The combination of this technology and the use of words to select communications of interest results in NSA analysts reviewing the international messages of American citizens, groups, and organizations for foreign intelligence.” Id. at 741. This is eerily similar to the FISC’s description of bulk records collection as recently as October 2011, in which it stated “that NSA has acquired, is acquiring, and . . . will continue to acquire tens of thousands of wholly domestic communications,” Redacted, slip op. at 33 (FISA Ct. Oct. 3, 2011), because it intercepts all communications over certain Internet links it is monitoring and is “unable to exclude certain Internet transactions.” Id. at 30.

 

Purposes of FISA

That history tells us where FISA comes from and the problems Congress was trying to solve. Congress had two main goals: provide some oversight where there was none, and draw clear lines so that law enforcement would know when it could use foreign intelligence process and when it had to follow ordinary criminal process. To address these goals, FISA contains two important parts. First, it established a framework for judicial review by creating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. It also created a new FISA process to replace criminal process such as warrants, subpoenas, surveillance orders, and pen register/trap and trace orders. The FISA versions of each of these has less stringent requirements for the government to satisfy than criminal process. See 50 U.S.C. § 1801–12 (electronic surveillance equivalent to Title III orders), 50 U.S.C. § 1821–29 (physical searches like search warrants), 50 U.S.C. § 1841–46 (pen registers and trap-and-trace devices), 50 U.S.C. § 1861–62 (business records like grand jury subpoenas).

Second, FISA addressed when law enforcement can and cannot use these FISA processes to conduct surveillance or gather evidence. As it was originally enacted, law enforcement could obtain FISA process, rather than criminal process, when the “primary purpose” of surveillance was to gather foreign intelligence information. At the same time, Congress explicitly excluded activities conducted abroad from FISA’s reach. It also did not provide protection for U.S. citizens when they left the United States. See H.R. Rep. No. 95–1283, at 51 (1978).

To fill in the gaps FISA left and to provide rules of executive branch intelligence agencies, President Reagan issued Executive Order 12,333, United States Intelligence Activities (46 Fed. Reg. 59,941 (Dec. 4, 1981)). That order (as amended) remains the basis for executive branch surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes. What is important is that the order sets forth procedures that apply where FISA did not, specifically for surveillance of United States persons located abroad. Id. § 2.5.

Foreign intelligence gathering continued under FISA and Executive Order 12,333 for nearly two decades without major revision or challenge, until the attacks of September 11, 2001. Following 9/11, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, which amended FISA by expanding law enforcement authority and lowering the standards required to obtain surveillance authority. Pub. L. No. 107–56 (H.R. 3162), 115 Stat. 272 (2001). The act eliminated the “primary purpose” test and replaced it with a “significant purpose” test. Id. § 218. The “primary purpose” test led law enforcement to create a wall between agencies that engaged in criminal prosecutions (such as parts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice) and agencies that primarily engaged in foreign intelligence gathering (such as the NSA). One of the problems identified in the aftermath of 9/11 was a reluctance to share information because of this “primary purpose” rule—and the fear that doing so could put surveillance or criminal prosecutions at risk.

In a rare published decision (there have been only two), the FISCR upheld the “significant purpose” test in In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 717 (FISA Ct. Rev. 2002). The FISC court had found that the “significant purpose” standard was lower than the “primary purpose” standard but that the Fourth Amendment did not require more. The court concluded that the procedures and government showings required under FISA, even if they do not meet the warrant requirement, come close enough that FISA as amended by the Patriot Act meets the balancing test between Fourth Amendment rights and the need to protect against national security threats. In re Sealed Case would prove to be a launching point for reconciling FISA with the Fourth Amendment and for chipping away at the warrant requirement for foreign intelligence-gathering purposes.

In December 2005, a New York Times article revealed a warrantless domestic wiretapping program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP), in which the NSA was allowed to eavesdrop on communications where at least one party was not a United States person. According to reports, technical glitches resulted in some “purely domestic” communications being subject to surveillance. The surveillance was based on a 2002 executive order that allowed the NSA to monitor international email messages and international telephone calls transmitted by communications networks based in the United States—surveillance that was outside the scope of review in In re Sealed Case. That executive order claimed that FISA’s warrant requirements were implicitly superseded by the passage of the congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force against terrorists and that the president’s inherent authority under Article II of the Constitution to conduct foreign surveillance trumped FISA.

A group of plaintiffs sought to challenge the TSP in American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency, 438 F. Supp. 2d 754 (E.D. Mich. 2006). The district court ruled that the surveillance violated the Fourth Amendment, finding that the TSP was implemented without regard to the Fourth Amendment or to FISA, and thus violated FISA, the standards of Title III, and the Fourth Amendment. On appeal, however, the Sixth Circuit dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the TSP because they had not alleged that they were the actual victims of warrantless surveillance. ACLU v. NSA, 493 F.3d 644 (6th Cir. 2007); see also Clapper v. Amnesty Int’l, 133 S. Ct. 1138 (2013).

The Protect America Act of 2007

Following the public outcry in response to the New York Times article and the ACLU decision, the Bush administration proposed the Protect America Act of 2007 (PAA), Pub. L. No. 110-55, 121 Stat. 552, which was designed to address surveillance of communications facilities located in the United States that transmit communications between individuals both of whom are located abroad. PAA § 105A. Again, just as in 1978, the government needed more guidance on when FISA applied and when the executive branch was free of its requirements. The PAA addressed a new problem: capturing wholly foreign communications on U.S. soil. In the past, to capture foreign communications between non-U.S. persons, the government simply implemented surveillance on foreign communications networks, which are not subject to restrictions imposed by the Fourth Amendment or any statute. Now that foreign communications could be transferred within the United States and the TSP’s constitutionality had been called into doubt, the intelligence community required a new tool to continue that surveillance. The PAA, by providing a number of procedures to conduct surveillance of targets outside the United States, and in an attempt to avoid resort to traditional warrants and Title III orders, implemented a system of internal controls at the NSA as well as overarching review of policies and procedures by the FISC. The PAA was a stopgap measure, to preserve some aspects of warrantless surveillance of foreign communications transmitted within the United States while Congress worked to overhaul FISA.

Notably, the PAA, like the Patriot Act, again changed the test of when the FISA process does and does not apply. The PAA changed the focus from the identity of the party targeted to whether a party was present in the United States. This change made it much simpler for the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to approve surveillance—rather than certifying that both parties to the communication were foreign powers or agents of foreign powers, they now only had to certify that the target of the surveillance was located outside the United States. Under the PAA, the director of national intelligence and the attorney general could permit, for up to one year, “the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States” if they determined that the acquisition met five specified criteria and the minimization procedures for that surveillance were approved by the FISC. PAA § 105B. In practical terms, the government could serve providers with orders that the FISC approved, and then name the targets of surveillance later.

One provider, Yahoo, challenged this in In re Directives [Redacted] Pursuant to Section 105B of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [Redacted], 551 F.3d 1004 (FISA Ct. Rev. 2008). In that case, the government revealed that it not only complied with the PAA but also voluntarily complied with Executive Order 12,333, 46 Fed. Reg. 59,941, 59,951 (Dec. 4, 1981), which taken together mean that the certifications at issue “permit surveillances conducted to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes when those surveillances are directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.” In re Directives, 551 F.3d at 1008. The court upheld these warrantless searches, finding that because the purpose of the surveillance was to gather foreign intelligence information, it fell under a “foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement” so long as it was directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United states. Id. at 1012.

The court also found that the searches were reasonable because they complied with Executive Order 12,333, which required probable cause to believe that an individual is outside the United States and a finding that such surveillance was necessary, and which limited the duration of the surveillance and thus contained sufficient protections to avoid risk of mistake or executive branch misconduct.

The PAA was a stopgap measure and was eventually replaced by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), Pub. L. No. 110-261, § 403, 122 Stat. 2436, 2473. The FAA repealed the most troublesome provision of the PAA, which provided for warrantless surveillance of foreign intelligence targets “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States, even if they were U.S. persons, by adding a new section to FISA entitled “Additional Procedures Regarding Certain Persons Outside the United States.” Much of this section enshrines the protections present in Executive Order 12,333’s treatment of U.S. persons that the court relied on in In re Sealed Case and In re Directives to uphold the surveillance of United States persons located abroad.

The FAA again addressed the question of when FISA applies via a complicated web of procedures and processes for each category of target subject to surveillance: individuals outside the country that are not “U.S. Persons” (section 1881a), acquisitions inside the country targeting U.S. persons outside the country (section 1881b), and U.S. persons outside the country (section 1881c). Different processes are required for each type of target, but in a nutshell, U.S. persons receive slightly more protection. The most important change is that there is no prior judicial review of surveillance conducted in the United States that targets non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. FAA § 1881a. To conduct surveillance of U.S. persons outside the United States, however, the government must first obtain FISC approval of the particular targets. FAA § 1881b.

 

Time to Address Problems

FISA’s history and current events demonstrate that we are at a point in the cycle where it is again time to address the two basic questions: How do we provide oversight of intelligence-gathering activities? And when does this oversight apply? FISA, from a textual perspective, provides the government with far-reaching authority for surveillance and specific process for each type of surveillance it may want to conduct, but the public was relatively unaware of how the government used that authority until Edward Snowden leaked classified documents in late 2013 providing some detail on the NSA’s use of surveillance activities. In response, the government has begun declassifying a wealth of FISC decisions, letters to Congress, and other information regarding the NSA’s use of FISA authorities. A detailed analysis of these opinions could lead to a new report as voluminous as the Church Committee’s reports, but even a high-level analysis provides some context for moving forward.

The recently released opinions—such as Redacted, LEXIS 157706 (FISA Ct. Oct. 3, 2011), and Redacted II, LEXIS 157706 (FISA Ct. Nov. 30, 2011)—confirm what appeared to be the case in In re Directives, that the FISC has adopted an exception to the warrant requirement for foreign intelligence gathering—particularly where the government seeks communications that are not wholly domestic. In those cases, despite finding that the NSA knowingly collected wholly domestic communications that had nothing to do with foreign intelligence, the FISC generally approved most of the government’s targeting and minimization procedures. On a bad set of facts for the government, the FISC held that only a small part of the NSA’s surveillance program was unconstitutional and only because the NSA did not make enough of an effort to delete wrongly collected communications—a problem the NSA soon remedied. Redacted II, LEXIS 157705 (FISA Ct. Nov. 30, 2011).

The window left open in Keith seems to be closed. Similarly, the FISC has approved of the NSA’s “collect now, restrict searching later” approach to minimization. See In re Application of the F.B.I. for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things from [Redacted], No. BR 13-109, LEXIS 134786 (FISA Ct. Sept. 13, 2013). In other words, the FISC has found no constitutional or statutory impediment to the government “over collecting” data—so long as it does not intentionally collect wholly domestic communications and it has minimization procedures to restrict access. There is no indication that the government has used its surveillance powers improperly (except in a limited number of circumstances attributable to NSA employee misconduct), but the FISC has not taken a robust view of the Fourth Amendment.

As was the case back in the late 1970s, the American public has reacted to executive surveillance activities—some of which are eerily similar to the NSA’s use of surveillance authority in the mid– to late 1970s. And as was the case in the late 1970s, it may again be time for Congress to take action. The problems remain quite similar to those Congress faced in 1978: provide oversight where there is none, or where it is inadequate, and make clear when the government can, and cannot, use different types of FISA process.

In late 2013, numerous members of Congress began proposing bills to reform FISA and provide new protections. See Mark M. Jaycox, “Cheat Sheet to Congress’ NSA Spying Bills,” Elec. Frontier Found. (Sept. 11, 2013), http://www.eff.org/deep links/2013/08/effs-cheat-sheet. Given the heated nature of the current debate, it is likely that the particular content of these bills will change daily, and summarizing their particularities is best left to blogs. Still, the bills generally fall into two categories: increasing transparency and restructuring the process. A few bills address bulk collection of records under section 215, but none takes a comprehensive approach to changing the question of when FISA applies and when it does not.

The current system of checks and balances under the FAA is simply not enough. It’s not because of a lack of desire by the providers to defend their users. Unlike the telephone and telegraph companies that did not act to end NSA spying in the Operation SHAMROCK era, providers today are taking a much more active role in the process. Yahoo challenged the FISA process in 2008, interest groups have filed actions seeking information about surveillance practices, and now providers have brought declaratory judgment actions seeking to reveal more information about surveillance process they receive.

One of the pending bills, Senator Blumenthal’s FISA Court Reform Act of 2013, Senate Bill 1460 and Senate Bill 1467, provides an answer that, having had the experience of litigating before the FISC myself, I believe could provide much needed improvements. That bill provides for a new Office of the Special Advocate, which introduces an adversary to the court. (This is similar to the public privacy advocate that President Obama recently proposed.) The act attempts to solve a basic problem with the current oversight procedures: There is no true adversarial process for most of the legal issues that arise. The newly declassified opinions the director of national intelligence has released make this abundantly clear. Setting aside the legal arguments, the procedural history of the opinions indicates delays on the government’s part, a lack of supervision after the court issues its orders, and a preference for secrecy over public disclosure at any cost. Appointing a special advocate ad litem for the public would ensure that novel legal arguments in the FISA court would face a consistent, steady challenge no matter who the provider is, thereby strengthening the FISA process by subjecting results to checks and balances.

Without such a process, the court and the Department of Justice must work through difficult legal issues with no balancing input. An advocate could participate in all cases involving a new statute or authority or a new interpretation or application of an existing authority. The special advocate could choose the cases in which to be involved, or the court or a provider that receives process could request its involvement where an opposition would be useful to test and evaluate the government’s legal arguments. The special advocate’s office could be established with proper security safeguards to draft, store, and access classified records more efficiently. It could also be required to report to the public and Congress the number of cases it has argued and how often it has limited or pared back the government’s requests. It would provide a vital counterpoint for legislators exercising their oversight duties.

