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Pronk Pops Show 1011, December 11, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 1007, November 28, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 1005, November 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1004, November 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1003, November 20, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 1000, November 13, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

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Story 1: Radical Islamic Suicide Bomber Failure in Port Authority Bus Terminal Subway Station — Videos —

TERRORIST ATTACK NEW YORK Shows PIPE BOMB Malfunctions & Explodes ISIS Man Wearing A Suicide Vest

Explosion at New York bus terminal ( 2017 bomb terrorist attack underattack )

Pipe Bomb of Peace: Bangladesh Strikes New York City Subway During Morning Rush Hour

New York explosion suspect identified

New York City subway bomb attack details released by officials

Report: NYC bomb suspect a Brooklyn resident

Explosion Takes Place Near New York City Port Authority | TODAY

Suicide bomber strikes New York City at rush hour

 

 

 

 

An ISIS-inspired would-be suicide bomber set off a homemade explosive device at the Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station Monday morning, seriously wounding himself and injuring three others, law enforcement sources said.

The man — a 27-year-old Brooklyn man identified by high ranking police sources as Akayed Ullah — had wires attached to him and a 5-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack strapped to his midsection as he walked through the Manhattan transit hub.

The man partially detonated the device, which he was carrying under the right side of his jacket, prematurely inside the passageway to the A, C and E trains at Eighth Avenue and West 42nd Street around 7:40 a.m., sources said.

Police quickly took the man into custody.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the man was inspired by ISIS and possibly born in Bangladesh.

Bratton, who said the man had been living in the US for seven years, “was supposedly setting the device off in the name of ISIS.”

“So, definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended,” Bratton said.

Akayed Ullah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The man, who suffered the most serious injuries, was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Three others suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said. One person was taken to St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital, another to Mount Sinai and another person was treated at the scene, officials said.

Investigators briefly spoke to the alleged bomber, who told them he made the explosive device at the electrical company where he works.

Emergency personnel flooded the scene following the incident.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been briefed on the incident.

The incident sent commuters into a frenzy.

A 911 caller, who would only identify herself as Carmen, told The Post: “I didn’t see anything, I just heard an explosion and I ran out like everyone did to look for the nearest exit.”

“I had like a panic attack, I couldn’t breathe. My stomach started hurting,” the witness said. “I’m doing better — I’m just trying to catch a train to go back home to College Point.”

Designer Chelsea LaSalle tweeted: “holy f–k. just was stuck in a running stampede at port authority bus terminal due to bomb scare. cops EVERYWHERE.”

LaSalle followed up her tweet with another that read: “not a scare. actual explosion moments before i was about to get on the subway.”

Commuter Keith Woodfin tweeted: “I was exiting the Port Authority and the National Guard was running towards something shouting ‘Go, Go, Go.’”

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force also is investigating the incident.

All MTA trains were bypassing Port Authority-42nd Street as police investigated the incident.

All New Jersey Transit buses were not stopping at Port Authority. NY Waterway was also running extra ferries.

Additional reporting by Lorena Mongelli and Max Jaeger

https://nypost.com/2017/12/11/explosion-reported-at-port-authority-bus-terminal/

Botched Suicide Bombing Jolts New York Rush Hour, Injures Four

Police say 27-year-old Akayed Ullah detonated a low-tech explosive device near the Port Authority Bus Terminal


Trains bypassed the Times Square and Bryant Park stops after a failed bomb attempt. The platform where the 1,2,3 trains usually stop at Times Square was empty during rush hour.
Police respond to a report of an explosion near Times Square on Monday morning in New York. Police said the suspect was a Bangladeshi man, identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, who tried to set off an explosive device he was wearing near the transit hub. He has been placed in custody.
Authorities investigate the explosion at the Port Authority. John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, described the device the suspect used as a pipe bomb.
Helicopters hover over the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Police recovered surveillance video of the incident. “It could’ve been much, much worse,” an official said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speak at a news conference as police respond to a reported explosion at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. “This was an attempted terrorist attack,” Mr. de Blasio said. “All we know is one individual who was thank god unsuccessful in his aims.”
A New York Fire Department vehicle arrives at the Port Authority. Fire Department commissioner Dan Nigro said the suspect detonated the explosive device, causing burns to his hands and abdomen. Three civilians in proximity of the explosion suffered minor injuries.
Police at Port Authority Bus Terminal watch as people evacuate after the explosion near the facility. By midmorning, some subway service remained suspended.
The explosion disrupted thousands of commuters at the Port Authority terminal during the morning rush hour. Multiple subway lines were evacuated, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closed the entire Port Authority bus station temporarily.
Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi man who attempted to detonate a homemade bomb, is seen in this handout photo. The New York City Taxi &amp; Limousine Commission confirmed that Mr. Ullah was licensed to drive a black or livery car from March 2012 to March 2015. The license lapsed in 2015 and wasn’t renewed, according to a TLC spokesman. Although Mr. Ullah obtained a license, he may never have actually worked as a driver, the spokesman said.<br>
Police respond to a report of an explosion near Times Square on Monday morning in New York. Police said the suspect was a Bangladeshi man, identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, who tried to set off an explosive device he was wearing near the transit hub. He has been placed in custody.
CHARLES ZOELLER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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A bomber tried to set off an explosive device he had strapped to his body near one of New York City’s busiest transit hubs in an attempted terrorist attack that injured three bystanders, authorities said.

The suspect—a Bangladeshi immigrant identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah—was quickly apprehended and was transported to Bellevue Hospital for burns to his hands and abdomen, according to police and fire officials. Three civilians in proximity of the explosion suffered minor injuries and were treated at local hospitals, officials said.

“This was an attempted terrorist attack,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. There are no other known incidents or specific threats to NYC, but there will be an expanded police presence, he said.

 New York Gov. Cuomo described the suspect as a disgruntled “lone wolf,” who had been influenced by extremist groups online. Mr. Cuomo said the suspect downloaded information from the internet on how to make a low-tech, homemade bomb but noted that the device didn’t explode as planned.

“This is one of my worst nightmares—a terrorist attack in the subway system,” Mr. Cuomo said in an interview on CNN.

The explosion disrupted thousands of commuters during the morning rush hour. Multiple subway lines were evacuated, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closed the entire bus station temporarily. Emergency personnel responded in force to the scene. By midmorning, some subway and bus service had been restored. An estimated 220,000 people pass through the transit hub each day.

“The choice of New York is for a reason. We are a beacon to the world and we actually show that a society of many faiths and many backgrounds can work,” said Mr. de Blasio. “The terrorists want to undermine that. So they yearn to attack New York City.”

“As New Yorkers our lives revolve around the subways. When we hear of an attack on the subways, it’s incredibly unsettling,” Mr. de Blasio said.

Botched Suicide Bombing in New York City Injures Four
A bomber partially detonated a home-made explosive at a Manhattan subway terminal Monday in an attempted terrorist attack. The suspect suffered severe burns and was taken into custody by the police. Photo: Twitter/@Breaking911

The suspect was walking in a crowd of commuters when the device was detonated, according to a Port Authority surveillance camera video that was confirmed by a federal law-enforcement official. The incident occurred around 7:20 a.m. ET while the suspect was walking eastbound in the underground corridor under 42nd Street, between Seventh and Eighth avenues, according to police. After the detonation, the suspect is surrounded in smoke, before dropping to the ground, based on the video footage.

But the device—which authorities described as a pipe bomb that was affixed to the suspect with Velcro and zip ties—only partially detonated, limiting the damage, according to officials. Mr. Cuomo said the explosive chemical in the bomb went off as planned, but the pipe didn’t explode.

When police officers arrived on the scene, they saw wires trailing between Mr. Ullah’s jacket and pants, according to a law-enforcement official. When they searched him, they found that he was carrying a nine-volt battery.

“It could’ve been much, much worse,” the official said. Police have recovered surveillance video of the incident.

Chelsea LaSalle, a 28-year-old graphic designer, was in Port Authority heading into the A, C, E subway when she heard screaming and more than 30 people started rushing at her.

Busy StationsFive busiest subway stations in New York City, by average weekday ridershipTHE WALL STREET JOURNALSource: Metropolitan Transportation Authority
42nd St. (Times Sq./PortAuthority)Grand CentralHerald SquareUnion SquarePenn Station (1, 2, 3)0 riders100,000200,00025,00050,00075,000125,000150,000175,000225,000

“People were screaming ‘Get out, get out’ and some were yelling ‘Bomb!’” she said.

Ms. LaSalle said everyone was running as fast as they could and pushed past her. “People wanted to get out and didn’t care what was in their way,” she said. “A lot of people looked really worried. Some people looked more confused than anything else.”

Hanan Kolko, a 57-year-old labor lawyer who lives in Montclair, N.J., said his NJ Transit bus from Clifton to the Port Authority crawled slowly through the Lincoln Tunnel. It took him 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to work, more than double the usual commute.

When his bus arrived around 9:40 a.m., he saw scores of law enforcement officers in the terminal, and his group was ushered out the Ninth Avenue exit because the Eighth Avenue side was blocked off.

“It was eerie because the Port Authority was empty except for people being escorted out,” he said. “It was a moment when I was proud to be a New Yorker,” he said. “We were going to carry on our day, regardless of whether some guy tried to plant a bomb. Law enforcement did a great job, and we got to go on and do our thing.”

In Washington, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was aware of the explosion in New York and coordinating with the New York City Police Department. The investigation into the incident is being led by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a law enforcement group formed in 1980 that includes members of the NYPD and the FBI. The attack came just weeks after an ISIS-influenced immigrant from Uzbekistan drove a rented truck down a Manhattan bike lane killing eight others and injuring 12 more.

Terrorist Attacks in the U.S. After 9/11

Here’s a look at Islamist-related deadly assaults across the country since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as compiled by the CATO Institute.


2000
2010
2020
July 4, 2002

An Egyptian man opens fire at the El Al Israel Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport, killing two people before he was shot dead by an airline guard. PHOTO: KRISTA NILES/ASSOCIATED PRESS

A gunman kills one woman and wounds five others at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.PHOTO: KEVIN P. CASEY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

A U.S.-born self-described jihad warrior shoots two soldiers, one fatally, outside an Army recruiting station in Arkansas.

Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opens fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others.PHOTO: DONNA MCWILLIAM/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Two crude bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 175. Bomber, and older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is killed in a shootout with police; younger brother Dzhokhar is later captured alive.PHOTO: THE BOSTON GLOBE/GETTY IMAGES

College student Brendan Tevlin is shot eight times while waiting at a traffic light in New Jersey. Authorities find links to three earlier killings in Seattle—of 30-year-old Leroy Henderson, shot 10 times and left to die on a road on April 27, and Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young, killed outside a gay club on June 1—and charge Ali Muhammad Brown with all four.
John Bailey Clarke of North Carolina, 74 years old, is shot three times by a teenage neighbor who had converted online to Islam three months earlier and would plead guilty both to state murder charges and to federal charges of planning a terrorist act.
A 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born man opens fire at two military facilities in Tennessee, killing four Marines and a sailor and injuring three other people before dying from a gunshot wound.

Pakistani immigrant Tashfeen Malik, who had just pledged allegiance to the leader of Islamic State, and her American-born husband open fire on an office party in San Bernardino, Calif., killing 14 people and wounding 21. PHOTO: DAVID BAUMAN/PRESS-ENTERPRISE/ZUMA PRESS

Omar Mateen kills 49 people and wounds 53 more at Orlando gay nightclub Pulse before police fatally shoot him after an hourslong standoff.PHOTO: PHELEN M. EBENHACK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Denver transit guard is shot and killed; the man charged with the murder tells the Associated Press he had pledged his allegiance to Islamic State.

Eight people are killed and at least a dozen injured when a truck mows down pedestrians and cyclists on a lower Manhattan bike path.PHOTO: ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

A Bangladeshi man tried to set off an explosive device he was wearing near New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal and Times Square. Three civilians in proximity of the explosion were injured.PHOTO: BRYAN R. SMITH/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Source: CATO Institute

Mr. Ullah has been living in the U.S. for seven years and had worked as a driver for a car service, officials said. He has been residing in a two-story colonial home on a tree-lined block in Old Mill Basin, Brooklyn, a multiethnic neighborhood. His block was cordoned off Monday morning as groups of New York Police Department officers milled outside the home.

Alan Butrico, who owns the house next door to Mr. Ullah’s home, described the suspect as “unfriendly.” Mr. Butrico, who also owns a hardware store on the corner of the block, said Mr. Ullah never said hello and “would have an attitude” if he was asked to move his car because it was blocking the neighboring driveway.

Mr. Butrico’s cousin, Ross Faillace, who runs a part-time car detailing shop in the back of Mr. Butrico’s property, said of Mr. Ullah: “He was always on edge.”

Both men said that Mr. Ullah was usually clean cut and wore regular clothes, but that lately Mr. Ullah had grown a beard.

Kisslya Joseph of Grenada has been staying with her brother who lives next door to Mr. Ullah. “This has shaken me up and my family because it’s like you never know who your neighbor is,” Ms. Joseph said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/explosion-reported-at-new-yorks-port-authority-1512997695

New York City explosion: Live updates

What you should know

  • What happened: A man wearing a homemade device set it off at Port Authority bus terminal near Times Square.
  • The suspect: Police named 27-year-old Akayed Ullah. He is of Bangladeshi descent and lives in Brooklyn.
  • Injuries: Four people, including the suspect, were injured. None of those injuries are life-threatening, according to FDNY.

Suspect pledged allegiance to ISIS

From CNN’s Brynn Gingras

While talking with authorities, Port Authority bus terminal explosion suspect Akayed Ullah pledged allegiance to ISIS, according to one law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation. Authorities now have to investigate that claim.

Ullah most recently did electrical work close to Port Authority along with his brother. That brother lives in the same apartment building as Ullah, according to law enforcement.

As part of the normal course of an investigation, authorities want to speak with the brother and other family members.

Another law enforcement source tells CNN that screws were found at the scene.

December 11, 2017 2:54pm EST

The Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC condemned today’s terror attack in New York City.

Suspect Akayed Ullah, 27, is a lawful permanent resident from Bangladesh, who arrived in the US in 2011.

Here’s the embassy’s statement:

“Government of Bangladesh is committed to its declared policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ against terrorism, and condemns terrorism and violent extremism in all forms or manifestations anywhere in the world, including Monday morning’s incident in New York City.”

A terrorist is a terrorist irrespective of his or her ethnicity or religion, and must be brought to justice.

Homeland Security: “We urge the public to remain vigilant”

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, in the job for less than a week, is in touch with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and local officials about this morning’s attack, the department said in a statement.

“The Department of Homeland Security is taking appropriate action to protect our people and our country in the wake of today’s attempted terrorist attack in New York City,” the statement read.

“We will continue to assist New York authorities with the response and investigation and we urge the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.”

 

Story 2: Fabricated Trump Dossier Was Opposition Research/Russian Disinformation — Democratic Party and Obama Administration Used Fabricated Trump Dossier To Justify Spying on Americans and Opposition Republican Party Using Intelligence Community — Conspiracy Not Collusion — Federal Crimes — A New Special Counsel Should Investigate Together With DOJ and FBI Investigations of Clinton Charitable Foundation, Email Server and Mishandling of Classified Documents — Videos —

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Demoted top DoJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS of dossier fame

Jay Sekulow calls for a second special counsel

Jordan: We need to depose Peter Strzok, talk to Bruce Ohr

Congressman Jim Jordan Sends CNN Anchor Packing During a Heated Conversation

Robert Mueller Finally CONFESSES to What He Did To The FBI and Why He Did It

Rep. Jim Jordan To Jeff Sessions: Appoint New Special Counsel Or Step Down

Proof: The Deep State & Bruce Ohr Orchestrated The Dossier! Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

BUSTED: DOJ & FBI Had Long Relationship With Dossier Authors! Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

Should Hillary Be Worried About Uranium One? Yes!

Clinton Probe Given ‘Special’ Status By FBI – Uranium One – Ingraham Angle

New Revelations By FBI Informant Fueling Questions Over Uranium One – Russia Wants Total Control

“The Clinton Collapse” Tucker Bids EPIC Farewell to the Clinton Dynasty

Why Russia Wants to Control the World’s Uranium Supply

Russia-Uranium One deal: Is it a real scandal?

Peter Schweizer on the significance of the Uranium One deal

Gorka: Uranium One scandal is absolutely massive

Trump Actually Telling The Truth About Clinton-Russia Uranium Scandal?

Ben Shapiro – What Exactly Happened With Uranium One

Comey hid the uranium deal from Congress: Gregg Jarrett

Clinton Was Bribed TWICE In Uranium Deal! !Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

Mueller’s Russiagate Prosecution Is Imploding Before His Eyes While DOJ and FBI Scandals Metastasize

Judge Napolitano EXPOSES something HUGE on Hillary Clinton investigations

Hannity Connects ALL the Dots in Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation

Judge Napolitano: Enough evidence to prosecute Clinton for espionage

Special counsel needed to probe DOJ-Fusion GPS?

Rep. Jim Jordan reacts to FBI Director Wray hearing

Gaetz Demands FBI Director Explain “Special” Treatment of Clinton During Investigation – 12/7/17

Jim Jordan: Robert Mueller ‘Inherently Compromised’

New allegations of bias dog Mueller Russia probe

Gingrich: Investigators need to be questioned under oath

Gingrich: Appalling level of FBI corruption coming to light

Judicial Watch Dir says no chance FBI will root out corruption in their ranks

Trey Gowdy Unleashes His Anger On New FBI Director

FBI director defends agency amid allegations of political bias

Trump legal team calls for new special counsel

Anatomy of the FBI’s alleged Clinton cover-up

Trey Gowdy Confronts Loretta Lynch! “Did You Send Classified Info on A Personal Email Like Hillary?”

Napolitano: ‘Lynch Should be Under a Criminal Investigation’

Judge Napolitano on AG Lynch’s secret NSA deal

Napolitano on bias at the FBI, obstruction of justice debate

FBI agent operated as a Clinton mole: Michelle Malkin

Robert Ray on FBI agent removed from Mueller investigation over texts

Why weren’t Hillary Clinton staffers investigated for lying to FBI?

Rep. Jordan presses Jeff Sessions to appoint special counsel

WOW: Trey Gowdy to AG Jeff Sessions: Its NOT Appropriate for Trump to speaks on a Open Investigation

Watch What Trey Gowdy Has To Say On Jeff Sessions Hearing Today 11/14/2017

BREAKING: FBI Official Unloads On Hillary Clinton This Is Devastating(VIDEO)!!!

The FBI Just Blew The Hillary Clinton Case Wide Open She Could Literally Be Going to Jail!!

Trey Gowdy Votes To Appoint A Second Special Counsel To Investigate James Comey And Hillary Clinton

Russian Uranium Bribery Scandal Reaches Bill Clinton! Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

Uranium One

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Uranium One Inc.
Industry Mining
Founded 2005
Headquarters Toronto, OntarioCanada
Key people
Chris Sattler (CEO)
Vadim Zhivov (President)
Products Uranium
Gold
Number of employees
2,220[1]
Parent Rosatom
Website www.uranium1.com

Uranium One is a Canadian uranium mining company with headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. It has operations in AustraliaCanadaKazakhstanSouth Africa and the United States. In January 2013 Rosatom, the Russian state-owned uranium monopoly, through its subsidiary ARMZ Uranium Holding, purchased the company at a value of $1.3 billion.[2] The purchase of the company by Russian interests is, as of October 2017, under investigation by the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

History

On July 5, 2005, Southern Cross Resources Inc. and Aflease Gold and Uranium Resources Ltd announced that they would be merging under the name SXR Uranium One Inc.[3]

In 2007 Uranium One acquired a controlling interest in UrAsia Energy,[4] a Canadian firm with headquarters in Vancouver from Frank Giustra.[5] UrAsia has interests in rich uranium operations in Kazakhstan,[6] and UrAsia Energy’s acquisition of its Kazakhstan uranium interests from Kazatomprom followed a trip to Almaty in 2005 by Giustra and former U.S. President Bill Clinton where they met with Nursultan Nazarbayev, the leader of Kazakhstan. Substantial contributions to the Clinton Foundation by Giustra followed,[5][7] with Clinton, Giustra, and Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim in 2007 establishing the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative to combat poverty in the developing world.[8] In addition to his initial contribution of $100 million Giustra pledged to contribute half of his future earnings from mining to the initiative.[8]

In June 2009, the Russian uranium mining company ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. (ARMZ), a part of Rosatom, acquired 16.6% of shares in Uranium One in exchange for a 50% interest in the Karatau uranium mining project, a joint venture with Kazatomprom.[9] In June 2010, Uranium One acquired 50% and 49% respective interests in southern Kazakhstan-based Akbastau and Zarechnoye uranium mines from ARMZ. In exchange, ARMZ increased its stake in Uranium One to 51%. The acquisition resulted in a 60% annual production increase at Uranium One, from approximately 10 million to 16 million lb.[10][11] The deal was subject to anti-trust and other conditions and was not finalized until the companies received Kazakh regulatory approvals, approval under Canadian investment law, clearance by the US Committee on Foreign Investments, and approvals from both the Toronto and Johannesburg stock exchanges. The deal was finalized by the end of 2010.[11] Uranium One’s extraction rights in the U.S. amounted to 0.2% of the world’s uranium production.[12]Uranium One paid its minority shareholders a dividend of 1.06 US Dollars per share at the end of 2010.[citation needed]

ARMZ took complete control of Uranium One in January 2013 by buying all shares it did not already own.[2] In October 2013, Uranium One Inc. became a private company and a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Rosatom.[3][13] From 2012 to 2014, an unspecified amount of Uranium was reportedly exported to Canada via a Kentucky-based trucking firm with an existing export license; most of the processed uranium was returned to the U.S., with approximately 25% going to Western Europe and Japan.[14][15]

Congressional investigation

Since uranium is considered a strategic asset with national security implications, the acquisition of Uranium One by Rosatom was reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a committee of nine government agencies including the United States Department of State, which was then headed by Hillary Clinton.[16][17][18] The voting members of the committee can object to such a foreign transaction, but the final decision then rests with the president.[19]

In April 2015, The New York Times wrote that, during the acquisition, the family foundation of Uranium One’s chairman made $2.35 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation. The donations were legal but not publicly disclosed by the Clinton Foundation, despite an agreement with the White House to disclose all contributors.[20] In addition, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin and which was promoting Uranium One stock paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech in Moscow shortly after the acquisition was announced.[17][18] Several members of Clinton’s State Department staff and officials from the Obama-era Department of Justice have said that CFIUS reviews are handled by civil servants and that it would be unlikely that Clinton would have had more than nominal involvement in her department’s signing off on the acquisition.[21] According to Snopes, the timing of donations might have been questionable if Hillary Clinton had played a key role in approving the deal, but all evidence suggests that she did not and may in fact have had no role in approving the deal at all.[22]

In October 2017, following a report by John F. Solomon and Alison Spann published in The Hill and citing anonymous sources,[23][24] the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the sale of Uranium One.[21]

FactCheck.org reported that there was “no evidence” connecting the Uranium One–Rosatom merger deal with a money laundering and bribery case involving a different Rosatom subsidiary which resulted in the conviction of a Russian individual in 2015, contrary to what is implied in the Solomon-Spann story.[20][25] Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post wrote that the problem with some of the accusations that Republican commentators levied against Clinton is that she “by all accounts, did not participate in any discussions regarding the Uranium One sale.”[26]

In October 2017, President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to lift a “gag order” it had placed on a former FBI informant involved the investigation. The DOJ released the informant from his nondisclosure agreement on October 25, 2017,[27][28][29]authorizing him to provide the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Oversight Committee, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence “any information or documents he has concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market” involving Rosatom, its subsidiaries Tenex and Uranium One, and the Clinton Foundation.[30]

During a C-SPAN interview, Hillary Clinton said that any allegations that she was bribed to approve the Uranium One deal were “baloney”.[31]

See also

References

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

 

Journalism for rent’: Inside the secretive firm behind the Trump dossier

 December 11 at 12:50 PM
8:20
Fusion GPS founder explains why he started the research firm

Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS, spoke at the 2016 Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium, an event conducted by 100Reporters.

Fusion GPS bills itself as a corporate research firm, but in many ways it operates with the secrecy of a spy agency. No sign marks its headquarters above a coffee shop in Northwest Washington. Its website consists of two sentences and an email address. Its client list is closely held.

The small firm has been under intense public scrutiny for producing the 35-page document known as the Trump dossier. Senior executives summoned to testify before Congress in October invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the firm is resisting a congressional subpoena for bank records that would reveal who has paid for its services.

But hundreds of internal company documents obtained by The Washington Post reveal how Fusion, a firm led by former journalists, has used investigative reporting techniques and media connections to advance the interests of an eclectic range of clients on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley and in the nation’s capital. The firm has played an unseen role in stories that dominated headlines in recent years.

In the years before it produced the dossier, records show, Fusion worked to blunt aggressive reporting on the medical-device company Theranos, which was later found to have problems with its novel blood-testing technology. It was also hired to ward off scrutiny of the nutritional supplement company Herbalife, which ultimately paid $200 million to distributors to settle claims by regulators.

In another case, the firm sought to expose what it called “slimy dealings” by a competitor of a San Francisco museum proposed by filmmaker and “Star Wars” director George Lucas. And it dug up information about domestic disputes involving a former mayor of Beverly Hills, Calif., as part of an investigation into a proposed real estate development that the mayor supported.

Fusion’s other past research targets, documents show, included tech giants Google and Amazon; 2012 presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama; and Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Bob Corker of Tennessee. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Fusion assigned code names to the projects — many of them after cities in Texas and Maine — and avoided identifying its clients in internal documents, making it difficult to determine who was paying for the research. The firm also minimized its public footprints by paying outside contractors to collect public records from courthouses, police stations and federal agencies.

The Post’s review provides a glimpse at the tactics that have fueled Fusion’s rise in the growing and secretive industry of opposition research and corporate intelligence. The review represents the most comprehensive look at the firm’s work at a time when it is being examined by those who seek to gauge the veracity of the dossier, and it reveals methods that have drawn criticism from the targets of the company’s research, including President Trump.

Fusion’s work on the dossier went beyond ordinary opposition research, the kind that might explore a candidate’s past legislative history or embarrassing gaffes — known in the industry as “votes and quotes.” Instead, it paid a former British spy to compile intelligence from unnamed Russian sources.

Only a handful of internal documents obtained by The Post relate to the examination of Trump during the 2016 election, a project that was code-named “Bangor” and was financed in part by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Fusion declined to comment on specific cases or identify clients, but said in a statement that it is “proud of our methodology and the rigor of our research, amply demonstrated by the records cited by The Washington Post. They show what we’ve always stated: Our secret sauce is diligent and exhaustive analysis of public information.”

It continued: “The reason we are so effective is that we unearth facts that stand up to scrutiny — presumably why we are still talking about our work detailing the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia more than a year later.”

Exposing ‘slimy dealings’

Fusion founder Glenn Simpson, an accomplished former investigative reporter with expertise digging into financial crimes and corruption in Russia and elsewhere, left the Wall Street Journal in 2009 to start a research firm with Susan Schmidt, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner from The Post. Without Schmidt, Simpson created Fusion GPS the following year, teaming up with former Wall Street Journal editor Peter Fritsch and a former Treasury official.

“I call it journalism for rent,” Simpson, 53, said in August of last year at the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium in the District, where he described Fusion’s work on a panel titled, “Investigations With an Agenda.”

Fusion has about 10 employees, he said. It has worked on a broad array of cases, including matters related to marijuana dispensaries, health-care workers, a state insurance official and even a Florida homeowner’s association, internal documents show.

Fusion has also quietly advocated causes and pet projects dear to wealthy and famous clients.

In April 2014, Lucas wanted to build a cultural arts museum on federal land at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, a site known as the Presidio. The museum was one of three proposals under consideration by a federal agency called the Presidio Trust.

A Fusion client — who is not identified in the documents obtained by The Post — suspected the agency was trying to block the Lucas museum, records show.

“We want to understand where this resistance is coming from and why,” Fritsch wrote in an email to his Fusion colleagues. Fritsch added that the “client would like to expose the slimy dealings” of a nonprofit competing with Lucas for the right to build on the land. The investigation was code named “Tyler.”

