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Story 1: A Miracle of Divine Justice In A Dallas Courtroom: Faith, Family, Friends, Freedom, First Forgiveness — Videos

 

 

 

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I forgive you’: Botham Jean’s brother hugs Amber Guyger after she gets 10 years in prison

Former Dallas cop Amber Guyger found guilty of murdering neighbor

Botham Jean’s brother forgives, hugs convicted murderer Amber Guyger

Former officer convicted of murder in wrong-apartment killing | Nightline

10 YEARS: Reaction to Amber Guyger sentencing in Dallas County, Texas

Graphic new bodycam footage revealed in Amber Guyger trial

Key Moments from Amber Guyger’s Testimony

Neighbor of Botham Jean gives emotional testimony

Botham Jean’s neighbor Joshua Brown is overcome with emotion after recounting how he’d heard him singing gospel and Drake songs across the hall. The judge took a recess. Fired Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger is facing a murder charge in the 204th District Court at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

911 Call: Dallas cop after shooting neighbor in his apartment (WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE)

RAW VIDEO: Dallas police officer bodycam of fatal Botham Jean shooting

Amber Guyger 911 call: What was she thinking after she shot Botham Jean?

Prosecutors Make Case Against Amber Guyger During Opening Statements Of Murder Trial

Contradicting stories in deadly police shooting

Amber Guyger exchanged explicit texts with partner before deadly shooting

Full Video: Amber Guyger’s testimony

Police chief says officer will be charged with manslaughter in killing of Botham Jean

 

Judge presents Amber Guyger with a BIBLE and hugs her moments after slain accountant’s brother embraced the killer cop and FORGAVE her – while the victim’s mother suggests she use her 10 year sentence to ‘change’

  • Judge Tammy Kemp presented Amber Guyger with a Bible after the cop was sentenced to 10 years in prison 
  • The judge hugged Botham Jean’s mother Allison before embracing Guyger 
  • Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday for murder of Jean 
  • The 31-year-old was found guilty of murder a day earlier after fatally shooting Jean in his own apartment after mistaking it for her own
  • After sentencing, Jean’s brother, Brandt, 18, was allowed to address Guyger 
  • Brandt told Guyger that he forgives her and even embraced the sobbing officer 
  • Guyger was facing up to life in prison for the September 2018 shooting death
  • Prosecutors had urged the jury to give a punishment of no less than 28 years 
  • Her sentence was met with boos and jeers by a crowd gathered outside court 
  • Guyger was off duty from the Dallas Police Department but still in uniform when she fatally shot the 26-year-old accountant in his own home 
  • She said she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, which was one floor below, and that she thought he was an intruder when she opened fire 

The judge who presided over Amber Guyger’s murder trial presented her with a Bible and gave her a hug just moments after the brother of slain accountant Botham Jean embraced the sobbing cop.

Judge Tammy Kemp also hugged Jean’s mother Allison after the sentencing just before she embraced Guyger and handed over her own personal Bible.

In an astonishing act of compassion, Jean’s 18-year-old brother, Brandt, had asked the judge if he could also hug Guyger after she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Brandt and a sobbing Guyger then both stood up, met in front of the bench and embraced for a long period of time. The judge and the majority of the courtroom wiped away tears as they hugged.

‘If you truly are sorry, I forgive you. I know if you go to God and ask him he will forgive you,’ Brandt said to Guyger in the courtroom.

‘I love you just like anyone else. I’m not going to say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did. I want the best for you. I don’t even want you to go to jail.’

Outside court, Allison said Guyger’s sentence should serve as reflection and a period of time for her to change her life.

Allison went on to slam the Dallas Police Department for their handling of the murder investigation and demanded law enforcement reform in the city.

Judge Tammy Kemp (center) who presided over Amber Guyger's (left) murder trial presented her with a Bible moments after she was given a 10-year sentence for murdering Botham Jean

Judge Tammy Kemp (center) who presided over Amber Guyger’s (left) murder trial presented her with a Bible moments after she was given a 10-year sentence for murdering Botham Jean

Judge Kemp was also seen opening the Bible to a particular page and speaking to Guyger about it+36

Judge Kemp was also seen opening the Bible to a particular page and speaking to Guyger about it

Judge Kemp hugs Guyger in court+36

The judge also hugged Jean's mother, Allison

Judge Tammy Kemp embraced Guyger (left) and gave her her Bible just moments after also hugging Jean’s mother Allison (right)

In an astonishing act of compassion, Jean's 18-year-old brother, Brandt (pictured hugging Guyger), asked the judge if he could also hug Guyger after she was sentenced to 10 years in prison+36

In an astonishing act of compassion, Jean’s 18-year-old brother, Brandt (pictured hugging Guyger), asked the judge if he could also hug Guyger after she was sentenced to 10 years in prison

Guyger wiped away tears as she walked back to her seat after hugging Jean's younger brother, Brandt, on Wednesday following her 10-year prison sentence+36

Guyger wiped away tears as she walked back to her seat after hugging Jean’s younger brother, Brandt, on Wednesday following her 10-year prison sentence

Botham Jean+36

Amber Guyger's eyes were filled with tears in her booking photo shortly after she was found guilty for murdering her black neighbor in his home+36

Amber Guyger (right) was sentenced to 10 years prison on Wednesday for fatally shooting 26-year-old Botham Jean (left) in September 2018 when she claims to have mistakenly entered his apartment believing it was her own

The scene outside the courtroom was much different after news of Guyger’s sentence. A crowd reacted with anger and disbelief at the Frank Crowley Courts Building.

Nearly a dozen people chanted outside the courtroom ‘no justice, no peace!’. Activists were heard telling reporters that 10 years was not enough time for Jean’s murder.

Guyger was sentenced in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday by the same jury that convicted her a day earlier of murdering Jean.

The 31-year-old was off duty from the Dallas Police Department but still in uniform when she fatally shot the 26-year-old accountant in his own home in September 2018.

I love you just like anyone else. I’m not going to say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did. ‘I want the best for you. I don’t even want you to go to jail
Botham Jean’s teen brother Brandt

Guyger said she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, which was one floor below, and that she thought he was an intruder when she opened fire.

Following an emotional six-day trial, prosecutors had urged the jury to give a punishment of no less than 28 years, which is how old Jean would have been if he was still alive.

Guyger’s defense attorneys had asked them to show leniency because she believed she was in her own apartment and acted out of fear.

In Texas, a murder sentence can range from five years to life in prison, but the judge also instructed jurors on a so-called sudden passion defense, which carries a range of between two to 20 years behind bars.

Guyger’s sentence was met with boos and jeers by a crowd gathered outside the courtroom.

As some of Jean’s relatives walked out of the courtroom, the group that had been outside began a chant of ‘No justice! No peace!’

The basic facts of the unusual shooting were not in dispute throughout the trial.

Guyger, returning from a 13.5 hour shift that night, parked on the fourth floor of her apartment complex’s garage – rather than the third floor where she lived – and found the apartment’s door unlocked.

Outside court, Allison (center) said Guyger's sentence should serve as reflection, and a period of time for her to change her life. Allison went on to slam the Dallas Police Department for their handling of the murder investigation and demanded law enforcement reform in the city+36

Outside court, Allison (center) said Guyger’s sentence should serve as reflection, and a period of time for her to change her life. Allison went on to slam the Dallas Police Department for their handling of the murder investigation and demanded law enforcement reform in the city

A crowd reacted with anger and disbelief at the Frank Crowley Courts Building. 'No justice, no peace!' nearly a dozen people chanted outside the courtroom around 4pm. Activists were heard telling reporters that 10 years was not enough time for Jean's murder+36

A crowd reacted with anger and disbelief at the Frank Crowley Courts Building. ‘No justice, no peace!’ nearly a dozen people chanted outside the courtroom around 4pm. Activists were heard telling reporters that 10 years was not enough time for Jean’s murder

Guyger was sentenced in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday by the same jury that convicted her a day earlier of murdering Jean+36

Guyger was sentenced in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday by the same jury that convicted her a day earlier of murdering Jean

Believing she was at her own apartment and seeing a silhouette of a figure who didn’t respond to verbal commands, Guyger said she fired two shots at Jean that killed him.

Jean had been eating a bowl of ice cream on the couch before Guyger entered his home.

Jean, who grew up on the Caribbean island nation of St Lucia, came to the U.S. for college and starting his career as an accountant.

His shooting drew widespread attention because of the strange circumstances and because it was one in a string of shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers.

Guyger was arrested three days after the killing and then fired from the Dallas Police Department. She was initially charged with manslaughter before a grand jury indicted her for murder.

Fired cop’s family described her as ‘sweet’ and said she felt remorse for shooting dead Jean

Guyger’s mother Karen Guyger tearfully told jurors on Wednesday that her daughter was the youngest of three children and was sexually assaulted by a man when she was a young child.

Defense attorneys showed photos of Guyger’s family as Karen spoke and described her daughter as ‘sweet’. Karen, who has pulmonary fibrosis, said her daughter always worries about her and helps out with her medication.

Karen added that her daughter feels ‘very bad’ about shooting dead Jean and had told her mother ‘she wished she could have taken his place’.

Guyger’s sister Alana also described her as being kind, bubbly and outgoing.

‘She feels bad spending time with her family because he can’t,’ Alana said while speaking of the victim. ‘She’s one of the most genuine people.’

High school friends and former police colleagues also spoke in support of Guyger.

Maribel Chavez, a high school friend who said she met Guyger during orchestra practice, said Guyger was typically bubbly and extroverted, but that since she killed Jean ‘it’s like you shut her light off’.

She described her friend as selfless, caring and a protector of those around her.

LaWanda Clark, a former crack cocaine addict who met Guyger when she busted a drug house, testified that the cop helped her turn around her life by writing her a ticket.

While Clark was speaking, attorneys showed jurors a photo of Guyger attending Clark’s graduation from a community drug treatment program.

Clark, who is now sober, said Guyger treated her as a person and not as ‘an addict’.

The testimony in defense of Guyger came just one day after she was convicted of killing Jean following an emotional six day trial.

Amber Guyger’s mother Karen Guyger took to the stand on Wednesday and spoke in defense of her daughter. Her family and friends spoke in support of the fired Dallas Police officer on Wednesday during the sentencing phase of her murder trial

Guyger's sister Alana Guyger

Guyger's friend Maribel Chavez

Guyger’s sister Alana Guyger and her high school friend Maribel Chavez both testified on Wednesday that the fired cop was a kind, bubbly and outgoing person

LaWanda Clark, a former crack cocaine addict who met Guyger when she busted a drug house, testified that the cop helped her turn around her life by writing her a ticket

LaWanda Clark, a former crack cocaine addict who met Guyger when she busted a drug house, testified that the cop helped her turn around her life by writing her a ticket

‘How could we have lost Botham?’: Victim’s parents tearfully testify about losing their son

The defense testimony in the sentencing phase came after Jean’s parents and siblings tearfully told jurors about how they have been affected by the killing.

Jean’s father Bertrum Jean took to the stand earlier on Wednesday and broke down repeatedly in front of jurors as he spoke about never hearing his son’s voice again.

He sobbed uncontrollably several times during his testimony as he spoke of his ‘sweet boy’ and coming to terms with his death.

‘How could we have lost Botham? He tried his best to live a good honest life. He loved God, he loved everyone,’ Bertum said.

‘How could this happen to him? In hindsight what could we have done? My family is broken-hearted. How could it be possible?

‘I’ll never see him again. It’s hard not hearing his voice.’

Bertrum, who lives in the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia, revealed that he still cannot bring himself to listen to videos of his son singing.

‘I’m still not ready, it hurts me that he’s not there,’ he said.

Bertrum, who is pastor in St. Lucia, also spoke of how he used to speak with his every Sunday after they had both been to church to discuss sermons.

‘My Sundays have been destroyed. Sundays are not a good day for me… because I’m not hearing his voice,’ he said.

Bertrum Jean broke down repeatedly Wednesday as he spoke about never hearing his son's voice again

Allison Jean testified Tuesday that her life hasn't been the same since her son was shot dead by Guyger

Jean’s parents Bertum (left) and Allison (right) have both taken to the stand to tell jurors about how they have been affected by the killing of their son

His wife and Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, testified Tuesday that her life hasn’t been the same since her son was shot dead by Guyger.

She said her son’s death has torn her apart.

‘My life has not been the same. It’s just been like a roller coaster. I can’t sleep, I cannot eat. It’s just been the most terrible time for me,’ she said.

‘I’ve been sick often. I have to try to keep the family together because everyone is pain. I’ve had to seek counselling. I try to pray just to help me get by.’

Allison said she spoke to her son for the last time the night before he was killed.

She described her son as an excellent student who led several clubs at school and said he created a choir just because he loved to sing. Allison also said her son was very religious and led mission trips back to his native St. Lucia.

Jean’s sister Alissa Findley also took to the stand, saying her mother constantly cries, her formerly ‘bubbly’ younger brother has retreated as if into a shell and that her father is ‘not the same.

‘It’s like the light behind his eyes is off,’ Findley said.

She said her children are now afraid of police.

‘I want my brother back. I wish I could continue our last conversation and just not let him hang up the phone,’ Findley said.

Amber Guyger, 31, was convicted of murder on Tuesday over the fatal shooting of Botham Jean in September 2018

Amber Guyger, 31, was convicted of murder on Tuesday over the fatal shooting of Botham Jean in September 2018

Amber Guyger joked about MLK’s death and made critical comments about black officers in deleted texts

During testimony on Tuesday, prosecutors revealed that Guyger had joked about Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s death and made critical comments about serving with black officers in text messages.

The text messages, which were accepted as evidence despite defense objections, that were submitted indicated that Guyger lacks sensitivity toward black people.

They include an exchange from January 15, 2018, when she was working security during the Dallas Martin Luther King Jr Day parade.

When asked when the parade would be over, she texted: ‘When MLK is dead… Oh, wait…’

She complained that the parade could take up to three hours and suggested that parade participants could be pushed or pepper sprayed.

Another exchange that she later deleted was with her ex-lover and police partner Martin Rivera dated March 9, 2018.

He texted her: ‘Damn I was at this area with five different black officers!!! Not racist but damn.’

She replied: ‘Not racist but just have a different way of working and it shows.’

On September 4, 2018, just days before Guyger shot Jean, she received a message suggesting that she would like a German shepherd that the messenger claimed was racist.

She texted back that she hates ‘everything and everyone but y’all’.

Some of Guyger’s social media posts were also shown in court – some of which were about guns and killing.

‘Yah I got meh a gun a shovel an gloves if I were u back da f**k up and get out of meh f**king a**,’ she commented on one social media post.

She shared another meme that read: ‘Stay low, go fast. Kill first, die last. One shot, one kill. No luck, all skill’.

Guyger also shared another meme that said: ‘People are so ungrateful. No one ever thanks me for having the patience not to kill them’.

Prosecutors showed jurors text messages from Guyger's cellphone that revealed her critical comments about serving with black officers and how she joked about the death of Dr Martin Luther King Jr (depicted above)

Prosecutors showed jurors text messages from Guyger’s cellphone that revealed her critical comments about serving with black officers and how she joked about the death of Dr Martin Luther King Jr (depicted above)

The showing of the messages was intended to reveal her lack of sensitivity toward black people, authorities said

The showing of the messages was intended to reveal her lack of sensitivity toward black people, authorities said

Another exchange that she later deleted was with her ex-lover and police partner Martin Rivera dated March 9, 2018

Another exchange that she later deleted was with her ex-lover and police partner Martin Rivera dated March 9, 2018

Some of Guyger's social media posts were shown in court as a jury weighs how long her prison sentence should be after she was found guilty of murdering her black neighbor+36

Guyger also shared another meme that said: 'People are so ungrateful. No one ever thanks me for having the patience not to kill them'+36

Some of Guyger’s social media posts were shown in court as a jury weighs how long her prison sentence should be after she was found guilty of murdering her black neighbor

'Yah I got meh a gun a shovel an gloves if I were u back da f**k up and get out of meh f**king a**,' she commented on one social media post

‘Yah I got meh a gun a shovel an gloves if I were u back da f**k up and get out of meh f**king a**,’ she commented on one social media post

TIMELINE OF THE AMBER GUYGER CASE

September 6, 2018: Botham Jean, a 27-year-old accountant at PwC, was sitting on his couch eating ice cream when Amber Guyger entered his apartment and shot him.

September 9, 2018: Guyger is charged with manslaughter and is put on administrative leave from her job. Guyger, who was still in uniform, told investigators that she had finished a 13.5 hour shift and mistakenly parked on the fourth floor instead of the third floor. She said she found the door of the apartment she thought was hers ‘slightly ajar’. She entered the apartment and fired two shots when she was a figure coming towards her.

September 13, 2018: Jean’s funeral is held at the Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in Dallas.

September 24, 2018: Guyger is fired from the Dallas Police Department.

November 30, 2018: Guyger is indicted on a murder charge by a grand jury.

September 23, 2019: Guyger’s murder trial begins in Dallas. Over the next week, jurors were shown body cam footage and 911 call from the night of the shooting. Jurors also hear from neighbors, Dallas PD officers and crime scene analysts.

September 26, 2019: Guyger testifies in her own defense saying she was ‘scared to death’ when she encountered Jean in what she allegedly believed to be her own apartment.

September 30, 2019: Prosecutors and defense deliver closing arguments. Jury starts deliberating.

October 1, 2019: Guyger is found guilty of murder.

October 2, 2019: Guyger is sentenced to 10 years in prison.

‘I was scared he was going to kill me’: Amber Guyger sobbed as she testified during her trial

Guyger broke down in tears when she took to the stand during the trial last week and apologized for shooting dead her neighbor.

Her testimony marked the first time the public heard directly from her since Jean’s killing. She told the jury she wished Jean had been the one to kill her instead of the other way around.

During her testimony, Guyger reenacted the moment she arrived at the wrong apartment thinking it was her own.

She said she put her key in the apartment lock and the door opened because it hadn’t been fully closed.

Guyger said she immediately drew her gun because she thought someone was in her home. She testified that she was ‘scared to death’ when she opened the door fully and saw a silhouetted figure standing in the darkness inside.

She told the jury she shouted at Jean: ‘Let me see your hands, let me see your hands’.

Guyger explained she couldn’t see his hands and that he began coming toward her at a ‘fast-paced’ walk, yelling ‘hey, hey, hey’ in an ‘aggressive voice’.

She said that is when she fired her gun twice.

‘I was scared he was going to kill me,’ she said.

She said she intended to kill him when she pulled the trigger because that’s what she had been trained to do as a police officer.

During her testimony, she recounted police training that focused on learning to control suspects and the importance of seeing their hands, which kicked in as she spotted Jean.

When asked how she felt about killing an innocent man, she said through tears: ‘No police officer ever would want to hurt an innocent person.

‘I feel like a terrible person. I feel like a piece of cr**. I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life. I feel like I don’t deserve the chance to be with my family and friends.

‘I wish he was the one with the gun and had killed me. I never wanted to take an innocent person’s life. I am so sorry. This is not about hate, it’s about being scared that night.’

