The Pronk Pops Show 1352, November 5. 2019, Story 1: Ukraine Was Interfering in United States 2016 Election For DNC and Clinton and President Trump Wants This Interference Investigated by New Ukraine Government — Videos — Story 2: Ukraine Natural Gas Company Burisma Lobbied State Department To Stop Being Investigated By Invoking Hunter Biden’s Name — Videos — Story 3: United States Withdrawing From Paris Climate Accord Agreement — Videos– Story 4: Trump’s New Stump Speech — Why Trump is President? — One of Life’s Mysteries, Sir — Videos —

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Washington Post Super Bowl message: Democracy Dies in Darkness

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Story 1: Ukraine Government Officials Were Interfering in United States 2016 Election For Clinton and Democrat National Committee (DNC) And President Trump Wants This Interference Investigated by Current Ukraine General Prosecutor — Many Countries Including United States Provide Other Countries Aid (Quid) Provided They Meet Certain Conditions (Que) Such As Publicly Acknowledging There Will Be An Investigation of 2016 Election Interference and Ukraine Natural Gas Company Burisma — Videos

Iconic Quid Pro Quo

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

What Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker said about U.S. aid to Ukraine

Hannity: I have never talked to anyone from Ukraine

Biden sidesteps questions about son’s foreign work

Joe Biden’s son’s firm linked to Chinese government: New book

Testimony suggests “quid pro quo” relationship between Trump and Ukraine

Dems set to release new transcripts from two key impeachment figures

PBS News Hour full episode November 5, 2019

First excerpts of Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker transcripts released

Story 2: Ukraine Natural Gas Company Burisma Lobbied State Department To Stop Being Investigated By Invoking Hunter Biden’s Name — Videos —

NEW MEMO ON UKRAINE: Hunter Biden & associates used State Department to kill Burisma investigation

Glenn Beck Lays Out the Case Against The Media

Biden’s Ukraine Scandal Explained I Glenn Beck

Big Lie Media Propaganda Exposed

Glenn Beck Presents: Democracy Does Die In Darkness

Glenn heads back to the chalkboard to explain how the media is intentionally misleading and, in some cases, blatantly lying to absolve the Democrats from what they’ve been doing in Ukraine. Glenn breaks down their case against President Trump and Rudy Giuliani, and he shows why that isn’t the real story. Glenn devastatingly dismantles the medias disinformation campaign brick by brick.

A look at Hunter Biden’s time in Ukraine

Everything You Need to Know About Hunter Biden

Biden’s son booted from Navy after a positive cocaine…

Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Gas Firm Urged Obama Admin To End Corruption Allegations, Report Says

DailyWire.com
JANUARY 30: President of the United States Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden (son of Joe Biden) talk during a college basketball game between Georgetown Hoyas and the Duke Blue Devils on January 30, 2010 at the Verizon Center in Washington DC.
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

In February 2016, a representative from Burisma sought to meet with Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli to discuss the allegations of corruption that the U.S. government was making toward the company, according to memos obtained by award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon.

“Just three weeks before Burisma’s overture to State, Ukrainian authorities raided the home of the oligarch who owned the gas firm and employed Hunter Biden, a signal the long-running corruption probe was escalating in the middle of the U.S. presidential election,” Solomon wrote. “Hunter Biden’s name, in fact, was specifically invoked by the Burisma representative as a reason the State Department should help, according to a series of email exchanges among U.S. officials trying to arrange the meeting.”

A February 24, 2016, email between State Department officials stated:

Per our conversation, Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with U/S Novelli USG remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption. She noted that two high profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member). Tramontano would like to talk with U/S Novelli about getting a better understanding of how the U.S. came to the determination that the company is corrupt. According to Tramontano there is no evidence of corruption, has been no hearing or process, and evidence to the contrary has not been considered. Would appreciate any background you may be able to provide on this issue and suggested TPs for U/S Novelli’s meeting.

“Tramontano was a lawyer working for Blue Star Strategies, a Washington firm that was hired by Burisma to help end a long-running corruption investigation against the gas firm in Ukraine,” Solomon added. “Tramontano and another Blue Star official, Sally Painter, both alumni of Bill Clinton’s administration, worked with New York-based criminal defense attorney John Buretta to settle the Ukraine cases in late 2016 and 2017.”

Solomon notes that a meeting was scheduled for March 1, 2016, between Tramontano and Novelli, although it was not known whether or not the meeting actually occurred.

However, a meeting was reportedly secured between Hunter Biden’s business partner and fellow Burisma board member, Devon Archer, and Secretary of State John Kerry.

John Solomon@jsolomonReports

Breaking: Memos detailing Hunter Biden’s contacts with Obama State Department released. VP son’s Ukrainian gas firm pressed US officials to end corruption allegations … just a month before Joe Biden forced firing of prosecutor overseeing case.https://johnsolomonreports.com/hunter-bidens-ukraine-gas-firm-pressed-obama-administration-to-end-corruption-allegations-memos-show/ 

This entire ordeal surrounding the actions of former Vice President Biden and his son have cast a cloud over the Biden campaign that has undoubtedly at least partially contributed to his fall in the polls against his Democratic rivals.

Last year, Biden bragged to an audience about how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that if he did not fire the prosecutor that was investigating Burisma that he would withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid from the country.

Iconic Quid Pro Quo

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukrainian Prosecutor Fired

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden told the audience. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.”

President Donald Trump and his campaign have hammered Biden over his remarks, which were recorded on video, in advertisements on social media and in targeted markets.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

This is the real corruption that the Fake News Media refuses to even acknowledge!

 

Ukraine Gas Firm Tied to Biden Lobbied State Department to End Corruption Allegations, Emails Show

7 CommentsNovember 5, 2019 Updated: November 5, 2019

The Ukrainian gas firm that hired Hunter Biden lobbied the Department of State in early 2016, just one month before then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden forced the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the same company, according to documents obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

On Feb. 24, 2016, a State Department official sent an email discussing an overture from a representative for Burisma, the Ukrainian gas firm, to Undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli. The Burisma representative argued that the allegations against the company were baseless, according to an email chain released as part of a lawsuit filed by investigative journalist John Solomon. The Burisma representative specifically cited Hunter Biden’s name as the reason for why the allegations should stop.

Earlier that month in 2016, Ukrainian authorities seized the property of Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, according to Interfax Ukraine. The seizure included several of Zlochevsky’s homes and a Rolls-Royce Phantom car.

“Per our conversation, Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with U/S Novelli USG remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption,” the email between State Department officials, whose names are blacked out, stated. “She noted that two high profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member).

“Tramontano would like to talk with U/S Novelli about getting a better understanding of how the U.S. came to the determination that the company is corrupt. According to Tramontano, there is no evidence of corruption, has been no hearing or process, and evidence to the contrary has not been considered.”

At the time the email was sent, Novelli was the third-highest-ranking official at the State Department. Karen Tramontano was the CEO of Bluestar Strategies, a consulting firm retained by Burisma to address the corruption charges against it in Ukraine.

The email chain shows that Tramontano was scheduled to meet Novelli on March 1, 2016. While it’s unclear if that meeting took place, on the following day, March 2, 2016, Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, met with Secretary of State John Kerry, another email obtained by Solomon shows.

“Devon Archer coming to see S today at 3pm—need someone to meet/greet him at C Street,” an email from Kerry’s office manager states.

Archer’s meeting with Kerry is notable because Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz, recently told The Washington Post that he advised Archer and Biden “that working with Burisma was unacceptable.”

“The lack of judgment in this matter was a major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationships with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden,” Heinz spokesman Chris Bastardi told the newspaper.

Hunter Biden and Archer joined the board of Burisma in 2014. Bank records released as part of an unrelated lawsuit show that Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a firm operated by Archer, received more than $160,000 per month from Burisma starting in May 2016. Rosemont Seneca Bohai regularly sent funds to Hunter Biden, the records show.

The seizure of Zlochevsky’s assets took place on Feb. 2, 2014. At the time, top Ukrainian corruption prosecutor Viktor Shokin led the probe.

Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a businessman and former member of the Ukrainian Parliament, told Reuters that Zlochevsky came up with the idea to appoint Hunter Biden to the board “to protect [the company].”

Weeks after Burisma lobbied the State Department and Archer met with Kerry, Joe Biden forced the firing of Shokin by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees; Biden bragged about the move during a videotaped speech on a panel last year.

In a sworn statement, Shokin said that he was fired under pressure from Biden because he, Shokin, refused to drop the Burisma investigation.

The allegations about Joe and Hunter Biden are in the public spotlight because of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. An anonymous whistleblower’s complaint that triggered the inquiry alleged that Trump may have pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

According to a transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump referenced Shokin’s firing when asking the Ukrainian leader to investigate the younger Biden.

The whistleblower alleged that Trump’s request to Zelensky may have amounted to a campaign finance violation. The Department of Justice reviewed the complaint and determined that no further action was necessary.

In an interview with ABC News, Hunter Biden admitted that joining Burisma was a political error, but defended his work. Biden stepped down from the board of Burisma in April, according to a statement from his lawyer.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/hunter-bidens-ukraine-gas-firm-lobbied-state-department-to-end-corruption-allegations-emails-show_3137480.html

US Attorney John Durham looking into Ukrainian involvement in 2016 election

A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Wednesday. “While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.”

Durham has been Barr’s right hand as the two look into the complicated and classified issues surrounding how an investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia — dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane” — got its start, though the U.S. attorney from Connecticut has been virtually silent since his selection.

The DOJ’s statement comes as the White House released a transcript of the controversial July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump suggests that Ukraine should investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a company owned by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky was being investigated by top prosecutor Viktor Shokin, though it is in dispute how serious that investigation was. Trump also suggested that Ukraine should look into issues surrounding the alleged involvement of some Ukrainians in interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

Biden boasted in 2018 that, as vice president, he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if Ukraine didn’t fire Shokin, which Trump’s allies have said was because of the investigation, but Democrats have said was part of a U.S. and European effort to oust Shokin as ineffective and a hindrance to Ukraine’s anti-corruption investigations. Ukraine removed Shokin in 2016.

DOJ also made it clear that Trump never told Barr to contact Ukraine about any investigation of Biden, nor did Barr ever discuss these issues with Ukraine or with Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Trump gave Barr “ full and complete authority to declassify information” related to the origins of the Trump-Russia probe in May after Barr had infuriated Democrats when he said “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign and refused to backtrack. Republicans have alleged that foreign intelligence agencies, like those in Western Europe, may have played a role in eavesdropping on or otherwise monitoring Trump campaign associates in 2016.

Durham’s investigation is separate from the one that was just finished by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The DOJ watchdog investigated allegations of abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the DOJ and FBI, and Horowitz has spoken with Durham, who is handling any criminal referrals from Horowitz’s investigation.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/u-s-attorney-john-durham-looking-into-ukrainian-involvement-in-2016-election

Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch

Hunter Biden at a campaign event in 2008. He sits on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies.
Credit…Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — When Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.traveled to Kiev , Ukraine, on Sunday for a series of meetings with the country’s leaders, one of the issues on his agenda was to encourage a more aggressive fight against Ukraine’s rampant corruption and stronger efforts to rein in the power of its oligarchs.

But the credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ukraine’s ecology minister under former President Viktor F. Yanukovych before he was forced into exile.

