Former Donald Trump Adviser Carter Page Refuses to Cooperate With Russia Investigation
… to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday he would not cooperate with any request to appear before the panel in its investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, Politico reported.
Carter Page to plead Fifth Amendment in Senate’s Russia inquiryUPI.com
The New Yorker
How Trump Uses “Religious Liberty” to Attack LGBT Rights
The New Yorker
In the nostalgic campaign that got him elected, Trump promised to take his voters back to an imaginary past in which they felt better, more secure, and generally more great than they do in the present. Nothing communicates Trump’s commitment to the …
Trump Challenges Cabinet Member’s IQ, Fights Senator He Needs. What Is Going On?
There’s been a feud with a key Republican senator, a flare-up at a professional football game with President Trump instructing his vice president to walk out when players (on the most activist team in the NFL) knelt during the national anthem, and he …
Trump may trade Twitter spats for tax push … for nowCNN
Trump’s Estrangement From the GOP One Republican at a TimeNBCNews.com
For Trump, the Reality Show Has Never EndedNew York Times
ABC News –The Hill –Yahoo Finance
all 531 news articles »
New York Times
Pledge to Impeach Trump, a Key Donor Demands of Democrats
New York Times
One of the Democratic Party’s most prominent financial backers is demanding that lawmakers and candidates on the left support removing President Trump from office, putting pressure on Democrats to make Mr. Trump’s ouster a defining issue in the 2018 …
Salt Lake Tribune
Greg Sargent: As Trump implodes, he threatens to hurt millions — out of pure rage and spite
Salt Lake Tribune
As GOP pollster Whit Ayres put it: “Trump got elected with minority support from the Americanelectorate,” and now he’s mainly focused on “energizing and solidifying the 40 percent of Americans who were with him.” Trump tweeted Tuesday about “Liddle …
Corker vs. Trump: Bob Corker shows how to be a lame duckDetroit Free Press
Bob Corker’s warning that Trump could spark WWIII shouldn’t be ignoredDallas News (blog)
Trump demanded stockpiling nukes 13 days after his secret meeting with Putin
Only 13 days earlier, on July 7 at the G20 summit, Trump had a secret meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin behind closed doors. To this day we have no transcript of that meeting and no indication of what Trump and Putin talked about. But …
Opposition research firm behind Trump-Russia dossier now says it didn’t give it to BuzzFeed
The opposition research firm that produced the explosive dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia has claimed in new court filings that it did not provide the dossier to BuzzFeed, which published the document in …
Political research firm behind Trump–Russia dossier subpoenaed by House intelligence committeePBS NewsHour
House panel subpoenas firm behind Trump dossierThe Hill
Devin Nunes appears to be running a ‘parallel’ Russia probe without Democrats’ consentYahoo News
WDEF News 12 –Bloomberg
all 18 news articles »
German journalist stands trial in Turkey on terror charges
ISTANBUL (AP) — A German journalist who was arrested in Turkey denied terror-related accusations as a trial against her opened in a Turkish court Wednesday. Mesale Tolu, a German citizen with Turkish roots, stands accused of engaging in terrorist …
President Trump on Wednesday plans to target his pitch for tax cuts to what the White House sees as a key constituency: the nation’s truckers. Trump is scheduled to deliver a late-afternoon speech in Harrisburg, Pa., where he will tout the Republican tax plan with an emphasis on the benefits for those who navigate the […]
Gears Of Biz
Google shuts YouTube channel implicated in Kremlin political propaganda ops
The content appeared intended for an African-American audience, although the videos did not gain significant traction on YouTube, according to The Daily Beast, which said they had only garnered “hundreds” of views prior to the channel being closed (vs …
Google uncovers Russia-backed ads used to meddle in 2016 US electionThe Japan News
Google discovers operatives spent thousands on Russian-backed ads during US election: reportsGears Of Biz
Russians exploited anger over race on Facebook and put ads on Gmail and YouTube – butinvestigation finds it was …Daily Mail
North Korean hackers stole US-South Korea war plans, official says
“If the North Koreans in fact accessed the US/South Korean defense plans, this is a treasure trove of information and presents a real danger,” said CNN military analyst and retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona. “If I had … The White House said Tuesday that …
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is a mythic presence in Washington. He is everywhere and nowhere: As the world revolves around him, he continues to elude the press and the public. Even the location of his office remains unknown.
Compare this with the president, who cannot help but make himself the center of attention in any situation and who blurts out his every thought on Twitter. Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is a black box. The Trump White House is the leakiest in memory. Where Trump is loud, Mueller is quiet. Where Trump is brash, Mueller is careful. Trump is the builder of the gilding-encrusted, marble-clad tower. The architecture with which Mueller is most identified is the drab, utilitarian J. Edgar Hoover Building.
