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The Pronk Pops Show 1344, October 18, 2019, Story 1: Five Day Cease Fire or Pause Before Turkey Genocide of Kurds in Syrian Buffer Zone? — 200,000 Civilians Fled Zone — Massive Prison Break of Islamic State Possible as Kurds Flee — Long Range Consequences of United States Interventionist Foreign Policy: Million of Refugees and Deaths — Regime Change Roulette — Videos — Story 2: Britain Finally Has European Union Divorce Agreement But Will Parliament Approve Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal? — Videos –Story 3: Hillary Clinton Rampant Russian Delusions, Lying and Paranoia — Russia Dumped Hillary Clinton for Tulsi Gabbard As The Russian Choice For Their Candidate in 2020? — In Your Guts You Know Hillary Gone Nuts —  Videos — Story 4: Trump Dazzles Dallas — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1344 October 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1343 October 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1342 October 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1336 October 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1335 October 7, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1331 October 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1330 September 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1329 September 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1328 September 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1327 September 25, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1324 September 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1323 September 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1322 September 18 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1321 September 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1320 September 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1319 September 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1318 September 12, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1316 September 10, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1314 September 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1313 August 28, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1310 August 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1309 August 20, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1303 August 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1302 August 6, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1292 July 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1291 July 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1290 July 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1289 July 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1288 July 11, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1286 July 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1285 July 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1284 July 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019

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Story 1: FIve Day Cease Fire or Pause Before Turkey Genocide of Kurds in Syrian Buffer Zone? — 200,000 Civilians Fled Zone — Massive Prison Break of Islamic State Possible as Kurds Flee — Long Range Consequences of United States Interventionist Foreign Policy: Million of Refugees and Deaths — Regime Change Roulette — Videos —

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Syria, Turkey, Kurds, ISIS & Trump & Putin, and how the Middle East unravelled in murderous chaos

Turkey in northern Syria explained

The US, Daesh and the PKK: Explaining Turkey’s operation in Syria

Turkey backed Syrian forces move into Tal Abyad

Turkish, Kurdish forces accuse each other of violating cease-fire

How the Kurds became a key player in Syria’s war

The PKK explained

The PKK-YPG connection

The Kurds

The Kurds: The Most Famous Unknown People in the World | Stephen Mansfield | TEDxNashville

Turkish and Kurdish forces clash despite ceasefire

Syria: Kurds’ fury as Trump orders US troop withdrawal

War in Syria: Can the Kurdish forces fight back?

Turkey invades Syria: Who are the players and what do they want? | DW News

What’s next for the Kurds? | ITV News

Why the world is worried about Turkey

PBS NewsHour West live show October 18, 2019

Top U.S. & World Headlines — October 18, 2019

Bashar al-Assad: ‘Turkey will pay a heavy price’ for Syrian involvement

Al-Assad’s troops enter northern towns to confront offensive

Assad forces are moving into towns and villages once held by the Kurds | ITV News

Race to the border: Syrian Kurds call in Assad against Turkey offensive

An Interview with PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan

The war against Assad in Syria

Civil war in Syria has already claimed the lives of more than 60.000 people. The prospect that there will soon be an end to the murdering is bad. “Assad listens to no one”, suggests Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when describing his experiences with the Syrian president. The former UN negotiator Kofi Annan, who attempted to mediate between the fronts for several months, always had the feeling that “Assad will not accept reality”. At the same time, Annan makes the USA and the Syrian opposition jointly responsible for the disaster: “Those calling for Assad to resign as a precondition for talks make negotiations impossible”. In an exclusive interview, Syria’s President, Bashar al Assad, defended attacks by his air force on rebels in Syrian cities, which also massively effect his own people, said: “We have to defend ourselves as the tactics of the enemy force us to”. In the same interview, which was recorded at the end of 2012 for this documentary,

Assad also made “foreign terrorists responsible for the situation in his country”. In his documentary, Grimme award winner Hubert Seipel analyses the dangerous situation in Syria. Apart from his meeting with Assad, he conducted exclusive interviews with Kofi Annan and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Seipel illuminated a conflict in which not only Kalashnikovs and missiles, but also the Internet plays the central role in public opinion. “False information and psychological warfare make up a very large part of the Syrian Civil War. It is significantly worse than in previous wars that I had ever been involved in”, added Kofi Annan, describing the massive disinformation. Whoever has control of the images of war, has the power to influence political decisions. Massacre marketing is a powerful weapon.

Frontline – The Battle for Syria

2012 documentary on the Syrian Civil War by Frontline

The Boy who started the Syrian War | Featured Documentary

The Cost of the Syrian War

Syria’s child refugees: ‘You feel that they have lost their hearts

Syrians Return Home After Humiliating Refugee-Life in Europe | The Quint

The Ingraham Angle 10/18/19 | Fox Breaking News Laura Ingraham October 18, 2019

Rand Paul Discusses Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Syria | The View

Neoconservatives vs. America: A Critique of U.S. Foreign Policy Since 9/11

Ron Paul: Americans Are Forced to Pay for U.S. Government’s Interventionist Foreign Policy

Ron Paul’s 2003 House speech about the danger of neoconservatism

 

Kurdistan Workers’ Party

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Kurdistan Workers’ Party
Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê (PKK)
Leader Cemîl Bayik and Besê Hozat [tr]
Founded 1978; 41 years ago
Headquarters Qandil Mountains
Paramilitary wing People’s Defence Forces(HPG)
Free Women’s Units (YJA-STAR)
Ideology Kurdish nationalism[1]
Communalism
Democratic confederalism[2]
Libertarian socialism[3]
Jineology
Anti-capitalism
National affiliation Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement (HBDH)
International affiliation Kurdistan Communities Union(KCK)
Website
www.pkkonline.org
People’s Defence Forces
Hêzên Parastina Gel (HPG)
Leader(s)
Foundation 1984[8]
Dates of operation 1984–present
Motives Cultural & political rights for the Kurdish population in Turkey.[9]
Active region(s) Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran
Ideology Libertarian socialism
Democratic confederalism
Communalism[10]
Notable attacks 1984 PKK attacks
May 24, 1993 PKK ambush
2011 Hakkâri attack
Status Ongoing war with Turkey, after ceasefire ended.[11][12]
Size Over 32,800 active fighters (2015 Turkish claim)[13]
Website www.hezenparastin.com
Free Women’s Units
Yekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star (YJA-STAR)
Foundation 2004
Dates of operation 2004–present[14]
Active region(s) Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran
Ideology Libertarian socialism
Democratic confederalism
Socialism
Communalism[10]
Status Ongoing war with Turkey, after ceasefire ended.[11][12][15]
Website www.yja-star.com/ku/

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK (KurdishPartiya Karkerên Kurdistanê‎, TurkishKürdistan İşçi Partisi [a]) is a Kurdish militant and political organization based in Turkey and Iraq, broadly considered as a terrorist group. Since 1984 the PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state (with cease-fires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015), with the initial aim of achieving an independent Kurdish state. The PKK has in March 2016 vowed to overthrow the Turkish “fascist AKP” government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, through the ‘Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement‘.[16] For different reasons, the PKK has been designated as “terrorist” organization by Turkey,[17] the United States, the European Union, and Japan.[18]

The PKK was founded in 1978 in the village of Fis (near Lice) by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan[19] and 1979 it made its existence known to the public.[20] The PKK’s ideology was originally a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, seeking the foundation of an independent Communist state in the region, which was to be known as Kurdistan. The initial reasons given by the PKK for this were the oppression of Kurds in Turkey and capitalism.[21][22] By then, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas.[23] The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan“, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government.[failed verification][24] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life.[25] Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed.[26] The PKK was then formed, as part of a growing discontent over the suppression of Turkey’s ethnic Kurds, in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish minority.[27]

Since the PKK’s foundation, it has been involved in armed clashes with Turkish security forces. The full-scale insurgency, however, did not begin until 15 August 1984, when the PKK announced a Kurdish uprising. Since the conflict began, more than 40,000 have died, most of whom were Kurdish civilians through Turkish military actions.[28]

In 1999, PKK leader Öcalan was captured and imprisoned.[29] In May 2007, former members of the PKK helped form the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation of Kurds from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. In 2013, the PKK declared a ceasefire agreement and began slowly withdrawing its fighters to the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq as part of the solution process between the Turkish state and the Kurdish minority.

Since July 2015, when the ceasefire broke down,[30] violent actions inside Turkey from the government against the PKK and vice versa kept occurring, supplemented with Turkish military action in 2018 against PKK fighters in Iraq, and both in January 2018 and October 2019 against Kurdish political groups (PYD) and forces (YPG and YPJ) in Syria which according to Turkey and some observers[31] are strongly tied to the PKK (see ‘clashing’ details in: Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present)#2015–present).

Contents

History

PKK supporters at 2003 march opposing the Iraq War, London

In the early 1970s, the organization’s core group was made up largely of students led by Abdullah Öcalan (“Apo“) in Ankara. By then, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas.[23] In an attempt to deny their existence, the Turkish government categorized Kurds as “Mountain Turks” until 1991.[23][32][33][34] The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan“, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government.[24] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life.[25] Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned.[26] The PKK was then formed, as part of a growing discontent over the suppression of Turkey’s ethnic Kurds, in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish minority.[27] The group focused to the large oppressed Kurdish population in south-east Turkey. A meeting on 25 November 1978, in a tea house near Diyarbakır is considered the founding meeting.[35] On 27 November 1978, the group adopted the name Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Espousing a Marxist ideology, the group took part in violent conflicts with right-wing entities as a part of the political chaos in Turkey at the time. The group tried to assassinate the Kurdish tribal leader Mehmet Celal Bucak in 1979. According to the PKK sources, he was exploiting the peasants, and collaborated with Turkey in oppressing the Kurds. It is believed that this marked a period of intense urban warfare among other political elements.

Turkish sources claimed that the 1980 Turkish coup d’état pushed the organization to another stage, with members being executed, doing jail time, being subject to capital punishment, or fleeing to Syria. On 10 November 1980, it was claimed that the PKK bombed the Turkish Consulate in Strasbourg, France in a joint operation with the Armenian radical group ASALA, which they claimed as the beginning of a “fruitful collaboration.”[36] The PKK didn’t take responsibility despite a numerous of accusations.

