10:27 AM 12/18/2017 –  Michael Novakhov Retweeted: @DefenseOne: Allies Are Key, Says Trump’s National Security Strategy

Tweets 

  1. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Allies Are Key, Says Trump’s National Security Strategy https://buff.ly/2BC8k3T  | @carolinehouck

    View image on Twitter
  2. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    As new National Security Strategy takes harder line against

    Important analysis by ex-NSC official (@bridgewriter) today.

    Topic: lack of legal basis for taking war to Iran in Syria—proposals for mil. escalation reported by @WSJ @DionNissenbaumhttps://www.justsecurity.org/49727/us-confronting-iran-syria-spoiling-unlawful-fight/ 

    U.S. “Confronting” Iran inside Syria: Spoiling for an Unlawful Fight?

    Former NSC Deputy Legal Advisor raises serious concerns about the legal justification for recent reports that the US military may try to confront Iran on the fields of Syria.

    justsecurity.org

  3. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Analysis: The White House’s odd statement about giving U.S. intelligence to Putin http://wapo.st/2CzlThk 

    Analysis | The White House’s odd statement about giving U.S. intelligence to Putin

    The White House’s statement sounds a lot like it was drafted by the exclamation-pointer in chief.

    washingtonpost.com

  4. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Russia notches a win in the Arctic after the U.S. fails to kill a giant gas project https://bloom.bg/2yT6PsB 

    View image on Twitter
  5. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Leading up to the Iran deal, a top intelligence official blocked the inclusion of a memo on the Hezbollah drug threat from Obama’s daily threat briefing, task force agents say http://politi.co/2CLJFaN 

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  6. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Returning from Camp David, Trump is asked if he’s considering firing Special Counsel Mueller.
    “No, I’m not,” the president says.

  7. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Authorities use data analysis to expose hidden relationships in illegal organizations. Learn more. https://cards.twitter.com/cards/18ce53z89w7/539×7 

    How can analytics change the world of ‘Narcos’?

    go.sas.com

  8. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    JUST IN: White House confirms phone call between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin

  9. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    The Obama administration’s derailment of a DEA task force campaign against Hezbollah has undermined global drug trafficking efforts http://politi.co/2B26gms  via @JoshMeyerDC

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  10. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    It’s almost like there are consequences to letting America’s critical infrastructure decline to 3rd World levels.https://www.reuters.com/article/us-atlanta-airport/power-outage-leads-to-partial-shutdown-of-atlanta-airport-idUSKBN1EB0RT 

    Power outage leads to partial shutdown of Atlanta airport

    Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday as a power outage left passengers at the world’s busiest airport stranded in darkened…

    reuters.com

  11. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    A new poll shows ominous signs for Republicans in 2018 http://read.bi/2CriO2F 

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  12. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    As a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive TAX CUT for the everyday working American families who are the backbone and the heartbeat of our country. Now, we are just days away…

  13. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Sleep tight, America! 🇺🇸
    Your Sailors are forged by the sea and have the watch. ⚓

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  14. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    NOW LIVE: The secret backstory of how the Obama administration let Hezbollah off the hook http://politico.com/project-cassandra 

  15. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Democrats hit justice department for release of anti-Trump texts https://bloom.bg/2B0BOZH 

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  16. Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Shorter Trump WH: It’s illegal to legally find out we did illegal stuff during the transition and lied to the FBI about it.