Ron Conway, one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific start-up investors and an outspoken supporter of the Lucas museum, was copied on subsequent emails about the cost of the research. “I don’t have any comment,” Conway said by phone when asked if he had hired Fusion.

Over the next nine months, a contractor hired by Fusion blanketed the Presidio Trust and another federal agency with dozens of requests for a range of documents related to board members and a consultant who were judging the proposals — expense reports, ethics forms, employment contracts and other records.

In February 2015, with Fusion still waiting for the documents, Conway sent an email to Fritsch with a link to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle. It was about a petition, signed by celebrities such as Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and hip-hop artist MC Hammer, calling on the Presidio Trust to release some of the same records Fusion had requested.

“WE ARE OFF AND RUNNING !!” Conway wrote. Fritsch forwarded the email to other Fusion executives and said, “GLORIOUS!!!”

It’s not clear whether the effort had the desired effect. The Presidio Trust ultimately rejected all three proposals. A spokeswoman for Lucas told The Post in a statement that Lucas was “unaware of any research undertaken by Fusion GPS.” A Presidio Trust spokesman did not respond to messages from The Post seeking comment.

Fusion has at times used hardball tactics, the documents show.

Last year, Fusion’s sleuths targeted a controversial proposal for a $1.2 billion hotel and condo project in Beverly Hills, in the heart of one of the nation’s wealthiest areas, records show. The investigation was code named “Gray.”

Fusion’s client is not identified in the records reviewed by The Post, but the documents show that Fusion investigated the activities of the Chinese developer behind the project, Wanda Group, there and in other U.S. cities.

As part of its research, Fusion took aim at a vocal supporter of the Beverly Hills project, then-mayor John Mirisch, records show. Fusion sought police reports from the city related to domestic disputes involving the mayor and his ex-wife that had occurred between 2008 and 2010, records show.

Former Beverly Hills mayor John Mirisch at City Hall in August 2016. (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

When city police balked at releasing some of the police reports, a Fusion contractor sued the city. Neither the public-records requests nor the legal complaint mentions Fusion. The suit was filed by former journalist Russell Carollo, who is described in court records as a public records consultant.

Fusion executive Jason Felch, a former investigative reporter with the Los Angeles Times, emailed Carollo on July 21, 2016, with a statement he could give reporters inquiring about the lawsuit. The statement suggested that the mayor might be supporting the Wanda Group project because he owed a favor to a retired police chief who worked for a firm that was lobbying the city on behalf of the hotel, records show. The statement also argued that the public had a right to see the records involving the mayor.

Two weeks later, Carollo was quoted in the local newspaper, the Beverly Hills Courier, under a story headlined: “Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist Petitions Court For Public Information On Mayor’s Domestic Disputes With Ex-Wife.”

In an interview, Mirisch said he had no idea that Fusion was behind the renewed scrutiny of the years-old domestic disputes. “It was dirty politics and misinformation,” said Mirisch, now a city council member.

Carollo said in an interview that he worked for Fusion and was asked by the firm to file the lawsuit. In a statement, Fusion wrote: “Our policy prohibits any employees or contractors from misrepresenting themselves as journalists or anything else.”

A spokesman for the Beverly Hills hotel project, which remains in planning stages, declined to comment. The retired police chief, Dave Snowden, said in an interview, “Hearing this, that the mayor owed me a favor, is absurd on its face.”

Behind-the-scenes player

Fusion insists that the firm does not engage in public relations work or advertise its media connections to prospective clients. But Fusion executives have interceded with former colleagues in media when their clients came under scrutiny, records and interviews show.

In mid-2015, Fusion was conducting research on two competitors of Theranos, a Silicon Valley start-up that had created buzz in the health-technology industry. Around the same time, the Wall Street Journal was pursuing its own Theranos reporting, which ultimately raised doubts about the accuracy of the company’s revolutionary lab-testing technology. Fusion, working on behalf of Theranos, tried to influence the Journal’s early reporting, according to records and interviews.

Fusion called the case “Ferris.”

A few weeks after Journal reporter John Carreyrou approached Theranos about his investigation into the company, Fritsch contacted him to create a back channel, according to documents and a person familiar with the Journal’s reporting who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Fritsch advised the reporter that his approach with Theranos up to that point had been too blunt and aggressive, and he encouraged him to soften it, the person said. Fritsch also accompanied a Theranos delegation that went to the Journal’s newsroom in June 2015 to discuss the story with Carreyrou and his editor. The delegation, made up mostly of lawyers, was headed by prominent attorney David Boies.

Over the ensuing years, Theranos — once valued at $9 billion — faced regulatory actions, including in 2016 losing its certificate to operate a blood-testing lab in California and its eligibility to receive Medicare and Medicaid payments. The company reached a settlement in April with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, agreeing not to operate a lab for two years in exchange for the restoration of its certificate.

“The Wall Street Journal published its award-winning series on Theranos despite legal threats and strenuous objections from the company and its representatives,” a spokeswoman for the paper said in a statement.

A representative of Boies’s law firm, Boies Schiller and Flexner, referred comment to Theranos. A Theranos representative declined to comment.

Fusion was also a behind-the-scenes player in a Wall Street battle between billionaire investor William Ackman and the supplement company Herbalife, records show.

Ackman had a huge financial stake in Herbalife’s fate. He had taken a short position in the company — meaning if the company failed, his investment would pay off big. Ackman held news conferences calling for regulatory and criminal investigations into Herbalife, alleging that the company’s network of distributors was effectively a pyramid scheme.

Herbalife had Fusion working on its side in a project that carried the code name “Rice,” documents show. Fusion launched investigations into Ackman and his hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, according to emails and internal documents.

Herbalife’s attorney and outside publicist are copied on some emails that discussed strategy for uncovering public records that would expose whether Ackman was paying nonprofit groups to criticize Herbalife. Fusion’s contractors were looking for information that would spark government investigations into Ackman, documents show.

In June 2014, Richard Hynes, a contractor for Fusion, noted that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Attorney General’s Office had previously conducted investigations that touched on Ackman, emails show.

“Nothing seems to have come from them,” he wrote. “I wonder what the SEC and NY AG DIDN’T have to make their cases. What else could we provide them this time to effect a different outcome,” he asked. Simpson soon instructed a Fusion contractor to request the SEC’s case file on closed investigations into Ackman or his firm, Pershing Square, documents show.

It was Herbalife that fell under investigation. In 2016, it agreed to a $200 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it deceived buyers and sellers of its products. Herbalife did not respond to a request for comment, and Hynes did not respond to messages.

A ‘no-stones-unturned’ approach

As Fusion has been thrust into the spotlight because of the Trump dossier, it has been forced to reveal details of its operations in court proceedings.

Over objections from Democrats, the Republican leader of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), subpoenaed Fusion’s bank records to try to identify the then-mystery client who paid for the dossier. In October, Fusion executives invoked their constitutional right not to answer questions from the committee.

Fusion founder Glenn Simpson, left, arrives for an appearance before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington on Nov. 14. (Associated Press)

Simpson had previously sat for a 10-hour closed-door interview with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is also looking into allegations of foreign influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He has also testified before the House committee behind closed doors.

For its investigation into Trump, Fusion was initially hired in the fall of 2015 by the conservative Washington Free Beacon website. The publication is backed by billionaire GOP donor Paul Singer, who was then supporting Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) in the GOP primary.

The Post revealed in October that Fusion was paid, via a law firm, by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee for its work on the dossier.

After Trump won the primary, Fusion approached Marc Elias, a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie who represented the Democratic Party during the 2016 election. Perkins Coie decided the party needed to go deeper than traditional, issue-oriented opposition research groups — a “no-stones-unturned approach,” according to a person familiar with the arrangement who was not authorized to speak publicly.

A spokeswoman for Perkins Coie said Trump “was unvetted by the political process — a businessman with significant real estate holdings both in the United States and around the globe, a history of litigation, financial problems and bankruptcies, and of a decidedly litigious nature,” adding that “the challenge of reviewing public-record information alone on his candidacy necessitated additional research.”

Simpson and Fritsch had worked on stories involving money laundering and Russian government officials while based in Brussels for the Journal. They knew how to pull documents around the world — a skill that had earned them work from top law firms.

“I’ve known Glenn for a long time,” said John W. Moscow, a former prosecutor and now a lawyer with the firm BakerHostetler, which hired Fusion to assist in defending the Russian company Prevezon in a civil money-laundering case. “When we need information from various parts of the world, he can go get it. We hire him on a per-case basis because he’s good.”

Earlier this year, Prevezon settled the suit, brought by the Justice Department, for $5.9 million without admitting guilt.

For its work on the dossier, Fusion hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who had worked extensively in Russia. In a statement, Fusion said Perkins Coie paid it $1.02 million for work in 2016, and it said Fusion paid Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, $168,000.

The dossier alleged that the Russian government had collected compromising information on Trump and that the Kremlin was trying to assist his campaign. Officials have said that the FBI has confirmed some of the information in the dossier but the most sensational details have not been verified and may never be.

As the dossier circulated among Washington journalists late last year, senior U.S. officials viewed the matter as serious enough to brief then-President-elect Donald Trump on its existence. And when BuzzFeed published the document online in early January, the dossier — particularly its more salacious claims — gripped the nation.

In recent weeks, Trump and congressional Republicans have seized on the Clinton campaign’s role in the dossier to try to discredit suggestions that his campaign colluded with Russia.

At the August conference last year, Simpson said his firm upholds strict standards developed in his years as a journalist.

“You can’t just say what you know. You have to say how you know it. And you have to be able to prove it,” he said. “That imposes a sort of discipline to the investigative process that people in other fields don’t really absorb.”

He was candid about the money involved. Explaining why he left journalism, he joked: “We don’t use the word ‘sold out.’ We use the word ‘cashed in.’ ”

Matt Zapotosky and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/journalism-for-rent-inside-the-secretive-firm-behind-the-trump-dossier/2017/12/11/8d5428d4-bd89-11e7-af84-d3e2ee4b2af1_story.html?utm_term=.dcc6a59b2320

Story 3: People of Alabama Will Elect Roy Moore on Tuesday To Fill Senate Seat Vacated By Now Attorney General Jeff Sessions — Moore Is Right On The Issues — Videos

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Roy Moore, Doug Jones and the issues: A voter’s guide to the Alabama Senate election

Things seem to be going Roy Moore’s way. President Trump endorsed him. The Republican National Committee is back to supporting him. And Moore, who has been accused of sexual contact with women when they were underaged, has led by an average of 3 percentage points in polls taken within 21 days of the Dec. 12 […] Wochit

Alabama voters will go to the polls Tuesday for the third time in four months to decide who will be the state’s junior U.S. senator.

Where the primaries — and later the GOP runoff — featured candidates who largely agreed on policy, there are notable contrasts between Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones and Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore.

The two candidates have sharply different views on health care, the environment, and social issues. Those differences has been overshadowed as Moore has dealt with accusations — most stemming from his time as a prosecutor in Etowah County in the late 1970s and early 1980s — that he pursued relationships with teenaged girls, and engaged in conduct ranging from unwanted attention to assault.  Moore denies the allegations.

The candidates have tried — to varying degrees — to discuss other issues as well. Moore in his public appearances has gone back to the religiously conservative, anti-LGBT message that has defined his political career.

“The transgenders don’t have rights,” Moore said at a news conference in Montgomery Nov. 8, which was as of Friday his last public appearance in the county before the election. “They’ve never been denominated as having rights by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Jones, meanwhile, has emphasized jobs and health care, in particular his support of Medicaid, Medicare and renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In recent days, Jones has amped up his attacks on Moore over the accusations.

“I believe women are every bit as capable as men, that they deserve to be elected to public office, and I damn sure believe and have done my part to ensure that men who hurt little girls should go to jail, not to the U.S. Senate,” Jones said in remarks in Birmingham on Tuesday.

Whatever else can be said about Tuesday election, it is certain that the candidates present contrasting visions for the state of Alabama.

The candidates

Doug Jones

Age: 63

Residence: Birmingham

Party: Democratic

Family: Married; three children, two grandchildren

Profession: Attorney

Education: B.A., University of Alabama, 1975; J.D., Cumberland School of Law, 1979

Offices held/offices sought: U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, 1997-2001

ProfileThe fights of his life: Doug Jones’ journey from Fairfield to the U.S. Senate race

Finances: Despite a slow start over the summertime, Jones has pulled in more than $10 million since the start of October.

Themes: Jones has pitched a mainstream Democratic platform with an emphasis on job creation and access to health care. He has also discussed his time as U.S. attorney, in particular his prosecution of two men responsible for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963.

Roy Moore

Age: 70

Residence: Gallant

Party: Republican

Profession: Attorney

Family: Married; four children; five grandchildren

Offices held/Offices sought: Alabama chief justice, 2013-2016 and 2001-03; Republican candidate for governor, 2010 and 2006; Etowah County circuit judge, 1992-2001; Democratic candidate for Etowah County district attorney, 1986; Democratic candidate for Etowah County circuit judge, 1982.

ProfileLife in wartime: Roy Moore fights battles – and often goes looking for them

Education: B.S., United States Military Academy, 1969; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law, 1977

Finances: Moore historically lags opponents in fundraising (even in races he’s won), and the Senate race has followed that pattern. While Moore started the general election campaign ahead of Jones overall in fundraising, he raised just $1.7 million between October and the end of November.

Themes: Although Moore has tied himself with President Donald Trump and spent time denouncing his accusers, his Senate campaign is otherwise much like previous campaigns he’s waged in the past 17 years, with strong appeals to religious conservativism and denunciations of abortion and LGBT rights.

Issues

Health care

Jones: Says health care is a right and supports the Affordable Care Act — which covered 178,000 Alabamians last winter — but says he wants to “bring both sides together” in Washington to address issues like premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Has called for renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers about 150,000 children in Alabama. Says he will support Medicare and Medicaid, which combined cover nearly 2 million Alabamians, in their current forms. Has been open to a public option for Medicare.

Moore: Has called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the sale of health insurance policies across state lines and tax credits to businesses for employee health care coverage, while broadly calling for government to get out of health care. Has not committed to renewal of the CHIP program.

Economy and taxes

Jones: Says he supports simplification of business and corporate taxes to create jobs, but says the tax bill before Congress “can’t be a giveaway to the richest Americans paid for by working families.” Supports a “living wage” for workers, streamlining regulations and extending the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure equal pay for men and women.

Moore: Says he “supports any kind of tax cut” and would replace the current progressive income tax system — where the wealthy pay a higher share of their income in taxes — with a 15 percent flat tax or a 23 percent national sales tax, offset in part by monthly stipends. Calls for cuts to the budget deficit.

Immigration

Jones: Says he supports border security and “maintaining the integrity of our borders against all threats” with “the most advanced technology possible.”  Has supported efforts to find status for those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, also known as Dreamers, who were brought to the United States by their parents when they were children.

Moore: Says he would support a border wall if needed to address undocumented immigration, but has also called for the deployment of the U.S. military to the Mexican border. Has called DACA a “permanent evil” created by former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Trade

Jones: Says trade agreements should create jobs in Alabama and prevent barriers for Alabama companies for selling their goods, such as high tariffs.

Moore: Has expressed support for renegotiating the North American Free Trade and Central American Free Trade agreements (NAFTA and CAFTA) and says he supports some tariffs to address “unbalanced” trade.

Abortion

Jones: Supports abortion rights and current laws governing abortion. The Moore campaign has accused Jones of supporting “late-term abortion;” Jones has said he only supports abortion after 20 weeks in cases of medical emergency. Says the way to reduce unwanted pregnancies is “education and access to health care and contraception.”

Moore: Supports abortion restrictions and has called himself “the exact opposite” of Jones on the issue. The campaign did not respond to questions as to whether Moore supports exceptions to an abortion ban, such as rape, incest or the life of the mother.

LGBT rights

Jones: Supports same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

Moore: Strongly opposes same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, and in a 2002 judicial opinion called homosexuality “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature and a violation of the law of Nature.”

Guns

Jones: Has called himself “a Second Amendment guy” and highlighted his love of hunting. Says gun laws as they stand should be enforced, but supports efforts to improve background checks, both to allow law-abiding citizens to obtain firearms and prevent criminals from getting them.

Moore: Says he believes in the Second Amendment and pulled out a gun at a rally before the Sept. 26 GOP runoff. In a summer Facebook posting, Moore said he would ensure gun rights “are never, ever infringed upon.”

Environment & energy

Jones: Says he “believes in science and that climate change is occurring.” Supports investments in renewable energy and conservation, particularly for their economic impact and says those working in the coal industry need a “safety net” of job retraining and health care benefits.

Moore: Has declined to answer questions about climate change. Website suggests an energy policy consisting of coal and oil drilling, along with “development” of nuclear, solar and wind energy.

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/politics/southunionstreet/2017/12/10/roy-moore-doug-jones-and-issues-voters-guide-alabama-senate-election/934965001/

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The Pronk Pops Show 1001, November 14, 20017, Story 1: He Is Back — Let The Screaming Begin — Videos — Story 2: Trial Balloon of Having Sessions Return To The Senate By Write In Campaign Shot Down By Attorney General Jeff Sessions — Political Elitist Establishment Trying To Overturn Alabama Voters —  Videos — Story 3: Attorney General Sessions Grilled By House Including Whether There Will Special Counsel For Hillary Clinton Alleged Crimes — Vidoes — Story 4: Sexual Harassment in The Senate and House — Time To Expose the Exposers — Out Them By Naming Them — Publish The Creep List — Videos

Posted on November 15, 2017. Filed under: Assault, Blogroll, Breaking News, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, House of Representatives, Sexual Harrasment, United States of America | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for president trump back from asia trip at andrews air base air force one november 13, 2017Image result for i am mad as hellImage result for attorney general jeff sessions november 14, 2017Image result for congressional CREEP listThis combination photo shows, top row from left, film producer Harvey Weinstein, former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price, director James Toback, New Orleans chef John Besh, middle row from left, fashion photographer Terry Richardson, New Republic contributing editor Leon Wiseltier, former NBC News political commentator Mark Halperin, former Defy Media executive Andy Signore, and bottom row from left, filmmaker Brett Ratner, actor Kevin Spacey, actor Jeremy Piven and actor Dustin Hoffman. In the weeks since the string of allegations against Weinstein first began, an ongoing domino effect has tumbled through not just Hollywood but at least a dozen other industries. (AP Photos/File) ORG XMIT: NYET888

Allegations against Harvey Weinstein set off tremors in Hollywood and other industries. Top: Weinstein, former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price, director James Toback, New Orleans chef John Besh; middle, from left: fashion photographer Terry Richardson, New Republic contributing editor Leon Wiseltier, former NBC News political commentator Mark Halperin, former Defy Media executive Andy Signore; bottom, from left: filmmaker Brett Ratner and actors Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Piven and Dustin Hoffman.

Story 1: He Is Back — Let The Screaming Begin — Videos —

i’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore! Speech from Network

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

President Trump Arrives Back in Washington at The White House After 2 Weeks in NJ

Liberals scream at sky on anniversary of Hillary’s loss

Story 2: Trial Balloon of Having Sessions Return To The Senate By Write In Campaign Shot Down By Attorney General Jeff Sessions — Political Elitist Establishment Trying To Overturn Alabama Voters —  Videos

Source: Sessions has ‘no interest’ in returning to Senate

Story 3: Attorney General Sessions Grilled By House Including Whether There Will Special Counsel For Hillary Clinton Alleged Crimes — Vidoes

Sean Hannity LIVE 24/7- Fox News Live Today November 14, 2017

“How do you restore trust in the DOJ?” Trey Gowdy GRILLS Attorney General Jeff Sessions

#HillaryClinton Is Public Enemy Number One: Compromised, Putrid and Devoid of Character or Morality

Incompetent Dolt Jeff Sessions Is Donald Trump’s Biggest Most Colossal Mistake Bar None

“Hillary is a HONEST person??” Tomi Lahren DESTROY Hillary Clinton supporter

“Hillary is Cancer” Donna Brazile DESTROY Whoopi Goldberg

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Does The Right Thing And Pushes Back | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Jeff Sessions just threw a wet blanket on President Trump’s Russia dossier conspiracy theory

Trey Gowdy SLAMS Jeff Sessions With A Very TRICKY Question During Hearing

Sheila Jackson Lee GRILLS Jeff Sessions. Do You Believe These Young Women & Russia 11/14

Rep. Jordan presses Jeff Sessions to appoint special counsel

“We don’t need a Special counsel” Trey Gowdy SHOCKS everyone with latest interview

Attorney General Jeff Sessions DESTROYS LEFTIST Rep.Gutierrez on the CLINTON Investigation

Sessions needs to resign – He is incompetent – Jim Jordan made him look like a DEEP STATE HACK-

“YOU’RE LYING!!!” Jeff Sessions GETS DESTROYED on His Russia Lies & Trump’s Russia Ties

Trey Gowdy SLAMS Jeff Sessions With A Very TRICKY Question During Hearing

Watch live: Sessions testifies to the House Judiciary Committee

PBS NewsHour full episode November 14, 2017

 

You’re accusing me of lying about that?’: Sessions angrily denies committing PERJURY about Russia contacts, saying he gave ‘no response’ to one Trump aide who mentioned Moscow trip and ‘pushed back’ when another pitched Trump-Putin meeting

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he has always ‘told the truth’
  • He bristled when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries brought up his vote to impeach President Clinton over perjury 
  • He neglected to mention a March 2016 where Trump advisor George Papadopoulos pitched a Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin during Senate testimony
  • ‘That’s not fair!’ 
  • He says he would ‘gladly’ have revealed it since he opposed Papadopoulos’ proposals
  • He said every day of the Trump campaign involved ‘chaos’
  • ‘Sleep was in short supply’ 
  • Said he has ‘no clear recollection’ of what was said
  • Can’t recall how Donald Trump responded 
  • Sessions also got pressed on his agency’s research on a special counsel to look into Clinton Foundation
  • He wants federal prosecutors to ‘evaluate certain issues’ raised by Republicans    

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued an angry denial that he committed perjury when he denied having any Russia contacts after House Democrat brought up his vote to impeach Bill Clinton in part over lying to investigators.

Hours into his appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Sessions got asked about his vote to approve articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.

New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries grilled Sessions Tuesday about his meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. and his conversations that Sessions now acknowledges happened with two Trump campaign officials, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, who had Russia contacts.

‘Mr. Jeffries, nobody – nobody – not you or anyone else should be prosecuted – not me – or accused of perjury for answering the question the way I did in this hearing,’ Sessions said, referencing his earlier denials.

'I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended,' said Sessions

‘I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended,’ said Sessions

Scroll down for video 

‘I’ve always tried to answer the questions fairly and accurately. But to ask did you ever do something, you ever meet with Russians and deal with the campaign?’ Sessions said, starting a lengthy response after a series of interrogatory questions.

‘You’re saying Mr. Carter Page, who left that meeting according to the press reports and I guess his deposition or interview, has been reported as saying ‘I’m going to Russia.’ I made no response to it – didn’t acknowledge it. And you’re accusing me of lying about that? I say that’s not fair Mr. Jeffries,’ Sessions said.

'I don’t think it’s right to accuse me of doing something wrong,' said Sessions, after several Democrats pressed him on his changing account of Trump campaign officials who had Russia contacts

‘I don’t think it’s right to accuse me of doing something wrong,’ said Sessions, after several Democrats pressed him on his changing account of Trump campaign officials who had Russia contacts

‘I would say that’s not fair colleagues,’ Sessions continued. ‘That’s not any indication that I in any way participated anything wrong. And the same with Mr. Papadopoulos, he talked about – it’s reported in the paper – that he said something about going to Russia and dealing with the Russians and I pushed back, I said you shouldn’t do it.’

‘So I don’t think it’s right to accuse me of doing something wrong. I had no participation in any wrongdoing with regard to influence in this campaign improperly,’ the attorney general said.

Sessions blew up after Jeffries asked about a 2016 encounter he had with Carter Page at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, where it is reported Page referenced his upcoming trip to Moscow.

'You're accusing me of lying about that? I say that's not fair,' said Sessions

‘You’re accusing me of lying about that? I say that’s not fair,’ said Sessions

Sessions faced repeated questions from Democrats about his prior testimony, when he said he did not know of any Trump campaign Russia contacts

‘Yes. He said it was a brief meeting as he was walking out the door. I don’t recall that conversation but I’m not able to dispute it,’ Sessions said. ‘Does that establish some sort of improper contact with Russians? He’s not Russian either you know,’ Sessions said.

Sessions got immediate backup from Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis.

‘You didn’t do anything wrong in that testimony,’ said DeSantis. ‘This question was garbled. That’s just not giving you any benefit of the doubt at all to do what these guys are doing to you, so I hear what you’re saying and you didn’t do anything wrong there.’

Before the emotional defense, Jeffries had asked Sessions about an argument he had made during the Clinton impeachment, and a young police officer he had once prosecuted for making false statements and then changing his account.

Earlier in the oversight hearing, Sessions explained his faulty memory about meetings with former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos by citing the ‘chaos’ of the Trump campaign he advised.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on November 14, 201

He says he ‘pushed back’ when Papadopoulos mentioned his Russia contacts at the meeting and indicated the Russians were available for a high level meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

‘I pushed back. I’ll just say it that way,’ Sessions said under questioning.

Asked whether Trump or anyone else at the meeting either expressed interest on concerns about the Russia channel, Sessions told New York Democratic Rep. Jerold Nadler: ‘I don’t recall.’

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., right, shakes hands with Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he returns from a break during his testimony before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., right, shakes hands with Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he returns from a break during his testimony before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill

Papadopoulos pled guilty in October to lying to the FBI about his contacts that led him to pitch a Trump meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after meeting with a professor who had government contacts in Moscow.

Then he explained instances where he has failed to recall conversations about Trump campaign Russia contacts by citing the unique seat-of-the-pants nature of the Trump campaign.

‘All of you have been in campaigns, let me just suggest,’ he told House Judiciary Committee members.

‘But most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign. And none of you had a part in the Trump campaign. It was a brilliant campaign I think in many ways. But it was a form of chaos every day from day one. We traveled, sometimes to several places all the day. Sleep was in short supply,’ said Sessions.

‘After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that [Papadopoulos] was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter,’ said Sessions.

‘But I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago, and I would gladly have reported it had I remembered it because I pushed back against his suggestion that I thought may have been improper,’ said Sessions.

He also spoke campaign unpaid Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, who traveled to Moscow during the campaign.

‘As for Mr. Page, while I do not challenge his recollection, I have no memory of his presence at a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club or any passing conversation he may have had with me as he left the dinner,’ Sessions said.

Page told the House intelligence committee earlier this month that he had informed some members of the Trump campaign about the trip, including Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrives to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on November 14, 2017, in Washington, DC, on oversight of the US Justice Department

Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrives to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on November 14, 2017, in Washington, DC, on oversight of the US Justice Department

‘I have always told the truth, and I have answered every question as I understood them and to the best of my recollection,’ Sessions said, defending his conduct.

Sessions, whose agency routinely interrogates Americans about their recollections when conducting investigations, complained: ‘I have been asked to remember details from a year ago, such as who I saw on what day, in what meeting, and who said what to when.’

With his own prior testimony under fire – he previously denied recalling any campaign Russia contacts – Sessions included a vigorous defense of his own honor in his opening statement.

‘In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory. But I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie,’ he said.

‘Let me be clear: I have at all times conducted myself honorably and in a manner consistent with the high standards and responsibilities of the Office of Attorney General.’

Sessions said he 'pushed back' when George Papadopoulos spoke about about his Russia contacts at a meeting Sessions said did not recall until reading news reports

'I have no memory of his presence at a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club or any passing conversation he may have had with me as he left the dinner,' Sessions said of Carter Page

'In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory. But I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie,' Sessions said
 ‘In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory. But I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie,’ Sessions said

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (C) arrives to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (C) arrives to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2017

Questioned by Democratic California Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Sessions didn’t give himself high marks for assembling a crack foreign policy team.

‘I was asked to lead, inform and find some people who would join and meet with Mr. Trump to give him advice and support regarding foreign policy and I did so, although we were not a very effective group, really,’ Sessions testified.