Starting in 1984, the PKK transformed into a paramilitary group, using training camps in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and France. At the same time, some of its members started to get training by the members of the Palestine Liberation Organization who themselves were trained by Soviet personnel in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in Syrian-controlled camps. According to the U. S. government reports, the PKK received significant support by Syria, which allowed it to maintain headquarters in Damascus, as well as by Iran, Iraq, and Libya. It later began to launch attacks and bombings against Turkish governmental installations, the military, and various institutions of the state. The organization focused on attacks against Turkish military targets in Turkey, although civilian targets were also hit. The group started to gain publicity after committing political killings and massacres.[37][38][39][40]

From the mid-1990s, the organization began to lose the upper hand in its operations as a consequence of a change of tactics by Turkey and Syria’s steady abandonment of support for the group. The group also had lost its support from Saddam Hussein.[41] At the same time, the government started to use more violent methods to counter Kurdish militants. From 1996 to 1999, the organization began to use suicide bombers, VBIED and ambush attacks against military and police bases. The role of suicide bombers, especially female ones were encouraged and mythologised by giving them the status of a “goddess of freedom”, and shown as role models for other women after their death. On 30 July 1996, Zeynep Kınacı, a female PKK fighter, carried out the organization’s first suicide attack, killing 8 soldiers and injuring 29 others. The attacks against the civilians, especially the Kurdish citizens who refused to cooperate with them were also reported at the same years. On 20 January 1999, a report published by HRW, stated that the PKK was believed to have been responsible for more than 768 executions. The organization had also reportedly committed 25 massacres, killing more than 300 people. More than hundred victims were children and women.[42][42][43][44][45]

The Kurdish–Turkish conflict was in its peak in the 1990s until the leader of the organization, Abdullah Öcalan, was captured, prosecuted and sentenced to death, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment as part of the government’s seeking European Union membership.[46] In the late 1990s, Turkey increased the pressure and the undeclared war between Turkey and Syria ended open Syrian support.[47][48]

The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for human rights abuses during the conflict.[49][50] Some judgements are related to executions of Kurdish civilians,[51] torturing,[52] forced displacements,[53]destroyed villages,[54][55][56] arbitrary arrests,[57] murdered and disappeared Kurdish journalists, activists and politicians.[58][59][60] As a result of increasing Kurdish population and activism, the Turkish parliament began a controlled process of dismantling some anti-Kurdish legislation, using the term “normalization” or “rapprochement,” depending on the sides of the issue. It partially relaxed the bans on broadcasting and publishing in the Kurdish language, although significant barriers remain.[61] At the same time, the PKK was blacklisted in many countries. On 2 April 2004, the Council of the European Union added the PKK to its list of terrorist organizations. Later that year, the US Treasury moved to freeze assets of branches of the organization. The PKK went through a series of changes, and in 2003 it ended the unilateral truce declared when Öcalan was captured.[62]

On 20 March 2016, the PKK announced the establishment of Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement, a coalition of MaoistsMarxists-Leninists, Apoists, Communists and Hoxhaistswhich aim to attain “democracy and a free future” for “peoples against Imperialism, Capitalism, Chauvinism, Fascism and Racism”, by working towards the overthrow of the ruling AKP government, who they deem collaborative fascist.[63]

Ideology, aims

The organization originated in the 1970s from the radical left and drew its membership from other existing leftist groups, mainly Dev-Genç.[64]:127 During the 1980s, the movement included and cooperated with other ethnic groups, including ethnic Turks, who were following the radical left.[64]:127[64]:129 The organization initially presented itself as part of the worldwide communist revolution. Its aims and objectives have evolved over time towards the goal of national autonomy,[65] and democratic confederalism.[66][67][68]

Around 1995, the PKK ostensibly changed its aim from independence to a demand for equal rights and Kurdish autonomy within the Turkish state,[69][70][71] though all the while hardly suspending their military attacks on the Turkish state except for ceasefires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015. In 1995, Öcalan said: “We are not insisting on a separate state under any condition. What we are calling for very openly is a state model where a people’s basic economic, cultural, social, and political rights are guaranteed”.[70]

Whilst this shift in the mid-nineties has been interpreted as one from a call for independence to an autonomous republic,[72] some scholars have concluded that the PKK still maintains independence as the ultimate goal, but through society-building rather than state-building.[73][74]

Nevertheless, the PKK has in March 2016 also vowed to overthrow the Turkish government of Erdoğan, through the ‘Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement‘.[75]

The organization has adapted the new Democratic confederalist views of its arrested leader, which aim to replace the United NationsCapitalism and Nation State with the Democratic Federalism which is described as a “system of popularly elected administrative councils, allowing local communities to exercise autonomous control over their assets, while linking to other communities via a network of confederal councils.[76]

Followers of Öcalan and members of the PKK are known, after his diminutive name, as Apocu (Apo-ites) under his movement, Apoculuk (Apoism).[77]

Organization

The PKK has multiple heads in various countries, such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia and West European countries.[78] However, Abdullah Öcalan was the unchallenged leader of the organization. After the capture of Öcalan, authorities induced him to publicly plead for a ceasefire.[79] Though serving life imprisonment, Öcalan is still considered the honorary leader and figurehead of the organization.[80]

Murat Karayılan led the organization from 1999 to 2013. In 2013 Cemil Bayik and Besê Hozat assumed as the first joint leadership.[81] Cemil Bayik, beside Abdullah Öcalan, Kesire Yildirim Öcalan and Haki Karer was one of the core leaders. The organization appointed “Doctor Bahoz,” the nom de guerre of Fehman Huseyin, a Syrian Kurd, in charge of the movement’s military operations signifying the long-standing solidarity among Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan.[82]

Wings[

Umbrella organization

In 1985, the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (KurdishEniye Rizgariye Navata Kurdistan‎, ERNK) was established by the PKK as its popular front wing, with the role of both creating propaganda for the party, and as an umbrella organization for PKK organizations in different segments of the Kurdish population, such as the peasantry, workers, youth, and women. It was dissolved in 1999, after the capture of Abdullah Öcalan.[83][84]

Armed wing

The PKK has an armed wing, originally formed in 1984 as the Kurdistan Freedom Brigades (KurdishHazen Rizgariya Kurdistan‎, HRK),[85] renamed to the People’s Liberation Army of Kurdistan (KurdishArteshen Rizgariya Gelli Kurdistan‎, ARGK) in 1986,[83] and again renamed to the People’s Defense Forces (KurdishHêzên Parastina Gel‎, HPG) in 1999.[86]

Women’s armed wing

The Free Women’s Units of Star (KurdishYekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star‎,[87] YJA-STAR) was established in 2004 as the women’s armed wing of the PKK, emphasizing the issue of women’s liberation.[14]

Training camps

The first training camps were established in 1982 in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and also in Beqaa Valley with the support of the Syrian government.[88][89] After the Iran-Iraq war and the Kurdish civil war, the PKK moved all its camps to Northern Iraq in 1998. The PKK had also completely moved to Qandil Mountains from Beqaa Valley, under intensive pressure, after Syria expelled Öcalan and shut down all camps established in the region.[89] At the time, Northern Iraq was experiencing a vacuum of control after the Gulf War-related Operation Provide Comfort. Instead of a single training camp which could be easily destroyed, the organization created many small camps. During this period the organization set up a fully functioning enclave with training camps, storage facilities, and reconnaissance and communications centers.

In 2007, the organization was believed to have camps strung out through the mountains that straddle the border between Turkey and Iraq, including in Sinaht, Haftanin, Kanimasi and Zap.[90] The organization developed two types of camps. The mountain camps, located in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, are used as forward bases from which militants carry out attacks against Turkish military bases. The units deployed there are highly mobile and the camps have only minimal infrastructure.[90] The other permanent camps, in the Qandil Mountains of Iraq, have more developed infrastructure—including a field hospital, electricity generators and a large proportion of the PKK’s lethal and non-lethal supplies.[90] The organization is also using the Qandil mountain camps for its political activities.

It was claimed in 2004 that there was another political training camp in Belgium, evidence that the organization had used training camps in Europe for political and ideological training.[91]

Political representation

The organization had sympathizer parties in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey beginning in the early 1990s. The establishment of direct links to the organization has been a question. In sequence HEP/DEP/HADEP/DEHAP/DTP and the BDP, which later changed its name to Democratic Regions Party (DBP) on 11 July 2014,[92] as well as the HDP have been accused of sympathizing with the PKK, since they have refused to brand it as a terrorist group.

Political organizations established in Turkey are banned from propagating or supporting separatism. Several political parties supporting Kurdish rights have been allegedly banned on this pretext. The constitutional court claimed to find direct links between the HEP/DEP/HADEP and the PKK. In 2008 the DTP-party was prosecuted by the constitutional court. It is reported that Turkey has used the PKK as an excuse to close Kurdish political parties.

Turkish-Kurdish politician and conspiracist Abdülmelik Fırat had claimed the Democratic Society Party (DTP) was founded by the PKK, and that 80 percent of Kurds do not vote for this party.[93] Senior DTP leaders maintain that they support a unified Turkey within a democratic framework. Aysel Tuğluk published an article in Radikal in May 2007 as the co-president of DTP, to prove that claim.[94]

Several parliamentarians and other elected representatives have been jailed for speaking in Kurdish, carrying Kurdish colors or otherwise allegedly “promoting separatism”, most famous among them being Leyla Zana.[95] The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for arresting and executing Kurdish writers, journalists and politicians in numerous occasions. Between 1990 and 2006 Turkey was condemned to pay 33 million euros in damages in 567 cases. The majority of the cases were related to events that took place in southeastern Anatolia[96] Politicians of the HDP are often accused and prosecuted for being members of the PKK.[97] In Iraq the political party Tevgera Azadî is said to have close to the PKK.[98]

Alleged links with Turkish intelligence

During the controversial Ergenekon trials in Turkey, allegations have been made that the PKK is linked to elements of the Turkish intelligence community.