Hunter Biden, 45, a former Washington lobbyist, joined the Burisma board in April 2014. That month, as part of an investigation into money laundering, British officials froze London bank accounts containing $23 million that allegedly belonged to Mr. Zlochevsky.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, an independent government agency, specifically forbade Mr. Zlochevksy, as well as Burisma Holdings, the company’s chief legal officer and another company owned by Mr. Zlochevsky, to have any access to the accounts.

But after Ukrainian prosecutors refused to provide documents needed in the investigation, a British court in January ordered the Serious Fraud Office to unfreeze the assets. The refusal by the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office to cooperate was the target of a stinging attack by the American ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, who called out Burisma’s owner by name in a speech in September.

“In the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the U.K. authorities had seized $23 million in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people,” Mr. Pyatt said. Officials at the prosecutor general’s office, he added, were asked by the United Kingdom “to send documents supporting the seizure. Instead they sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result, the money was freed by the U.K. court, and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.”

Mr. Pyatt went on to call for an investigation into “the misconduct” of the prosecutors who wrote the letters. In his speech, the ambassador did not mention Hunter Biden’s connection to Burisma.

But Edward C. Chow, who follows Ukrainian policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the involvement of the vice president’s son with Mr. Zlochevsky’s firm undermined the Obama administration’s anticorruption message in Ukraine.

“Now you look at the Hunter Biden situation, and on the one hand you can credit the father for sending the anticorruption message,” Mr. Chow said. “But I think unfortunately it sends the message that a lot of foreign countries want to believe about America, that we are hypocritical about these issues.”

Speaking during a visit to Ukraine, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. urged the country to weed corruption out of its system.CreditCredit…Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

“Hunter Biden is a private citizen and a lawyer,” she said. “The vice president does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company. The vice president has pushed aggressively for years, both publicly with groups like the U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum and privately in meetings with Ukrainian leaders, for Ukraine to make every effort to investigate and prosecute corruption in accordance with the rule of law. It will once again be a key focus during his trip this week.”

Ryan F. Toohey, a Burisma spokesman, said that Hunter Biden would not comment for this article.

It is not known how Mr. Biden came to the attention of the company. Announcing his appointment to the board, Alan Apter, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker who is chairman of Burisma, said, “The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals.”

Joining the board at the same time was one of Mr. Biden’s American business partners, Devon Archer. Both are involved with Rosemont Seneca Partners, an American investment firm with offices in Washington.

Mr. Biden is the younger of the vice president’s two sons. His brother, Beau, died of brain cancer in May. In the past, Hunter Biden attracted an unusual level of scrutiny and even controversy. In 2014, he was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine use. He received a commission as an ensign in 2013, and he served as a public affairs officer.

Before his father was vice president, Mr. Biden also briefly served as president of a hedge fund group, Paradigm Companies, in which he was involved with one of his uncles, James Biden, the vice president’s brother. That deal went sour amid lawsuits in 2007 and 2008 involving the Bidens and an erstwhile business partner. Mr. Biden, a graduate of Georgetown University and Yale Law School, also worked as a lobbyist before his father became vice president.

Burisma does not disclose the compensation of its board members because it is a privately held company, Mr. Toohey said Monday, but he added that the amount was “not out of the ordinary” for similar corporate board positions.

Asked about the British investigation, which is continuing, Mr. Toohey said, “Not only was the case dismissed and the company vindicated by the outcome, but it speaks volumes that all his legal costs were recouped.”

In response to Mr. Pyatt’s criticism of the Ukrainian handling of Mr. Zlochevsky’s case, Mr. Toohey said that “strong corporate governance and transparency are priorities shared both by the United States and the leadership of Burisma. Burisma is working to bring the energy sector into the modern era, which is critical for a free and strong Ukraine.”

Vice President Biden has played a leading role in American policy toward Ukraine as Washington seeks to counter Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine. This week’s visit was his fifth trip to Ukraine as vice president.

Ms. Bedingfield said Hunter Biden had never traveled to Ukraine with his father. She also said that Ukrainian officials had never mentioned Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma to the vice president during any of his visits.

“I’ve got to believe that somebody in the vice president’s office has done some due diligence on this,” said Steven Pifer, who was the American ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2000. “I should say that I hope that has happened. I would hope that they have done some kind of check, because I think the vice president has done a very good job of sending the anticorruption message in Ukraine, and you would hate to see something like this undercut that message.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/09/world/europe/corruption-ukraine-joe-biden-son-hunter-biden-ties.html

 

 

Burisma Holdings

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

 
Private
Industry Oil and gas
Founded 2002
Founder Mykola Zlochevsky
Headquarters

,

Key people
Mykola Zlochevsky (President)
Taras Burdeinyi (CEO)[1]
Alan Apter (Chairman)[2]
Products Natural gas
Services Drilling
Owner Brociti Investments Limited
Subsidiaries Burisma Services
Aldea
Esko-Pivnich
Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya
GasOilInvest
KUB-Gas
Naftogaz Garant
Naftogazopromyslova geologiya
Pari
Nadragas
Nadragasvydobuvannya
SystemOilEngineering
Tehnokomservis
Website burisma-group.com/eng/

Burisma Holdings Limited (UkrainianБурісма ХолдингсGreekΜπουρίσμα Χόλντιγκς) is a holding company for a group of energy exploration and production companies. It is based in KyivUkraine, though registered in LimassolCyprus. Burisma Holdings has operated in the Ukrainian natural gas market since 2002. It is one of the largest private natural gas producers in Ukraine.[3][4] It is owned by Mykola Zlochevsky through his company Brociti Investments Limited (UkrainianБросіті Інвестментс Лімітед).

Burisma’s subsidiaries include Esko-Pivnich, Pari, Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya, Naftogaz Garant, KUB-Gas and Astroinvest-Ukraine.[5][6][7]

 

History

Burisma was founded in 2002.[8][9] Consolidation of the Burisma Group took place mainly in 2006 and 2007.[1] It became a major shareholder of Sunrise Energy Resources, a Delaware Corporation, which in 2004 acquired Ukrainian companies Esko-Pivnich (UkrainianЕско-Північ) and Pari (UkrainianПарі), which owned natural gas exploration licences.[10] In 2009, shares in these companies were transferred to Millington Solutions Limited.[10] However, shortly thereafter Millington ceased to exist, and Burisma claimed ownership of those two companies. In 2012, Persha Ukrainska Naftogazova Kompaniya (First Ukrainian Oil and Gas Company, UkrainianПерша Українська нафтогазова компанія), Naftogaz Garant (Oil and Gas Guarantee, UkrainianНафтогаз гарант), and KrymTopEnergoServis (CrimeaTopEnergoService, UkrainianКримтопенергосервіс) became a part of the Burisma Group.[11][12][13]

In 2014, Burisma signed a cooperation agreement with KazMunayGas, the national oil and gas company of Kazakhstan.[14] In 2016, Burisma bought two hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fleets.[15] In 2017, it bought a 3,000-horsepower Service King Manufacturing SK 3000 drilling rig for $40 million (USD); it was the most powerful drilling rig in Eastern Europe at the time.[16]

In February 2016, Burisma acquired a 70% stake in KUB-Gas (КУБ-Газ).[5] In 2017, it bought a majority stake in Diloretio Holdings Limited, a company which owned Ukrainian gas companies SystemOilEngineering (UkrainianСистемойлинжиниринг), Naftogazopromyslova geologiya, (Oil and Gas Industrial Geology, UkrainianНафтогазпромислова геологія), and Tehnokomservis (TechnoComService, UkrainianТехнокомсервіс).[17] Also in 2017, Burisma bought Nadragasvydobuvannya (Subsoil Gas Extraction, UkrainianНадрагазвидобування)[18] and GasOilInvest (Гасоілінвест).[19] In April 2019, Burisma acquired Astroinvest Ukraine (Астроінвест-Україна), a natural gas trader.[6]

In 2015, Burisma was one of the founders of the International Forum on Energy Security for the Future and partnered the Electric Marathon.[20] In 2017, it signed a partnership agreement with the Atlantic Council to promote anti-corruption measures.[21][22]

Operations

Burisma’s primary operations are in Ukraine, supplemented by activities in Germany, Mexico, Italy, and Kazakhstan.[15] It holds 35 gas production licences in Ukraine in the Dnieper-DonetsCarpathian, and AzovKuban Basins.[5][8] Exploration and production activities are carried out at eight sites in five regions.[23] Burisma also provides natural gas well services, including hydraulic fracturing.[15] Burisma plans to build a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant in Kharkiv with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year.[7]

In 2016, Burisma was the second largest privately owned natural gas producer in Ukraine after DTEK,[4] accounting for 26% of all natural gas produced by privately owned companies and more than 5% of total gas production in Ukraine.[4][24] According to the company, it produced 1.3 billion cubic metres (4.6×1010 cubic feet) of natural gas in Ukraine in 2018.[8]

In Kazakhstan, the company has provided drilling services to KazMunayGas and its subsidiaries, including at the Urikhtau gas field.[25] In Italy, Burisma develops three geothermal power projects in partnership with Gesto Investimento e Gestão.[25]

Burisma’s subsidiary Esko-Pivnich operates in the Kharkiv Oblast, and Pari operates in Western Ukraine (LvivIvano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi oblasts).[26] KUB-Gas operates in Luhansk Oblast,[5] GasOilInvest in Poltava Oblast,[19] and Nadragasvydobuvannya in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[27] Burisma also owned KrymTopEnergoServis, a company which leased three gas deposits in Crimea.[13][26][28] However, after annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, KrymTopEnergoServis ceased operation as Burisma subsidiary.[28]

Corporate matters

Ownership

Burisma Holdings is owned by Brociti Investments Limited, a Cyprus-based company owned by Ukrainian former politician and businessman Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky was minister of natural resources under Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine.[29] Brociti Investments acquired Burisma Holdings in 2011.[30] Before that acquisition, Mykola Zlochevsky and Mykola Lisin each owned a 50% interest in Burisma Holdings.[10][30][31] Lisin, a Ukrainian politician, died in a traffic accident in 2011.[31]

Management

Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former President of the Republic of Poland, was appointed to the board in January 2014.[32][33]

Taras Burdeinyi is the chief executive officer of Burisma Holdings,[1] and Alan Apter is chairman of the board of directors.[2] As of 14 October 2019, the members of the board of directors, in order of seniority, are Alan Apter, Aleksander KwaśniewskiJoseph Cofer Black , Karina Zlochevska, Christina Sofocleous, Riginos Charalampous, and Marina Pericleous.[2][34] Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former president of Poland, joined the board in January 2014.[32][33] In February 2016, Joseph Cofer Black, former director of the Counterterrorism Center of the Central Intelligence Agency (1999–2002) in the George W. Bush administration and former Ambassador-at-Large for counter-terrorism (2002–2004), was appointed to the board.[35] Karina Zlochevska, daughter of Mykola Zlochevskiy, was also appointed in February 2016.[2]

In April 2014, Devon Archer, a former senior adviser to the John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign, and Hunter Biden, an attorney and the son of then-US vice president Joe Biden, joined the board.[32][36] Archer left the company in 2018[37] and Biden left in April 2019, when his term as a director expired.[8]

Financial results

Burisma Holdings does not disclose its financial results.[8][15] It has been calculated, based on a minimal natural gas price, that the company’s revenue in 2018 may have totaled at least US$400 million.[8]