Guyger broke down in tears when she took to the stand during the trial and apologized for shooting dead her neighbor

Guyger broke down in tears when she took to the stand during the trial and apologized for shooting dead her neighbor

Prosecutor Jason Hermus asked Guyger to aim the gun at him like she did the night of the shooting during her murder trial

With her heavy service vest, lunch bag, and her backpack in her left arm, Guyger showed jurors how she entered the apartment the night of the shooting

With her heavy service vest, lunch bag, and her backpack in her left arm, Guyger showed jurors how she entered the apartment the night of the shooting (right). Under cross examination, prosecutor Jason Hermus asked Guyger to aim the gun at him like she did the night of the shooting during her murder trial (left)

It is relatively rare for criminal defendants to testify in their own defense at trial given prosecutors can cross-examine them. Legal experts said Guyger’s lawyers may have wanted to her to testify to make her appear human.

Defense attorneys questioned Guyger about her childhood and her aspirations to become a police officer.

‘I just wanted to help people and that was the one career that I thought I could help people in,’ Guyger said.

Guyger told the jury that police work was ‘the one thing I wanted to do since I was little’.

Prosecutors, however, cast doubt on Guyger’s grief and wondered why she didn’t call for backup instead of confronting Jean and questioned her attempts to save his life.

When prosecutors asked Guyger why she didn’t radio in for help when she thought there was a break-in at what she thought was her home, she replied that going through the doorway with her gun drawn ‘was the only option that went through my head’.

The prosecutor also grilled Guyger about why she didn’t perform ‘proper CPR’ on Jean after she shot him.

He asked about an eight-hour de-escalation training course she had taken that April, but Guyger told the jury she could no longer remember what she learned in the course.

She said she performed some chest compressions on Jean with one hand while using her phone with the other, but she also acknowledged stopping several times.

Prosecutors suggested that Guyger was less than grief-stricken in the aftermath of the shooting, saying that two days after she shot Jean, she asked her police partner, with whom she was romantically involved, if he wanted to go for drinks.

Guyger admitted that she sent flirtatious, sexually-orientated messages to Martin Rivera and talked about getting drunk. The court heard that Rivera is married and has children.She testified that they had a yearlong relationship, which she ended because it was ‘morally wrong’.

‘Super horny today’: Guyger sent explicit texts to police partner and lover the day of the shooting but later deleted them

In addition to the texts Guyger sent her lover after the shooting, prosecutors revealed during the trial that she had also exchanged sexually explicit messages and photos the day she shot dead Jean.

Prosecutors said Guyger sent a message to Rivera saying she was ‘super horny today’ and a Snapchat message saying ‘Wanna touch?’ just hours before the shooting.

Prosecutors suggested during the trial that Guyger was distracted by sexually explicit phone messages with her police partner Martin Rivera before the shooting. She also sent two text messages to him immediately after the shooting. Both Rivera and Guyger deleted the texts soon after

 

Prosecutors suggested during the trial that Guyger was distracted by sexually explicit phone messages with her police partner Martin Rivera before the shooting. She also sent two text messages to him immediately after the shooting. Both Rivera and Guyger deleted the texts soon after

Just prior to the shooting, prosecutors said Guyger was on the phone with Rivera for 16 minutes as she headed back to to her apartment.

Prosecutors made the argument that Guyger was distracted by her phone conversation with Rivera when she mistook Jean’s apartment for hers.

Rivera took to the stand during the trial and told jurors that their conversation was was mostly about police work but his memory of the call was hazy.

He denied the prosecutor’s suggestion that he had made any plans to rendezvous with Guyger later that night.

Prosecutors said that after the shooting, Guyger sent two text messages to her partner while she was simultaneously on the phone to 911 as Jean was bleeding to death on his floor.

She had texted him to say ‘I’m f**ked’ and that she needed him in the minutes after she shot Jean, the court heard.

Guyger deleted the logs of her text exchanges with Rivera from her cellphone after the shooting.

Rivera said he didn’t not know why she had done that but admitted that he had also deleted their text exchanges.

Guyger later testified that she deleted the texts between her and her partner because she was ashamed to be in a relationship with him.

She added that she had deleted texts between them before.

Guyger was shown (left) in police body camera footage (played to the jury during her murder trial on Tuesday) as first responders arrived to the Dallas apartment where she shot her neighbor Botham Jean last year+36

Guyger was shown (left) in police body camera footage (played to the jury during her murder trial on Tuesday) as first responders arrived to the Dallas apartment where she shot her neighbor Botham Jean last year

Guyger was captured on an officer's body cam standing in the corridor outside on her phone as CPR was being given to Jean inside, according to prosecutors

Guyger was captured on an officer’s body cam standing in the corridor outside on her phone as CPR was being given to Jean inside, according to prosecutors

Body cam footage showed first responders performing CPR on victim as Guyger stood outside in the hallway on her phone

In the frantic 911 call played in court early in the trial, Guyger – who was later fired from the force – can be heard saying ‘I thought it was my apartment’ nearly 20 times.

She also says: ‘I’m gonna lose my job’ and ‘I am going to need a supervisor.’

‘I’m f****d. Oh my God. I’m sorry,’ Guyger says in the recording.

Throughout the call, she also spoke to Jean, called him ‘bud’ and encouraged him to stay alive.

Jurors were also shown footage from a body camera worn by one of two officers who arrived at the apartment after Guyger called 911 to report the shooting.

Officers could be seen running towards Jean’s apartment as Guyger screamed out that she was off-duty.

Guyger was standing near the front door when the officers arrived and could be heard saying: ‘I thought it was my apartment’.

The footage showed the two officers immediately rendering CPR to Jean who was shown lying on the floor surrounded by blood.

Guyger appeared to be pushed out of the apartment while the officers gave Jean first aid.

A different body cam image showed Guyger standing in hallway outside the apartment looking at her phone as CPR was being administered.

Guyger was criticized by prosecutors during the trial for not rendering aid to Jean after she shot him.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus asked her: ‘Why couldn’t you have given him full undivided and proper attention? You can put the phone on speaker phone’.

She replied: ‘I had so much racing through my head’.

Other footage shown during the trial showed her hugging and speaking to fellow officers on the scene, which prosecutors have argued showed she was given special treatment.

Photos taken by a crime scene analyst were shown during Guyger's murder trial on Wednesday. The analyst testified that this photo showed Guyger had a taser and stun gun strapped to utility belt when she shot dead Jean

Photos taken by a crime scene analyst were shown during Guyger’s murder trial on Wednesday. The analyst testified that this photo showed Guyger had a taser and stun gun strapped to utility belt when she shot dead Jean

This photo taken inside a crime scene van after Guyger fatally shot Jean shows her gun (far left), her stun gun (far right) and pepper spray (second from left) strapped to her utility belt, an analyst and investigator testified

This photo taken inside a crime scene van after Guyger fatally shot Jean shows her gun (far left), her stun gun (far right) and pepper spray (second from left) strapped to her utility belt, an analyst and investigator testified

Crime scene photos show Guyger had a taser and pepper spray strapped to her utility belt during shooting

A crime scene analyst, who examined the scene and took photos of Guyger after the shooting, testified that the cop had a Taser and her pistol strapped to her at the time.

Prosecutors showed photos to the jury that analyst Robyn Carr took of Guyger inside a crime scene van after she fatally shot Jean.

Guyger can be seen in full police uniform with her utility belt still strapped on.

Prosecutors pointed to Guyger’s stun gun and the analyst confirmed that it was a Taser that ‘shoots out an electric probe that gets inserted into an individual’s skin’.

She also confirmed Guyger had her pistol strapped to her at the time.

Carr seized Guyger’s gun – photos of which were also shown to the jury – as evidence in the investigation.

Texas Ranger Michael Adcock, who was among the investigators, was asked during his testimony on Thursday about the non-lethal items attached to Guyger’s belt following the shooting.

He confirmed that in addition to the Taser and gun, Guyger also had OC spray – or pepper spray – on her at the time.

Prosecutors questioned Adcock about the radio attached to Guyger’s belt, saying: ‘If an officer is in trouble and needs immediate assistance what is the primary method of communication?’

‘It’s the radio, I guess,’ Adcock replied.

The prosecutor asked: ‘If you had a cellphone could you use that as well?’ to which Adcock responded: ‘Yes, sir’.

Under cross examination, Adcock said he wouldn’t use a stun gun or pepper spray if he believed he was in a deadly force situation and would use a handgun.

Jurors were shown photos during the trial that compared Guyger's apartment layout to that of Jean's home. Pictured above is Jean's apartment in the days after his death

Jurors were shown photos during the trial that compared Guyger’s apartment layout to that of Jean’s home. Pictured above is Jean’s apartment in the days after his death

An investigator testified that the layouts of the apartment were the same and that both Guyger and Jean had their couch and TVs in the same position. Prosecutors, however, noted that the apartments looked different. Pictured above is Guyger's apartment after the shooting

An investigator testified that the layouts of the apartment were the same and that both Guyger and Jean had their couch and TVs in the same position. Prosecutors, however, noted that the apartments looked different. Pictured above is Guyger’s apartment after the shooting

Neighbors ‘often went to the wrong floor in their Dallas building’ – as investigator testified layout of the two apartments were similar and that victim’s door had a structural flaw

Footage and still images were shown in court of Guyger’s apartment that were taken by multiple investigators in the days after the shooting.

The footage showed the view of her apartment from the entryway to her home and also panned to show views of the living room.

Prosecutors made the argument that the apartment looked different to the victim’s home. They noted there were flowers on a small table and a large clock inside Guyger’s home.

But Texas Ranger David Armstrong – who was a lead investigator – testified that Guyger’s apartment had a similar layout to the neighbor she shot.

During his testimony, defense attorneys showed photos to the jury that compared Guyger’s apartment layout to that of Jean’s home.

Armstrong said both Guyger and Jean had their couch and TVs in the same position.

Photos comparing views of the hallways, parking garages and doorways on the third and fourth floor of the apartment complex were also shown to the court.

When questioned by defense attorneys, Armstrong agreed that they looked similar.

Armstrong also testified that the door of Jean’s apartment did not close properly because it had a structural flaw.

At the time of her arrest, Guyger said she had found the door of the apartment she thought was hers ‘slightly ajar’.

She claimed the door opened when she used her electronic key to enter the apartment and she believed she was being robbed when she saw Jean.

Armstrong said it appeared the screws in the strike plate of Jean’s door had been screwed in too far, which caused it to ‘bow out’.

The door of the Dallas apartment where Guyger shot dead her neighbor after saying she mistakenly thought it was her own had a structural flaw that caused it not to latch and close properly, an investigator testified. These images were taken by police during the investigation

The door of the Dallas apartment where Guyger shot dead her neighbor after saying she mistakenly thought it was her own had a structural flaw that caused it not to latch and close properly, an investigator testified. These images were taken by police during the investigation

The investigator said it appeared the screws in the strike plate had been screwed in too far, which caused it to 'bow out'. Pictured above is a photo of the strike plate that was shown to jurors on Wednesday

The investigator said it appeared the screws in the strike plate had been screwed in too far, which caused it to ‘bow out’. Pictured above is a photo of the strike plate that was shown to jurors on Wednesday

He said it meant that the door would sometimes latch but other times it wouldn't secure and close properly

The investigator said this flaw prevented the door from closing properly as it was designed to do

This flaw prevented the door from closing properly as it was designed to do, Armstrong told the court.

He said it meant that the door would sometimes latch but other times it wouldn’t secure and close properly.

Defense attorneys said Jean’s door was open the day Guyger entered his apartment and shot him dead.

Armstrong went on to testify that he doesn’t think Guyger committed a crime.

‘I don’t believe that (the shooting) was reckless or criminally negligent based on the totality of the investigation and the circumstances and facts,’ Armstrong said.

The jury wasn’t present when he said he believed she acted reasonably after perceiving Jean as a threat. The judge later ruled that the jury couldn’t hear the Texas Ranger’s opinion of the reasonableness of Guyger’s actions.

In the jury’s presence, Armstrong testified that going to the wrong apartment was common at that complex.

Armstrong said he interviewed 297 of the 349 residents living at the apartment complex. He said 46 of those residents had mistakenly gone to the wrong floor and put their key in the door before.

The percentage was higher for those living on the third and fourth floors – the same floors as Guyger and Jean – with 38 saying they had unintentionally walked to the wrong apartment.

Armstrong also said that 93 of the residents had parked on the wrong floor in the parking garage on previous occasions. He said 76 of those residents lived on the third or fourth floor.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7531081/Amber-Guyger-sentenced-10-years-prison-murder.html

Story 2: The REDS or Radical Extremist Democrat Socialiasts Leading the Charge In Impeachment Inquiry — Trump’s Real Crime Was He Won The 2016 Election — Creepy Sleepy Dopey Joey Biden’s Stopping Ukraine Investigation of Burisma — A Pattern of Corruption — Videos

UPDATE October 4, 2019

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Oct 4, 2019

UKRAINE SCANDAL EXPLAINED: Chalkboard on DNC Collusion, Joe Biden, Soros, Trump & More

Glenn explains EVERYTHING you need to know about the Ukraine scandal. And it goes MUCH further than Hunter and Joe Biden, and their involvement there. This timeline gives you all the facts and proof you need to show that there was DNC collusion, not collusion with President Trump, during the 2016 election. Democrats worked with Ukrainian officials to investigate “dirt” on Trump, and Glenn shows you EVERYTHING — including how even George Soros is involved — in a way that’s easy to understand.

Sean Hannity breaks down the Biden-Ukraine timeline

The Joe Biden-Ukraine Controversy, Explained

Lou Dobbs 10/2/19 | Breaking Fox News October 2, 2019

Biden’s Ukraine Scandal Explained I Glenn Beck

Paradigm: Fraud allegations against Biden family

Donald Trump rages against ‘stone-cold crooked’ Joe Biden after claiming he’s ‘less smart now than he ever was’ in wild White House defense of his ‘perfect’ Ukraine call

  • Donald Trump said he has a duty to report any corruption from Joe Biden
  • During a tirade in the Oval Office Wednesday, he threw insults at the former vice president, calling him and his son ‘stone-cold corrupt’
  • ‘I think Biden has never been a smart guy and he’s less smart now than he ever was,’ he said
  • Insults come as he continues to defend a call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July
  • In the call he brought up Biden, which the president said was to discuss potential corruption with son Hunter Biden’s Ukraine business dealings 
  • Trump posted a video parody to his Twitter feed Wednesday that mocked Biden for claiming he never discussed overseas business with his son
  • The video included a photo of the Bidens on a golf course with a Ukrainian oil executive 

Donald Trump railed against political rival Joe Biden on Wednesday, claiming in an Oval Office tirade that he ‘has never been a smart guy.’

Hours later during a joint press conference with Finland’s president, he called the former vice president and his son Hunter Biden ‘stone-cold crooked.’ 

The president said he had a duty to report corruption, which is why he feels it necessary to bring up potential corruption by Biden and his son Hunter Biden in Ukraine.

Trump’s most recent political crusade has involved a tar-and-feather operation against the Bidens, based on unproven claims that they used the vice presidency to turn a profit through Hunter’s business deals in China and Ukraine.

‘I have a duty to report corruption and let me tell you something, Biden’s son is corrupt and Biden is corrupt,’ Trump told reporters gathered in the Oval Office Wednesday. ‘I think Biden has never been a smart guy and he’s less smart now than he ever was.’

Biden said Wednesday in Las Vegas that there is ‘zero’ evidence he engaged in any ‘corrupt’ activities with Ukraine, where he once used $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees as bait to force the firing of a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company where his son held a lucrative board seat.

During a joint press conference with Finland's president on Wednesday, President Donald Trump called former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden 'stone-cold crooked'

President Donald Trump said Joe Biden ‘has never been a smart guy and he’s less smart now than he ever was,’ as he continued to call the former vice president ‘corrupt’
‘There is zero, zero, zero evidence of any assertion being made,’ Biden told MSNBC. ‘Nobody has ever asserted that I did anything wrong except he and what’s that fella’s name, Rudy ‘Hudy’… Giuliani. That’s it.’

Although Biden has been slipping in polls recently, he is still the Democratic frontrunner in a crowded primary field.

The president’s assertion of Biden’s corruption comes as the Democrat-controlled House opens an impeachment inquiry centered around a call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in late July.

The call became a hot topic after a whistle-blower revealed a complaint he made that alleged Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

In a transcript of the phone call, released by the White House, Trump does urge Zelensky to probe potential corruption linked to the Bidens – but also in the context of the 2016 elections.

The president passed up an opportunity on Wednesday to clarify what he wanted Zelensky to do with respect to the Bidens. After filibustering, he impatiently sniped at a Reuters reporter to ask Finnish President Sauli Niinistö a question instead.

Hunter Biden accepted a board position with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas firm, in 2014 – while his father was still serving as vice president.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7530523/Trump-defense-perfect-Ukraine-call-Biden-corrupt-smart-was.html

Trump avoided answering a question during a press conference on Wednesday about what he wante dUkraine's president to do when he raised the Bidens' 'corruption' in a July phone call

Trump avoided answering a question during a press conference on Wednesday about what he wante dUkraine’s president to do when he raised the Bidens’ ‘corruption’ in a July phone call

Trump says Biden's corruption in Ukraine stems from his son, Hunter Biden's (left) business dealings there. Hunter accepted a position on a natural gas firm's board in Ukraine in 2014 –  while his father was still vice president

Trump says Biden’s corruption in Ukraine stems from his son, Hunter Biden’s (left) business dealings there. Hunter accepted a position on a natural gas firm’s board in Ukraine in 2014 –  while his father was still vice president

The move raised eyebrows in Washington for potential conflicts of interest, but the administration at the time dismissed it, claiming Hunter could do whatever he pleased business-wise as a private citizen.

Biden also claimed he never discussed his son’s role in the foreign company, but Hunter contradicted that in an interview this summer, recalling a 2015 conversation with his father about his position with Burisma.

Trump also posted a parody video to his Twitter feed on Wednesday that poked fun at Biden, in an attempt to discredit his assertion he didn’t talk to his son about Ukraine.

The short video included Biden telling a reporter in Iowa last month, ‘I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.’

The video cuts cut to a Nickelback music video for the song ‘Photograph,’ edited to use a photograph of Joe and Hunter golfing with a Ukrainian oil executive.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

LOOK AT THIS PHOTOGRAPH!

 

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A video the president posted Wednesday on his Twitter feed shows this photo of the Bidens with a Ukrainian energy executive

Schiff Got Early Account of Accusations as Whistle-Blower’s Concerns Grew

CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint, according to a spokesman and current and former American officials.

The early account by the future whistle-blower shows how determined he was to make known his allegations that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s government to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election. It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.

The C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump only after he had had a colleague first convey them to the C.I.A.’s top lawyer. Concerned about how that initial avenue for airing his allegations through the C.I.A. was unfolding, the officer then approached the House aide. In both cases, the original accusation was vague.

The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and meet with an inspector general, with whom he could file a whistle-blower complaint. The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff. The aide did not share the whistle-blower’s identity with Mr. Schiff, an official said.