In the American imagination, Mueller is more than Trump’s adversary or the man who happens to be investigating him. He’s the president’s mythic opposite — the anti-Trump.
That opposition runs deeper than discordant personal styles. With his long government career, Mueller is the embodiment of the “deep state” derided by the president’s defenders. But another way to describe the deep state is as a network of government institutions staffed by devoted public servants. Trump’s presidency has distinguished itself by a marked lack of respect for those institutions, whether through neglect, derision or outright attempts at what former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon termed “the deconstruction of the administrative state.” More profoundly, Trump’s disregard for the usual checks on executive power calls into question whether the president will leave his office and the government as a whole irretrievably broken.
Mueller, in contrast, stands for the strength of those institutions — not just because of his own public service but also because his investigation now concerns Trump’s breach of institutional integrity in dismissing then-FBI Director James B. Comey. This is a major source of Mueller’s appeal to Trump’s critics. We don’t just hope that Mueller’s investigation will expose whatever wrongdoing took place. We want him to reestablish the order that has been lost. It’s a demand for justice in the sense described by the philosopher Immanuel Kant: We punish a crime not only to assert that the act was wrong but also to reaffirm the existence of the moral system disregarded by the criminal.
Trump’s disrespect for institutions is also a disrespect for the moral systems they represent. His repeated efforts to interfere with the independence of the Justice Department are a declaration that right and wrong, legal and illegal are whatever he says they are. This stance is an outgrowth of his flexible relationship with truth — his willingness to say anything and contradict himself moments later, with no expectation of consequence. Mueller is an avatar of our hope that justice and meaning will reassert themselves against Trumpian insincerity.
The trouble, of course, is that Mueller cannot and will not save us.
There’s no way of knowing how long his investigation will take and what it will turn up. It could be years before the probe is completed. It could be that Mueller’s team finds no evidence of criminal misconduct on the part of the president himself. And because the special counsel has no obligation to report his conclusions to the public — indeed, the special-counsel regulations do not give him the power to do so without the approval of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein — we may never know what he uncovers.
More profoundly, it is a mistake to conflate whatever legal wrongdoing the president and those around him may have engaged in with Trump’s even more profound failures of morality and leadership. The horror of much of his behavior is that it may be well within the law and presidential authority — and yet entirely unacceptable. This is true both for his more egregious actions, such as his dismissal of Comey, and his less consequential but still discomfiting behavior, such as his inability to display the bare minimum of empathy for hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico. When viewed in the context of Trump’s other actions, Comey’s firing may raise the question of obstruction of justice. But on its own, it’s no more illegal or unconstitutional for the president to fire the FBI director than it is for him to toss paper towels to hurricane victims.
It is comforting to reduce the mess of our politics to a clash between the opposing deities of Mueller and Trump. But doing so is also a way to avoid grappling with more difficult problems: What does it mean to have a president who behaves this way? What forces carried him into office, and how do we as a country address them? These are not questions that an official investigation can answer. Ultimately, we imagine Mueller as a white knight because it’s easier than taking responsibility for confronting this presidency ourselves.
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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
Suspected North Korean hackers stole classified military documents when they broke into South Korea’s defense data center in September 2016, a South Korean lawmaker Rhee Cheol-hee said in an interview published yesterday, the information included a U.S.-South Korea blueprint for a possible war with North Korea and details about a decapitation strike targeting leader Kim Jong-un and top Pyongyang officials. Kwanwoo Jun and Nancy A. Youssef report at the Wall Street Journal.
Rhee received information about the suspected hacking incident from defense ministry officials, South Korea’s defense ministry has not responded to his comments and the Pentagon has similarly declined to comment on the specific reports. Zachary Cohen reports at CNN.
The U.S. and South Korea began joint military exercises over the Korean peninsula last night amid heightened tensions, the drills consisting of strategic bombers, fighter jets and an air-to-ground missile drill off South Korea’s coast. The BBC reports.
The U.S. military conducted drills with Japanese fighter jets after the exercise with South Korea, the U.S. military said in a statement, marking the first time that the U.S. has conducted drills with both the Japanese and South Korean military at night. Christine Kim and Eric Beech report at Reuters.
Trump met with his top national security advisers yesterday to discuss “a range of options” to deal with the North Korea threat, the White House said in a statement, the president receiving briefings from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford during the meeting. Jesse Byrnes reports at the Hill.
Trump may visit the demilitarized zone (D.M.Z.) between the two Koreas during a forthcoming trip to South Korea, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported yesterday. Justin McCurry reports at the Guardian.