Sessions also got grilled about his pledge to recuse himself from Clinton investigations at a House Judiciary oversight hearing Tuesday – just hours after it was revealed prosecutors who report to him are evaluating on the possible appointment of a second special counsel who could probe Hillary Clinton.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told the House panel that prosecutors will advise Sessions about whether ‘any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any merit the appointment of a special counsel.’

Among the issues being evaluated, and which House Republicans have asked them to examine, are any ties between the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One.

The Obama administration approved the sale of the Canadian-owned company with rights to U.S. uranium supplies to Rosatom, the Russian atomic energy agency.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (left) said Monday that prosecutors were looking into whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate Republican concerns including an investigation of the Clinton Foundation dealings

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (left) said Monday that prosecutors were looking into whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate Republican concerns including an investigation of the Clinton Foundation dealings

The deal got approved in 2010 by a committee that Clinton participated in as secretary of state.

Now, amid the prospect Sessions could approve a second special counsel to probe Clinton transactions, Sessions will face questions about statements he made about Clinton at his Senate confirmation hearing.

‘It was a highly contentions campaign. I, like a lot of people, made comments about the issues in that campaign. With regard to Sec. Clinton and some of the comments I made, I do believe that that could place my objectivity in question,’ Sessions said, under questioning by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa.

‘I’ve given that thought. I believe the proper thing to do would be for me to recuse myself from any questions involving those kind of investigations that involve secretary Clinton that were raised during the campaign or could be otherwise connected to it,’ Sessions added.

At the start of Tuesday’s hearing, panel chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia noted Sessions’ recusal pledge for 2016 campaign matters.

But Goodlattee complained: ‘There are significant concerns that the partisanship of the FBI and the department has weakened the ability of each to act objectively,’ and raised the issue of getting a second special counsel who would look into Clinton’s emails.

His Democratic counterpart, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, brought up Sessions’ recusal in his own opening statement – and complained that his deputy’s letter got sent to the Republican staff but not Democrats.

‘Without so much as a copy to the ranking member by the way, the assistant attorney general seems to leave the door open to appointing a new special counsel to cater to the president’s political needs,’ Conyers said.

Conyers read some of President Donald Trump’s past online attacks on Sessions. He expressed hope he would get reassurances about ‘near daily attacks on its independence by President Trump and that no office of the department is being used to pressure the president’s political enemies.’

Sessions said Monday that prosecutors were looking into whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate Republican concerns.

The revelation came after President Trump has ramped up his public calls for probes of his former rival, who he brands ‘crooked Hillary.’

‘Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems,’ Trump tweeted earlier this month.

Hillary is pictured here Monday evening onstage during the tour for her new book 'What Happened' at Fox Theater in Atlanta 

Hillary is pictured here Monday evening onstage during the tour for her new book ‘What Happened’ at Fox Theater in Atlanta

The president also griped about his own apparent inability to steer investigations. ‘The saddest thing is that because I’m the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI,’ Trump said.

The Justice Department is looking to investigate the Clinton Foundation dealings and also an Obama-era uranium deal.

In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, which is holding an oversight hearing Tuesday, the Justice Department said Sessions had directed senior federal prosecutors to ‘evaluate certain issues’ recently raised by Republican lawmakers.

If prosecutors do appoint a special counsel, speculation could arise with regards to the independence of federal investigations under President Trump.

The list of matters he wants to look into vary but include the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Also matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency.

The letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd did not say what specific steps might be taken by the Justice Department to address the lawmakers’ concerns, or whether any of the matters Republicans have seized might on already be under investigation.

Any appointment of a new special counsel, particularly in response to calls from members of Congress or from President Donald Trump, is likely to lead to Democratic complaints about an undue political influence on the department’s decision-making.

Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly weighed in on department affairs, publicly lamenting that he does not have more direct involvement with it and calling on law enforcement scrutiny of Democrat Hillary Clinton, his opponent in the 2016 presidential race, and other Democrats. He has been particularly interested in the Clinton Foundation.

‘Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems…’ Trump tweeted earlier this month.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left) and husband, Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (right) at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2014 in New York

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left) and husband, Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (right) at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2014 in New York

In apparent anticipation of those concerns, Boyd said in the letter that Justice Department ‘will never evaluate any matter except on the facts and the law.’

‘Professionalism, integrity and public confidence in the Department’s work is critical for us, and no priority is higher,’ Boyd said.

Sessions said at his January confirmation hearing that he would recuse himself from any investigations involving Democrat Hillary Clinton given his role as a vocal campaign surrogate to President Donald Trump. He similarly recused himself from a separate investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and in May, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead that probe.

House Republicans in recent weeks have launched their own probes into the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The Justice Department said Sessions (pictured here) had directed senior federal prosecutors to 'evaluate certain issues' recently raised by Republican lawmakers

The Justice Department said Sessions (pictured here) had directed senior federal prosecutors to ‘evaluate certain issues’ recently raised by Republican lawmakers

 Some have specifically said they want to know more about whether Obama’s Department of Justice was investigating the purchase of American uranium mines by a Russian-backed company in 2010. The agreement was reached while Hillary Clinton led the State Department and some investors in the company had relationships with former President Bill Clinton and donated large sums to the Clinton Foundation.

The letter comes one day before Sessions is to appear before the Judiciary panel for a Justice Department oversight hearing. Democrats on the committee have already signaled that they intend to press Sessions on his knowledge of contacts between Russians and aides to the Trump campaign.

Trump tweeted: ‘Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5081643/Sessions-grilled-Hillary-recusal-pledge.html#ixzz4yYQ4TrqA

The huge contradiction at the heart of Jeff Sessions’ Russia explanation

Washington (CNN)Attorney General Jeff Sessions was adamant about one thing during his hours-long testimony in front of the House judiciary committee on Tuesday: He has never lied under oath regarding what he knew and when he knew it about the interactions between the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and Russia.

“I have always told the truth, and I have answered every question as I understood them and to the best of my recollection, as I will continue to do today,” Sessions angrily insisted. “I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie.”
Sessions: I have never lied to Congress
The phrase “to the best of my recollection” is doing A LOT of work in Sessions’ defense.
Here’s why.
In January, during his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate judiciary committee, Sessions was asked whether he was aware of any contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. “I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he said at the time.
Then, in October, again in front of the Senate judiciary committee, Sessions had this exchange with Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken:
Sessions and Franken go at it again
Sessions and Franken go at it again 01:57
FRANKEN: “You don’t believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians?”
SESSIONS: “I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else that did. And I don’t believe it happened.”
On Tuesday, Sessions said he did in fact now remember that he was part of a March 31, 2016, meeting that included both then-candidate Trump and a foreign policy adviser named George Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in regard to his ties to Russia, told special counsel Robert Mueller that he boasted in that meeting that he had ties to Russia and could set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Attendees said that Sessions pushed back hard on that idea, insisting that it would not be smart.

George Papadopoulos, pictured second from the left in March 2016 in a National Security Meeting with President Donald Trump, far right, and Jeff Sessions, far left.

Sessions confirmed Tuesday that he not only now remembered that meeting, but also recalled, now, that he had been a voice of dissent for Papadopoulos’ proposal. He said the memory came back to him when it was “revealed in the press.”
Added Sessions:
“After reading Papadopoulos’ account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter. But I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago, and would gladly have reported it had I remembered it, because I pushed back against his suggestion.”
What Sessions is saying that he simply didn’t remember that March 31 meeting prior to it being reported in the wake of Papadopoulos’ guilty plea. But, now he not only remembers the meeting but he also recalls that he spoke out against an idea for Trump to meet with Putin.
Sessions’ explanation for this seeming contradiction? The Trump campaign, while brilliant, was chaotic. Here’s his full answer on Tuesday:
“All of you have been in a campaign. But most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign. And none of you had a part in the Trump campaign. It was a brilliant campaign in many ways. But it was a form of chaos every day from day one. We traveled all the time, sometimes to several places in one day. Sleep was in short supply.”
Which is OK! I get tired after one late night. And I am in my 40s!
But context is not Sessions’ friend here.
You’ll remember that during his confirmation hearings, Sessions said he had never met with any Russian officials. It was subsequently reported that Sessions had met twice with then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak — once on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention and once in his Senate office.
He explained that seeming contradiction by insisting that he simply had not recalled the RNC meeting with Kislyak, and that, in his Senate office, he had met with the ambassador in his official capacity as a senator, not as a Trump surrogate.
On Tuesday, asked about his initial failure to recollect those meeting with Kisylak — and his initial response to the Senate judiciary committee regarding contacts between Trump campaign officials/surrogates and Russians — Sessions said:
“My focus was on responding to the concerns that I as a surrogate was participating in a continuing series of meetings with intermediaries with the Russian government. I certainly didn’t mean I’d never met a Russian in the history of my life.”
It’s impossible to prove that Sessions is lying or not — whether about his meetings with Kislyak or this memory of the March 31, 2016, meeting with Papadopoulos.
But, it’s also difficult to believe that Sessions simply forgot a meeting in which he was a strong voice pushing back against the idea of Trump meeting with Putin. That seems like the sort of thing — whether you got a lot of sleep or not during the campaign — you would remember.

‘Get that hack out of Fox News’: Shepard Smith leaves viewers irate after six-minute segment debunking theory of Hillary Clinton’s ‘crimes’ in Uranium One deal

  • Fox News anchor Shepard Smith infuriated a large number of the network’s viewers on Tuesday 
  • Smith aired six-minute segment debunking far-right conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s alleged wrongdoing in a sale of American uranium 
  • Smith said many claims about Clinton’s supposed role in the uranium sale were ‘inaccurate’ 
  • ‘Shep Smith needs to be fired for his biased reporting,’ tweeted one Fox News viewer in response to the segment 

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith infuriated a large number of the network’s viewers on Tuesday after a six-minute segment in which he debunked far-right conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton‘s alleged wrongdoing in a sale of American uranium.

The segment was surprising given that a number of broadcasters on Smith’s own network have promoted the idea that Clinton broke the law in approving the sale to foreign buyers who also donated to her husband’s foundation.

Smith said many claims about Clinton’s supposed role in the uranium sale were ‘inaccurate’ – even as President Donald Trump and his supporters are calling for a federal investigation.

The Fox News host began the segment by summarizing the particulars of the sale of Uranium One, a Canadian firm with rights to mine US uranium.

Rosatom, a Russian firm, acquired a majority stake in Uranium One in 2010 and bought the remainder of the company in 2013.

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith infuriated a large number of the network's viewers on Tuesday after a six-minute segment in which he debunked far-right conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton's alleged wrongdoing in a sale of American uranium

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith infuriated a large number of the network’s viewers on Tuesday after a six-minute segment in which he debunked far-right conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s alleged wrongdoing in a sale of American uranium

The Fox News host began the segment by summarizing the particulars of the sale of Uranium One, a Canadian firm with rights to mine US uranium. Rosatom, a Russian firm, acquired a majority stake in Uranium One in 2010 and bought the remainder of the company in 2013
 The Fox News host began the segment by summarizing the particulars of the sale of Uranium One, a Canadian firm with rights to mine US uranium. Rosatom, a Russian firm, acquired a majority stake in Uranium One in 2010 and bought the remainder of the company in 2013

Smith said many claims about Clinton's (above) supposed role in the uranium sale were 'inaccurate' - even as President Donald Trump and his supporters are calling for a federal investigation

Smith said many claims about Clinton’s (above) supposed role in the uranium sale were ‘inaccurate’ – even as President Donald Trump and his supporters are calling for a federal investigation

Because Uranium One had holdings in American uranium mines, which at the time accounted for about 20 percent of America’s licensed uranium mining capacity, Rosatom’s 2010 purchase had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

That committee, known as CFIUS, is made up of officials from nine federal agencies, including the State Department, which Clinton ran at the time.

Other agencies represented on the committee include the departments of Treasury, Defense, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security and the Office of the US Trade Representative.

The matter took on new life after a report last month said the FBI was investigating possible Russian attempts to influence the US nuclear sector at the time the CFIUS was considering the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom.

The report said members of the committee, including Clinton, should have known about the investigation and it questioned why they would have approved it.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5084385/AP-Explains-What-happened-Russia-bought-Uranium-One.html#ixzz4yYSuDyBO

Story 4: Sexual Harassment in The Senate and House — Time To Expose the Exposers — Out Them By Naming Them — Publish The Creep List — Videos

Congresswoman speaks out about alleged sexual harassment in Congress

Reps. Barbara Comstock & Jackie Speier: Members Of Congress Engaged In Sexual Harassment | NBC News

Lawmakers allege sexual harassment in Congress

Female Lawmakers Share Stories Of Sexual Harassment In Congress

Rep. Jackie Speier On Reporting Sexual Harassment In Congress: ‘It’s A Bad System’ | MSNBC

Published on Nov 14, 2017

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) explains the current protocol for reporting sexual harassment in Congress following the recent claims that two lawmakers engaged in sexual misconduct. »

Sexual harassment settlements in Congress paid by taxpayers

The INGRAHAM ANGLE – Pulling Back the Curtain | Fox News 11/14/17

Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Congressional Workplace (EventID=106621)

Byrne Testifies on Sexual Harassment and Congress

Female Senator Harassed, Groped By Fellow Senators

 

‘Nothing about it felt right’: More than 50 people describe sexual harassment on Capitol Hill

me too congress sexual assault harassment orig bw_00011922

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The House is holding a hearing on sexual harassment Tuesday
  • Staffers describe a “creep list” of inappropriate male members of Congress or staffers

(CNN)Be extra careful of the male lawmakers who sleep in their offices — they can be trouble. Avoid finding yourself alone with a congressman or senator in elevators, late-night meetings or events where alcohol is flowing. And think twice before speaking out about sexual harassment from a boss — it could cost you your career.

These are a few of the unwritten rules that some female lawmakers, staff and interns say they follow on Capitol Hill, where they say harassment and coercion is pervasive on both sides of the rotunda.
There is also the “creep list” — an informal roster passed along by word-of-mouth, consisting of the male members most notorious for inappropriate behavior, ranging from making sexually suggestive comments or gestures to seeking physical relations with younger employees and interns.
CNN spoke with more than 50 lawmakers, current and former Hill aides and political veterans who have worked in Congress, the majority of whom spoke anonymously to be candid and avoid potential repercussions. With few exceptions, every person said they have personally experienced sexual harassment on the Hill or know of others who have.
In an environment with “so many young women,” said one ex-House aide, the men “have no self-control.” “Amongst ourselves, we know,” a former Senate staffer said of the lawmakers with the worst reputations. And sometimes, the sexual advances from members of Congress or senior aides are reciprocated in the hopes of advancing one’s career — what one political veteran bluntly referred to as a “sex trade on Capitol Hill.”
These anecdotes portray a workplace where women are subjected to constant harassment — both subtle and explicit. They also highlight an antiquated reporting system that discourages some victims from speaking out, leaving many professionals on the Hill to rely instead on hushed advice from peers and mentors.
On Tuesday, a House committee held a hearing to examine the chamber’s sexual harassment policies, and the Senate last week passed a resolution making sexual harassment training mandatory for senators, staff and interns — two clear acknowledgments of the need for reform. Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell support ramping up sexual harassment training.
One female congresswoman told CNN that she has experienced sexual harassment from her male colleagues on multiple occasions over the years, but she declined to speak on the record or detail those interactions.
“Half are harassers,” she said of her male counterparts in Congress, before quickly adding that that was an over-estimate — only “some are harassers,” she said.

Capitol Hill’s open secret: ‘We know’ who they are

What began as a typical workday left one woman feeling “horrified.”
A former Senate staffer recalled getting on the “members only” elevator — designed to let lawmakers easily reach the House and Senate floors — with her boss a few years ago. Her boss introduced her to another senator in the elevator. Both senators are men and still currently in office.
When she leaned in to shake that senator’s hand, he stroked the inside of her palm “in a really gross, suggestive way” — a gesture that was completely invisible to her boss. The ex-staffer said she was rattled and “felt very yucky.” She was also shaken by how brazen the senator was to do this with his colleague standing right next to them.
The woman, who declined to be named or reveal the senator’s identity, told CNN that she avoided that lawmaker from that day on. She also never told her then-boss about it — she was embarrassed and nervous to make it an issue, she said, and simply “took it for the gross moment that it was.”
“Nothing about it felt right,” she said.
In conversations with CNN, multiple women pointed to the elevators on Capitol Hill as a place where staff and members prey on women and say they have been advised to avoid riding alone with men if possible. One woman said years after leaving her job in Congress, she still feels anxious about being alone in elevators with men.
The inappropriate conduct is hardly limited to the confines of elevators.
The unique lifestyle on the Hill helps fuel a hostile culture. Many male members are far away from their families, including their spouses, during the week, frequently working late nights and attending evening fundraisers and events where alcohol flows freely. Often, they are staffed by younger, female employees. Some members of Congress forgo a Washington-area apartment and sleep in their offices, a practice several sources highlighted as problematic.
One aide who works in the Senate described Capitol Hill as “a sort of old school, Wild West workplace culture that has a lot of ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos and without the sort of standard professionalism that you find in more traditional workplaces.”
The dozens of interviews that CNN conducted with both men and women also revealed that there is an unwritten list of male lawmakers — made up primarily of House representatives where there are many more members than the Senate — notorious for inappropriate or predatory behavior. Several people simply referred to that roster as the “creep list.”
More than half a dozen interviewees independently named one California congressman for pursuing female staffers; another half dozen pointed to a Texas congressman for engaging in inappropriate behavior. CNN is not naming either of those lawmakers because the stories are unverified.
“Amongst ourselves, we know,” a former Senate aide said referring to sexual harassers and their behavior. “There is a certain code amongst us, we acknowledge among each other what occurs.”

Some stay silent; others tolerate bad behavior: ‘There’s a little bit of a sex trade on Capitol Hill’

Even as explosive allegations in Hollywood and media have taken down powerful figures like producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K. and political journalist Mark Halperin, on Capitol Hill, it’s not clear that a similar a day of reckoning is soon coming to one of the country’s most important institutions.
The power dynamics in Washington contribute to this problem. Most offices are staffed by early-career professionals who are trying to make a name for themselves in Washington. They also report directly to members of Congress.
“A lot of it has to do with being in a place where people who have power try to exert it to get what they want,” one Senate staffer said, adding that a lot of the most egregious examples happen “on the cocktail circuit” — where powerful men intermingle with younger staffers outside of the Capitol.
It’s “people using their power without any self-control,” a former House staffer said. “There are a lot of tales of these guys going out and behaving very badly with younger staffers.”
But some women tolerate the advances or even reciprocate them — everything from flirting to getting physically intimate — believing that it is one way to climb the ladder.
“There’s a little bit of a sex trade on Capitol Hill. If a part of getting ahead on Capitol Hill is playing ball with whatever douchebag — then whatever,” said one female political veteran who worked on Capitol Hill.
Former Rep. Mary Bono said publicly this month that she endured suggestive comments from a fellow lawmaker for years before eventually confronting him. Rep. Linda Sanchez and ex-Rep. Hilda Solis also told the Associated Press stories of repeated inappropriate comments from lawmakers, including some who are still in office.
One woman who began her career in Washington in the 1980s and is now in her 50s, told CNN that she still constantly takes precautions to protect herself from powerful men.
“I think women have to watch where they are and how they are all the time,” she said.
Travis Moore, a former aide to ex-Rep. Henry Waxman, started a signature-gathering campaign last week calling on congressional leaders to reform “inadequate” sexual harassment policies in Congress. His letter has gathered over 1,500 signatures.
Moore told CNN that he was deeply affected by a close friend who confided in him that, while she was an aide in the Senate, she received sexual comments from a superior, who was an aide. When she reported the behavior to her chief of staff, she was “questioned harshly about it and her motives were questioned.”
The accused aide was not reprimanded and there was no recourse.

‘The place where complaints go to die’

Harassment on Capitol Hill isn’t always sexual in nature.
Around 2011, Liz was a young and fast-rising aide on the Hill. Her career was thriving and her work was getting noticed. But in the Senate office where Liz worked, her direct boss, a male senior aide, yelled and physically intimidated her.
She eventually sought help from the Office of Compliance, the little-known agency established in part to oversee workplace disputes in Congress. But Liz, whose first name has been changed to conceal her identity, told CNN that this was the implicit but clear message she received from the office: “There’s no real case to any of this.”
“It is like, the place where complaints go to die,” she said. “It was like I was talking to a black hole of people who didn’t care.”
Years later, Liz, who no longer works on the Hill, said she still wonders whether her decision to report her boss’s behavior damaged her career.
When asked to respond to Liz’s story, OOC Executive Director Susan Tsui Grundmann said in a statement, “Congress designed us to be a non-partisan, independent process, which means that we are not an advocate for either side.”
The OOC, established by the Congressional Accountability Act in the 1990s, has come under fire in recent weeks for what some say are antiquated rules that can intimidate victims into silence.
What’s more, the initial proceedings alone can drag out for months.
If a congressional aide wants to file a formal complaint with the OOC, they must first engage in 30 days of counseling. After 30 days, they can choose to go into mediation with a representative of the congressional office that they are lodging a complaint against, which can last at least another 30 days. Then, the accuser must wait an additional 30 days before they can officially file a complaint and pursue a hearing either with the OOC or the Federal District Court.
Multiple lawmakers in both chambers are drafting legislation to change the OOC’s protocol for handling workplace complaints.
Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand’s forthcoming bill would remove the 30-day waiting period before a victim can initiate the administrative hearing phase of the process. In the House, Rep. Jackie Speier is proposing similar legislation.
There is also growing pressure for more transparency so that the public can see information like the number of sexual harassment complaints filed with the OOC, the number of settlements reached, the dollar figure of those settlements and which offices are receiving complaints. CNN, along with some members of Congress, has requested that information.
Tracy Manzer, a spokeswoman for Speier, said 80% of people who have come to their office with stories of sexual misconduct in the last few weeks have chosen not to report the incidents to the OOC.
And many of those who did said the process was a nightmare, forcing them to stop midway through — some were told things like, “You can’t prove it” and “it’ll be a nightmare” to move forward, Manzer said.
The female congresswoman who told CNN that she has been sexually harassed by her male colleagues numerous times said she believed there is little upside to speaking out.
“I need these guys’ votes,” she said. “In this body, you may be an enemy one day and a close ally the next when accomplishing something. … So women will be very cautious about saying anything negative about any of their colleagues.”
Is that depressing? “I think it’s reality,” she said.
This story has been updated to reflect that Tuesday’s House hearing on sexual harassment has completed.

Lindsey Graham wants sexual harassers in Congress outed: ‘Name them’

A prominent Republican senator on Wednesday called for sexual harassers in Congress to be outed.

“Name them,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters. “Just get it out. Lay it out. Change the rules so people can come to work without being harassed. Those who do these things need to be held accountable.”

Graham’s comments come one day after California Rep. Jackie Speier testified that at least two sitting members of Congress — one from each party — have been the subjects of rampant sexual harassment complaints.

Without naming names, Speier said she’d heard stories of victims having their “private parts grabbed on the House floor.”

Speier said Wednesday that she is barred from identifying one lawmaker because of a non-disclosure agreement. She said she won’t name the other because the victim asked her not to.

During a news conference introducing her bill to overhaul the process for reporting sexual harassment, Speier said she is “here to protect the victims.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, Virginia Republican Barbara Comstock said she’d heard a story about a member of Congress telling a staffer to bring work material to his house. When she got there, she said, he exposed himself to her.

The staffer quit.

“What are we doing here for women, right now, who are dealing with someone like that?” Comstock asked at the hearing.

Graham, who on Monday called on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step aside after a new accuser came forward alleging Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a teen, acknowledged that sexual harassment in Congress needs to be addressed.

“It’s just rude. It’s crude. I wouldn’t want my sister… wouldn’t (want) my nieces to go through this,” he said. “I wouldn’t want a young woman to experience that kind of behavior just, you know, by participating in their government.”

During the past few weeks, stories of sexual harassment and gender hostility across many industries have been dominating the news. Multiple incidents out of D.C. and other state houses have shed light on the difficulties victims face when trying to report their accusers.

About 1,500 former Capitol Hill aides have signed an open letter to House and Senate leaders demanding that Congress put in place mandatory harassment training. They’re also calling to revamp the Office of Compliance, a small office that deals with these complaints and that few knew even existed.

“Staffers who do decide to pursue a complaint face an opaque and burdensome process,” Kristen Nicholson, director of the Government Affairs Institute, who served as chief of staff to Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., from 2001-2017, wrote in an editorial.

“Hill offices are small and run largely as members see fit,” she said, adding there’s no HR department with whom to lodge a confidential complaint and that staffers are “conditioned” against saying anything that might make their boss or even the institution look bad.

After a while, offenses are seen more as an occupational hazard.

“These notions become so ingrained they stay with most of us long after we’ve left the Hill,” Nicholson said.

Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported on one current and three former female lawmakers who said they had been harassed or subjected to hostile and sexually suggestive comments by fellow members of Congress, some of whom are still in office. Shortly afterward, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., sent a memo to fellow lawmakers encouraging them to complete sexual harassment training and make it mandatory for their staffs.

Last week, the Senate unanimously approved a measure requiring all senators, staff and interns to be trained on preventing sexual harassment.

On a voice vote, lawmakers adopted a bipartisan resolution calling for training within 60 days of the measure’s passage.

Each Senate office would have to submit certification of completed training, and the certificate would be published on the public website of the secretary of the Senate.

The measure had widespread support, and the action occurred within days of the resolution’s formal introduction.

Fox News’ Jason Donner and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/11/15/name-them-lindsey-graham-wants-sexual-harassers-in-congress-outed.html

Netflix says no more Kevin Spacey on ‘House of Cards’

Kevin Spacey on “House of Cards.” | NETFLIX

LOS ANGELES — Netflix said Friday night that Kevin Spacey will no longer be a part of “House of Cards” and it’s cutting all other ties with the actor after a series of allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

“Netflix will not be involved with any further production of ‘House of Cards’ that includes Kevin Spacey,” the company said in a statement.

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Netflix said it will work with the show’s production company MRC to evaluate whether it will continue without him.

The 58-year-old Spacey was nominated for best drama actor Emmy Awards during each of the show’s first five seasons, but never won. He played a ruthless politician who ascends to the presidency of the United States. Co-star Robin Wright is also a central player on the show, and it could conceivably continue with a focus on her.

Production on the show had already been suspended on Tuesday.

Netflix says it also will refuse to release the film “Gore,” in which Spacey stars as the writer Gore Vidal and also acted as producer.

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By The Scene — From “The Very Busy and Important Person” and “The Gossip” to “The Always Late Person” and “The Stickler,” here are…

CNN reported that eight current or former “House of Cards” workers claim that Spacey made the production a “toxic” workplace and one ex-employee alleges the actor sexually assaulted him.

Spacey has not been arrested or charged with any crime. His publicist did not immediately return an email message late Friday night seeking comment. A publicist said earlier this week that Spacey is “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment.”

The Academy Award-winning actor became ensnared in Hollywood’s fast-growing sexual harassment crisis after actor Anthony Rapp alleged Spacey made sexual advances toward him in 1986, when Rapp was 14. Spacey has said he doesn’t remember the alleged encounter reported by BuzzFeed News last weekend but apologized if such “drunken behavior” occurred.

The story spurred several others to come forward with similar allegations about Spacey.

London police are reportedly investigating Spacey for a 2008 sexual assault, British media reported Friday.

Police did not identify Spacey by name but said the department’s child abuse and sexual offenses unit is investigating the reported assault after it was referred to police earlier this week.

Spacey is the latest high profile Hollywood figure to lose work and standing in a wave that began when dozens of sexual harassment allegations were reported last month against film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein is under investigation in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, London and New York for possible criminal cases after several women accused him of sexual assault or rape.