Investigations

Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) have conducted in total 15 investigations on Burisma’s owner Zlochevsky.[38] In 2016, former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko accused Burisma subsidiaries of conspiracy and tax evasion about one billion hryvnias (US$70 million) in 2014–2015, but later during investigation subsidiaries of Burisma were not mentioned.[39] Tax audit of Esko-Pivnich by the State Fiscal Service found some violations in 2016. As a result, 50 million hryvnias (US$1.9 million) of additional taxes was paid to eliminate criminal charges.[39] In total, Burisma paid additional 180 million hryvnias (US$7.44 million) of taxes to avoid further criminal proceedings.[8][23] A criminal investigation was conducted if natural resources extraction licenses were issued to Burisma subsidiaries legally during the period Zlochevsky held government office. Although violations of the procedure were established by NABU, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office missed procedural deadlines for a lawsuit and the case for nullifying licesenses was dismissed by the court.[39] In October 2019, Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka announced that all 15 investigation cases will be reviewed.[38]

See also

References

External links

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

Mykola Zlochevsky

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Mykola Zlochevsky
Микола Злочевський
ZlochevskiyN.jpg
12th Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources
In office
July 2, 2010 – April 20, 2012
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
Preceded by Viktor Boiko
Succeeded by Eduard Stavytsky
deputy secretary for Economic and Social Security on the National Security and Defense Council
In office
April 20, 2012 – February 26, 2014
President Viktor Yanukovych
Secretary Andriy Klyuev
Personal details
Born
Микола Владиславович Злочевський

June 14, 1966 (age 53)
KievUkrainian SSR

Residence Monaco
Education International University of Business and Law in Kherson [uk] – Accounting and Auditing
Odessa Law Academy – Law Faculty
Known for Burisma Holdings
Zlochevski photo.jpg

Mykola Vladislavovich Zlochevsky (UkrainianМикола Владиславович Злочевський; born June 14, 1966 in Kiev) is a Ukrainian oligarch[1] businessman and politician who was Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources from July 2010 till April 2012 and was the deputy secretary for Economic and Social Security on the National Security and Defense Council from April 2012 until February 2014 when Euromaidan occurred.[2][3][4]

Biography

Business

In 2002, he co-founded the largest independent oil and natural gas company Burisma Holdings with Ukrainian businessman Mykola Lisin [uk].[5][6] Through his sole ownership of Cyprus-registered Burisma Holdings, he owns the Ukrainian gas and oil producers Aldea, Pari, Esko-Pivnich, and the First Ukrainian Petroleum Company and the investment group Brociti Investments.[7][8][9][10][11][12][excessive citations]

Governmental posts

Zlochevsky served as Ecology and Natural Resources Minister during the most of the first cabinet of Mykola Azarov,[3] and during both the later part of Azarov’s first government and all of Azarov’s second government, he served as deputy secretary on National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.[2]

Investigations

At the end of 2014, Zlochevsky fled Ukraine amid allegations of unlawful self enrichment and legalization of funds (Article 368-2, Criminal Code of Ukraine) during his tenure in public office.[13] At the end of 2016 the Central Criminal Court in London released $23 million that were blocked on accounts of Zlochevsky.[13][14] The Serious Fraud Office stated that the funds were released due to inadequate evidence.[13]

Zlochevsky returned to Ukraine in February 2018 after investigations into his Burisma Holdings had been completed in December 2017 with no charges filed against him.[10][15]

On April 18, 2018, recordings of conversations between President of UkrainePetro Poroshenko and Zlochevsky were released which implicated him in graft.[4][16][17]

On June 15, 2018, after the Solomyansky District Court in Kyiv had annulled the ruling of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP) to close a criminal proceeding against him in 2017, Zlochevsky was accused of having illegally issued, while he was Ecology Minister in 2010–2012, oil and gas licenses to the companies that belonged to him.[18]

As of 2019, Zlochevsky is reported to live in Monaco.[14]

References

  1. ^ James Risen, James. “Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch”. New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  2. Jump up to:ab “Search for gas and oil is key task of Ecology Ministry, says PM”Interfax-Ukraine. April 23, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  3. Jump up to:ab “Azarov orders new minister to develop environmental protection strategy”Interfax-Ukraine. May 3, 2012. Retrieved September 18,2018.
  4. Jump up to:ab “VIP-клієнти Миколи Злочевського (розслідування)”Radio Svoboda (in Ukrainian). February 2, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Kupfer, Mark (April 13, 2018). “11 people control much of Ukraine’s oil and gas sector”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Bullough, Oliver (April 12, 2017). “The money machine: how a high-profile corruption investigation fell apart”The Guardian. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Timtchenko, Ilya (January 8, 2015). “Prosecutors put Zlochevsky, multimillionaire ex-ecology minister, on wanted list”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Gorchinskaya, Katya; Andrushko, Serhiy (July 31, 2015). “Former Ukrainian Official On The Lam In Alligator Shoes?”VOA. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  9. ^ “11 politically exposed persons own a quarter of all permits for extraction of oil and gas in Ukraine –Report: Who Owns the Oil and Gas Fields of Ukraine?”Anticorruption Action Centre. April 13, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  10. Jump up to:ab “Burisma: all cases against group and group’s president Zlochevsky in Ukraine closed”Interfax-Ukraine. December 1, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  11. ^ “Zlochevsky’s Brociti Investments formalizing control over two oil and gas companies”Interfax-Ukraine. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  12. ^ “Burisma Holdings”PEP.ua.org. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  13. Jump up to:abc Liliya Hryshko. Lifehack from Zlochevsky, how to return to Ukraine (Лайфхак від Злочевського – як повернутись в Україну). Deutsche Welle. 7 February 2017
  14. Jump up to:ab Roman Olearchyk; Max Seddon (29 September 2019). “Ukraine gas company feels heat of US impeachment probe”Financial Times. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  15. ^ “Media: Ex-Minister of Ecology from the Yanukovych administration returned to Ukraine”. UA Wire. February 3, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Sukhov, Oleg (April 20, 2018). “Onyshchenko releases alleged recording implicating Poroshenko, Zlochevsky in graft”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  17. ^ “Ukraine’s presidential administration calls Onyshchenko recordings about Zlochevsky fake”Interfax-Ukraine. April 19, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  18. ^ Romanyshyn, Yuliana (June 16, 2018). “Court reinstates case against Mykola Zlochevsky”Kyiv Post. Retrieved September 18, 2018.

External links

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

Gordon Sondland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Gordon Sondland
Gordon Sondland official photo.jpg
United States Ambassador to the European Union
Assumed office
July 9, 2018
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Anthony L. Gardner
Personal details
Born
Gordon David Sondland

1957 (age 61–62)
SeattleWashington, U.S.

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Katherine Durant
Education University of Washington (BA)

Gordon D. Sondland (born 1957)[1] is the United States Ambassador to the European Union.[2] He is also the founder and chairman of Provenance Hotels and co-founder of the merchant bank Aspen Capital. He was a major donor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and testified to Congress in the Trump–Ukraine scandal.

Career

Provenance Hotels

Sondland’s company, Provenance Hotels, owns and manages hotels throughout the United States, including the Hotel Max and Hotel Theodore in Seattle, Washington; Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Washington; Hotel deLuxe, Hotel Lucia, Sentinel, Dossier, and Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon; The Hotel Preston in Nashville, Tennessee; and Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery in New Orleans, Louisiana.[3]

In 1998, Sondland purchased and redeveloped four hotels in Seattle, Portland, and Denver including Seattle’s Alexis Hotel in partnership with Bill Kimpton. Sondland also is a principal in Seattle’s Paramount Hotel.[4][5]Through Provenance Hotels, Sondland is developing hotel projects throughout the US, including in SeattleHermosa Beach, CA and Los Angeles, CA. Provenance Hotels specializes in adaptations of old buildings such as with the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA, which used to be a conference Sheraton, but now includes glass art by 46 artists including Seattle’s Dale Chihuly.[6] Provenance is also known for designing or remodeling each hotel around themes that contain elements that relate to a location’s history, art, culture, and local businesses.[7]

In 2013, Sondland and Provenance completed a renovation of Portland’s historic Governor Hotel, renaming it Sentinel.[8] In December 2015, Sondland and Provenance announced the establishment of the company’s first real estate investment fund, Provenance Hotel Partners Fund I. The $525 million fund was created specifically for hotel real estate investment and, at the time of its announcement, was the fourth largest fund ever launched in the state of Oregon.[9]

In 2017, Provenance Hotels expanded its practice of revitalizing and rebranding hotels with locally-inspired art and design as a service to other hoteliers.[10]

United States ambassador to the European Union

Sondland at the United States–EU Energy Council meeting in Brussels on July 12, 2018

Sondland donated $1 million to the inaugural committee of Donald Trump.[11] On March 12, 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump selected Sondland to be the next United States ambassador to the European Union.[12] On May 10, 2018, the White House announced that Sondland’s nomination had been sent to the U.S. Senate.[13] He was confirmed by the Senate on June 28, 2018.[2] On July 9, 2018, Sondland presented his credentials at the European Commission and to President of the European Council Donald Tusk.[14]

Sondland’s nomination received bipartisan support during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 21, 2018.[15] Both Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) testified in support of Sondland.[16] Sen. Wyden suggested that Sondland’s “family history is both fascinating and instructive as to why he has the experience and understanding to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the E.U.,” noting how his Jewish parents fled Nazi Germany before coming to the United States.[15][17]

As ambassador, Sondland has made strengthening US-EU trade relations a top priority.[18] He has supported using a strong US-EU economic partnership to counter what Sondland has called “economic aggression and unfair trade practices” from China.[19][20] In pursuit of this end, Sondland has promoted the idea of giving European governments access to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to allow them to better screen investors.[18]

Sondland has also pledged to work with the EU to address global security threats.[21] He has been the Trump Administration’s lead in talks with EU member countries on the U.S.’s decertification and withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal.[22][23] Sondland has repeatedly criticized EU member countries’ creation of a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) to bypass reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, calling the SPV a “paper tiger.”[22][24][25]

Sondland has also been a vocal opponent of the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would transport gas across the Baltic Sea to the EU.[26] He has argued that the pipeline would leave the EU dependent upon Russia for its energy needs and increase Russia’s leverage on key U.S. allies in NATO.[27] Sondland argued that “Putin uses energy as a political weapon. The EU should not rely on a bare-chested version of the Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort as a supplier, even if his gas is a bit cheaper.”[28]

Sondland has also worked on data protection rules regarding U.S. compliance with the EU-US privacy shield.[29]

Trump–Ukraine scandal

Gordon Sondland as part of the U.S. delegation at the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky.

On September 26, 2019, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the unclassified text of the whistleblower complaint regarding the interactions between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.[30] In this document, Ambassador Sondland, along with the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Ambassador Kurt Volker, were described as having “provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy”.[31] After further investigation, The Washington Post concluded that Sondland had “seized control of the Ukraine portfolio to help Trump.”[32]

In the complaint released by the US Select committee on Intelligence, Sondland’s involvement in President Donald Trump’s alleged criminal activity was outlined in a text conversation with the interim US chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor:

[9/9/2019, 12:47:11 AM] Bill Taylor: As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.