“Like other whistle-blowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistle-blower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” said Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Mr. Schiff.

In his whistle-blower complaint, the officer said Mr. Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate a host of issues that could benefit him politically, including one connected to a son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

reconstituted transcript released by the White House of a call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine backed up the whistle-blower’s account, which was itself based on information from a half-dozen American officials and deemed credible by the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson.

Mr. Trump, who has focused his ire on Mr. Schiff amid the burgeoning Ukraine scandal, wasted no time in trying to use the revelation about the whistle-blower’s attempt to alert Congress to try to denigrate his complaint. In a news conference in the East Room of the White House after this article was published, Mr. Trump called it a scandal that Mr. Schiff knew the outlines of the whistle-blower’s accusations before he filed his complaint.

“Big stuff. That’s a big story,” Mr. Trump said, waving a copy of the article in the air. “He knew long before and helped write it, too. It’s a scam,” the president added, accusing Mr. Schiff of helping the whistle-blower write his complaint. There is no evidence that Mr. Schiff did, and his spokesman said he saw no part of the complaint before it was filed.

The whistle-blower’s decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee’s Democrats is also sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy as a target of Mr. Trump’s.

Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Trump said Mr. Schiff should be forced to resign for reading a parody of the Ukraine call at a hearing, an act Mr. Trump has called treasonous and criminal.

“We don’t call him shifty Schiff for nothing,” Mr. Trump said. “He’s a shifty, dishonest guy.”

Mr. Schiff’s aides followed procedures involving whistle-blower’s accusations, Mr. Boland said. They referred him to an inspector general and advised him to seek legal counsel.

Mr. Schiff never saw any part of the complaint or knew precisely what the whistle-blower would deliver, Mr. Boland said.

“At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance,” he said. He said the committee received the complaint the night before releasing it publicly last week and noted that that came three weeks after the administration was legally mandated to turn it over to Congress. The director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, acting on the advice of his top lawyer and the Justice Department, had blocked Mr. Atkinson from turning over the complaint sooner.

Image
CreditCarolyn Kaster/Associated Press

In response to questions, spokeswomen for Senators Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Mark Warner of Virginia, its Democratic vice chairman, said it was standard procedure to refer whistle-blowers to the relevant inspectors general.

 

The C.I.A. officer first had a colleague take his concerns — in vague form — to the C.I.A.’s general counsel, Courtney Simmons Elwood, who began a preliminary inquiry by contacting a deputy White House counsel, alerting the White House that complaints were coming from the C.I.A.

As C.I.A. and White House lawyers began following up on the complaint, the C.I.A. officer became nervous, according to a person familiar with the matter. He learned that John Eisenberg, a deputy White House counsel and the legal adviser to the national security adviser, was among those scrutinizing his initial allegation.

Contacts in the National Security Council had also told the C.I.A. officer that the White House lawyers had authorized records of Mr. Trump’s call with Mr. Zelensky to be put in a highly classified computer system, meaning that the lawyers who were now helping the C.I.A. investigate the officer’s allegations were the same ones implicated in them. The officer has alleged that White House aides’ decision to store the call records more restrictively was itself an abuse of the system.

The C.I.A. officer decided the complaint he had brought to Ms. Elwood was at risk of being swept aside, prompting him to go to the lawmakers who conduct oversight of the intelligence agencies.

He followed the advice of Mr. Schiff’s aide and filed his complaint to Mr. Atkinson. And though Mr. Maguire blocked him from forwarding it to Congress, he did allow Mr. Atkinson to notify lawmakers of its existence.

The complaint was filed in consultation with a lawyer, officials said. “The intelligence community whistle-blower followed the advice of legal counsel from the beginning,” said Andrew Bakaj, the lead counsel for the whistle-blower. “The laws and processes have been followed.”

 

By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained.

Mr. Schiff, after a private letter and phone call to Mr. Maguire, publicly released a letter seeking the complaint and suggested it could involve Mr. Trump or others in his administration. Mr. Schiff followed up by subpoenaing documents from Mr. Maguire and requesting him to testify before the intelligence panel.

Officials in Mr. Maguire’s office, who did not know the details of the complaint, were puzzled why Mr. Schiff went public right away, eschewing the usual closed-door negotiations.

But letters from the inspector general and Mr. Maguire had made clear to the House Intelligence Committee that the Justice Department and the White House were blocking Mr. Maguire’s office from forwarding the complaint.

Congressional officials insisted that Mr. Schiff and his aides followed the rules. Whistle-blowers regularly approach the committee, given its role in conducting oversight of the intelligence agencies, Mr. Boland said.

“The committee expects that they will be fully protected, despite the president’s threats,” Mr. Boland said, referring to the whistle-blower without identifying his gender. “Only through their courage did these facts about the president’s abuse of power come to light.”

Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.

A Guide to Impeachment

Updated Oct. 3, 2019


One or Two More Thoughts about Hunter Biden’s Employment History . . .

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden depart after a pre-inauguration church service in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2009. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Just a note or two to follow up on Monday’s gargantuan timeline about Hunter Biden’s employment, work, and connections and deals going back to the early 2000s . . .

“Hunter Biden isn’t running for president, Joe Biden is!” Er, yes, and the whole point is that if Hunter Biden wasn’t the son of Joe Biden, then he would not have been hired at such a lucrative rate by MBNA, various universities and hospitals, Chinese institutional investors, Chinese private-equity fund Bohai Capital, Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming, Burisma Holdings, and other institutions. The issue is not merely that Hunter worked for shady people and institutions, it’s that he worked for shady people and institutions who wanted to influence or profit from changes to U.S. policy.

You’ll notice that when Joe Biden is discussing allegations of corruption about someone else, his general attitude is that the legal technicalities matter little. “Come on, man! Give me a break! Malarkey!” When the questions are about Hunter Biden, his campaign hides behind the generic statement, “The Obama-Biden administration created and upheld the strongest ethics policy of any presidency in American history.” Surely, there couldn’t be a flaw, loophole, or oversight in the Obama administration ethics policy, right?

Hunter Biden and his ex-wife Kathleen went through a messy divorce in late 2016 and early 2017. (If you think a messy divorce automatically reflects bad personal character, I have some unfortunate news to tell you about the current president.) But Monday’s timeline focused on two financial issues discussed in the legal papers for that divorce. The first is that giant 2.8 karat diamond given to Hunter Biden by Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming. The second is Hunter’s ex-wife contended in the divorce papers that the couple “owed more than $300,000 in back taxes.”

“But what about Trump’s kids?” Fine, let’s talk about Trump’s kids. Some of us griped about entrusting sensitive negotiations with Russian officials to a young family member with no government or foreign policy experience back in 2017. But that doesn’t make the Biden situation right, and the prospect of nominating Biden puts Democrats in the position of arguing, “Replace the current socially unacceptable influence-peddling with a return to the old socially-acceptable influence-peddling.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/one-or-two-more-thoughts-about-hunter-bidens-employment-history/

The Senator from MBNA

From the past, a look at Joe Biden’s connections.Note — Barack Obama’s choice of Joseph Biden as his running mate is likely to bring up lots of old stories about the long-time senator from Delaware. In 1998, someone called me to talk about the sale of Biden’s house, which had been a minor issue in his reelection campaign two years earlier. But when I traveled to Delaware, I found there was more to it than met the eye, and it was just part of Biden’s close, intertwined relationship with MBNA, the giant credit-card company based in his home state. (MBNA was bought by Bank of America in 2006.) This is the story from The American Spectator in 1998:

In the 1996 campaign, a Republican businessman named Raymond J. Clatworthy challenged Joseph Biden’s run for a fifth term as senator from Delaware. By many accounts, Clatworthy ran a hapless, hopeless race. He tried to portray Biden as a soft-on-crime liberal. It didn’t work. He tried to portray Biden as a big-government tax-and-spend liberal. That didn’t work, either. He even brought in Hollywood GOP icon Charlton Heston to campaign for him in all three of Delaware’s counties. Still no luck; the popular Biden maintained a strong lead in the polls going into election day.

Despite his frustration, Clatworthy stuck to the issues. He had to; early in the race, he had vowed to stay away from personal attacks. Then, less than two weeks before election day, one of Clatworthy’s campaign consultants ran a so-called “push poll” in which campaign workers call voters ostensibly to learn their opinions but in truth to spread damaging information about the candidate’s opponent. Clatworthy’s callers said that earlier in the year Biden had sold his house to a top executive of the Delaware-based credit card company MBNA. The price, they said, was twice the home’s value, suggesting that MBNA had bought off Biden as well as his house.

#ad#Biden disputed the claim and provided the local paper, the Wilmington News-Journal, with an appraisal of the house fixing its value at $1.2 million–exactly the price that the MBNA executive, a man named John Cochran, had paid. The home deal, it appeared, was on the up-and-up.

Biden called the accusation “immoral and unethical,” and in short order the whole thing blew up in Clatworthy’s face. The Delaware state Republican chairman called Clatworthy’s campaign “crazy” to suggest that Biden had sold his house in a sweetheart deal. Clatworthy’s press secretary told the News-Journal that the home sale was “not an issue we’re going to deal with in this campaign.” And Clatworthy was forced to fire the consultant who came up with the idea.

It is perhaps not necessary to add that Clatworthy lost big when election day came around. Biden captured 60 percent of the vote, and Clatworthy returned to his businesses in Dover. According to the pundits and pollsters, the episode left many in Delaware with a strong distaste for negative politicking; at the very least, it seems unlikely that anything like the Biden house caper will be repeated anytime soon.

But as much as he bungled the issue, it turns out Clatworthy was on to something: Biden and MBNA have indeed developed a pretty cozy relationship. John Cochran, the company’s vice-chairman and chief marketing officer, did pay top dollar for Biden’s house, and MBNA gave Cochran a lot of money–$330,000–to help with “expenses” related to the move. A few months after the sale, as Biden’s re-election effort got under way, MBNA’s top executives contributed generously to his campaign in a series of coordinated donations that sidestepped the limits on contributions by the company’s political action committee. And then, a short time after the election, MBNA hired Biden’s son for a lucrative job in which, according to bank officials, he is being groomed for a senior management position.

Of course, lots of members of Congress have intimate ties to corporations in their states or districts. And lots of companies encourage their employees to make big campaign contributions (MBNA has given more to some Republicans than it gave to Biden). And certainly lots of children of influential parents end up in very good jobs. But the Biden case is troubling because all those ingredients come together in one man–along with a touch of hypocrisy. After all, this is a senator who for years has sermonized against what he says is the corrupting influence of money in politics.

Joe’s Money Crunch It has become a minor ritual each year in Washington: political observers scan the latest financial disclosure reports from Capitol Hill and marvel at how many members of the Senate are millionaires. The list is headed by names like Kennedy and Rockefeller, but it also includes lawmakers like McCain, Helms, and Murkowski. In all, at least 39 of the 100 members of the Senate qualify for membership in the millionaires’ club.

On the liabilities side, Biden had a loan of between $15,000 and $50,000 from the Senate credit union, plus another loan of between $15, 000 and $50,000 against the cash value of those Connecticut Mutual policies. He also owed between $15,000 and $50,000 on a line of credit from the Beneficial National Bank in Wilmington (he had just that year paid off a loan of between $1,000 and $15,000 with the Delaware Trust Company). And he co- signed two loans totaling between $100,000 and $250,000 for his sons’ college educations. Biden would have had a negative net worth were it not for the value of his home. Although disclosure rules do not force senators to list the value of their personal residences, Biden chose to include a letter noting his “good faith estimate” that he had between $500,001 and $1,000,000 in equity in his home. Of course, to get that money he would have to sell the house, a lovely old mansion on three and a half acres of what used to be a du Pont family estate outside Wilmington. Biden bought the house in 1975 but had been thinking on-and-off about selling it for years; he almost sold it before his disastrous run for the presidency in 1988. But the deal didn’t happen until MBNA came along.

BIG SPENDERS

Not too many years ago, MBNA was a relatively minor player in the credit card business. Today, it is the second-largest issuer of Visa and Mastercards in the country, and some analysts believe it will eventually overtake Citicorp to become the nation’s biggest credit-card bank.

MBNA president Charles Cawley created his company’s extraordinary success by focusing on something called the “affinity card” business. The idea is simple: MBNA markets cards to people who identify with groups or organizations to which they belong. Members of the National Education Association, for example, can get an NEA credit card–issued by MBNA. Fans of the Green Bay Packers can get a green-and-gold team card. Even luxury auto enthusiasts can get an MBNA-issued Jaguar owners card. MBNA has invented hundreds of different affinity cards and is always coming up with more. “They are the affinity business,” says Franklin Morton, a Chicago-based analyst who tracks MBNA’s fortunes. “They created the concept, they figured out how to market the hell out of it, and before anybody else figured out how to do it, they owned it.”

MBNA’s success has bred an extraordinary corporate culture, almost a cult of Cawley. “Many of the people in management and skill positions work very long hours,” says one observer. “They seem very committed, very dedicated to Cawley.” Others note that top officers all live close to each other, and MBNA encourages them to display the outward signs of success, like houses, clothes, and cars. “There’s a stress on putting your best foot forward,” another observer says. “Appearances matter.” But MBNA is perhaps best known for another corporate personality trait: its extravagant spending.

One recent profile in Barron’s magazine called Cawley & Co. ” plastic emperors.” Certainly they pay themselves royal salaries. According to documents on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, in 1996 Cawley received a compensation package worth about $6.6 million, a figure significantly higher than that of chief executives at other credit card firms. (MBNA’s chairman, Alfred Lerner, is less active in the company’s affairs than Cawley; he received $6.4 million.) John Cochran received compensation of nearly $4.3 million. Two other top executives topped the $3 million mark.

And they spend as much on their toys as they do on their salaries. According to Barron’s, the company maintains an extensive collection of antique automobiles, plus four Lear jets, plus two Gulfstream jets, plus a private golf course. There’s also a warm-weather hideaway in Boca Raton and MBNA’s “summer headquarters” in Camden, Maine, where Cawley has bought a $2.75 million home on the waterfront. “Moored in Camden’s picturesque harbor,” Barron’s reports, “you can see MBNA’s classic yacht, Affinity; its state-of-the-art cruiser, Impatience; as well as its snazzy sportfishing boat, So Far So Good and its power launch, Deliverance.”

SOLD!

MBNA was originally based in Maryland, but in the 1980s moved to Delaware to take advantage of that state’s more liberal interest laws. Almost all of Cawley’s team of top executives moved to the Wilmington area, but John Cochran stayed behind at his home in northern Maryland, commuting to the company’s new headquarters. It appears that was not a workable long-term arrangement; by many accounts, Cawley wants his top aides close to him and to the office. According to MBNA officials, the company asked Cochran to move to Delaware.

At the same time, Biden was looking for a buyer for his house. How the two got together is not clear. When asked, an MBNA spokesman declined to offer any details, saying only, “That’s a very personal question.” However it happened, in February 1996 Cochran bought Biden’s house for $1.2 million.

The price was not twice the home’s value, as Raymond Clatworthy’s pollsters claimed, but there is evidence to suggest it was a pretty darned good deal for Biden.

The appraisal that Biden gave the News-Journal during last year’s campaign–showing that the house was worth $1.2 million–was done several years earlier, at the time Biden took out loans for his sons’ education. In January 1996, as the purchase deal was under way, another appraisal was made, also putting the house’s value at $1.2 million. A spokesman for Cochran provided TAS with a copy of that appraisal.

It is customary for appraisers to evaluate homes in relation to similar properties in the area, or “comparables.” In the case of Biden’s house, the appraiser compared the home to another large old house about a quarter of a mile away. That house–which was in similar condition–was judged to be worth $1,013,000. It sold in August 1995 for $800,000 (it should be noted that the house did not have a pool, which Biden’s does; on the other hand the house had central air conditioning, which Biden’s did not, and it was on a larger lot). The appraiser also looked at two other newer houses in the area. One was appraised at $1,230,000 and sold for $1,007,500. The other was appraised at $1,163,000 and sold for an even $1 million. In all three cases, the homes sold for a good deal less than their appraised value. In comparison, it appears Cochran simply paid Biden’s full asking price. And, according to people familiar with the situation, the house needed quite a bit of work; contractors and their trucks descended on the house for months after the purchase.

A spokesman for Biden says there was nothing out of the ordinary in the purchase. “Senator Biden sold his house in Delaware at the appraised value,” the spokesman said. “That’s a matter of public record.” An MBNA spokesman says the same thing. “There was an independent appraisal done by Mr. Cochran’s mortgage company,” the spokesman says. “That appraisal was equal to the sales price.”

It appears that MBNA indirectly helped Cochran buy the Biden house. According to a statement in the company’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission–in which it is required to detail the compensation of top officers–in 1996 MBNA reimbursed Cochran $330,115 for expenses arising from the move. The statement says $210,000 of that was to make up for a loss Cochran suffered on the sale of his Maryland home. An MBNA official declined to comment on the payment.

Was the home sale a sweet deal for Biden? If you talk to people involved in real estate in the Wilmington area, you’ll quickly find that few want to approach the question. “I wouldn’t touch that with a ten- foot pole,” said one agent. Another declined to say anything. And a third agent said only, “In my opinion, (Cochran) overpaid.” None wanted to be identified by name.

BUNDLES OF JOY

A few months after the sale, during the 1996 senatorial race, MBNA cemented its ties to Biden when company employees began showering him with campaign contributions. According to Federal Election Commission records, MBNA became by far Biden’s biggest single source of contributions. Company employees gave him $62,850 in the 1996 cycle, while the second-biggest contributor gave just $21,000.

Judging by the timing of the contributions, it appears that there was a concerted effort among top MBNA executives to support Biden. For example, according to Federal Election Commission records, on April 16 MBNA executive vice-president and chief technology officer Ronald Davies sent in $1,000.

Kenneth Boehl, another top executive, also sent in $1,000 on the 16th. And senior vice-president Gregg Bacchieri. And William Daiger, another executive vice-president. And David Spartin, the vice-chairman and company spokesman.

The next day, April 17, vice-chairman and chief financial officer Scot Kaufman sent $1,000, as did Bruce Hammonds, MBNA’s vice-chairman and chief operating officer. And John Hewes, senior executive vice-president of MBNA’s credit division. And vice-chairman and chief administrative officer Lance Weaver. On April 18, MBNA general counsel John Scheflen sent in $1,000. On April 20, group president David Nelms sent in $1,000, as did vice-chairman Vernon Wright. On April 22, John Cochran sent in $1,000. So did senior executive vice-president Peter Dimsey. And finally, on April 26, Charles Cawley sent in his $1,000.

The law allows individuals to give $1,000 to a candidate during the primary phase of a campaign and another $1,000 during the general election phase. Once the primary contributions had been made, MBNA’s second wave of donations appeared in late August. On the 25th, Gregg Bacchieri gave another $1,000. On August 27, John Cochran sent in his $1,000, as did William Daiger and another top official, Robert Desantis. On the 28th, Ronald Davies sent $1,000, along with Bruce Hammonds and David Nelms. On the 29th, David Spartin sent in his $1,000, as did Vernon Wright and Kenneth Boehl (Boehl’s wife Kathleen also sent in another $1,000 on the 29th). On the 30th, John Scheflen sent his $1,000.