This combination photo shows, top row from left, film producer Harvey Weinstein, former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price, director James Toback, New Orleans chef John Besh, middle row from left, fashion photographer Terry Richardson, New Republic contributing editor Leon Wiseltier, former NBC News political commentator Mark Halperin, former Defy Media executive Andy Signore, and bottom row from left, filmmaker Brett Ratner, actor Kevin Spacey, actor Jeremy Piven and actor Dustin Hoffman. In the weeks since the string of allegations against Weinstein first began, an ongoing domino effect has tumbled through not just Hollywood but at least a dozen other industries. (AP Photos/File) ORG XMIT: NYET888

Allegations against Harvey Weinstein set off tremors in Hollywood and other industries. Top: Weinstein, former Amazon Studios executive Roy Price, director James Toback, New Orleans chef John Besh; middle, from left: fashion photographer Terry Richardson, New Republic contributing editor Leon Wiseltier, former NBC News political commentator Mark Halperin, former Defy Media executive Andy Signore; bottom, from left: filmmaker Brett Ratner and actors Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Piven and Dustin Hoffman.

Magazine publisher resigns after allegations

Also Friday, Hamilton Fish, publisher of The New Republic, resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.

In a company memo shared with The Associated Press, magazine owner Win McCormack wrote that Fish’s resignation was effective immediately and that an internal investigation would continue. Fish, who joined The New Republic in 2016, had been placed on leave of absence last week. He is a former publisher of The Nation.

“As I understand it, some employees, to my deep dismay, complained this week that my presence had led them to feel uncomfortable at The New Republic,” Fish wrote to McCormack in a memo Friday that was also shared with the AP. “Women have longstanding and profound concerns with respect to their treatment in the workplace. Many men have a lot to learn in this regard. I know I do, and I hope for and encourage that new direction.”

Fish wrote in an email to the AP that he “felt the controversy swirling around us could cause irreparable harm to the magazine, and that the only way to protect The New Republic and its employees was for me to separate from the organization.” Noting his time with such organizations as The Nation, a prominent liberal publication, and with Human Rights Watch, he wrote that he had spent his career in “in progressive media and the human rights field.

Fish is among several figures in media and publishing that have stepped down or been fired in the wake of the Weinstein reports.
Others include author and former NBC analyst Mark Halperin, former New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier and former NPR chief editor Michael Oreskes, who was an AP executive from 2008 to 2015.

AP National Writer Hillel Italie in New York and Writer Gregory Katz in London contributed to this report.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/netflix-says-no-more-kevin-spacey-on-house-of-cards/

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 910, June 13, 2017, Story 1: Attorney General Sessions Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee — Theater of The Absurd — A Sideshow of A Sideshow — Videos — Story 2: Two Party Tyranny Ignores The Real Concerns of American People — Jobs, The Economy, National Security and Terrorism, Illegal Immigration, Education and Healthcare — Videos

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Image result for attorney general jeff session testifies before senateImage result for cartoon about russian interference in us electionsImage result for cartoon about russian interference in us elections comey

Story 1: Attorney General Sessions Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee — Theater of The Absurd — A Sideshow of A Sideshow — Videos —

Image result for sideshow circus tentsImage result for Sideshow by Chrystal Vaughan

“Sometimes life asks us to make more serious choices than whether or not to believe a fairy tale”
~ Chrystal Vaughan, Sideshow

” There may be honor among thieves, but there’s none in politicians.”

~ T.E. Lawrence

Jeff Sessions Testifies To Senate Intelligence Committee- Full Hearing

WATCH Jeff Sessions Absolutely Destroys Democrats And Republicans Who Doubt The Trump Administration

Jeff Sessions’s heated testimony, in 3 minutes

Jeff Sessions Opening Statement Senate Intelligence Committee!

Sessions refutes allegations of additional Russian meetings in opening statement

Sen. Warner: ‘Not acceptable’ for Trump administration to come to Congress without answers

Jeff Sessions begins testimony on Comey firing, meeting with Russian ambassador

AG Jeff Sessions – Highlights – Senate Intelligence Committee

FULL. AG Jeff Sessions testifies on Russia at Senate. June 13, 2017. M. Flynn. Dir Comey

Sessions’ testimony frustrates Democrats

Jeff Sessions Testifies To Senate Intelligence Committee- Full Hearing

Feinstein grills Sessions on Comey firing

Leftist Kamala Harris Scolded for Not Allowing Jeff Sessions to Answer Questions

Sessions protects right to ‘executive privilege’

Tom Cotton Decimates Democrats for Providing No Evidence of Russia Collusion

‘Do You Like Spy Fiction James Bond Movies?’ Things Get Weird Between Sen. Cotton and Sessions

Sen Blunt and Sen King Question Jeff Sessions

Sen Collins and Sen Heinrich Question Jeff Sessions

Sen Lankford and Sen Manchin Question Jeff Sessions

Marco Rubio and Ron Weyden Question Jeff Sessions. Some Sparks!

Sen Cornyn Questions Jeff Sessions. Also Quite Good.

WATCH: Attorney General Jeff Sessions On Why FBI Director James Comey Was Fired

JEFF SESSIONS HEARING: President Trump calls Russia threat WITCHHUNT and FAKE NEWS! NEED THE TRUTH!

JEFF SESSIONS HEARING: “Senator Franken asked me A RAMBLING QUESTION!”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Grilled About Meetings With The Russian Ambassador

‘I Am Not Stonewalling!’ Sessions, Wyden Go Off on Each Other in Explosive Back-and-Forth

HEATED EXCHANGE: Sen. Kamala Harris vs. AG Jeff Sessions – Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing

INTENSE: Sen. Heinrich ACCUSES Jeff Sessions of OBSTRUCTION at Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing

Britt Hume Gives Analysis on AG Sessions Testimony

Judge Napolitano Does Not Think It’s a Good idea For Sessions to Testify Before the Senate

Krauthammer: Going After Sessions is the Democrats’ Third Attempt to Take Down the President

Krauthammer Says Sessions Did a Good Job Fending Off Charges

Theatre of the Absurd and Beckett

SIDESHOW – BLUE MAGIC – (1974)

Sessions calls suggestion he colluded with Russia a ‘detestable lie’

The attorney general also denies that he had a third undisclosed meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

06/13/2017 03:07 PM EDT

Updated 06/13/2017 04:40 PM EDT

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday forcefully denied he engaged in any collusion with Russian officials during the campaign, calling such a suggestion a “detestable lie,” while saying he did not recall having a third undisclosed meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

“The suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for over 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie,” Sessions said as he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Sessions also pushed back against the idea that he had more meetings with Kislyak, after having been forced to clarify remarks from his confirmation hearing in January that he did not have communications with Russian officials during the campaign. Two previous meetings with Kisylak surfaced earlier this year, but Sessions said on Tuesday he doesn’t remember any further encounters, including an allegation he met with Kislyak in April 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel, which hosted a foreign policy speech by Donald Trump.

“I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel,” Sessions said.

He later elaborated that a brief interaction with Kislyak may have occurred, noting that “I may have had an encounter during the reception” but that would’ve been the extent of any communication.

Sessions took his uncomfortable star turn in the same seat occupied by James Comey five days ago as the former FBI director pointedly accused Trump of lying about his dismissal.

Sessions has found himself at the center of the Russian controversy in recent days, particularly after Comey’s testimony that he’d asked Sessions to intervene after Trump initiated a series of contacts the FBI director viewed as improper.

The ex-FBI chief also suggested Sessions realized something inappropriate was afoot when Trump asked Comey to stay behind at an Oval Office meeting at February, while dismissing Sessions and others from the room.

“My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn’t be leaving, which is why he was lingering,” Comey testified.

Comey also said that in the one-on-one meeting that followed, Trump asked that the FBI “let…go” of a probe into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. Trump has said he made no such request.

Sessions denied on Tuesday that he stayed silent when Comey urged him never to leave him alone again with Trump — testifying that he urged the FBI and Justice Department officials to follow proper protocol in their communications with the White House.

That directly counters Comey’s testimony from last week, when the ex-FBI chief said Sessions had no response when he told the attorney general that him being left alone with Trump was inappropriate and should not happen. A Justice Department spokesman rejected Comey’s account following the June 8 hearing.

“He didn’t recall this, but I responded to his comment by agreeing that the FBI and the Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policies regarding appropriate contacts with the White House,” Sessions testified.

Sessions did not say if he made any effort to stop Trump from contacting the FBI, such as intervening with the president directly or seeking to pass such a message through the White House counsel or other officials.

The attorney general’s closely-watched testimony came as Washington buzzed about suggestions from Trump allies that the president was considering firing the man tapped last month to take over the probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election: special counsel Robert Mueller.

Sessions would not specifically talk about Mueller’s job performance, but said, “I have confidence in Mr. Mueller.”

The attorney general cited his recusal from the Russia probe as one of the reasons he could not elaborate on Mueller. In March, Sessions declared that because of his role in the Trump campaign he was recusing himself from all inquiries related to Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 elections.

During his testimony on Tuesday, Sessions disclosed more details of the timeline of his recusal: One day after he was sworn in as attorney general on Feb. 9, Sessions had his first meeting to generally discuss the recusal matter. Several meetings followed, and “it became clear to me over time that I qualified as a significant principal adviser type person to the campaign and it would be appropriate and the right thing for me to recuse myself.”

His recusal from matters related to the presidential campaign, which Sessions said was essentially in place from his first day as attorney general, is apparently so broad that he has never been briefed on Russian hacking attempts last year.

“I never received any detailed briefing on how the hacking occurred,” Sessions testified, saying he had only gotten his information about Russian interference in the 2016 campaign through the news media.

Speaking to Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), Sessions added that “you might have been very critical if I, as an active part of the campaign, was seeking intelligence related to something that might be relevant to the campaign.”

Sessions also said Tuesday that he would not claim executive privilege as he testifies “because that is the president’s power.” But he added that he would abide by longstanding DOJ practice to shield his discussions with Trump.

“I cannot and will not violate my duty to protect confidential communications with the president,” he said.

Sessions refused to answer a pivotal question from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): whether he discussed Comey’s handling of the investigations into the Trump campaign with the president prior to the FBI director’s dismissal.

“I’m not able to discuss with you or confirm or deny the nature of a private conversation that I may have had with the president on this subject or others. I know this will be discussed, but that’s the rules that have been adhered to by the Department of Justice,” Sessions said.

Asked to react to Trump’s public statement that he had the Russia probe on his mind at the time of the firing, the attorney general demurred.

“I will have to let his words speak for himself. I’m not sure what was in his mind specifically when we talked to him,” Sessions said.

As Sessions declined to answer a series of questions, Democrats bluntly accused him of undermining Congress’s effort to get to the truth. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said the lack of responses amounted to stonewalling.

“I am not stonewalling. I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice,” the attorney general declared.

“You’re impeding this investigation,” Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico said. “You are obstructing that congressional investigation by not answering the questions.”

Sessions insisted that he was not invoking executive privilege, but preserving Trump’s right to do so.

“I’m not able to invoke executive privilege that’s the president’s prerogative,” the attorney general said.

Resolving a longstanding question, Sessions acknowledged publicly for the first time Tuesday that he gave Comey no warning before his firing on May 9.

“Did you ever have a conversation about his failure to perform?” Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the committee, asked.

“I did not,” Sessions said.

“You never thought it was appropriate to raise those concerns before he was actually terminated by the president?” Warner asked.

“I did not do so,” Sessions said, noting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein prepared a memo critiquing Comey’s performance. “It’s something that we both agreed to that a fresh start at the FBI was probably the best.”

“The timing seems a little peculiar,” Warner said.

Democratic senators and Comey have suggested that Sessions should not have been involved in the firing of the FBI director, particularly since investigations Sessions was recused from appear to have played roles in spurring that decision.

Sessions flatly rejected those arguments on Tuesday.

“It is absurd, frankly, to suggest that a recusal from a single specific investigation would render an Attorney General unable to manage the leadership of the various Department of Justice law enforcement components that conduct thousands of investigations,” Sessions said.

The usually genial Alabaman showed outbursts of anger, including under questioning from Wyden when the Oregon Democrat pressed Sessions on what Comey found so “problematic” about the attorney general that he felt his recusal was inevitable.

“Why don’t you tell me?” Sessions responded to Wyden, his tone escalating. “There are none … this is a secret innuendo.”

Sessions also offered his first-hand account of the Feb. 14 Oval Office encounter that resulted in Comey being alone with Trump.

“We were there. I was standing there and without revealing any conversation that took place, what I do recall is I did depart. I believe everyone else did depart and Director Comey was sitting in front of the president’s desk and they were talking….That in itself is not problematic,” Sessions said.

The attorney general confirmed that the next day Comey complained about the contact.

“He did not tell me at that time any detail about anything that was said that was improper,” Sessions said, claiming he “backed [Comey] up in his concern” about improper contacts.

“He was concerned about it….His recollection of what he said about his concern is consistent with my recollection,” the attorney general added.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/13/sessions-calls-suggestion-he-colluded-with-russia-a-detestable-lie-239507

 

Executive privilege

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government to access information and personnel relating to the executive branch. The concept of executive privilege is not mentioned explicitly in the United States Constitution, but the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it to be an element of the separation of powers doctrine and derived from the supremacy of the executive branch in its own area of Constitutional activity.[1]

The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of this doctrine in United States v. Nixon, but only to the extent of confirming that there is a qualified privilege. Once invoked, a presumption of privilege is established, requiring the Prosecutor to make a “sufficient showing” that the “Presidential material” is “essential to the justice of the case” (418 U.S. at 713–14). Chief JusticeWarren Burger further stated that executive privilege would most effectively apply when the oversight of the executive would impair that branch’s national security concerns.

Historically, the uses of executive privilege underscore the untested nature of the doctrine, since Presidents have generally sidestepped open confrontations with the United States Congress and the courts over the issue by first asserting the privilege, then producing some of the documents requested on an assertedly voluntary basis.

Early precedents

Executive privilege is a specific instance of the more general common-law principle of deliberative process privilege and is believed to trace its roots to the English crown privilege (now known as public-interest immunity).[2]

In the context of privilege assertions by US presidents, “In 1796, President George Washington refused to comply with a request by the House of Representatives for documents related to the negotiation of the then-recently adopted Jay Treaty with the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Senate alone plays a role in the ratification of treaties, Washington reasoned, and therefore the House had no legitimate claim to the material. Therefore, Washington provided the documents to the Senate but not the House.”[3]

President Thomas Jefferson continued the precedent for this in the trial of Aaron Burr for treason in 1809. Burr asked the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum to compel Jefferson to testify or provide his private letters concerning Burr. Chief Justice John Marshall, a strong proponent of the powers of the federal government but also a political opponent of Jefferson, ruled that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for these sorts of court orders for criminal defendants, did not provide any exception for the president. As for Jefferson’s claim that disclosure of the document would imperil public safety, Marshall held that the court, not the president, would be the judge of that. Jefferson refused to personally testify but provided selected letters.

In 1833, President Andrew Jackson cited executive privilege when Senator Henry Clay demanded he produce documents concerning statements the president made to his cabinet about the removal of federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States during the Bank War.[4]

Cold War era

During the period of 1947–49, several major security cases became known to Congress. There followed a series of investigations, culminating in the famous HissChambers case of 1948. At that point, the Truman Administration issued a sweeping secrecy order blocking congressional efforts from FBI and other executive data on security problems.[citation needed] Security files were moved to the White House and Administration officials were banned from testifying before Congress on security related matters. Investigation of the State Department and other cases was stymied and the matter left unresolved.

During the Army–McCarthy hearings in 1954, Eisenhower used the claim of executive privilege to forbid the “provision of any data about internal conversations, meetings, or written communication among staffers, with no exception to topics or people.” Department of Defense employees were also instructed not to testify on any such conversations or produce any such documents or reproductions.[5] This was done to refuse the McCarthy Committee subpoenas of transcripts of monitored telephone calls from Army officials, as well as information on meetings between Eisenhower officials relating to the hearings. This was done in the form of a letter from Eisenhower to the Department of Defense and an accompanying memo from Eisenhower Justice. The reasoning behind the order was that there was a need for “candid” exchanges among executive employees in giving “advice” to one another. In the end, Eisenhower would invoke the claim 44 times between 1955 and 1960.

United States v. Nixon

The Supreme Court addressed “executive privilege” in United States v. Nixon, the 1974 case involving the demand by Watergatespecial prosecutorArchibald Cox that President Richard Nixonproduce the audiotapes of conversations he and his colleagues had in the Oval Office of the White House in connection with criminal charges being brought against members of the Nixon Administration. Nixon invoked the privilege and refused to produce any records.

The Supreme Court did not reject the claim of privilege out of hand; it noted, in fact, “the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties” and that “[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decisionmaking process.” This is very similar to the logic that the Court had used in establishing an “executive immunity” defense for high office-holders charged with violating citizens’ constitutional rights in the course of performing their duties. The Supreme Court stated: “To read the Article II powers of the President as providing an absolute privilege as against a subpoena essential to enforcement of criminal statutes on no more than a generalized claim of the public interest in confidentiality of nonmilitary and nondiplomatic discussions would upset the constitutional balance of ‘a workable government’ and gravely impair the role of the courts under Article III.” Because Nixon had asserted only a generalized need for confidentiality, the Court held that the larger public interest in obtaining the truth in the context of a criminal prosecution took precedence.

“Once executive privilege is asserted, coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course. The Judiciary is forced into the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive’s Article II prerogatives. This inquiry places courts in the awkward position of evaluating the Executive’s claims of confidentiality and autonomy, and pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances. These ‘occasion[s] for constitutional confrontation between the two branches’ are likely to be avoided whenever possible. United States v. Nixon, supra, at 692.”[6]

Post-Watergate era

Clinton administration

The Clinton administration invoked executive privilege on fourteen occasions.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton became the first president since Nixon to assert executive privilege and lose in court, when a federal judge ruled that Clinton aides could be called to testify in the Lewinsky scandal.[7]

Later, Clinton exercised a form of negotiated executive privilege when he agreed to testify before the grand jury called by Independent CounselKenneth Starr only after negotiating the terms under which he would appear. Declaring that “absolutely no one is above the law”, Starr said such a privilege “must give way” and evidence “must be turned over” to prosecutors if it is relevant to an investigation.

George W. Bush administration

The Bush administration invoked executive privilege on six occasions.

President George W. Bush first asserted executive privilege to deny disclosure of sought details regarding former Attorney General Janet Reno,[8] the scandal involving Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) misuse of organized-crime informants James J. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi in Boston, and Justice Department deliberations about President Bill Clinton’s fundraising tactics, in December 2001.[9]

Bush invoked executive privilege “in substance” in refusing to disclose the details of Vice PresidentDick Cheney‘s meetings with energy executives, which was not appealed by the GAO. In a separate Supreme Court decision in 2004, however, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted “Executive privilege is an extraordinary assertion of power ‘not to be lightly invoked.’ United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 7 (1953).

Further, on June 28, 2007, Bush invoked executive privilege in response to congressional subpoenas requesting documents from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor,[10] citing that:

The reason for these distinctions rests upon a bedrock presidential prerogative: for the President to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisors and between those advisors and others within and outside the Executive Branch.

On July 9, 2007, Bush again invoked executive privilege to block a congressional subpoena requiring the testimonies of Taylor and Miers. Furthermore, White House CounselFred F. Fielding refused to comply with a deadline set by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain its privilege claim, prove that the president personally invoked it, and provide logs of which documents were being withheld. On July 25, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee voted to cite Miers and White House Chief of StaffJoshua Bolten for contempt of Congress.[11][12]

On July 13, less than a week after claiming executive privilege for Miers and Taylor, Counsel Fielding effectively claimed the privilege once again, this time in relation to documents related to the 2004 death of Army RangerPat Tillman. In a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Fielding claimed certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests” and would therefore not be turned over to the committee.[13]

On August 1, 2007, Bush invoked the privilege for the fourth time in little over a month, this time rejecting a subpoena for Karl Rove. The subpoena would have required the President’s Senior Advisor to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a probe over fired federal prosecutors. In a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, Fielding claimed that “Mr. Rove, as an immediate presidential advisor, is immune from compelled congressional testimony about matters that arose during his tenure and that relate to his official duties in that capacity….”[14]

Leahy claimed that President Bush was not involved with the employment terminations of U.S. attorneys. Furthermore, he asserted that the president’s executive privilege claims protecting Josh Bolten, and Karl Rove are illegal. The Senator demanded that Bolten, Rove, Sara Taylor, and J. Scott Jennings comply “immediately” with their subpoenas, presumably to await a further review of these matters. This development paved the way for a Senate panel vote on whether to advance the citations to the full Senate. “It is obvious that the reasons given for these firings were contrived as part of a cover-up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort”, Leahy concluded about these incidents.[15][16][17][18]

As of July 17, 2008, Rove still claimed executive privilege to avoid a congressional subpoena. Rove’s lawyer wrote that his client is “constitutionally immune from compelled congressional testimony.”[19]

House Investigation of the SEC

Leaders of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission testified on February 4, 2009 before the United States House Committee on Financial Services subcommittee including Linda Chatman Thomsen S.E.C. enforcement director, acting General CounselAndy Vollmer, Andrew Donohue, Erik Sirri, and Lori Richards and Stephen Luparello of FINRA. The subject of the hearings were on why the SEC had failed to act when Harry Markopolos, a private fraud investigator from Boston alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission; detailing his persistent and unsuccessful efforts to get the SEC to investigate Bernard Madoff, beginning in 1999.[20] Vollmer claimed executive privilege in declining to answer some questions.[21][22] Subcommittee chairmanPaul E. Kanjorski asked Mr. Vollmer if he had obtained executive privilege from the U.S. Attorney General.[21] “No … this is the position of the agency,” said Vollmer.[21] “Did the SEC instruct him not to respond to questions?” Mr. Kanjorski asked.[21] Vollmer replied that it was the position of the Commission and that “the answer is no.”[21] The SEC announced Vollmer would “leave the Commission and return to the private sector,” just 14 days after making the claim.[23]

Obama Administration

On June 20, 2012, President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege, his first, to withhold certain Department of Justice documents related to the ongoing Operation Fast and Furious controversy ahead of a United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress for refusing to produce the documents.[24][25]

Later the same day, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted 23–17 along party lines to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress over not releasing documents regarding Fast and Furious.[26]

Executive privilege was also used in a lawsuit stemming from the 2012 implementation of the “Net Worth Sweep” against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Obama administration did not disclose roughly 11,000 documents from the plaintiffs in the discovery process as they related to the reasoning behind the 2012 actions.[citation needed]

Trump Administration

While investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed former FBI Director James Comey to testify. Comey was fired several weeks before being subpoenaed but had appeared before the committee once before in March while still serving as director. Less than a week before the scheduled hearing, it was reported that President Trump was considering invoking executive privilege to prevent Comey’s testimony. [27][28] According to attorney Page Pate, it seems unlikely that executive privilege will be applicable here, as Trump has publicly spoken about the encounters in question multiple times.[29]

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White house spokesman, released a statement on June 5th stating: “The president’s power to assert executive privilege is very well-established. However, in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey’s scheduled testimony.”[30]

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

Sideshow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elly del Sarto, a sideshow performer, in c. 1910

In America, a sideshow is an extra, secondary production associated with a circus, carnival, fair or other such attraction.

Types

See also: Sideshow attractions section on list of Circus skills page.

There are four main types of classic sideshow attractions:

  • The “Ten-in-One” offers a program of ten sequential acts under one tent for a single admission price. The ten-in-one might be partly a freak show exhibiting “human oddities” (including “born freaks” such as midgets, giants or persons with other deformities, or “made freaks” like tattooed people, fat people or “human skeletons”- extremely thin men often “married” to the fat lady, like Isaac W. Sprague). However, for variety’s sake, the acts in a ten-in-one would also include “working acts” who would perform magic tricks or daredevil stunts. In addition, the freak show performers might also perform acts or stunts, and would often sell souvenirs like “giant’s rings” or “pitch cards” with their photos and life stories. The ten-in-one would often end in a “blowoff” or “ding,” an extra act not advertised on the outside, which could be viewed for an additional fee. The blowoff act would be described provocatively, often as something deemed too strong for women and children, such as pickled punks.

A sideshow at the Erie County Fair Hamburg, New York

  • The “Single-O” is a single attraction, for example a single curiosity like the “Bonnie and Clyde Death Car” or Hitler’s staff car,[1][2] a “Giant Rat” (actually usually a nutria) or other unusual animal, a “What Is It?” (often a convincing but artificial monstrosity like the Fiji Mermaid) or a geek show often billed as “See the Victim of Drug Abuse.”
  • A “Museum Show” which might be deceptively billed as “World’s Greatest Freaks Past and Present,” is a sideshow in which the exhibits are usually not alive. It might include tanks of piranhas or cages with unusual animals, stuffed freak animals or other exotic items like the weapons or cars allegedly used by famous murderers. Some of the exhibits might even be dummies or photographs of the billed attractions. It could still be truthfully billed with the claim “$1,000 reward if not absolutely real — please do not touch or feed the animals on exhibit”. The Single-O and the Museum Show are usually operated as “grind shows,” meaning that patrons may enter at any time, viewing the various exhibits at their leisure.

Decaying sideshow advertisement, Florida, 1966

* A “Girl Show” was sometimes offered in which women were the primary attraction. These could range from the revue (such as a “Broadway Revue”) with fully clothed performers to the racier “kootch” or “hootchie-kootchie” show (a strip show) which might play either partly clothed or “strong” (nude).[3]

Acts

“Working acts” often exhibited a number of stunts that could be counted on to draw crowds. These stunts used little-known methods and offered the elements of danger and excitement. Although the mainstream media often explained fanciful methods of performing these acts, the real secret was usually that there is no secret, you just do it. Such acts included fire eating, sword swallowing, knife throwing, body piercing, lying on a bed of nails, walking up a ladder of sharp swords, and more. The renewed attention to these feats has prompted a new round of oversimplified or inaccurate explanations, leading some inexperienced people to attempt them without adequate training often resulting in injury and sometimes even death.

Decline and revival

Painting on sideshow truck, firebreather, Florida, 1966

Interest in sideshows declined as television made it easy (and free) to see the world’s most exotic attractions. Moreover, viewing “human oddities” became distasteful as the public conscience changed, and many localities passed laws forbidding the exhibition of freaks.[citation needed] The performers often protested (to no avail) that they had no objection to the sideshow, especially since it provided not only a good income for them, but in many cases it provided their only possible job. The sideshow seemed destined for oblivion, until only a few exemplars of the ten-in-one remained. A greater number of “Single O” attractions still tour carnivals.

In the early 1990s, Jim Rose developed a modern sideshow called “the Jim Rose Circus“, reinventing the sideshow with two types of acts that would attract modern audiences and stay within legal bounds. The show featured acts reviving traditional sideshow stunts and carrying some of them to extremes, and “fringe” artists (often exhibiting extreme body modification) performing bizarre or masochistic acts like eating insects, lifting weights by means of hooks inserted in their body piercings, or stapling currency to their forehead. The show drew audiences at venues unknown to old-time sideshows, like rock clubs and the 1992 Lollapalooza festival. The Jim Rose Circus held its last known performance in 2013 at The London Burlesque Festival. The impact of the Jim Rose Circus on pop culture inspired a new wave of performers. There are now more sideshow performers than at any other time in the genre’s history. At the same time in Canada, Scott McClelland, grandson of itinerant showman N.P. Lewchuk, formed Carnival Diablo, a show that performs frequently to this day. The success of these shows sparked a growing number of performers to revive the traditional sideshow arts, taught by sideshow veterans, and many now perform in spot engagements from rock clubs and comedy clubs to corporate events. “Sideshows by the Seashore“, sponsored by Coney Island USA in Brooklyn, NY has performed since 1983, and tours under the name “Coney Island Circus Sideshow“. Circus historian and collector Ken Harck ran the Brothers Grim Sideshow, which toured with the OzzFest music festival in the summer of 2006 and 2007. Sideshow celebrity and multiple world record breaker Chayne Hultgren ‘The Space Cowboy’ owns Australia’s largest traveling oddity museum ‘The Mutant Barnyard’ and along with his partner Zoe Ellis ‘AKA: Zoe L’amore’ they run ‘Sideshow Wonderland’, one of the world’s most successful sideshows described as a modern high energy human oddity exhibit or freakshow cabaret.