[9/9/2019, 5:19:35 AM] Gordon Sondland: Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly. Thanks.[33]

It took Sondland approximately 5 hours to reply to Taylor’s text message, and it was later revealed that Sondland had called Trump prior to writing a response, in which the president repeated the phrase “no quid pro quo” several times.[34]

On October 8, the Trump administration attempted to block Sondland from testifying in the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.[35] Sondland testified October 17, 2019.[36][37][38][39][40][41]

On November 5, the New York Times reported that Sondland had provided updated testimony stating that he did in fact view delivery of the aid package as contingent upon the Ukrainian government publicly opening the anticorruption investigation desired by the Trump administration. According to the testimony, he relayed this position to Ukrainian government officials.[42]

Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council staff Fiona Hill viewed Sondland as a U.S. national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job, but did not accuse Sondland of acting maliciously or intentionally putting the country at risk, describing him during impeachment testimony as a Trump donor-turned-ambassador.[43]

Political involvement

Sondland was a member of the transition team for Oregon Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski‘s administration and was appointed by Kulongoski to serve on the board of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television.[44] He was appointed the commission’s chair in 2002 and has served in that capacity until 2015.[45] During his tenure on the film board, Sondland was instrumental in bringing the production of such television series as LeverageThe Librarians and Grimm to Oregon[46] and presided over the state securing the production of feature-length films such as Wild starring Reese Witherspoon, Thumbsucker starring Tilda Swinton and The Ring Two starring Naomi Watts. At the 2015 Oregon Film Annual Governor’s Awards, Sondland received the “Achievement in Film Service Award” for his role in growing Oregon’s film industry.[47]

Sondland also served as Oregon liaison to the White House. As an advisor to Kulongoski, Sondland suggested appointing Ted Wheeler as state treasurer, which Kulongoski did in 2010.[48] In 2007 President George W. Bush appointed Sondland as a member of the Commission on White House Fellows.[49] Sondland collaborated with President Bush and Jay Leno on an annual charitable auction of an autographed vehicle, with proceeds benefitting the Fisher House Foundation and the George W. Bush Foundation’s Military Service Initiative.[50] He was a bundler for Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign, and in 2012, Sondland was selected to serve as a member of Mitt Romney‘s presidential transition team.[1]

During the 2016 United States presidential election, Sondland initially supported Donald Trump, but cancelled a fundraiser and repudiated Trump for his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan.[1] In April 2017, it was revealed that 4 companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump inaugural committee.[51][52][53]

Philanthropy

Sondland is a former member of the board of trustees at the Oregon Health & Science University foundation.[44]

Sondland founded the Gordon Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation in 1999, which was established to “help families and boost communities”; it has given money to various non-profits including $1,000,000 to the Portland Art Museum to endow permanent access for children under the age of eighteen.[54] The Foundation helped establish a Distinguished Chair in Spine for pediatric orthopedic spine research at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 2012.[citation needed] In 2014, the Foundation gave a $1,000,000 endowment to Oregon Health & Science University to establish the Sondland-Durant Distinguished Research Conference, a cancer research summit to begin in 2016.[55] In 2017, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University was created with the support of the Foundation.[citation needed]

Personal life

Sondland was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Frieda (Piepsch) and Gunther Sondland.[56] He is married to Katherine Durant, who is the founder and managing partner of Atlas/RTG, a holding company with a portfolio of shopping centers throughout Oregon.[citation needed] Sondland is Jewish.[15][17] Until 2016, Durant was the Chairperson of the Oregon Investment Council, the body that oversees the over $85 billion Public Employees Retirement System Fund.[57] They have two children.

See also

References…

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

Memorandum of conversation

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Example: Memorandum of conversation of meeting led by Brent Scowcroft (1976)

Memorandum of conversation (abbrev.: MEMCON) and also memorandum of a conversation and memo to the file refers to a method of contemporaneous documentation of a conversation in the form of a memorandum used by the United States federal government.[1][2]

The Weekly Standard characterized the use of the tactic in the U.S. government as among “the most basic ways of Washington”.[2]

 

Method

Typically an individual will document the events of the conversation as soon as possible after the occurrence.[1] All material statements and discussed items are quoted and described as accurately as possible soon after the discussion and filed for future reference.[1] Memcons function as documentation of historical events, such as conversations between heads of state and law enforcement officials.[3] Specific developments discussed, the time of the meeting, location, and individuals in attendance are all documented in-depth within the memo.[1][2]

United States Department of Justice attorneys and Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents commonly make use of memoranda of conversation.[1] A majority of intermediate-rank managerial staff and bureaucrats within the U.S. federal government consistently make use of the method. The creation of a memorandum of understanding allows federal employees to memorialize and keep a record of their conversations and transactions.[2]

Memoranda to file are used in investigations in the private sector. For example, the fraud unit of a large corporation may use memoranda to file, to report individual interviews and significant telephone conversations. Generally, “the memorandum will show the name of the author, date of preparation, the case name or number, and the specific subject covered. It will also contain the detailed narrative of the event, interview, or other investigative activity described and should be written as close in time as circumstances permit to those events.”[4]

History

Former Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and subsequently Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Brent Scowcroft, who served as such in the U.S. presidential administration of Gerald R. Ford, kept copious documentation of his meetings in the form of memorandum of conversation.[3] He would take handwritten notes, and immediately have them transcribed in typewritten format with the assistance of his staff from the United States National Security Council.[3] The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum contains over 1,000 such memorandum of conversation documents relating to the Presidency of Richard Nixon and Presidency of Gerald Ford, mainly related to national security of the United States.[3]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c d e O’Donnell, Lawrence (May 16, 2017), “MEMCON”, The Last Word with Lawrence O’DonnellMSNBC
  2. Jump up to:a b c d Felten, Eric (May 17, 2017), “A Brief History of the ‘Memo to the FileThe Weekly Standard
  3. Jump up to:a b c d “Summary Description”National Security Adviser. Memoranda of Conversations, 1973-1977Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, retrieved May 17, 2017
  4. ^ Sennewald, Charles A.; Tsukayama, John K. (2015), The Process of Investigation: Concepts and Strategies for Investigators in the Private Sector (4th ed.), Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 189–90, ISBN 978-0128001660

External links

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

Story 3: United States Withdrawing From Paris Climate Accord Agreement — Videos

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Mike Pompeo formally starts process of leaving the Paris climate change treaty – with U.S. due out the day AFTER the 2020 election

  • Mike Pompeo formally starts process of removing the U.S. from the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty
  • Donald Trump had announced that he would pull out of it  shortly after his election but this is first legal opportunity to start process of getting out
  • State Department wrote formal letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres
  • That started the clock on a process that would be completed one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election, on November 4, 2020

The United States has begun the process of pulling out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement, it was announced Monday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he submitted a formal notice to the United Nations. That starts a withdrawal process that does not become official for a year. His statement touted America’s carbon pollution cuts and called the Paris deal an ‘unfair economic burden’ to the U.S. economy.

Nearly 200 nations signed the climate deal in which each country provides its own goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that lead to climate change.

‘In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model – backed by a record of real world results – showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy,’ Pompeo said in a statement.

The U.S. started the process with a hand-delivered letter, becoming the only country to withdraw. The United Nations will soon set out procedural details for what happens next, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Agreement rules prevented any country from pulling out in the first three years after the Nov. 4, 2016, ratification. The U.S. withdrawal doesn’t become complete until the day after the 2020 election.

President Donald Trump has been promising withdrawal for two years, but Monday was the first time he could actually do it.

Out: Donald Trump's administration formally started the process of leaving the Paris Climate accord signed by Obama in 2015

Out: Donald Trump’s administration formally started the process of leaving the Paris Climate accord signed by Obama in 2015

Opposed: Mike Pompeo was on the receiving end of criticism for his decision to pull the U.S. out of Paris, with one environmentalist group saying the next president will have to rejoin it+4

Opposed: Mike Pompeo was on the receiving end of criticism for his decision to pull the U.S. out of Paris, with one environmentalist group saying the next president will have to rejoin it

Opposed: Mike Pompeo was on the receiving end of criticism for his decision to pull the U.S. out of Paris, with one environmentalist group saying the next president will have to rejoin it

Trump’s decision was condemned as a reckless failure of leadership by environmental experts, activists and critics such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

‘Donald Trump is the worst president in history for our climate and our clean air and water,’ said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. ‘Long after Trump is out of office his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement will be seen as a historic error.’

The agreement set goals of preventing another 0.9 degrees (0.5 degrees Celsius) to 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from current levels. Even the pledges made in 2015 weren’t enough to prevent those levels of warming.

The deal calls for nations to come up with more ambitious pollution cuts every five years, starting in November 2020. Because of the expected withdrawal, the U.S. role in 2020 negotiations will be reduced, experts said.

Climate change, largely caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas, has already warmed the world by 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) since the late 1800s, caused massive melting of ice globally, triggered weather extremes and changed ocean chemistry. And scientists say, depending on how much carbon dioxide is emitted, it will only get worse by the end of the century, with temperatures jumping by several degrees and oceans rising by close to 3 feet (1 meter).

Trump has been promising to pull out of the Paris deal since 2017, often mischaracterizing the terms of the agreement, which are voluntary. In October, he called it a massive wealth transfer from America to other nations and said it was one-sided.

That’s not the case, experts said.

The European Union’s goal was to cut carbon pollution in 2030 by 40% compared with 1990 levels, which is greater than America’s pledge, said Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor and chairman of the Global Carbon Project. The United Kingdom has already exceeded that goal, he said.

Many critics of the Paris agreement say America is the leader in cutting carbon emissions, but that’s not true.

Since 2005, the United States isn’t in the top 10 in percentage of greenhouse gas emission reductions. The United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Greece, the Czech Republic and other nations have done better, said Jackson, who tracks emissions.

‘The U.S. agreement is not a tax on the American people. There is no massive wealth transfer,’ said Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis, who was a lead State Department climate negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. ‘In fact, the agreement obligates no country to make any financial payments.’

It will be inconvenient: Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope. 'No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,' he said

It will be inconvenient: Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope. ‘No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,’ he said

Pompeo said U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13% from 2005 to 2017 ‘even as our economy grew over 19 percent.’

Then, in 2018, carbon dioxide emissions increased 2.7%, according to the Energy Information Administration, mostly due to extreme weather and the economy.

The reason for the long-term emissions drop is because the U.S. is using less coal and has tightened air quality standards, while Trump is pushing for more coal and loosening those standards, said Michael Gerrard, who heads Columbia Law School’s climate change legal center.

For the U.S. – the second biggest carbon polluter – to be in line with Paris goals greenhouse gas emissions have to drop 80%, not 13%, Gerrard said.

‘The Trump Administration’s abandonment of action on climate change gives other countries an excuse not to act either. They ask – if the richest country, the one that has contributed the most to the load of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, isn’t willing to act, why should we?’ Gerrard said. ‘If someone other than Donald Trump is elected, he or she will almost certainly rejoin Paris, and the rest of the world will welcome us back with open arms.’

Former Vice President Al Gore, who made climate change his signature issue, characterized the decision as a mistake but said there was still reason for hope.

‘No one person or party can stop our momentum to solve the climate crisis,’ Gore said. ‘But those who try will be remembered for their complacency, complicity, and mendacity in attempting to sacrifice the planet for their greed.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7649093/US-tells-UN-bidding-adieu-Paris-climate-deal.html

U.S. Formally Begins To Leave The Paris Climate Agreement

 

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

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

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

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

Rupert Murdoch statement on Roger Ailes’ passing

Brit Hume on the life and legacy of Roger Ailes

Sean Hannity: I am forever grateful for Roger Ailes

Martha MacCallum remembers Roger Ailes

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

Neil Cavuto remembers Roger Ailes

Gutfeld remembers Roger Ailes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kimberly Guilfoyle pays tribute to Roger Ailes

Shepard Smith pays tribute to Roger Ailes

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

Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes dead at 77

Remembering Roger Ailes

World reacts to the death of Roger Ailes

Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes dead at 77

Roger Ailes leaves behind complicated legacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Murdoch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for cartoons department of justice special couselor

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

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

Explaining Robert Mueller’s New Role as Special Counsel

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

Bill Bennett talks pros and cons of Russia special counsel

Ingraham: Left has been trying to impeach since Election Day

What does special counsel mean for the Russia probe?