Şamil Tayyar, author and member of the ruling AK Party, claimed that Öcalan was released in 1972 after just three months’ detention on the initiative of the National Intelligence Organization (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT), and that his 1979 escape to Syria was aided by elements in MİT.[99] Öcalan has admitted making use of money given by the MIT to the PKK, which he says was provided as part of MIT efforts to control him.[100]

Former police special forces member Ayhan Çarkın alleged that the state, using the clandestine Ergenekon network, colluded with militant groups such as the PKK, Dev-Sol and Turkish Hezbollah, with the goal of profiting from the war.[101]

A witness to the trials testified that General Levent Ersöz, former head of JITEM, had frequent contact with PKK commander Cemîl Bayik.[102]

According to official figures, it was claimed that nearly 2000 PKK members became itirafçı (“confessors”) after their arrest. Some were persuaded or coerced to play an active role in the conflict, particularly under the direction of the Turkish Gendarmerie‘s unofficial JİTEMunit.[citation needed]

Activities

During its establishment in the mid-1970s, amid violent clashes country-wide, the organization used classic violent methods, such as the alleged failed assassination of Mehmet Celal Bucak as a propaganda-of-the-deed.[64] After the 1980 military coup, the organization developed into a paramilitary organization using resources it acquired in Syria, Russia, Europe and Beqaa Valley in part of ex-Syrian-controlled Lebanon. After 1984, PKK began also to use the Maoist theory of people’s war.[103][104]

The PKK has faced condemnation by some countries for executing civilians, using suicide bombers,[105][106] Child Soldiers[107] and involvement in drug trafficking.[108]

Political activity 1978–1984

In the first phase (1978–1984), the PKK tried to gain the support of the Kurdish population. It attacked the machinery of government and distributed propaganda in the region. PKK tactics were based on ambushsabotage, riots, protests, and demonstrations against the Turkish government. During these years, the PKK also fought a turf war against other radical Islamist Kurdish and Turkish organisations in Turkey. Turkish newspapers claimed that the PKK effectively used the prison force to gain appeal among the population which PKK has denied.[109][110] In the whole Turkey, this period was characterized by violent clashes which culminated in the 1980 military coup.

During this time, the organization argued that its violent actions against the government forces were explained by the need to defend Kurds in the context of what it considered as the massive cultural suppression of Kurdish identity (including the 1983 Turkish Language Act Ban) and cultural rights carried out by other governments of the region.[111] Turkey also used violent and oppressive methods against its Kurdish citizens to stop them supporting the PKK.

Armed rebellion 1984–1999

In the second phase (1984–1999), which followed the return of civilian rule in 1983, escalating attacks were made on the government’s military and vital institutions all over the country. The objective was to destabilize the Turkish authority through a long, low-intensity confrontation. In addition to skirmishing with Turkish military and police forces and local village guards, the PKK has conducted bomb attacks on government and police installations.[112] Kidnapping and assassination against government and military officials and Kurdish tribal leaders who were named as puppets of the state were performed as well. Widespread sabotages were continued from the first stage. Turkish sources had also claimed that the PKK carried out kidnappings of tourists, primarily in Istanbul, but also at different resorts. However, the PKK had in its history arrested 4 tourists and released them all after warning them to not enter the war zone. The vast majority of PKK’s actions have taken place mainly in Turkey against the Turkish military, although it has on occasions co-operated with other Kurdish nationalist paramilitary groups in neighboring states, such as Iraq and Iran.[113] The PKK has also attacked Turkish diplomatic and commercial facilities across Western Europe in the late 1980s. In effect, the Turkish state has led a series of counter-insurgency operations against the PKK, accompanied by political measures, starting with an explicit denunciation of separatism in the 1982 Constitution, and including proclamation of the state of emergency in various PKK-controlled territories starting in 1983 (when the military relinquished political control to the civilians). This series of administrative reforms against terrorism included in 1985 the creation of village guard system by the then prime minister Turgut Özal. Öcalan, in presence of PUK leader Jalal Talabani declared a unilateral cease fire in 1993, and said the PKK did not want to separate from Turkey, but Turkey did not respond to it.[114] Turkey was involved in serious human rights violations during the 1990s. The ECHR has condemned Turkey for executions of Kurdish civilians, torturing, forced displacements and massive arrests.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, in an effort to win increased support from the Kurdish peasantry, the PKK altered its leftist secular ideology to better accommodate and accept Islamic beliefs. The group also abandoned its previous strategy of attacking Kurdish and Turkish civilians who were against them, focusing instead on government and military targets.[115] In its campaign, the organization has been accused of carrying out atrocities against both Turkish and Kurdish civilians and its actions have been criticised by human rights groups such as Amnesty International[116] and Human Rights Watch[117][citation needed]. Similar actions of the Turkish state have also been criticized by these same groups.

Cease fire 1999–2004

The third phase (1999–2012), after the capture of Öcalan, PKK reorganized itself and new leaders were chosen by its members. The PKK wasn’t active between 2000 and 2003. The organization made radical changes to survive, such as changing its ideology and setting new goals. At the same time, the PKK continued to recruit new members and sustain its fighting force.

According to Turkish sources, in April 2002 at its 8th Party Congress, the PKK changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) and proclaimed a commitment to nonviolent activities in support of Kurdish rights. A PKK/KADEK spokesman stated that its armed wing, The People’s Defense Force, would not disband or surrender its weapons for reasons of self-defense. This statement by the PKK/KADEK avowing it would not lay down its arms underscores that the organization maintained its capability to carry out armed operations. PKK/KADEK established a new ruling council in April, its membership virtually identical to the PKK’s Presidential Council. The PKK/KADEK did not conduct an armed attack in 2002; however, the group periodically issued veiled threats that it will resume violence if the conditions of its imprisoned leader are not improved and its forces are attacked by Turkish military, and it continued its military training like before.

In November 2003, another congress was held which lead to renaming itself as the People’s Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK). The stated purpose of the organizational change was to leave behind nationalistic and state-building goals, in favor of creating a political structure to work within the existing nation-states.[118] Through further internal conflict during this period, it is claimed that 1500 militants left the organization,[118] along with many of the leading reformists, including Nizamettin Taş and Abdullah Öcalan‘s younger brother Osman Öcalan[119]

Second insurgency 2004–2012

Kongra-Gel called off the cease-fire at the start of June 2004, saying Turkish security forces had refused to respect the truce. Turkish security forces were increasingly involved in clashes with Kurdish separatist fighters. Ankara claimed that about 2,000 Kurdish fighters had crossed into Turkey from hideouts in mountainous northern Iraq in early June 2004.

While the fight against the Turkish security forces between 2004 and 2010 continued, the PKK and its ancillary organizations continued to enjoy substantial support among the Kurds of Turkey. In 2005, the original name of the organization PKK was restored, while the Kongra-Gel became the legislature of the Koma Komalên Kurdistan.[120][121] Turkey’s struggle against the Kongra-Gel/PKK was marked by increased clashes across Turkey in 2005. In the Southeast, Turkish security forces were active in the struggle against the Kongra-Gel/PKK. There were bombings and attempted bombings in resort areas in western Turkey and Istanbul, some of which resulted in civilian casualties. A radical Kurdish separatist group calling itself the Kurdish Freedom Hawks (TAK) claimed responsibility for many of these attacks. The TAK is a rival to PKK that since 2006 repeatedly damaged the PKK’s efforts to negotiate cease-fires and unlike the PKK, is seeking to establish independent Kurdistan.[122] In 2006 alone, the PKK claimed over 500 victims. In October 2006, the PKK allegedly declared a unilateral cease-fire that slowed the intensity and pace of its attacks, but attacks continued in response to Turkish security forces significant counterinsurgency operations, especially in the southeast. On 21 October 2011 Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced Iran would co-operate with Turkey in some military operations against the PKK.[123]

2012 was the most violent year in the armed conflict between the Turkish State and PKK since 1999. At least 541 individuals lost their lives as a result of the clashes including 316 militants and 282 soldiers. In contrast, 152 individuals lost their lives in 2009 until the Turkish government initiated negotiations with the PKK leadership.[124] The failure of this negotiations contributed to violence that were particularly intensified in 2012. The PKK encouraged by the rising power of the Syrian Kurds increased its attacks in the same year.

During the Syrian Civil War, the Kurds in Syria have established control over their own region with the help of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party as well as with support from the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil, under President Masoud Barzani.[125]

2013–15 Peace process

Demonstration in Paris for slain PKK workers

In late 2012, the Turkish government began secret talks with Öcalan for a ceasefire.[126] To facilitate talks, government officials transmitted letters between Öcalan in jail to PKK leaders in northern Iraq.[127] On 21 March 2013, a ceasefire was announced.[128] On 25 April, it was announced that the PKK would leave Turkey. Commander Murat Karayılan remarked “As part of ongoing preparations, the withdrawal will begin on May 8, 2013. Our forces will use their right to retaliate in the event of an attack, operation or bombing against our withdrawing guerrilla forces and the withdrawal will immediately stop.”[129] The semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq welcomed the idea of refugees from its northern neighbor.[130] The BDP held meetings across the region to explain the pending withdrawal to concerned citizens. “The 8th of May is a day we both anticipate and fear,” explained party leader Pinar Yilmaz. “We don’t trust the government at all. Many people here are afraid that once the guerrillas are gone, the Turkish military will crack down on us again.”[128]

The withdrawal began as planned with groups of fighters crossing the border from southeastern Turkey to northern Iraq.[126] Iraqi leadership in Baghdad, however, declared that it would not accept armed groups into its territory. “The Iraqi government welcomes any political and peaceful settlement”, read an official statement. “[But] it does not accept the entry of armed groups to its territories that can be used to harm Iraq’s security and stability.”[130] The prospect of armed Kurdish forces in northern Iraq threatens to increase tensions between the region and Baghdad who are already at odds over certain oil producing territory. PKK spokesman Ahmet Deniz sought to ease concerns stating the plan would boost democracy. “The [peace] process is not aimed against anyone,” he said “and there is no need for concerns that the struggle will take on another format and pose a threat to others.”[130]