World records

The longest metal coil passed through the nose and mouth is a 3.63M long (11-ft 10.91-in) coil of metal. This record is held by Andrew Stanton (USA). Stanton performs Mr Screwface on the Las Vegas SwingShift sideshow. This record was set in Lo Show dei Record in Rome, Italy.[4]

References

Story 2: Two-Party Tyranny Ignores The Real Concerns of American People — The Economy and Jobs,  National Security and Terrorism, Federal Deficit Spending and Taxes, Immigration,  Education and Health Care Costs — Videos

How Did The U.S. End Up With A Two-Party System?

How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump

Why Doesn’t the U.S. Have a Multi-Party Political System? | Sean Wilentz

How Political Parties Rig Elections

Can A Third-Party Candidate Ever Become President?

‘Two-party tyranny specializes at getting corporate cash & excluding competition’ – Ralph Nader

What Is Libertarianism?

Huge Drop In People Who

Democrats, Republicans Agree on Four Top Issues for Campaign

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • All rate the economy, terrorism, jobs and healthcare as important
  • Republicans put more priority on fixing government and the deficit
  • Democrats rate climate change, inequality as more important

PRINCETON, N.J. — Republicans and Democrats agree on the importance of the presidential candidates’ positions on the economy, terrorism, jobs and healthcare. Beyond these, however, the two partisan groups differ significantly on the importance they assign to other campaign issues.

Importance of Campaign Issues, by Party, January 2016

These data, from Gallup’s Jan. 21-25 Election Benchmark survey, are based on Americans’ responses to a question asking them to rate the importance of the candidates’ positions on 15 issues. Overall, Americans rate the economy, terrorism, jobs, healthcare and education as most important. The detailed results are at the end of this article.

The accompanying table groups each issue based on the issue’s importance among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Republicans’ average importance rating across the 15 issues is 67%, while Democrats’ is 71%.

The economy, terrorism, jobs and healthcare clearly are the four issues that share higher-than-average importance among both partisan groups.

Issues Important to Only One Party

Five issues are well above average in importance for Republicans, but are not as important to Democrats. These are:

  • The federal budget deficit
  • Foreign affairs
  • The size and efficiency of the federal government
  • Immigration
  • Taxes

Of these five, the size and efficiency of the federal government receives particularly low ratings from Democrats. It is the second lowest of any issue tested for that partisan group. Democrats’ importance ratings for the other four are below the Democratic average.

One issue has slightly above-average importance for Democrats but is well below average for Republicans: the distribution of income and wealth in the U.S. One other issue, education, is way above average for Democrats (it is their highest-rated issue), while just at the average importance rating among Republicans.

Issues Below Average in Importance to Both Parties

Four issues have below-average importance ratings for both partisan groups, although three of these are barely below the average for Democrats. These are:

  • Gun policy
  • Government regulation of Wall Street and banks
  • Social issues such as gay marriage and abortion
  • Climate change

Climate change is the lowest rated of the 15 issues tested among Republicans, while coming in just below average for Democrats. Social issues clearly have low importance across partisan lines; they are the lowest rated among Democrats and second lowest among Republicans.

Across the 15 issues, six show the largest discrepancy in rated importance between Republicans and Democrats, making these highly partisan concerns in the 2016 election environment:

  • Climate change. Democrats’ importance rating is 48 percentage points higher than Republicans’, making this the single most discrepant issue of the 15 tested.
  • Size and efficiency of the federal government. Republicans rate it more important than Democrats by 28 points.
  • The distribution of income and wealth in the U.S. (Democrats: more important, by 26 points)
  • Education. (Democrats, +23 points)
  • Government regulation of Wall Street and banks. (Democrats, +22)
  • The federal budget deficit. (Republicans, +21)

Top-of-Mind Priorities

A separate, open-ended question asked Americans to name the single issue or challenge they are most interested in having the next president address when he or she takes office next January. Americans’ most frequently given responses involve the economy, followed by mentions of immigration, defense/national security, healthcare and terrorism — generally similar to the top-ranked issues in the list format.

The biggest differences between the two partisan groups on this question involve defense and national security, mentioned spontaneously by 19% of Republicans as the most important issue for the next president, but by only 5% of Democrats. Republicans are also more likely than Democrats to mention immigration and, to a lesser extent, the economy.

For their part, Democrats are more likely to mention education, as well as issues revolving around wages and Americans’ ability to make a decent wage and, to a lesser extent, the environment.

The two partisan groups are about equally likely to mention healthcare and terrorism.

Regardless of who wins the election, what single issue or challenge are you most interested in having the next president address when he or she takes office next January? [OPEN-ENDED]

Bottom Line

Republicans and Democrats alike generally agree that the presidential candidates — and the next president, whoever that might be — should focus on the economy, on jobs, on terrorism and national security and on healthcare.

Beyond that agreement, the interests of the two partisan groups diverge, with Republicans giving more importance to certain specific issues and Democrats to others.

These differences across groups are meaningful at this point in the campaign, given that candidates are firmly focused on getting votes from their own partisans in the caucus and primary process that begins with Feb. 1 voting in Iowa. However, as the campaign pivots to the general election, the parties’ nominees to some degree will need to pay more attention to issues of importance to those outside their party — in the effort to gain votes of weakly affiliated partisans and of independents. And, of course, the research reviewed here deals only with the importance that Americans put on each concern as a campaign issue. This leaves the candidates to deal with the challenge of presenting proposals for solving the issue that resonate with their own party’s voters in the primary process, but also with a broader constituency in the general election.

These data on priorities help in evaluating how well-connected the candidates are with various constituents in the current election process. The Democratic candidates, for example, have focused on inequality and what they perceive to be the inordinate power of Wall Street — issues that are not among the most important for rank-and-file Democrats whose votes they need in the fight for their party’s nomination, unless the candidates can tie them in to broader concerns about the economy and jobs.

Republican candidates who focus on gun rights and social issues such as abortion and gay marriage likewise find themselves addressing concerns that are not among the top issues for their party’s constituents as a whole, although perhaps more so for smaller segments of the party such as evangelicals.

Overall, these data aid in the process of continuing to understand the attitudes and priorities of the American people as the election process unfolds, ultimately helping measure how well what the candidates are discussing and proposing fits with the views of the people they are vying to lead as chief executive.

The complete responses to both sets of questions are presented here:

Now I am going to read a list of some of the issues that will probably be discussed in this year’s presidential election campaign. As I read each one, please tell me how important the candidates' positions on that issue will be in influencing your vote for president -- extremely important, very important, somewhat important or not important. January 2016 results

Regardless of who wins the election, what single issue or challenge are you most interested in having the next president address when he or she takes office next January? [OPEN-ENDED] January 2016

These data are available inGallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 21-25, 2016, with a random sample of 1,022 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the total sample of 479 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the total sample of 460 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/188918/democrats-republicans-agree-four-top-issues-campaign.aspx

Americans Want More Than Just Budget Cuts

by Frank Newport

President Donald Trump’s new budget includes trillions of dollars in cuts to nondefense spending, affecting almost every department of the government. Gallup’s latest update shows that 28% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the federal government, while 55% have an unfavorable opinion. That’s the lowest rating for any business or industry sector we tested.

Given Americans’ negative views of the federal government, it might seem logical to assume Americans would support cutting back government funding as Trump has proposed. But it’s not that straightforward.

When we delve into it, we see that Americans are extraordinarily negative about one specific aspect of the federal government: their elected representatives in Congress. This echoes across a wide variety of measures, and the more Americans know about Congress, the more negative they are. The people just don’t think the legislative system is working well. Americans think that Congress is corrupt and not focused on the interests of the people. They want their representatives to compromise rather than rigidly stick to principles.

Americans would clearly support efforts to reform or reinvent Congress and the way it works more than — or as much as — they might support big cuts in governmental departments and agencies.

And for the latter, our research has not found strong support for the idea of cutting back on government bureaucracies or employees on a wholesale basis. We have tested these types of proposals in a number of ways and have generally found less than majority support.

Further, there is strong evidence that Americans have mixed opinions on what the role of government should be in their lives. There is not a simple consensus that government and the services it provides should be cut back, regardless of consequences.

There is additional evidence that the people increasingly want their government to do more, not less.

A Gallup trend question poses this choice: “Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your own view?”

Over the past 16 years, Americans have consistently been more likely to say the government does too much. In 2012, for example, 61% said the government is doing too much, while 34% said the government should do more. But our latest update in May found the gap down to two percentage points, with 47% saying it is doing too much and 45% saying it is not doing enough. This is the lowest gap since October 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and is one of the lowest across Gallup’s entire trend since 1992.

The Wall Street Journal uses a slightly different question wording — one that produces greater support for the government doing more: “I’m going to read you two statements about the role of government, and I’d like to know which one comes closer to your point of view: Government should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of people, or government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals?”

In their most recent asking, the Journal found 57% of Americans saying the government should do more — the highest percentage since they first asked the question in 1995.

The Journal question’s inclusion of the words “help” and “needs of the people” most likely makes this alternative more attractive to respondents than does Gallup’s wording of “do more to solve our nation’s problems.” But the key here is the finding that the public opinion trend in both wordings is toward the government doing more to solve problems and help meet the needs of the people.

All of this means it’s likely that Americans are not going to look favorably on Congress blindly following Trump’s budget proposals and simply taking a hatchet to government programs across the board without giving the whole process due diligence and deep thought.

This presents real challenges. There are not only the deep traditional divisions between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, but there are also fissures within the ranks of the Republicans themselves — so entrenched that one former Republican Senate committee staff director called them “almost theological.”

But the current budget situation, in theory, can actually provide an unusually positive opportunity for Congress to attempt to resurrect its image. If Congress can debate and discuss the budget in a rational and nonconfrontational way, it could help repair its tarnished and extraordinarily negative image. And, in the process, Congress could shed light on — and provide informed insight into — one of the most important and unresolved elements of American public opinion today: the appropriate role of government in Americans’ daily lives.

http://www.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/211892/americans-budget-cuts.aspx?g_source=POLITICS&g_medium=topic&g_campaign=tiles

 

Party Affiliation

http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

 

JULY 5, 2016

5 facts about America’s political independents

The share of independents in the United States stands at its highest point in more than 75 years of public opinion polling. However, a substantial majority of independents have not fully declared their independence from the two major parties. Most say they “lean” toward a party. As we found in our recent study on political animosity, partisan leaners don’t have especially positive views of the party they lean toward, yet they feel very negatively about the opposing party. Nevertheless, partisan leaners share many of the political values of – and tend to vote similarly to – members of party they lean toward.

Here are five facts about political independents.

1Share of political independents has continued to growIndependents outnumber either Democrats or Republicans. A Pew Research Center analysis that examined partisan affiliation from 1992 to 2014 found that, in 2014, 39% of the public identified as independents, which was larger than the shares calling themselves Democrats (32%) or Republicans (23%). In 2004, roughly equal shares identified as Democrats (33%), independents (30%) and Republicans (29%).

However,most independents express a partisan leaning: In 2014, 17% of the public leaned toward the Democratic Party while 16% leaned toward the GOP; just 6% declined to lean toward a party. When the partisan leanings of independents were taken into account, 48% either identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic; 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican.

2Push and pull factors into partisan leaning, but ‘push’ matters moreThe most frequently cited factor for leaning toward a party is the harm caused by the opposing party’s policies. A majority of Republican leaners (55%) and roughly half of Democratic leaners (51%) cite the other party’s policies being bad for the country as a major reason why they lean toward their own party. By contrast, just 30% of Republican leaners and 34% of Democratic leaners say that their own party’s policies being good for the country is a major reason why they lean toward their party.

Why do Republican leaners choose not to identify as Republicans? About half (52%) say a major reason they do not affiliate with the party is their frustration with its leaders; 40% say it is because they disagree with the party on important issues.

Among Democratic leaners, no single reason stands out. A third say a major reason they do not identify as Democrats is that they disagree with the party on key issues, while 28% cite frustration with the party’s leadership.

3Fewer than half of partisan leaners rate members of their own parties warmlyIndependents who lean toward a party do not feel very warmly toward its members. When asked to rate Republicans and Democrats on a 0 to 100 “feeling thermometer” – where 0 is the coldest, most negative rating and 100 is the warmest, most positive rating – partisan-leaning independents are not very warm toward members of their own party. Fewer than half of Democratic leaners (45%) give a warm rating (more than 50) to Democrats; even fewer Republican leaners (38%) feel warmly toward Republicans.

Not surprisingly, majorities of partisans give warm ratings to their fellow partisans. Three-quarters of Democrats (75%) and two-thirds of Republicans (67%) give warm ratings to the members of their party.

But partisans and leaners are more in sync in views of those in the opposing party. Comparable majorities of both Democrats (61%) and Democratic leaners (55%) give Republicans cold ratings on the thermometer. About seven-in-ten Republicans (69%) and 57% of Republican leaners rate Democrats coldly.

4Partisan animosityhas increased sharply among independents as well as partisans. For the first time in surveys dating back more than two decades, majorities of Republicans (58%) and Democrats (55%) say they have a very unfavorable view of the opposing party. In 1994, fewer than half as many Republicans (21%) and Democrats (17%) expressed highly negative views of the other party.

Steep growth in highly negative views of opposing party among partisans, leaners

But the rise in partisan animosity has not been limited to partisans. Intense dislike of the opposing party has risen sharply among independents and others who lean toward a party. Today, 44% of Republican and Democratic leaners say they have a very unfavorable impression of the opposing party, up from just 10% and 11% respectively in 1994.

5Increasing shares of independents and partisans express ideological views on major issues. Pew Research Center’s major study of political polarization in 2014 found a rise in ideological attitudes among both Republicans and Democrats over the past two decades. The same trend is evident among independents who lean toward one party or the other.

More Republican leaners have conservative attitudes across major issues; Democratic leaners increasingly express liberal views

In 2015, 59% of Republicans – and 45% of Republican-leaning independents – expressed consistently conservative or mostly conservative attitudes across a series of 10 questions on political values that Pew Research Center has been asking since 1994. In 2004, just 35% of Republicans, and 24% of GOP leaners, had at least mostly conservative opinions on these issues, which include the environment, the role of government, national security and social issues.

The positions of those who identify as Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party are similar over this time period: In 2015, 62% of Democrats and 56% of Democratic leaners were consistently or mostly liberal. When the two groups diverged in 2004, Democratic leaners (58%) were actually somewhat more likely than Democrats (46%) to be to the left of center.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/05/5-facts-about-americas-political-independents/

 

The growing myth of the ‘independent’ voter

January 11, 2016

If you were to pick a random American off of the street, it’s more likely that he or she would identify as an independent than as a Democrat or a Republican. That’s been the case for a while now, of course, so the new numbers from Gallup breaking down the country’s partisanship aren’t, by themselves, earth-shattering.In Gallup’s most recent analysis, 42 percent of Americans identify as independent, compared with 29 percent who say they are Democrats and 26 percent who say they are Republicans.

(That shift has given Bernie Sanders the edge in our “Who is more popular, Trump or Sanders” tracker — at least for now.)

What’s interesting is when you break out those independents. As we noted in August, most independents lean toward one party or the other — and in 2012, the majority of those leaning independents voted for their preferred party’s presidential candidate. (According to the book “The Gamble,” 90 percent of Democratic-leaning independents backed Obama in 2012, and 78 percent of Republican-leaning ones backed Romney.)

So an accurate picture of the electorate looks a bit more like the graph at right below than the one at left.

Since 2004, the number of what we’ll call “pure” independents — which is to say, those who aren’t leaning in one direction or the other — has increased slightly.

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You can see the trend a bit more clearly looking only at the first Gallup surveys of each year. The lighter blue and red sections have gotten bigger, as have the yellow.

This is a long-term trend, but it clearly overlaps with what we’re seeing in the presidential race. People may consistently vote for Republicans, but they would rather call themselves “independents.” There’s an appeal to being an outsider and to outsider politics that’s reflected in how people see themselves.

But when the general election rolls around, those Republican-leaning independents will very likely vote for the Republican.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/11/independents-outnumber-democrats-and-republicans-but-theyre-not-very-independent/?utm_term=.fbe8b0814d7b

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Image result for fbi director james comey May 3, 2017 Image result for cartoons branco on comey and emails on clintonImage result for cartoons branco on repeal and replace

Breaking — Story 1: FBI Director James Comey On Decision To Speak, Conceal or No Action On Clinton State Department Emails On Weiner Laptop — Videos

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Clinton blames Comey, Russia for election loss

Comey on Clinton: Concealing in my view would have been catastrophic

Comey reveals why he announced a new Clinton investigation 11 days before the election

WOW: Comey Answers WHY He Announced Hillary Clinton Email Investigation 11 Days Before Election

James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, described his decision to reopen an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails in October during questioning by Senator Dianne Feinstein at a hearing on Wednesday.

By THE NEW YORK TIMES on Publish Date May 3, 2017. Photo by Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

WASHINGTON — James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, sharply defended his rationale for notifying Congress about new emails related to the Hillary Clinton investigation less than two weeks before Election Day, saying Wednesday that any suggestion he affected the vote’s outcome made him “mildly nauseous.”

Mr. Comey’s comments at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing were his first public explanation for his actions, which roiled the presidential campaign in its final days and cast a harsh spotlight on the F.B.I. director.

Mr. Comey said he went public on Oct. 28 because he believed that the emails found by his agents might provide insight into Mrs. Clinton’s reasons for using a private server as secretary of state and might change the outcome of the investigation. Failing to inform Congress, Mr. Comey said, would have a required an “act of concealment.”

“Concealment, in my view, would have been catastrophic,” he said, adding later that he knew the decision would be “disastrous for me personally.”

What Mr. Comey viewed as concealing, Justice Department officials viewed simply as following the rules. The F.B.I. does not normally confirm ongoing investigations. Senior Justice Department officials urged him not to send a letter to Congress informing them that the bureau was examining the new emails.

When Mr. Comey recounted that confrontation to Congress in 2007, he was calm and confident. But in his testimony on Wednesday, he appeared more animated — even, at times, defensive — as committee members peppered him with questions. And while the hospital room showdown earned him bipartisan praise, Mr. Comey has instead gotten bipartisan criticism for his decisions in the final days of the 2016 campaign.

Unlike a House Intelligence Committee hearing in March in which Mr. Comey took the extraordinary step of confirming the existence of an investigation into Russian meddling in the election, the hearing Wednesday was supposed to be a more routine congressional oversight proceeding. But little has been routine for the F.B.I. over the past 10 months, as the dramatic moment from Mr. Comey showed.

The tone of the opening statements from both the top Republican and the top Democrat on the committee made clear that they wanted answers from Mr. Comey on a number of issues, including Mrs. Clinton’s emails, the Russia investigation, leaks to the news media and the use of wiretapping as an investigative tool.

“We need the F.B.I. to be accountable because we need the F.B.I. to effective,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the committee.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the panel, immediately pounced on Mr. Comey, saying he took an enormous gamble in sending the letter to Congress on Oct. 28 informing them that the F.B.I. was examining new Clinton-related emails without knowing how the messages might shape the Clinton investigation.

“We need to hear how the F.B.I. will regain that faith and trust,” Ms. Feinstein said. “We need straightforward answers to our questions and we want to hear how you’re going to lead the F.B.I. going forward. We never, ever want anything like this to happen again.”

She demanded to know why he treated the investigations so “dramatically different.”

Mr. Comey rejected her assertion.

He said that the F.B.I. had confirmed the existence of an investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails months after the bureau began it, and that it said no more until after it was closed. Similarly, Mr. Comey said, the F.B.I. revealed there was an investigation into Russian efforts to influence the election months after it was opened in July, and only after it had been widely reported in the media. And as in the Clinton investigation, the F.B.I. has refused to talk about what it has found.

“We’re not going to say another peep about it until we’re done,” Mr. Comey said, acknowledging that the inquiry into Russian meddling is ongoing. “And I don’t know what will be said when we’re done, but that’s the way we handled the Clinton investigation, as well.”

Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation continues to shadow him. Not even President Trump seems keen to forget the decisions the F.B.I. director made during the election. On Tuesday night, the president criticized him in a Twitter post, writing that Mr. Comey was “the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!”

Mr. Trump also played down the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian efforts to help his campaign.

“The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election,” the president wrote on Twitter, apparently in reaction to Mrs. Clinton’s comments on Tuesday in which she heaped blame on the F.B.I. and Russian-backed hackers for her election loss. She also said Mr. Trump was unprepared for the presidency.

Mr. Comey was also pressed Wednesday about leaks to journalists and whether F.B.I. agents in New York revealed information during the election to former federal law enforcement and elected officials, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, the onetime New York City mayor. Three days before Mr. Comey’s announcement in October, Mr. Giuliani, an adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign, said on Fox News that the campaign had “a couple of surprises” in store.

After Mr. Comey’s letter was made public, putting Mr. Giuliani’s comments in a new light, a Trump campaign spokesman said the former mayor had been simply “having fun.” But Mr. Giuliani later undermined that assertion, saying he knew in advance that the F.B.I. had found new emails related to Mrs. Clinton. His comments reinforced suspicions that some F.B.I. agents were out to get her.

“If I find out that people were leaking information about our investigations, whether to reporters or private parties, there will be severe consequences,” Mr. Comey told the questioner, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont.

The warm reception Mr. Comey once received on Capitol Hill, where he was applauded for his efforts to keep the country safe, has cooled considerably in recent months.

Mr. Comey plunged himself into last year’s campaign when he announced at a news conference in July that the F.B.I. was closing the Clinton email investigation. Though he said he would not recommend charging Mrs. Clinton or her aides, he also criticized her for how she had handled government information.

The criticism angered Democrats. Months later, they fumed anew over Mr. Comey’s decision to send the letter to Congress — less than two weeks before Election Day — saying the F.B.I. had found more emails pertinent to the investigation. The emails turned out not to change the outcome of the investigation, but that revelation upended the election and later prompted accusations from some Clinton supporters that Mr. Comey had cost her the White House.

In March, Democrats got some satisfaction when Mr. Comey acknowledged before the House Intelligence Committee that the F.B.I. had opened an investigation over the summer into Russian meddling in the presidential election and whether any Trump associates were involved. But they also criticized Mr. Comey for not confirming the existence of that inquiry sooner.

Republicans have grilled Mr. Comey over his decision not to recommend charges in the Clinton email investigation and over a string of leaks to the news media from unnamed officials that were seen as damaging to Mr. Trump in the early days of his administration and in the weeks before the inauguration.

Mr. Comey has tried to keep a low profile since the March hearing, where he talked about the Russia investigation and dismissed Mr. Trump’s claim that he had been wiretapped by President Barack Obama.

Later that month, Mr. Comey spoke to national security experts at a dinner that members of the news media attended. His agenda then was clear.

“I’m determined not to make news,” he said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/us/politics/james-comey-fbi-senate-hearing.html?_r=0

Comey says classified Clinton emails were forwarded to Anthony Weiner

Comey on Clinton investigation: ‘I would make the same decision’

FBI Director James Comey responded, May 3, before the Senate Judiciary Committee to a question from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on his announcement about re-opening the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server days before the election.(Reuters)
May 3 at 12:47 PM
Hillary Clinton emails containing classified information were forwarded to former congressman Anthony Weiner, the director of the FBI testified Wednesday as he defended his handling of politically sensitive probes surrounding the last year’s presidential race.Under questioning from the senior Democrat on the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), James B. Comey revealed more details about how Clinton’s emails ended up on Weiner’s computer.Weiner, a New York Democrat, was married to a top aide to Clinton, Huma Abedin. Weiner was being investigated separately for possible inappropriate communications with a minor.

“Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information,” Comey said, adding later, “His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him to print out for her so she could deliver them to the secretary of state.”

Here is the opening statement from FBI Director James B. Comey at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 3. (Photo: AP/Reuters)

The two were investigated for possible mishandling of classified material, but the FBI ultimately dropped the matter without seeking charges because they could not show either of them intended to violate the law, Comey said.

“Really the central problem we had with the whole email investigation was proving people… had some sense they were doing something unlawful. That was our burden and we were unable to meet it,’’ he said.

The director defended his decision to notify Congress that he had reopened the Clinton email probe just days before the election, saying he was forced to choose between saying something or concealing what he knew — or, as he put it, “between really bad and catastrophic.’’

He added: “It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election.”

Comey said he has been interviewed by the Justice Department’s inspector general as part of an internal investigation into how the FBI handled the Clinton case.

“I want that inspection, I want my story told,’’ he said. “If I did something wrong, I want to hear that.’’

But he added that he still thinks he behaved appropriately and had no regrets about his decisions.

FBI Director James B. Comey described the difference between investigative journalism and what he called “intelligence porn” released by WikiLeaks, speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3 at the Capitol. (Reuters)

“Lordy, has this been painful,’’ he said. “I’ve gotten all kinds of rocks thrown at me and this has been really hard, but I think I’ve done the right thing at each turn.’’

Comey has been under intense pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to explain his decision-making, and he faced more criticism in Wednesday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing was scheduled to conduct general congressional oversight of the FBI, but politically sensitive investigations quickly became the focus of lawmakers’ questions.

The chairman of the committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), opened the hearing by saying that “a cloud of doubt hangs over the FBI.” He demanded that the bureau reveal more about how it has handled the probes.

“We need to know whether there was anything improper going on between the Trump campaign and the Russians, or if these allegations are just a partisan smear campaign that manipulated our government into chasing conspiracy theories,” Grassley said.

Comey began his prepared testimony by praising the work of the FBI, citing the recent successful investigations of bomb threats against Jewish community centers, hacking networks and doctors accused of female genital mutilation.

“I love this work, I love this job, and I love it because of the mission and the people I get to work with,’’ he said.

Grassley’s first question to Comey was about leaks, asking Comey if he had ever been an anonymous source for stories about Clinton or Trump.

“Never,’’ Comey said. Asked if he had authorized someone else to speak anonymously to reporters about those cases, the director said no.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Comey what threat Russia posed to future U.S. elections. “In my view the greatest threat of any nation on earth given their intention and their capability,’’ Comey answered, adding that while Russia did not alter vote tallies in 2016, they have tried to do so in other countries and he said U.S. officials should expect them to try to do so in future U.S. elections.One of the lessons that particularly the Russians may have drawn from this is that it works,’’ Comey said.

Democrats repeatedly pressed Comey about his decision to notify Congress just days before the election that he was reopening the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server for her work as secretary of state. Democrats are particularly upset about that decision because after the election, Comey acknowledged that the FBI had begun secretly investigating in late July whether any Trump associates might be working with Russian officials to meddle with the presidential campaign.

“It’s still very unclear — and I hope, director, that you will clear this up — why the FBI’s treatment of these two investigations was so dramatically different,” Feinstein said.

The FBI has already concluded that Russian intelligence hacked into Democratic computer systems and email accounts, stealing information that was published by WikiLeaks during the campaign.

Asked about WikiLeaks, Comey said he thought the anti-secrecy group was engaged in something more sinister than journalism.

“To my mind, it crosses a line when it moves from being trying to educate the public and instead becomes about intelligence porn, quite frankly,’’ said Comey. A “huge portion’’ of WikiLeaks’ activities “has nothing to do with legitimate news activity,’’ he said, “… but is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States of America.’’

The Washington Post reported last month that the Justice Department is trying to determine if it can bring criminal charges against those working for the anti-secrecy group.

On Tuesday, Clinton said the move by Comey on Oct. 28 to tell Congress that his investigators were looking at a new batch of Clinton emails helped alter the outcome of the presidential election.

“If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president,” she said at an event in New York. Clinton said that as the candidate on the ballot, she took responsibility for the loss. But she added that she 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.”

Tuesday night, Trump tweeted a fresh broadside at Comey and Clinton, saying the FBI director “was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds.” In a second tweet, he added that the “phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-director-james-comey-begins-testimony-to-congress/2017/05/03/9e3244bc-3006-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html?utm_term=.3db1fe1a3f76

Story 2: Time For President Trump To Instruct Attorney General Session To Appoint Independent Special Prosecutor To Pursue The Many Clinton Crimes Before Statue of Limitations Runs Out In February 2018! — The Clintons are NOT Above the Law — American People Demand Justice! — Videos

Image result for Hillary Clinton interview Image result

Image result for cartoons branco on comey and emails on clinton

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If Hillary Clinton supporters are confused why she lost, watch this

Hillary Clinton says half of Trump’s supporters are in a “basket of deplorables”

Why Hillary Clinton Thinks She Lost The 2016 Election | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Clinton reflects on election loss (Full event)

“Shattered” tells behind-the-scenes story of Hillary Clinton’s election loss

Here’s how a special prosecutor investigating Trump and Russia would get appointed

donald trump
President Donald Trump in a meeting with business leaders.Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After revelations Wednesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had two conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the US during the 2016 campaign, lawmakers renewed calls for a special prosecutor to investigate ties between Trump associates and Russian operatives.