The contributions fit an established MBNA pattern. In 1995, the Wilmington News-Journal reported that Scheflen wrote a memo to top staffers advising them to make specific contributions during the 1994 campaign. According to the paper, the memo “advised MBNA executives which candidates to give to, how much to give and when to give it–and to send photocopies of their checks to the bank’s general counsel.” Scheflen reportedly sent a follow-up memo asking to be informed in writing if an employee decided not to give. If you do not plan to make any suggested contributions,” Scheflen wrote, “I would appreciate it if you would so note.”

The practice is known as “bundling,” and it is something that troubles campaign finance watchdogs. “When you bundle the individual contributions,” says Ellen Miller of the public interest group Public Campaign, “you can give more than with a political action committee.” And the practice raises another question: Are the contributions truly voluntary? ” When you do it in the workplace, many people feel there are unwritten rules, and certain pressures that can be applied with a wink and a nod,” says Kent Cooper of another public interest group, the Center for Responsive Politics. ” You might feel coerced into giving.”

MBNA officials say there was no such coordination or coercion in the 1996 Biden contributions. When asked why many top executives contributed the same amount at the same time, spokesman David Spartin responded, “We all know each other very well. We all talk among each other, and made our contributions.”

Such help is particularly valuable for Biden, a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform, because Biden does not accept money from political action committees. He has also been a vocal critic of bundling. The practice makes a politician beholden to rich companies, Biden said during a debate on finance reform in 1993. “You are much less indebted to the 200 electricians who gave you two bucks apiece,” Biden said, “than you are to the 50 du Pont family members who gave $2,000 apiece.” (In 1996, du Pont contributions to Biden were dwarfed by those from MBNA.) When asked about Biden’s acceptance of MBNA contributions, a spokesman for the senator would say only that Biden “is proud of the support he has received from the business community in Delaware.”

MYSTERY JOB

A few weeks after Biden was re-elected in November 1996, there came yet another tie between the senator and MBNA when the company hired Biden’s son Hunter (the younger Biden is a Yale Law School graduate who was admitted to the bar this year). MBNA officials seem delighted with their new executive.

“Hunter Biden is an outstanding young man,” a bank spokesman says. “We’re very fortunate to have him here at MBNA.”

Beyond that, the company is not eager to talk. First, a spokesman declined to discuss Biden’s salary. Then, when asked what young Biden is doing for the bank, the spokesman paused and said, “That’s not something we get into details on.” When pressed, the spokesman said, “He’s a talented young guy that we are grooming for a management position.” The spokesman said Hunter Biden has been “moving around the bank” as part of his introduction into the business. Hunter Biden himself declined to discuss his salary or his job.

REFORM? ME?

In 1993 Joe Biden, along with fellow senators John Kerry and Bill Bradley, sponsored a campaign finance bill that would have, among other things, sharply limited the influence of political action committees and the practice of bundling. In March of that year, Biden appeared before the Senate Rules Committee to testify on behalf of his proposed reforms. He was openly critical of other bills that would have imposed less severe restrictions. Such moderate measures, Biden said, were “like moderate chastity. There ain’t no such thing.”

Then Biden told the committee about an experience he had in 1972, during his first run for the senate. He was just 29, with a chance to become the second-youngest senator in American history. But he needed some quick cash for campaign ads. Looking for support, he visited a group of rich businessmen.

Biden said they asked him, “Joe, what’s your position on capital gains?” Biden said he knew what to say to get the donations he desperately needed. I knew the right answer for $20,000,” Biden said. “I knew the right answer for $30,000. I knew the right answer for $40,000.” But as Biden tells the story, he wouldn’t say what the fat cats wanted to hear, and went away with nothing. It was a tough call, one that could have cost him the election. But Biden said he learned an important lesson about “the manner in which money corrupts.”

It might be interesting to hear the young Joe Biden’s reaction to a case that would arise twenty-five years later. A top executive of a rich and spendthrift company buys the home of a financially strapped senator, paying a generous price. After that, virtually the entire top management of the company gets together in a coordinated campaign to donate money to the senator, getting around campaign contribution limits. And then, after the senator is re-elected, the company hires the senator’s son.

What’s the right answer for that?

https://www.nationalreview.com/2008/08/senator-mbna-byron-york/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Strassel: Fusion GPS dossier a dirty trick for the ages

Podesta, Wasserman Schultz deny knowledge of dossier funding

Did Hillary Clinton know about the Russian dossier?

Did Hillary Clinton Finance The Infamous Dossier?

Fusion GPS victim: They are out to destroy people

Does the dossier bombshell spell trouble for the Democrats?

Potential legal implications from Trump dossier scandal

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

Kurtz: Journalists don’t hire opposition research firms

York: Washington Free Beacon was original Fusion GPS funder

Conservative website funded Fusion GPS opposition research

Where does ‘opposition research’ cross a line?

Why Is The EPA Hiring GOP Oppo Research Firms??

Clinton campaign, DNC helped fund dossier research

The Curious Art and Science of Opposition Research

How Republican Opposition Research Dig Up Dirt on Dems

Political Opposition Research Reveals All – Alan Huffman

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

Jordan Peterson on The Necessity of Virtue

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

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

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

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

“Not on obstruction,” Stephanopoulos replied.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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


YouTube screen grab.

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

As summarized by Politico:

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

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

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

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

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

He got exactly what he wanted from the haters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Candidate Hillary Clinton endorsed idea of political dirt from overseas

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

The Clinton campaign quickly cited the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

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

The FBI Tragedy: Elites above the Law

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opposition research

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

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

Contents

Origins and history

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

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

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

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

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

Methods

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

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

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

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

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

“Trackers” and videography

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

Digital media and Wikipedia

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

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

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

Grassroots oppo-research

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

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

Preventive measures

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

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

Funding and institutions

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

In presidential elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive branch

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

Supreme Court

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. states

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

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

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

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

In other countries

Australia

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

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

South Africa

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

Mass media ethics

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

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

Political infighting

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

In popular culture

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

References …

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

 

Christopher Steele

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Christopher Steele
Born 24 June 1964 (age 54)

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

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

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

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

Contents

Early life

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

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

Career

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

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

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

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

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

Steele has worked with Oleg Deripaska.[25]

Private sector

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

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

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

FIFA research

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

Trump dossier

Background and information gathering

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

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

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

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

Post-election work on the dossier

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

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

Revealed identity

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

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

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

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

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

Disclosure and reactions

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

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

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

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

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

Role in the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation

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

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

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

Role in subsequent investigations

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

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

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

Legal action

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

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

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

Senate Republicans’ referral for a criminal investigation[edit]

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

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

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

Personal life

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

References …

Further reading

External links

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

 

Fusion GPS

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

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

Contents

History

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

Work

Opposition research on Mitt Romney

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

Planned Parenthood

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

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

Prevezon Holding

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump dossier and Christopher Steele

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

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

House Intelligence Committee investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senate Judiciary Committee investigations

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

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

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

See also

References …

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

 

 

The Washington Free Beacon

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

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

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

Contents

History

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

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

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

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

Reception

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

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

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

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

See also

References …

External links

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

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

New poll shows Trump trailing Biden and four other Democrats

Brian KNOWLTON

AFP

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Battleground states –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran threatens to violate nuclear deal

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

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

The Heat: US-Iran sanctions

 

Iran speeds up uranium enrichment as Mideast tensions mount

24 minutes ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATOMIC THREAT 

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

US releases photos to bolster claim Iran attacked tankers

53 minutes ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://apnews.com/e479acedfd38465ab17e15e579f243ad

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The Pronk Pops Show 1177, November 20, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Wanted To Prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey — Missed Golden Opportunity To Bring The Plotters of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy To Justice — The American People Demand Justice and Prosecutions — Appoint A Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Three Cheers For Judicial Watch and Tom Fitton — Videos — Story 2: Wrap Up The Mueller Investigation or Face The Consequences — Videos — Story 3: U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar Opposes Trump Efforts To Stop Illegal Alien Invasion of United States and Enforce Immigration Law By Issuing A Temporary Restraining Order and Trump Reacts — Videos — Story 4: Trump’s Principled Realism Foreign Policy — Back To 1946 — Videos 

Posted on November 21, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Countries, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Elections, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, James Comey, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Mental Illness, National Interest, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Software, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Terror, Terrorism, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

 

Story 1: President Trump Wanted To Prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey — Missed Golden Opportunity To Bring The Plotters of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy To Justice — The American People Demand Justice and Prosecutions  — Appoint A Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute — Three Cheers For Judicial Watch and Tom Fitton — Videos

See the source imagehttps://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51bcQvf%2B-pL._AC_SY200_.jpgSee the source image

Donald Trump threatens to prosecute Hillary Clinton

Fitton: ‘OUTRAGEOUS’ that DOJ and State Dept. CONTINUE to Protect Hillary Clinton

Judicial Watch

Streamed live on Nov 20, 2018

In this edition of “Inside Judicial Watch,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton gives an update on some of the key cases and investigations Judicial Watch is involved with, including the Clinton email scandal, the Mueller probe into alleged Trump/Russia collusion during the 2016 election, and the midterm election recount in Florida.

Judicial Watch did a REAL Investigation into Clinton Email Scandal While FBI Didn’t

Tom Fitton on credibility problems of DOJ and FBI

Published on Dec 13, 2017

New FBI text messages draw a possible connection to Obama

Published on Feb 7, 2018

#FBI Texts Hint at Obama Involvement in Deep State FISA Abuse, Treason and Sedition

Dershowitz: ‘Terrible Mistake’ If Trump Ordered DOJ to Investigate Clinton, Comey

Media pounce on report Trump wanted Clinton, Comey probes

Dem and GOP lawmakers call for dueling investigations

Trump wanted to prosecute Hillary Clinton, James Comey

Joe diGenova on Comey and Lynch Subpoenas

Should Whitaker recuse himself from the Russia probe?

Trump speaks out on Ivanka’s private emails, Saudi Arabia

WATCH: House Republicans hold news briefing regarding special counsel

House Republicans call for second special counsel

DOJ watchdog: James Comey broke protocol in Clinton probe

Today News – Here’s Why the New York Times Bombshell Report Could Be the Finishing Touch for Mueller

Trump on Justice Department and Comey: ‘The end result was wrong’

Hillary Clinton committed a myriad of crimes: Gregg Jarrett

Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted, says Judge Andrew Napolitano

New York Times vs. Donald Trump – The Fifth Estate

The New Trump TV Network: Providing the Death Knell of MSM But A Vital Citizen Connection to Truth

 

Report: Trump wanted to prosecute Comey, Hillary Clinton

yesterday
James Comey

FILE – In this Thursday, June 8, 2017, file photo, former FBI director James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington. A published report says President Donald Trump told his counsel’s office last spring he wanted to prosecute political adversaries Hillary Clinton and Comey. The New York Times says the idea prompted White House lawyers to prepare a memo warning of consequences ranging up to possible impeachment (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump told his counsel’s office last spring that he wanted to prosecute political adversaries Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey, an idea that prompted White House lawyers to prepare a memo warning of consequences ranging up to possible impeachment, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Then-counsel Don McGahn told the president he had no authority to order such a prosecution, and he had White House lawyers prepare the memo arguing against such a move, The Associated Press confirmed with a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss the situation. McGahn said that Trump could request such a probe but that even asking could lead to accusations of abuse of power, the newspaper said.

Presidents typically go out of their way to avoid any appearance of exerting influence over Justice Department investigations.

Trump has continued to privately discuss the matter of prosecuting his longtime adversaries, including talk of a new special counsel to investigate both Clinton and Comey, the newspaper said, citing two people who had spoken to Trump about the matter.

Trump has repeatedly and publicly called on the Justice Department to investigate Clinton, and he has tweeted his dismay over what he saw as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reluctance to go after Clinton. Trump’s former lawyer, John Dowd, urged Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a memo last year to investigate Comey and his handling of the Clinton email investigation.

Sessions last year said he was directing senior federal prosecutors to look into matters raised by House Republicans related to the Clinton Foundation and a uranium mine transaction benefiting the foundation that was approved when Clinton was secretary of state. The FBI has been investigating that matter. Sessions, in March, told lawmakers that he was not prepared to appoint a special counsel to investigate the FBI and potential political bias there.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, also did not respond to a request for comment.

___

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Chad Day contributed to this report.

https://www.apnews.com/060ca2399a744b4a9554dbd2ec276a90

Trump Wanted to Order Justice Dept. to Prosecute Comey and Clinton

President Trump stoked his enmity for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race and since taking office has publicly and privately revisited the idea of prosecuting her.CreditCindy Ord/Getty Images for 
Image
President Trump stoked his enmity for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race and since taking office has publicly and privately revisited the idea of prosecuting her.CreditCreditCindy Ord/Getty Images for Glamour

By Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman

WASHINGTON — President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.

The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump read Mr. McGahn’s memo or whether he pursued the prosecutions further. But the president has continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey, according to two people who have spoken to Mr. Trump about the issue. He has also repeatedly expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton, calling him weak, one of the people said.

A White House spokesman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. declined to comment on the president’s criticism of Mr. Wray, whom he appointed last year after firing Mr. Comey.

“Mr. McGahn will not comment on his legal advice to the president,” said Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck. “Like any client, the president is entitled to confidentiality. Mr. McGahn would point out, though, that the president never, to his knowledge, ordered that anyone prosecute Hillary Clinton or James Comey.”

It is not clear which accusations Mr. Trump wanted prosecutors to pursue. He has accused Mr. Comey, without evidence, of illegally having classified information shared with The New York Times in a memo that Mr. Comey wrote about his interactions with the president. The document contained no classified information.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers also privately asked the Justice Department last year to investigate Mr. Comey for mishandling sensitive government information and for his role in the Clinton email investigation. Law enforcement officials declined their requests. Mr. Comey is a witness against the president in the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Mr. Trump has expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times
Mr. Trump has expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

Mr. Trump repeatedly pressed Justice Department officials about the status of Clinton-related investigations, including Mr. Whitaker when he was the chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to a person with direct knowledge of the conversations. CNN and Vox earlier reported those discussions.

In his conversation with Mr. McGahn, the president asked what stopped him from ordering the Justice Department to investigate Mr. Comey and Mrs. Clinton, the two people familiar with the conversation said. He did have the authority to ask the Justice Department to investigate, Mr. McGahn said, but warned that making such a request could create a series of problems.

Mr. McGahn promised to write a memo outlining the president’s authorities. In the days that followed, lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office wrote a several-page document in which they strongly cautioned Mr. Trump against asking the Justice Department to investigate anyone.

The lawyers laid out a series of consequences. For starters, Justice Department lawyers could refuse to follow Mr. Trump’s orders even before an investigation began, setting off another political firestorm.

If charges were brought, judges could dismiss them. And Congress, they added, could investigate the president’s role in a prosecution and begin impeachment proceedings.

Ultimately, the lawyers warned, Mr. Trump could be voted out of office if voters believed he had abused his power.

Mr. Trump’s frustrations about Mr. Comey and Mrs. Clinton were a recurring refrain, a former White House official said. “Why aren’t they going after” them?, the president would ask of Justice Department officials.

For decades, White House aides have routinely sought to shield presidents from decisions related to criminal cases or even from talking about them publicly. Presidential meddling could undermine the legitimacy of prosecutions by attaching political overtones to investigations in which career law enforcement officials followed the evidence and the law.

Perhaps more than any president since Richard M. Nixon, Mr. Trump has been accused of trying to exploit his authority over law enforcement. Witnesses have told the special counsel’s investigators about how Mr. Trump tried to end an investigation into an aide, install loyalists to oversee the inquiry into his campaign and fire Mr. Mueller.

In addition, Mr. Trump has attacked the integrity of Justice Department officials, claiming they are on a “witch hunt” to bring him down.

Mr. Trump has accused the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, without evidence, of illegally having classified information shared with reporters.CreditJustin Tang/The Canadian Press, via
Mr. Trump has accused the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, without evidence, of illegally having classified information shared with reporters.CreditJustin Tang/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

More significant, Mr. Mueller is investigating whether the president tried to impede his investigation into whether any Trump associates conspired with Russia’s campaign to sow discord among the American electorate during the 2016 presidential race.

Mr. Trump stoked his enmity for Mrs. Clinton during the campaign, suggesting during a presidential debate that he would prosecute her if he was elected president. “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” Mr. Trump said.

“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Mrs. Clinton replied.

“Because you would be in jail,” Mr. Trump shot back.

During the presidential race, Mr. Whitaker, a former United States attorney, also said he would have indicted Mrs. Clinton, contradicting Mr. Comey’s highly unusual public announcement that he would recommend the Justice Department not charge her over her handling of classified information while secretary of state.

“When the facts and evidence show a criminal violation has been committed, the individuals involved should not dictate whether the case is prosecuted,” Mr. Whitaker wrote in an op-ed in USA Today in July 2016.

Two weeks after his surprise victory, Mr. Trump backed off. “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Times. “She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious.”

Nonetheless, he revisited the idea both publicly and privately after taking office. Some of his more vocal supporters stirred his anger, including the Fox News commentator Jeanine Pirro, who has railed repeatedly on her weekly show that the president is being ill served by the Justice Department.

Ms. Pirro told Mr. Trump in the Oval Office last November that the Justice Department should appoint a special counsel to investigate the Uranium One deal, two people briefed on the discussion have said. During that meeting, the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, told Ms. Pirro she was inflaming an already vexed president, the people said.

Shortly after, Mr. Sessions wrote to lawmakers, partly at the urging of the president’s allies in the House, to inform them that federal prosecutors in Utah were examining whether to appoint a special counsel to investigate Mrs. Clinton. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney for Utah declined to comment on Tuesday on the status of the investigation.

Mr. Trump once called his distance from law enforcement one of the “saddest” parts of being president.

“I look at what’s happening with the Justice Department,” he said in a radio interview a year ago. “Well, why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton and her emails and with her, the dossier?” He added: “I am not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I am very frustrated.”

Michael S. Schmidt reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/us/politics/president-trump-justice-department.html

Story 2: Bombshell is A Dud– President Responds in Writing To Mueller Questions — Time To Wrap Up The Mueller Investigation–No Evidence Trump Colluded With Russians Nor Obstructed Justice — Videos — 

President Trump Submits Written Answers To Mueller’s Questions In Russia Probe | TIME

Hannity: Trump’s ‘unprecedented cooperation’ with Mueller

Sean Hannity 11/20/18 Fox News November 20, 2018

Joe diGenova on Mueller Wrap Up

Story 3: U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar Opposes Trump Efforts To Stop Illegal Alien Invasion of United States and Enforce Immigration Law By Issuing A Temporary Restraining Order and Trump Reacts — Videos 

Trump: Federal courts in Ninth Circuit ‘very unfair’

Trump hits back at Chief Justice Roberts’ rebuke

Trump hands over responses to Robert Mueller’s team

Homan: Trump’s efforts to protect US are met with lawsuits

Tucker Carlson Tonight 11/20/18 | Breaking Fox News | November 20, 2018

What Happens When Democrats Run Your State?