It is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 PKK fighters resided in Turkey at the time.[citation needed] The withdrawal process was expected to take several months even if Iraq does not intervene to try to stop it.[130] On 14 May 2013, the first groups of 13 male and female fighters entered Iraq’s Heror area near the Metina mountain after leaving Turkey. They carried with them Kalashnikov assault rifles, light machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers before a welcoming ceremony.[131]

Kurdish PKK guerilla, 23 March 2014

On 29 July 2013, the PKK issued an ultimatum in saying that the peace deal would fail if reforms were not begun to be implemented within a month.[132] In October, Cemil Bayik warned that unless Turkey resumed the peace process, the PKK would resume operations to defend itself against it. He also accused Turkey of waging a proxy war against Kurds during the Syrian Civil War by supporting other extremist rebels who were fighting them.[133]

Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani backed the initiative saying, alongside Erdogan: “This is a historic visit for me … We all know it would have been impossible to speak here 15 or 20 years ago. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has taken a very brave step towards peace. I want my Kurdish and Turkish brothers to support the peace process.”[134]

2014 action against Islamic State and renewed tensions in Turkey

The PKK engaged the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces in Syria in mid-July 2014[135] as part of the Syrian Civil War. In August the PKK engaged IS in Northern Iraq and pressured the Government of Turkey to take a stand against IS.[136][137] PKK forces helped tens of thousands of Yazidis escape an encircled Mount Sinjar.[138] In September 2014, during the Siege of Kobanî, the PKK, receiving direct U.S. military support,[139] engaged with Islamic State forces in Syria who were attacking Kurdish city Kobane, which resulted in conflicts with Turks on the border and an end to a cease-fire that had been in place over a year.[140] The PKK accused Turkey of supporting ISIS. The PKK participated in many offensives against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.[141]

A number of Turkish Kurds rallied in large-scale street protests, demanding that the government in Ankara take more forceful action to combat IS and to enable Kurdish militants already engaged against IS to more freely move and resupply. These protests included a PKK call for its supporters to turn out.[142] Clashes between police and protesters killed at least 31 people. The Turkish government continued to restrict PKK-associated fighters’ movement across its borders, arresting 260 People’s Protection Units fighters who were moving back into Turkey. On 14 October, Turkish Air Force fighter-bombers attacked PKK positions in the vicinity of Daglica, Hakkari Province.[143]

Turkish military statements claimed that the bombings were in response to PKK attacks on a Turkish military outpost in the area. The Firat news agency, which Al Jazeera describes as “close to the PKK”, claimed that Turkish forces had been shelling the PKK positions for days beforehand and that the PKK action had itself been retaliation for those artillery strikes.[144] The PKK had already reported several Turkish attacks against their troops months before Turkish bombing started.

Percentage of the popular vote won by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the 2015 Turkish general election. “The HDP’s elections results, which are a proxy indicator of popular support for the PKK, show that the group has followers throughout the country.”[145]

July 2015–present: Renewed insurgency

PKK and Peshmerga fighters, 11 August 2015

PKK Sniper

In the months before the parliamentary election of 2015, as the “Kurdish-focused” HDP’s likelihood of crossing the 10% threshold for entry into the government seemed more likely, Erdogan gave speeches and made comments that repudiated the settlement process and the existence of a Kurdish problem and refusing to recognize the HDP as having any role to play despite their long participation as intermediaries.[146] These announcements increased distrust of the government’s good faith among Kurdish leaders. In July 2015, Turkey finally became involved in the war against ISIL. While they were doing so, they decided to bomb PKK targets in Iraq.[147] The bombings came a few days after PKK was suspected of assassinating two Turkish police officers in CeylanpınarŞanlıurfa, accused by the PKK of having links with ISIS after the 2015 Suruç bombing.[148][149] The PKK has blamed Turkey for breaking the truce by bombing the PKK in 2014 and 2015 continuously.

In August 2015, the PKK announced that they would accept another ceasefire with Turkey only under US guarantees.[150] PKK announced a one-sided ceasefire in October 2015 near election time, but the government refused.[citation needed] The leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan has condemned the Turkish air strikes in its autonomous region in the north of Iraq.[151]

The number of casualties since 23 July was claimed by Turkish government to be 150 Turkish officers and over 2,000 Kurdish rebels killed (by September).[152] In December 2015, Turkish military operation in southeastern Turkey has killed hundreds of civilians, displaced hundreds of thousands and caused massive destruction in residential areas.[153][154]

In March 2016, the PKK helped to launch the Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement with nine other Kurdish and Turkish revolutionary leftist, socialist and communist groups (including the TKP/MLTHKP-C/MLSPBMKPTKEP/LTİKB [defrtrzh]DKPDK and MLKP) with the aim of overthrowing the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[63]

Tactics

The areas in which the group operates are generally mountainous rural areas and dense urban areas. The mountainous terrain offers an advantage to members of the PKK by allowing them to hide in a network of caves.[citation needed]

Recruiting[

PKK female fighters

Since its foundation, the PKK has recruited new fighters mainly from Turkey, but also from Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Western countries using various recruitment methods, such as using nationalist propaganda and its gender equality ideology. At its establishment, it included a small number of female fighters but over time, however, the number increased significantly and by the early 1990s, 30 percent of its 17,000 armed fighting forces were women.[155] In much of rural Turkey, where male-dominated tribal structures, and conservative Muslim norms were commonplace, the organization increased its number of members through the recruitment of women from different social structures and environments, also from families that migrated to several European countries after 1960 as guest workers.[155] It was reported by a Turkish university that 88% of the subjects initially believed that equality was a key objective, and that they joined the organization based on this claim.[156] In 2007, approximately 1,100 of 4,500–5,000 total members were women.[155]

In its early stages, the PKK recruited young women by kidnapping them. This forced families whose children were already a member of the organization to cooperate and thus turning them into accomplices, which increased the number of women joining the group, according to the publication, published by the Jamestown Foundation.[155][157][158]

The organization is also actively recruiting child soldiers and it has been accused of abducting more than 2,000 children by Turkish Security Forces. The independent reports by the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the United Nations(UN) and the Amnesty International have confirmed the recruitment and use of child soldiers by the organization and its armed wings since the 1990s.[107][159][160][161]

According to the TEPAV think-tank which did research on the identities of 1,362 PKK fighters who lost their lives between 2001 and 2011, 42% of the recruits were under 18, with over a quarter of these being under 15 years of age at the time of recruiting. The organization is also believed to have used the children in the drug trade.[162]

On 22 December 2016, a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the HPG, the armed wing of the PKK, and the YBS, a Yazidi militia affiliated with the PKK, had actively recruited child soldiers since the 2015. The report stated that more than 29 cases had been documented, and some recruited children were under 15 when they had been recruited, which is a war crime under international law.[159]

Weapons

In July 2007, the weapons captured between 1984 and 2007 from the PKK operatives and their origins published by the Turkish General Staff indicates that the operatives erased some of the serial numbers from their weapons. The total number of weapons and the origins for traceable ones were:[163]

 
The choice and origin of the traceable weapons (July 2007)[163]
Type Quantity Sources
AK-47 Kalashnikovs 4,500 71.6% from the USSR, 14.7% from China, 3.6% from Hungary, 3.6% from Bulgaria
Rifles[nb 1] 5,713 of (959 traceable) 45.2% from Russia, 13.2% from United Kingdom, and 9.4% from United States.
Rocket launchers 1,610 (313 traceable) 85% from Russia, 5.4% from Iraq, and 2.5% from China in origin.
Pistols 2,885 (2,208 traceable) 21.9% from Czechoslovakia, 20.2% from Spain, 19.8% from Italy
Grenades 3,490 (136 traceable) 72% from Russia, 19.8% from United States, 8% from Germany,
Land mines 11,568 (8,015 traceable) 60.8% from Italy, 28.3% from Russia, 6.2% from Germany

Turkish authorities claimed that four members of the organization, who handed themselves over to authorities after escaping from camps in northern Iraq, claimed they had seen two U.S. armored vehicles deliver weapons, which was widely reported and further stoked suspicions about U.S. policy in Iraq.[164] The US envoy denied these claims.[165] The arms were claimed to be part of the Blackwater Worldwide arms smuggling allegations. The probe of organization’s weapons and the investigation of Blackwater employees were connected.[166] The PKK also denied these claims.

Resources

Funding

Parties and concerts are organized by branch groups.[167] Additionally, it is believed that the PKK earns money through the sale of various publications, as well as receiving revenues from legitimate businesses owned by the organization, and from Kurdish-owned businesses in Turkey, Russia, Iraq, Iran and Western Europe.[168][169] Besides affiliate organizations, it is claimed that there are sympathizer organizations such as the Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe and the International Kurdish Businessmen Union which constantly exchanges information and perform legitimate or semi-legitimate commercial activities and donations.[citation needed]

According to the European Police Office (EUROPOL), the organization collects money from its members, using labels like ‘donations’ and ‘membership fees’ which are seen as a fact extortion and illegal taxation by the authorities. There are also indications that the organization is actively involving in money laundering, illicit drugs and human trafficking, as well as illegal immigration inside and outside the EU for funding and running its activities.[170]

Drug trafficking

PKK’s involvement in drug trafficking has been documented since the 1990s.[171] A report by Interpol published in 1992 states that the PKK, along with nearly 178 Kurdish organizations were suspected of illegal drug trade involvement. The British National Criminal Intelligence Service determined that the PKK obtained $75 million from drug smuggling in Europe in 1993 alone.[172] Members of the PKK have been designated narcotics traffickers by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.[173] The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic security agency, echoed this finding in its 2011 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution, stating that despite the U.S Department of Treasury designation, there was “no evidence that the organizational structures of the PKK are directly involved in drug trafficking”.[174]

On 14 October 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targeted the senior leadership of the PKK, designating Murat Karayılan, the head of the PKK, and high-ranking members Ali Riza Altun and Zübeyir Aydar as foreign narcotics traffickers at the request of Turkey.[173] On 20 April 2011, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the designation of PKK founders Cemîl Bayik and Duran Kalkan and other high-ranking members as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNT) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Pursuant to the Kingpin Act, the designation freezes any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these individuals.[175]