  17. 9:50 AM 12/18/2017 – Trump Set To Unveil New U.S. Security Strategy, Focusing On Russia, China http://wwtimes.com/2017/12/18/950-am-12-18-2017/ 

    9:50 AM 12/18/2017 – Trump Set To Unveil New U.S. Security Strategy, Focusing On Russia, China

    “In many ways, we vacated a lot of competitive space in recent years and created opportunities for these revisionist powers,” McMaster said, referri …

    wwtimes.com

  18. The arts of the “hybrid wars” | 6:41 AM 12/18/2017 – “The real issue is moral capitulation.” – NYT – Bret Stephens | M.N.: Is this the truth?! http://trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/12/18/641-am-12-18-2017-the-real-issue-is-moral-capitulation-nyt-bret-stephens-m-n-is-this-the-truth/ 

    6:41 AM 12/18/2017 – “The real issue is moral capitulation.” – NYT – Bret Stephens | M.N.: Is this…

    Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks NYT – Bret Stephens: “There’s no need to obsess about electoral collusion when the real issue is moral capitulation.” M.N.: Is this the truth?! Mike Nova’s Shared…

    trumpinvestigations.org

  19. 6:41 AM 12/18/2017 – “The real issue is moral capitulation.” – NYT – Bret Stephens | M.N.: Is this the truth?! http://trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/12/18/641-am-12-18-2017-the-real-issue-is-moral-capitulation-nyt-bret-stephens-m-n-is-this-the-truth/ 

    6:41 AM 12/18/2017 – “The real issue is moral capitulation.” – NYT – Bret Stephens | M.N.: Is this…

    Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks NYT – Bret Stephens: “There’s no need to obsess about electoral collusion when the real issue is moral capitulation.” M.N.: Is this the truth?! Mike Nova’s Shared…

    trumpinvestigations.org

  20. Image of Cooperation Between White House and Mueller Starts to Fracture https://nyti.ms/2kDyLLS 

    As the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has helped produce a series of indictments and guilty pleas, Republicans have increased their attacks on him, saying his investigation is being run by partisans.

    Trump Lawyer Says Mueller Illegally Obtained Transition Emails

    The move was the latest in the mounting attacks by the president and his surrogates on the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

    nytimes.com

  21. Trump shouldn’t trust Putin on Syria — or anything else http://fxn.ws/2APuMml 

    Trump shouldn’t trust Putin on Syria — or anything else

    Vladimir Putin is a master at manipulating people by telling them what they want to hear.

    foxnews.com

  22. 8:26 PM 12/17/2017 – Trump says he is not planning to fire Mueller http://trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/12/17/826-pm-12-17-2017-trump-says-he-is-not-planning-to-fire-mueller/ 

    8:26 PM 12/17/2017 – Trump says he is not planning to fire Mueller

    Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Trump says he is not planning to fire Mueller as Republican attacks increase – The Guardian Putin Thanks Trump for Intelligence About Planned Terror Attack – Wall…

    trumpinvestigations.org

  23. 5:59 PM 12/17/2017 – Robert Mueller takes warning shot at Donald Trump http://trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/12/17/559-pm-12-17-2017-robert-mueller-takes-warning-shot-at-donald-trump/ 

    5:59 PM 12/17/2017 – Robert Mueller takes warning shot at Donald Trump

    Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s performance as US president cartoon | Opinion | The Guardian Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s performance as US…

    trumpinvestigations.org

  24. Trump not getting ready to fire Robert Mueller, president’s allies insist | US news | The Guardian http://wwtimes.com/2017/12/17/trump-not-getting-ready-to-fire-robert-mueller-presidents-allies-insist-us-news-the-guardian/ 

    Trump not getting ready to fire Robert Mueller, president’s allies insist | US news | The Guardian

    Source: Trump not getting ready to fire Robert Mueller, president’s allies insist | US news | The Guardian

    wwtimes.com

  25. 1:13 PM 12/17/2017 – It’s hard to say goodbye… – “Trump not getting ready to fire Robert Mueller, president’s allies insist” http://globalsecuritynews.org/2017/12/17/its-hard-to-say-goodbye/ 