‘Two-States of California’- Victor Davis Hanson at American Freedom Alliance

On Watch: Exposing Mainstream Media Lies About the Illegal Alien Invasion

Streamed live on Nov 21, 2018

In this episode of “On Watch,” Judicial Watch Director of Investigations & Research Chris Farrell joins filmmaker Ami Horowitz to discuss his recent trip to Mexico investigating the migrant caravan.

As Predicted, San Francisco-Based Obama Judge Blocks Trump Asylum Order

The migrant caravan makes its way to Juchitan from Santiago Niltipec, Mexico, October 30, 2018. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

It took a few more days than I expected, but a San Francisco-based federal judge appointed by President Obama issued an order last night barring the administration from enforcing the asylum restrictions President Trump announced on November 9. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled that the president had unlawfully attempted to rewrite congressional law. (Mind you, these are the same federal judges who are striving to enshrine President Obama’s DACA program, an actual presidential rewrite of congressional law.)

Tigar’s predictable judicial usurpation of immigration and border security policymaking authority will no doubt be appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which will no doubt endorse the district judge’s gambit.

To repeat what I wrote ten days ago:

As I write on Friday, the restraining order hasn’t come down yet. But it’s just a matter of time. Some federal district judge, somewhere in the United States, will soon issue an injunction blocking enforcement of the Trump administration’s restrictions on asylum applications.

The restrictions come in the form of a rule promulgated jointly by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and a proclamation issued by President Trump. In conjunction, they assert that an alien who wishes to apply for asylum in the United States must act lawfully: An alien who is physically present here and wishes to apply must be in the country legally; an alien outside the country who wishes to apply must present himself at a lawful port of entry — not attempt to smuggle his way in or force his way in as part of a horde (i.e., no invasions by caravan).

Of course, what used to be assumed is today deemed intolerable. It is no longer permitted to expect of non-Americans what is required of Americans — adherence to American law while on American soil.

Therefore, the fact that the administration’s action is entirely reasonable will not matter. No more will it matter that, contrary to numbing media repetition, the rule and proclamation derive from federal statutory law. Nor will it make any difference that, in part, the president is relying on the same sweeping congressional authorization based on which, just four months ago, the Supreme Court affirmed his authority to control the ingress of aliens based on his assessment of national-security needs.

Just two things will matter. The first is that the asylum restrictions represent a Trump policy that reverses Obama policies — specifically, policies of more lax border enforcement, and of ignoring congressionally authorized means of preventing illegal aliens from filing frivolous asylum petitions (with the result that many of them are released, evading further proceedings and deportation). The second is that, precisely to thwart the reversal of Obama policies, President Obama made certain that the vast majority of the 329 federal judges he appointed were progressive activists in the Obama mold.

The media-Democrat complex will tell you this is “the rule of law.” In reality, it is the rule of lawyers: the Lawyer Left on the front line of American decision-making, a line that runs through courtrooms, not Capitol Hill.

The people of the United States, through their elected representatives, have empowered the president to suspend or impose conditions on the ingress of aliens if he finds their entry would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” How can it be denied that the illegal entry of aliens — which patently undermines the rule of law — is detrimental? Yet, there is certain to be a race to be the first judge to issue a restraining order, to champion an imaginary right of aliens to seek asylum however they damn well please.

Congratulations Judge Tigar, you win the prize!

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/san-francisco-based-obama-judge-blocks-trump-asylum-order/

California Judge Blocks New Trump Rule Restricting Asylum

Judge Jon Tigar, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Photo: Jason Doiy/ALM)

A California judge late Monday issued a nationwide order blocking the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict asylum-seekers, saying a new rule imposed eligibility conditions that went beyond the powers granted by Congress.

The Trump administration’s rule and a related presidential proclamation restricting asylum claims on the southern border to those individuals who enter the U.S. at designated ports run afoul of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, said Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In some instances, he said, the rule would have categorically prevented some immigrants from making asylum claims.

“The rule barring asylum for immigrants who enter the country outside a port of entry irreconcilably conflicts with the INA and the expressed intent of Congress,” Tigar wrote. “Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.”

Tigar imposed a nationwide injunction—the latest against a Trump administration immigration policy—that is set to run at least until Dec. 19. The ruling came just hours after a hearing in San Francisco federal district court, where the American Civil Liberties Union, representing nonprofit plaintiffs, argued against the so-called asylum ban. A related court hearing also was held Monday in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Justice Department lawyer Scott Stewart argued the Trump administration’s asylum rule did not flatly bar asylum-seekers so long as they enter through designated U.S. ports.

Tigar’s ruling is certain to be challenged by the Trump administration, which has railedagainst the number of nationwide injunctions blocking immigration and other policies. Tigar said he would meet with the lawyers in the case on Dec. 19 to review whether a preliminary injunction should be imposed.

“Potential asylum seekers are exposed to numerous harms while waiting to present their claims, including not only physical privations like physical assault but also the loss of valuable, potentially meritorious claims for asylum,” Tigar wrote. “The rule, when combined with the enforced limits on processing claims at ports of entry, leaves those individuals to choose between violence at the border, violence at home, or giving up a pathway to refugee status.”

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement: “This ban is illegal, will put people’s lives in danger, and raises the alarm about President Trump’s disregard for separation of powers. There is no justifiable reason to flatly deny people the right to apply for asylum, and we cannot send them back to danger based on the manner of their entry. Congress has been clear on this point for decades.”

In the Washington case, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia did not issue an immediate ruling. Sullivan in August drew national headlines when he ordered the U.S. government to turn around a plane midflight carrying a woman and her daughter who had been seeking asylum. The judge was incensed that the government, despite assertions to the contrary, had removed the family amid emergency proceedings in the case.

Read the order:

https://www.law.com/therecorder/2018/11/20/california-judge-blocks-new-trump-rule-restricting-asylum/?slreturn=20181021165005

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Proclamation Targeting Some Asylum Seekers

Women and children in Tijuana, Mexico, on Saturday after getting a number to apply for asylum at the entrance of the border crossing to the United States.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times
Women and children in Tijuana, Mexico, on Saturday after getting a number to apply for asylum at the entrance of the border crossing to the United States.CreditCreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

By Miriam Jordan

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge on Monday ordered the Trump administration to resume accepting asylum claims from migrants no matter where or how they entered the United States, dealing at least a temporary setback to the president’s attempt to clamp down on a huge wave of Central Americans crossing the border.

Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the government from carrying out a new rule that denies protections to people who enter the country illegally. The order, which suspends the rule until the case is decided by the court, applies nationally.

“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Mr. Tigar wrote in his order.

As a caravan of several thousand people journeyed toward the Southwest border, President Trump signed a proclamation on Nov. 9 that banned migrants from applying for asylum if they failed to make the request at a legal checkpoint. Only those who entered the country through a port of entry would be eligible, he said, invoking national security powers to protect the integrity of the United States borders.

But the rule overhauled longstanding asylum laws that ensure people fleeing persecution can seek safety in the United States, regardless of how they entered the country. Advocacy groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, swiftly sued the administration for effectively introducing what they deemed an asylum ban.

After the judge’s ruling on Monday, Lee Gelernt, the A.C.L.U. attorney who argued the case, said, “The court made clear that the administration does not have the power to override Congress and that, absent judicial intervention, real harm will occur.”

“This is a critical step in fighting back against President Trump’s war on asylum seekers,” Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the other organizations that brought the case, said in a statement. “While the new rule purports to facilitate orderly processing of asylum seekers at ports of entry, Customs and Border Protection has a longstanding policy and practice of turning back individuals who do exactly what the rule prescribes. These practices are clearly unlawful and cannot stand.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights also joined in the suit.

President Trump, when asked by reporters about the court ruling on Tuesday, criticized the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the liberal-leaning court where the case will likely land, calling it a “disgrace.” He labeled Judge Tigar an “Obama judge.”

“Our asylum system is broken, and it is being abused by tens of thousands of meritless claims every year,” Katie Waldman, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, and Steve Stafford, the Justice Department spokesman, said in a statement.

They said the president has broad authority to stop the entry of migrants into the country. “It is absurd that a set of advocacy groups can be found to have standing to sue to stop the entire federal government from acting so that illegal aliens can receive a government benefit to which they are not entitled,” they said. “We look forward to continuing to defend the executive branch’s legitimate and well-reasoned exercise of its authority to address the crisis at our southern border.”

Presidents indeed have broad discretion on immigration matters. But the court’s ruling shows that such discretion has limits, said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration scholar at Cornell Law School.

“The ruling is a significant blow to the administration’s efforts to unilaterally change asylum law. Ultimately this may have to go to the Supreme Court for a final ruling,” said Mr. Yale-Loehr.

The advocacy groups accused the government of “violating Congress’s clear command that manner of entry cannot constitute a categorical asylum bar” in their complaint. They also said the administration had violated federal guidelines by not allowing public comment on the rule.

But Trump administration officials defended the regulatory change, arguing that the president was responding to a surge in migrants seeking asylum based on frivolous claims, which ultimately lead their cases to be denied by an immigration judge. The migrants then ignore any orders to leave, and remain unlawfully in the country.

“The president has sought to halt this dangerous and illegal practice and regain control of the border,” government lawyers said in court filings.

Mr. Trump, who had made stanching illegal immigration a top priority since his days on the campaign trail, has made no secret of his frustration over the swelling number of migrants heading to the United States. The president ordered more than 5,000 active-duty troops to the border to prevent the migrants from entering.

The new rule was widely regarded as an effort to deter Central Americans, many of whom request asylum once they reach the United States, often without inspection, from making the journey over land from their countries to the border.

United States immigration laws stipulate that foreigners who touch American soil are eligible to apply for asylum. They cannot be deported immediately. They are eligible to have a so-called credible fear interview with an asylum officer, a cursory screening that the overwhelming majority of applicants pass. As result, most of the migrants are released with a date to appear in court.

In recent years, more and more migrants have availed themselves of the asylum process, often after entering the United States illegally. A record 23,121 migrants traveling as families were detained at the border in October. Many of the families turn themselves in to the Border Patrol rather than queue up to request asylum at a port of entry.

The Trump administration believes the migrants are exploiting asylum laws to immigrate illegally to the United States. Soaring arrivals have exacerbated a huge backlog of pending cases in the immigration courts, which recently broke the one-million mark. Many migrants skip their court dates, administration officials say, only to remain illegally in the country, which Mr. Trump derides as “catch and release.”

But advocates argue that many migrants are victims of violence or persecution and are entitled to seek sanctuary. Gangs are ubiquitous across El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, where lawlessness and corruption enable them to kill with impunity.

Daniel Victor contributed reporting from Hong Kong.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/us/judge-denies-trump-asylum-policy.html

Jon S. Tigar

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Jon Steven Tigar
Judge Jon S. Tigar.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Assumed office
January 18, 2013
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Saundra Brown Armstrong
Personal details
Born Jon Steven Tigar
October 8, 1962 (age 56)
LondonUnited Kingdom
Education Williams College (B.A.)
UC Berkeley School of Law (J.D.)

Jon Steven Tigar (born October 8, 1962) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Early life and education

Tigar was born in LondonEngland in 1962.[1] His father is retired law professor Michael Tigar.[2] Tigar earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1984 from Williams College and a Juris Doctor degree in 1989 from UC Berkeley School of Law.[3] He graduated Order of the Coif,[1] was an Articles Editor of the California Law Review, and served as a Research Assistant to Professor Melvin Eisenberg. In 1989, Tigar served as a law clerk for United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Judge Robert Smith Vance.[3][4]

Professional career

From 1990 until 1992, Tigar served as a litigation associate for the law firm Morrison & Foerster. He then served as a public defender in San Francisco from 1993 until 1994[3] Tigar practiced complex commercial litigation at the law firm Keker & Van Nest from 1994 until 2002.[3] From 2002 to 2013, Tigar served as a judge on the Alameda County Superior Court.[3] Tigar is a member of the American Law Institute and serves as an Adviser to the forthcoming Restatement (Third) of Torts: Liability for Economic Loss.[4]

Federal judicial service

On June 11, 2012, President Obama nominated Tigar to be a judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, taking the seat vacated by Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong, who took senior status on March 23, 2012.[3] The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on his nomination on July 11, 2012, and reported his nomination to the floor on August 2. The Senate confirmed his nomination by unanimous consent on December 21, 2012, and he received his commission on January 18, 2013.[4]

Notable decisions

On November 19, 2018 Tigar issued a nationwide restraining order that barred the Trump administration from denying asylum to immigrants who crossed over the southern border between points of entry.[5][6]

References

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_S._Tigar

Story 4: Trump’s Principled Realism Foreign Policy —  Back To 1946 — Videos

America and the World, 2017-2018 | Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson, the Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History at Hillsdale College, is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of classics emeritus at California State University, Fresno. Dr. Hanson earned his B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his Ph.D. in classics from Stanford University. In 2007, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal, and in 2008, he received the Bradley Prize. He is a columnist for National Review Online and for Tribune Media Services, and has published in several journals and newspapers, including Commentary, the Claremont Review of Books, The New Criterion, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Hanson has written or edited numerous books, including Wars of the Ancient Greeks, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, and his latest book, The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

Victor Davis Hanson reveals the nature of history, politics and the left

Victor D Hanson; Explains Perfectly how Trump pulled off the biggest Upset in Presidential History

Donald Trump’s entire foreign policy speech

U.S. Foreign Policy in the Trump Era: The Future of Great Power Politics

U.S. Foreign Policy: The Fate of Realism and Restraint in the Trump Era

The publication of the National Security Strategy (NSS) is a milestone for any presidency. A statutorily mandated document, the NSS explains to the American people, U.S. allies and partners, and federal agencies how the President intends to put his national security vision into practice on behalf of fellow citizens.

First and foremost, President Donald J. Trump’s NSS is a reflection of his belief that putting America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for effective U.S. leadership in the world. It builds on the 11 months of Presidential action thus far to renew confidence in America both at home and abroad.

Four vital, national interests—organized as the strategy’s four pillars—form the backbone of this commitment:

  1. Protect the homeland, the American people, and the American way of life
  2. Promote American prosperity
  3. Preserve peace through strength
  4. Advance American influence

This NSS and its four themes are guided by a return to principled realism.

The strategy is realist because it is clear-eyed about global competition: It acknowledges the central role of power in world affairs, affirms that sovereign states are the best hope for a peaceful world, and clearly defines our national interests. It is principled because it is grounded in the knowledge that promoting American values is key to spreading peace and prosperity around the globe.

President Trump’s ultimate goal is to leave our children and grandchildren a Nation that is stronger, better, freer, prouder, and greater than ever before.

Read a summary of the President’s National Security Strategy here.

The full NSS report is available for download here.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/articles/new-national-security-strategy-new-era/

President Trump at the UN: An Unapologetic Defense of “Principled Realism”

Sep 28th, 2018 5 min read

COMMENTARY BY Brett D. Schaefer

Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs

Brett D. Schaefer is the Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.
President Trump speaks at the 73rd General Debate at the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters at in New York City on September 25, 2018. MONIKA GRAFF/UPI/Newscom

Addressing the United Nations for the second time in his presidency, Donald Trump spoke first to the American people, using the opportunity to tout his domestic policies and successes. “The United States is stronger, safer and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago,” he proclaimed.

However, the bulk of the speech outlined and defended his foreign policy and international priorities—exactly what you’d expect in a speech before the world’s leaders. 

North Korea was featured prominently, as it was in last year’s speech . However, the tone could not have been more different. In 2017, the Trump warned, “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” This year, he expressed optimism in ongoing negotiations with North Korea. While noting that progress has been made, the president smartly cautioned that much remains to be done and vowed that “sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs.”

Trump also highlighted the diplomatic effort in the Middle East to address the situation in Syria, combat ISIS, and deal with other points of instability. He reaffirmed America’s determination to “respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Assad regime,” assist the refugees displaced by the war, and participate in UN peace negotiations.

He reserved his strongest warning for Iran:

Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond . . . The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran’s leaders. In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget grew nearly 40 percent. The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, increase internal repression, finance terrorism, and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen . . . We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants “Death to America,” and that threatens Israel with annihilation, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. Just can’t do it.

He made clear that the United States will continue to ratchet up pressure on Iran through sanctions and urged other nations to “support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.” Iran is a serious threat, and the administration is right to confront it.

The most consistent theme of the speech was a robust defense of American sovereignty and security.

Early on, the president stated, “America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination. I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions.” He concluded the speech by noting, “Sovereign and independent nations are the only vehicle where freedom has ever survived, democracy has ever endured, or peace has ever prospered. And so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all.”

These bookends encapsulate the U.S. belief that sovereignty derives from the governed and that efforts to impose rules, restrictions, or principles via supranational institutions upon the American people without our consent are objectionable and unjust. This notion threads through the speech in several passages including:

– The direct rejection of the International Criminal Court that claims authority to investigate and prosecute Americans even though the United States has never joined the court.

– The defense of the decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in accordance with the right of every sovereign state to “determine its own capital.” Indeed, each of the last three U.S. presidents had promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in accordance with U.S. law, but only President Trump actually followed through.

– The right of nations to control their borders and “confront threats to sovereignty from uncontrolled migration.”

However, the speech at times flirted unhelpfully with the idea that the United States would not criticize other nations or seek to advance core principles that America has embraced for decades. For instance, the president stated, “The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return.”

If the United States does believe that sovereignty is derived from the governed, then it must be a champion of civil and political rights around the world as well as self-government. Americans should not tell others how to worship, but they must instead defend their freedom to worship as their conscience dictates. This does not mean that the United States has an obligation to intervene or take direct action when people are denied these rights, but the United States should not and must not stand silent.

In fact, the failure of the Human Rights Council to champion human rights consistently and forthrightly was a central reason for the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Council this summer. This was the correct decision , and the president rightly praised Ambassador Nikki Haley’s leadership in leaving that gravely flawed body. However, the United States undermines its case if it is silent in the face of repression.

Indeed, the president’s condemnation of the “human tragedy” in Venezuela in his speech is a case in point. The president is right—socialism and communism have “produced suffering, corruption, and decay” wherever it has been tried. We do people no favors by refraining from urging them to avoid that misery or failing to condemn repressive governments that deny their people fundamental rights and freedoms.

The president also defended his recent trade actions based on sovereignty. There is no doubt that nations have the right to defend their economic interests and respond when other nations violate agreed rules, such as Chinese theft of intellectual property. But the economic benefits of trade between nations are well established and the long-term interests of the American people should lead the administration to support free trade, not protectionism.

Finally, the president focused on the need to advance U.S. interests in the UN, including asking the UN to be “more effective and accountable” and more evenly share the burden of supporting its activities. This is certainly a reasonable expectation for the largest financial supporter of the UN and is a goal pursued by U.S. administrations going back decades.