According to research conducted by journalist Aliza Marcus, the PKK accepted the support of smugglers in the region. Aliza Marcus claimed that some of those Kurdish smugglers who were involved in the drugs trade, either because they truly believed in the PKK—or because they thought it a good business practice (avoid conflicts)—frequently donated money to the PKK rebels. She also claimed that there were reports of PKK supporters in Europe who used their positions and contacts to trade in drugs—and then handed some of the profits to the PKK. And when PKK activists needed more money, they had no qualms about approaching Kurds who trafficked in narcotics. However, according to Aliza Marcus, it does not seem that the PKK, as an organization, directly produced or traded in narcotics.[176]

Following the SDF capture of Raqqa, YPJ and YPG troops raised a large banner of Abdullah Öcalan in the city centre.[177]

In 2018, the state-run new agency AA claimed that the PKK has successfully kept its drug production and trafficking activities underground, both across the globe and within Turkey, and that the security forces had carried out more than 414 drug trafficking operations against the organization since the 1980. The Turkish authorities have also claimed that the organization gains 1,5 billion USD yearly from drug trafficking.[178][179]

The report, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), stated that the instability in Iraq has helped the PKK to develop and use Iraq as a transhipment point for Afghan heroin. The PKK was reported to collect taxes per kilogram of heroin trafficked to Turkey from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq borders, with potential profits reaching US$200 million annually.[180]

The EUROPOL which has monitored the organization’s activities inside the EU has also reported the organization’s involvement in the trafficking of drugs and human beings to raise funds for its terrorist activities inside and outside the EU.[170]

On 1 January 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the designation of Moldovan-based individuals Zeyneddin Geleri, Cerkez Akbulut, and Omer Boztepe as specially designated narcotics traffickers for drug trafficking on behalf of the PKK in Europe. According to the OFAC, Zeynedding Geleri was identified as a high-ranking member of the PKK while two others were activists. The OFAC stated that the drug trafficking is still one of the organization’s criminal activities it uses to obtain weapons and materials.[181]

Human resources

In 2008, according to information provided by the Intelligence Resource Program of the Federation of American Scientists the strength of the organization in terms of human resources consists of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 militants of whom 3,000 to 3,500 are located in northern Iraq.[182] With the new wave of fighting from 2015 onwards, observers noted that active support for the PKK had become a “mass phenomenon” in majority ethnic Kurdish cities in the Southeast of the Republic of Turkey, with large numbers of local youth joining PKK-affiliated local militant groups.[183]

International support

At the height of its campaign, the organization received support from many countries. According to Turkey, countries the PKK has previously/currently received support from include: Greece,[184][185] Iran,[186] Iraq,[187] Russia[188] and Syria.[186] The level of support given has changed throughout this period. Official Turkish sources also allege cooperation between the PKK and the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA).[189]

Greece
According to Ali Külebi, president of an Ankara-based nationalist think tank TUSAM, “It is obvious that the PKK is supported by Greece, considering the PKK’s historical development with major support from Greece.” Külebi alleged in 2007 that PKK militants received training at a base in Lavrion, near Athens.[190] Retired Greek L.T. General Dimitris Matafias and retired Greek Navy Admiral Antonis Naxakis had visited the organization’s Mahsun Korkmaz base camp in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley in October 1988 along with parliamentarians from the center-left PASOK.[191] At the time it was reported that the general had assumed responsibility for training. Greeks also dispatched arms through the Republic of Cyprus.[191] In December 1993, Greek foreign affairs minister Theodoros Pangalos was quoted as saying “we must be supportive of the Kurdish people to be free”.[192] Greece declined to join Germany and France and the eleven other members at the EU to ban the organization.[192] During his trial, Öcalan admitted, as quoted in Hürriyet, that “Greece has for years supported the PKK movement. They even gave us arms and rockets. Greek officers gave guerrilla training and explosives training to our militants” at a camp in Lavrion, Greece.[193]
Syria
From early 1979 to 1999, Syria had provided valuable safe havens to PKK in the region of Beqaa Valley. However, after the undeclared war between Turkey and Syria, Syria placed restrictions on PKK activity on its soil such as not allowing the PKK to establish camps and other facilities for training and shelter or to have commercial activities on its territory. Syria recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization in 1998.[194] Turkey was expecting positive developments in its cooperation with Syria in the long term, but even during the course of 2005, there were PKK operatives of Syrian nationality operating in Turkey.[167][195]
Iran
Iran provided PKK with supplies in the form of weapons and funds. However, Iran later listed the PKK as a terrorist organization after Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan used Iran’s supply of resources to the PKK on its own soil.[citation needed]
Armenia
Turkish and Azeri sources have alleged in 2007 that PKK maintains camps in the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.[196] Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan called these allegations “sheer nonsense” in 2008.[197] In May 2008 a commentary in the right-wing newspaper Yeni Şafak claimed that the PKK’s leadership, “perhaps feeling insecure in northern Iraq, was mulling a move to Nagorno-Karabakh.” In response, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry press spokesman Vladimir Karapetian stated, “The unsubstantiated rumors about the intentions on the side of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to move to Nagorno-Karabakh and controlled territories cannot be called anything less than another provocation.”[198]
Republic of Cyprus
Support of the Republic of Cyprus was alleged when Abdullah Öcalan was caught with a Cypriot passport under the name of Mavros Lazaros, a nationalist reporter.
Soviet Union and Russia
Former KGBFSB officer Alexander Litvinenko alleges that PKK’s leader Abdullah Öcalan was trained by KGBFSB.[199] As of 2008, Russia is still not among the states that list PKK as a terrorist group despite intense Turkish pressure.
United Kingdom
MED TV broadcast for five years in the UK, until its license was revoked by the regulators the Independent Television Commission (ITC) in 1999. The PKK has been listed as a terrorist organization since 29 March 2001. In 2008, the United Kingdom detained members of the PKK and seized the assets of the PKK’s representative in Britain, Selman Bozkur, alias “Dr. Hüseyin”. His assets remain frozen.[200]
Support of various European states
The Dutch police had allegedly raided the ‘PKK paramilitary camp’ in the Dutch village of Liempde and arrested 29 people in November 2004, but all were soon released.[201] Denmark allows Kurdish satellite television stations (such as ROJ-TV), which Turkey claims has links with the PKK, to operate in Denmark and broadcast into Turkey.[202]
Various PKK leaders, including Hidir Yalcin, Riza Altun, Zubeyir Aydar, and Ali Haydar Kaytan all lived in Europe and moved freely. The free movement was achieved by strong ties with influential persons. Danielle Mitterrand, the wife of the former President of FranceFrançois Mitterrand, had active connections during the 1990s with elements of the organization’s leadership that forced a downgrade in relationships between the two states.[203] After harboring him for some time, Austria arranged a flight to Iraq for Ali Rıza Altun, a suspected key figure with an Interpol arrest warrant on his name.. Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gül summoned the Austrian ambassador and condemned Austria’s action.[204] On 30 September 1995, while Öcalan was in Syria, Damascus initiated contact with high-ranking German CDU MP Heinrich Lummer and German intelligence officials.
The Chief of the Turkish General Staff during 2007, General Yaşar Büyükanıt, stated that even though the international struggle had been discussed on every platform and even though organizations such as the UN, NATO, and EU made statements of serious commitment, to this day the necessary measures had not been taken.[205] According to Büyükanıt; “this conduct on one side has encouraged the terrorists, on the other side it assisted in widening their activities.[205] 
Sedat Laçiner, of the Turkish think tank ISRO, says that US support of the PKK undermines the US War on Terror.[206] Seymour Hersh claimed that the U.S. supported PEJAK, the Iranian branch of the PKK.[207] The head of the PKK’s militant arm, Murat Karayılan, claimed that Iran attempted to recruit the PKK to attack coalition forces, adding that Kurdish guerrillas had launched a clandestine war in north-western Iran, ambushing Iranian troops.[208]

Designation as a terrorist group

The PKK has been placed on Turkey’s terrorist list, as well as a number of allied governments and organizations.[17]

The European Union — which Turkey aspires to join — in 2011 renewed its official listing of the PKK as group or entity subject to “specific [EU] measures to combat terrorism” under its Common Foreign and Security Policy.[209] First designated as such in 2002, the PKK was ordered to be removed from the EU terror list on 3 April 2008 by the European Court of First Instance on the grounds that the EU had failed to give a proper justification for listing it in the first place.[210] However, EU officials dismissed the ruling, stating that the PKK would remain on the list regardless of the legal decision.[211]

The PKK is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department;[212] in 2018, the United States offered a $12 million reward for information on three PKK leaders.[213]

The PKK is also a Proscribed Organisation in the United Kingdom under the Terrorism Act 2000;[214] the British Prime Minister Theresa May used the phrase “Kurdish terrorism” in 2018, in a certain context.[215]

France prosecutes Kurdish-French activists and bans organizations connected to the PKK on terrorism-related charges,[216] having listed the group as a terrorist organization since 1993.[217] However, French courts often refuse to extradite captured individuals accused of PKK connections to Turkey due to technicalities in French law, frustrating Turkish authorities[failed verification].[218]

The following other individual countries have listed or otherwise labelled the PKK in an official capacity as a terrorist organization:

Australia,[219][220] Austria,[221] Azerbaijan,[222] Canada,[223] Czech Republic,[224] Germany,[225] Iran,[226] Japan,[227] Kazakhstan,[228] Kyrgyzstan,[229] New Zealand,[230] Spain,[231] Syria.[194]

States etc. not designating them as terrorist group

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained at a 2019 press conference that “NATO does not have a public list where we list different organisations as terrorist organisations. Some other national organisations have that kind of list, for instance the UN or . . . and EU, but NATO does not have that kind of public list, where we list terrorist organisations.”[232] Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and fields the group’s second-largest armed contingent.

The PKK has never been designated as a terrorist organization by the UN.