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

Brit Hume: Mueller is the grownup needed for Russia probe

Remarks from Robert Mueller III

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead lyrics

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

A Special Enemy

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

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

LEON NEYFAKH

Leon Neyfakh is a Slate staff writer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SCOPE OF THE SPECIAL COUNSEL APPOINTMENT IS TOTALLY INADEQUATE

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

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

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

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

Here’s how the order describes the scope:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 841, February 17, Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 2: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Educates The Big Lie Media (Democratic Newspapers and Television Networks) with Fake News Spinning Propaganda — Trump to news media: The public doesn’t believe you anymore! — Trump On Offense vs. Big Lie Media On Defense — President Trump Wins With Working Americans — Buy American and Hire American — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 1: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — 

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President Donald Trump Full Press Conference Addresses Ties to Russia, Leaks, and “Fake News” 2/16

President Trump scolds media at news conference

Trump to news media: The public doesn’t believe you anymore

Bill Bennett: Press can’t stand that Trump doesn’t fear them

President Trump helps Boeing debut it’s new 787

Trump Full Speech at Boeing 787 Dreamliner Unveiling | ABC News

Coal Miner Thanks President Trump for Removing Regulations

Published on Feb 17, 2017

Coal miner thanks President Trump for removing regulations

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President Trump scolds media at news conference

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Sorry media — this press conference played very different with Trump’s supporters

 Far from dead, he was positively exuberant. His performance at a marathon press conference was a must-see-tv spectacle as he mixed serious policy talk with stand-up comedy and took repeated pleasure in whacking his favorite pinata, the “dishonest media.”

“Russia is a ruse,” he insisted, before finally saying under questioning he was not aware of anyone on his campaign having contact with Russian officials.

Trump’s detractors immediately panned the show as madness, but they missed the method behind it and proved they still don’t understand his appeal. Facing his first crisis in the Oval Office, he was unbowed in demonstrating his bare-knuckled intention to fight back.

He did it his way. Certainly no other president, and few politicians at any level in any time, would dare put on a show like that.

In front of cameras, and using the assembled press corps as props, he conducted a televised revival meeting to remind his supporters that he is still the man they elected. Ticking off a lengthy list of executive orders and other actions he has taken, he displayed serious fealty to his campaign promises.

Trump goes on marathon rant against the media

Sure, sentences didn’t always end on the same topic they started with, and his claim to have won the election by the largest electoral college margin since Ronald Reagan wasn’t close to true.

Fair points, but so what? Fact-checkers didn’t elect him, nor did voters who were happy with the status quo.

Trump, first, last and always, matches the mood of the discontented. Like them, he is a bull looking for a china shop. That’s his ace in the hole and he played it almost to perfection.

The immediate impact of his performance is likely to calm some of the jitters among Republicans in congress and supporters elsewhere, especially after the beating he took in the last few days.

On Monday night, Trump suddenly removed Gen. Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, over circumstances that still are not entirely clear. And on Wednesday, his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrew after Republicans said he didn’t have the votes to be confirmed.

Combined with courts blocking his immigration and refugee order, unflattering leaks of confidential material from intelligence agencies and numerous demands for investigations into any Russian connections, Trump’s fast start suddenly hit a wall.

Just three weeks into his term, Democrats, in and out of the media, smelled blood. Many already were going for the kill.

They won’t get it, at least now. Trump bought himself time yesterday.

Yet those determined to bring him down won’t give up, and the insidious leaks of secret material suggest some opponents are members of the permanent government who are willing to use their position and the media to undermine him.

Indeed, the most serious leaks seem to vindicate a warning that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer made in early January after Trump criticized leaders of the spook agencies.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told an interviewer. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

That incredible statement reflects what a dangerous game rogue agents are playing. The world is on fire yet the president is the target of partisan revenge in his own government. It’s a scandal and it’s outrageous, but it’s a fact that Trump must confront.

Finding the leakers and prosecuting them, which he promises to do, is part of the solution.

rAnother part comes Saturday, when Trump takes his solo act to Florida for a massive public rally. It’s smart for him to get out of Washington and soak in the enthusiasm of the populist movement he leads.

He should do it regularly, and also hold smaller, town-hall style forums where ordinary citizens can ask him questions in more intimate settings. Any way he can speak directly to the American people and hear from them democratizes his presidency and reduces the power of big biased media and the Washington establishment.

Yet the only sure and lasting way to keep ahead of the lynch mob is by producing results. Success will be Trump’s savior.

And nothing says success like jobs, jobs, jobs. Getting the economy to reach lift-off speed is essential so it can deliver the good-paying jobs and prosperity that he promised and the nation needs.

While Republican honchos in congress say they’re getting ready to move on tax cuts and replacing ObamaCare, nothing will happen without presidential leadership. That means Trump’s fate is in his own hands and he must keep himself and his White House team focused on delivering an economic revival.

If he does that, the lynch mob will be left holding an empty rope.

http://nypost.com/2017/02/16/sorry-media-this-press-conference-played-very-different-with-trumps-supporters/

At Boeing, Trump returns to an economic message after a week of controversy

February 17 at 2:35 PM

Trump promises focus on jobs, lower taxes in speech at Boeing factory

President Trump promised to work to keep manufacturing companies in the U.S., and to lower taxes for businesses, speaking at the unveiling of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Feb. 17 in North Charleston, S.C. (The Washington Post)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — When President Trump took the stage here Friday to mark the launch of Boeing’s newest aircraft, it was a scene reminiscent of his airplane hangar rallies during the presidential campaign.

Except, instead of his “Trump” branded Boeing 757 parked in the background, Boeing’s newest product, the Dreamliner 787-10, glittered in the sun behind him, and off to the side stood Trump’s new ride, Air Force One.

Trump’s somewhat unusual appearance at the launch event for the company’s highly anticipated version 10 of the Dreamliner wasn’t to roll out new economic policy or even push a specific economic agenda item. Instead, it seemed that Trump was there to boost the company with a presidential endorsement for its American-made fleet, and he in turn would be the face of a major milestone for one of the country’s largest job creators.

“We’re here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing,” Trump said. “We’re also here today to celebrate jobs. Jobs!”

“Jobs is one of the primary reasons I’m standing here as president, and I will never ever disappoint you. Believe me,” he added.

Trump’s visit to the Boeing plant also comes at a time when the Trump administration is struggling to establish a greater sense of order and focus after weeks of distractions and negative headlines.

The White House has aimed to structure his daily schedule with at least one jobs-focused meeting each day. But much of that has been overshadowed by several all-consuming stories, the most damaging of which was the ouster of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, on Monday.

Questions about the Trump administration and campaign’s ties to Russia have only intensified after multiple media reports revealed that Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, despite Flynn’s statements to the contrary.

Friday’s event on the manufacturing floor of Boeing’s South Carolina plant offered Trump a much-needed opportunity to reset his administration and refocus an economic-based message.

“You look at what’s happening with jobs. You look at what’s happening with plants moving back to this country. All of a sudden they’re coming back,” Trump said. “As your president, I’m going to do everything that I can to unleash the power of the American spirit and put our great people back to work.

“This is our mantra, buy American and hire American.”

A few months ago, it seemed that Trump’s relationship with Boeing was on the rocks before it even really began.

As president-elect, Trump launched into a Twitter fight with the company and its chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, over the cost of a new fleet of presidential airplanes that would be used as Air Force One. Quickly, Boeing relented, promising to bring down the plane’s costs after meetings with Trump.

Less than a month into his presidency, Trump is back to Boeing on a decidedly more positive note.

“That plane, as beautiful as it looks, is 30 years old,” Trump said, pointing to the Boeing 747 that serves as Air Force One. “What can look so beautiful at 30?”

The turnabout is emblematic of Trump’s preferred mode of dealing with America’s largest and most powerful businesses. It reflects the degree to which Trump has already changed the terms of engagement with the business community, quickly creating an incentive structure where businesses are rewarded with praise from the highest office in the land when they roll out jobs or cost savings for taxpayers — and credit him for influencing their decision-making.

Over the past several weeks, chief executives including Intel’s Brian Krzanich traveled to the White House to announce new American jobs, thanks to fresh “confidence” in the economy spurred by the new administration.

“They’re keeping and bringing thousands of jobs back to our country because the business climate, they know, has already changed,” Trump said, highlighting jobs announcements from automakers Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. “We will see more and more of that across the country as we continue to work on reducing regulations, cutting taxes — including for the middle class, including for everyone, and including for businesses.”

In this setting, Trump seems at his most comfortable.

Here, Trump reveled in his electoral victory and the adulation of a supportive crowd in a state that he won in both the Republican primary and the general election.

“This was going to be a place that was tough to win, and we won in a landslide,” Trump declared.

As the restive crowd of Boeing employees waited for hours for Trump to arrive, some cheered when his name was mentioned in the preshow. “Make America Great Again” hats and T-shirts dotted the sea of people on the plant’s manufacturing floor where more than 5,000 employees were gathered.

He toured the new Dreamliner with Boeing executives and could be seen sitting in the plane’s cockpit after his speech.

On Saturday, Trump plans something of a repeat performance in what the White House is dubbing the first “campaign” event of his presidency, at an airplane hangar rally in Melbourne, Fla.

Among some Boeing employees, the reception to Trump was reserved, but optimistic.

Leif Anderson, who started working at the factory six years ago after leaving the Air Force, sat Thursday night at the bar at Domino Lounge, a pool hall three miles from the Boeing plant, smoking cigarillos and sipping a shot of Crown Royal apple whiskey alongside a glass of Bud Lite.

Anderson said he voted for Trump more out of loyalty to the Republican Party, but is “not jumping to conclusions” about the president as a leader.

“I’m really curious to see what he does,” said Anderson, who leads a group of workers at the Boeing plant installing the planes’ interiors. He hopes that Trump’s economic policies succeed, which he said would help his own career along with the country as a whole.

“If he does good, then I’m going to do good,” Anderson said.

Elliott Slater, a Boeing mechanic, took the day off Friday and did not attend Trump’s speech, saying he wanted to avoid the traffic.

“I didn’t vote for him, either.” said Slater, a veteran of the Navy. “He’s not my president. He’s got to earn my respect.”

Slater, who supported the union’s unsuccessful vote to organize the plant in Wednesday’s election, said that Trump would support companies over workers. “He’s definitely pro businesses, being a business man himself. … That’s fine, but you know, how does the business treat its workers?”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/17/at-boeing-trump-returns-to-an-economic-message-after-a-week-of-controversy/?utm_term=.208a463653aa

Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule

Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule
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President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.

The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.

The legislation is the second Trump has signed into law ending an Obama-era environmental regulation. On Tuesday, he signed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution undoing a financial disclosure requirement for energy companies.

Both the mining and financial disclosure bills are the tip of a GOP push to undo a slate of regulations instituted in the closing days of the Obama administration. The House has passed several CRA resolutions, and the Senate has so far sent three of them to President Trump for his signature.

Regulators finalized the stream protection rule in December, but they spent most of Obama’s tenure writing it.The rule is among the most controversial environment regulations the former administration put together. The coal mining industry said it would be costly to implement and lead to job losses across the sector, which is already suffering from a market-driven downturn in demand for its product.