The Trump administration has made progress in its attempts to contain North Korea and, despite the president’s bluster and the general pessimism about the administration’s strategy, there are reasons to be “cautiously optimistic” about the U.S.’s efforts to economically and diplomatically isolate the regime. Adam Taylor provides an analysis of the administration’s policies and the reaction of the international community to the U.S. pressure campaign at the Washington Post.
The U.S. ambassador to Turkey John R. Bass should have resigned or been recalled after making the unilateral decision to suspend visas for Turkish citizens, Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday. The State Department responded that the decision was cleared at the highest levels of the U.S. government and emphasized that Ambassador Bass has the full backing of the State Department and the White House. Carlotta Gall reports at the New York Times.
Turkey does not see Bass “as the representative of the United States in Turkey,” Erdoğan added; the dispute about the suspension of visas following Turkey’s arrest of an employee in the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul last week providing the latest incident in the deteriorating U.S.-Turkey relationship. The AFPreports.
Bass expressed hope that the dispute could be resolved quickly and noted that close security cooperation between the U.S. and Turkey has helped to reduce attacks by Islamic State militants in Turkey. The AP reports.
The U.S.-Turkey diplomatic dispute has not impacted military operations, Pentagon spokesperson Col. Robert Manning told reporters yesterday, stating that Turkey remains a close N.A.T.O. ally. Reutersreports.
A Wall Street Journal reporter was sentenced to prison in Turkey for engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.), demonstrating the Turkish government’s aggressive policies to repress critical reporting under the state of emergency imposed since last year’s failed coup against Erdoğan. Thomas Grove reports at the Wall Street Journal.
The conviction of the reporter confirms to the world that Erdoğan has turned Turkey into an “authoritarian state,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.
Erdoğan’s tactic of arresting U.S. citizens is an attempt to bully America and the Trump administration must make it clear that Turkey cannot carry on its actions without “risking a rupture of relations.” The Washington Post editorial board writes.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal is “vitally important for regional security,” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said in a phone call to Trump yesterday, urging the president to recertify Iran’s compliance with the agreement. The BBC reports.
Trump misleadingly blamed Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) for the Iran deal. Linda Qiu explains the passage of a bipartisan bill in the spring of 2015 to provide the appropriate context at the New York Times.
The future of the deal would be uncertain should Trump decertify Iran’s compliance before the Oct. 15 deadline and put the issue of sanctions on Iran into Congress’s hands – likely leading to a partisan battle and complicating the issue for the other countries party to the agreement. Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour explain at the Guardian.
The Trump administration, Congress and European allies could save the deal and address its shortcomings even if Trump decides to decertify Iran’s compliance with the agreement by drawing on the relationship with international partners, using existing sanctions authorities and measures to counter Iran’s actions in the region, developing a common strategy with European allies, and Congress using its powers to counter the “constant cycle of deal crisis.” Ilana Goldenberg and Elizabeth Rosenberg write at Foreign Policy.
Iran’s interest in the Middle East’s affairs are not “malevolent,” its actions ensure stability in the face of Western-backed Arab interference. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif writes at the Atlantic, also defending the nuclear deal.
The House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) issued subpoenas on Oct.4 to employees at the Fusion GPS research firm, which worked with former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele to compile a salacious dossier about the Trump campaign’s alleged connections to Russia. Evan Perez, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report at CNN.
Nunes issued the subpoenas without consulting Democrats on the Committee, three sources told NBC News, according to the Committee’s rules Nunes did not need approval from minority Democrats to sign-off on the subpoenas. Ken Dilanian and Alex Moe report at NBC News.
The Trump campaign’s former foreign policy adviser Carter Page will not testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Page informed the committee yesterday, a source familiar with the matter stating that Page would rely on the Fifth Amendment. Ali Watkins reports at POLITICO.
The House Intelligence, Senate Intelligence and Senate Judiciary committees are competing in their efforts to pursue the allegations made in the Steele dossier, with the members of the congressional panels taking various positions on the dossier. Mark Hosenball and Jonathan Landay report at Reuters.
Special counsel Robert Mueller “cannot and will not save us,” Mueller’s elusive qualities stand in stark opposition to the president’s bombastic style, but the reality is that his investigation may take years to complete, Trump’s actions may not amount to legal wrongdoing and the questions about the president’s moral authority would remain. Quinta Jurecic writes at the Washington Post.
CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY
The Israeli intelligence service hacked the Russia-based Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity firm and informed the U.S. about Russian intrusion through Kaspersky software, including classified documents that were stolen from a National Security Agency (N.S.A.) employee. Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane reveal the Israeli operation at the New York Times.