The special advocate would be especially useful in cases in which the government demands access to communications in a way that may have a profound effect on people other than the target, such as when decryption may be involved or when a provider is asked to provide assistance in ways that are unlike traditional wiretaps.

Providing for an advocate in front of the court would also resolve several problems for companies and individuals faced with receiving FISA process or having evidence gathered using that process used against them. The statutory process as it stands now does not necessarily provide for complete transparency or a level playing field for the provider. As the published decision in In re Directives makes clear, a phalanx of 11 government lawyers, including the acting solicitor general of the United States, was involved in defending the statute. The decision also shows that some of the documents relied on by the court of review were classified procedures submitted as part of an ex parte appendix that remains sealed. 551 F.3d at 1013–14.

If an advocate were present in other matters before the FISC, the government and court would be more likely to provide more public information on what challenges have and have not been successful. Public access would also provide litigators with a much greater opportunity to use those challenges in advising and defending their clients. The FISC’s decisions may or may not have been correct, depending on your view, but the secrecy employed up to this point erodes the safeguards built into our adversarial court system. The presence of an advocate would help to ensure that the government cannot continue to keep new opinions classified, unless it is truly in the interest of national security to do so.

Revising FISA is no easy task, and analyzing and responding to the FISA process presents thorny questions. There is one constant throughout the history of surveillance, as was the case in the Church Report and as is the case today with news reports about NSA surveillance: The government will use the surveillance power it is given to its fullest. This article does not opine on when that is and is not appropriate. America’s long history of surveillance and current events demonstrate a need to revise the process and take a hard look at whether courts have the tools to oversee executive branch surveillance and when the executive branch should be allowed to use foreign intelligence procedures. Introducing an advocate to test the government’s theories and surveillance in every case—even the ones it brings ex parte—would go a long way toward ensuring that the American public is not shocked again.

https://www.americanbar.org/publications/litigation_journal/2013-14/spring/fisa_authority_and_blanket_surveillance_gatekeeper_without_opposition.html

Meet Executive Order 12333: The Reagan rule that lets the NSA spy on Americans

July 18, 2014

John Napier Tye served as section chief for Internet freedom in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from January 2011 to April 2014. He is now a legal director of Avaaz, a global advocacy organization.

In March I received a call from the White House counsel’s office regarding a speech I had prepared for my boss at the State Department. The speech was about the impact that the disclosure of National Security Agency surveillance practices would have on U.S. Internet freedom policies. The draft stated that “if U.S. citizens disagree with congressional and executive branch determinations about the proper scope of signals intelligence activities, they have the opportunity to change the policy through our democratic process.”

But the White House counsel’s office told me that no, that wasn’t true. I was instructed to amend the line, making a general reference to “our laws and policies,” rather than our intelligence practices. I did.

Even after all the reforms President Obama has announced, some intelligence practices remain so secret, even from members of Congress, that there is no opportunity for our democracy to change them.

Public debate about the bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ data by the NSA has focused largely on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, through which the government obtains court orders to compel American telecommunications companies to turn over phone data. But Section 215 is a small part of the picture and does not include the universe of collection and storage of communications by U.S. persons authorized under Executive Order 12333.

From 2011 until April of this year, I worked on global Internet freedom policy as a civil servant at the State Department. In that capacity, I was cleared to receive top-secret and “sensitive compartmented” information. Based in part on classified facts that I am prohibited by law from publishing, I believe that Americans should be even more concerned about the collection and storage of their communications under Executive Order 12333 than under Section 215.

Bulk data collection that occurs inside the United States contains built-in protections for U.S. persons, defined as U.S. citizens, permanent residents and companies. Such collection must be authorized by statute and is subject to oversight from Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The statutes set a high bar for collecting the content of communications by U.S. persons. For example, Section 215 permits the bulk collection only of U.S. telephone metadata — lists of incoming and outgoing phone numbers — but not audio of the calls.

Executive Order 12333 contains no such protections for U.S. persons if the collection occurs outside U.S. borders. Issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 to authorize foreign intelligence investigations, 12333 is not a statute and has never been subject to meaningful oversight from Congress or any court. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has said that the committee has not been able to “sufficiently” oversee activities conducted under 12333.

Unlike Section 215, the executive order authorizes collection of the content of communications, not just metadata, even for U.S. persons. Such persons cannot be individually targeted under 12333 without a court order. However, if the contents of a U.S. person’s communications are “incidentally” collected (an NSA term of art) in the course of a lawful overseas foreign intelligence investigation, then Section 2.3(c) of the executive order explicitly authorizes their retention. It does not require that the affected U.S. persons be suspected of wrongdoing and places no limits on the volume of communications by U.S. persons that may be collected and retained.

“Incidental” collection may sound insignificant, but it is a legal loophole that can be stretched very wide. Remember that the NSA is building a data center in Utah five times the size of the U.S. Capitol building, with its own power plant that will reportedly burn $40 million a year in electricity.

“Incidental collection” might need its own power plant.

A legal regime in which U.S. citizens’ data receives different levels of privacy and oversight, depending on whether it is collected inside or outside U.S. borders, may have made sense when most communications by U.S. persons stayed inside the United States. But today, U.S. communications increasingly travel across U.S. borders — or are stored beyond them. For example, the Google and Yahoo e-mail systems rely on networks of “mirror” servers located throughout the world. An e-mail from New York to New Jersey is likely to wind up on servers in Brazil, Japan and Britain. The same is true for most purely domestic communications.

Executive Order 12333 contains nothing to prevent the NSA from collecting and storing all such communications — content as well as metadata — provided that such collection occurs outside the United States in the course of a lawful foreign intelligence investigation. No warrant or court approval is required, and such collection never need be reported to Congress. None of the reforms that Obama announced earlier this year will affect such collection.

Without any legal barriers to such collection, U.S. persons must increasingly rely on the affected companies to implement security measures to keep their communications private. The executive order does not require the NSA to notify or obtain consent of a company before collecting its users’ data.

The attorney general, rather than a court, must approve “minimization procedures” for handling the data of U.S. persons that is collected under 12333, to protect their rights. I do not know the details of those procedures. But the director of national intelligence recently declassified a document (United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18) showing that U.S. agencies may retain such data for five years.

Before I left the State Department, I filed a complaint with the department’s inspector general, arguing that the current system of collection and storage of communications by U.S. persons under Executive Order 12333 violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. I have also brought my complaint to the House and Senate intelligence committees and to the inspector general of the NSA.

I am not the first person with knowledge of classified activities to publicly voice concerns about the collection and retention of communications by U.S. persons under 12333. The president’s own Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies, in Recommendation 12 of its public report, addressed the matter. But the review group coded its references in a way that masked the true nature of the problem.

At first glance, Recommendation 12 appears to concern Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which authorizes collection inside the United States against foreign targets outside the United States. Although the recommendation does not explicitly mention Executive Order 12333, it does refer to “any other authority.” A member of the review group confirmed to me that this reference was written deliberately to include Executive Order 12333.

Recommendation 12 urges that all data of U.S. persons incidentally collected under such authorities be immediately purged unless it has foreign intelligence value or is necessary to prevent serious harm. The review group further recommended that a U.S. person’s incidentally collected data never be used in criminal proceedings against that person, and that the government refrain from searching communications by U.S. persons unless it obtains a warrant or unless such searching is necessary to prevent serious harm.

The White House understood that Recommendation 12 was intended to apply to 12333. That understanding was conveyed to me verbally by several White House staffers, and was confirmed in an unclassified White House document that I saw during my federal employment and that is now in the possession of several congressional committees.

In that document, the White House stated that adoption of Recommendation 12 would require “significant changes” to current practice under Executive Order 12333 and indicated that it had no plans to make such changes.

All of this calls into question some recent administration statements. Gen. Keith Alexander, a former NSA director, has said publicly that for years the NSA maintained a U.S. person e-mail metadata program similar to the Section 215 telephone metadata program. And he has maintained that the e-mail program was terminated in 2011 because “we thought we could better protect civil liberties and privacy by doing away with it.” Note, however, that Alexander never said that the NSA stopped collecting such data — merely that the agency was no longer using the Patriot Act to do so. I suggest that Americans dig deeper.

Consider the possibility that Section 215 collection does not represent the outer limits of collection on U.S. persons but rather is a mechanism to backfill that portion of U.S. person data that cannot be collected overseas under 12333.

Proposals for replacing Section 215 collection are currently being debated in Congress. We need a similar debate about Executive Order 12333. The order as used today threatens our democracy. There is no good reason that U.S. citizens should receive weaker privacy and oversight protections simply because their communications are collected outside, not inside, our borders.

I have never made any unauthorized disclosures of classified information, nor would I ever do so. I fully support keeping secret the targets, sources and methods of U.S. intelligence as crucial elements of national security. I was never a disgruntled federal employee; I loved my job at the State Department. I left voluntarily and on good terms to take a job outside of government. A draft of this article was reviewed and cleared by the State Department and the NSA to ensure that it contained no classified material.

When I started at the State Department, I took an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States. I don’t believe that there is any valid interpretation of the Fourth Amendment that could permit the government to collect and store a large portion of U.S. citizens’ online communications, without any court or congressional oversight, and without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Such a legal regime risks abuse in the long run, regardless of whether one trusts the individuals in office at a particular moment.

I am coming forward because I think Americans deserve an honest answer to the simple question: What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/meet-executive-order-12333-the-reagan-rule-that-lets-the-nsa-spy-on-americans/2014/07/18/93d2ac22-0b93-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html?utm_term=.0be4d4e8beac

A Primer on Executive Order 12333: The Mass Surveillance Starlet

JUNE 2, 2014

Many news reports have focused on Section 215 of the Patriot Act (used to collect all Americans’ calling records) and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA) (used to collect phone calls, emails and other Internet content) as the legal authorities supporting much of the NSA’s spying regime. Both laws were passed by Congress and are overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court). However, it’s likely that the NSA conducts much more of its spying under the President’s claimed inherent powers and only governed by a document originally approved by President Reagan titled Executive Order 12333. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is currently conducting a secret investigation into the order, but Congress as a whole—including the Judiciary committee—must release more information about the order to the public.

EO 12333 was first written in 1981 in the wake of Watergate and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, an act passed by Congress that regulates spying conducted on people located within the United States. Since FISA only covers specific types of spying, the President maintains that the executive branch remains free to spy abroad on foreigners with little to no regulation by Congress.

Executive Order 12333

The Executive Order does three things: it outlines what it governs, when the agencies can spy, and how they can spy. In broad strokes, the Executive Order mandates rules for spying on United States persons (a term that includes citizens and lawful permanent residents wherever they may be) and on anyone within the United States. It also directs the Attorney General and others to create further policies and procedures for what information can be collected, retained, and shared.

The first section of the order covers the role of every agency conducting intelligence in the Intelligence Community, which includes seventeen different agencies, including well-known entities like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the NSA, and lesser-known entities like the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the Department of Treasury. The roles vary by agency. For instance, the NSA is, among other things, responsible for “collection, processing and dissemination of signals intelligence,” while the CIA is responsible for “national foreign intelligence.

The Information Collected

The Executive Order purports to cover all types of spying conducted with the President’s constitutional powers—including mass spying. That’s important to note because some of the spying conducted under EO 12333 is reportedly similar to the mass spying conducted under Section 702 of the FAA. Under this type of spying, millions of innocent foreigners’ communications are collected abroad, inevitably containing Americans’ communications. In the Section 702 context, this includes techniques like Prism and Upstream. While we don’t know for sure, the Executive Order probably uses similar techniques or piggybacks off of programs used for Section 702 spying.

The second section of the EO partly covers mass spying by establishing what information intelligence agencies can collect, retain, and share about US persons. The current guidelines, the United States Signals Intelligence Directive SP0018, also known as “USSID 18,” are (just like the “minimization procedures” based off of them) littered with loopholes to over-collect, over-retain, and over-share Americans’ communications—all without a probable cause warrant or any judicial oversight.

Defenders (.pdf) of the mass spying conducted under the Executive Order point out the order “protects” such US person information with guidelines like USSID 18, but such protections are window-dressing, at best. Policies like USSID 18 and other accompanying Executive Order guidelines such as the “Special Procedures Governing Communications Metadata Analysis” allow for extensive use of US person information and data without a probable cause warrant. Indeed, news reports and Congressional testimony confirm the “Special Procedures” are used to map Americans’ social networks. The procedures are clear evidence the government believes that Fourth Amendment’s protections stop at the border.

Uses of Executive Order 12333

We do know a little about the spying conducted using EO 12333, but more must be revealed to the public. One early news report revealed it was the NSA’s claimed authority for the collection of Americans’ address books and buddy lists. It’s also involved in the NSA’s elite hacking unit, the Tailored Access Operations unit, which targets system administrators and installs malware while masquerading as Facebook servers. And in March, the Washington Postrevealed the order alone—without any court oversight—is used to justify the recording of “100 percent of a foreign country’s telephone calls.” The NSA’s reliance on the order for foreign spying includes few, if any, Congressional limits or oversight. Some of the only known limits on Executive spying are found in Executive procedures like USSID 18, the metadata procedures discussed above, and probably other still-classified National Security Policy Directives, none of which have been publicly debated much less approved by Congress or the courts.