At the signing, Trump called the regulation “another terrible job killing rule” and said ending it would save “many thousands American jobs, especially in the mines, which, I have been promising you — the mines are a big deal.”

“This is a major threat to your jobs and we’re going to get rid of this threat,” he added. “We’re going to fight for you.”

Republicans on Congress, especially from Appalachia, supported that argument and sought to block the rule several times before finally passing the CRA resolution this month.

“In my home state of Kentucky and others across the nation, the stream buffer rule will cause major damage to communities and threaten coal jobs,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the bill passed. “We should heed their call now and begin bringing relief to coal country.”

Environmentalists supported the administration rule, saying it would protect waterways from pollution and preserve public health. They have criticized the GOP for repealing environmental rules in the name of supporting coal mining jobs, but doing little else to help displaced workers in mining areas.

“If you want to help miners, then come address their health and safety and their pension program,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said during floor debate on the measure.

“You can protect the coal industry here with special interests and the amount of lobbying they do, or you can step up in a process and have a regulation that works for the United States of America so the outdoor industry and sportsman and fishermen can continue to thrive.”

The Senate this week sent Trump a CRA resolution blocking a gun sales regulation. Members could soon take up a measure undoing a methane rule for natural gas drilling operations on public land.

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/319938-trump-signs-bill-undoing-obama-coal-mining-rule

Dan Coats Announced as Trump’s Pick for Director of National Intelligence

President-Elect Trump Goes on Tweetstorm for Better Russia Relations 1:38

President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats to serve as national intelligence director, his transition team announced Saturday.

Coats, would need to be confirmed by Senate for the role, served eight years in the House of Representatives and two years in the Senate. During the George W. Bush administration, he served as U.S. ambassador to Germany.

“I’m very confident that Senator Dan Coats is the right choice to serve as Director of National Intelligence,” President-elect Trump said in a statement. “Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community.”

As director of national intelligence, Coats would serve as the head of the United States’ intelligence community and be the president’s principal adviser on the issue.

Image: Trump to name Dan Coats as Director of national intelligence
Indiana Senator Dan Coats speaks briefly with the press following his meeting with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, USA, 30 November 2016 AALBIN LOHR-JONES / POOL / EPA

Coats will succeed James Clapper, who recently testified in front of Congress that Russia had stepped up its cyber espionage operation in an attempt to undermine the election. A redacted report about the hack and its goals was released on Friday.

First elected to the Senate in 1990 in a special election that filled the seat vacated by Dan Quayle — who departed the Senate to serve as George H. W. Bush’s vice president — Coats won reelection in 1992 before retiring from the Senate in 1998. He then was nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to Germany in 2001, arriving there mere days before the Sept. 11 terrorism attack.

After departing as ambassador four years later, Coats worked as a prominent lobbyist in Washington D.C. and then decided to run for his former Senate seat in 2010 — an election he won.

Coats again announced his retirement from government in November 2015.

Most recently while in the Senate, Coats served as the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and as a member of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“If confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration’s ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm,” Trump added in his statement.

“I’m pleased to hear the President-elect has nominated my colleague and friend Dan Coats to be the next head of our Intelligence Community,” said Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “Dan’s experience as a valued member of the Senate Intelligence Committee will help to guide him as the next Director of National Intelligence.”

In the past year as a senator, Coats has introduced six bills. Only two simple resolutions passed: The first recognized the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the other commemorated the bicentennial of the state of Indiana.

Coats will lead an intelligence community that already has a rocky relationship with the president-elect, as Trump has continued to float doubts about the community’s findings in the Russia hacking investigation.

While testifying before the Armed Services Committee, Clapper stopped short of calling Russia’s interference in the election an act of war, saying that was something for lawmakers to discern.

However, the committee’s chairman, John McCain (R-AZ), maintained that the attack was alarming.

“Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation. There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference,” McCain said in his opening statement during the hearing. “That is why Congress must set partisanship aside, follow the facts, and work together to devise comprehensive solutions to deter, defend against, and, when necessary, respond to foreign cyberattacks.”

On Twitter, Donald Trump seemed more concerned with the intelligence community’s findings that pertained to the legitimacy of his election rather than Russia’s involvement.

Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only “stupid” people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We…..

The president-elect has maintained a belief that the United States should “move on” from the attack, adding on Saturday that the country will have a good relationship and will work together with Russia under his administration.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/dan-coats-announced-trump-s-pick-director-national-intelligence-n704231

CNN’s Jeff Zucker on Covering Donald Trump — Past, Present, and Future

By Gabriel Sherman

At his press conference last week, President-elect Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, denouncing the network as a purveyor of “fake news.” Trump’s ire was in response to CNN’s explosive report that U.S. intelligence chiefs had briefed Trump on claims that the Kremlin had collected compromising information on him. In the wake of CNN’s report, BuzzFeed published the unedited, and unverified, opposition-research dossier referenced in the intel briefing, which included lurid allegations about Trump’s behavior and his campaign’s ties to Russia.

On Tuesday morning, I sat down with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker for a wide-ranging discussion about that controversial scoop, Trump’s threat to press freedom, and why he’s not worried about losing access to the White House.

After Trump attacked CNN for reporting on the intelligence chiefs’ briefing on the Russian dossier, you issued a strongly worded statement defending your story. What made CNN decide to publish reporting on the existence of the dossier?
I actually think this was a pretty easy call in terms of its news value. The fact is, the top four intelligence chiefs of the United States decided to include in their briefing to the president and president-elect a two-page summary of allegations involving the president-elect. That is newsworthy by any definition.

Even if the allegations themselves weren’t verified?
We didn’t pass judgment on the allegations. We reported we had not been able to corroborate them. But the news was that the two most powerful people in the world had been briefed on the existence of these allegations.

I was at the press conference at Trump Tower, where Trump’s incoming press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump himself denounced CNN and BuzzFeed as fake news. What do you think of BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the complete dossier?
They made a decision for themselves, and they have to live with it. I’m not going to pass judgment on their decision. We did not think it was appropriate for us given that we had not been able to corroborate the allegations.

It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimizejournalism.

When you have the president-elect saying, “Don’t trust CNN, it’s fake news,” is that harmful?
It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimize journalism and an organization that plays such a vital role in our democracy. I think he’s entitled to his opinion, but it’s — to use one of his favorite words — sad.

Over the weekend, it was reported that Trump is considering moving reporters out of the West Wing. How worried are you about Trump’s attacks on the press?
As Tim Russert said, the role of the media is the accountability of government. I think the press plays a much more important role in this administration. Their willingness and inclination to cherry-pick facts, conflate and inflate things, will make covering this administration very challenging. That means our role is more important than ever. We think that CNN has a job to do, which is to hold their feet to the fire. They may not like it, but they should respect it.

Acosta didn’t get to ask a question at last week’s press conference. The first question went to Fox News, and Breitbart got to ask a question. Are you concerned about getting access to Trump?
I think the era of access journalism as we’ve known it is over. It doesn’t worry me that Donald Trump hasn’t done an interview with CNN in eight months. I think our credibility is higher than ever, and our viewership is higher than ever, and our reporting is as strong as ever. One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus — and that’s CNN. The perception of Donald Trump in capitals around the world is shaped, in many ways, by CNN. Continuing to have an adversarial relationship with that network is a mistake.

Wouldn’t Trump say that’s what Twitter is for? He can shape his own perception.
If he’s relying on Twitter to shape his own perception in the capitals of the world then I think he’s making a big mistake.

How does CNN plan to cover Trump’s tweets?
I think we should look at his tweets on a case-by-case basis, just like we’d look at the comments of any president, and make an editorial decision on which ones to report, discuss, and cover. So I don’t think we should knee-jerk-cover every tweet just as we didn’t knee-jerk-cover every comment Barack Obama made. We should use our editorial judgment.

I noticed that Trump is sitting down with Fox & Friends. And in recent days, he’s given interviews to The Wall Street Journal and the Times of London, both Murdoch papers. What do you think of Trump’s alliance with Murdoch?
I think you’re trying to goad me here. But you’ve made the right observation. Look, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that friendly outlets have been the ones that have ended up with the interviews with Donald Trump. Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London — the fact that they’re all Rupert’s publications — I don’t think it’s any coincidence those are the outlets that ended up with the interviews.

It was reported that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve. They said it was because they were trying to get an interview with Trump. Was it appropriate for journalists to attend the president-elect’s private party?
I think in that case, optically, it would have been a lot better to have just made a phone call and ask for the interview.

Trump’s feud with CNN is ironic, in a way, because you have perhaps more history with him than any media executive. Some people say you made Trump’s presidential run possible with The Apprentice. Did you?
It’s true I put him on television with The Apprentice in 2004. I’ve never run away from that. But in no way do I think that’s why he’s the president. You have to give the guy credit. He ran a campaign that worked.

So you don’t ever regret that the Trump phenomenon arguably started with you?
No. Listen, I don’t regret putting The Apprentice on television.

Another irony of the current antagonism is that CNN has sometimes been perceived as being too close to Trump. You got a lot of flak for covering his speeches in full during the primaries and for hiring his former campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski. What do you think of the criticism?
We didn’t bend over backward for Trump; we did what we felt was in the best interest of our viewers and readers to understand the story. The reason we hired a number of voices to reflect the Trump point of view was to help the audience understand who he was, where he was coming from, and what he was thinking. Given the results of the election, it turns out we were exactly right to do so. We had a much better sense on our air what the Trump point of view was than most others.

Were you in touch with Trump regularly throughout the campaign?
Obviously we’ve known each other for a long time. Just because I’ve known somebody for more than 15 years doesn’t mean they get a pass.

So how often did you talk to him?
Probably once a month?

Do you still talk to him?
I haven’t talked to him in more than a month.

Some criticized the Ivanka Trump special that aired on CNN as an effort to curry favor with the White House. Was it?
I don’t think we’re the only news organization that did a profile of Ivanka Trump. That’s silly. Let’s remember the stories we’ve broken in the last week: the original story on the intelligence briefing; the fact that Monica Crowley was a plagiarist; the fact that Congressman Price may have broken the law on his stocks; the fact that Trump’s pick for Labor was having second thoughts … All those stories were broken by CNN. Tell me another news organization that’s broken more news on Donald Trump in the last week? Please.

Your corporate owner Time Warner is currently going through an $85 billion merger with telecom giant AT&T. Trump has suggested he may try to block the deal because it would concentrate too much media power in one company. Have you spoken with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes about that?
No. It’s one of the things I respect about Time Warner and Turner: their understanding of CNN’s independence. There’s been absolutely no conversations or anything of the sort between us and Time Warner.

Some have suggested that CNN might have to be spun off in order to have the deal approved by Trump’s Justice Department. Are you worried about that?
No.

You had the biggest night in cable-news history on Election Night, 13 million viewers. What’s your plan to maintain ratings in 2017?
Our viewership continues to be significantly higher than it was a year ago and frankly much higher than we expected it to be. There’s been no evidence of any falloff at all. I think people are coming to us because they know we’ll report both sides of the story. We expected we’d be down 25 percent from last year because you had all the election nights, debates, and conventions, but if the first three weeks of this year are any indication, I’m not so sure it will be down that much.

In December, the Drudge Report reported you were wooing Megyn Kelly. Did you try to hire her?
I had one conversation with Megyn about coming to CNN in prime time. It never got serious, it never got real.

What do you think of her move to NBC?
I wish her nothing but success. I think NBC News is a great fit for her and she’ll be a big star there.