    It’s hard to say goodbye… | Global Security News

    It’s hard to say goodbye… – “Trump not getting ready to fire Robert Mueller, president’s allies insist”

    globalsecuritynews.org

  26. It’s hard to say goodbye… http://globalsecuritynews.org/2017/12/17/its-hard-to-say-goodbye/ 

    It’s hard to say goodbye… | Global Security News

    It’s hard to say goodbye… – “Trump not getting ready to fire Robert Mueller, president’s allies insist”

    globalsecuritynews.org

  27. 12:46 PM 12/17/2017 – Putin should be forever grateful to the CIA, for whatever he has to be grateful to them… – “Putin asked Trump to pass along his gratitude to the CIA”  http://globalsecuritynews.org/2017/12/17/putin-should-be-forever-grateful-to-the-cia-for-whatever-he-has-to-be-grateful-to-them-putin-asked-trump-to-pass-along-his-gratitude-to-the-cia/ 

    Putin should be forever grateful to the CIA, for whatever he has to be grateful to them… – “Putin…

    Putin should be forever grateful to the CIA, for whatever he has to be grateful to them… – “Putin asked Trump to pass along his gratitude to the CIA”

    globalsecuritynews.org

  28. Putin should be forever grateful to the CIA, for whatever he has to be grateful to them… – “Putin asked Trump to pass along his gratitude to the CIA”  http://globalsecuritynews.org/2017/12/17/putin-should-be-forever-grateful-to-the-cia-for-whatever-he-has-to-be-grateful-to-them-putin-asked-trump-to-pass-along-his-gratitude-to-the-cia/ 

    Putin should be forever grateful to the CIA, for whatever he has to be grateful to them… – “Putin…

    Putin should be forever grateful to the CIA, for whatever he has to be grateful to them… – “Putin asked Trump to pass along his gratitude to the CIA”

    globalsecuritynews.org

  29. 10:40 AM 12/16/2017 – What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good, and actually might be bad for America! My impression is that the FBI is very sick agency and organization. http://fbinewsreview.org/2017/12/16/1040-am-12-16-2017-what-is-good-for-the-fbi-and-its-employees-is-not-necessarily-good-for-america/ 

    10:40 AM 12/16/2017 – What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good, and…

    M.N.: This graph below, from the cited article, is meaningless and misleading, just as the article itself. I will comment on the three main points of this article. 1. “Ideological Orientation” The…

    fbinewsreview.org

  30. FBI: FOOLS, BUNGLERS, IDIOTS; American KGB and Gestapo http://fbinewsreview.org

    FBI News Review

    fbinewsreview.org | Investigate the investigators! Save America! Reform the FBI now! | News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions

    fbinewsreview.org

  31. 2:45 PM 12/16/2017 – FBI: American Gestapo http://fbinewsreview.org/2017/12/16/245-pm-12-16-2017-fbi-american-gestapo/ 

    2:45 PM 12/16/2017 – FBI: American Gestapo | FBI News Review

    Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Family Security Matters FBI: American Gestapo – Family Security Matters 10:40 AM 12/16/2017 What is good for the FBI and its employees is not…

    fbinewsreview.org

  32. 2:10 PM 12/16/2017 – M.N.: Strzok and Page were removed from the Mueller’s investigation and they or their positions cannot taint it. What is more important, is the media hysteria around them. http://trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/12/16/210-pm-12-16-2017/ 

    2:10 PM 12/16/2017 – M.N.: Strzok and Page were removed from the Mueller’s investigation and they…

    M.N.: Strzok and Page were removed from the Mueller’s investigation, and they or their positions cannot taint it. What is more important, is the media hysteria around them. It reminds me the situat…

    trumpinvestigations.org

  33. 10:40 AM 12/16/2017 – What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good, and actually might be bad for America! My impression is that the FBI is very sick agency and organization. http://fbinewsreview.org/2017/12/16/1040-am-12-16-2017-what-is-good-for-the-fbi-and-its-employees-is-not-necessarily-good-for-america/ 

    10:40 AM 12/16/2017 – What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good, and…