The extent of the NSA’s reliance on Executive Order 12333 demands that the government release more information about how the order is used, or misused. And Congress—specifically the Judiciary and Intelligence committees—must reassert the same aggressive and diligent oversight they performed in the 1970s and 1980s.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/06/primer-executive-order-12333-mass-surveillance-starlet

Maintaining America’s Ability to Collect Foreign Intelligence: The Section 702 Program

May 13, 2016 21 min read Download Report

Authors:Paul Rosenzweig, Charles Stimson andDavid Shedd

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Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will, in its current form, come up for reauthorization in 2017. Broadly speaking, the Section 702 program targets non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States, in order to acquire foreign intelligence. Over the past several years, this surveillance of the online activities of foreigners has been a critical and invaluable tool for American intelligence professionals and officials. Knowledgeable officials note that more than 25 percent of all current U.S. intelligence is based on information collected under Section 702.[1]

Still, there are those who have concerns about the program. These critics believe that the program, as currently implemented, infringes on Americans’ rights. Their concern hinges on the inevitable reality that in the course of collecting information about foreign actors, the Section 702 program will also collect information about American citizens. As a result, some opponents liken the Section 702 program to the government telephony metadata program disclosed by Edward Snowden, and characterize Section 702 as an instance of government overreach.[2] Such comparisons are misguided and unfair. The program is so vital to America’s national security that Congress should reauthorize Section 702 in its current form.

Section 702 Explained

Section 702 has its origins in President George W. Bush’s terrorist surveillance program and the Patriot Act. That program was initiated in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, on the President’s own authority. That reliance on exclusive presidential authority contributed to the controversy that initially attended the program—some vocal critics saw it as an example of executive overreach.

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That aspect of the criticism was significantly ameliorated, if not eliminated, several years later, when Congress fully discussed and authorized the activities in question. Indeed, the governing law was adopted and amended twice, after the program had been initiated on the President’s own authority. First, Congress adopted a temporary measure known as the Protect America Act in 2007.[3] Then, it passed the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) in 2008. This is the statute that includes the new Section 702.[4]

Under Section 702, the U.S. Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) may jointly authorize surveillance of people who are not “U.S. persons.” U.S. persons is a term of art in the intelligence community (IC) that means people who are not only American citizens but also covers permanent-resident aliens. As such, the targets of Section 702 surveillance can be neither citizens nor permanent residents of the U.S.

Section 702 authorizes the government to acquire foreign intelligence by targeting non-U.S. persons “reasonably believed” to be outside U.S. borders. Taken together, these two requirements identify the fundamental domain of Section 702 surveillance: it applies to foreigners on foreign soil. It is expressly against the law to attempt collection of information from targets inside the U.S.—whether Americans or foreigners—or to deliberately target the collection of online communications of American citizens.[5]

The law also requires the government to develop “targeting procedures”—the steps the government needs to take in order to ensure that the target is outside the United States at any time that electronic surveillance is undertaken. Obviously, that is sometimes difficult. A cell phone number, for instance, remains the same whether the phone is physically overseas or in the U.S., and the fact that someone has a U.S. cell phone number does not necessarily indicate whether the owner or user of that cell phone is a foreigner or an American. Hence, targeting must be tied to the geolocation of a phone and some knowledge about the owner/user, rather than solely to the phone’s number. Ultimately, it is the targeting procedures, not the targets themselves, that must be approved by the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).[6]

To conduct this surveillance, the government can compel assistance from Internet service providers (ISPs) and telephone companies in acquiring foreign intelligence information—that is, information relating to a foreign espionage program or international terrorism. The government often compensates these providers for the necessary effort. According to The Washington Post, the payments range from $250 million to nearly $400 million annually.[7] Some critics of the program suspect that as a result, surveillance turns from a legal obligation to a source of income. Finally, it is important to note that not only regulated carriers, such as traditional cable and telephone companies (such as AT&T or Verizon), are required to participate, but also newer technology companies to include Google, Facebook, and Skype.

The Incidental Collection Issue

If that were all that the 702 program involved, it would likely not be particularly controversial. Few Americans have expressed grave concerns about America’s overseas intelligence collection. Significantly, the 702 program cannot be used to target any U.S. person or any person located in the U.S., whether that person is an American or a foreigner. The government is also prohibited from “reverse targeting” under 702—that is, the government cannot target a non-U.S. person outside the U.S. when the real interest is to collect the communications of a person in the U.S. or of any U.S. person, regardless of location.

But a residual issue arises because of the inevitability of inadvertent collection—the incidental collection of information about Americans as part of the authorized collection of foreign intelligence.

To see why this happens, one needs to understand two distinct aspects of the Section 702 program: one portion that goes by the name of PRISM, and another that is referred to colloquially as “upstream collection.”[8]

PRISM collection is relatively straightforward. A hypothetical can explain: The government has information about a particular e-mail address, or a particular individual, linking it or him to a foreign terrorist organization. That address (john.doe@xyz.com) or that individual’s name (John Doe) is known as a “selector”; it is a basis for sifting through vast quantities of data, and selecting what will be collected and analyzed.

The Attorney General and the DNI certify the selector as relating to a non-U.S. person who is outside the United States, and who is reasonably believed to be connected to a foreign intelligence activity. Then, the National Security Agency (NSA) sends a query about that selector to an ISP. The ISP, in turn, is required to hand over to the government any communications it might have that were sent to—or from—the identified selector. The NSA receives all data collected through PRISM, and makes portions of it available to the CIA and the FBI.

Upstream collection, by contrast, does not focus on the ISP. Instead, it focuses on the “backbone,” through which all telephone and Internet communications travel, which lies “upstream” within the telecommunications infrastructure. For example, an individual’s ISP might be a local company, while the backbone that carries its Internet traffic across the ocean to Europe is almost certainly operated by a larger provider, such as Verizon or AT&T.

There are several additional differences that distinguish upstream collection from PRISM. Most notably, upstream collection can involve “about” communications. “About” communications refer to selectors that occur within the content of the monitored communication, instead of, in the example of e-mail, in the “To” or “From” line.

So, if the government were using a name—John Doe—as a selector, under the upstream collection program, it would also collect foreign intelligence–related communications in which that name appeared in the body of the communication. Say, for example, that two al-Qaeda members are communicating via e-mail, and one says to the other: “We should recruit Doe.” That e-mail would be subject to upstream collection and would be a good example of an “about” communication. The e-mail is about Doe. Under the PRISM program, by contrast, the government would collect e-mails to and from the user name, and nothing more.

As should be evident, in some cases, these programs might result unintentionally in the collection of information about an American. If two Americans are communicating domestically in an exchange that names a foreign intelligence target (say, an e-mail that mentions an al-Qaeda operative by name), that e-mail might be incidentally collected by upstream collection. Likewise, an e-mail between two terrorist targets might be collected that incidentally includes information not only about legitimately identified U.S. persons (the recruit target John Doe), but also others. An e-mail might also mention Mary Doe—even though no evidence exists of any connection between Mary Doe and a foreign intelligence matter.

This prospect of collecting American data led Congress to include certain requirements that would reduce, though not entirely eliminate, the possibility that the data could be misused. Under the FAA, when information is collected about an American, whether incidentally as part of an authorized investigation, or inadvertently as the result of a mistake, the government is required to apply FISC-approved “minimization” procedures to determine whether such information may be retained or disseminated.

When lawyers and intelligence professionals use the word “minimization” in the context of intelligence collection, it means that any information inadvertently collected on a U.S. person is retained (if at all) only for a limited time, and that information about Americans is used and revealed and further disseminated only under narrowly defined circumstances. Minimization requirements may also mean deleting the information entirely. As with the targeting procedures, these minimization procedures are approved by the FISC—but again, the approval is for the entire system of minimization, not for each individual case.

So, for example, under these minimization rules, the NSA, CIA, and FBI are subject to certain limitations in how they are permitted to query and analyze the data they have lawfully collected. For example, they must demonstrate a reasonable likelihood that targeting a particular item in the information collected will result in the development of foreign intelligence. In other words, the rules limit when a U.S. person can be targeted for examination, and how long data about an American can be retained before it is deleted.

The Effectiveness of Section 702

With that background in mind, it is useful to turn to more practical questions about the program: Does it work? Is it being abused?

The public record suggests that the Section 702 program has indeed helped in the fight against terrorism. Classified records might provide additional support for this conclusion but they are unavailable to us.[9] The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB)—a bipartisan panel in the executive branch that reviews actions the executive branch takes to protect the country from terrorism, and also monitors civil liberty concerns—has reported that more than one-quarter of NSA reports on international terrorism include information that is based in whole, or in part, on data collected under the Section 702 program.

The PCLOB found that the 702 program “makes a substantial contribution to the government’s efforts to learn about the membership, goals, and activities of international terrorist organizations, and to prevent acts of terrorism from coming to fruition.”[10] Additionally, the program has “led the government to identify previously unknown individuals who are involved in international terrorism, and it has played a key role in discovering and disrupting specific terrorist plots aimed at the United States and other countries.”[11]

Although the details supporting these findings are classified, the board has also said that the program has played a role in discovering, and disrupting, specific terrorist plots aimed at the United States by enabling the government to identify previously unidentified individuals involved in international terrorism.[12] Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) has posted three declassified examples from the NSA that involved the effective use of Section 702 collection in 2009: the New York City Subway Attack Plot; the Chicago Terror Investigation; and Operation Wi-Fi.

A few critics of the 702 program have disputed its actual impact in the New York City Subway Attack Plot and the Chicago Terror Investigation. TheGuardian interviewed several people who were involved in the two investigations and reviewed U.S. and British court documents.[13] Based on this incomplete record, The Guardian concluded that these investigations began with “conventional” surveillance methods—such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services—rather than from leads produced by NSA surveillance.

But the fact remains that current and former intelligence officials, members from both political parties across two Administrations, national security law experts in the private sector, and the PCLOB maintain that 702 has been and continues to be a very important intelligence tool for overseas intelligence collection.

Section 702 Criticisms v. Facts

Some of the criticisms of Section 702 are little more than philosophical objections to the concept of overseas surveillance.

Setting aside those concerns, there are other specific criticisms, each of which lacks merit. For example, there has been criticism that there is no significant publicly available data on how little, or how much, incidental collection there is about U.S. persons. Such data would be helpful to know in assessing the program. According to the PCLOB, in 2013 the NSA approved 198 U.S. person identifiers to be used as content query terms. The real issue is the frequency with which U.S. persons’ information was collected incidentally to the general foreign intelligence mission, and what is done with the information. After all, if the volume of incidental collection even remotely came close to what is collected as useful data on terrorism activities, including threats, skepticism about Section 702’s efficacy would be warranted.

Given that the targets of Section 702 collection are non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located overseas, it can reasonably be inferred that the predominant portion of the collected data does not contain U.S. person information. Although it would be useful to have an accurate estimate of how much incidental U.S. person information actually resides within the remaining portion of the data collected under the Section 702 program, it has proved very difficult to find any solution that would provide such an estimate. The first problem is that the collected data is often not readily identifiable as being associated with a U.S. person and would require the application of additional scarce technological and analytic resources in an effort to make those associations. The second problem is that the targets of the Section 702 collection efforts do not always communicate with persons of foreign intelligence interest. Ironically, an effort to ascertain an accurate estimate of non-pertinent U.S. person information lying dormant in the collected data is inconsistent with the purpose of Section 702, which is to identify foreign intelligence information. Such an effort to provide an estimate would result in more invasive review of U.S. person information.

FISA itself takes a more practical approach in attempting to understand the potential U.S. person privacy implications raised by Section 702 collection. It requires the head of each element of the Intelligence Community to conduct an annual review and to provide an accounting of the references to U.S. persons in intelligence reporting.[14] This outcome-based approach focuses on the U.S. person information that is actually being seen by the Intelligence Community, in order to assess whether there is any prejudicial impact on privacy rights. Also, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) recently released its “Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities–Annual Statistics for Calendar Year 2015.”[15] The report estimates that 94,368 non-U.S. persons are targets of Section 702 collection. By comparison, the report estimates that the IC used 4,672 known U.S. person search terms in 23,800 queries of the lawfully collected Section 702 data. The report also notes that in 2015, the NSA disseminated 4,290 Section 702 intelligence reports that included U.S. person information. Of those reports, the U.S. person information was masked in 3,168 reports and unmasked in 1,122 reports. The remaining major criticisms of the 702 program are more systematic and definitional. One critique is that the government uses too broad a means in its first stage of collection, which is then followed by a more refined collection of data.[16] Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the FISC has described the program more accurately: “While in absolute terms, the scope of acquisition under Section 702 is substantial, the acquisitions are not conducted in a bulk or indiscriminate manner. Rather they are effected through…discrete targeting decisions for individual selectors.”[17]

Another complaint about the Section 702 program is that U.S. person data is retained—at least partially—at all. Under current rules, when the U.S. government targets someone abroad, it is not required to discard the incidentally collected communications of U.S. persons—if authorities conclude that those conversations constitute foreign intelligence.

In that event, even incidental conversations by or about U.S. persons may be retained. And the threshold for querying a U.S. person within the data collected is relatively low. To affirmatively query the data collected about a U.S. person, all that is needed is a determination that the search is reasonably likely to return foreign intelligence information. “Reasonably likely” is an especially easy standard to meet. It does not, for example, require any particularized suspicion that the U.S. person who is subject of the inquiry is engaged in any wrongdoing himself.

For that reason, a Presidential Review Board, as well a few Members of Congress, believe that Section 702 collection on Americans goes too far.[18] The program, they argue, is permissible and lawful without individual case supervision or a warrant requirement precisely because it targets non-Americans. So they contend that when the communications of U.S. persons are queried, probable cause and warrant requirements should apply. Any loophole that allows that particular querying should be closed because the government should not be able to obtain “back door” evidence against U.S. persons that it could otherwise only obtain with judicial approval.