He also stated that “[m]oving forward, we will only give foreign aid to those who respect us and our friends.” This is a broad statement and not entirely clear. America provides assistance for many purposes, and it is not useful to tie allocation of all aid to support for the United States at the UN. Linking humanitarian and security aid to support of U.S. policy priorities would undermine the purposes and effectiveness of that aid. However, the United States also provides assistance to advance its broader foreign-policy interests. The UN is an important institution where governments make significant decisions, and it is entirely appropriate to use this assistance to increase support for U.S. priorities in the UN.

Overall, the speech was quintessential Trump. It was an unapologetic defense of his “principled realism” approach to foreign policy—one that elevates the interests of the United States and protection of the American people above all and explicitly rejects the more idealized global leadership role favored by the foreign-policy establishment—with significant divergence in means and goals—on the left and the right. This approach wins few plaudits in Turtle Bay and Washington, but appeals strongly to those who most concern Trump: non-coastal Americans who have grown increasingly concerned that their circumstances and welfare are irrelevant to the decisionmakers in Washington.

https://www.heritage.org/global-politics/commentary/president-trump-the-un-unapologetic-defense-principled-realism

 

The National Interest

September 26, 2018 Topic: Security Region: Americas Tags: Donald TrumpUnited NationsForeign PolicyPopulismPatriots

Trump’s Foreign Policy Successes Show Principled Realism in Action

Trump has overcome internal resistance and external pressure to deliver a string of foreign-policy successes.

by Salvatore Babones

President Donald Trump took a lot of ribbing Tuesday morning at the United Nations for proclaiming, in his usual modest style, that his administration had “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”

But if the claim smacks of hyperbole, then the hyperbole is at least well deserved. The economy is booming, the military is rapidly recovering from fifteen years of overextension, and the Trump administration is concluding trade deals in record time.

And all this has come despite the fact that much of the country’s expert class, including many people employed in the federal government itself, have been desperately hoping for failure. If it is true that the Trump presidency is unprecedented, then it is equally true that the existence of an organized resistance campaign among erstwhile public servants is unprecedented.

Yet Trump has overcome internal resistance and external pressure to deliver an as yet uninterrupted string of foreign-policy successes : North Korea’s “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un hasn’t launched a rocket in ten months; America’s NATO allies are finally starting to deliver on pledges to increase defense spending toward the 2 percent of GDP target agreed in 2006 ; Mexico has seemingly come to terms on long-overdue NAFTA reforms; the United States has stayed out of the Arab world’s interminable wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen; and the U.S. embassy in Israel moved to Jerusalem in May without sparking the Third Intifada predicted by Trump’s opponents.

Perhaps just as important (from a U.S. perspective), America’s long-term enemies are nearly all on the run. The Russian economy is crumbling. The Venezuelan economy has crumbled. The Iranian economy, which boomed after the nuclear deal was signed in 2015, has come back down to earth since Trump took office, and stagnated since he pulled the United States out of the deal in May.

And then there’s China. Back in December 2016, just a few weeks before Trump took office, China staged a “Trump Test,” exactly as predicted by U.S. Naval War College Professor Andrew S. Erickson. A Chinese ship sent marines on a speedboat to seize a surveillance drone from under the stern of a U.S. Navy oceanographic survey vessel. President Barack Obama politely asked for the return of the device. President-elect Trump told China to keep the drone —and implied that things would get tougher when he took office.

Under the Obama administration, Chinese forces regularly harassed U.S. vessels navigating the South China Sea. That doesn’t happen under the Trump administration. What’s more, China is now enforcing UN sanctions against North Korea, cooperation that has been crucial to bringing Kim to the nuclear bargaining table. And though China regularly threatens and bullies Taiwan, it has done little more than issue bland propaganda statements in response to expanding U.S. weapons sales to the island. Even the Trump administration’s full court press on trade has not disrupted U.S. relations with China. If anything, China’s behavior has improved.

Principled Realism

The secret to the Trump team’s success is its embrace of principled realism : in its simplest terms, the faith that America’s goals are just and American power should be exercised to support those goals. Since taking office a year and a half ago, Trump has forcefully applied American power—while avoiding his predecessors’ equation of power with military force. As a result, America is getting its way on the world stage, generally without putting American lives at risk to get it. That’s about as win-win as things come in international relations.

If anyone doubts that this newfound realism is principled, just look at the targets: North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Russia and China. Trump has exerted strong pressure on America’s NATO allies as well—to arm themselves against Russia and other regional threats. And on international trade, Trump has pressured just about everyone to stop unfair and often illegal trading practices.

Now that the Trump era is well and truly underway, it is worth remembering that Hillary Clinton’s “reset” in U.S.-Russia relations was a hallmark of the Obama administration’s first term foreign policy. It ended in Russia’s seizure of Crimea and a proxy war in Eastern Ukraine that continues today. John Kerry’s signature issue at the start of Obama’s second term was Israeli-Palestinian peace. Nine months of inconclusive talks ended in the 2014 war in Gaza.

It may be too soon to declare victory for principled realism, but the early signs are certainly encouraging. Other countries do not always accept the principle that America’s goals are just, but history has usually vindicated the United States in the long run. And in any case, as Trump is fond of pointing out, he is not the president of the world. He is the president of the United States of America.

Two weeks into that presidency, one of America’s most respected foreign-policy scholars summarily declared that Trump Has Already Blown It , while Obama administration veterans were labeling Trump’s foreign policy the “ Grand Strategic Train Wreck .” With the midterm elections now looming, there’s little chance that these experts will admit that they were wrong. But as long as the voters keep seeing results, the chances are that Trump will stay on target.

Salvatore Babones is the author of The New Authoritarianism: Trump, Populism, and the Tyranny of Experts .

Image: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a signing ceremony for the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/trumps-foreign-policy-successes-show-principled-realism-action-32042

Trump sets out national security strategy of ‘principled realism’ and global competition

President Trump spoke about dealing with Russia and China during a speech Dec. 18 in D.C., saying “We will stand up … like we have never stood up before.”

December 18, 2017

President Trump placed himself at the center of a new national security strategy Monday, casting his election as a pivot from failed policies pushed by his predecessors and presenting his “America First” doctrine as the organizing principle for U.S. engagement around the world.

In a year-end, campaign-style speech, the president emphasized his view that the United States has been cheated and taken advantage of abroad while its citizens were ill-served at home — a situation he said his security plan would seek to reverse.

“For many years, our citizens watched as Washington politicians presided over one disappointment after another; too many of our leaders — so many — who forgot whose voices they were to respect, and whose interest they were supposed to defend,” Trump said at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, before an audience that included Cabinet secretaries, government workers and uniformed members of the military.

The National Security Strategy, a congressionally mandated mission statement, is supposed to guide an administration’s priorities for global engagement, economic bargaining and demonstrations of military strength.

While it is viewed as an important policy document, its release is usually a low-key affair and Trump is believed to be the only U.S. president to present the plan with a speech, an aide said. At times Monday, Trump seemed as intent on revisiting his electoral victory as he was on defining a new national security strategy for the country.

“You spoke loud and you spoke clear,” Trump said of his upset election last year. “On November 8, 2016, you voted to make America great again. You embraced new leadership and very new strategies and also a glorious new hope.”


President Trump speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a break at a leader’s meeting at the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Danang, Vietnam, on Nov. 11. (S/Kreml/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock/S/Kreml/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock)

Trump, as he did during the campaign, declared the United States must push for better trade deals to remain strong when it comes to national security. “Economic security is national security,” he said. “Economic vitality, growth and prosperity at home is absolutely necessary for American power and influence abroad.”

Yet many of the trade tactics he has advocated could end up hurting the U.S. economy.

He boasted of killing the Trans­-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact between a dozen countries, but supporters of the accord say it would have helped keep Chinese economic influence at bay.

The linkage Trump drew between economic and political power is valid, but Trump’s confrontational trade policies work against his own goals, said Nicholas Burns, a Harvard Kennedy School professor and former senior State Department official.

“He is right about the philosophical point, but all his practical policies undercut it,” Burns said.

C. Fred Bergsten, veteran trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, agreed.

“There’s a germ of truth in what he says,” Bergsten conceded. U.S. policy has failed to choke off intellectual property theft, especially in China. But, Bergsten added, “his overarching point that these are terrible [trade] deals, that they adversely affect U.S. economic interests, he’s never offered a shred of proof of that.”

Trump has dismissed this type of criticism and used the speech to emphasize one of his campaign themes — that past administrations got the short-end of trade agreements because they didn’t now how to cut deals.

“Our leaders in Washington negotiated disastrous trade deals that brought massive profits to many foreign nations but sent thousands of American factories and millions of American jobs to those other countries,” he said.

Trump also boasted of his decision to withdraw from the “very expensive and unfair Paris climate accord” that President Barack Obama agreed to two years ago. But supporters of the accord say it is a small step toward slowing global warming that could prove catastrophic economically as well as from a climate view. And Obama repeatedly argued that denial of climate science would undercut renewable energy technologies that the U.S. economy needs to remain competitive in the future.

Trump’s campaign theme of “America First” formed the foundation of his remarks.

“A nation that does not protect prosperity at home cannot protect its interests abroad,” Trump said. “A nation that is not prepared to win a war is a nation not capable of preventing a war. A nation that is not proud of its history cannot be confident in its future. And a nation that is not certain of its values cannot summon the will to defend them.”

Burns argued that “what’s missing from this document is any emphasis that the U.S. has to promote democracy and human freedom, which most American presidents — John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan — have felt was important. He’s weakening us on these essential foundations of American power.”

Trump highlighted claimed accomplishments — including on issues not directly related to national security — a list the administration contends has not received the attention it deserves.

Alongside withdrawal from what he called unfair trade and climate deals and a sharper focus on terrorism and border security, Trump listed a soaring stock market, deregulation and the likelihood of forthcoming tax cuts.

The national security strategy documents are broad outlines of U.S. policy that guide other, more specific planning such as nuclear and ballistic missile force posture.

Trump’s version has four main organizing principles: protecting the American homeland, protecting American prosperity, preserving peace through strength and advancing U.S. influence.

He presented China and Russia as competitors that want to realign global power in their interests, potentially threatening the United States. At the same time, he added, those nations can be partners in pursuit of shared interests.

That is a familiar theme from past administrations, but the Trump document frames the contest as one that previous U.S. leaders failed to adequately recognize or counter.

“China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” the document says. “They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”

The president said intellectual property theft would be targeted, a clear warning to China which American companies have complained about for years. “We will no longer tolerate trading abuse,” he warned.

As a candidate, Trump accused China of “raping” the United States economically and stealing jobs. As president, he has developed and trumpeted a warm relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he credits with helping to apply pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

Trump also pointed to his energy policies as a source of strength at home and abroad, suggesting that the United States could use its “energy dominance” to enhance its influence.

The Trump administration has indeed sought to open up more federal lands to coal, oil, and natural gas exploration and production, but most of the domestic energy boom took place under the Obama administration. Oil output under Obama grew by more than 4 million barrels a day and natural gas output in states like Pennsylvania, Texas and Oklahoma rose rapidly.

Trump has publicly complimented Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him “very smart,” and has sought a better relationship with Russia after years of worsening ties under Obama. He has been openly skeptical of U.S. intelligence findings that Russia mounted a systematic effort to undermine the 2016 presidential election. But Trump has not reversed congressional sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, as Putin hoped he would.

The strategy document released Monday skirts the issue of Russia’s involvement in the presidential election.

“Through modernized forms of subversive tactics, Russia interferes in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world,” the document says.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-sets-out-national-security-strategy-of-principled-realism-and-global-competition/2017/12/18/7edcb0be-e412-11e7-ab50-621fe0588340_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1fbe20ebc80e

National Security Strategy (United States)

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The National Security Strategy (NSS) is a document prepared periodically by the executive branch of the government of the United States for Congress which outlines the major national security concerns of the United States and how the administration plans to deal with them. The legal foundation for the document is spelled out in the Goldwater-Nichols Act. The document is purposely general in content (contrast with the National Military Strategy, NMS) and its implementation relies on elaborating guidance provided in supporting documents (including the NMS).

Contents

Purposes of the NSS Report

The stated intent of the Goldwater-Nichols legislation is broadly accepted as valid for effective political discourse on issues affecting the nation’s security–the Congress and the Executive need a common understanding of the strategic environment and the administration’s intent as a starting point for future dialogue. That said, however, it is understood that in the adversarial environment that prevails, this report can only provide a beginning point for the dialogue necessary to reach such a “common” understanding.[1]

The requirement of producing this report along with the budget request leads to an iterative, interagency process involving high level meetings that helps to resolve internal differences in foreign policy agendas. However, “this report was not to be a neutral planning document, as many academics and even some in uniform think it to be. Rather it was … intended to serve five primary purposes.” [1]

  1. Communicate the Executive’s strategic vision to Congress, and thus legitimize its requests for resources.
  2. Communicate the Executive’s strategic vision to foreign constituencies, especially governments not on the US’s summit agenda.
  3. Communicate with select domestic audiences, such as political supporters seeking Presidential recognition of their issues, and those who hope to see a coherent and farsighted strategy they could support.
  4. Create internal consensus on foreign and defense policy within the executive branch.
  5. Contribute to the overall agenda of the President, both in terms of substance and messaging.

Where the incoming executive team has not formulated a national security strategy, such as an after an election in which foreign policy and defense were not important campaign issues, the process of writing the report can be of immense importance:

Few things educate new political appointees faster as to their own strategic sensings, or to the qualities and competencies of the “permanent” government they lead within executive bureaucracies, than to have to commit in writing to the President their plans for the future and how they can be integrated, coordinated and otherwise shared with other agencies and departments. The ability to forge consensus among these competing views on direction, priorities and pace, and getting “on board” important players three political levels down from the president is recognized as an invaluable, if not totally daunting, opportunity for a new administration.[1]

Counterinsurgency objective

In order to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to the National Security Strategy of 2010, the United States needs to engage in a large amount of interagency cooperation and communication with the Muslim population in Afghanistan and throughout the world.[2] The objective of the National Security Strategy is to create a stable situation for the world, including those countries struggling with insurgencies. “The most effective long-term measure for conflict and resolution is the promotion of democracy and economic development.”[3] In order to promote democracy and economic development communication with the civilian population of the host-nation is essential. The Stability Operations Field Manual states that success depends on a U.S. ability to build local institutions and in the establishment of a legitimate permanent government, which builds trust between the citizens and the counterinsurgency personnel.”[3] The National Security Strategy establishes the interagency coordination in order to conduct useful public diplomacy to secure the population in the countries of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Previous national security strategies

The National Security Strategy issued on September 17, 2002 was released in the midst of controversy over the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war which is contained therein.[4] It also contains the notion of military pre-eminence that was reflected in a Department of Defense paper of 1992, “Defense Policy Guidance”, prepared by two principal authors (Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis Libby) working under then US Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. The NSS 2002 also repeats and re-emphasizes past initiatives aimed at providing substantial foreign aid to countries that are moving towards Western-style democracy, with the “ambitious and specific target” of “doubl[ing] the size of the world’s poorest economies within a decade.”[4]:p. 21

The Bush doctrine emerges in the context of moving from the old Cold War doctrine of deterrence to a pro-active attempt to adjust policy to the realities of the current situation where the threat is just as likely to come from a terrorist group such as al-Qaeda as from a nation state such as Iraq or Iran.[5]

The document also treats AIDS as a threat to national security, promising substantial efforts to combat its spread and devastating effects.

The 2010 National Security Strategy

On May 26, 2010, the third most recent National Security Strategy was issued by President Barack Obama.[2]:p.8 The new Strategy was referred to by United Nations ambassador Susan Rice as a “dramatic departure” from its predecessor.[6] The Strategy advocated increased engagement with Russia, China and India.[7] The Strategy also identified nuclear non-proliferation and climate change as priorities,[8] while noting that the United States’s security depended on reviving its economy.[9] The drafters of the new Strategy made a conscious decision to remove terms such as “Islamic radicalism”, instead speaking of terrorism generally.[10]

The 2015 National Security Strategy

On February 6, 2015, the second most recent National Security Strategy was issued by President Barack Obama[11]:p.1310 to provide “a vision and strategy for advancing the nation’s interests, universal values, and a rules-based international order through strong and sustainable American leadership.” [12]

The 2017 National Security Strategy

President Donald Trump delivered his first national Security Strategy on December 18, 2017. The new document named China and Russia as “revisionist powers” while removing “climate change” as a national threat.[13] It also characterized the world as a competitive arena rather than a “community of nations” or “international community” as previous documents had.[14] NSS-2017 represents a break with past foreign policy doctrine. “My guess is that members of the Foreign Policy elite will encounter these first pages as a kind of boilerplate, even trite. Notice, though, that those two pages lead directly to a third page that repudiates the whole living body of American foreign policy thought. Everything since Ronald Reagan is rejected in two short paragraphs which explain exactly what four successive administrations got wrong.”[15]

Success, however, bred complacency. A belief emerged, among many, that American power would be unchallenged and self–sustaining. The United States began to drift. We experienced a crisis of confidence and surrendered our advantages in key areas. As we took our political, economic, and military advantages for granted, other actors steadily implemented their long-term plans to challenge America and to advance agendas opposed to the United States, our allies, and our partners.

We stood by while countries exploited the institutions we helped to build. They subsidized their industries, forced technology transfers, and distorted markets. These and other actions challenged America’s economic security. At home, excessive regulations and high taxes stifled growth and weakened free enterprise—history’s greatest antidote to poverty. Each time government encroached on the productive activities of private commerce, it threatened not only our prosperity but also the spirit of creation and innovation that has been key to our national greatness.[16]

See also

References

External links

In the media

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Strategy_(United_States)

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1174, November 14, 2018, Story 1: Florida Recount Concludes That Ron Desantis Is The Next Governor of Florida — Governor Scott Won Senator Seat in Machine Recount and Must Wait for Final Human Count — Video — Story 2: The Fake Stolen Election in Georgia Governor Race — Republican Brian Kemp Wins and  Democrat Stacey Abrams Loses — Lying Lunatic Leftist Loser Stacey Abrams Refuses To Concede — Voter Suppression Charged — Results Will Be Certified Friday — Videos Story 3: President Trump Will Not Fire Mueller As Mueller Wraps Up Investigation of Russian Interference in U.S. Elections — Absolutely No Evidence of Trump Collusion With Russians and Therefore No Indictments — Complete Hoax Fabricated By Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Appoint Second Special Counsel Now To Investigate and Prosecute Plotters — Videos

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Story 1: Florida Recount Concludes That Ron Desantis Is The Next Governor of Florida — Governor Scott Won Senator Seat in Machine Recount and Must Wait for Final Human Count — Video

Special Report w Bret Baier 11/15/18 Fox News November 15, 2018

Story 2: The Fake Stolen Election in Georgia Governor Race — Republican Brian Kemp Wins and  Democrat Stacey Abrams Loses — Lying Lunatic Leftist Loser Stacey Abrams Refuses To Concede — Voter Suppression Charged — Results Will Be Certified Friday — Videos

Tucker Carlson Tonight 11/15/18 Breaking Fox News November 15, 2018

Latest on the disputed election count for Georgia governor

Kemp says he won Georgia governor race

Stacey Abrams says she recognizes Brian Kemp will be Georgia’s next governor

Abrams campaign responds to the legal drama unfolding post-election

Stacey Abrams refuses to concede in Georgia Gubernatorial defeat

GEORGIA RACE OVER: Democrat Stacey Abrams Ends Challenge For Governor Race

Abrams ends run for governor against Kemp, but won’t concede

Kemp pledges to put ‘divisive politics’ behind him

Stacey Abrams ended her run for Georgia governor on Friday, but the Democrat said she would not concede the contest to Republican Brian Kemp as state officials prepared to certify the election.