    M.N.: This graph below, from the cited article, is meaningless and misleading, just as the article itself. I will comment on the three main points of this article. 1. “Ideological Orientation” The…

    fbinewsreview.org

  34. 8:20 AM 12/16/2017 – Do men look good in a string bikini? http://gayland.org/2017/12/16/820-am-12-16-2017-do-men-look-good-in-a-string-bikini/ 

    8:20 AM 12/16/2017 – Do men look good in a string bikini? | Gayland – gayland.org

    Do men look good in a string bikini? (1977) Today, December 16th 07:45 · NewsOnABC From: NewsOnABC Duration: 03:44 From This Day Tonight aired on October 12th, 1977, reporter Sue Faulkner asks…

    gayland.org

  35. 8:04 AM 12/16/2017 – Trump declares support for law enforcement at FBI graduation – Video News Review http://fbinewsreview.org/2017/12/16/804-am-12-16-2017-trump-declares-support-for-law-enforcement-at-fbi-graduation-video-news-review/ 

    8:04 AM 12/16/2017 – Trump declares support for law enforcement at FBI graduation – Video News…

    Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Woman arrested for laundering money to ISIS through Bitcoin Trump declares support for law enforcement at FBI graduation News Wrap: Sessions defends FBI after Trump…

    fbinewsreview.org

  36. 7:59 AM 12/16/2017 – Woman arrested for laundering money to ISIS through Bitcoin – Video News Review http://worldnewsandtimes.org/2017/12/16/759-am-12-16-2017-woman-arrested-for-laundering-money-to-isis-through-bitcoin-video-news-review/ 

    7:59 AM 12/16/2017 – Woman arrested for laundering money to ISIS through Bitcoin – Video News…

    Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Woman arrested for laundering money to ISIS through Bitcoin Trump declares support for law enforcement at FBI graduation News Wrap: Sessions defends FBI after Trump…

    worldnewsandtimes.org

  37. 4:54 AM 12/16/2017 – Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history investigating Trump – Media Matters for America http://fbinewsreview.org/2017/12/16/454-am-12-16-2017-foxs-lou-dobbs-we-have-the-most-corrupt-fbi-and-doj-in-our-countrys-history-investigating-trump-media-matters-for-america/ 

    4:54 AM 12/16/2017 – Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history…

    Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Trump Says Russia ‘Not Helping’ On North Korea; Russia Fires Back – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our…

    fbinewsreview.org

  38. Number of Jailed Journalists Hits Record High, Advocacy Group Says https://nyti.ms/2nRZide 

    At a protest this month in Istanbul, Turkey, a demonstrator, center, carried a placard lamenting that the journalist Ahmet Sik remained in prison. Of all nations, Turkey has the most journalists jailed on charges relating to their work.

    Number of Jailed Journalists Hits Record High, Advocacy Group Says

    The Committee to Protect Journalists identified 262 journalists imprisoned for their journalism as of Dec. 1. More than half were in Turkey, China or Egypt.

    nytimes.com

  39. 3:05 PM 12/15/2017 – Anger grows as Puerto Rico misses power restoration deadline – ABC News http://pr-us.org/2017/12/15/305-pm-12-15-2017-anger-grows-as-puerto-rico-misses-power-restoration-deadline-abc-news/ 

    3:05 PM 12/15/2017 – Anger grows as Puerto Rico misses power restoration deadline – ABC News |…

    ‘Necesitamos La Música’: Puerto Ricans Recovering From Maria … – NPR Anger grows as Puerto Rico misses power restoration deadline – ABC News How to Rebuild Puerto Rico – Bloomberg – Bloomberg Phil…

    pr-us.org

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The Arts Of Hybrid Wars

The Arts Of Hybrid Wars

6:41 AM 12/18/2017

“The real issue is moral capitulation.” – NYT – Bret Stephens

M.N.: Is this the truth?!

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

NYT – Bret Stephens:

“There’s no need to obsess about electoral collusion when the real issue is moral capitulation.” 

M.N.: Is this the truth?! 