But there is no “back door” here—a query does not collect any additional data. The FISC specifically holds that the 702 collection is constitutional and entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment’s protections. The court found that “the querying provisions of the FBI Minimization Procedures strike a reasonable balance between the privacy interests of U.S. persons and persons in the United States, on the one hand, and the government’s national security interests, on the other.”[19] Even the fact that the “FBI’s use of those provisions to conduct queries designed to return evidence of crimes unrelated to foreign intelligence” did “not preclude the Court from concluding that taken together, the targeting and minimization procedures submitted with the 2015 Certifications are consistent with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.”[20]

Obviously, Congress itself did not agree with these systematic and definitional complaints. While the focus of Section 702 collection is on non-U.S. persons located overseas, one of the specifically intended benefits of Section 702 was its ability to provide tip and lead information about persons in the United States who might be conspiring with overseas terrorists. This limited information might prove useful in helping to establish the probable cause necessary to obtain full surveillance coverage of these domestic suspects. It is also important to understand that the response to complaints about the theoretical possibility of abuse under FISA revolves around tight controls. The PCLOB found little evidence of abuse of the Section 215 metadata program, and in the case of Section 702 implementation found virtually no intentional misuse of the collection authorities where U.S. persons were concerned:

Over the years, a series of compliance issues were brought to the attention of the FISA court by the government. However, none of these compliance issues involved significant intentional misuse of the system. Nor has the Board seen any evidence of bad faith or misconduct on the part of any government officials or agents involved with the program. Rather, the compliance issues were recognized by the [FISA] court—and are recognized by the Board—as a product of the program’s technological complexity and vast scope, illustrating the risks inherent in such a program.[21]

Similarly, the PCLOB included a section in its 702 report called “Compliance Issues.” According to the PCLOB, the few instances of error in the administration of the 702 program were infrequent and mainly minor and administrative in nature. That is why the PCLOB found that “internal and external compliance programs have not to date identified any intentional attempts to circumvent or violate the procedures or the statutory requirements, but both unintentional incidents of noncompliance and instances where Intelligence Community personnel did not fully understand the requirements of the statute.”[22]

In other words, all of the errors in the program were accidental or due to mistakes. None was the product of intentional misconduct. Indeed, the non-compliance incident rate has been substantially below 1 percent, according to the PCLOB.[23] Over half of the reported incidents involved instances in which the “NSA otherwise complied with the targeting and minimization procedures in tasking and de-tasking a selector, but failed to make a report to the NSD and ODNI” in a timely fashion.[24]

Two other common reasons why compliance errors occurred are that: (1) the wrong selector was tasked due to a typographical error, or (2) a delay in de-tasking (removing the selector) resulted when an analyst de-tasked some, but not all, of the Section 702-tasked selectors placed on a non-U.S. person target known to be traveling to the United States.[25]

Taken together, these minor administrative errors accounted for “almost 75% of the compliance incidents,” according to the PCLOB.[26]

Section 702: Constitutional and Lawful

One last aspect of Section 702 needs to be addressed: the suggestion that the program might in some way be unconstitutional or unlawful. This Backgrounder concludes that relevant case law firmly supports the constitutionality and legality of the Section 702 program. To support this conclusion, we provide a brief history of relevant case law.

The predicate case is United States v. United States District Court,[27] sometimes known as the Keith case, after Judge Damon Keith, the federal district court judge who oversaw the case.

The case hearkens back to an era of protest and civil unrest in the United States. It involved several leaders of the so-called White Panther Party—a white supremacist group—who were charged with bombing a CIA office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1968. Their phones were wiretapped by order of U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, who served under President Richard Nixon. Mitchell said that no warrant was required to authorize the interception, because the defendants posed a “clear and present danger to the structure or existence of the government.”

Judge Keith responded that the Attorney General’s rationale was insufficient, and ruled that warrantless interception and surveillance of domestic conversations was unconstitutional. When the case reached the Supreme Court, the justices agreed with Judge Keith, establishing as precedent the idea that a warrant was needed before electronic surveillance commenced, even if the domestic surveillance was related to national security.

As Justice Lewis Powell said in writing for the Court, the “price of lawful public dissent must not be a dread of subjection to an unchecked surveillance power.” Justice Powell continued, “Nor must the fear of un-authorized official eavesdropping deter vigorous citizen dissent and discussion of government action in private conversation. For private dissent, no less than open public discourse, is essential to our free society.”

Notably, however, the Court limited its holding to domestic surveillance, and said that different rules might apply when the surveillance occurred outside the United States, or was directed at a foreign power—or at non-Americans. Regarding surveillance of non-Americans overseas, courts around the country have agreed with the implicit suggestion of the Supreme Court, holding that surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes need only be reasonable (and that a warrant is not required).[28] That distinction—between domestic and foreign surveillance—is preserved in FISA, which allows more relaxed FISA procedures (for which a criminal warrant was not required) only when the purpose of the investigation is to collect foreign intelligence.

In Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, the Supreme Court upheld the drug testing of high school athletes and explained that the exception to the warrant requirement applied “when special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable cause requirements impracticable.”[29] Although Vernonia was not a foreign intelligence case—far from it—the principles from the Court’s “special needs” cases influenced later cases in the national security context.

In “In re: Sealed Case,” the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review held that FISA did not require the government to demonstrate to the FISA court that its primary purpose in conducting electronic surveillance was not criminal prosecution and, significantly, the PATRIOT Act’s amendment to FISA, permitting the government to conduct surveillance of agents of foreign powers if foreign intelligence was the “significant purpose” of the surveillance, did not violate the Fourth Amendment.[30] The court avoided an express holding that a foreign intelligence exception exists, but held that FISA could survive on reasonableness grounds.

In 2008, “In re: Directives Pursuant to Section 105B of FISA” applied the principles derived from the special needs cases to conclude that the foreign intelligence surveillance authorized by the Protect America Act possesses characteristics that qualify it for a foreign intelligence exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.[31]

Notably, the “In re: Directives” decision cites a Fourth Circuit opinion for the proposition that there is a high degree of probability that requiring a warrant would hinder the government’s ability to collect time-sensitive information and thus impede vital national security interests.[32]

In April 2016, the first decision addressing the constitutionality of upstream collection under Section 702 was publicly released. The FISA court issued a declassified opinion[33] in which it concluded that use of information collected under Section 702 authority for domestic investigations satisfied both constitutional standards and was within the statutory bounds of the FISA Amendments Act. Notably, for purposes of this discussion, the court reached this conclusion after having had the benefit of a public advocate who articulated a position contrary to that of the government.[34] Judge Hogan cites “In re: Directives” in support of the proposition that the Fourth Amendment does not require the government to obtain a warrant to conduct surveillance in order “to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes [that] is directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.”

Section 702: Continuing Improvements

On February 5, 2016, the PCLOB issued its “Recommendations Assessment Report.” The purpose of the report was to assess whether the DNI had responded appropriately to recommendations it had made for the improvement of the program.

The DNI had taken action to the PCLOB recommendations. Indeed, with respect to the 10 recommendations relating to the Section 702 program, the PCLOB Recommendations Assessment Report determined that five recommendations have been fully implemented; one has been substantially implemented; three are in the process of being implemented; and one has been partially implemented.[35]

The historical record demonstrates the effectiveness of both the PCLOB’s oversight function and the responsiveness of the DNI to its recommendations—a win-win story in the new age of intelligence oversight.[36]

Conclusions

First, Section 702 is constitutional, statutorily authorized, and carefully constructed to address a vital U.S. national security requirement: the collection of vital information relating to foreign threats.

Second, it seems clear that, in light of careful scrutiny by the PCLOB, the specter of alleged abuse of the program is more theoretical than real.

Third, the Section 702 program has great current utility and provides invaluable intelligence of practical impact and not replaceable by other means of collection.

The benefits of the Section 702 program greatly outweigh its (theoretical) costs and the program should continue as currently authorized. Indeed, the record suggests that the 702 Program is invaluable as a foreign intelligence collection tool. The fruits of the program constitute more than 25 percent of the NSA’s reports concerning international terrorism. It has clearly defined implementation rules and robust oversight by all three branches of government, and is a necessary tool for defending the nation.

Congress should reauthorize 702 in its entirety. There is no need for a further sunset of the act’s provisions, as it has demonstrated its usefulness; and an arbitrarily forced reconsideration by Congress is unnecessary, a waste of time and money, and at the expense of national security.

The program can, and should, be implemented in a manner that is consistent with American values. To quote General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and former CIA director:

[A]n American strategy for cyberspace must reflect and serve our ideals. In our zeal to secure the internet, we must be careful not to destroy that which we are trying to preserve, an open, accessible, ubiquitous, egalitarian, and free World Wide Web. There are nations—like Iran, China, Russia and others—who view precisely those attributes as the very definition of cyber security threats. Their concern is not digital theft, but the free movement of ideas. We must take care that in our efforts to prevent the former, we do not legitimize their efforts to prevent the latter.[37]

A properly configured Section 702 program has met that challenge to the benefit of the American public. At a time when international terrorism is on the rise, the United States must have a lawful, robust foreign intelligence capability.

—David R. Shedd is a Visiting Distinguished Fellow in the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, Paul Rosenzweig is a Visiting Fellow in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy, of the Davis Institute, and Charles D. Stimson is Manager of the National Security Law Program and Senior Legal Fellow in the Center for National Defense, of the Davis Institute, at The Heritage Foundation.

JUNE 06, 2017 5:27 PM

Republicans worried about leaks consider cutting back surveillance authority

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 896, May 18, 2017, Story 1: A Broadcasting Legend, Roger Ailes, Dies at Age 77, Rest in Peace — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Tweets: “The is The Single Greatest Witch Hunt of A Politician in American History” — Special Counsel: Bad Idea — Robert Mueller: Good Choice — Videos

Posted on May 18, 2017. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Benghazi, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Congress, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Employment, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Hate Speech, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Law, Media, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Image result for roger ailes dead at 77Image result for roger ailes and familyImage result for cartoons branco trump witch huntImage result for trump russian investigation a witch hunt

Story 1: A Broadcasting Legend, Roger Ailes, Dies at Age 77, Rest in Peace — Videos

Image result for roger ailes and familyImage result for roger ailes and family

Rupert Murdoch statement on Roger Ailes’ passing

Brit Hume on the life and legacy of Roger Ailes

Sean Hannity: I am forever grateful for Roger Ailes

Martha MacCallum remembers Roger Ailes

Rush Limbaugh Remembers Roger Ailes: “Roger And I Were Passengers In History”

Neil Cavuto remembers Roger Ailes

Gutfeld remembers Roger Ailes

The Sean Hannity Show May 18, 2017 || Remembering Roger Ailes

Laura Ingraham Show 5/18/17 – (FULL) Roger Ailes Built Success By Out Thinking His Competitors

Mark Levin Show: Tribute to Roger Ailes (audio from 05-18-2017)

Glenn & Bill React To Roger Aile’s Death | Bill O’Reilly’s First Interview Since Fox News Exit

Bill O’Reilly No Spin News: Paying Respects To Roger Ailes(RIP) & Hysterical Press (5/18/2017)

Rachel Maddow On The Passing Of Roger Ailes: ‘I Considered Him To Be A Friend’

Kimberly Guilfoyle pays tribute to Roger Ailes

Shepard Smith pays tribute to Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes, Who Built Fox News Into an Empire, Dies at 77

Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes dead at 77

Remembering Roger Ailes

World reacts to the death of Roger Ailes

Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes dead at 77

Roger Ailes leaves behind complicated legacy

Lionel Nation YouTube Live Stream: Roger Ailes Eulogium, Mueller the DNC Nightmare & Comey the Clown

Fox News anchors learned of the death of former chairman and CEO Roger Ailes from Drudge

  • Fox News anchors learned of death of former chairman and CEO from Drudge
  • Fox published a breaking news segment on Twitter following Roger Ailes’ death
  • Steve Doocy said: ‘They have published, Drudge has, a statement from his wife’
  • Ainsley Earhardt added: ‘Beth you are in our thoughts and our prayers, and so is Zachary, their beautiful son. Roger, rest in peace.’
  • Ailes died aged 77, according to his wife, who released statement to Matt Drudge
Roger Ailes has died at the age of 77, his wife Elizabeth revealed in a statement on Thursday

Roger Ailes has died at the age of 77, his wife Elizabeth revealed in a statement on Thursday

Fox News anchors only learned of the death of its former chairman and CEO from Drudge Report.

Roger Ailes died aged 77, according to his wife Elizabeth, who released a statement to Matt Drudge.

In a breaking news segment tweeted by the network on Thursday morning, Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy reported: ‘Roger Ailes, one of the founders of the Fox News channel has died.

‘They have published, Drudge has, a statement from his wife Elizabeth.’

The statement was then read out before Ainsley Earhardt added: ‘Beth you are in our thoughts and our prayers, and so is Zachary, their beautiful son. Roger, rest in peace.’

His death comes less than a year after he resigned from the company over allegations of sexual harassment.

His wife Elizabeth, with whom he has one son, said: ‘I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning. Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many.

‘He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise — and to give back.

‘During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions.

‘And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life,’ the statement reads.

Steve Doocy (left) reported: ‘Roger Ailes, one of the founders of the Fox News channel has died'

Steve Doocy (left) reported: ‘Roger Ailes, one of the founders of the Fox News channel has died’

There was no further information on the cause of Ailes’ death. He celebrated his 77th birthday on Monday.