Saying the law “allows no further viable remedy” to extend her quest to be the nation’s first black female governor, Abrams announced a new voting rights group that will file “major” litigation against the state over electoral issues.

And she laced her speech with bruising critiques of Kemp, a former secretary of state who she said was “deliberate and intentional in his actions” to suppress the vote.

“I will not concede,” she added, “because the erosion of our democracy is not right.”

Kemp, meanwhile, thanked Abrams for her “passion, hard word and commitment to public service.”

“The election is over and hardworking Georgians are ready to move forward,” said Kemp. “We can no longer dwell on the divisive politics of the past but must focus on Georgia’s bright and promising future.”

The Democrat’s campaign was considering a long-shot legal challenge under a law that allows losing candidates to contest the election in the case of misconduct, fraud or “irregularities.”

She would have faced a tremendous legal burden to prove her case, and even some Democrats warned that prolonging the court battle would jeopardize two down-ticket runoffs set for next month.

The secretary of state could certify the election as soon as 5 p.m. Friday and cement Kemp’s victory in the tightest race for Georgia governor since 1966.

The latest tally showed Abrams is roughly 55,000 votes behind Kemp — and in need of more than 17,000 votes to force a Dec. 4 runoff. Georgia law requires a runoff if no candidate gets a majority of the vote, which is only a possibility because a third-party contender netted about 1 percent.

Hundreds of previously uncounted votes could still be added Friday before the election is certified by Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden.

Abrams’ campaign has long tried to make the case that Kemp used his role as secretary of state to suppress the vote.

In her fiery speech, Abrams cited long lines at voting sites, closed polling stations and the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of voter registrations.

But to have a chance in court, Abrams would have had to prove there were enough Georgians blocked from voting to close the gap. Her campaign apparently could not meet that requirement.

Before Abrams ended the campaign, Republicans blasted the suggestion that she might contest the election in court. In one of the most biting barbs, Kemp’s spokesman called for Abrams to end her “ridiculous temper tantrum and concede.”

Unchanged dynamics

Kemp’s lead had dwindled since Election Day as absentee and provisional ballots trickled in. But as more counties completed their vote tallies, Abrams and her allies claimed there were thousands of outstanding ballots that never materialized.

Her campaign also went to court to force local officials to accept some previously rejected ballots.

She secured one court order that required elections officials to review as many as 27,000 provisional ballots, though it didn’t require those votes to be accepted.

Another ruling required the state to count absentee ballots with incorrect birthdate data, but rejected an effort to accept provisional ballots cast in the wrong counties.

That order, by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, set off a scramble by county officials to revisit rejected ballots. But it left Kemp’s lead virtually unchanged, even as the biggest trove of those votes in Gwinnett County was added to the total.

Those final ballots in Gwinnett also likely cemented the contest for Georgia’s 7th District. Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall led Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux by about 400 votes, though her campaign on Friday requested a recount.

Some pushback

Abrams has long hinted at more litigation challenging “irregularities” at polling sites, and targeted what she claimed was Kemp’s abuse of the secretary of state’s office. But she determined that new legal action wouldn’t prevent Kemp’s victory.

Some Abrams’ allies had raised alarms that the prospect of extending her legal fight would shift attention away from a pair of candidates who are already in a runoff: John Barrow for secretary of state and Lindy Miller for Public Service Commission.

“I totally concur with the notion that every vote should be counted,” said Michael Thurmond, the DeKalb chief executive and a former Democratic state labor commissioner. “And going forward, the most effective way to do that is to focus on electing John Barrow as the next secretary of state.”

And former U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden said it’s “pretty evident” the race will be certified for Kemp and that Abrams should begin focusing on a 2020 run against U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

“Never stop. Keep using this energy,” he said. “Keep using these new voters.”

Kemp, meanwhile, has tried to cast himself as the eventual winner.

Several of his aides were at the Capitol this week to meet with state legislators and scope out executive offices. And Kemp’s campaign has repeatedly criticized Abrams for refusing to concede, saying she has no mathematical chance at forcing a runoff.

On Friday, Kemp struck a far more conciliatory tone.

“I humbly ask for citizens of our great state to stand with me in the days ahead,” he said.

“Together, we will realize the opportunities and tackle the challenges to come. We will be a state that puts hardworking Georgians – no matter their zip code or political preference – first.”

https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/kemp-holds-steady-lead-over-abrams-state-prepares-certify-vote/WI5zxjHjLNR2WbvcEBVYWL/

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Matthew Whitaker (attorney)

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Matthew Whitaker
Matthew G. Whitaker official photo.jpg
Acting United States Attorney General
Assumed office
November 7, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy Rod Rosenstein
Preceded by Jeff Sessions
Chief of Staff to the United States Attorney General
In office
September 22, 2017 – November 7, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Preceded by Jody Hunt
Succeeded by Gary Barnett
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa
In office
June 15, 2004 – November 25, 2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Stephen Patrick O’Meara
Succeeded by Nicholas A. Klinefeldt
Personal details
Born Matthew George Whitaker
October 29, 1969 (age 49)
Des MoinesIowa, U.S.
Political party Republican
Education University of Iowa (BAJDMBA)

Matthew George Whitaker (born October 29, 1969) is an American lawyer and politician serving as Acting United States Attorney General since November 7, 2018. He was appointed by President Donald Trump on November 7, 2018, after Jeff Sessions resigned at Trump’s request.[1] Whitaker served as a U.S. Attorney during the Bush Administration and served as Chief of Staff to Sessions from September 2017 to November 2018.[2]

In 2002, Whitaker was the candidate of the Republican Party for Treasurer of Iowa. From 2004 to 2009 he served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa. Whitaker ran in the 2014 Iowa Republican primary for the United States Senate. He later wrote opinion pieces and appeared on talk-radio shows and cable news as the director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a conservative advocacy group.

The legality of Whitaker’s appointment as Acting U.S. Attorney General was challenged by the State of Maryland.[3][4] His appointment prompted a number of legal scholars, commentators, and politicians to question its legality and constitutionality, noting that his selection circumvented Senate confirmation.[5] Some also called for Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Special Counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller because of his public criticisms of the probe and his ties to Trump, and to Sam Clovis, a witness in the investigation.[6][7][8]

After Whitaker took office, reports surfaced of his prior involvement with World Patent Marketing, which had been fined $26 million and shut down by federal regulators in 2017 for deceiving consumers.[9][10]

Early life and education

Whitaker was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 29, 1969. His mother was a schoolteacher and his father a car salesman. Whitaker graduated from Ankeny High School and attended the University of Iowa, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications, a Master of Business Administration, and a law degree in 1995.[11] While in college he wanted to be in the film industry.[12]

During his undergraduate years at Iowa, Whitaker played tight end for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team, appearing in Iowa’s Rose Bowl game in 1991.[13]

Career

After graduating from law school, Whitaker worked for a number of regional law firms including Briggs & Morgan (Minneapolis) and Finley Alt Smith (Des Moines). He was also corporate counsel for a national grocery company, SuperValu, and small businessman owning interests in a trailer manufacturing company, a daycare, and a concrete supply company.[14] Whitaker ran as a Republican for Treasurer of Iowa in 2002, losing to incumbent Democrat Michael Fitzgerald by 55% to 43%.[15]

In 2003, Whitaker founded “Buy The Yard Concrete,” based in Urbandale, Iowa which did projects as far away as Las Vegas. In 2005, Whitaker was named as a defendant to a collections lawsuit in Nevada for $12,000 in unpaid invoices for supplies and equipment rentals related to a concrete project in Las Vegas. The lawsuit was settled out of court.[16]

Whitaker’s U.S. Attorney portrait

United States Attorney

On June 15, 2004, Whitaker was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa by President George W. Bush. The appointment was at the recommendation of Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, in spite of Whitaker’s minimal relevant legal experience.[17]

From 2005 to 2007, Whitaker was responsible for the unsuccessful investigation and prosecution of Iowa State Sen. Matt McCoy, a gay, liberal Democrat, on charges of attempting to extort $2000.[18] A columnist for the Des Moines Register said that the case “… was based on the word of a man former associates depicted as a drug user, a deadbeat and an abuser of women; a man so shady even his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsors called him ‘a pathological liar.'”[19][20] The jury took less than two hours to return a verdict of “not guilty”.[21][22]

Whitaker resigned in November 2009 following the Senate confirmation of his replacement, Nicholas A. Klinefeldt, who was nominated by President Barack Obama.[13][23]

Private practice and political activities

From 2009 to 2017, Whitaker was a managing partner of the small general practice law firm Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff LLP (now Hagenow & Gustoff LLP) in Des Moines, Iowa.[24]

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Whitaker was Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty‘s co-chairman in Iowa, and then state co-chairman for Texas governor Rick Perry.[25]

Whitaker was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2014 United States Senate election in Iowa, a seat being vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin. He came in fourth in the Republican primary in June, with 11,909 votes (7.54%). The nomination was won by Joni Ernst, who went on to win the general election.[26]

After losing the Republican primary, Whitaker chaired the campaign of Sam Clovis, another unsuccessful primary candidate who had been selected, later in June, to run for Iowa State Treasurer.[27] Clovis lost in the November 2014 general election.[28][29][30]

MEM Investment

In 2012, Whitaker and two partners used their company, MEM Investment, to purchase and develop an affordable-housing apartment building in Des Moines.[31] In 2014, the partnership reverted to just Whitaker. By spring of 2016, the company failed to deliver on the contracted renovation, the city terminated the loan agreement, Lincoln Savings Bank declared MEM in default of the $687,000 mortgage, and the property was sold to another developer for completion.[32][33]

World Patent Marketing

In 2014, Whitaker joined the board of World Patent Marketing (WPM) which was a fraudulent invention promotion firm based in Florida that deceived inventors into thinking that the company had successfully commercialized other inventions.[34][35][36] In March 2017, the Federal Trade Commission charged the company with fraudulently deceiving consumers and suppressing complaints through intimidation and the use of gag clauses.[36][37][38] In May 2018, a federal court ordered the company to close and pay a $26 million fine.[39] Many customers suffered significant losses as a result of working with the company[9][40] and when they tried to recoup their fees, the company used Whitaker’s background as a U.S. Attorney to threaten them. In a 2015 email mentioning his background as a former federal prosecutor, Whitaker told a customer that filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or “smearing” the company online could result in “serious civil and criminal consequences.”[41][42] The owner of Ripoff Report told The Wall Street Journal that Whitaker had called him in 2015 demanding his website take down negative reports about WPM, alleging, “He threatened to ruin my business if I didn’t remove the reports. He [said he] would have the government shut me down under some homeland security law.”[43][44] The company contributed to Whitaker’s 2014 US Senate campaign.[45] Whitaker performed almost $17,000 in compensable work for the company.[46] In 2017 FTC investigators examined whether Whitaker had played any role in making threats of legal action to silence the company’s critics. Whitaker rebuffed an FTC subpoena for records in October 2017, shortly after he had joined the Justice Department.[47]

White House and senior Justice Department officials were surprised to learn of Whitaker’s connection to the company.[48] Through a DOJ spokesperson, Whitaker has denied awareness of the company’s fraud.[9] The court receiver in the case said he has “no reason to believe that [Whitaker] knew of any of the wrongdoing.”[48] As of November 2018, the FBI is still investigating World Patent Marketing.[49]

Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust

From October 2014 to September 2017, Whitaker was the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT),[50] and the organization’s only full-time employee in 2015 and 2016.[51] FACT, founded in late 2014, is a conservative nonprofit organization specializing in legal and ethical issues related to politics.[52][53] The group was backed by $1 million in seed money from conservative donors, who Whitaker declined to identify to the media.[54] According to the organization’s first tax return, its funding — $600,000 in 2014 – came from a conservative donor-advised fund called DonorsTrust, a pass-through vehicle that allows donors to remain anonymous.[55]

While Whitaker was the head of FACT, the organization had a special focus on the Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy and perceived favoritism in the business dealings of Clinton.[56] Despite claiming to be nonpartisan, the organization called for ethics investigations into or filed complaints about forty-six different Democratic politicians, officials, and organizations, compared to only a few Republicans.[57] FACT has been described as using “the legal system as a political weapon”[58] and characterized, by a GOP operative, as a “chop shop of fake ethics complaints”.[59] During this time, Whitaker wrote opinion pieces that appeared in USA Today and the Washington Examiner, and appeared regularly on conservative talk-radio shows and cable news.[60]

CNN contributor

Whitaker aspired to become a judge in Iowa, and hoped his media appearances would catch the eye of the Trump administration.[25] For four months, from June to September 2017, he was a CNN contributor.[61] One month prior to joining the Justice Department, Whitaker wrote an opinion column for CNN titled “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far.”[62] He stated that Mueller’s investigation was a “lynch mob”, that it should be limited, and that it should not probe into Trump’s finances.[63][64]

Legal and policy views

Constitutional issues

Whitaker stated in a question-and-answer session during his 2014 Iowa Senatorial campaign that “the courts are supposed to be the inferior branch.”[65][66] Whitaker was critical of the United States Supreme Court‘s decision in Marbury v. Madison (1803), the decision that allows judicial review of the constitutionality of the acts of the other branches of government, and several other Supreme Court holdings. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe commented on Whitaker’s views that “the overall picture he presents would have virtually no scholarly support,” and that they would be “‘destabilizing’ to society if he used the power of the attorney general to advance them.”[65]

Whitaker also stated during his 2014 Senate bid that he would not support “secular” judges and that judges should “have a biblical view of justice.” Asked if he meant Levitical or New Testament justice, he replied “I’m a New Testament.”[67] Whitaker’s answer has been interpreted by various individuals and groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, to imply that he would disqualify non-Christian judges, and were condemned as unconstitutional. An ADL spokesperson said, “The notion that non-Christian judges are disqualified from service is patently wrong, and completely inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution, which explicitly bars any religious test for public office.”[68]

Whitaker stated in 2013 he supports the right of states to nullify federal laws.[69] Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, stated that Whitaker’s views on nullification are “irreconcilable not only with the structure of the Constitution, but with its text, especially the text of the Supremacy Clause,” and added that “For someone who holds those views to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, even temporarily, is more than a little terrifying.”[69]

Criticisms of 2017 Special Counsel investigation

During the months prior to joining the Justice Department as Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff in September 2017, Whitaker made several statements critical of the Mueller investigation, of which he assumed oversight responsibility upon being appointed Acting Attorney General in November 2018. By July 2017, the Trump White House was interviewing Whitaker to join the Trump legal team.[70] During a six-month span in 2017, Whitaker insisted that there was no obstruction of justice or collusion and criticized the initial appointment of the special counsel. He also called the probe “political”[71] and “the left is trying to sow this theory that essentially Russians interfered with the U.S. election, which has been proven false.”[72] He also published an op-ed titled, “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump Is Going Too Far”[73] in which he expressed skepticism about the investigation generally and called the appointment of Mueller “ridiculous.”[72] Through social media, he also promoted an article that referred to the investigation as a “lynch mob.”[63][73][74]

Relationship with Donald Trump

Trump saw Whitaker’s supportive commentaries on CNN in the summer of 2017, and in July White House counsel Don McGahn interviewed Whitaker to join Trump’s legal team as an “attack dog” against Robert Mueller, who was heading the Special Counsel investigation. Trump associates believe Whitaker was later hired to limit the fallout of the investigation, including by reining in any Mueller report and preventing Trump from being subpoenaed.[70] On November 13, Whitaker sought advice from ethics officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) about whether a recusal from overseeing the Russia investigation was warranted.[75]

In 2017 Whitaker provided private advice to Trump on how the White House might pressure the Justice Department to investigate the president’s adversaries, including appointing a special counsel to investigate the FBI and Hillary Clinton.[76]

Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society recommended Whitaker to McGahn as chief of staff for Sessions, and Whitaker was installed into that role at the direction of the White House. Sessions, it is reported, did not realize for a year that Whitaker wanted to replace him.[77]

By early September 2018 Whitaker was on the short list of President Trump‘s White House staff as the replacement for Don McGahn as the White House Counsel.[78][79]

In September 2018, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly referred to Whitaker as the White House’s “eyes and ears” in the Justice Department, which the president considered himself at war with.[80]

Trump had spoken with Whitaker in September 2018 about potentially assuming Sessions’s role as Attorney General, although it was not clear whether Whitaker would take over on an interim basis or be nominated in a more permanent capacity.[81] At that time, The New York Times described Whitaker as a Trump loyalist who had frequently visited the Oval Office and as having “an easy chemistry” with Trump.[80] Whitaker was referenced by White House staff after a New York Times article disclosed in September that Rod Rosenstein had discussed secretly taping his conversations with the president and talked about using the Twenty-fifth Amendment to remove Trump from office.[73]

Trump repeatedly stated on November 9, “I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” contradicting remarks a month prior on Fox & Friends when he said, “I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.”[82][83][84] The president met with Whitaker at least ten times and frequently talked to him on the phone, and according to a former and a current administration official, Whitaker advised Trump in private on how to potentially pressure the Justice Department into investigating Trump’s adversaries.[85]

Other policy Issues

Whitaker has ties to the evangelical Christian community, his website previously stated that he is a “Christian who regularly attends church with his family, Matt has built a life on hard work and free enterprise” and he stated in 2014 that “life begins at conception.”[86][87][88]In 2014 he advocated for reducing the influence of the government saying, “I know that the government forcing people to violate their faith must never be tolerated. In the Senate, I will be a steadfast protector of every American’s religious rights.”[89]

He has expressed a desire to get rid of chain immigration and is against “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.[90] Whitaker argued in 2014 that expressing homophobic comments is legitimate expression of religious beliefs that should be protected speech, saying “I just really think this case is a prime example of where religious freedom in our country is under assault and we need to send a strong message.”[91] Whitaker supported repealing the Affordable Care Act in his 2014 Senate campaign.[73]

Department of Justice

Chief of Staff

On September 22, 2017, a Justice Department official announced that Sessions had appointed Whitaker to replace Jody Hunt as his chief of staff.[63][92] George Terwilliger, a former U.S. attorney and deputy attorney general, said in his role as chief of staff, Whitaker would have dealt daily with making “substantive choices about what is important to bring to the AG….”[93]

Acting Attorney General

With the resignation of Sessions on November 7, 2018, Whitaker was appointed to serve as Acting Attorney General under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998.[11][94] The Acting Attorney General directly supervises Robert Mueller‘s Special Counsel investigation, which had previously been supervised by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his role as Acting Attorney General, due to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Supervision of the Special Counsel investigation