Russia has long ignored Turkish pressure to ban the PKK,[233] and the group is also not included in the official terror blacklist of China (PRC), Brazil, Switzerland, India and Egypt.[234][235]

The government of Switzerland has rejected Turkish demands to blacklist the PKK,[236] though it has taken its own measures to monitor and restrict the group’s activities on Swiss soil, including banning the collection of funds for the group in November 2008.[237]Switzerland considers only those organizations as terrorist organizations which are in the terrorist list of the United Nations.[238]

Flags

Party flags

Flag of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) (1978–1995)[239]
Flag of the PKK (1995–2000)[239]
Flag of the PKK (2000-2002)
Flag of the KADEK (2002–2003)[239]
Flag of the Kongra-Gel (KGK) (2003–present)[239][240]
Flag of the PKK (2005–present)[241]

Flags of wings

Flag of the People’s Defense Forces (HPG, Formerly HRK and ARGK)[242][243]
Flag of the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK) (1985-2000)[239][244]
Former flag of the Free Women’s Units of Star (YJA-STAR)[242]
Current flag of the YJA-STAR[245]

See also

Related and/or associated organizations

Notes

  1. ^ also rendered as Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, such as on the group’s official website

References…

Further reading

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdistan_Workers%27_Party

 

Story 2: Britain Finally Has European Union Divorce Agreement But Will Parliament Approve Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal? — Videos

 

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Nigel Farage Would Prefer a General Election Over Boris Johnson’s Deal | Good Morning Britain

Boris Johnson seeks MPs’ support for Brexit deal in new race against time

The Five 10/18/19 | The Five Fox News October 18, 2019

‘And you thought he was crazy…’ How the world’s newspapers reacted to Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement

But newspapers at home and abroad recognised that while one battle was won, the war continued in Westminster. 

The Prime Minister will on Friday seek to sell his Brexit deal to sceptical MPs, as he returns home fresh from an EU victory but risking defeat in parliament.

Mr Johnson pulled off a major coup in agreeing a new divorce deal with the European Union, paving the way for him to deliver his promise to leave the bloc on October 31.

But Thursday’s deal must still pass the House of Commons, which is meeting for…

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/18/thought-crazy-worlds-newspapers-reacted-boris-johnsons-brexit/

Do the deal! Poll reveals Britain wants MPs to stop the delay and back Boris Johnson today after his Brexit breakthrough

  • 50 per cent of people said MPs should back Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal in a Survation Poll for the Daily Mail  
  • A total of 47 per cent believe Mr Johnson’s plan should go to a referendum, compared with 44 against the idea
  • The survey found a surge in support for the Tories following the PM’s breakthrough at this week’s EU summit 
  • MPs will vote on Mr Johnson’s deal on Saturday, the first time Parliament is sitting on the weekend since 1982
  • The vote is set to be incredibly tight, with the PM trying to ‘lovebomb’ Labour MPs and Tory rebels to back him
  • Rebel Tory MP Oliver Letwin has tabled an amendment which could force Mr Johnson to request an extension 

Story 3: Hillary Clinton Rampant Russian Delusions, Lying and Paranoia — Russia Dumped Hillary Clinton for Tulsi Gabbard As The Russian Choice For Their Candidate in 2020? — In Your Guts You Know Hillary Is Nuts — Lock Her Up —  Videos — 

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See the source imageSee the source image

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Tucker: Hillary spreads vicious lies about fellow Democrats

Hillary Clinton calls Tulsi Gabbard a “favorite of the Russians”

Hillary Clinton suggests Russians are grooming a Democrat for 2020

Hillary Implies Tulsi Boosted by Russians | The View

Ingraham: Heeere’s Hillary

Hillary Clinton talks about the 2020 presidential election

Tulsi Gabbard: This is what’s so dangerous about Hillary Clinton

Russian to Conclusions: Hillary vs. Tulsi and Jill | The News & Why It Matters | Ep 397

Hillary Clinton suggests Russians are grooming a Democrat for 2020

Tulsi Gabbard fires back at Hillary Clinton’s Russian asset claim

Stein says Clinton promoting ‘unhinged conspiracy theory’

Tulsi Gabbard responds to Hillary Clinton: Clinton “knows she can’t control me”

Max Blumenthal on why Hillary Clinton smeared Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein

Tulsi Gabbard: 9/11 inspired me to enlist in the military

Tulsi Gabbard rips CNN, NY Times for ‘smearing’ her reputation

Tucker: Not everyone in 2020 Democratic field is a lunatic

The Five 10/18/19 | The Five Fox News October 18, 2019

State Dept. finds nearly 600 violations in Clinton’s email scandal

‘You can’t control me’: Defiant Tulsi Gabbard says Hillary has ‘the blood of thousands on her hands’ and calls her the ‘queen of warmongers’ after 2016 loser accused her of being a Russian asset ready to run as an independent candidate

  • Tulsi Gabbard bashed Hillary Clinton during an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Friday
  • She said the former Secretary of State is waging a smear campaign against her because ‘she knows she can’t control me’
  • It comes on the heels of Clinton claiming the Russians were ‘grooming’ a Democratic presidential contender to be a third-party spoiler candidate 
  • ‘They’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,’ Clinton said 
  • In response, Gabbard tweeted that Clinton was ‘the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption’
  • On her appearance on Tucker Carlson, Gabbard also insisted that Clinton has blood on her hands for ‘championing’ the Iraq War
  • Clinton did not mention Gabbard by name but the Hawaii representative has been accused of being a ‘Russian asset’
  • Gabbard, in Tuesday’s debate, said that allegation was ‘completely despicable’

Story 4: Trump Dazzles Dallas — Videos

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FULL TRUMP RALLY: President Trump holds campaign rally in Dallas, Texas

Trump holds a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas

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

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

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

Rep. Nunes discusses DOJ stonewalling

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

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

Rep. Nunes threatens AG sessions with contempt of Congress

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

Rep. Dave Brat on GOP vs. DOJ

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

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

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

Mueller probe is investigating people looking for crimes: Marc Lotter

Nunes: Documents about Flynn show Comey has been lying

Tucker: What’s at stake in the Rosenstein battle

Freedom Caucus members draft Rosenstein impeachment articles

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

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

Outrageous Redactions to the Russia Report

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

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

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

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

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

What happened with these redactions is inexcusable.

BACKGROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

COUNTERINTELLIGENCE INVESTIGATION OF FLYNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DID THE INTERVIEWING AGENTS BELIEVE FLYNN LIED TO THEM?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCabe added, in another just unredacted passage:

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

 

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

First Lady Melania Trump’s Initiative Launch

First Lady Melania Trump’s Initiative Launch

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern first ladies typically highlight personal causes.

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

___

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Melania wore very little jewelry aside from her diamond wedding band 

Melania wore very little jewelry aside from her diamond wedding band

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ivanka donned oversize black sunglasses throughout the event 

Ivanka donned oversize black sunglasses throughout the event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

See the source image

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

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

Published on May 6, 2018

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

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U.S. may have sent Iran $33.6B in cash?

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

 

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East
© Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Dunford will provide a military update.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FRIDAY NIGHT ADDRESS TO THE NATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Dunford will provide a military update.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theresa May's statement in full 

Theresa May’s statement in full

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Willful blindness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Description

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

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

Precedent in the United States

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

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

See also

References

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

External links

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

James Comey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early life

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

Early career (1985–1993)

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

Clinton administration (1996–2001)

Assistant U.S. Attorney

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

Bush administration (2002–2005)

U.S. Attorney

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

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

Deputy Attorney General

NSA domestic wiretapping

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

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

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

Enhanced interrogation techniques

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

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

Private sector (2005–2013)

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

Testimony before congressional committees

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy

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

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

Supreme Court considerations

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

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

FBI Director

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

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

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

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

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

Police and African Americans

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

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

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

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

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

Comments on Poland and the Holocaust

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

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

OPM hack

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

Hillary Clinton email investigation

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

Release of information about the investigation

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

Comey’s October letter

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

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

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

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

Investigations

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

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

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

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

Russian election interference investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government surveillance oversight

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

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

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

Dismissal

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

Trump’s letter firing Comey

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

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

Reasons for dismissal

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

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

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

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

Reference to tapes

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

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

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

Aftermath

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writings

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

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

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

Post-government life

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

Party affiliation

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

Personal life

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

References

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

Dismissal of James Comey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Letter from President Donald Trump dismissing FBI Director James Comey

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The dismissal

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

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

Termination letter

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

Dear Director Comey:

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

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

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

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

— Donald J. Trump

Reasons for dismissal

Recommendations of the Attorney General Sessions and Rosenstein

Letter from Atty. GeneralSessions recommending the dismissal

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

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

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

Based on other reasons

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

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

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

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

Announcement of dismissal

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

Timing of the dismissal

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

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

Other events of May 9

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

Reactions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post-dismissal

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

Reactions from within the FBI

File:FBI Acting Chief Contradicts Trump on Comey.webmhd.webm

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

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

Messaging from the White House

File:WATCH Trump Tweet Not A Threat Spicer Says.webmhd.webm

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

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

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

Succession

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

FBI investigation of Russian interference

Assurances to Trump by Comey

In the Comey termination letter, Trump asserted that Comey had told him on three separate occasions that he (Trump) was not under investigation.[131] The assertion was challenged.[132] Fact checkers reported that while they had no way of knowing what Comey may have told Trump privately, no such assertion was on the public record, and the White House declined to provide any more detail.[133] According to a May 10 article in The Washington Post, sources knowledgeable about the matter stated that Trump’s assertion as well as other assertions made by Trump about events leading up to the dismissal were false.[11][134]

However, in the written opening statement for his June 8 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said he had assured Trump on three separate occasions that he personally was not the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation.[135] Comey said Trump repeatedly pressed for him to say so publicly.[135] Comey added that Trump’s private comments urging him to drop the Flynn probe led him to tell his Justice Department colleagues they needed to be careful.[136] Comey also indicated that he had prepared notes on each of his interactions with Trump and had arranged for them to be publicly released.[136]

Trump’s private lawyer Marc Kasowitz declared in a statement that Comey’s testimony made Trump feel “completely and totally vindicated”.[137][138] However, on June 16 following newspaper reports that the special counsel is investigating him for obstruction of justice, Trump tweeted: “I am being investigated” and called the investigations a “witch hunt”.[139] Trump’s lawyer later clarified that Trump has not been notified of any investigation.[140]

Possible existence of recordings

In a Twitter post on May 12, Trump implied that he might have recorded his conversations with Comey, saying, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”[141] The comment was taken by many Democrats and commentators as a threat, an attempt to intimidate Comey into not discussing his conversations with Trump during intelligence committee hearings.[142][143][144][145] Trump’s hint about secret tapes created pressure on him to make any tapes and other evidence available to investigators.[141] For more than a month thereafter, in interviews and White House briefings, Trump and his spokespersons refused to confirm or deny the existence of ‘tapes’, or to comment on whether there are listening or recording devices in the White House.[141][146]

In his June 8 testimony, Comey said “I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes!” He added that he would consent to the release of any such recordings.[147]

On June 9, members of Congress from both parties called on Trump to say once and for all whether any ‘tapes’ exist.[148] The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), called for the White House to hand over any tapes, if they exist, to the committee, and threatened subpoenas if the White House did not comply with the deadline by June 23.