Ailes had struggled with his health. He had hemophilia, multiple surgeries to replace his joints and a secret prostate surgery a few years ago that put him on an extended leave from the network, according to New York magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman.

Last year, Sherman reported that Ailes was still having trouble walking and rarely left his executive suite.

A friend who ran into Ailes in Palm Beach over the 2015-2016 holidays told the magazine that he was using a walker at the time.

In an excerpt from the 2013 biography Roger Ailes Off Camera, Ailes said he knew he didn’t have long left to live.

‘My doctor told me that I’m old, fat, and ugly, but none of those things is going to kill me immediately,’ he told the author, Zev Chafets, shortly before his 72nd birthday. ‘The actuaries say I have six to eight years. The best tables give me 10. Three thousand days, more or less.’

He added: ‘I’d give anything for another 10 years.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4518872/Fox-News-learned-Roger-Ailes-death-Drudge.html#ixzz4hSwIC0Lw

Michael Wolff on Roger Ailes’ Final Days and a Complicated Murdoch Relationship

Matt Furman
Roger Ailes in his Fox News office in 2014.

The Fox News exec understood the intensity of the unhappiness and anger in another America that liberal media people are only now waking up to with Donald Trump.

I made a mental note last night to call Roger in the morning and get his take on the Trump events of the last few days. There are few conversations more entertaining and insightful than Roger Ailes on Republican politics, where he’s known all the players, their strengths and particularly their weaknesses. While the bet noir to liberals, his most scathing and often hilarious critiques have often been reserved for conservatives. His 50 years among the kahunas of GOP politics — as one of the creators of modern Republican politics — made him, among his other political claims to fame, among his party’s sharpest observers. On his friend Donald Trump, no one has been keener. But at 8:30 this morning, his wife Beth texted me that he had died a few minutes ago at age 77.

It was a particular cruelty of the anti-Ailes press that it often focused on Beth, with rumors of a breakdown in their marriage and impending divorce. In fact, she was fierce in her devotion to him, and his most implacable defender. In the 10 months since he had been forced out as chairman of Fox News Channel, the network —arguably, the most significant political force in American life for a generation — that he launched, built and ran for 20 years, she carried him. This past autumn, after their hard summer of accusations and media conviction, she had flown down to Palm Beach and bought for themselves a waterfront mansion, where she hoped he would retire and where living well would at least be some revenge.

Retirement was more Beth’s idea than his. Roger and I spoke a week ago, just after the last ouster at Fox — Bill Shine, his lieutenant who had taken over his job, following by a week the ouster of Bill O’Reilly — and, invariably, the subject was Fox’s quickly eroding fortunes and the possibilities for a new conservative network. Roger, yet proscribed by the non-compete provisions of his separation agreement, nevertheless had a plan in his head, and was taking calls. “I can’t call. But I can’t stop people from calling me,” he said. As we spoke, Beth texted pictures of their view and of a newly svelte Roger lying lazily in the sun.

All things considered, it was a happy winter. Or, anyway, he was certainly weighing the benefits of being out of the office and out of the fray. Still, clearly, both he and Beth could only get so far from the bitterness they felt about his end at Fox. Worse still, the terms of his departure from Fox put draconian limits on what he could say and how he might defend himself. The payout that he believed he had earned — having created a $30 billion asset and 21st Century Fox’s most profitable business — was the price of his silence. The most voluble and pugnacious man in American media was forced to keep still.

But privately, angrily, he couldn’t wait to settle scores.

In his view, the political showdown that was always bound to happen — which, to me, he had predicted several years before — had finally happened, albeit uglier, and with more finality, than he had ever expected. “They got the memo,” he said, with some forbearance. “If you strike the king, you better kill him.”

James Murdoch

Michael Wolff: It’s James Murdoch’s Fox News Now

By “they,” he meant Rupert Murdoch’s sons. And most particularly James Murdoch, who, two years ago, was elevated to CEO of his father’s company, who Ailes regarded as an impetuous, grandiose, self-satisfied rich kid. Wryly, he admitted bringing this feud on himself. “I made the money those kids spent. So, no, I wasn’t going to suck up to them.”

Indeed, not long before his ouster, Ailes had enraged James by going around his back and helping to convince his father to squelch a plan for a new, temple-like 21st Century Fox headquarters that James wanted to build.

The relationship of Ailes to Murdoch senior, often his loyal patron but frequently just a boss stuck having to indulge his highest earner, was also always a fraught one. When I wrote my Murdoch biography in 2009, one of the few stipulations of my access to Murdoch was that I not interview Ailes, who, I gathered, Rupert felt got too much credit for the company’s success.

In July, over a two week period of press leaks after former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, Ailes was ousted without opportunity to defend himself. Even when James hired the law firm Paul, Weiss, to investigate the charges against Ailes, Ailes himself wasn’t called. In effect, in order to get his payout, he had to accept his disgrace — and it was enough money that he agreed to what he surely considered a devil’s bargain.

It is, of course, impossible to know what might be true or not. And now it can never entirely be known. Surely, his political enemies, the legions of them, were concerned much less for the truth than that he be gone. As surely, less is true than what the various lawsuits allege, because that is the nature of lawsuits. All of us who know what Roger reflexively talks like, irascibly, caustically and with retrograde vividness, give him, at least privately, the benefit of the doubt.

In the end, the larger story is about someone who, from Nixon’s “silent majority” to Reagan’s “Reagan Democrats” to Fox News, understood the intensity of the unhappiness and anger in another America that we liberal media people are only now waking up to with Donald Trump.

More personally, when you’re in the media business, what you look for is someone who is at the top of his craft, who understands the real score, who knows how to gossip and who has stories to tell. If you missed knowing Roger, you missed out.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/michael-wolff-roger-ailes-final-days-a-complicated-murdoch-relationship-1005194

Image result for cartoons department of justice special couselor

Image result for trump tweet with all the illegal acts

Image result for cartoons branco trump witch hunt

Image result for cartoons branco trump witch hunt

 

Image result for cartoons branco hillary clinton public corruption

Image result for cartoons branco hillary clinton public corruption

Image result for cartoons branco hillary clinton public corruptionImage result for cartoons branco hillary clinton public corruption

Robert Meuller Named Special Prosecutor in Trump-Russia Probe. Tucker and Jason Chaffetz Weigh In.

Trump Blasts Russia Investigation as a ‘Witch Hunt’ on Twitter

Explaining Robert Mueller’s New Role as Special Counsel

While Most Sing Mueller’s Praises, Louie Gohmert Says He’s a Big Problem!

Bill Bennett talks pros and cons of Russia special counsel

Ingraham: Left has been trying to impeach since Election Day

What does special counsel mean for the Russia probe?

As special counsel, Mueller to have significant power in Russia probe

Brit Hume: Mueller is the grownup needed for Russia probe

Remarks from Robert Mueller III

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead lyrics

Play “Ding Dong! The Witc…”
on Amazon Music
Munchkins
Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.
Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead. She’s gone where the goblins go,
Below – below – below. Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
The Wicked Witch is dead!
Mayor
As Mayor of the Munchkin City, In the County of the Land of Oz, I welcome you most regally.
Barrister
But we’ve got to verify it legally, to see
Mayor
To see?
Barrister
If she
Mayor
If she?
Barrister
Is morally, ethic’lly
Father No.1
Spiritually, physically
Father No. 2
Positively, absolutely
Munchkins
Undeniably and reliably Dead
Coroner
As Coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her.
And she’s not only merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead.
Mayor
Then this is a day of Independence For all the Munchkins and their descendants
Barrister
If any.
Mayor
Yes, let the joyous news be spread The wicked Old Witch at last is dead!

A Special Enemy

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was born and bred to torment Donald Trump.

Donald Trump went to sleep Wednesday night with a new enemy outside his window: former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

LEON NEYFAKH

Leon Neyfakh is a Slate staff writer.

Mueller, a 72-year-old former prosecutor who left the FBI in 2013, has been called upon by the Justice Department to serve as a special counsel to investigate Trump and his associates. In accordance with an order issued Wednesday by the deputy attorney general, it will be up to Mueller—whose last name is pronounced Muh-lur—to decide whether anyone involved in the Trump campaign should be charged with a crime. “I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability,” Mueller said in a statement Wednesday.

Even if Mueller’s investigation doesn’t result in any charges being brought, it’s almost certain Mueller and his team will end up asking Trump questions he doesn’t want to answer and demanding to see documents he doesn’t want to provide. Barring a drastic change in Trump’s disposition, the president will respond to these affronts by publishing angry tweets about Mueller and snarling about him in interviews. Maybe he’ll even compare him to a “dog,” as he did recently when talking about former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Or perhaps he could threaten Mueller, as he did last week in a tweet directed at former FBI Director James Comey.

While Trump loathes a lot of people, his hatred of Mueller is likely to be particularly intense. That’s because Mueller is exactly the kind of guy Trump always hates. He’s also exactly the kind of law enforcement official Trump doesn’t understand.

Raised in a wealthy suburb of Philadelphia, Mueller has Roman numerals in his name and attended a New Hampshire boarding school alongside John Kerry. Later, he followed in his father’s footsteps to Princeton, where he played lacrosse, and received a master’s from New York University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. According to NPR, former CIA Director George Tenet described Mueller in 2013 as a “high Protestant with a locked jaw [and a] blue blazer, khaki pants, penny loafers, maybe a little Vitalis and Old Spice to boot.”

Mueller was an oddity at the FBI, said Tim Weiner, author of Enemies: A History of the FBI. “There are not a lot of people named Robert Swan Mueller III in the directory of the FBI,” he told me. “Bobby is very patrician. He’s very well-bred.”

It helped that Mueller was also a Marine who fought in Vietnam, having served as the leader of a rifle platoon and been awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Journalists who’ve profiled him invariably note that Mueller’s time in the Marines shaped him profoundly and informed his demanding leadership style. When David Margolis showed up to his first day of work as Mueller’s deputy at the FBI, on the Monday after George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001, he discovered an unsigned note on his desk that was unmistakably from Mueller: “It’s 0700. Where are you?”

Sworn in exactly one week before 9/11, Mueller found himself in charge of fixing a broken FBI that had failed to make sense of crucial clues before the attacks. Writing in Time in 2011, Barton Gellman described the state of the bureau before Mueller’s arrival: “The labor force—heavily white and male, with a blue collar culture that prized physical courage over book smarts lacked the language and technical skills to adapt.” Gellman explained that in the aftermath of 9/11, questions arose as to whether the FBI “was irreparably broken, ill equipped to collect intelligence and disinclined to share it anyway.”

Over the course of 12 years, Mueller worked to transform the agency into an organization that could both hold people responsible for past crimes and suss out malfeasance that hadn’t yet been committed—terrorist plots in particular. Mueller, Gellman wrote, “remade the bureau in his image,” as “[o]utsiders displaced agents with badges and guns as assistant directors in charge of finance, human resources, information technology and the directorate of weapons of mass destruction.” In his office, according to a Washingtonian piece by Garrett Graff, Mueller kept shelves lined with “counterterrorism books, manuals on IT and computers, and business books on such topics as ‘change management’ by corporate thinkers like Jack Welch.” Only a “tiny section,” Graff wrote, was “devoted to crime.”

Mueller, who is not an imposing street soldier who wears a cool uniform, doesn’t fit Trump’s image of a law enforcement official. As evidenced by the fact that villainous Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke appears to have landed a job in the Department of Homeland Security, Trump prefers guys who are cartoonishly “tough on crime.” He also tends to focus his political attention on rank-and-file members of police unions, presenting himself as a friend to regular cops while ignoring the senior “brass” who tell them what to do.  Trump has refused to even acknowledge the memo he was sent in February in which a raft of high-profile police chiefs—including Bill Bratton from the NYPD and David Brown, who was head of the Dallas Police Department at the time of the deadly sniper attack that killed five officers—urged him to reconsider his preferred crime-reduction strategy of putting as many people as possible in prison for as long as the law allows.

It’s possible, though unlikely, that under different circumstances Trump would be impressed by a fancy, smart guy like Mueller and would try to impress him back. But there’s one more thing about Mueller that’s going to make it impossible for Trump to show him any respect: The former FBI director is practically blood brothers with James Comey.

The bond between the two men was forged in early 2004—years before Comey succeeded Mueller as FBI director. Comey, who was then serving as the deputy attorney general under John Ashcroft, was locked in a high-stakes dispute with George W. Bush, who wanted to overrule the Justice Department’s conclusion that an NSA domestic surveillance program was illegal. As Graff tells it in his Washingtonian piece, Ashcroft was in a hospital room recovering from surgery when he was ambushed by a pair of White House aides. Here’s Graff:

Comey was driving home on Constitution Avenue with his security escort of U.S. marshals the night of Tuesday, March 10, 2004, when he got a call. … White House chief of staff Andy Card and White House counsel [Alberto] Gonzales were on their way to see Ashcroft in the hospital.

Comey told his driver to turn on the emergency lights and head to the hospital. Then he began calling other Justice officials to rally them at George Washington University Hospital.

Mueller was at dinner with his wife and daughter when he got the call from Comey at 7:20 pm. “I’ll be right there,” he said.

In 2007, Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he believed Card and Gonzales intended to use Ashcroft’s semiconscious state to get the attorney general to sign off on the surveillance program he had previously opposed. By intercepting them in Ashcroft’s hospital room, Comey and Mueller may have prevented the Bush administration officials from getting the attorney general’s signature. (Comey said in his testimony that Ashcroft made the ultimate decision to rebuff Card and Gonzales.) They also helped put the White House and the Justice Department on course for an epic confrontation. Not long after the incident at the hospital, Mueller told Bush he would resign if the surveillance program continued. Bush, realizing he faced a situation on par with Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” backed down. Afterward, Graff wrote, Mueller and Comey “shared a dark laugh” before going back to work.