Soon after Whitaker’s appointment as Acting Attorney General, a “broad and growing array” of legal experts expressed concern.[95] New York University law professor Ryan Goodman and Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, argued for Whitaker to recuse himself from supervising the investigation, citing potential conflicts of interest such as his previous criticism of the Special Counsel investigation and his ties to Sam Clovis who is a witness in the investigation.[7][96][97] NYU law professor Stephen Gillerssaid Whitaker “has no such legal or ethical obligation to step aside” but agrees that “Whitaker should be recused. His repeated expression of hostility to the Mueller investigation makes it impossible for the public to have confidence in his ability to exercise the necessary prosecutorial judgment in supervising Mueller”.[98][99] According to people close to Whitaker, he does not have any plans to recuse.[100]

Democrats poised to assume chairmanships of key House committees in January 2019 warned the Justice Department and other departments to preserve records relating to the Mueller investigation and Sessions’ firing. Republicans Senator Susan Collins, Senator Jeff Flake, and Senator-elect Mitt Romney, also issued statements insisting that Mueller’s investigation must remain free from interference.[101]

Legality and constitutionality of the appointment

Former Attorneys General Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, who both served in the George W. Bush administration, questioned the legality of the appointment.[102] Lawyers Neal Katyal and George T. Conway III called the appointment “illegal” and “unconstitutional” under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.[103][104][105] Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano posited that Whitaker is “not legally qualified for the role” as he is neither the Deputy Attorney General nor in a role that required Senate confirmation, and the senate is not in recess currently.[106][107] Lawyers Renato Mariotti and Laurence Tribe have argued that the Vacancies Act would not allow Trump to appoint Whitaker if Sessions was fired and that a court could conclude that Sessions did not resign but was fired.[108] John E. Bies, who served in the Obama Administration as a deputy assistant attorney general, has written that legality and constitutionality of Whitaker’s appointment is an open question and it has not been answered. Bies also points out that it is a difficult argument to make that Sessions was fired instead of resigning since a court would probably not “look past an official’s formal statement that they resigned”.[109]

Law professor John Yoo, who notably argued in favor of expansive executive power as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel in the George W. Bush administration, echoed the Katyal and Conway argument, stating that because of the Appointments Clause “it is not only the special-counsel investigation that he cannot supervise. Every action of the Justice Department might fall before challenges to Whitaker’s appointment.”[110] Law professor Stephen Vladeck argued that the U.S. Supreme Courtdecision United States v. Eaton allowed the appointment since it was temporary and that Sessions formally resigned.[95] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “I think this will be a very interim AG.”[111]

The US Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel released an internal legal opinion supporting the legality of the appointment. The memo concluded that because the appointment was temporary, no senate confirmation was required. It found that previously in 1866 an assistant attorney general who was not confirmed by the senate was appointed as acting attorney general, and that a non senate confirmed individual served as a principal officer in an acting capacity over 160 times between 1809 and 1860, and more recently at least nine times in the Trump, Obama, and Bush administrations.[112][113][114]

NBC News analyzed the section of the Code of Federal Regulations that prohibits a federal employee from participating in a criminal investigation if he has a personal or political relationship and said it may “arguably apply,” but also noted that “Even if a court could review the application of the recusal regulations to Whitaker in this situation, it might conclude that this personal or political relationship does not warrant [Whitaker’s] disqualification.”[115] Writers at Lawfare also noted Whitaker’s personal and prior political relationship with Sam Clovis, Trump’s campaign co-chairman and chief policy adviser, who has been questioned by Mueller’s investigators and testified before the investigation grand jury.[116][117]

A group of prominent conservative and libertarian lawyers have formed a group called Checks and Balances in the wake of Whitaker appointment.[118] Members include George T. Conway III, Tom Ridge, Peter D. KeislerJonathan H. AdlerOrin S. Kerr, Lori S. Meyer, Paul McNultyPhillip D. BradyJohn B. Bellinger III, Carrie Cordero, Peter Keisler, Marisa C Maleck, Alan Charles Raul and Paul Rosenzweig amongst others.[119][120][121][122] The group was formed to provide a critical legal and conservative voice for when, “he [Trump] attacks the Justice Department and the news media.”[123][124] The group was formed by Conway after he published a letter critical of Matthew Whitaker appointment that argued the illegality of his appointment because of constitutional reasons and specifically mentions the phrase checks and balances, “It defies one of the explicit checks and balances set out in the Constitution, a provision designed to protect us all against the centralization of government power.”[125]

On November 14 The American Constitution Society released a letter signed by over 1,600 attorneys nationwide calling for lawmakers and Justice Department officials to protect the special counsel’s Russia probe in light of Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general.[126][127] The signatories demand that Whitaker recuse himself or “otherwise be removed from overseeing the Mueller investigation as a result of his profound ethical conflicts.”[128]

Legal challenges

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh representing the State of Maryland filed for an injunction against Whitaker’s appointment.[129] Maryland had previously filed a suit against the then Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding his inability to defend the Affordable Care Act in court as part of a broader hostility of the Obama era act from the Trump administration.[130][131][132] Maryland is expected to test the argument in court that Whitaker was unlawfully named acting attorney general, and thus has no standing in the court or authority to respond to their lawsuit.[3][4] Maryland is also arguing that Whitaker’s appointment violates the Constitution, which requires that principal officers of the United States be appointed “with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” Whitaker was not serving in a Senate-confirmed position when he was appointed.[3] The state is arguing that the role of acting Attorney General rightfully belongs to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.[133]. A judge has set a December 19 hearing.[134]

On November 12 San Francisco’s city attorney questioned the appointment of a new acting attorney general, saying in a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice that his office may take court action if the DOJ does not provide a legal justification for the designation.[135][136]

Lawyers for former agricultural products executive Doug Haning filed a motion on November 13 asking a federal court in St. Louis to rule that Whitaker’s appointment as Acting Attorney General is illegal thereby he has no standing to hear the case.[134] Some lawyers have predicted a flood of similar motions.[134]

Personal life

Whitaker has three children with his wife, Marci, a civil engineer.[137] He is affiliated with Lutheran Evangelicalism.[138][89]

Electoral history

2002 Iowa State Treasurer

General election results[139]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Michael Fitzgerald 534,714 54.77%
Republican Matthew Whitaker 421,574 43.18%
Libertarian Tim Hird 19,687 2.02%
Republican Write-ins 344 0.04%
Total votes 976,319 100.00%

2014 U.S. Senator for Iowa

Republican primary results[140]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joni Ernst 88,535 56.12%
Republican Sam Clovis 28,418 18.01%
Republican Mark Jacobs 26,523 16.81%
Republican Matthew Whitaker 11,884 7.53%
Republican Scott Schaben 2,233 1.42%
Republican Write-ins 155 0.10%
Total votes 157,748 100.00%

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Whitaker_(attorney)

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The Pronk Pops Show 1107, Story 1: Arrogant, Biased, Corrupt, Deceptive, Evasive FBI Agent Peter Strzok Unindicted Co-conspirator of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Attorney General Sessions Must Appoint A Second Special Counsel To Investigate The Conspiracy or Resign and President Trump Should Accept Resignation — Part 1 of 2 — Videos

Posted on July 13, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Applications, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Comedy, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Government, Great Britain, Hardware, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, James Comey, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Russia, Scandals, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Servers, Software, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Treason, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

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Story 1: Arrogant, Biased, Corrupt, Deceptive, Evasive FBI Agent Peter Strzok Unindicted Co-conspirator of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Attorney General Sessions Must Appoint A Second Special Counsel To Investigate The Conspiracy or Resign and President Trump Should Accept Resignation — Part 1 of 2 — Videos

Joe diGenova describes “Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton”

Published on Jan 21, 2018

Congress Exposes FBI Coup Against Trump

Published on Jun 20, 2018

Why a second special counsel is needed to investigate DOJ, FBI

WATCH: House Republicans hold news briefing regarding special counsel

Dershowitz reacts to Strzok hearing, Russia indictments

The fieriest moments from Peter Strzok’s hearing

Ingraham: Trump-hating FBI investigator ‘Strzok out’

Rudy Giuliani: Strzok’s defense is ridiculous, pathetic

Mueller didn’t want to ask Strzok if he was bias: Rep. Gaetz

Gowdy: Strzok is the only one who doesn’t think he’s biased

Hannity: Strzok was at the heart of the deep state

Dershowitz on Strzok testimony: A disaster, everybody looked terrible

Bruce Ohr gave parts of Russia dossier to DOJ, FBI: Rep. Jordan

Giuliani on possibility FBI had multiple versions of dossier

FBI’s Peter Strzok denies that bias impacted his work

Rep. Goodlatte Opening Statement at FBI’s Strzok Hearing July 12, 2018

OUT OF ORDER FIGHT! When Andy Biggs,(R)AZ Blasts Strvok

I DON’T GIVE A DAMN!!!” Peter Strzok Hearing GOES OFF THE RAILS During Trey Gowdy’s Questioning

Complete exchange between Rep. Trey Gowdy and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter

Strzok

“Let’s See What’ll You Do In Prison With That Smile?”, Matt Gaetz DEMOLISHES Smirking Strzok

Gowdy’s question prompts procedural debate at Strzok hearing

Rep. Trey Gowdy questions FBI’s Peter Strzok in fierce grilling

Mike Johnson Corners Peter Strzok – BODY LANGUAGE OF A LIAR!

Jim Jordan on Strzok’s revelations about Bruce Ohr

Jim Jordan vs FBI Agent Peter Strzok in HEATED Exchange at Congress Hearing on Anti-Trump Texts

7-12-18 Mark Meadows (R-NC) Questions Strzok

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Rep. Louie Gohmert gets personal in heated exchange with Peter Strzok

Louie Gohmert vs Peter Strzok EXPLOSIVE Exchange at House Oversight Hearing about anti-Trump Texts

FBI agent Peter Strzok say political bias did not impact investigations

Wounded Marine Vet: ‘Disgraceful’ & ‘Disgusting’ for Dem Rep to Suggest Strzok Deserves Purple Heart

Republicans Picked The Wrong FBI Agent To Mess With (VIDEO)

Peter Strzok Holds His Own As Republicans Try To Put On Show At Hearing | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

“Trump Will Put You In Jail”, Trey Gowdy BRUTALLY DESTROYS FBI And Peter Strzok In An Awesome Speech

WATCH: Dems Bring Posters to Strzok Hearing to Show Guilty Pleas in Mueller Probe

Closing Statement From Hearing of Crooked FBI Agent Peter Strzok

Goodlatte: Lisa Page ‘apparently has something to hide’

Texts show Peter Strzok’s friendship with federal judge

Shapiro Mocks Democrats Celebrating Peter Strzok

Scott Adams Gives You a Hot Take On Peter Stzrok Testimony To Congress So Far

Scott Adams – Peter Strzok’s Body Language and Theresa May

Strzok Strikes Comedy Parody Gold: Think Percy Dovetonsils Meets Vincent D’Onofrio Meets Paul Lynde

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Paul Lynde’s – Hollywood Squares – BEST-1-LINERS Part 1

FBI Director James Comey’s full statement on Clinton email investigation

 

FBI agent defiantly rejects bias charges at chaotic hearing

Eric Tucker and Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

,

Associated Press

An embattled FBI agent whose anti-Trump text messages exposed the Justice Department to claims of institutional bias launched a vigorous defense Thursday at an extraordinary congressional hearing that devolved into shouting matches, finger pointing and veiled references to personal transgressions.

Peter Strzok testified publicly for the first time since being removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team after the discovery of derogatory text messages he traded with an FBI lawyer. He told lawmakers the texts in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election reflected personal views that he had never acted on, angrily rejecting Republican allegations that he had set out to stop Donald Trump from becoming president.

“At no time, in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took,” Strzok said.

The hearing brought a defiant Strzok face-to-face with Republican lawmakers who for months have held up his texts as the embodiment of anti-Trump bias within the FBI. In breaking his months-long silence, Strzok vigorously defended his handling of two hugely sensitive investigations in which he played a leading role: inquiries into Hillary Clinton’s email use and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

He insisted the FBI had good cause two years ago to start investigating whether the Trump campaign was working with the Kremlin amid allegations of what he described as a Russian offer of assistance to a Trump campaign associate. He characterized the anti-Trump text messages as personal communications that he never envisioned becoming public and denied that they had swayed his actions.

Strzok insisted under aggressive questioning that a much-discussed August 2016 text in which he said “we’ll stop” a Trump presidency followed Trump’s denigration of the family of a dead U.S. service member. He said the text, written late at night and off-the-cuff, reflected his belief that the American public would not stomach such “horrible, disgusting behavior” by the Republican presidential candidate.

But, he added in a raised voice and emphatic tone, “It was in no way — unequivocally — any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. So, I take great offense, and I take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn’t.”

Plus, he said, both investigations were handled by large teams.

“They would not tolerate any improper behavior in me anymore than I would tolerate it in them,” Strzok said. “That is who we are as the FBI. And the suggestion that I, in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI, would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me. It simply couldn’t happen.”

Some Democrats applauded after he finished speaking.

Republican members of the House judiciary and oversight committees grilled Strzok as they argued that text messages he exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page colored the outcome of the Clinton investigation and undercut the ongoing Russia probe. Strzok, a seasoned counterintelligence agent, helped lead both investigations but has since been reassigned to human resources.

“Agent Strzok had Hillary Clinton winning the White House before he finished investigating her,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Agent Strzok had Donald Trump impeached before he even started investigating him. That is bias. Agent Strzok may not see it but the rest of the country does, and it is not what we want, expect or deserve from any law enforcement officer much less the FBI.”

The hearing was punctuated by chaos and open yelling as Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte said Strzok needed to answer Republicans’ questions and suggested they might recess the hearing and hold him in contempt. Democrats objected to Goodlatte’s repeated attempts to get Strzok to answer. Goodlatte eventually let the hearing proceed without calling the panel into recess.

In his opening statement, Strzok said he has never allowed personal opinions to infect his work, that he knew information during the campaign that had the potential to damage Trump but never contemplated leaking it and that the focus put on him by Congress is misguided and plays into “our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”

Strzok acknowledged that while his text message criticism was “blunt,” it was not directed at one person or political party and included jabs not only at Trump but also at Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” he said.

He said he was one of the few people during the 2016 election who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with people in the Trump orbit, and that that information could have derailed Trump’s election chances. “But,” he said, “the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.”

Although Strzok has said through his lawyer that he was eager to tell his side of the story, he made clear his exasperation at being the focal point of a congressional hearing at a time when Russian election interference has been successfully “sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions.”

“I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart,” Strzok said. “As someone who loves this country and cherishes its ideals, it is profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in.”

The contentious hearing follows hours of closed-door questioning last week. It also reflects an effort to shift attention away from the content of Strzok’s texts and onto what he says is the more pressing issue: the Russians’ “grave attack” on American democracy and continuing efforts to divide the country.

Republicans eager for ways to discredit Mueller’s investigation have for months held up the texts from Strzok and Page to support allegations of anti-Trump bias within federal law enforcement.

The Justice Department’s inspector general has criticized Strzok and Page for creating the appearance of impropriety. But the report said it found no evidence of political bias in the FBI’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against Clinton. And many Democrats say actions taken by law enforcement during the campaign season, including announcing a reopening of the investigation into Clinton just days before the election, actually wound up harming the Democratic candidate and aiding the Republican candidate, Trump.

FBI Director Chris Wray says employees who were singled out for criticism in the report have been referred to internal disciplinary officials. Strzok’s lawyer has said he was escorted from the FBI building as the disciplinary process winds its way through the system.

Page is expected to speak to lawmakers at a private meeting Friday.

___

Associated Press writer Chad Day in Washington contributed to this report.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/fbi-agent-never-tainted-political-bias-080213902–politics.html

7 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing

July 12 at 6:21 PM
The fieriest moments from Peter Strzok’s hearing

The House hearing with FBI agent Peter Strzok devolved into personal attacks, partisan exchanges and a perjury accusation. Here’s a look at the biggest moments.

This post has been updated.

FBI agent Peter Strzok had his moment on an extremely hot seat Thursday morning in a contentious hearing that quickly devolved into angry yelling, interjections and parliamentary maneuvering.

Appearing before a joint session of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, Strzok sought to explain his anti-Trump text messages at a time when he was the lead agent on the FBI’s then-nascent Russia investigation in 2016. He was removed from the investigation in 2017 after those text messages with fellow FBI employee Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, were discovered. Republicans including President Trump have seized upon Strzok’s texts — which included allusions to stopping Trump — as evidence of a biased and even corrupt law enforcement investigation.

Here are the key moments from the hearing.

1. The contempt threat

 3:07
Goodlatte cites subpoena as Strzok refuses to answer question

FBI agent Peter Strzok refused to answer a question about the Russia probe on July 12, sparking Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) to attempt to force an answer. 

It didn’t take long for the hearing to explode. After the opening statements, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) lodged his first question: How many people did Strzok interview during the first eight days of the FBI’s Russia investigation, between July 31 and Aug. 8, 2016?

Strzok, as he previewed in his opening statement, said he had been advised by the FBI’s lawyers that he was not to address specifics of what is still an ongoing investigation. (The investigation was handed over to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in mid-2017.) Republicans quickly objected and threatened to hold Strzok in contempt. Democrats noted that it was unusual that Strzok be asked to disclose such details in a public setting.

Strzok said he didn’t have to answer the question because, despite being subpoenaed by the committee, he had previously said he would speak voluntarily.

“Mr. Chairman, I do not believe I am here under subpoena,” Strzok said. “I believe I am here voluntarily. … Based on that, I will not answer that question.”

Democrats argued that a witness such as Strzok would not be expected to publicly disclose sensitive information like the blueprint for a hydrogen bomb. Another moved to adjourn the hearing less than an hour after it began.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) finally said that Strzok would be recalled to the committee after the day’s hearing so that it could determine whether to hold him in contempt. But the tone was set.

2. Strzok’s angry retort: ‘It is deeply destructive’

 3:00
Strzok: Accusation of bias ‘deeply corrodes’ the FBI

FBI agent Peter Strzok explained the context of his text messages about Trump on July 12, and said his personal beliefs never factored into his actions. 

After more than 20 minutes of maneuvering and posturing following the subpoena discussion, Gowdy ended his interrogation of Strzok and Strzok was given the floor to respond. In a minutes-long retort, he called Gowdy’s and his Republican allies’ allegations of bias and improper actions “deeply destructive.”

He said that his text messages critical of Trump shortly after the investigation began were in response to Trump’s behavior on the campaign trail — and not a reflection of his investigative intent. He pointed in particular to Trump’s attacks on the Khans, a Gold Star family who spoke at the Democratic National Convention around that time.

“My presumption [was] based on that horrible, disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States,” he said. “It was in no way, unequivocally, any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. So I take great offense . . . ”

Strzok concluded the accusation against him and the line of questioning “deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive.” Some in the room applauded.

3. A perjury accusation — and a very personal attack

 9:43