On June 22, Trump tweeted “I have no idea […] whether there are “tapes” or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”[149] Commentators noted that Trump’s tweet was a non-denial denial which merely denied personal involvement in the making of recordings and denied his present knowledge and present possession of said recordings. The tweet failed to deny that recordings do or did exist, that Trump ever had past knowledge of their existence, or that they may have been made by a third party other than Trump whom Trump is or was aware of.[150] When asked to clarify Trump’s tweet several hours later, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that Trump’s tweet was “extremely clear” and that she did “not have anything to add”.[151]

Schiff stated that Trump’s tweet “raises as many questions as it answers” and that “the White House must respond in writing to our committee as to whether any tapes or recordings exist.”[150] The White House responded on June 23 with a letter to House and Senate Committees which copied and pasted Trump’s non-denial denial tweet of the previous day.[152] On June 29, in a joint statement, the two leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said they had written to the White House to press it to comply fully with their June 9 request, adding “should the White House not respond fully, the committee will consider using compulsory process to ensure a satisfactory response”.[153]

Comey memos

On May 16, 2017, it was first reported that Comey had prepared a detailed memo following every meeting and telephone call he had with President Trump.[154][18][155]

February 14 meeting

One memo referred to an Oval Office meeting on February 14, 2017, during which Comey says Trump attempted to persuade him to abort the investigation into Michael Flynn.[154][18][156] The meeting had begun as a broader national security briefing, the day after Trump had dismissed Flynn as National Security Advisor. Near the conclusion of the briefing, the President asked those in attendance other than Director Comey to leave the room—including Vice President Pence and Attorney General Sessions. He then reportedly said to Comey “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”[18] Comey made no commitments to Trump on the subject.[18]

The White House responded to the allegations by stating that “the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” and “this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”[154]

Leaks to the press

The Comey memos were first mentioned in a May 16, 2017, New York Times article, published about a week after Trump had dismissed Comey as FBI director, and four days after he had implied on Twitter that his conversations with Comey may have been recorded.[141]The report cited two people who read the memos to the Times reporter.[18] The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post independently reported on the memos’ existence.[154][157]

In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey revealed that he had been the source, through a friend (later revealed to be Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman), of the public revelation of his February 14 memo. He said he decided to make it public in hopes that it might “prompt the appointment of a special counsel”. Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel the next day.[16]

On May 19, another friend of Comey, Lawfare Blog founder Benjamin Wittes, came forward as the principal source for the initial New York Times story.[158]

Congressional requests

Rep. Jason Chaffetz‘s letter to FBI demanding to produce all Comey memos

After the NYT report, leaders of the House Oversight Committee and Intelligence Committee, as well as those of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee, requested the production of all Comey memos, with a deadline of May 24. On May 25, the FBI said it was still reviewing the Committees’ requests, in view of the appointment of the special counsel.[159] To date,[when?] the Comey memos have still not been produced or released to the public.

Motivation

The New York Times reported that Comey had created the memos as a “paper trail” to document “what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation”.[18] Comey shared the memo with “a very small circle of people at the FBI and Justice Department.”[157] Comey and other senior FBI officials perceived Trump’s remarks “as an effort to influence the investigation, but they decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret—even from the F.B.I. agents working on the Russia investigation—so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation.”[18]

In his June 8 testimony, Comey explained that he had documented his conversations with Trump because he “was honestly concerned he (Trump) might lie” about them. “I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened,” he said.[56] The Washington Post reported that two Comey associates who had seen the memo described it as two pages long and highly detailed.[157] The Times noted that contemporaneous notes created by FBI agents are frequently relied upon “in court as credible evidence of conversations.”[18]

Legal considerations

Several Republican politicians and conservative journalists asserted that Comey could be subject to legal jeopardy for not disclosing the contents of his memos around the time he wrote them. Several legal experts, including Alan Dershowitz and Robert M. Chesney, contested this view.[160]

Anonymous officials told The Hill that 4 of the 7 memos contained information deemed “secret” or “classified”.[161][162] Comey testified that he deliberately wrote some memos without classified information so that they could be shared.[163]

Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz criticized Comey for leaking the contents of his memos to the press, saying that they were “unauthorized disclosures”.[164] White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized Comey for leaking to the press and alleged that he broke the law. Sanders cited an article by the legal analyst Jonathan Turley which alleged that Comey broke his employment agreement and FBI protocol.[165]

Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post analyzed Turley’s arguments and contested Sanders’ claims that Comey’s actions were “illegal”.[165] Turley himself has contested Kessler’s legal analysis of Comey’s actions.[166] University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladecksaid that there would “no legal blowback” for Comey, unless “the memos involve ‘information relating to the national defense'” or deprived “government of a ‘thing of value'”.[167] Bradley P. Moss, a partner in the law office of Mark Zaid, argued that Comey’s actions were legally justified by laws protecting whistleblowers from unjust persecution.[168]

Pursuit of leakers

According to a Washington Post report, the memos also document Trump’s criticism of the FBI for not pursuing leakers in the administration and his wish “to see reporters in jail”.[157] The report outraged journalists and free-speech groups, who likened the statement to intimidation tactics used by authoritarian regimes. The Committee to Protect Journalists and Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron were among those who criticized the statement.[169]

Appointment of special counsel

Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters

Immediately after Comey’s dismissal, many Democrats renewed their calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to continue the investigation into Russia’s influence on the election. Democratic attorneys general from 19 states and D.C. signed a letter calling for a special prosecutor.[170]

The White House continued to insist that no special prosecutor was necessary in the Russia investigation, instead saying that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the next FBI director could lead the investigation.[171] The White House has also said that it was “time to move on” after the 2016 election.[108] President Trump tweeted that Democratic members of Congress calling for a special prosecutor and criticizing the dismissal of Comey are “phony hypocrites!”[172]

On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as acting Attorney General, appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation.[23][173] The Trump administration cited an obscure ethics rule to suggest that Mueller might have a conflict of interest.[174] On May 23, 2017, Department of Justice ethics experts announced they had declared Mueller ethically able to function as special counsel.[175]

On June 3, Rosenstein said he would recuse himself from supervision of Mueller, if he were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in Comey’s dismissal.[176] In that event, the third senior officer in the Justice Department would take over the supervision of Mueller’s investigation—namely, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.[177]

Reactions from Congress

File:Trump's Firing of Comey Sets Off Political Firestorm.webm

‘Trump’s Firing of Comey Sets Off Political Firestorm’ – video from Voice of America

Several Democratic members of Congress – among them, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and California Rep. Maxine Waters – and some commentators suggested that Trump’s rationale for Comey’s dismissal in the interview amounted to a de facto admission to obstruction of justice.[178][179][180][181][182] Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democratic member said it was “extremely important that Comey come to an open hearing in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as quickly as possible and testify as to the status of the U.S.–Russia investigation at the time of his firing”.[87]

Among members of Congress:

  • 138 Democrats, two independents (Senators Bernie Sanders and Angus King), and two Republicans (Representatives Mike Coffman[183] and Tom McClintock), called for a special prosecutor, independent prosecutor, or an independent commission to examine ties between the Russian government and Trump’s associates.[115]
  • 84 Democrats and five Republicans called for an independent investigation into Russian ties. For example, Republican Senator John McCain said “I have long called for a special congressional committee” while Democratic Representative Salud Carbajal stated, “anything less would imperil our democracy”.[115]
  • 42 Republicans, and 8 Democrats, expressed “questions or concerns” about Comey’s firing; examples of members of Congress in this group are Republican Senator Marco Rubio (“I do have questions”); Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (“serious cause for concern”); Democratic Representative Marcia L. Fudge (“the American people deserve answers”).[115]
  • 98 Republicans, but no Democrats, were neutral or supportive of Comey’s firing.[115]
  • 141 Republicans and 11 Democrats did not release a statement.[115]

Multiple Democratic members of Congress discussed an “impeachment clock” for Trump, saying that he was “moving” toward impeachment and raising the possibility of bringing forth articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice and criminal malfeasance if proof of illegal activity is found.[184][185] Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut stated in an interview: “It may well produce another United States v. Nixon on a subpoena that went to United States Supreme Court. It may well produce impeachment proceedings, although we’re very far from that possibility.”[186]

Congressional testimony by Comey

On May 10, 2017, the day after being fired by Trump, Comey was invited to testify before a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 16, 2017.[187][188][189] Comey declined to testify at a closed session, indicating that he would be willing to testify at a public, open hearing.[190][191] On May 17, the Senate Intelligence Committee invited Comey to testify publicly.[192] Comey accepted the invitation and testified on June 8.[193][194]

On June 7, 2017 an advance copy of Comey’s prepared congressional testimony was submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee.[195] In it, he said that on February 14, 2017, the President attempted to persuade him to “let go” of any investigation into Michael Flynn.[17] He clarified that “I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign.”[196] He added that Trump requested his personal loyalty, to which Comey replied he would give his “honest loyalty” to the President.[196]