House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, tweeted Thursday morning “AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself.”

Democratic senators have called repeatedly for a special prosecutor, more often called an independent or special counsel, to be appointed.

But what exactly is a special prosecutor, how does he or she get appointed, and what happens next? We broke it down.

Who appoints a special prosecutor?

Jeff Sessions

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) arrive for US President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2017.REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool

A special counsel could be appointed by either Sessions himself or by Congress to investigate potential ties between Trump’s inner circle and Russia, said Professor William Banks, the founding director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University.

A “special counsel” is a modern day term for a “special prosecutor,” according to Banks, and any investigation would likely use the term “special counsel.” The term “special prosecutor” was used up through the 1980s, after which the laws around special prosecutors expired and were not renewed, therefore retiring the term.

Banks said there may be pressure on Sessions not to appoint a special counsel, given that he was appointed by Trump. “We would hope [Sessions] would exercise independent judgment about the efficacy of having a special counsel,” Banks told Business Insider.

Democratic lawmakers, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have requested Sessions recuse himself from any investigations multiple times, renewing the call on Thursday following news about Sessions’ meeting with the Russian ambassador. (After the latest revelations, Schumer said he should resign.) House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday that “it would be easier” if Sessions recused himself.

“I think, the trust of the American people, you recuse yourself in these situations,” McCarthy said, according to Politico. “I just think for any investigation going forward, you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation … that there’s no doubt within the investigation.”

Sessions has previously said that he would recuse himself on anything requiring him to do so, but he has asserted that he sees no need to remove himself from any Trump-Russia investigations.

The Department of Justice does have a rule that could affect Sessions’ role in a special counsel investigation:

“No DOJ employee may participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution, or who would be directly affected by the outcome.”

chuckschumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerMario Tama/Getty Images

If the attorney general recuses himself, it falls to the deputy attorney general to appoint an independent counsel, according to the Code of Federal Regulations. The appointment of a special counsel by the attorney general or deputy attorney general is “unreviewable,” according to the Center for Legal and Economic Studies.

Preliminary investigations are currently underway in the Senate and House intelligence committees, but Banks said he believes it is unlikely a special counsel would be created until those investigations conclude.

The other way to establish an independent counsel goes through Congress.

Congress could initiate the process to create a different independent counsel for investigations by passing a law, as it did in 1978, when the Ethics in Government Act was passed. The law dictated that a three-judge panel based at the US Court of Appeals in DC would appoint the counsel. The law, which was reauthorized several times until its sunset in 1999, was used more than a dozen times to initiate investigations, according to PBS Frontline. It was used most famously in the 1990s to appoint attorney Kenneth Starr to oversee investigations in to President Bill Clinton.

Such a law would have to be either signed by Trump or, in the event of a presidential veto, overridden by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress. There is precedent, however, for a president to sign an independent counsel law amid scrutiny. Clinton signed a reauthorization of the 1978 law in 1994 with a number of alleged scandals brewing.

Congress could, however, launch its own investigation into the executive branch without legislation because such authority is implicit in the appropriations power, Banks said. If Congress decided to act on its own, it is much more likely that it would establish a commission or committee to investigate, rather than passing ethics legislation, Banks added.

What kinds of people are appointed to a special counsel?

Special counsels tend to be highly respected lawyers or judges. Examples, according to Banks, include: highly experienced private practice lawyers, retired judges, and former Justice Department prosecutors.

How long would a special counsel investigation take to complete?

A special counsel investigation would likely take between six to nine months, according to Banks, who said that such investigations tend to be extremely complicated by nature. With so much classified information, intelligence agency officials that need to be interviewed, and hard to obtain information, it takes a while to sort out.

What does a special counsel have access to?

A special counsel investigation would involve arranging access to classified documents. This could be achieved by either declassifying information or creating clearance to classified documents for the purpose of the investigation only. If the latter is done, it is unlikely the public would see the documents obtained.

A special counsel would also be expected to interview a vast range of people with knowledge of or connection to the investigation.

flynn trump and bannon

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office of the White House, January 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. Also pictured at right, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the case of the Trump-Russia allegations, a special counsel would look into any and all classified or declassified documents that the FBI, CIA, and various police departments and investigation groups might have the incident.

This would include human or digital intelligence, and the dossier delivered by British intelligence. Extensive interviews would be run with anyone close to the situation, including Trump’s inner circle, and anyone who had access to digital or technical related information, said Banks. The special counsel themselves would ultimately determine which evidence to use.

What happens after the special counsel investigation concludes?

What happens next depends in part on who appoints a special counsel. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would decide whether the special counsel appointed under him had enough evidence to prosecute Trump or implicated officials.

If Congress created an office for an independent or special counsel, it is likely that the counsel would refer results of the investigation to Congress, though that could change depending on the legislation passed. If Congress initiated an investigation through a commission or committee, it would fall to the attorney general to decide whether to prosecute based on the results provided.

Why are people asking for a special counsel?

Trump and his inner circle have been accused of having close ties to Russia. The White House has denied many of those accusations. Business Insider has previously reported that:

  • Trump and several associates continue to draw intense scrutiny for alleged ties to and communications with the Russian government.
  • A dossier of unverified claims alleged serious misconduct in the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign. The White House has dismissed the dossier as fiction, and most of the claims remain unverified.
  • Trump’s campaign aides were accused of having frequent contact with Russia in a report released by the New York Times.
  • A report published on Wednesday by the Washington Post said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador twice during the 2016 election.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer has argued that Trump and his aides have been sufficiently investigated already, and that no evidence of wrongdoing has been found.

Michelle Mark contributed reporting on this article.

Special prosecutor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A special prosecutor (or special counsel or independent counsel) is a lawyer appointed to investigate and possibly prosecute a specific legal case of potential wrongdoing for which a conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority. For example, the investigation of an allegation against a sitting president or attorney general might be handled by a special prosecutor rather than an ordinary prosecutor, who would otherwise be in the position of investigating their own boss. Investigations into others connected to the government but not in a position of direct authority over the prosecutor, such as cabinet secretaries or election campaigns, have also been handled by special prosecutors.

The term is not specific to the United States,[1] or to the federal government. According to Harriger, the concept originates in state law: “state courts have traditionally appointed special prosecutors when the regular government attorney was disqualified from a case, whether for incapacitation or interest.”[2] While the most prominent special prosecutors have been those appointed since the 1870s to investigate presidents and those connected to them, the term can also be used to refer to any prosecutor appointed to avoid a conflict of interest or appearance thereof. For example, because district attorneys’ offices work closely with police, some activists argue that cases of police misconduct at the state and local level should be handled by “special prosecutors”.[3]

The term special counsel as used here is distinct from the United States Office of Special Counsel, which is a permanent government agency (unlike special counsels, who are appointed for specific, temporary assignments), which protects government whistleblowers, among other things.

Terminology

The terms “special prosecutor”, “independent counsel”, and “special counsel” have the same fundamental meaning, and their use (at least at the federal level in the US) is generally differentiated by the time period to which they are being applied. The term “special prosecutor” was used throughout the Watergate era, but was replaced by the less confrontational “independent counsel” in the 1983 reauthorization of the Ethics in Government Act.[4] Those appointed under that act after 1983 are generally referred to as independent counsels. Since the independent counsel law expired in 1999, the term special counsel has generally been used. This is the term used in the current US government regulations concerning the appointment of special counsels.[5]

While the term special prosecutor is sometimes used in historical discussions of all such figures before 1983, the term special counsel appears to have been frequently used as well, including, for example, in contemporary newspaper accounts[6] describing the first presidentially appointed special counsel in 1875.

United States appointment at the federal level

History of appointments

Pre-Watergate

The first federal special prosecutor, John B. Henderson, was appointed by Ulysses Grant in 1875 to investigate the Whiskey Ring scandal. After attempting to stifle Henderson’s investigation of the president’s personal secretary, Grant fired Henderson on the basis that Henderson’s statements to a grand jury regarding Grant were impertinent.[7] Following criticism, Grant appointed a new special prosecutor, James Broadhead, to continue the investigation.

James Garfield appointed the next special prosecutor, William Cook, in 1881 to investigate the Star route scandal. Cook continued his investigation into the Chester Arthur administration. Under the Theodore Roosevelt administration, special prosecutors were appointed to investigate two scandals. In 1903, Roosevelt appointed two special prosecutors (a democrat and a republican) to investigate allegations of bribery at the Post Office department. In 1905, Roosevelt’s attorney general, Philander Knox,[8] appointed Francis Heney special prosecutor to investigate the Oregon land fraud scandal.

Calvin Coolidge appointed two special counsels, Atlee Pomerene and Owen Roberts to investigate the Teapot Dome scandal. This appointment was unique in that it was made under a special Congressional resolution, and was subject to approval in the Senate.[9]

In 1952, Harry Truman appointed Newbold Morris “special assistant to the Attorney General” to investigate the corruption at the Bureau of Internal Revenue following Congressional pressure and calls for a special prosecutor.[10]After Morris submitted a lengthy questionnaire on personal finances to be completed by all senior executive officers, he was fired by Attorney General Howard McGrath, who was in turn fired by the president. Following the appointment of a new attorney general, the investigation was continued through regular channels.

Watergate

In May 1973, Richard Nixon‘s attorney general, Elliott Richardson, appointed Archibald Cox special prosecutor to investigate the Watergate scandal after Richardson had agreed in his senate confirmation hearing to appoint a Watergate special prosecutor. As part of his investigation, in July of that year, Cox first requested and then subpoenaed the Nixon White House tapes, secret recordings Nixon had made of conversations in the Oval Office and elsewhere. The Nixon administration refused to produce the tapes citing executive privilege, and the dispute was fought in court until October. After a Court of Appeals instructed the president to comply with the special prosecutor’s subpoena, Nixon ordered the special prosecutor fired. In what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre, both the attorney general and deputy attorney general (who had both made promises regarding the special prosecutor in their senate confirmations) resigned rather than carry out the order to fire Cox. Solicitor General Robert Bork, who was third in line at the Department of Justice, then fired Cox.

Initially, the Nixon Whitehouse announced that the office of the special prosecutor had been abolished, but after public outcry Nixon instead had Bork appoint Leon Jaworski as the second Watergate special prosecutor, less than two weeks after the Saturday Night Massacre. Jaworski continued Cox’s pursuit of the White House tapes, which were ultimately released following the supreme court decision in United States v. Nixon. Jaworski resigned after just under a year as special prosecutor, about two and a half months after Nixon’s own resignation, to be replaced by his (and Cox’s) deputy, Henry Ruth Jr. Ruth in turn resigned in 1975, leaving Charles Ruff the fourth and final Watergate special prosecutor. Acting under his existing appointment as Watergate special prosecutor, Ruff conducted an unrelated investigation into whether Gerald Ford had misused campaign funds while a congressman, clearing the president of any wrongdoing.[11]

Independent counsel law

Inspired in part by Watergate, in 1978 Congress passed the Ethics in Government Act, which among other things established formal rules for the appointment of a special prosecutor. The special prosecutor provisions in the bill were temporary, but were reauthorized by Congress in 1983 and 1987, expiring five years later in 1992, then were reinstated for another five years in 1994 before expiring again in 1999. The appointment of special prosecutors under the Ethics in Government Act varied in important ways from appointments made before and since. Most notably, although the decision to appoint a special prosecutor was still made by the attorney general, the actual selection of the special prosecutor was made by a three-judge panel.[12]

Roughly twenty special prosecutors (called independent counsels after 1983) were appointed under the Ethics in Government Act and its reauthorizations[13] during each of the Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton administrations. These include significant investigations into the Iran–Contra affair and the Whitewater controversy, the latter of which ultimately led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton over the Lewinsky scandal. Numerous smaller investigations into cabinet secretaries for relatively minor offenses, such as drug use, were also carried out by special prosecutors during this period.

During the period 1992–1994 when the independent counsel provisions were not in force, Attorney General Janet Reno appointed Robert Fiske special counsel to investigate Whitewater. When the law was reauthorized in 1994, Reno invoked it to order an independent counsel be appointed to investigate Whitewater, and suggested Fiske continue in that role. Instead, Ken Starr was given the job by the three-judge panel. Starr resigned and was replaced by Robert Ray in 1999 just before the expiration of the independent counsel statute.[14] Ray formally concluded the Whitewater investigation in 2003.

Since 1999

Since the expiration of the independent counsel statute in 1999, there is no federal law governing the appointment of a special prosecutor, as was the case until 1978. With the law’s expiration in 1999, the Justice Department, under Attorney General Reno, promulgated procedural regulations governing the appointment of special counsels. These regulations were used that year by Reno to appoint John Danforth special counsel to investigate the FBI’s handling of the Waco siege.[15]

In 2003 during the George W Bush administration, Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General James Comey, acting after the recusal of Attorney General John Ashcroft, to investigate the Plame affair.

Legal authority

The legal authority under which special prosecutors are appointed has changed over the years.

In the case of the Teapot Dome investigation, Congress passed a special joint resolution requiring the appointment of a special counsel for the case, and requiring confirmation of the special counsels by the Senate, similarly to a cabinet appointment.[9] This process was unique in the history of federal special prosecutors.

Special prosecutors have also been appointed under special one-time regulations issued by the attorney general. This was the case, for example, for the Watergate special prosecutors.[16]

Passed partly in response to the events of Watergate, the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 created a statutory basis for the appointment of special prosecutors, and specifically restricted the authority of the president or attorney general, for example, to fire the independent counsel once appointed. The independent counsel provisions of the law were in effect during the periods 1978–1992 and 1994–1999.

With the expiration of the independent counsel authority in 1999, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Janet Reno promulgated regulations for the future appointment of special counsels. As of 2017, these regulations remain in effect as 28 CFR section 600.[5] While the regulations place limits on the authority of the attorney general, for example to fire the special counsel once appointed, they are internal Department of Justice regulations without an underlying statutory basis. It is thus unclear whether the limits these regulations place on the attorney general would prove binding in practice.

The existence of a law or regulations specifying one process to appoint a special prosecutor does not preclude the attorney general (or acting attorney general) from using their inherent authority to appoint a special prosecutor by other means, as has happened twice. Despite the passage of the Ethics in Government Act the previous year, Paul Curran was appointed to investigate Jimmy Carter’s peanut business in 1979 under the attorney general’s inherent authority (and was selected by him rather than by a three-judge panel as under the law), ostensibly because the alleged wrongdoing preceded the passage of the act.[7] Patrick Fitzgerald’s appointment as special counsel in 2003 was specifically not made under the 28 CFR 600 regulation.[17] The special counsel regulations specify that a special counsel must be a lawyer from outside the US government, while Fitzgerald was already a federal prosecutor at the time of his appointment.

Initiating a special prosecutor investigation

The decision to appoint a special prosecutor rests with the attorney general (or acting attorney general), or, historically, with the president. Under the independent counsel statute that expired in 1999, Congress could formally request the attorney general to appointment a special prosecutor (see role of legislative and judicial branches); however the law only required the attorney general to respond in writing with a decision and reasons, and in any event it is no longer in force.[16] Similarly, under the statute, the choice of who to appoint as special prosecutor was made by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals. This is no longer the case, and the decision of who to appoint now rests entirely with the attorney general.

The current special counsel regulations specify that:[5]

The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and—

  • (a) That investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and
  • (b) That under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.

The attorney general sets the subject jurisdiction of the special counsel:

The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.

The choice of who to appoint is to be made by the attorney general with the following guidelines:

An individual named as Special Counsel shall be a lawyer with a reputation for integrity and impartial decisionmaking, and with appropriate experience to ensure both that the investigation will be conducted ably, expeditiously and thoroughly, and that investigative and prosecutorial decisions will be supported by an informed understanding of the criminal law and Department of Justice policies. The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government. Special Counsels shall agree that their responsibilities as Special Counsel shall take first precedence in their professional lives, and that it may be necessary to devote their full time to the investigation, depending on its complexity and the stage of the investigation.

Terminating a special prosecutor investigation

Generally, the special prosecutor him or herself decides when an investigation will terminate, with or without formal charges being pursued. The special prosecutor typically issues a final report on their investigation at this time. The current special prosecutor regulations specify that[5] “At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.”

Firing the special prosecutor

Three special prosecutors have been fired before they had completed their investigations. President Grant fired the special prosecutor investigating the Whiskey Ring scandal on charges of impudence against the president, but later replaced him following public pressure. President Truman’s attorney general fired Newbold Morris when Morris submitted a lengthy questionnaire to be filled out by all senior executive officers. Truman later fired the attorney general, and concluded the investigation through ordinary means. President Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox after Cox subpoenaed the White House tapes. Controversy over the propriety and legality of this last firing sparked a constitutional crisis, dubbed the Saturday Night Massacre. The firing was ruled illegal in the case of Nader v. Bork, but, as a new special prosecutor had already been appointed, the case was already moot when decided, and the decision was never appealed past the district court.[18]

The independent counsel law originally enacted in the Ethics in Government Act did not allow independent counsels appointed under the law to be removed except under specific circumstances such as wrongdoing or incapacitation. This law is no longer in effect.

The current special counsel regulations specify that:[5]

The Special Counsel may be disciplined or removed from office only by the personal action of the Attorney General. The Attorney General may remove a Special Counsel for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies. The Attorney General shall inform the Special Counsel in writing of the specific reason for his or her removal.

Unlike the independent counsel law, however, the current special counsel regulations were promulgated by the Justice Department and have no underlying statutory basis. Thus their force to constrain the attorney general is uncertain.

Role of the legislative and judicial branches

The decision to appoint a special prosecutor is made by the executive branch, historically by the president or attorney general (or acting attorney general). The only exception to this was the Teapot Dome special prosecutors, whose appointment was mandated by a joint resolution of Congress.[9]

Under the independent counsel statute, majorities of either party within the House or Senate Judiciary Committee could formally request the attorney general to appoint an independent counsel on a particular matter, but the decision of whether or not to appoint the independent counsel remained with the attorney general and was not reviewable in court. If the attorney general decided not to appoint an independent counsel in response to such a request, they were only required to respond in writing with the reasons.[16] Although under the statute the attorney general made the decision of whether or not to appoint an independent counsel, the actual selection of the individual to serve in this role was made by a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals.[which?][12]

Since the expiration of the independent counsel laws, as was the case before 1978, neither Congress nor the courts have any official role in the appointment of a special counsel; however Congress can use other powers to pressure an administration into appointing a special counsel. This happened, for example, in the appointment of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox; senators secured a promise from Attorney General nominee Richardson to appoint a Watergate special prosecutor as a condition of his confirmation. Congress also has independent authority to investigate the president and his or her close associates through Congressional hearings as part of its government oversight role.[16]

Constitutionality

The appointment of a special prosecutor raises inherent separation of powers questions under the US Constitution. Since the special prosecutor is a member of the executive branch, it has been argued that the special prosecutor is ultimately answerable to the president, and can therefore be fired by them. Richard Nixon, for example, argued that he could not be compelled by a subpoena issued by his own subordinate.

The constitutionality of the independent counsel law was affirmed by an 7–1 decision of the supreme court in the case of Morrison v. Olson.

Calls for a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 US election

On December 21, 2016, Democratic Congresswoman Nydia Valázquez wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking Lynch to appoint a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 United States election. Such an appointment would have been unusual in that the conflict of interest to be addressed was anticipated, following the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, rather than immediate.[19]

On February 24, 2017, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa called for the appointment of a special counsel on the Real Time with Bill Maher show.

On March 2, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election following revelations that he had had meetings with the Russian ambassador while a Trump campaign surrogate, and had falsely testified otherwise in his senate confirmation hearing. The decision over whether to appoint a special counsel thus devolved to his deputy, currently Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente. In senate confirmation hearings for Rod Rosenstein to replace Boente as Deputy Attorney General, ongoing in March 2017, several Democratic senators have sought to make the confirmation conditional on Rosenstein’s agreement to appoint a special counsel. Rosenstein has declined to make such a commitment, and because Democrats are in the minority, this is unlikely to prevent his confirmation.[20]

United States appointment at the state level

Special prosecutors are appointed in state court with greater frequency than federal, and most often in cases where a conflict of interest arises or to avoid even the appearance such a conflict exists. In local state governments, special prosecutors are appointed by a judge, government official, organization, company or group of citizens to prosecute violations of law committed by one or more governmental agents and procure indictments for actions taken under color of state law.[21] Unlike in courts having federal jurisdiction, where the terms “special counsel” and “independent counsel” have a uniform definition, in state court meanings of legal terms continually vary, but with “special prosector” referencing the appointment of an attorney (supra) in contemplation of representation and prosecution of one or more government agent(s) for unlawful conduct.

References

  1. Jump up^ “South Korea prosecutor paves way for charges against Park if impeachment upheld”. Reuters. 2017-03-06. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  2. Jump up^ Harriger, Katy (1992). The Federal Special Prosecutor in American Politics. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. p. 3. ISBN 0-7006-0535-5.
  3. Jump up^ “Policy 11: Special or Independent Prosecutors | Justice in Policing Toolkit”. http://www.justiceinpolicing.com. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  4. Jump up^ “The Office – A Brief History Of The Independent Counsel Law | Secrets Of An Independent Counsel | FRONTLINE | PBS”. http://www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e e-CFR: TITLE 28—Judicial Administration, retrieved 2017-03-14
  6. Jump up^ “THE WHISKY RING FRAUDS.; THE PROSECUTIONS IN ST. LOUIS. INDICTMENT OF GEN. BABCOCK–LETTER OF THE GRAND JURY TO THE PRESIDENT THANKING HIM FOR THE SUPPORT GIVEN THEM BY HIM–THE SPECIAL COUNSEL–MR. HENDERSON’S CASE. MR. HENDERSON’S ATTACK ON THE PRESIDENT–HE SAYS HE WAS INCORRECTLY REPORTE–THE REPORTED DISPATCH OF SENATOR MORTON.”. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b “OIC Smaltz: Speeches and Articles: Georgetown Law Journal: A View From Inside”. govinfo.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  8. Jump up^ Greenberg, Gerald (2000). Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Independent Counsel Investigations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 164–166. ISBN 0-313-30735-0.
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b c “A summary of the Teapot Dome scandal from the Brookings Institution”. academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  10. Jump up^ Greenberg, Gerald (2000). Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Independent Counsel Investigations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 231–233. ISBN 0-313-30735-0.
  11. Jump up^ Greenberg, Gerald (2000). Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Independent Counsel Investigations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 293–295. ISBN 0-313-30735-0.
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b “The Office – What Is The Special Division? | Secrets Of An Independent Counsel | FRONTLINE | PBS”. http://www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  13. Jump up^ “The Office – Independent Counsel Investigations, 1978 To The Present | Secrets Of An Independent Counsel | FRONTLINE | PBS”. http://www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  14. Jump up^ Post, From the Washington (1999-10-17). “Starr’s Chosen Successor Draws Praise, Criticism”. Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  15. Jump up^ “09-09-99: PRESS CONFERENCE WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO RE: APPOINTMENT OF FORMER SENATOR JOHN DANFORTH TO HEAD WACO PROBE”. http://www.justice.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Maskell, Jack (June 20, 2013). “Independent Counsels, Special Prosecutors, Special Counsels, and the Role of Congress” (PDF).
  17. Jump up^ “December 30, 2003 Letter from Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey to Patrick J. Fitzgerald” (PDF).
  18. Jump up^ “Nader v. Bork, 366 F. Supp. 104 (D.D.C. 1973)”. Justia Law. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  19. Jump up^ “House Democrat appeals for special counsel to probe Russian hacking”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  20. Jump up^ “Grilled on Russia probe, deputy attorney general pick sidesteps Democrats’ calls for special prosecutor”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  21. Jump up^ Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004) Prosecutor.

Further reading

  • Doyle, James (1977). Not Above the Law: the battles of Watergate prosecutors Cox and Jaworski. New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-688-03192-7.

External links

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

Story 3: Will There Be A House Vote to Repeal and Replace Obamacare? Only If Republican Have The 216 Votes! —  Until The Twelfth of Never — Breaking — Republican Have 216+ Votes — Videos

Image result for cartoons branco repeal of obamacare

Image result for cartoons branco repeal of obamacareImage result for cartoons branco repeal of obamacare

Image result for preexisting conditions

 The Truth Behind the Affordable Care Act – Learn Liberty

Obamacare: Goals vs. Outcomes- Learn Liberty

Rand Paul Questions Tom Price on Replacing Obamacare

Molyneux and Schiff For Liberty – Discrimination and Pre-Existing Conditions in Health Insurance

The GOP Has A Pre-Existing Condition | All In | MSNBC

MSNBC: Dr Jason Johnson on Trump’s Effort to Sway GOP Votes to Repeal and Replace Obamacare 5/3/17

Republicans could vote on health care this week

King: Leave pre-existing conditions to states

Rep. Jim Jordan: Pre-Existing Conditions Covered In GOP Healthcare Bill | MTP Daily | MSNBC

White House Continues To Work To Save Healthcare Bill

Pre-existing conditions mandate threatens Republican health care bill

Sources say WH aiming for health reform vote on Wednesday

President Trump guarantees pre-existing condition coverage in new health care bill

Published on Apr 30, 2017

President Trump says the new health care bill promises coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. “We have a specific clause that guarantees,” Trump tells CBS News’ John Dickerson.

CNN graphic nails Trump for lying about preexisting conditions

Trump Again Leads Effort To Repeal Affordable Care Act

Pre-existing condition

Politics Unusual: Washington Gridlock

12th of never

“the 12th of never” is used as the date of a future occurrence that will never come to pass.

JOHNNY MATHIS The Twelfth Of Never

Twelfth of Never
You ask me how much I need you, must I explain?
I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain
You ask how long I’ll love you, I’ll tell you true
Until the Twelfth of Never, I’ll still be loving you
Hold me close, never let me go
Hold me close, melt my heart like April snow
I’ll love you ’til the bluebells forget to bloom
I’ll love you ’til the clover has lost its perfume
I’ll love you ’til the poets run out of rhyme
Until the Twelfth of Never and that’s a long, long time
Until the Twelfth of Never and that’s a long, long time
Songwriters: Jerry Livingston / Paul Webster

ObamaCare repeal gains votes and momentum

Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Billy Long (R-Mo.) on Wednesday said they would support the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill with the addition of an amendment, giving the effort new momentum as GOP leaders push toward a floor vote.

The two Republicans made the announcement at the White House after meeting with President Trump.

“I think it is likely now to pass the House,” Upton said.

But Upton added he’s “not on the whip team” and can’t definitively say there are enough votes for it to pass.

Both Upton and Long dealt a setback to the health care measure earlier this week, when they came out against it because they said it failed to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

The new amendment from Upton would provide $8 billion over five years to help people with pre-existing conditions afford their premiums in states that are granted a waiver from ObamaCare’s protections.

The liberal Center for American Progress estimated on Tuesday that the high-risk pools are underfunded by much more: $200 billion over 10 years.

The GOP bill already includes $130 billion over 10 years, which was not swaying many moderates as of Tuesday.

Upton himself said on Tuesday afternoon that more money for the high-risk pools “does not do the trick,” but he appeared to have a change of heart on Wednesday.

GOP leaders are whipping aggressively in favor of the healthcare bill in hopes of holding a vote before a one-week recess.

Upton said votes in the House Rules Committee, which would set up debate of the bill on the floor, could be held as soon as Thursday.

If the House votes on the bill this week, there would not be time for a new Congressional Budget Office analysis of Upton’s changes or of an amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) that won over the House Freedom Caucus.

The MacArthur amendment set off moderates’ concerns in the first place. It allows states to waive ObamaCare protections that prevent people from being charged higher premiums based on their health. If those were repealed, insurers could go back to charging exorbitant premiums to sick people, which could put coverage out of reach for many.