The Kaspersky Lab “does not possess any knowledge” of Israel’s hack, the firm said in a statement responding to the reports. Ellen Nakashima reports at the Washington Post.
The Syrian Army and Syrian Kurds are competing for control of oil-producing areas, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said today, warning that Syria would “not allow its sovereignty to be violated under any conditions.” Reuters reports.
Raqqa’s Civil Council “is leading discussions to determine the best way to enable civilians trapped” by Islamic State militants to exit the Syrian city ahead of the impending defeat of the militants, U.S. Centcom have said in a statement.
An overview of the parties to the Syrian war and the various alliances is provided by Samer Abboud at Al Jazeera.
U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out four airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on October 9. Separately, partner forces conducted seven strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]
The Islamic State’s fight to take over Iraqi territory has displaced 5.4 million civilians, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq said yesterday, expressing deep concern for the civilians who have fled the fighting. The BBC reports.
Although the Islamic State group has lost significant territory in Iraq, it has not been fully defeated. John Beck explains where the militants still hold territory and influence at Al Jazeera.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved plans for 3,736 units in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank yesterday, with activists stating that the Israeli government has been spurred by the Trump administration’s accommodating stance. Ruth Eglash and Loveday Morris report at the Washington Post.
The Egyptian military expanded the buffer zone along the Gaza Strip border, bulldozing at least 140 homes and more than 200 acres in an attempt to prevent Palestinian Hamas militants from using underground tunnels to evade Israel and Egypt’s blockade of the Strip. Sam Madgy reports at the AP.
The Obama administration’s policies pushed Israel and Arab nations closer together as they realized they shared similar concerns about Obama’s approach to the Arab Spring uprising, the Iran nuclear deal and Iran’s expansionism in the region. Haisam Hassanein and Wesam Hassanein write at the Wall Street Journal.
The Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah militant group aspire to attack the U.S. homeland, senior U.S. officials have said. Elise Labott and Laura Koran report at CNN.
The “Lebanese army has become an integral part of Hezbollah,” Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday, claiming that the militant group controls the Lebanese army. The AP reports.
The SUPREME COURT
The Supreme Court dismissed a travel ban case from Maryland yesterday but took no action on a separate case from Hawaii that concerns the travel ban and the refugee ban, the AP reports.
The Supreme Court yesterday declined to review the conviction of a war criminal held in Guantánamo Bay and serving a life sentence. Carol Rosenberg reports at the Miami Herald.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY
Trump does not plan to fill many positions across federal agencies because they are “totally unnecessary,” the president told Forbes yesterday, suggesting that the many vacancies in the State Department, including ambassadorships, will remain unfilled. Olivia Beavers reports at the Hill.
The Trump administration’s lack of clear foreign policy plans may be a bigger issue than the president’s heightened rhetoric, David Ignatius writes at the Washington Post.
Russia may order the U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia to 300 people or below, Russia’s R.I.A. news agency quoted a Russia’s foreign ministry official as saying today. Reuters reports.
A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea yesterday, with the Chinese defense ministry saying today that the U.S. maneuvering operation was a “provocation.” Idrees Ali reports at Reuters.
The collision involving the U.S.S. John S. McCain and a civilian tanker on Aug. 21 was “preventable,” the U.S. Navy said yesterday, adding that its investigation is still ongoing. Jake Maxwell Watts reports at the Wall Street Journal.
Yemen’s warring leaders “are not interested in finding solutions, as they will lose their power and control in a settlement,” the U.N. special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said yesterday, urging the Security Council to “use all of its political and economic power to exert pressure on all parties to commit to a pact of peace.” Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.
The Trump administration intends to relax domestic rules on U.S. military drone sales to allies as part of an overhaul of U.S. arms export protocols. Matt Spetalnick and Mike Stone report at Reuters.
Trump was joking when he challenged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to an IQ test, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday, the president’s latest comments having reinforced impressions that Trump and Tillerson have a tense relationship. Louis Nelson reports at POLITICO.
The allegations that Cuba used a “sonic weapon” to attack U.S. diplomats in Havana are not backed up by evidence and it is unfortunate that Trump has used the unspecified threat and amplified reports to undermine relations with Cuba. Lisa Diedrich and Benjamin Tausig write at the New York Times.
The Morning Hype: Putin Comes Down On Bitcoin, Trump Gets Interviewed By Forbes, And NYC Traffic Is Expensive
The Morning Hype: Putin Comes Down On Bitcoin, Trump Gets Interviewed By Forbes, And NYC Traffic Is Expensive. Uber Now Has FIVE Criminal Probes Surrounding It, Good Luck Khosrowshahi (via Bloomberg) California Passes Bill Requiring Drug …