Comey stated that, on three occasions, he volunteered to Trump that the latter was not personally under investigation.[196][15] Comey stated that Trump requested that he publicly declare this so that his image could be improved, but Comey also stated that he did not respond to Trump’s request with an explanation of why he would not do so; Comey testified that his primary reason for not publicly saying Trump was not under investigation was to avoid a “duty to correct” in the event Trump later became subject to investigation.[197][198]In the termination letter of May 9, 2017 Trump said “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation….”[131]

In his live testimony, Comey was asked why he thought he was fired and he replied, “I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.”[199] He took strong exception to Trump’s claims that he had fired Comey because the FBI was in “disarray” and “poorly led”, saying “Those were lies, plain and simple.”[200] Comey also confirmed that the FBI investigations had not targeted Trump personally.[201]

In June 9 and June 11 Twitter comments on Comey’s testimony, Trump accused Comey of “so many false statements and lies” and “very cowardly” leaks but added that Comey’s testimony had amounted to “total and complete vindication” of Trump. Later that day Trump held a brief news conference, during which he insisted that he did not ask Comey to end the investigation into Flynn and was willing to say so under oath. He twice dodged questions about whether there are tapes of White House conversations.[202][203]

Commentary

Scholars

A number of professors of law, political science, and history have criticized the firing and argue that Trump’s action destabilizes democratic norms and the rule of law in the U.S.[111][112][113][114][204][205][206][207] Some have argued that Trump’s action creates a constitutional crisis.[112] Parallels have been drawn with other leaders who have slowly eroded democratic norms in their countries, such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán; political science professor Sheri Berman said those leaders slowly “chipped away at democratic institutions, undermined civil society, and slowly increased their own power.”[114]

In a May 2017 essay published in The Washington PostHarvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe wrote: “The time has come for Congress to launch an impeachment investigation of President Trump for obstruction of justice.” Tribe argued that Trump’s conduct rose to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that are impeachable offenses under the Constitution.[208][209] He added, “It will require serious commitment to constitutional principle, and courageous willingness to put devotion to the national interest above self-interest and party loyalty, for a Congress of the president’s own party to initiate an impeachment inquiry.”[208]

Duke law professor and former federal prosecutor Samuel W. Buell said that Trump’s attempt to quiet Comey by referencing secret tapes of their conversations in retaliation could be viewed as an effort to intimidate a witness to any future investigation on obstruction of justice.[191]

GW Law professor Jonathan Turley, who participated in impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, cautioned that the Comey memo is not a sufficient basis for impeachment, and raises as many questions about Comey’s behavior as about Trump’s.[210][211]

Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith says that claims of “grandstanding” or “politicization” by Comey of the FBI probe into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia were unsubstantiated. Goldsmith wrote, “the only thing Comey ever said publicly about the investigation into the Russia-DNC Hack-Trump Associates imbroglio was to confirm, with the approval of the Attorney General, its existence.”[212][non-primary source needed]

New York University law professor Ryan Goodman wrote, “if President Donald Trump orchestrated the decision to fire the Director of the FBI to subvert or undermine the integrity of investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible coordination with Russia, it may amount to an obstruction of justice.”[213][214]

A report published by the Brookings Institution in October 2017 raised the question of obstruction of justice in the dismissal of Comey, stating that Trump, by himself or conspiring with subordinates, may have “attempted to impede the investigations of Michael Flynn and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election”.[215] The report put aside the subject of impeachment pending the outcome of the 2017 Special Counsel investigation by Robert Mueller.[216][217][218]

Comey memos and obstruction of justice

Legal experts are divided as to whether Trump’s alleged request that Comey end the investigation can be considered obstruction of justice.[219] Jens David Ohlin of Cornell University Law School and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University have argued that the request does not neatly fit into any of the practices commonly considered to fall under the obstruction of justice statute.[220] Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Julie O’Sullivan of the Georgetown University Law Center argued that it is hard to prove that Trump had an intent to obstruct the investigation.[221] Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said that “it’s a very, very high bar to get over obstruction of justice for a president.”[222] Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith noted that it was implausible to indict a sitting president, noting that “the remedy for a criminal violation would be impeachment” instead.[223] Erwin Chereminsky of University of California, Irvine School of Law, have argued that it was obstruction of justice.[224]

Noah Feldman of Harvard University noted that the alleged request could be grounds for impeachment.[225] University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck said that it was reasonable for people to “start talking about obstruction”.[223] Harvard law professor Alex Whiting said that Trump’s actions were “very close to obstruction of justice … but still isn’t conclusive”.[226] Christopher Slobogin of Vanderbilt University Law School said that a “viable case” could be made but that it was weak.[224] John Dean, former White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, called the memo about the private conversation with President Trump concerning the Flynn investigation a “smoking gun” and noted that “good intentions do not erase criminal intent”.[227]

Comey testimony and obstruction of justice

In Comey’s June 8 testimony, he said it was not for him to say whether Trump’s February 14 request amounted to obstruction of justice, adding “But that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work toward, to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offense.”[228] Some legal experts have said that Comey’s testimony advanced the argument that Trump attempted to obstruct justice in his dealings with then-FBI Director James Comey.[229] Diane Marie Amann of University of Georgia, Paul Butler of Georgetown University, Brandon Garrett of University of Virginia, Lisa Kern Griffin of Duke University, Alexander Tsesis of Loyola University, and Alex Whiting of Harvard University said that an obstruction of justice case was advanced by the fact that Comey understood Trump’s words as an order to drop an ongoing FBI investigation.[229][230][231] Joshua Dressle of Ohio State University and Jimmy Gurulé of University of Notre Dame said after the testimony that “a prima facie case of obstruction of justice” had been established.[229]Samuel Gross of University of Michigan and Dressle said that there were sufficient grounds to indict Trump for obstruction of justice were he not President, but that a sitting President cannot be indicted, only impeached.[229] Samuel Buell of Duke University said, “Based on Comey’s testimony, we know to a virtual certainty that the President is now under investigation for obstruction of justice.”[231] Mark Tushnet of Harvard University said that there are “lots of pieces of evidence that could go into making a criminal case and very little to weaken such a case but nothing that in itself shows criminal intent.”[229]

Former United States Attorney Preet Bharara said in an interview with ABC News om June 11, 2017, “there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case” regarding obstruction of justice by Trump.[232] Bharara went on to note, “No one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction. [But] there’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction.”[232]

Media

Many media outlets continued to be highly critical of the move. For many critics, the immediate worry was the integrity of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.[233] Some commentators described Comey’s firing by the Trump administration as a “Nixonian” act, comparing it to Richard Nixon’s orders to three of his cabinet officials to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate investigation. A number of commentators – including Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, former CBS Newsjournalist Dan Rather, and former New Yorker editor Jeffrey Frank – accused the Trump administration of a cover-up by firing Comey with the intent to curtail the FBI’s investigation out of fear of a possible discovery of the extent of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.[234][235][236] Soon after Trump’s election, Benjamin Wittes writing in Lawfare had predicted a future firing of Comey, writing “If Trump chooses to replace Comey with a sycophantic yes-man, or if he permits Comey to resign over law or principle, that will be a clear bellwether to both the national security and civil libertarian communities that things are going terribly wrong.”[237] Immediately after the dismissal, they reiterated their position, stating that Trump’s firing of Comey “undermines the credibility of his own presidency” and implying that the reason given for it was probably a pretext, as Trump had previously praised Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation.[48]

Some commentators observed an emerging pattern of Trump firing government officials involved in investigating his interests: Sally YatesPreet Bharara, and Comey.[238][239]

Other media outlets were more supportive. Some sources have stated that, regardless of circumstances, Comey had lost the confidence of the political leadership on all sides of the spectrum and, therefore, his termination was unavoidable in spite of criticizing the president’s handling of it and questioning his motives.[240] Some went so far as to decry Democrats and other Trump opponents who criticized the termination after previously having criticized Comey himself for the handling of the Clinton scandal.[241] A few called for a re-opening of the Clinton investigation now that Comey had left.[242]

French daily Le Monde described the firing as a “coup de force” against the FBI.[114] German magazines Der Spiegel and Bild drew parallels with Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, with Der Spiegel saying that “few believe” that Comey was not fired for overseeing a criminal probe into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia.[114][243] The Economist wrote in an editorial that Comey’s firing “reflects terribly” on Trump and urged “principled Senate Republicans” to put country before party and establish “either an independent commission” similar to the 9/11 Commission, or a bipartisan select committee to investigate the Russia allegations, with either body to have “substantial investigatory resources” and subpoena power.[244]

References

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018, Story 1: When Will President Trump Ask Congress For A Declaration of War Against Syria Required By The Constitution of The United States? — Congress Is Abdicating Their Responsibility To Declare War! — The Big Loophole Is The War Powers Resolution of 1973 or War Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) — From Constitutional Representative Republic of Peace and Propensity to Two Party Tyranny American Empire Warfare and Welfare State — No More Presidential Undeclared Wars! — Videos –Story 2: Trump Wants 4,000 National Guard Force Assisting U.S. Border Patrol — Zero Miles of Wall Built — Videos — Story 3: House Speaker Paul Ryan Retiring January 2018 — Videos

Posted on April 12, 2018. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Chemical Explosion, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, James Comey, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, Nerve Gas, News, Nuclear, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Privacy, Progressives, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rifles, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terrorism, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietnam, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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Story 1: When Will President Trump Ask Congress For A Declaration of War Against Syria Required By The Constitution of The United States? — Congress Is Abdicating Their Responsibility To Declare War! — The Big Loophole Is The War Powers Resolution of 1973 or War Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) — From Constitutional Representative Republic of Peace and Propensity to Two Party Tyranny American Empire Warfare and Welfare State — No More Presidential Undeclared Wars! — Videos —

Tucker Carlson Debates Pro Syrian War Commentator Noah Rothman

Tucker Carlson and Glenn Greenwald Discuss Authoritarian Behavior of American Media Clamoring For War

Tucker: How does Syrian regime change help the U.S.?

War In Syria: What You Need To Know!