To the list of Bret Stephen’s “explanations” of “Russia scandal” I would add one more, maybe the main one, and maybe the most troubling one: the suspicion of Trump’s personal financial interest in his pro-Russian policies and stances. In other words and in plainer English, that he was bought by Russia in some ways or fashion, as the contemporary Russian habit is in dealing with their problems: to bribe or to kill. Here they appear to do both, with the killing of the “moral” kind: undermining the trust in the American democratic values and institutions, killing America “softly”. Very much in line with the modern trends of the Psycho-Geo-Politics.

Such a comfy, cuddly, furry, (Panda cum Russian Bear, “Happy Family”, hybrid-like), Obamanite – Russian – Chinese – Putinesque – Merkelized geo-“softness”, which in plain language is called “hypocrisy”, and in most recent terms, the arts of the “hybrid wars”, and more exactly, the intelligence wars, which Putin made his main occupation and preoccupation.  

It also reminds me again the prediction made in 2011 by Ariel Cohen and Donald Jensen about  the Russian “moral black hole” and the dangers of contamination from it:

A Moral Black Hole.

The roots of the Russian elite’s discontent lie in imperial nostalgia, phantom pains of autocracy, and questionable morality. The end of communism resulted in a moral black hole—a deep spiritual and identity crisis among the elites. Corruption, alcoholism, and blurred lines between organized crime and authority reflect general alienation, recklessness, and fatalism.

Nations fail, St. Augustine argued, because peoples fail. A healthy society can correct a deficient state, but even the best-designed states will founder if they are based upon a deficient civil society.

This degradation bears directly on Russia’s conduct of its foreign policy. Those who keep calling for an engagement that will eventually transform Russia cannot see that it is the West, not Russia, that is being transformed by this contact.”

And now Bret Stephens says that the West, and America specifically, “morally capitulated”.

Is this the truth or just the journalistic hyperbole, exaggeration, or warning? 

I do not know, at what stage this infection is, but it certainly is the ongoing process. How to deal with it, is another complex matter. 

I do not think that The West (Culture, the way of life, modes of governing, etc.) “morally capitulated” (yet), but it is obvious that this rather entertaining subject did become an issue and the issue, in its various interpretations, and Stephen’s article is just one of these proposed interpretations. 

“In many ways, we vacated a lot of competitive space in recent years and created opportunities for these revisionist powers,” McMaster said, referring to China and Russia, according to this recent report. 

See the article: New US Security Strategy To Focus On Countering China, Russia – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Essentially, I see this conflict as The West (Liberal Democracies) vs. World Organised  Crime in alliance with leftist, “centrist” and rightist geo-political opportunists and their intelligence services of all the various and convenient stripes. Some of them have been already named above. And as such, if this conflict is formulated here by me correctly, it is of the prime and overwhelming concern and the interest to the FBI. 

Michael Novakhov 

12.18.17

Links

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Trump denies he plans to fire Mueller
The Spiraling Diaspora From Puerto Rico
Image of Cooperation Between White House and Mueller Starts to Fracture
Image of Cooperation Between White House and Mueller Starts to Fracture – New York Times
Trump shouldn’t trust Putin on Syria — or anything else
Anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok had eye-popping influence at Justice Dept.
Trump says he is not planning to fire Mueller as Republican attacks increase – The Guardian
Donald Trump and his goons have their new DOJ scapegoat, and its not Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller also has Donald Trump teams laptops and cellphones. Heres what that means.
Trump and allies are trying to destroy Mueller – WTHITV.com
FBI and Justice Dept. officials might be investigated for Trump bias – Raw Story
Former FBI Asst. Dir. Jim Kallstrom: ‘Strong Obstruction of Justice Case Against Strzok and Many Others’ – PJ Media
Putin thanks Trump for CIA intel – New York Post
Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s performance as US president cartoon | Opinion | The Guardian
Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s performance as US president cartoon | Opinion
Robert Mueller takes warning shot at Donald Trump and his criminal advisers
Trump Gave a Racist and Anti-Immigrant Speech to Cops at the FBI and They Loved It
Putin phoned Trump to thank him for CIA intel that foiled a planned terrorist attack in Russia, the Kremlin says
Gregg Jarrett: FBI Has Become “America’s Secret Police,” Mueller Using FBI As “Political Weapon” – RealClearPolitics
Family Security Matters
FBI: American Gestapo – Family Security Matters
10:40 AM 12/16/2017 What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good for America!
WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI – Townhall
President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong. – Washington Post