“I think that experience, of having to stand together and say, ‘No, Mr. President, you can’t do this,’ really mind-melded them,” said Weiner. “It was a moment of brotherhood.”

At this point, no friend of Jim Comey is ever going to be a friend of Donald Trump, especially when he’s leading the same investigation that Comey led before his ouster. Odds are good, in fact, that Trump will use Mueller’s closeness with Comey to accuse him of bias and question the legitimacy of his inquiry.

If and when Trump does go after Mueller—he dipped his toe in the water Thursday morning by tweeting about how it was unfair that a special counsel had been appointed to conduct the “witch hunt” against him—their showdown will be marked by a pleasing irony. In one corner will be the patrician and brainy Mueller, who has little in common with the “real cops” the president so admires. In the other will be Trump, who will soon find out what being ”tough on crime” really means. …

THE SCOPE OF THE SPECIAL COUNSEL APPOINTMENT IS TOTALLY INADEQUATE

Rod Rosenstein just appointed former FBI Director (and, before that, US Attorney) Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to take over the investigation into Trump and his associates.

I’m agnostic about the selection of Mueller. He has the benefit of credibility among FBI Agents, so will be able to make up for some of what was lost with Jim Comey’s firing. He will be regarded by those who care about such things as non-partisan. With Jim Comey, Mueller stood up to Dick Cheney on Stellar Wind in 2004 (though I think in reality his willingness to withstand Cheney’s demands has been overstated).

But Mueller has helped cover up certain things in the past, most notably with the Amerithrax investigation.

My bigger concern is with the scope, which I believe to be totally inadequate.

Here’s how the order describes the scope:

(b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James 8. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and

(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

As I read this, it covers just the investigation into ties between the Russian government and people associated with Trump’s campaign. Presumably, that includes Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page, among others.

But there are other aspects of the great swamp that is the Trump and Russia orbit that might not be included here. For example, would Manafort’s corrupt deals with Ukrainian oligarchs be included? Would Flynn’s discussions with Turkish officials, or Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to excuse Turkey’s violation of Iran sanctions? Would the garden variety money laundering on behalf of non-governmental Russian mobbed up businessmen be included, something that might affect Manafort, Jared Kushner, or Trump himself?

And remember there are at least two other aspects of the Russian hacking investigation. Back in February, Reuters reported that San Francisco’s office was investigating Guccifer 2.0 and Pittsburgh was investigating the actual hackers.  Somewhere (San Francisco would be the most logical spot), they’re presumably investigating whoever it is that has been dumping NSA’s hacking tools everywhere. I’ve learned that that geography has either changed, or there are other aspects tied to those issues in other corners of the country.

Plus, there’s the Wikileaks investigation in EDVA, the same district where the Mueller-led investigation might reside, but a distinct investigation.

Any one of those investigations might present strings that can be pulled, any one of which might lead to the unraveling of the central question: did Trump’s associates coordinate with the Russian government to become President. Unless Mueller can serve to protect those other corners of the investigation from Trump’s tampering, it would be easy to shut down any of them as they become productive.

Yet, as far as I understand the scope of this, Mueller will only oversee the central question, leaving those disparate ends susceptible to Trump’s tampering.

Update: In its statement on the appointment, ACLU raises concerns about whether this would include the investigation into Trump’s attempt to obstruct this investigation.

Update: WaPo’s Philip Rucker reminds that Mueller is law firm partners with Jamie Gorelick, who has been representing both Ivanka and Kushner in this issue.

Update: Mueller is quitting WilmberHale to take this gig. He’s also taking two WilmerHale former FBI people with him. Still, that’s a close tie to the lawyer of someone representing key subjects of this investigation.

Update: One addition to the ACLU concern about investigating the Comey firing. In the most directly relevant precedent, the Plame investigation, when Pat Fitzgerald expanded his investigation from the leak of Plame’s identity to the obstruction of the investigation, he asked for approval to do so from the Acting Attorney General overseeing the investigation — in that case, Jim Comey.

The Acting Attorney General in this case is Rod Rosenstein. So if Mueller were as diligent as Fitzgerald was, he would have to ask the guy who provided the fig leaf for Comey’s firing to approve the expansion of the investigation to cover his own fig leaf.

Update: Petey noted to me that Jeff Sessions’ narrow recusal may limit how broadly Rosenstein’s order may be drawn. It’s a really interesting observation. Here’s what I said about Sessions’ recusal (which is very similar to what I tried to address in this post).

There are two areas of concern regarding Trump’s ties that would not definitively be included in this recusal: Trump’s long-term ties to mobbed up businessmen with ties to Russia (a matter not known to be under investigation but which could raise concerns about compromise of Trump going forward), and discussions about policy that may involve quid pro quos (such as the unproven allegation, made in the Trump dossier, that Carter Page might take 19% in Rosneft in exchange for ending sanctions against Russia), that didn’t involve a pay-off in terms of the hacking. There are further allegations of Trump involvement in the hacking (a weak one against Paul Manafort and a much stronger one against Michael Cohen, both in the dossier), but that’s in no way the only concern raised about Trump’s ties with Russians.

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The Pronk Pops Show 889, May 9, 2017, Breaking — Story 1: President Donald J. Trump Fires FBI Directory James Comey On Recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions — Videos — Story 2: Democrats Designated Fall Guy — Flynn — Trump Needs To Declassify and Release Complete Transcripts of Flynn Conversations With Russian Ambassador — Hillary Clinton Was The Real National Security Blackmail Risk To United States — Time For Trump To Instruct Attorney General Sessions to Appoint A Special Prosecutor Before Statue of Limitations Runs Out — Videos — Story 3: Russia Celebrates World War II Victory Over Nazi Germany On May 9, 1945 With Display of Military Equipment and 10,000 Marching in Moscow’s Red Square — Videos — Story 4: Will President Trump Win War in Afghanistan By Authorizing 50,000 Additional Troops ? — Is President Trump a Non-interventionist or Interventionist or Neoconservative? — Videos

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Image result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for president trump fires fbi director james comey may 9, 2017Image result for trump fires james comeyImage result for cartoons trump fires comey fbiImage result for cartoons branco democrats vs republicans over russia colusion with russiaImage result for timeline of l flynn - russia talks

Breaking — Story 1: President Donald J. Trump Fires FBI Directory James Comey On Recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions — Videos — 

Image result for cartoons trump fires comeyImage result for president trump fires fbi director james comey may 9, 2017

Image result for cartoons trump fires comey

Why did President Trump fire FBI director Comey?

The Real Reason Comey Was Fired

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

Napolitano: Many FBI agents felt demeaned by Comey’s actions

Tucker: Comey’s firing was long overdue

Hume: Calling Comey firing a ‘coup’ is hysterical

President Trump to FBI’s James Comey…”You’re Fired!”

BREAKING: President Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

The Fox News Specialists 5/9/17 : Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey fired by Trump

Trump fires FBI Director James Comey

BREAKING NEWS: FBI Director James Comey FIRED by President Trump

“JAMES COMEY Should Have Been FIRED”

“DANGER To the Country?” Tucker Weighs In On James Comey’s Testimony

BREAKING NEWS: President Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

Trey Gowdy Finds Out FBI Director James Comey Won’t Obey The Law & He’s Pissed

FBI Director James Comey Is Fired by Donald Trump – LIVE STREAM

Trump Says Clinton Will Be in Jail if He’s President

TRUMP FIRES FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY

President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey.

In a statement, Trump says Comey’s firing “will mark a new beginning” for the FBI. The White House says the search for a new FBI director will begin immediately.

Comey’s firing comes days after he testified on Capitol Hill about the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible connections between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TRUMP_COMEY?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-05-09-17-47-00

Story 2: Democrats Designated Fall Guy — Flynn  — Trump Needs To Declassify and Release Complete Transcripts of Flynn Conversations With Russian Ambassador — Hillary Clinton Was The Real National Security Blackmail Risk To United States — Time For Trump To Instruct Attorney General Session to Appoint A Special Prosecutor Before Statue of Limitations Runs Out — Videos — 

Image result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for cartoons branco general flynn sally yatesImage result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for cartoons branco general flynn sally yatesImage result for cartoon clapper and yatesImage result for cartoon clapper and yates

NSA Received Around 2,000 Requests To Unmask Americans’ Names In 2016

Published on May 9, 2017

If a U.S. citizen is caught up in incidental intelligence collection, that person’s name cannot be revealed unless the intelligence agency that gathered the information agrees to a request to “unmask” that American person’s name. “How many of those requests did you get in 2016?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Admiral Michael Rogers at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday. Rogers heads both the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command. “I think we’ve publicly acknowledged something – it’s 2,000. I think it’s one thousand nine-hundred and something,” Rogers replied. “How many people can request the unmasking of an American citizen?” Graham continued. “If you’re an authorized recipient of the intelligence – we use two criteria. Number one, the requester must be asking this in the execution of their official duties. It can’t be something that would be neat to know,” Rogers said.

“Number two, the revealing of the U.S. person has to provide context and greater value for the intelligence. Again, it can’t just be, ‘I’m just curious.’” Rogers said a broad group of people can make unmasking requests: “If you are on the authorized distribution for our intelligence reporting, you can ask. It doesn’t mean it gets approved, but you can ask.” Rogers said the national security adviser is normally on the distribution list, and “yes,” there is a record for every unmasking request that is made. Graham told Rogers, “So there’s a record of who made the request to unmask the conversation involving the American citizen. There’s a record of whether or not you granted it.” Rogers agreed with both those statements, but he said there is no record of what the person did with the information once they got it. “There’s also a record of the basis — so why did we say yes,” Rogers added. He said the unmasking is authorized only for the individual who requested it, and that person is told not to share the information.

Graham noted that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. was captured by one of the intelligence agencies: “Assuming he did not have a FISA warrant allowing us to collect on him, it would be a case of incidental collection (from) following the Russian ambassador. Does that make sense?” Graham asked Rogers. “Yes, sir,” Rogers agreed. “We would know how that conversation was revealed and to who (sic) it was revealed,” Graham continued. Rogers said yes – if the unmasking was based on information gathered by the NSA. He noted that the FBI also picks up incidental collection. “OK, so we could either ask the FBI or you,” Graham said. “OK. So somebody took that information that we gained through collection with Flynn and gave it to the Washington Post.” — “And that is a leak, and that is illegal, yes, sir,” Rogers said. He added that he is very concerned about such leaks, and he has warned his employees in writing not to engage in such behavior or they will be held criminally liable.

Graham concluded: “The bottom line here, it is possible for the Congress to find out who requested unmasking of American citizens, who that information was given to, and that is possible for us to know.” Rogers replied, “On the NSA side, that’s part of the ongoing investigation with the primary oversight committees that we’re going through right now.” — “OK,” said Graham. “Do you know if Susan Rice ever asked for an American citizen to be unmasked?” — “I’d have to pull the data, sir, I apologize,” Rogers said. The exchange ended at that point. At a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Monday, Sen. Graham asked a similar question: “How did the conversation between the Russian ambassador and Mr. Flynn make it to the Washington Post?” He said he intends to find out.

 Sally Yates testifies on Flynn-Russia contacts

Sean Spicer CONFRONTED on Sally Yates, Trump Mike Flynn Russia Connections 5/8/2017

York: What we still don’t know after Sally Yates’ testimony

Ingraham: Dems desperately wanted to find Trump-Russia link

Brit Hume: Yates testimony ‘didn’t move the ball very much’

John Ashcroft: Yates wasn’t going to give the president his day in court

Sally Yates: We believed Michael Flynn was compromised

Published on May 8, 2017

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified before a Senate panel Monday saying she notified the White House when she believed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had been “compromised.” Yahoo chief investigative reporter Michael Isikoff joined “Red & Blue” for a closer look at the hearing and what we can expect from the investigation down the road.

“U.S. Citizens Names Are Already Unmasked In My Reports” Sally Yates Drops Bombshell During Congress

Sean Spicer Blames Obama For Flynn Clearance

Published on May 8, 2017

At his daily briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer pivots on the Trump administration’s appointment of General Michael Flynn, saying the Obama administration was responsible for Flynn’s security clearance. The Obama administration fired Flynn in 2014, and warned Trump against hiring him.

White House explains Gen. Flynn’s resignation

Trey Gowdy Brilliantly Checkmates The FBI “Hillary Clinton Told You The Truth & Then Lied To Us”

Obama warned Trump about hiring Flynn

Spicer: It’s true, Obama wasn’t a fan of Flynn 00:51

Washington (CNN)Then-President Barack Obama warned President-elect Donald Trump in November against hiring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser, former Obama administration officials confirmed to CNN Monday.

Obama warned Trump about Flynn during their Oval Office meeting on November 10, days after Trump was elected president.
“Given the importance of the job, the President through there were better people for it, and that Flynn wasn’t up for the job,” a former senior Obama administration official told CNN Monday.
Other former Obama administration officials said then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn’t think highly of Flynn, and in fact was the person who recommended Flynn’s firing as DNI in 2014. Flynn’s focus was generally limited to terrorism and didn’t know much about many other issues important for the national security adviser job, such as China, the officials said.

RELATED: The many paths from Trump to Russia

But at least one former Obama official disputed that, saying Obama’s concerns were not related to the firing of Flynn from the Defense Intelligence Agency but rather in the course of the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election.

“Flynn’s name kept popping up,” according to a senior Obama administration source.