During the Bush years, MSNBC saw its ratings skyrocket by being the voice of opposition. Since Election Day, MSNBC has held on to much of its election-year audience, suggesting the network might enjoy similar success during the Trump years. What’s your assessment of MSNBC?
I think all of the cable-news networks are healthy and vibrant and at a good place in the history of cable news. In terms of audience, there’s a clear No. 1, a clear No. 2, and a clear No. 3. In terms of reporting and breaking news, there’s only one true cable-news network.

So, what would be the best scoop now? If CNN got Trump’s tax returns would you report them?
If we could verify they were real and legitimate, just like any other news organization, we would report on them. Sure.

* This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

** Disclosure: I am an MSNBC contributor.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/01/cnns-zucker-on-covering-trump-past-present-and-future.html

The Reason Why There Are More Leaks Traced To Former President Obama and Violating American Citizens Right To Privacy Under The Fourth Amendment To U.S. Constitution

WASHINGTON — In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed the new rules, permitting the N.S.A. to disseminate “raw signals intelligence information,” on Jan. 3, after the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., signed them on Dec. 15, according to a 23-page, largely declassified copy of the procedures.

Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.

Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.

“This is not expanding the substantive ability of law enforcement to get access to signals intelligence,” said Robert S. Litt, the general counsel to Mr. Clapper. “It is simply widening the aperture for a larger number of analysts, who will be bound by the existing rules.”

But Patrick Toomey, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, called the move an erosion of rules intended to protect the privacy of Americans when their messages are caught by the N.S.A.’s powerful global collection methods. He noted that domestic internet data was often routed or stored abroad, where it may get vacuumed up without court oversight.

“Rather than dramatically expanding government access to so much personal data, we need much stronger rules to protect the privacy of Americans,” Mr. Toomey said. “Seventeen different government agencies shouldn’t be rooting through Americans’ emails with family members, friends and colleagues, all without ever obtaining a warrant.”

The N.S.A. has been required to apply similar privacy protections to foreigners’ information since early 2014, an unprecedented step that President Obama took after the disclosures of N.S.A. documents by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden. The other intelligence agencies will now have to follow those rules, too.

Under the new system, agencies will ask the N.S.A. for access to specific surveillance feeds, making the case that they contain information relevant and useful to their missions. The N.S.A. will grant requests it deems reasonable after considering factors like whether large amounts of Americans’ private information might be included and, if so, how damaging or embarrassing it would be if that information were “improperly used or disclosed.”

The move is part of a broader trend of tearing down bureaucratic barriers to sharing intelligence between agencies that dates back to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In 2002, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court secretly began permitting the N.S.A., the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. to share raw intercepts gathered domestically under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

After Congress enacted the FISA Amendments Act — which legalized warrantless surveillance on domestic soil so long as the target is a foreigner abroad, even when the target is communicating with an American — the court permitted raw sharing of emails acquired under that program, too.

In July 2008, the same month Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act, President George W. Bush modified Executive Order 12333, which sets rules for surveillance that domestic wiretapping statutes do not address, including techniques that vacuum up vast amounts of content without targeting anybody.

After the revision, Executive Order 12333 said the N.S.A. could share the raw fruits of such surveillance after the director of national intelligence and the attorney general, coordinating with the defense secretary, agreed on procedures. It took another eight years to develop those rules.

The Times first reported the existence of those deliberations in 2014 and later filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for documents about them. It ended that case last February, and Mr. Litt discussed the efforts in an interview at that time, but declined to divulge certain important details because the rules were not yet final or public.

Among the most important questions left unanswered in February was when analysts would be permitted to use Americans’ names, email addresses or other identifying information to search a 12333 database and pull up any messages to, from or about them that had been collected without a warrant.

There is a parallel debate about the FISA Amendments Act’s warrantless surveillance program. National security analysts sometimes search that act’s repository for Americans’ information, as do F.B.I. agents working on ordinary criminal cases. Critics call this the “backdoor search loophole,” and some lawmakers want to require a warrant for such searches.

By contrast, the 12333 sharing procedures allow analysts, including those at the F.B.I., to search the raw data using an American’s identifying information only for the purpose of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence investigations, not for ordinary criminal cases. And they may do so only if one of several other conditions are met, such as a finding that the American is an agent of a foreign power.

However, under the rules, if analysts stumble across evidence that an American has committed any crime, they will send it to the Justice Department.

The limits on using Americans’ information gathered under Order 12333 do not apply to metadata: logs showing who contacted whom, but not what they said. Analysts at the intelligence agencies may study social links between people, in search of hidden associates of known suspects, “without regard to the location or nationality of the communicants.”

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is on the verge of permitting the National Security Agency to share more of the private communications it intercepts with other American intelligence agencies without first applying any privacy protections to them, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.

The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies.

The idea is to let more experts across American intelligence gain direct access to unprocessed information, increasing the chances that they will recognize any possible nuggets of value. That also means more officials will be looking at private messages — not only foreigners’ phone calls and emails that have not yet had irrelevant personal information screened out, but also communications to, from, or about Americans that the N.S.A.’s foreign intelligence programs swept in incidentally.

Civil liberties advocates criticized the change, arguing that it will weaken privacy protections. They said the government should disclose how much American content the N.S.A. collects incidentally — which agency officials have said is hard to measure — and let the public debate what the rules should be for handling that information.

“Before we allow them to spread that information further in the government, we need to have a serious conversation about how to protect Americans’ information,” said Alexander Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.

Robert S. Litt, the general counsel in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that the administration had developed and was fine-tuning what is now a 21-page draft set of procedures to permit the sharing.

The goal for the final rules, Brian P. Hale, a spokesman for the office, said in a statement, is “to ensure that they protect privacy, civil liberties and constitutional rights while enabling the sharing of information that is important to protect national security.”

Until now, National Security Agency analysts have filtered the surveillance information for the rest of the government. They search and evaluate the information and pass only the portions of phone calls or email that they decide is pertinent on to colleagues at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies. And before doing so, the N.S.A. takes steps to mask the names and any irrelevant information about innocent Americans.

The new system would permit analysts at other intelligence agencies to obtain direct access to raw information from the N.S.A.’s surveillance to evaluate for themselves. If they pull out phone calls or email to use for their own agency’s work, they would apply the privacy protections masking innocent Americans’ information — a process known as “minimization” — at that stage, Mr. Litt said.

Executive branch officials have been developing the new framework and system for years. President George W. Bush set the change in motion through a little-noticed line in a 2008 executive order, and the Obama administration has been quietly developing a framework for how to carry it out since taking office in 2009.

The executive branch can change its own rules without going to Congress or a judge for permission because the data comes from surveillance methods that lawmakers did not include in the main law that governs national security wiretapping, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

FISA covers a narrow band of surveillance: the collection of domestic or international communications from a wire on American soil, leaving most of what the N.S.A. does uncovered. In the absence of statutory regulation, the agency’s other surveillance programs are governed by rules the White House sets under a Reagan-era directive called Executive Order 12333.

Mr. Litt declined to make available a copy of the current draft of the proposed procedures.

“Once these procedures are final and approved, they will be made public to the extent consistent with national security,” Mr. Hale said. “It would be premature to draw conclusions about what the procedures will provide or authorize until they are finalized.”

Among the things they would not address is what the draft rules say about searching the raw data using names or keywords intended to bring up Americans’ phone calls or email that the security agency gathered “incidentally” under the 12333 surveillance programs — including whether F.B.I. agents may do so when working on ordinary criminal investigations.

Under current rules for data gathered under a parallel program — the no-warrant surveillance program governed by the FISA Amendments Act — N.S.A. and C.I.A. officials may search for Americans’ information only if their purpose is to find foreign intelligence, but F.B.I. agents may conduct such a search for intelligence or law enforcement purposes. Some lawmakers have proposed requiring the government to obtain a warrant before conducting such a search.

In 2013, The Washington Post reported, based on documents leaked by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden, that the N.S.A. and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, had tapped into links connecting Google’s and Yahoo’s data centers overseas and that the American spy agency had collected millions of records a day from them. The companies have since taken steps to encrypt those links.

That collection occurred under 12333 rules, which had long prohibited the N.S.A. from sharing raw information gathered from the surveillance it governed with other members of the intelligence community before minimization. The same rule had also long applied to sharing information gathered with FISA wiretaps.

But after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration began an effort to tear down barriers that impeded different parts of the government from working closely and sharing information, especially about terrorism.

In 2002, for example, it won permission, then secret, from the intelligence court permitting the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the N.S.A. to share raw FISA wiretap information. The government did not disclose that change, which was first reported in a 2014 New York Times article based on documents disclosed by Mr. Snowden.

In August 2008, Mr. Bush change d 12333 to permit the N.S.A. to share unevaluated surveillance information with other intelligence agencies once procedures were developed.

Intelligence officials began working in 2009 on how the technical system and rules would work, Mr. Litt said, eventually consulting the Defense and Justice Departments. This month, the administration briefed the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent five-member watchdog panel, seeking input. Before they go into effect, they must be approved by James R. Clapper, the intelligence director; Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general; and Ashton B. Carter, the defense secretary.

“We would like it to be completed sooner rather than later,” Mr. Litt said. “Our expectation is months rather than weeks or years.”

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The Pronk Pops Show 590, December 10, 2015, Story 1: Majority of American People Support Trumps Temporary Ban on Muslims — Trump Takes Out Big Media and Leadership of Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties — Political Elitist Establishment (PEEs) Panic! — Trump/Cruz Republican Ticket Will Win By A Landside Running The Table — PEEs Wet Their Pants — Conservative Republicans in Whitehouse — Videos

Posted on December 10, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Banking System, Ben Carson, Benghazi, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Bribery, Budgetary Policy, Business, Chemistry, Coal, Coal, Communications, Computer, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Egypt, Elections, Employment, Energy, Environment, European History, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, France, Free Trade, Geology, Government, Government Spending, Great Britain, Health, Health Care, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Israel, Italy, Jeb Bush, Jordan, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Marco Rubio, Media, Medicare, Middle East, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear, Obama, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Prime Minister, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Rand Paul, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Resources, Rifles, Scandals, Science, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Science, Social Security, Solar, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Turkey, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 590: December 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 589: December 9, 2015 

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The Pronk Pops Show 331, September 17, 2014, Story 1: Gallup Poll Finds Confidence in Congress and Trust In Media Hits All Time Low — Number of Websites Hits High Over 1 Billion — Record Number of Billionaires — Who Do Americans Have Confidence in? Military, Small Business, Police, and Church! — Economy Stagnating — Videos

Posted on September 17, 2014. Filed under: American History, Applications, Banking System, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Crime, Culture, Disasters, Economics, Education, Energy, Federal Government, Food, Foreign Policy, Government, Hardware, History, Housing, Illegal Immigration, Law, Media, National Security Agency, Photos, Politics, Polls, Radio, Scandals, Security, Software, Tax Policy, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

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Story 1: Gallup Poll Finds Confidence in Congress and Trust In Media Hits All Time Low — Number of Websites Hits High Over 1 Billion — Record Number of Billionaires — Who Do Americans Have Confidence in? Military, Small Business, Police, and Church! — Economy Stagnating — Videos

The Trend Line: U.S. Economic Confidence Is Rising, but Still in Net Negative Territory

The Trend Line: Low Congressional Approval Encouraging Higher Voter Turnout

The Trend Line: Terrorism Rebounding, but Only 4% in U.S. Say It Is the Most Important Problem

The Trend Line: Less Than One in Five Voters Believe U.S. Representatives Should Be Re-Elected

The Trend Line: Americans Most Confident in Military, Least in Congress

Congress Sinks Again: 7% Have Faith In Institution

Gallup: Only 7% of Americans have confidence in Congress

Confidence In Congress Hits Historic Low, Again

SHOCKER: Americans don’t trust news media

Why do Americans distrust the media? Here’s one reason

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Rises In Final August Reading

Babson Capital / UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast – Consumer Confidence

 

Public Faith in Congress Falls Again, Hits Historic Low

Of major U.S. institutions, Americans most confident in the military

by Rebecca Riffkin

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ confidence in Congress has sunk to a new low. Seven percent of Americans say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress as an American institution, down from the previous low of 10% in 2013. This confidence is starkly different from the 42% in 1973, the first year Gallup began asking the question.