 

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Trump denies he plans to fire Mueller
 

mikenova shared this story from Euronews’s YouTube Videos.

From: Euronews
Duration: 01:01

As the Russia investigation heats up, US President Donald Trump denies he plans to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
READ MORE : http://www.euronews.com/2017/12/18/trump-denies-he-plans-to-fire-mueller

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The Real Russia Scandal – The New York Times
 

mikenova shared this story .

Lest there be any doubt as to where the future national security adviser stood, Flynn went on to stress that Vladimir Putin “has done a lot for the Khamenei regime”; that Russia and Iran were “the two most active and powerful members of the enemy alliance”; and that the Russian president’s deep intention was to “pursue the war against us.”

All this was true. Yet by the end of the year, Flynn would be courting Russia’s ambassador to Washington and hinting at swift relief from sanctions. What gave?

What gave, it seems, was some combination of financial motives — at least $65,000 in payments by Russian-linked companies — and political ones — a new master in the person of Donald Trump, who took precisely the same gauzy view of Russia that Flynn had rejected in his book.

What about Trump’s motives? In The Washington Post on Thursday, reporters Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Philip Rucker offer a stunning description of the president’s curious incuriousness when it comes to the question of Russian interference in our elections. That’s followed by a catalog of all the many ways in which the American president sought to appease the Russian dictator.

Cases in point: The president still does not fully accept the verdict of his intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election. He told Bill O’Reilly that America’s behavior was no better than Putin’s. His attorney general admitted to Congress that the administration had “probably not” taken sufficient measures to prevent future Russian meddling in elections. He explored ways to return two Russian diplomatic compounds in the United States long used for spying until they were seized by the Obama administration.

It continues: He spent the first five months in office resisting efforts to get him to publicly avow NATO’s mutual-defense commitments. He sought an “impenetrable cybersecurity unit” with Moscow until Lindsey Graham dismissed it as “pretty close” to “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” He fiercely resisted congressional efforts to impose additional sanctions on Russia; was “apoplectic” when they passed; and would have vetoed the legislation if it weren’t certain he’d be overridden. He ended American support for anti-regime moderates in Syria, paving the way for the Assad regime — and thus its Russian helpers — to consolidate their grip.

Presented with this list, the president’s craven apologists insist he’s right to try to find common ground with Russia. These are the same people who until recently were in full throat against Barack Obama for his overtures to Putin. More measured apologists say he’s merely naïve, just as Obama and Bush were at the beginning of their terms. Yet the alleged naïveté never quits: Just this week, he asked for Putin’s help on North Korea.

The better explanations are: (a) the president is infatuated with authoritarians, at least those who flatter him; (b) he’s neurotically neuralgic when it comes to the subject of his election; (c) he’s ideologically sympathetic to Putinism, with its combination of economic corporatism, foreign-policy cynicism, and violent hostility to critics; (d) he’s stupid; or (e) he’s vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Each explanation is compatible with all the others. For my part, I choose all of the above — the first four points being demonstrable while the last is logical. But let’s have that conversation at another time. There’s no need to obsess about electoral collusion when the real issue is moral capitulation. ☐

Continue reading the main story

The Spiraling Diaspora From Puerto Rico
 

mikenova shared this story .

It’s been 12 weeks and counting, and Puerto Rico still flounders in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, left to beg for federal help. The politics and indifference underlying the island’s desperation recall the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim 60 years ago in “West Side Story”:

Nobody knows in America
Puerto Rico’s in America!