Trump transition officials warned Flynn about Russia communications

The White House confirmed later Monday that Obama raised concerns about Flynn during his Oval Office sitdown with Trump in November.
“It’s true President Obama made it known he wasn’t exactly a fan of Gen. Flynn’s,” press secretary Sean Spicer said.
He said the concerns shouldn’t have come as a surprise, since Flynn was an “outspoken critic” of the Obama administration’s shortcomings on foreign policy.
Spicer said if the Obama administration was “truly concerned” about Flynn, there are steps it could have taken, including suspending his security clearance.
Flynn previously served as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama until he was reportedly forced out of the post 2014 over internal disagreements over policy and management.
Trump did not heed Obama’s counsel on Flynn, bringing aboard the former military intelligence officer who supported Trump during his campaign as his national security adviser. Trump fired Flynn 24 days later when news broke of Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
News of the warning comes as former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is set to testify before Congress on Monday about the concerns she expressed to Trump administration officials about Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials, namely with Kislyak.
Yates, in her role as acting attorney general, warned White House counsel Don McGahn on January 26 that Flynn was lying when he denied — both publicly and privately — that he discussed US sanctions on Russia with Kislyak. It wasn’t until weeks later that Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation, only after news surfaced that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Kislyak.
trump flynn russia mcenany sot_00001726
Trump: I feel badly for Michael Flynn 01:31
According to five current and former intelligence officials, their concern started around the time Flynn went to Moscow for the 10th anniversary gala of the state-sponsored news agency Russia Today. At that dinner, the former high-ranking intelligence official was seated right next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also had contact with Kislyak after the trip.
Former US officials were highly suspicious of Kislyak and his motives, and there were concerns Flynn didn’t seem to understand the dangers in the conversations, the officials said. As was reported over the weekend, even Trump’s own team was concerned enough to request a CIA profile of the Russian ambassador to help illustrate to Flynn he was taking a big chance in his interactions with Kislyak.
Yates’ testimony on Monday will be the first time she speaks publicly about her warnings to the White House about Flynn.
The Senate and House intelligence committees are continuing to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, including potential coordination between Russian officials and the Trump campaign or people close to the campaign.
Congressional investigators have so far homed in on Flynn, Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, and Roger Stone, who informally advised Trump during his presidential run.
While Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation, he has not abandoned his former national security adviser altogether.
Trump on Monday morning sought to get ahead of Yates’ testimony, taking to Twitter to deflect criticism that he or his administration should have kept Flynn out of the top national security post from the outset.
“General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama administration — but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Trump said in his first missive.
“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel,” he tweeted.
Flynn began advising Trump on national security in early 2016 and soon became a constant presence by Trump’s side as he crisscrossed the country from rally to rally.
He frequently introduced Trump on the campaign trail, delivering introductory remarks rife with criticism of the Obama administration’s foreign policy and of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Flynn often led Trump supporters in chants of “Lock her up!” as he accused her of corruption and negligence in her use of a private email server.
Trump came to value Flynn not only for his like-minded view of global affairs but for his loyalty throughout the campaign.

Head of Pentagon intelligence agency forced out, officials say

April 30, 2014
The top two officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency said Wednesday that they will retire from those positions in the coming months, part of a leadership shake-up at an agency that is under pressure to trim budgets and shift focus after more than a decade of war, current and former U.S. officials said.Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn is expected to end his tenure as DIA director this summer, about a year before he was scheduled to depart, according to officials who said Flynn faced pressure from Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and others in recent months. His deputy, David Shedd, had been in his job since 2010.The moves come at a time when the DIA is in the midst of major changes, including an effort by senior Pentagon officials to expand the agency’s network of spies overseas, improve collection on unfolding crises such as the one in Ukraine, and work more closely with the CIA.

The Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, said that their retirements “have been planned for some time” and that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “appreciates the service of these two dedicated and professional leaders.”

Kirby did not indicate when Flynn and Shedd would step down. Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, the Army’s top intelligence officer, is considered a leading candidate to replace Flynn, and she would be the first female DIA director if nominated and confirmed.

Flynn, who served as a top intelligence adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan, arrived at the DIA in July 2012 vowing to accelerate the agency’s overhaul. Asked after a public speech how he would treat employees reluctant to embrace his agenda, Flynn said he would “move them or fire them.”

He drafted a blueprint that called for sending more employees overseas, being more responsive to regional U.S. military commanders, and turning analysts’ attention from the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan to a broader array of emerging national security threats.

“I think that Flynn’s efforts to move the organization into a role supporting combatant commanders was spot on and it is where DIA should be heading,” said Fred Kagan, a military historian and unpaid adviser to the DIA. “I think that he was trying to introduce a lot of valuable innovation into the organization.”

Critics said that his management style could be chaotic and that the scope of his plans met resistance from both superiors and subordinates. At the same time, his tenure was marked by significant turbulence, including the fallout from the classified intelligence files leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, as well as other emerging crises.

“His vision in DIA was seen as disruptive,” said a former Pentagon official who worked closely with Flynn. At the DIA, Flynn sought to push DIA analysts and operators “up and out of their cubicles into the field to support war fighters or high-intensity operations,” the former official said. “I’m not sure DIA sees itself as that.”

Flynn clashed with other high-ranking officials, including Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers. Officials said Flynn had opposed Vickers’ efforts to make significant cuts to large intelligence centers established to support the U.S. military’s regional overseas commands. A former CIA operative, Vickers has sought to model the DIA’s training and overseas presence more closely on its civilian counterpart, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The plan has encountered significant opposition on Capitol Hill, particularly from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who have voiced concern over the cost of creating the Defense Clandestine Service, and questioned whether Pentagon spies would end up being used to fill intelligence gaps that are supposed to be handled by the CIA.

Flynn’s departure, which has been rumored for weeks, was set in motion earlier this year when Clapper informed him that the administration had concluded that a leadership change was necessary, officials said. Others described it as a mutual agreement that Flynn would step down.

Flynn was a key player in U.S. military efforts to dismantle insurgent networks in Iraq and Afghanistan, an approach that relied heavily on combining U.S. Special Operations forces with intelligence operatives and analysts.

With McChrystal, Flynn helped to compress a cycle of carrying out raids and then exploiting the intelligence from those operations to find other targets.

In 2010, Flynn rankled many of his counterparts in the intelligence community when he published an article that was sharply critical of the information that spy agencies were assembling in Afghanistan. The effort was so focused on tracking insurgents that U.S. military and diplomatic leaders got little to help them understand the political, economic and cultural issues driving the insurgency.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/head-of-pentagon-intelligence-agency-forced-out-officials-say/2014/04/30/ec15a366-d09d-11e3-9e25-188ebe1fa93b_story.html?utm_term=.6f699e24f117

Story 2:  Russia Celebrates World War II Victory Over Nazi Germany On May 9, 1945,  With Display of Military Equipment and 10,000 Marching in Moscow’s Red Square — Videos

Image result for russia parade in moscow red square May 9, 2017 putinImage result for russia parade in moscow red square May 9, 2017Image result for russia parade in moscow red square May 9, 2017 putin

Advanced Russian weaponry rolls through Red Square in Victory Day parade

Published on May 9, 2017

More than 10,000 troops accompanied by military hardware marched across Moscow’s central square on May 9. Unfortunately, cloudy weather meant the ceremonial flyovers had to be canceled. Watch more – https://rbth.com

Russia puts military on display for Victory Day parade

Moscow Victory Day Parade 2017 俄罗斯胜利日阅兵式

Putin warns his Russian army can ‘repel any potential aggression’ as 10,000 troops march through Red Square with terrifying arsenal of missiles in Victory Day parade

  • Huge Victory Day military parade in Moscow involves 10,000 troops and more than 100 units of equipment 
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin was in attendance as well as former Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev
  • The annual Red Square march in Moscow marks the defeat of Hitler’s Nazi Germany in the Second World War
  • Fly-past scrapped due to weather despite attempt to guarantee sunshine by ‘spiking clouds’ with chemicals

Vladimir Putin has warned his Russian army can ‘repel any potential aggression’ after 10,000 troops marched through Red Square with a terrifying arsenal of missiles in a military parade.

The annual march in Moscow marks the defeat of Hitler in the Second World War, but the Russian president was using it today to showcase the Kremlin’s modern military might.

Putin was personally taking the salute at the parade involving 10,000 troops and 114 units of military equipment.

The parade gave the first public showing of Tor and Pantsir mobile surface-to-air missile that have been adapted for use in Russia’s Arctic forces, their white-and-black winter camouflage standing out amid the olive drab of other war machines.

‘The armed forces of Russia are capable of repelling any potential aggression,’ Putin told thousands of military personnel.

Plans to send 72 aircraft overhead were defeated by the weather – despite the Kremlin spending £1.3 million to spike the clouds with a chemical cocktail to supposedly guarantee sunshine.

The fly-past was grounded because of low cloud, thwarting Putin’s bid to showcase his air force and honour Russian pilots who have served in Syria.

Scroll down for video

As the sun descended over Moscow, locals were treated to a spectacular fireworks and pyrotechnic display 

As the sun descended over Moscow, locals were treated to a spectacular fireworks and pyrotechnic display

The spectacular fireworks display was to mark the 72nd anniversary of Victory of Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War

The spectacular fireworks display was to mark the 72nd anniversary of Victory of Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War

Thousands of armed military personnel marched in formation through Red Square on a day of celebrations in Moscow

Thousands of armed military personnel marched in formation through Red Square on a day of celebrations in Moscow

Female servicemen march in formation during the parade this morning. Putin used the event to show off his military might

Female servicemen march in formation during the parade this morning. Putin used the event to show off his military might

Thousands of troops, including servicewomen, saluted as they passed Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured back centre) at the parade

Thousands of troops, including servicewomen, saluted as they passed Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured back centre) at the parade

Dozens of tanks rumbled through Red Square as troops saluted Putin during the massive military parade in Red Square today

As well as tanks and troops, this Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system was driven through Red Square

Snipers were seen on the Kremlin Wall during the Victory Day military parade amid heightened security with Vladimir Putin watching on

Snipers were seen on the Kremlin Wall during the Victory Day military parade amid heightened security with Vladimir Putin watching on

Putin also watched this S-400 Triumf medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile system trundle through Red Square

Putin also watched this S-400 Triumf medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile system trundle through Red Square

There were similar scenes in St Petersburg, Russia when an estimated 400,000 people walked through the streets carrying pictures of relatives killed in the Second World War

There were similar scenes in St Petersburg, Russia when an estimated 400,000 people walked through the streets carrying pictures of relatives killed in the Second World War

The Russian president was personally taking the salute as at the parade involving 10,000 troops, 114 units of military equipment and 72 aircraft

The Russian president was personally taking the salute as at the parade involving 10,000 troops, 114 units of military equipment and 72 aircraft

The Soviet ‘weather changing’ technology successfully prevented rain on Putin’s parade but failed to disperse the thick low cloud so only a display of armoured vehicles and missile systems went ahead.

Putin told the annual commemoration: ‘We will always guard Russia just as you, the soldiers of the Victory, did.

‘And [we will] strengthen the traditions of patriotism, loyally serving the homeland.

He vowed: ‘There was no, there is no and there will be no force that could ever enslave our people.

‘They fought to the bitter end, defending their homeland, and did what seemed impossible, they turned the bloody wheel of the Second World War back, drove the enemy from our land where it dared to come, crushed Nazism, put an end to its atrocities.

‘And we will never forget that it was our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who brought the freedom to Europe and the long-awaited peace on the planet.’

Hundreds of servicewomen wearing white skirts and blue military jackets were involved in the mass parade this morning

The military display included this Buk-M2 missile system. But a planned fly-past of 72 aircraft had to be cancelled due to the weather

The military display included this Buk-M2 missile system. But a planned fly-past of 72 aircraft had to be cancelled due to the weather

Dozens of female military personnel wearing white jackets and skirts were involved in the huge rally in Red Square this morning

Dozens of female military personnel wearing white jackets and skirts were involved in the huge rally in Red Square this morning

Columns of troops, servicewomen, tanks and missile systems were on display at Putin's showcase military event today

Columns of troops, servicewomen, tanks and missile systems were on display at Putin’s showcase military event today

The annual event marks the anniversary of the end of the Second World War and sees thousands of military personnel marching through Red Square

The annual event marks the anniversary of the end of the Second World War and sees thousands of military personnel marching through Red Square

Military might: Dozens of missiles and launchers were paraded through Red Square in a terrifying display of Russia's fire power

Military might: Dozens of missiles and launchers were paraded through Red Square in a terrifying display of Russia’s fire power

Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles were brought in to the square after a parade by thousands of troops

Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles were brought in to the square after a parade by thousands of troops

These Russian T-14 Armata tanks were also driven slowly through Red Square. But the event did not go totally as planned after a fly-past had to be cancelled

These Russian T-14 Armata tanks were also driven slowly through Red Square. But the event did not go totally as planned after a fly-past had to be cancelled

Russian president Vladimir Putin (pictured meeting World War Two veterans) personally took the salute at the parade. But a fly-past of 72 aircraft was cancelled

Russian president Vladimir Putin (pictured meeting World War Two veterans) personally took the salute at the parade. But a fly-past of 72 aircraft was cancelled

Quick march: Vladimir Putin warned his Russian army can 'repel any potential aggression' after he watched 10,000 soldiers take part in the Victory Day parade

Putin told the annual Victory Day parade on Red Square that the horrors of World War II demonstrate the necessity of countries working together to prevent war

Putin told the annual Victory Day parade on Red Square that the horrors of World War II demonstrate the necessity of countries working together to prevent war

Tens of thousands took to the streets in Moscow to pay tribute to those killed in the Second World War. It followed a massive military parade at the Red Square

Tens of thousands took to the streets in Moscow to pay tribute to those killed in the Second World War. It followed a massive military parade at the Red Square

Russian and Soviet flags were waved while a banner was unfurled reading 'Immortal Regiment ', during the Victory Day event

Russian and Soviet flags were waved while a banner was unfurled reading ‘Immortal Regiment ‘, during the Victory Day event

The Russian president personally took the salute at the parade. But a fly-past of 72 aircraft was cancelled.