Supporters of the bill argue high-risk pools could fill the gap, and note that people with pre-existing conditions would still be protected if they had no gaps in coverage.

It is not immediately clear how many other moderates Upton’s changes will sway. The moderate Tuesday Group was set to meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Centrist Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) said Wednesday they are still opposed to the bill even after the changes.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) said in a statement Wednesday he could support the bill “if House leadership will work to tighten protections for those with pre-existing conditions.”

GOP Reps. Barbara Comstock (Va.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Dan Donovan (N.Y.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) are all still opposed to the bill after the changes, their respective offices told The Hill on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Rep. John Faso (N.Y.) said he is still undecided.

But in a key development for Republican leaders, the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus has indicated it will continue to back the bill with the Upton amendment as long as it contains only additional funds and no policy changes.

On conservative host Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Wednesday, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) praised Upton’s efforts, calling his amendment something that “nobody has a problem with.”

“Fred Upton identified something he thinks will make the bill better,” Ryan said. “What we’re doing is listening to our members, finding where that sweet spot of consensus is and driving there.”

Illustrating the pressure from the White House, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney called for a vote on Fox News Wednesday morning.

Mulvaney said that if he were Speaker of the House, “I’d probably go to the floor today, because it’s just that close.”

The healthcare legislation was abruptly pulled from the House floor in late March after it became clear that a planned vote would have failed.

The underlying bill also has several provisions some moderates object to, such as deep Medicaid cuts. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the overall legislation would result in 24 million more people becoming uninsured over a decade.

Democrats and some health policy experts have also raised concerns that $8 billion will not be enough to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions who would lose their insurance coverage.

But Trump is hungry for a major legislative achievement after not securing one during his first 100 days in office, and the White House is in full court press to rally support behind the healthcare plan.

After announcing he was a “no” vote, Long said Trump called him multiple times to plead for his support. “The president said, ‘Billy, we really need you, we need you, man,’” the congressman said.

Upton said he and Long went to the White House to sell Trump on their amendment. The Michigan lawmaker said during their meeting he read Trump his comments during a Bloomberg News interview in which he said the health bill “will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as ObamaCare.”

“I want him to keep that pledge,” Upton said. “This amendment allows that to happen.”

– Scott Wong contributed. Updated 1:18 p.m.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/331755-obamacare-repeal-gains-votes-and-momentum

Pre-existing condition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the term in health insurance. For medical use of the term, see Complication (medicine).

In the context of healthcare in the United States, a pre-existing condition is a medical condition that started before a person’s health insurance went into effect. Before 2014 some insurance policies would not cover expenses due to pre-existing conditions. These exclusions by the insurance industry were meant to cope with adverse selection by potential customers. Such exclusions are prohibited after January 1, 2014, by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Definitions

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center defines a pre-existing condition as a “medical condition that occurred before a program of health benefits went into effect”.[1] J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association, has stated on a Fox News Sunday interview that exclusions, based upon these conditions, function as a form of “rationing” of health care.[2]

Conditions can be broken down into two further categories, according to Lisa Smith of Investopedia:[3]

Most insurance companies use one of two definitions to identify such conditions. Under the “objective standard” definition, a pre-existing condition is any condition for which the patient has already received medical advice or treatment prior to enrollment in a new medical insurance plan. Under the broader, “prudent person” definition, a pre-existing condition is anything for which symptoms were present and a prudent person would have sought treatment.

Which definition may be used was sometimes regulated by state laws. Some states required insurance companies to use the objective standard, while others required the prudent person standard. 10 states did not specify either definition, 21 required the “prudent person” standard, and 18 required the “objective” standard.[4]

Regulation

Regulation of pre-existing condition exclusions in individual (non-group) and small group (2 to 50 employees) health insurance plans in the United States is left to individual U.S. states as a result of the McCarran–Ferguson Act of 1945 which delegated insurance regulation to the states and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) which exempted self-insured large group health insurance plans from state regulation. After most states had by the early 1990s implemented some limits on pre-existing condition exclusions by small group (2 to 50 employees) health insurance plans, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (KassebaumKennedy Act) of 1996 (HIPAA) extended some minimal limits on pre-existing condition exclusions for all group health insurance plans—including the self-insured large group health insurance plans that cover half of those with employer-provided health insurance but are exempt from state insurance regulation.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Current federal regulation

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub.L. 111-148) enacted March 23, 2010[11]
  • Immediate reform: effective June 21, 2010 (90 days after enactment)
    • National high-risk pool for individuals with a pre-existing condition who have been uninsured for the prior 6 months
      • Premium to be set at a standard rate for a standard population
      • Premium for older individuals allowed to be up to 4 times the premium for younger individuals
      • Premium for tobacco users allowed to be up to 1.5 times the premium for non-tobacco users
  • Immediate reform: effective September 23, 2010 (6 months after enactment)
    • Group health insurance plans and new (non-grandfathered) individual health insurance plans[12]
      • Pre-existing condition exclusions prohibited for children under age 19
  • Reform delayed for 4 years: effective January 1, 2014
    • Individual and group health insurance plans
      • Pre-existing condition exclusions prohibited in all health insurance plans
      • Prohibit treating acts of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition
      • Waiting period for enrollment in new health insurance plans limited to 90 days
    • Grandfathered existing health insurance plans must prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions by January 1, 2014

Former regulation

Individual (non-group) health insurance plans[13][14]
Small group (2 to 50 employees) health insurance plans[15]
Large group (self-insured) health insurance plans
  • Maximum pre-existing condition exclusion period
    • 12 months: 50 states + DC
  • Maximum look-back period for pre-existing conditions
    • 6 months: 50 states + DC

Pre-existing condition exclusions were prohibited for HIPAA-eligible individuals (those with 18 months continuous coverage unbroken for more than 63 days and coming from a group health insurance plan).

Individual (non-group) health insurance plans could exclude maternity coverage for a pre-existing condition of pregnancy.[2]

Group health insurance plans sponsored by employers with 15 or more employees were prohibited by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 from excluding maternity coverage for a pre-existing condition of pregnancy; this prohibition was extended to all group health insurance plans by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).[2]

Practices and effects

Advocates against pre-existing condition rules argue that they cruelly deny needy people treatment. State Farm spokeswoman K.C. Eynatten has said, “We realized our position was based on gut feelings, not hard numbers… we became aware that we were part of the reason a woman and her children might not leave an abuser. They were afraid they’d lose their insurance. And we wanted no part of that.”[16] Jerry Flanagan, health-care policy director of Consumer Watchdog, has stated that “insurance companies want premiums without any risk” and go to extreme “lengths… to go to make a profit”.[17] InsureMe, an insurance quote provider website, has argued that even though health insurance is basically to protect people from very high costs of health care, the commercial health insurance system is not playing fair and are always trying to avoid risk in order to boost their profits.[18]

Some practices by some health insurance companies, such as determining domestic violence to be an excludable pre-existing condition, have been called abuses by Maria Tchijov, a Service Employees International Union new media coordinator, and by an Office of Rural Health Policy report.[16][19][20]

The rationale behind pre-existing condition clauses, according to those who defend the policies, is that they reduce the cost of health insurance coverage for those who still receive it, thus giving more people an opportunity to afford insurance in the first place.[16][21] The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that “[c]osts for those with coverage could go up because people in poor health who’d been shut out of the insurance pool would now be included… they would get medical care they could not access before.”[21] Senator Mike Enzi, a Republican from Wyoming, has voted to allow insurance companies to consider domestic violence as a pre-existing condition and supported his vote by saying that covering such people could raise insurance premiums to the point where it would preclude others from buying it. He has remarked that “If you have no insurance, it doesn’t matter what services are mandated by the state”.[16][22]

According to the California-based advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, other possible situations falling under pre-existing condition clauses are chronic conditions as acne, hemorrhoids, toenail fungus, allergies, tonsillitis, and bunions, hazardous occupations such as police officer, stunt person, test pilot, circus worker, and firefighter, and pregnancy and/or the intention to adopt.[17]

Commentary by lawmakers

According to a Reason.com libertarian opinion blog by Peter Suderman, the ‘Pledge to America‘ issued by the Republican Party in September 2010 stated, “Health care should be accessible for all, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses…. We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition.”[23] In a March 3, 2010, address, President Barack Obama said that coverage denied to those with pre-existing conditions is a serious problem that would only grow worse without major reforms.[24] In a September 2010 visit with Falls Church, Virginia, residents, Obama referred to a woman with an eye condition and a woman with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as personal examples in the audience of those benefiting from changing pre-existing condition rules.[25]

Public opinion

A Time Magazine-Abt SRBI poll in late July 2009 found that a large majority of Americans (80%) favored a requirement that insurance companies insure people even if they suffer from pre-existing conditions.[26]

In September 2009, the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll report said:[27]

The public’s most unanimous and bipartisan support is saved for a proposal to have the federal government require that health insurance companies cover anyone who applies, even if he/she has a pre-existing condition. Overall, eight in ten back the proposal, including 67 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of political independents and 88 percent of Democrats.

See also

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The Pronk Pops Show 871, April 11, 2017, Story 1: Trump Rattling Cages (Sending Messages) in Syria and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)) — Training Exercise — Trump Neoconed — Videos — Story 2: Attorney General Sessions Enforces Immigration Law — The Trump Era — Videos

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Story 1: Trump Rattling Cages (Sending Messages) in Syria and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)) —  Training Exercise — Trump Neoconed — Videos —

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North Korea state media warns of nuclear strike if provoked as U.S. warships approach

* North Korea media warns of nuclear strike on U.S. if provoked

* U.S. warships head for Korean peninsula

* Trump says North Korea “looking for trouble”

* Russia “really worried” about possible U.S. attack on North (Adds Trump Tweet)

By Sue-Lin Wong

PYONGYANG, April 11 (Reuters) – North Korean state media on Tuesday warned of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of U.S. aggression as a U.S. Navy strike group steamed towards the western Pacific.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished neighbour, said in a Tweet North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without China’s help.

Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula with talk of military action by the United States gaining traction following its strikes last week against Syria and amid concerns the reclusive North may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test.

For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android.

North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the country was prepared to respond to any aggression by the United States.

“Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the U.S. mainland,” it said.

South Korean acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn warned of “greater provocations” by North Korea and ordered the military to intensify monitoring and to ensure close communication with the United States.

“It is possible the North may wage greater provocations such as a nuclear test timed with various anniversaries including the Supreme People’s Assembly,” said Hwang, acting leader since former president Park Geun-hye was removed amid a graft scandal.

Trump said in a Tweet a trade deal between China and the United States would be “far better for them if they solved the North Korea problem”.

“If China decides to help, that would be great,” he said. “If not, we will solve the problem without them!”

Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, met in Florida last week and Trump pressed Xi to do more to rein in North Korea.

The North convened a Supreme People’s Assembly session on Tuesday, one of its twice-yearly sessions in which major appointments are announced and national policy goals are formally approved. It did not immediately release details.

But South Korean officials took pains to quell talk in social media of an impending security crisis or outbreak of war.

“We’d like to ask precaution so as not to get blinded by exaggerated assessment about the security situation on the Korean peninsula,” Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun said.

Saturday is the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the country’s founding father and grandfather of current ruler, Kim Jong Un.

A military parade is expected in the North’s capital, Pyongyang, to mark the day. North Korea often also marks important anniversaries with tests of its nuclear or missile capabilities in breach of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Men and women in colourful outfits were singing and dancing on the streets of Pyongyang, illuminated by better lighting than that seen in previous years, apparently practising for the parade planned.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent a message of congratulations to mark the event, lambasting “big powers” for their “expansionist” policy.

“The friendly two countries are celebrating this anniversary and, at the same time, conducting a war against big powers’ wild ambition to subject all countries to their expansionist and dominationist policy and deprive them of their rights to self-determination,” the North’s KCNA news agency quoted the message as saying.

The North’s foreign ministry, in a statement carried by KCNA, said the U.S. navy strike group’s approach showed America’s “reckless moves for invading had reached a serious phase”.

“We never beg for peace but we will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves,” an unidentified ministry spokesman said.

North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The North regularly threatens to destroy the South and its main ally, the United States.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-state-media-warns-100014004.html

Coming to Terms With the American Empire

APRIL 14, 2015 | 07:54 GMT

 

By George Friedman

“Empire” is a dirty word. Considering the behavior of many empires, that is not unreasonable. But empire is also simply a description of a condition, many times unplanned and rarely intended. It is a condition that arises from a massive imbalance of power. Indeed, the empires created on purpose, such as Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany, have rarely lasted. Most empires do not plan to become one. They become one and then realize what they are. Sometimes they do not realize what they are for a long time, and that failure to see reality can have massive consequences.

World War II and the Birth of an Empire

The United States became an empire in 1945. It is true that in the Spanish-American War, the United States intentionally took control of the Philippines and Cuba. It is also true that it began thinking of itself as an empire, but it really was not. Cuba and the Philippines were the fantasy of empire, and this illusion dissolved during World War I, the subsequent period of isolationism and the Great Depression.

The genuine American empire that emerged thereafter was a byproduct of other events. There was no great conspiracy. In some ways, the circumstances of its creation made it more powerful. The dynamic of World War II led to the collapse of the European Peninsula and its occupation by the Soviets and the Americans. The same dynamic led to the occupation of Japan and its direct governance by the United States as a de facto colony, with Gen. Douglas MacArthur as viceroy.

The United States found itself with an extraordinary empire, which it also intended to abandon. This was a genuine wish and not mere propaganda. First, the United States was the first anti-imperial project in modernity. It opposed empire in principle. More important, this empire was a drain on American resources and not a source of wealth. World War II had shattered both Japan and Western Europe. The United States gained little or no economic advantage in holding on to these countries. Finally, the United States ended World War II largely untouched by war and as perhaps one of the few countries that profited from it. The money was to be made in the United States, not in the empire. The troops and the generals wanted to go home.

But unlike after World War I, the Americans couldn’t let go. That earlier war ruined nearly all of the participants. No one had the energy to attempt hegemony. The United States was content to leave Europe to its own dynamics. World War II ended differently. The Soviet Union had been wrecked but nevertheless it remained powerful. It was a hegemon in the east, and absent the United States, it conceivably could dominate all of Europe. This represented a problem for Washington, since a genuinely united Europe — whether a voluntary and effective federation or dominated by a single country — had sufficient resources to challenge U.S. power.

The United States could not leave. It did not think of itself as overseeing an empire, and it certainly permitted more internal political autonomy than the Soviets did in their region. Yet, in addition to maintaining a military presence, the United States organized the European economy and created and participated in the European defense system. If the essence of sovereignty is the ability to decide whether or not to go to war, that power was not in London, Paris or Warsaw. It was in Moscow and Washington.

The organizing principle of American strategy was the idea of containment. Unable to invade the Soviet Union, Washington’s default strategy was to check it. U.S. influence spread through Europe to Iran. The Soviet strategy was to flank the containment system by supporting insurgencies and allied movements as far to the rear of the U.S. line as possible. The European empires were collapsing and fragmenting. The Soviets sought to create an alliance structure out of the remnants, and the Americans sought to counter them.

The Economics of Empire

One of the advantages of alliance with the Soviets, particularly for insurgent groups, was a generous supply of weapons. The advantage of alignment with the United States was belonging to a dynamic trade zone and having access to investment capital and technology. Some nations, such as South Korea, benefited extraordinarily from this. Others didn’t. Leaders in countries like Nicaragua felt they had more to gain from Soviet political and military support than in trade with the United States.

The United States was by far the largest economic power, with complete control of the sea, bases around the world, and a dynamic trade and investment system that benefitted countries that were strategically critical to the United States or at least able to take advantage of it. It was at this point, early in the Cold War, that the United States began behaving as an empire, even if not consciously.

The geography of the American empire was built partly on military relations but heavily on economic relations. At first these economic relations were fairly trivial to American business. But as the system matured, the value of investments soared along with the importance of imports, exports and labor markets. As in any genuinely successful empire, it did not begin with a grand design or even a dream of one. Strategic necessity created an economic reality in country after country until certain major industries became dependent on at least some countries. The obvious examples were Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, whose oil fueled American oil companies, and which therefore — quite apart from conventional strategic importance — became economically important. This eventually made them strategically important.

As an empire matures, its economic value increases, particularly when it is not coercing others. Coercion is expensive and undermines the worth of an empire. The ideal colony is one that is not at all a colony, but a nation that benefits from economic relations with both the imperial power and the rest of the empire. The primary military relationship ought to be either mutual dependence or, barring that, dependence of the vulnerable client state on the imperial power.

This is how the United States slipped into empire. First, it was overwhelmingly wealthy and powerful. Second, it faced a potential adversary capable of challenging it globally, in a large number of countries. Third, it used its economic advantage to induce at least some of these countries into economic, and therefore political and military, relationships. Fourth, these countries became significantly important to various sectors of the American economy.

Limits of the American Empire

The problem of the American Empire is the overhang of the Cold War. During this time, the United States expected to go to war with a coalition around it, but also to carry the main burden of war. When Operation Desert Storm erupted in 1991, the basic Cold War principle prevailed. There was a coalition with the United States at the center of it. After 9/11, the decision was made to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq with the core model in place. There was a coalition, but the central military force was American, and it was assumed that the economic benefits of relations with the United States would be self-evident. In many ways, the post-9/11 wars took their basic framework from World War II. Iraq War planners explicitly discussed the occupation of Germany and Japan.

No empire can endure by direct rule. The Nazis were perhaps the best example of this. They tried to govern Poland directly, captured Soviet territory, pushed aside Vichy to govern not half but all of France, and so on. The British, on the other hand, ruled India with a thin layer of officials and officers and a larger cadre of businessmen trying to make their fortunes. The British obviously did better. The Germans exhausted themselves not only by overreaching, but also by diverting troops and administrators to directly oversee some countries. The British could turn their empire into something extraordinarily important to the global system. The Germans broke themselves not only on their enemies, but on their conquests as well.

The United States emerged after 1992 as the only global balanced power. That is, it was the only nation that could deploy economic, political and military power on a global basis. The United States was and remains enormously powerful. However, this is very different from omnipotence. In hearing politicians debate Russia, Iran or Yemen, you get the sense that they feel that U.S. power has no limits. There are always limits, and empires survive by knowing and respecting them.

The primary limit of the American empire is the same as that of the British and Roman empires: demographic. In Eurasia — Asia and Europe together — the Americans are outnumbered from the moment they set foot on the ground. The U.S. military is built around force multipliers, weapons that can destroy the enemy before the enemy destroys the relatively small force deployed. Sometimes this strategy works. Over the long run, it cannot. The enemy can absorb attrition much better than the small American force can. This lesson was learned in Vietnam and reinforced in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq is a country of 25 million people. The Americans sent about 130,000 troops. Inevitably, the attrition rate overwhelmed the Americans. The myth that Americans have no stomach for war forgets that the United States fought in Vietnam for seven years and in Iraq for about the same length of time. The public can be quite patient. The mathematics of war is the issue. At a certain point, the rate of attrition is simply not worth the political ends.

The deployment of a main force into Eurasia is unsupportable except in specialized cases when overwhelming force can be bought to bear in a place where it is important to win. These occasions are typically few and far between. Otherwise, the only strategy is indirect warfare: shifting the burden of war to those who want to bear it or cannot avoid doing so. For the first years of World War II, indirect warfare was used to support the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union against Germany.

There are two varieties of indirect warfare. The first is supporting native forces whose interests are parallel. This was done in the early stages of Afghanistan. The second is maintaining the balance of power among nations. We are seeing this form in the Middle East as the United States moves between the four major regional powers — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey — supporting one then another in a perpetual balancing act. In Iraq, U.S. fighters carry out air strikes in parallel with Iranian ground forces. In Yemen, the United States supports Saudi air strikes against the Houthis, who have received Iranian training.

This is the essence of empire. The British saying is that it has no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests. That old cliche is, like most cliches, true. The United States is in the process of learning that lesson. In many ways the United States was more charming when it had clearly identified friends and enemies. But that is a luxury that empires cannot afford.

Building a System of Balance

We are now seeing the United States rebalance its strategy by learning to balance. A global power cannot afford to be directly involved in the number of conflicts that it will encounter around the world. It would be exhausted rapidly. Using various tools, it must create regional and global balances without usurping internal sovereignty. The trick is to create situations where other countries want to do what is in the U.S. interest.

This endeavor is difficult. The first step is to use economic incentives to shape other countries’ behavior. It isn’t the U.S. Department of Commerce but businesses that do this. The second is to provide economic aid to wavering countries. The third is to provide military aid. The fourth is to send advisers. The fifth is to send overwhelming force. The leap from the fourth level to the fifth is the hardest to master. Overwhelming force should almost never be used. But when advisers and aid do not solve a problem that must urgently be solved, then the only type of force that can be used is overwhelming force. Roman legions were used sparingly, but when they were used, they brought overwhelming power to bear.

The Responsibilities of Empire

I have been deliberately speaking of the United States as an empire, knowing that this term is jarring. Those who call the United States an empire usually mean that it is in some sense evil. Others will call it anything else if they can. But it is helpful to face the reality the United States is in. It is always useful to be honest, particularly with yourself. But more important, if the United States thinks of itself as an empire, then it will begin to learn the lessons of imperial power. Nothing is more harmful than an empire using its power carelessly.

It is true that the United States did not genuinely intend to be an empire. It is also true that its intentions do not matter one way or another. Circumstance, history and geopolitics have created an entity that, if it isn’t an empire, certainly looks like one. Empires can be far from oppressive. The Persians were quite liberal in their outlook. The American ideology and the American reality are not inherently incompatible. But two things must be faced: First, the United States cannot give away the power it has. There is no practical way to do that. Second, given the vastness of that power, it will be involved in conflicts whether it wants to or not. Empires are frequently feared, sometimes respected, but never loved by the rest of the world. And pretending that you aren’t an empire does not fool anyone.

The current balancing act in the Middle East represents a fundamental rebalancing of American strategy. It is still clumsy and poorly thought out, but it is happening. And for the rest of the world, the idea that the Americans are coming will become more and more rare. The United States will not intervene. It will manage the situation, sometimes to the benefit of one country and sometimes to another.

https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/coming-terms-american-empire

 

History of North Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For history of Korea before its division, see History of Korea.
Part of a series on the
History of North Korea
Emblem of Emblem of North Korea
Soviet Civil Administration 1945–46
Provisional People’s Committee for North Korea 1946–48
Kim Il-sung’s rule 1948–94
Korean War 1950–53
Korean DMZ Conflict 1966–69
Juche 1972
Death and state funeral of Kim Il-sung 1994
Kim Jong-il’s rule 1994–2011
North Korean famine 1994–98
Songun 1998
Sunshine Policy 1998–2010
Six-party talks 2003
ROKS Cheonan sinking 2010
Death and state funeral of Kim Jong-il 2011
Kim Jong-un’s rule 2011–present
State Affairs Commission 2016
Flag of North Korea.svgNorth Korea portal

The history of North Korea began with the partition of Korea at the end of World War II in 1945, and the creation of the Communist-aligned Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) headed by the former guerrilla leader, Kim Il-sung. In 1950 the Korean War broke out. After much destruction, the war ended with the status quo being restored. The DPRK had failed to unify Korea under its leadership, and the US-led United Nations force had failed to conquer North Korea. The peninsula was divided by the Korean Demilitarized Zone, and a US military force remained in South Korea.

Tension between the two sides continued. Kim Il-sung remained in power until his death in 1994. He developed a pervasive personality cult and steered the country on an independent course in accordance with the principle of Juche (or self-reliance). However, with natural disasters and the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1991, North Korea went into a severe economic crisis. Kim Il-sung’s son, Kim Jong-il, succeeded him, and was in turn succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un. Amid international alarm, North Korea developed nuclear missiles.

Northern Korea before the division

From 1910 to the end of World War II, Korea was under Japanese rule. Most Koreans were peasants engaged in subsistence farming.[1] In the 1930s, Japan developed mines, hydro-electric dams, steel mills, and manufacturing plants in northern Korea and neighboring Manchuria.[2] The Korean industrial working class expanded rapidly, and many Koreans went to work in Manchuria.[3] As a result, 65% of Korea’s heavy industry was located in the north, but, due to the harshness of the terrain, only 37% of its agriculture.[4]

A Korean guerrilla movement emerged in the mountainous interior and in Manchuria, harassing the Japanese imperial authorities. One of the most prominent guerrilla leaders was the Communist Kim Il-sung.[5]

Northern Korea had very little exposure to modern, Western ideas.[6] One partial exception of this was the penetration of religion. Since the arrival of missionaries in the late nineteenth century, the northwest of Korea, and Pyongyang in particular, had been a stronghold of Christianity.[7]

Division of Korea

Main article: Division of Korea

At the Tehran Conference in November 1943 and the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Soviet Union promised to join its allies in the Pacific War within three months of victory in Europe. On August 8, 1945, after three months to the day, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan.[8] Soviet troops advanced rapidly, and the US government became anxious that they would occupy the whole of Korea. On August 10, the US government decided to propose the 38th parallel as the dividing line between a Soviet occupation zone in the north and a US occupation zone in the south. The parallel was chosen as it would place the capital Seoul under American control.[9] The division placed sixteen million Koreans in the American zone and nine million in the Soviet zone.[10] To the surprise of the Americans, the Soviet Union immediately accepted the division. The agreement was incorporated into General Order No. 1 (approved on 17 August 1945) for the surrender of Japan.[11]

Soviet forces began amphibious landings in Korea by August 14 and rapidly took over the north-east of the country, and on August 16 they landed at Wonsan.[12] On August 24, the Red Army reached Pyongyang.[13] US forces did not arrive in the south until September 8.[10]

During August, People’s Committees sprang up across Korea, affiliated with the Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence, which in September founded the People’s Republic of Korea. When Soviet troops entered Pyongyang, they found a local People’s Committee established there, led by veteran Christian nationalist Cho Man-sik.[14] Unlike their American counterparts, the Soviet authorities recognized and worked with the People’s Committees.[15][16] By some accounts, Cho Man-sik was the Soviet government’s first choice to lead North Korea.[17][18]

On September 19, Kim Il-sung and 36 other Korean Red Army officers arrived in Wonsan. They had fought the Japanese in Manchuria in the 1930s but had lived in the USSR and trained in the Red Army since 1941.[19] On October 14, Soviet authorities introduced Kim to the North Korean public as a guerrilla hero.[19]

In December 1945, at the Moscow Conference, the Soviet Union agreed to a US proposal for a trusteeship over Korea for up to five years in the lead-up to independence. Most Koreans demanded independence immediately, but Kim and the other Communists supported the trusteeship under pressure from the Soviet government. Cho Man-sik opposed the proposal at a public meeting on January 4, 1946, and disappeared into house arrest.[20][21] On February 8, 1946, the People’s Committees were reorganized as Interim People’s Committees dominated by Communists.[22] The new regime instituted popular policies of land redistribution, industry nationalization, labor law reform, and equality for women.[23]

Meanwhile, existing Communist groups were reconstituted as a party under Kim Il-sung’s leadership. On December 18, 1945, local Communist Party committees were combined into the North Korean Communist Party.[19] In August 1946, this party merged with the New People’s Party to form the Workers’ Party of North Korea. In December, a popular front led by the Workers Party dominated elections in the North.[22] In 1949, the Workers’ Party of North Korea merged with its southern counterpart to become the Workers’ Party of Korea with Kim as party chairman.[24]

Kim established the Korean People’s Army (KPA) aligned with the Communists, formed from a cadre of guerrillas and former soldiers who had gained combat experience in battles against the Japanese and later Nationalist Chinese troops. From their ranks, using Soviet advisers and equipment, Kim constructed a large army skilled in infiltration tactics and guerrilla warfare. Before the outbreak of the Korean War, Joseph Stalin equipped the KPA with modern medium tanks, trucks, artillery, and small arms. Kim also formed an air force, equipped at first with ex-Soviet propeller-driven fighter and attack aircraft. Later, North Korean pilot candidates were sent to the Soviet Union and China to train in MiG-15 jet aircraft at secret bases.[25]

In 1946, a sweeping series of laws transformed North Korea on Stalinist lines. The “land to the tiller” reform redistributed the bulk of agricultural land to the poor and landless peasant population, effectively breaking the power of the landed class.[26] This was followed by a “Labor Law”, a “Sexual Equality Law”, and a “Nationalisation of Industry, Transport, Communications and Banks Law”.[27]

Kim Il-sung with Kim Koo in 1948

As negotiations with the Soviet Union on the future of Korea failed to make progress, the US took the issue to the United Nations in September 1947. In response, the UN established the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea to hold elections in Korea. The Soviet Union opposed this move. In the absence of Soviet co-operation, it was decided to hold UN-supervised elections in the south only.[28] In April 1948, a conference of organizations from the North and the South met in Pyongyang, but conference produced no results. The southern politicians Kim Koo and Kim Kyu-sik attended the conference and boycotted the elections in the South.[29] Both men were posthumously awarded the National Reunification Prize by North Korea.[30] The elections were held in South Korea on May 10, 1948. On August 15, the Republic of Korea formally came into existence.[31] A parallel process occurred in North Korea. A new Supreme People’s Assembly was elected in August 1948, and on September 3 a new constitution was promulgated. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was proclaimed on September 9, with Kim as premier.[32] On October 12, the Soviet Union declared that Kim’s regime was the only lawful government on the peninsula.[citation needed] On December 12, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly accepted the report of UNTCOK and declared the Republic of Korea to be the “only lawful government in Korea”.[31]

By 1949, North Korea was a full-fledged Communist state. All parties and mass organizations joined the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, ostensibly a popular front but in reality dominated by the Communists. The government moved rapidly to establish a political system that was partly styled on the Soviet system, with political power monopolised by the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK).