The plot of that Broadway musical was rooted in the great migration in the 1950s as Puerto Ricans — American citizens in good standing — fled hardship on their beloved commonwealth island for fresh opportunity and better government benefits in mainland states. A similar diaspora occurred during the recent recession, when 400,000 migrated. And now, thousands upon thousands more have been leaving each week as the island staggers. Florida alone has received more than 230,000 Puerto Ricans since the Sept. 20 hurricane, and experts predict that the outflow to places like New York and Pennsylvania could increase by more than 300,000 in the next two years unless a radical rebuilding takes place for Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents.

The Trump recovery imprint has been far clearer in Gulf Coast states hit by hurricanes this year than on an island that has so little political clout. A double standard in the law was quickly clear after the storm when a federal cap on Puerto Rico’s food stamps limited the amount of emergency food aid. Texas and Florida had no such restraints after their hurricanes.

As of last week, only about 60 percent of Puerto Rico’s power had been restored. Power remains the key to ever regaining normalcy in business, education and home life. But the island is suffering the longest blackout in United States history. An estimated 700 temporary generators are providing emergency power, with officials hoping for something more permanent no earlier than next summer.

The island was reeling under $74 billion in debt even before the hurricane hit, and its news tends to get worse, not better. Its government counted a death toll of 64 in the first 42 days after the storm, but a detailed survey by The Times found that 1,052 more people than usual had died. More lives are at risk now, with older residents and those with chronic health conditions particularly threatened as the on-again-off-again power grid affects vital medical machinery.

Nearly half of Puerto Rico’s residents rely on Medicaid, which is not as well funded federally on the island as it is in the states. The problems are compounded by a looming financial crisis that experts say could leave a quarter of the island’s residents without medical care early next year unless Congress and the Trump administration extend special help.

Washington caps the island’s Medicaid assistance. This means that while federal revenue covers 75 percent of the Medicaid bill for low-income states like Mississippi, Puerto Rico gets only about 15 to 20 percent coverage. So it resorts to local budgeting and more debt, thereby worsening the bankruptcy spiral.

Continue reading the main story

Image of Cooperation Between White House and Mueller Starts to Fracture
 

mikenova shared this story .

Legal experts said there was no indication that Mr. Mueller, who has wide power to obtain documents through written requests, subpoenas and search warrants, improperly obtained the transition emails. But amid the barrage of criticism, Mr. Mueller’s office issued a rare statement on Sunday defending how the information had been obtained during the inquiry into Russian election meddling.

“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office.

A lawyer for Mr. Trump said in a letter to Congress on Saturday that the General Services Administration, the government agency that had the transition team’s emails, had handed them over to Mr. Mueller’s investigators in August without allowing transition team lawyers to review them. The documents, the lawyer argued, should have been shielded by various privileges, like attorney-client privilege.

The materials, said the lawyer, Kory Langhofer, were the property of the transition team, and therefore it should have had the chance to decide what was given to investigators.

The letter came days after the Justice Department took the unusual step of releasing to the news media anti-Trump text messages that an agent overseeing the investigation had sent to a colleague. Although Mr. Mueller had moved quickly this past summer to remove the agent from the inquiry, Republicans seized on the disclosure to criticize Mr. Mueller and the F.B.I.

One Trump adviser, Kellyanne Conway, said it was evidence that “the fix was in against Donald Trump from the beginning.”

White House officials sought to play down the significance of the letter about the transition emails, insisting it was an issue for the transition team, not the West Wing. They said the president had not changed his approach to cooperating with the special counsel, and that he had not discussed dismissing Mr. Mueller.

“We have been cooperative and transparent with the special counsel’s office and will continue to be — we look forward to an expeditious conclusion to this matter,” said Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump.