This meant no display by Russia’s Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets, which have seen combat action recently in Syria.

A debut Victory Day march was scheduled for schoolchildren in Russia’s new ‘Yunarmia’, a 30,000-strong militarised patriotic movement nicknamed the Putin Youth Army and established by the Defence Ministry.

It was scheduled to begin at 10am in Moscow, 8am London time, with other commemorations held in cities across Russia’s 11 time zones.

On display in Moscow was the the newly developed Tor-M2DT short-range anti-aircraft missile system and the Pantsir-SA surface-to-air missile system, both designed to operate in the Arctic.

The air display included a first outing at the Victory Day event for the Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets, which have seen combat action recently in Syria.

On display too were the T-72B3M variant of the T-72 main battle tank.

Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets of Moscow carrying portraits of relatives they had lost in World War Two

Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets of Moscow carrying portraits of relatives they had lost in World War Two

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (centre) greets guests at a Victory Day reception at the Moscow Kremlin this afternoon

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (centre) greets guests at a Victory Day reception at the Moscow Kremlin this afternoon

Children hold portraits of World War Two soldiers as they attend the Immortal Regiment march in central Moscow today

Children hold portraits of World War Two soldiers as they attend the Immortal Regiment march in central Moscow today

The streets of Moscow were packed with people paying tribute to Russia's war dead. The Immortal Regiment march was part of the Victory Day celebrations

The streets of Moscow were packed with people paying tribute to Russia’s war dead. The Immortal Regiment march was part of the Victory Day celebrations

Two Second World War veterans dance at a traditional meeting point near Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow today

Two Second World War veterans dance at a traditional meeting point near Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow today

Vladimir Putin is today staging a vast military parade showcasing Russia's firepower, and hailing as heroes his troops who have seen service in Syria

Vladimir Putin is today staging a vast military parade showcasing Russia’s firepower, and hailing as heroes his troops who have seen service in Syria

A Russian TOR-M2 tactical surface-to-air missile 'Arctic edition' system was also driven through Red Square this morfing

A Russian TOR-M2 tactical surface-to-air missile ‘Arctic edition’ system was also driven through Red Square this morfing

The annual Red Square march and fly-past in Moscow marks the defeat of Hitler in the Second World War, but the Russian president was using it today to showcase the Kremlin's modern military might

The annual Red Square march and fly-past in Moscow marks the defeat of Hitler in the Second World War, but the Russian president was using it today to showcase the Kremlin’s modern military might

A BTR-82A armoured personnel carrier rolls down Moscow's Red Square carrying military personnel dressed in white armu outfits

A BTR-82A armoured personnel carrier rolls down Moscow’s Red Square carrying military personnel dressed in white armu outfits

On display: Russian servicemen stand atop a T-72B3 main battle tank as the vehicle belches out thick black smoke

On display: Russian servicemen stand atop a T-72B3 main battle tank as the vehicle belches out thick black smoke

Russian servicemen lined up at the start of the parade marking the World War Two anniversary in Moscow this morning

Russian servicemen lined up at the start of the parade marking the World War Two anniversary in Moscow this morning

in Vladivostok, Russia, tens of thousands of people took to the street to take part in the traditional Immortal Regiment march

in Vladivostok, Russia, tens of thousands of people took to the street to take part in the traditional Immortal Regiment march

Russian air force Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said: ‘What makes this year so special is that virtually each and every pilot who will take part in the 9 May flyby in Moscow has fought in Syria, is highly decorated, and will showcase skills that will make many countries salivate.’

This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

The sombre occasion is a show of respect to the 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians who died during the defeat of the Nazis.

Many Russians were today honouring the dead in their own families by taking part in marches to the Immortal Regiment, holding pictures of relatives who perished in the war.

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people waving Russian flags and carrying portraits of Stalin watched tanks roll through Ukraine’s de facto rebel capital Donetsk on Tuesday in celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.

Russia celebrates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany every May 9 to honor those who fought and died for their country

Russia celebrates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany every May 9 to honor those who fought and died for their country

About 10,000 soldiers participated, standing rigidly as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed them while standing in an open-top limousine

About 10,000 soldiers participated, standing rigidly as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed them while standing in an open-top limousine

Russian President Vladimir Putin (centre) holds a photograph of his father in a naval uniform, as he joins people carrying portraits of relatives who fought in the Second World War

Russian President Vladimir Putin (centre) holds a photograph of his father in a naval uniform, as he joins people carrying portraits of relatives who fought in the Second World War

Security was tight at the event and snipers could be seen monitoring the parade from outposts surrounding Red Square

Security was tight at the event and snipers could be seen monitoring the parade from outposts surrounding Red Square

President Vladimir Putin was pictured arriving for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow this morning

President Vladimir Putin was pictured arriving for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in Moscow this morning

Vladimir Putin took to the stage to tell thousands of soldiers: 'We will never forget that it was our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who brought the freedom to Europe'

Vladimir Putin took to the stage to tell thousands of soldiers: ‘We will never forget that it was our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who brought the freedom to Europe’

This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. The sombre occasion is a show of respect to the 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians who died during the defeat of the Nazis

This enormous Russian Topol M intercontinental ballistic missile launcher was among a terrifying arsenal of weapons on display

This enormous Russian Topol M intercontinental ballistic missile launcher was among a terrifying arsenal of weapons on display

Russian guards march during the Victory Day military parade. On display too were the T-72B3M variant of the T-72 main battle tank

Russian guards march during the Victory Day military parade. On display too were the T-72B3M variant of the T-72 main battle tank

The display was scheduled to begin at 10am in Moscow, 8am London time, with other commemorations held in cities across Russia’s 11 time zones

A debut Victory Day march was scheduled for schoolchildren in Russia’s new ‘Yunarmia’, a 30,000-strong militarised patriotic movement nicknamed the Putin Youth Army and established by the Defence Ministry

The display of military might used by the Moscow-backed insurgents in their three-year conflict against government forces violated the terms of a long-ignored 2015 peace deal.

Donetsk straddles a demarcation line in the industrial east of Ukraine from which both sides’ big guns were meant to have been withdrawn almost two years ago.

An AFP reporter counted 45 pieces of heavy military equipment – ranging from a lone World War II-era tank to its modern versions used in the current war as well as rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns – roll through the city’s main street.

Donetsk separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko led a march of about 1,000 fighters who held up a long banner painted the black and orange colours of Russia’s patriotic Saint George’s ribbon.

Former President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbatchev (centre) was among the VIP guests who watched the parade this morning

Former President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbatchev (centre) was among the VIP guests who watched the parade this morning

Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Hero Cities memorial by the Kremlin Wall. He has warned his army can 'repel any aggression'

Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Hero Cities memorial by the Kremlin Wall. He has warned his army can ‘repel any aggression’

The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost 26 million people in the war, including 8 million soldiers, and the immense suffering contributes to Victory Day's status as Russia's most important secular holiday

The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost 26 million people in the war, including 8 million soldiers, and the immense suffering contributes to Victory Day’s status as Russia’s most important secular holiday

Up to 10,000 servicemen and women lined up in Red Square ahead of the vast military display. Putin attended the event this morning

Up to 10,000 servicemen and women lined up in Red Square ahead of the vast military display. Putin attended the event this morning

Parades were held across Russia's sprawling expanse as well as in the Russia-annexed Crimea Peninsula, but the Red Square parade is the centerpiece of the country's observances

Parades were held across Russia’s sprawling expanse as well as in the Russia-annexed Crimea Peninsula, but the Red Square parade is the centerpiece of the country’s observances

About 10,000 soldiers participated, standing rigidly as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed them while standing in an open-top limousine, then marching out to make way for a display of military vehicles ranging from armored cars to lumbering Topol ICBM launchers

About 10,000 soldiers participated, standing rigidly as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed them while standing in an open-top limousine, then marching out to make way for a display of military vehicles ranging from armored cars to lumbering Topol ICBM launchers

Former president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev (centre) was given a helping hand as he attended the event today

Former president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev (centre) was given a helping hand as he attended the event today

At one point Russian artillery was fired as part of tributes to Russia's war dead. The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost 26 million people in the Second World War, including 8 million soldiers

At one point Russian artillery was fired as part of tributes to Russia’s war dead. The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost 26 million people in the Second World War, including 8 million soldiers

Others in the parade carried portraits of warlords killed in Europe’s only war, in which more than 10,000 people have died.

Zakharchenko told the crowd that May 9 ‘is the holiest day for us all’.

On the other side of the frontline Ukrainian authorities have joined European nations in marking the end of World War II on May 8 after its 2014 pro-EU revolution. The decision was meant to underscore Ukraine’s split with Russia and embrace of the West.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told a group of soldiers on Tuesday that ‘we will no longer celebrate this holiday along the Russian scenario.’

But several hundred people carrying photographs of relatives who fought in what the Soviet Union called ‘The Great Patriotic War’ still marched through Kiev on Tuesday.

Many Russians were today honouring the dead in their own families by taking part in marches to the Immortal Regiment, holding pictures of relatives who perished in the war

Russian President Vladimir Putin joined other dignitaries as he watched the massive parade this morning

Russian President Vladimir Putin joined other dignitaries as he watched the massive parade this morning

Amid heightened security both President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (right) were there to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany

Amid heightened security both President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (right) were there to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany

The Kremlin has been flexing its military muscle in the hydrocarbon-rich Arctic region, as it vies for dominance with rivals Canada, the United States and Norway

The Kremlin has been flexing its military muscle in the hydrocarbon-rich Arctic region, as it vies for dominance with rivals Canada, the United States and Norway

The strongman was using the parade today to showcase Russia's modern military might, with one senior military commander saying it would make foreign foes

The strongman was using the parade today to showcase Russia’s modern military might, with one senior military commander saying it would make foreign foes ‘salivate’.

Preparations: Servicemen gathered in huge numbers before standing to attention as Vladimir Putin arrived this morning

A young child holds red flowers before the parade marking the Second World War anniversary in Moscow this morning

A young child holds red flowers before the parade marking the Second World War anniversary in Moscow this morning

A number of war veterans were invited to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow today

A number of war veterans were invited to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow today

Vladimir Putin was among the high-ranking Russian officials who attended the event, which saw 10,000 troops march through Red Square

Vladimir Putin was among the high-ranking Russian officials who attended the event, which saw 10,000 troops march through Red Square

The event included a performance from a military band. Parades were held across Russia's sprawling expanse

The event included a performance from a military band. Parades were held across Russia’s sprawling expanse

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Col Gen Oleg Salyukov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, review the troops during a Victory Day military parade marking the 72nd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War, the Eastern Front of World War II, in Moscow's Red Squareniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War, the Eastern Front of World War II, in Moscow’s Red Square

People in Sevastopol, Crimea, carry portraits of late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and World War Two soldiers during the Immortal Regiment march as they celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany

People in Sevastopol, Crimea, carry portraits of late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and World War Two soldiers during the Immortal Regiment march as they celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany

They were confronted by a small group of nationalists who pelted them with several smoke bombs before being restrained by the police.

The atmosphere was calmer on Donetsk’s central Lenin Square.

Entire families watched the hardware roll by and cheered. Some parents dressed up their children in military fatigues.

Lenin Square itself was adorned by a 1960s L-29 Delfin military jet trainer used during the Cold War by nations in central and eastern Europe that were under the Kremlin’s thumb.

A young student came to the rebel parade with a Russian Saint George’s ribbon pinned to his shirt and a bouquet of flowers.

‘I want to see the day when, at the end of our own war, we also get a chance to celebrate Victory Day,’ the 20-year-old told AFP.

‘Our war is almost as long as the Great Patriotic War. It is time to finish it already.’

World War Two veteran Vladimir Ivanov talks to a child during celebrations in Gorky Park marking the 72nd anniversary of the Victory over Nazi Germany

World War Two veteran Vladimir Ivanov talks to a child during celebrations in Gorky Park marking the 72nd anniversary of the Victory over Nazi Germany

People carry portraits of relatives who fought in World War Two, and Russian and Soviet flags, during the Immortal Regiment march along the Red Square in Moscow

People carry portraits of relatives who fought in World War Two, and Russian and Soviet flags, during the Immortal Regiment march along the Red Square in Moscow

Russians came out in their thousands to remember the country's war dead, by carrying pictures and portraits of their relatives above their heads

Russians came out in their thousands to remember the country’s war dead, by carrying pictures and portraits of their relatives above their heads

Cadets from the Saint Petersburg Suvorov Military School march and sing in the city's Palace Square during a Victory Day parade

Cadets from the Saint Petersburg Suvorov Military School march and sing in the city’s Palace Square during a Victory Day parade

A pensioner in Ryazan, south east of Moscow, shares a dance with a young women as they celebrate Victory Day

A pensioner in Ryazan, south east of Moscow, shares a dance with a young women as they celebrate Victory Day

Russian young couples dressed in old style military uniform dance at a traditional veterans meeting point near Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

Paratroopers dressed in blue were involved in a huge march on Red Square

Russian young couples dressed in old style military uniform dance at a traditional veterans meeting point near Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow (left). Paratroopers dressed in blue were involved in a huge march on Red Square (right)

: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4487306/Putin-shows-Russia-s-firepower-huge-military-parade.html#ixzz4gbxBg4jf

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