The Korean War (1950-1953)

Main article: Korean War

The consolidation of Syngman Rhee‘s government in the South with American military support and the suppression of the October 1948 insurrection ended North Korean hopes that a revolution in the South could reunify Korea, and from early 1949 Kim Il-sung sought Soviet and Chinese support for a military campaign to reunify the country by force. The withdrawal of most U.S. forces from South Korea in June 1949 left the southern government defended only by a weak and inexperienced South Korean army. The southern régime also had to deal with a citizenry of uncertain loyalty. The North Korean army, by contrast, had benefited from the Soviet Union‘s WWII-era equipment, and had a core of hardened veterans who had fought either as anti-Japanese guerrillas or alongside the Chinese Communists.[33] In 1949 and 1950 Kim traveled to Moscow with the South Korean Communist leader Pak Hon-yong to raise support for a war of reunification.[34]

InitiallyJoseph Stalin rejected Kim Il-sung’s requests for permission to invade the South, but in late 1949 the Communist victory in China and the development of Soviet nuclear weapons made him re-consider Kim’s proposal. In January 1950, after China’s Mao Zedong indicated that the People’s Republic of China would send troops and other support to Kim, Stalin approved an invasion.[35] The Soviets provided limited support in the form of advisers who helped the North Koreans as they planned the operation, and Soviet military instructors to train some of the Korean units. However, from the very beginning Stalin made it clear that the Soviet Union would avoid a direct confrontation with the U.S. over Korea and would not commit ground forces even in case of major military crisis.[36] The stage was set for a civil war between the two rival régimes on the Korean peninsula.

For over a year before the outbreak of war, the two sides had engaged in a series of bloody clashes along the 38th parallel, especially in the Ongjin area on the west coast.[37] On June 25, 1950, claiming to be responding to a South Korean assault on Ongjin, the Northern forces launched an amphibious offensive all along the parallel.[38] Due to a combination of surprise and military superiority, the Northern forces quickly captured the capital Seoul, forcing Syngman Rhee and his government to flee. By mid-July North Korean troops had overwhelmed the South Korean and allied American units and forced them back to a defensive line in south-east South Korea known as the Pusan Perimeter. During its brief occupation of southern Korea, the DPRK regime initiated radical social change, which included the nationalisation of industry, land reform, and the restoration of the People’s Committees.[39]According to the captured US General William F. Dean, “the civilian attitude seemed to vary between enthusiasm and passive acceptance”.[40][41]

The United Nations condemned North Korea’s actions and approved an American-led intervention force to defend South Korea. In September, UN forces landed at Inchon and retook Seoul. Under the leadership of US General Douglas Macarthur, UN forces pushed north, reaching the Chinese border. According to Bruce Cumings, the North Korean forces were not routed, but managed a strategic retreat into the mountainous interior and into neighboring Manchuria.[42] Kim Il-sung’s government re-established itself in a stronghold in Chagang Province.[43] In late November, Chinese forces entered the war and pushed the UN forces back, retaking Pyongyang in December 1950 and Seoul in January 1951. According to Bruce Cumings, the Korean People’s Army played an equal part in this counterattack.[44] UN forces managed to retake Seoul for South Korea. The war essentially became a bloody stalemate for the next two years.

2012 rehearsal in Pyongyang for Victory Day, marking the end of the war

American bombing included the use of napalm against populated areas and the destruction of dams and dykes, which caused devastating floods.[45][46] China and North Korea also alleged the US was deploying biological weapons.[47] As a result of the bombing, almost every substantial building and much of the infrastructure in North Korea was destroyed.[48][49] The North Koreans responded by building homes, schools, hospitals, and factories underground.[50] Economic output in 1953 had fallen by 75-90% compared with 1949.[51]

While the bombing continued, armistice negotiations, that had commenced in July 1951, wore on. North Korea’s lead negotiator was General Nam Il. The Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. A ceasefire followed, but there was no peace treaty, and hostilities continued at a lower intensity.[52]

Postwar developments

Internal politics

Despite the failure of his attempt at unifying the nation under his rule, Kim Il-sung considered the war a victory in the sense that he remained in power. As a result, the North Korean media made the most of it by focusing entirely on the defeats suffered by the US and UN forces during the failed invasion of North Korea in late 1950. The armistice was celebrated in Pyongyang with a military parade in which Kim declared: “Despite their best efforts, the imperialist invaders were defeated with great loss in men and material.”[citation needed]

Kim began gradually consolidating his power. Up to this time, North Korean politics were represented by four factions: the Yan’an faction, made up of returnees from China; the “Soviet Koreans” who were ethnic Koreans from the USSR; native Korean communists led by Pak Hon-yong; and Kim’s Kapsan group who had fought guerrilla actions against Japan in the 1930s.[53][54]

When the Worker’s Party Central Committee plenum opened on 30 August 1953 Choe Chang-ik made a speech attacking Kim for concentrating the power of the party and the state in his own hands as well as criticising the party line on industrialisation which ignored widespread starvation among the North Korean people. However, Kim neutralised the attack on him by promising to moderate the regime, promises which were never kept. The majority in the Central Committee voted to support Kim and also voted in favour of expelling Choe and Pak Hon-yong from the Central Committee. Eleven of Kim’s opponents were convicted in a show trial. It is believed that all were executed. A major purge of the KWP followed, with members originating from South Korea being expelled.[55]

Pak Hon-yong, party vice chairman and Foreign Minister of the DPRK, was blamed for the failure of the southern population to support North Korea during the war, was dismissed from his positions in 1953, and was executed after a show-trial in 1955.[56][57] Most of the South Korean leftists and communist sympathizers who defected to the North in 1945–1953 were also accused of espionage and other crimes, and subsequently killed, imprisoned, or exiled to remote agricultural and mining villages. Potential rivals from other groups such as Kim Tu-bong were also purged.[citation needed]

The Party Congress in 1956 indicated the transformation that the party had undergone. Most members of other factions had lost their positions of influence. More than half the delegates had joined after 1950, most were under 40 years old, and most had limited formal education.[58]

In February 1956, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev made a sweeping denunciation of Stalin, which sent shock waves throughout the Communist world. Encouraged by this, members of the party leadership in North Korea began to criticize Kim’s dictatorial leadership, personality cult, and Stalinist economic policies. They were defeated by Kim at the August Plenum of the party.[59][60] By 1960, 70 per cent of the members of the 1956 Central Committee were no longer in politics.[61]

Kim Il-sung had initially been criticized by the Soviets during a previous 1955 visit to Moscow for practicing Stalinism and a cult of personality, which was already growing enormous. The Korean ambassador to the USSR, Li Sangjo, a member of the Yan’an faction, reported that it had become a criminal offense to so much as write on Kim’s picture in a newspaper and that he had been elevated to the status of Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Stalin in the communist pantheon. He also charged Kim with rewriting history to appear as if his guerrilla faction had single-handedly liberated Korea from the Japanese, completely ignoring the assistance of the Chinese Communist Party. In addition, Li stated that in the process of agricultural collectivization, grain was being forcibly confiscated from the peasants, leading to “at least 300 suicides” and that Kim made nearly all major policy decisions and appointments himself. Li reported that over 30,000 people were in prison for completely unjust and arbitrary reasons as trivial as not printing Kim Il-sung’s portrait on sufficient quality paper or using newspapers with his picture to wrap parcels. Grain confiscation and tax collection were also conducted forcibly with violence, beatings, and imprisonment.[62] During Kim Il-sung’s Moscow visit, the Soviets recommended that he discard the personality cult, adhere to the ideas of collective leadership, remove falsified history accounts from textbooks, and work towards improving the living standards of the Korean people, which remained poor and below prewar standards. Foodstuffs during the initial postwar period were rationed and extremely expensive, as were consumer items. By comparison, South Korea, which had less of an industrial base than the DPRK, had a better food supply and was also flooded with American goods although it should be noted that the overall destruction there during the war was smaller.[citation needed]

In late 1968, known military opponents of North Korea’s Juche ideology such as Kim Chang-bong (minister of National Security), Huh Bong-hak (chief of the Division for Southern Intelligence) and Lee Young-ho(commander in chief of the DPRK Navy) were purged as anti-party/counter-revolutionary elements, despite their credentials as anti-Japanese guerrilla fighters in the past.[55]

Kim’s personality cult was modeled on Stalinism and his regime originally acknowledged Stalin as the supreme leader. After Stalin’s death in 1953, however, Kim was described as the “Great Leader” or “Suryong”. As his personality cult grew, the doctrine of Juche (or self-reliance) began to displace Marxism–Leninism. At the same time the cult extended beyond Kim himself to include his family in a revolutionary blood line.[63] In 1972, to celebrate Kim Il-sung’s birthday, the Mansu Hill Grand Monument was unveiled, including a 22-meter bronze statue of him.[64]

International relations

Like Mao in China, Kim Il-sung refused to accept Nikita Khrushchev‘s denunciation of Stalin and continued to model his regime on Stalinist norms.[65][66] At the same time, he increasingly stressed Korean independence, as embodied in the concept of Juche.[67] Kim told Alexei Kosygin in 1965 that he was not anyone’s puppet and “We…implement the purest Marxism and condemn as false both the Chinese admixtures and the errors of the CPSU”.[68]

Relations with China had worsened during the war. Mao Zedong criticized Kim for having started the whole “idiotic war” and for being an incompetent military commander who should have been removed from power. PLA commander Peng Dehuai was equally contemptuous of Kim’s skills at waging war.[69]

By some analysis, Kim Il-sung remained in power partially because the Soviets turned their attention to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 that fall.[70] The Soviets and Chinese were unable to stop the inevitable purge of Kim’s domestic opponents or his move towards a one-man Stalinist autocracy and relations with both countries deteriorated in the former’s case because of the elimination of the pro-Soviet Koreans and the latter because of the regime’s refusal to acknowledge Chinese assistance in either liberation from the Japanese or the war in 1950-53.[71]

Stalin continued to be honored in North Korea long after his death in 1953, and a street in Pyongyang bore his name until 1980. By contrast, neighboring Chinese leader Mao Zedong was mostly ignored and Kim Il-sung rejected most of his policies such as the Hundred Flowers Campaign and (later) the Cultural Revolution.[citation needed]

The captured USS Pueblo being visited by tourists in Pyongyang

Tensions between North and South escalated in the late 1960s with a series of low-level armed clashes known as the Korean DMZ Conflict. In 1966, Kim declared “liberation of the south” to be a “national duty”.[72] In 1968, North Korean commandos launched the Blue House Raid, an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the South Korean President Park Chung-hee. Shortly after, the US spy ship Pueblo was captured by the North Korean navy.[73] The crew were held captive throughout the year despite American protests that the vessel was in international waters and finally released in December after a formal US apology was issued.[74] In April 1969 North Korea shot down an EC-121 aircraft, killing everyone on board. The Nixon administration found itself unable to react at all, since the US was heavily committed in Vietnam and had no troops to spare if the situation in Korea escalated. However, the Pueblo capture and EC-121 shootdown did not find approval in Moscow, as the Soviet Union did not want a second major war to erupt in Asia. China’s response to the USS Pueblo crisis is less clear.[75]

After Khrushchev was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as Soviet Leader in 1964, and with the incentive of Soviet aid, North Korea strengthened its ties with the USSR. Kim condemned China’s Cultural Revolution as “unbelievable idiocy”. In turn, China’s Red Guards labelled him a “fat revisionist”.[76][77] But by 1970, most of the storm clouds of the Cultural Revolution had blown away and relations with China quickly returned to normal. Chinese premier Zhou Enlai visited Pyongyang that year and apologized for the attacks made on Kim by the Red Guards. At the same time, the Soviets were again criticized by both Chinese and North Korean officials for being too soft on the United States. The Cultural Revolution was now viewed in North Korea as an excellent idea and “completely correct”.

In 1972, the first formal summit meeting between Pyongyang and Seoul was held, but the cautious talks did not lead to a lasting change in the relationship.[78]

With the fall of South Vietnam to the North Vietnamese on April 30, 1975, Kim Il-sung began to feel that the US had shown its weakness and that reunification of Korea under his regime was finally possible. Kim visited Beijing in May 1975 in the hope of gaining political and military support for this plan to invade South Korea again, but Mao Zedong refused.[79] Despite public proclamations of support, Mao privately told Kim that China would be unable to assist North Korea this time because of the lingering after-effects of the Cultural Revolution throughout China, and also because Mao had recently decided to restore diplomatic relations with the US. Afterwards, Kim went home empty-handed.[80]

Meanwhile, North Korea emphasized its independent orientation by joining the Non-Aligned Movement in 1975.[81] It promoted Juche as a model for developing countries to follow.[82] It developed strong ties with the regimes of Bokassa in the Central African Republic, Macias Nguema in Equatorial Guinea, Idi Amin in Uganda, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Gaddafi in Libya, and Ceausescu in Romania.[83]

Economic development

Reconstruction of the country after the war proceeded with extensive Chinese and Soviet assistance.[84][85] Koreans with experience in Japanese industries also played a significant part.[86]Land was collectivized between 1953 and 1958. Resistance appears to have been minimal as landlords had been eliminated by the earlier reforms or during the war.[87]

Although developmental debates took place within the Workers’ Party of Korea in the 1950s, North Korea, like all the postwar communist states, undertook massive state investment in heavy industry, state infrastructure and military strength, neglecting the production of consumer goods.[71]

The first Three Year Plan (1954–1956) introduced the concept of Juche or self-reliance.[88] The first Five Year Plan (1957-1961) consolidated the collectivization of agriculture and initiated mass mobilizations campaigns: the Chollima Movement, the Chongsan-ni system in agriculture and the Taean Work System in industry.[88][89] The Chollima Movement was influenced by China’s Great Leap Forward, but did not have its disastrous results.[88]Industry was fully nationalized by 1959.[90] Taxation on agricultural income was abolished in 1966.[91]

North Korea was placed on a semi-war footing, with equal emphasis being given to the civilian and military economies. This was expressed in the 1962 Party Plenum by the slogan, “Arms in one hand and a hammer and sickle in the other!”[92] At a special party conference in 1966, members of the leadership who opposed the military build-up were removed.[93]

On the ruins left by the war, North Korea had built an industrialized command economy. Che Guevara, then a Cuban government minister, visited North Korea in 1960, and proclaimed it a model for Cuba to follow. In 1965, the British economist Joan Robinson described North Korea’s economic development as a “miracle”.[94][95] As late as the 1970s, its GDP per capita was estimated to be equivalent to South Korea’s.[96][97][98][99] By 1968, all homes had electricity, though the supply was unreliable.[100] By 1972, all children from age 5 to 16 were enrolled in school, and over 200 universities and specialized colleges had been established.[101][102] By the early 1980s, 60–70% of the population was urbanized.[103]

Decline and crisis

North Korean village in the Yalu River delta

In the 1970s, expansion of North Korea’s economy, with the accompanying rise in living standards, came to an end.[104] Compounding this was a decision to borrow foreign capital and invest heavily in military industries. North Korea’s desire to lessen its dependence on aid from China and the Soviet Union prompted the expansion of its military power, which had begun in the second half of the 1960s. The government believed such expenditures could be covered by foreign borrowing and increased sales of its mineral wealth in the international market. North Korea invested heavily in its mining industries and purchased a large quantity of mineral extraction infrastructure from abroad. It also purchased entire petrochemical, textile, concrete, steel, pulp and paper manufacturing plants from the developed capitalist world.[105] This included a Japanese-Danish venture that provided North Korea with the largest cement factory in the world.[106] However, following the world 1973 oil crisis, international prices for many of North Korea’s native minerals fell, leaving the country with large debts and an inability to pay them off and still provide a high level of social welfare to its people. North Korea began to default in 1974 and halted almost all repayments in 1985. As a result, it was unable to pay for Western technology.[107]

Worsening this already poor situation, the centrally planned economy, which emphasized heavy industry had reached the limits of its productive potential in North Korea. Juche’s repeated demands that North Koreans learn to build and innovate domestically had run its course as had the ability of North Koreans to keep technological pace with other industrialized nations. By the mid to late-1970s some parts of the capitalist world, including South Korea, were creating new industries based around computers, electronics, and other advanced technology in contrast to North Korea’s Stalinist economy of mining and steel production.[108] Migration to urban areas stalled.[109]

Despite the emerging economic problems, the regime invested heavily on prestigious projects, such as the Juche Tower, the Nampo Dam, and the Ryugyong Hotel. In 1989, as a response to the 1988 Seoul Olympics it held the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang.[110][111] In fact, the grandiosity associated with the regime and its personality cult, as expressed in monuments, museums, and events, has been identified as a factor in the economic decline.[112]

In 1984 Kim visited Moscow during a grand tour of the USSR where he met Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko. Kim also made public visits to East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Soviet involvement in the North Korean economy increased, until 1988 when bilateral trade peaked at US$2.8 billion.[113] In 1986, Kim met the incoming Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and received a pledge of support.[114]

However, Gorbachev’s reforms and diplomatic initiatives, the Chinese economic reforms starting in 1979, and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc from 1989 to 1991 increased North Korea’s isolation.[115] The leadership in Pyongyang responded by proclaiming that the collapse of the Eastern Bloc demonstrated the correctness of the policy of Juche.[116]

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 deprived North Korea of its main source of economic aid, leaving China as the isolated regime’s only major ally. Without Soviet aid, North Korea’s economy went into a free-fall. By this time in the early 1990s, Kim Jong-il was already conducting most of the day-to-day activities of running of the state. Meanwhile, international tensions were rising over North Korean’s quest for nuclear weapons. Former US president Jimmy Carter made a visit to Pyongyang in June 1994 in which he met with Kim and returned proclaiming that he had resolved the crisis.[117]

Succession by Kim Jong-il

Portraits of Kim Il-sung and his son and successor Kim Jong-il

Kim Il-sung died from a sudden heart attack on July 8, 1994, three weeks after the Carter visit. His son, Kim Jong-il, who had already assumed key positions in the government, succeeded as General-Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party. At that time, North Korea had no secretary-general in the party nor a president. Minimal legal procedure that had been established was summarily ignored. Although a new constitution appeared to end the war-time political system, it did not completely terminate the transitional military rule. Rather it legitimized and institutionalized military rule by making the National Defense Commission (NDC) the most important state organization and its chairman the highest authority. After three years of consolidating his power, Kim Jong-il became Chairman of the NDC on October 8, 1997, a position described by the NDC as the nation’s “highest administrative authority,” and thus North Korea’s de facto head of state. His succession had been foreshadowed in 1980, when he was introduced to the public at the Sixth Party Congress.[118] In 1982, Kim Jong-il had established himself as a leading theoretician with the publication of On the Juche Idea.[119] In 1984, he had been officially confirmed as his father’s successor.[120]

Meanwhile, the economy was in steep decline. In 1990-1995, foreign trade was cut in half, with the loss of subsidized Soviet oil being particularly keenly felt. The crisis came to a head in 1995 with widespread flooding that destroyed crops and infrastructure, leading to a famine that lasted till 1998.[121] At the same time, there appeared to be little significant internal opposition to the regime. Indeed, a great many of the North Koreans fleeing to China because of famine still showed significant support for the government as well as pride in their homeland. Many of these people reportedly returned to North Korea after earning sufficient money.[122]

In 1998 the government announced a new policy called “Songun“, or “Military First”. This suggested that the Korean People’s Army was now more powerful than the Korean Workers’ Party.[123]

President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea actively attempted to reduce tensions between the two Koreas under the Sunshine Policy, but this produced few immediate results. Since the election of George W. Bush as the President of the United States in 2000, North Korea has faced renewed external pressure over its nuclear program, reducing the prospect of international economic assistance.

In 2002, Kim Jong-il declared that “money should be capable of measuring the worth of all commodities”, followed by some small market-oriented measures, and the creation of the Kaesong Industrial Region with transport links to South Korea was announced.[citation needed] Experiments are under way to allow factory managers to fire underperforming workers and give bonuses. China’s investments increased to $200 million in 2004.[citation needed]

On October 9, 2006, North Korea has announced that it had successfully detonated a nuclear device underground at 10:36 am local time without any radiation leak. An official at South Korea’s seismic monitoring center confirmed a magnitude-3.6 tremor felt at the time North Korea said it conducted the test was not a natural occurrence.[124]

Additionally, North Korea was running a missile development program. In 1998, North Korea tested a Taepondong-1 Space Launch Vehicle, which successfully launched but failed to reach orbit. On July 5, 2006, they tested a Taepodong-2 ICBM that reportedly could reach the west coast of the U.S. in the 2-stage version, or the entire U.S. with a third stage. However, the missile failed shortly after launch, so it is unknown what its exact capabilities are or how close North Korea is to perfecting the technology.

North Korea’s advancements in weapons technology appear to give them leverage in ongoing negotiations with the United Nations and other countries. On February 13, 2007, North Korea signed an agreement with South Korea, the United States, Russia, China, and Japan, which stipulated North Korea would shut down itsYongbyon nuclear reactor in exchange for economic and energy assistance. However, in 2009 the North continued its nuclear test program.

In 2010, the sinking of a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, reportedly by a North Korean torpedo, escalated tensions between North and South.

Current situation

A computer lab classroom in the Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang, 2012

Kim Jong-Il died on December 17, 2011[125] and was quickly succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un. Tensions between North Korea and other countries increased due to its rocket launches and nuclear bomb testing, and UN sanctions have been tightened.

In 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry accused the government of crimes against humanity.[126]

In 2015, North Korea adopted Pyongyang Standard Time (UTC+08.30), reversing the change to Japan Standard Time (UTC+9.00) which had been imposed by the Japanese Empire. As a result, North Korea was in a different time zone from South Korea.[127]

The 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held in 2016, where Kim Jong-Un further consolidated his control and power within the Workers’ Party of Korea and country.

See also

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 861, March 27, 2017, Story 1: Downsizing or Shrinking Not Streamlining of The Federal Government or Administrative State Is What Is Required — Good Intentions Are Not Enough — Results Count — Small Limited Government — Videos — Story 2 : Attorney General Sessions Moves To Enforce Federal Law in Sanctuary Cities — Videos

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 Story 1: Downsizing Not Streamlining of The Federal Government Is What Is Required — Videos – 

 

 

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Sean Spicer announces new office for Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner

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Who is Jared Kushner?

Jared Kushner is President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law but he’s also one of his key confidants. Here’s a closer look at the man who is expected to be a senior adviser to the president in Trump’s White House. (Video: Deirdra O’Regan/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
March 26 at 10:00 PM
President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.“All Americans, regardless of their political views, can recognize that government stagnation has hindered our ability to properly function, often creating widespread congestion and leading to cost overruns and delays,” Trump said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my ‘ahead of schedule, under budget’ mentality to the government.”In a White House riven at times by disorder and competing factions, the innovation office represents an expansion of Kushner’s already far-reaching influence. The 36-year-old former real estate and media executive will continue to wear many hats, driving foreign and domestic policy as well as decisions on presidential personnel. He also is a shadow diplomat, serving as Trump’s lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East.

The work of White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon has drawn considerable attention, especially after his call for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” But Bannon will have no formal role in the innovation office, which Trump advisers described as an incubator of sleek transformation as opposed to deconstruction.

The announcement of the new office comes at a humbling moment for the president, following Friday’s collapse of his first major legislative push — an overhaul of the health-care system, which Trump had championed as a candidate.

Kushner is positioning the new office as “an offensive team” — an aggressive, nonideological ideas factory capable of attracting top talent from both inside and outside of government, and serving as a conduit with the business, philanthropic and academic communities.

“We should have excellence in government,” Kushner said Sunday in an interview in his West Wing office. “The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”

The innovation office has a particular focus on technology and data, and it is working with such titans as Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff and Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk. The group has already hosted sessions with more than 100 such leaders and government officials.

“There is a need to figure out what policies are adding friction to the system without accompanying it with significant benefits,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, chief executive of the investment firm Blackstone Group. “It’s easy for the private sector to at least see where the friction is, and to do that very quickly and succinctly.”

Some of the executives involved have criticized some of Trump’s policies, such as his travel ban, but said they are eager to help the administration address chronic problems.

“Obviously it has to be done with corresponding values and principles. We don’t agree on everything,” said Benioff, a Silicon Valley billionaire who raised money for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

But, Benioff added, “I’m hopeful that Jared will be collaborative with our industry in moving this forward. When I talk to him, he does remind me of a lot of the young, scrappy entrepreneurs that I invest in in their 30s.”

Kushner’s ambitions for what the new office can achieve are grand. At least to start, the team plans to focus its attention on reimagining Veterans Affairs; modernizing the technology and data infrastructure of every federal department and agency; remodeling workforce-training programs; and developing “transformative projects” under the banner of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, such as providing broadband Internet service to every American.

In some cases, the office could direct that government functions be privatized, or that existing contracts be awarded to new bidders.

The office will also focus on combating opioid abuse, a regular emphasis for Trump on the campaign trail. The president later this week plans to announce an official drug commission devoted to the problem that will be chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). He has been working informally on the issue for several weeks with Kushner, despite reported tension between the two.

Under President Barack Obama, Trump advisers said scornfully, some business leaders privately dismissed their White House interactions as “NATO” meetings — “No action, talk only” — in which they were “lectured,” without much follow-up.

Andrew Liveris, chairman and chief executive of Dow Chemical, who has had meetings with the two previous administrations, said the environment under Trump is markedly different.

After he left a recent meeting of manufacturing chief executives with Trump, Liveris said, “Rather than entering a vacuum, I’m getting emails from the president’s team, if not every day, then every other day — ‘Here’s what we’re working on.’ ‘We need another meeting.’ ‘Can you get us more input on this?’ ”

Kushner proudly notes that most of the members of his team have little-to-no political experience, hailing instead from the world of business. They include Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Chris Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives; Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intergovernmental and technology initiatives; Dina Powell, senior counselor to the president for economic initiatives and deputy national security adviser; and Andrew Bremberg, director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter and Kushner’s wife, who now does her advocacy work from a West Wing office, will collaborate with the innovation office on issues such as workforce development but will not have an official role, aides said.

Powell, a former Goldman Sachs executive who spent a decade at the firm managing public-private job creation programs, also boasts a government pedigree as a veteran of George W. Bush’s White House and State Department. Bremberg also worked in the Bush administration. But others are political neophytes.

Liddell, who speaks with an accent from his native New Zealand, served as chief financial officer for General Motors, Microsoft and International Paper, as well as in Hollywood for William Morris Endeavor.

“We are part of the White House team, connected with everyone here, but we are not subject to the day-to-day issues, so we can take a more strategic approach to proj