Confidence in Congress since 1973

These results come from a June 5-8 Gallup poll that updated Americans’ confidence in 17 U.S. institutions that Americans either read about or interact with in government, business, and society.

Americans’ current confidence in Congress is not only the lowest on record, but also the lowest Gallup has recorded for any institution in the 41-year trend. This is also the first time Gallup has ever measured confidence in a major U.S. institution in the single digits. Currently, 4% of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence in Congress, and 3% have quite a lot of confidence. About one-third of Americans report having “some” confidence, while half have “very little,” and another 7% volunteer that they have “none.”

Confidence in Congress has varied over the years, with the highest levels in the low 40% range recorded in the 1970s and again in the mid-1980s. Confidence rose in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but has declined since 2004, culminating in this year’s historic low.

Three in Four Americans Have High Confidence in the Military

The military continues to rank at the top of this year’s list, with 74% of Americans having either a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the institution. Another 20% of Americans have “some” confidence in the military. Seven percent have very little or no confidence. The military has ranked at the top of the list all but one year since 1989. Prior to that, the church or organized religion, now with 45% confidence, typically finished first.

Confidence in Institutions

As is the case with confidence in Congress, Americans’ confidence in many of these institutions has changed over time. The current 74% of Americans who have high levels of confidence in the military is actually lower than it has been in the past. Confidence in the military spiked in March 1991 to 85%, just after the first Persian Gulf War, but fell back through the 1990s. It also spiked in 2002 and 2003, after 9/11, and again in 2009, just before U.S. troops began withdrawing from Iraq.

Still, the current 74% confidence level is significantly higher than the average 67% rating given the military since it was first measured in 1975. The lowest was in 1981, when half of Americans had high levels of confidence in the military.

Confidence in Military since 1973

While confidence in the military has been higher than confidence in Congress since Gallup began tracking both institutions, they used to be much closer. Until the late 1980s, between 50% and 63% of Americans had high levels of confidence in the military. At the same time, between 28% and 42% of Americans had high levels of confidence in Congress. Since then, the percentage of Americans who have confidence in the military has generally increased, while confidence in Congress has decreased.

Bottom Line

The current 7% of Americans who place confidence in Congress is the lowest of the 17 institutions Gallup measured this year, and is the lowest Gallup has ever found for any of these institutions. The dearth of public confidence in their elected leaders on Capitol Hill is yet another sign of the challenges that could face incumbents in 2014’s midterm elections — as well as more broadly a challenge to the broad underpinnings of the nation’s representative democratic system.

 

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 5-8, 2014, a random sample of 1,027 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View survey methodology, complete question responses, and trends.

For more details on Gallup’s polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low
Six-percentage-point drops in trust among Democrats and Republicans
by Justin McCarthy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After registering slightly higher trust last year, Americans’ confidence in the media’s ability to report “the news fully, accurately, and fairly” has returned to its previous all-time low of 40%. Americans’ trust in mass media has generally been edging downward from higher levels in the late 1990s and the early 2000s.

Americans’ Trust in the Mass Media

Prior to 2004, Americans placed more trust in mass media than they do now, with slim majorities saying they had a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust. But over the course of former President George W. Bush’s re-election season, the level of trust fell significantly, from 54% in 2003 to 44% in 2004. Although trust levels rebounded to 50% in 2005, they have failed to reach a full majority since.

Americans’ trust in the media in recent years has dropped slightly in election years, including 2008, 2010, 2012, and again this year — only to edge its way back up again in the following odd-numbered years. Although the differences between the drops and the recoveries are not large, they suggest that something about national elections triggers skepticism about the accuracy of the news media’s reporting.

Among Democrats, Trust in Media at a 14-Year Low

Trust among Democrats, who have traditionally expressed much higher levels of confidence in the media than Republicans have, dropped to a 14-year low of 54% in 2014. Republicans’ trust in the media is at 27%, one percentage point above their all-time low, while independents held steady at 38% — up one point from 37% in 2013.

Trust in Mass Media, by Party

Sharp Uptick in Americans Who Think News Media Are “Too Conservative”

As has been the case historically, Americans are most likely to feel the news media are “too liberal” (44%) rather than “too conservative,” though this perceived liberal bias is now on the lower side of the trend. One in three (34%) say the media are “just about right” in terms of their coverage — down slightly from 37% last year.

Nearly one in five Americans (19%) say the media are too conservative, which is still relatively low, but the highest such percentage since 2006. This is up six points from 2013 — the sharpest increase in the percentage of Americans who feel the news skews too far right since Gallup began asking the question in 2001.

Americans’ Perceptions of Media Bias

Conservatives (70%) are far more likely than liberals (15%) to perceive the media as too liberal. Moderates’ views are closer to liberals, with 35% calling the media too liberal. Likewise, relatively few moderates — similar to conservatives — think the media are too conservative.

Democrats — with a small majority of 52% — are most likely to think the media are just about right, while a mere 18% of Republicans feel this way about the news. More than seven in 10 Republicans say the media are too liberal.

Perceptions of Media Bias, by Party and Ideology

Bottom Line

Though a sizable percentage of Americans continue to have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, Americans’ overall trust in the Fourth Estate continues to be significantly lower now than it was 10 to 15 years ago.

As the media expand into new domains of news reporting via social media networks and new mobile technology, Americans may be growing disenchanted with what they consider “mainstream” news as they seek out their own personal veins of getting information. At the same time, confidence is down across many institutions, and a general lack in trust overall could be at play.

Americans’ opinions about the media appear affected in election years, however. Americans’ trust in the media will likely recover slightly in 2015 with the absence of political campaigns. But the overarching pattern of the past decade has shown few signs of slowing the decline of faith in mass media as a whole.

Survey Methods
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 4-7, 2014, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View survey methodology, complete question responses, and trends.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/176042/trust-mass-media-returns-time-low.aspx

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Remains on Plateau

Index has hovered around -16 since early August

by Rebecca Riffkin

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index measured -16 for the week ending Sept. 14, 2014. The index has stayed within one point of -16 for the past seven weeks.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages for the Past 12 Months

The index has been -20 or lower only twice so far in 2014: in early March and again for a week in late July. It quickly recovered both times, reaching the -16 and -15 scores seen throughout 2014 within a few weeks of each dip. The average weekly index for 2014 is -16, the same as the most recent weekly index.

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans’ views of current economic conditions and their opinions on whether the economy is getting better or worse. For the week ending Sept. 14, 19% of Americans said the economy was “excellent” or “good,” while 35% said the economy was “poor.” This resulted in a current conditions index score of -16, compared with -15 the week before.

Gallup’s economic outlook score improved slightly. While 39% of Americans said the economy was “getting better,” 55% said it was “getting worse.” This resulted in an economic outlook score of -16, up from -19 the week prior.

Economic Confidence Index Components -- Weekly Averages for the Past 12 Months

Bottom Line

While economic confidence remains stable in the U.S., the current level is a noticeable improvement over the scores in the -40s and -50s seen through much of 2009 until 2011. The index has stayed within an eight-point range so far in 2014. This lack of variation between weekly index scores is unusual compared with prior years. Last year, weekly scores were within a 31-point range from January through September — from a high of -3 in May to a low of -34 in the last week of September. And in 2009, in the depths of the recession, scores were within a 39-point range between January and the end of September, dropping to a low of -59 for two weeks in February but reaching a high of -20 in the second-to-last week of September.

The more stable economic confidence scores in 2014 are an improvement from the drastic drops seen in previous years, but also indicate that confidence is not growing. Americans remain more negative than positive about the current economy, and most think the economy will get worse in the future, indicating that Americans’ pessimistic views of the economy persist.

Gallup.com reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in Gallup.com stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:

Daily: Employment, Economic Confidence and Job Creation, Consumer Spending
Weekly: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending

Read more about Gallup’s economic measures.

View our economic release schedule.

Survey MethodsResults for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 8-14, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,532 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup’s polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/176021/economic-confidence-index-remains-plateau.aspx

 

Number of websites explodes past a billion (and counting)

The number of websites has burst above one billion and is growing apace, according to figures updated in real time by online tracker Internet Live Stats.

Tim Berners-Lee, considered the father of the World Wide Web, touted the milestone on Twitter — one of the most prominent websites in the mushrooming but sometimes murky Internet world.

It comes as the agency responsible for managing addresses on the Internet expands choices far beyond “.com” and “.net” to provide more online real estate for the booming ranks of websites.

The World Wide Web turned 25 in April this year.

It was born from an idea in a technical paper from Berners-Lee, then an obscure, young computer scientist at a European physics lab.

Berners-Lee was working at CERN lab in Switzerland when he outlined a way to easily access files on linked computers, paving the way for a global phenomenon that has touched the lives of billions of people.

Internet Live Stats can be found at http://www.internetlivestats.com.

http://news.yahoo.com/number-websites-explodes-past-billion-counting-235813440.html

 

Number of billionaires hits record high in 2014

The world economy is going through a rough patch, yet the world’s billionaire population is at an all-time high.

A new survey shows that 155 new billionaires were minted this year, pushing the total population to a record 2,325 – a 7 percent increase from 2013.

Credit goes to the United States – home to the most billionaires globally – where 57 new billionaires were recorded this year, according to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014 released on Wednesday.

Read MoreNew York tops billionaire birth list

Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean were also large contributors,with 52 and 42 new entrants, respectively.

“The fastest growing segment of the billionaire population, in terms of wealth source, are those who inherited only part of their fortunes and became billionaires through their own entrepreneurial endeavors,” the report said, noting that 63 percent of all billionaires’ primary companies are privately held.

Billionaire populations in emerging markets showed mixed signals however.

Read MoreBillionaire collectibles: Fast cars and soft toys

In Africa, billionaires’ total wealth grew, but the overall number of billionaires decreased, due primarily to volatile socio-political conditions. A similar situation occurred in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, the combined wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by 12 percent to $7.3 trillion, higher than the combined market capitalization of all the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Profiling billionaires

The average billionaire is 63 years old, with a net worth of $3.1 billion, according to the report, which noted that most wealthy individuals do not reach the $1 billion threshold until their late forties.

Almost 90 percent of male billionaires are married, 6 percent are divorced, 3 percent are single and 2 percent widowed.

Read MoreBillionaires who could buy your town

For male billionaires the top five industries are finance and banking, industrial conglomerates, real estate, manufacturing and textiles, andapparel and luxury goods.

Sixty-five percent of female billionaires are married, 10 percent divorced, 4 percent single and 21 percent widowed.

They are involved in similar industries to their male peers, but one difference is that many run non-profit and social organizations.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102007270

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