Still, the letter to Congress from Mr. Langhofer sounded a discordant note. His assertion that the emails were privileged and should have been shielded stood in contrast to the stance of White House officials, who said that Mr. Trump’s lawyers had not invoked any such privilege on any White House documents that Mr. Mueller had requested.

Among the materials obtained from the transition team by Mr. Mueller were emails, laptops and cellphones for nine members who worked on national security and policy matters, according to the letter. Mr. Mueller’s investigators have used the documents during interviews with transition team officials when questioning them about calls between Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, and the Russian ambassador in which they discussed American sanctions.

One of the emails shows that several transition officials were aware that Mr. Flynn was going to be speaking with the ambassador on Dec. 29 after the Obama administration had imposed new sanctions on Russia for its election meddling. Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty this month to lying to the F.B.I. about his interactions with the Russian official.

“The materials produced by the G.S.A. to the special counsel’s office therefore included materials protected by the attorney-client privilege, the deliberative process privilege, and the presidential communications privilege,” Mr. Langhofer, the counsel to Trump for America, said in his letter, which was sent to the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate and House oversight committees.

Over the summer, Mr. Trump publicly dangled the possibility of firing Mr. Mueller, stoking concerns among some of his advisers who believed that Mr. Trump would further imperil his presidency if he did so.

But two people who have spoken to the president recently said that he was far more frustrated with the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, than Mr. Mueller. Mr. Trump has said that Mr. Wray has not moved quickly enough to rid the bureau of senior officials who were biased against Mr. Trump and had worked for James B. Comey, the director whom Mr. Trump fired in May.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers assured the president throughout the fall that Mr. Mueller’s investigation would be over by the end of the year. But on Dec. 1, Mr. Flynn entered his guilty plea and agreed to cooperate with Mr. Mueller’s investigation, an indication that the inquiry will not soon close.

Two weeks ago, The New York Times reported that Mr. Mueller had removed one of the top agents working on the investigation, Peter Strzok, after the discovery of text messages between him and a colleague in which they described the possibility of an election victory by Mr. Trump as “terrifying” and said that Hillary Clinton “just has to win.”

Republicans have seized on Mr. Strzok’s text messages, saying that they were the clearest evidence that the F.B.I. had been out to get Mr. Trump and that Mr. Mueller’s investigation was filled with partisans. Along with attacking Mr. Strzok, Republicans have said that one of Mr. Mueller’s top prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann, may also be biased against Mr. Trump because he commended the acting attorney general in a January email for not enforcing Mr. Trump’s travel ban.

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, praised Mr. Mueller in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday for removing Mr. Strzok but said “there are others” whom Mr. Mueller needs to examine.

“There are plenty of F.B.I. agents and prosecutors who have not been politically involved on behalf of Democrats or overtly critical of the president that can serve in this important investigation,” Mr. Cornyn said.

He added: “So I have confidence in Director Mueller. I would just think he would be concerned about the appearance of conflicts of interest that would undermine the integrity of the investigation.”

Continue reading the main story

Image of Cooperation Between White House and Mueller Starts to Fracture – New York Times
 

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New York Times
Image of Cooperation Between White House and Mueller Starts to Fracture
New York Times
But two people who have spoken to the president recently said that he was far more frustrated with the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, than Mr. Mueller. Mr. Trump has said that Mr. Wray has not moved 
Trump: ‘No, I’m not’ firing Mueller, as allies step up attacks on special counsel probeLos Angeles Times
Cooperation Fraying Between White House and Special CounselWRAL.comall 347 news articles »
Trump shouldn’t trust Putin on Syria — or anything else
 

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Vladimir Putin is a master at manipulating people by telling them what they want to hear. He’s just done it again by announcing a “withdrawal” from Syria while simply resetting his forces there and promoting Russian-led “peace talks” between Bashar al-Assad and regime-tolerated Syrian rebel groups.

Putin has no intention of going anywhere. He has established strong military positions in Syria—an airbase near Latakia and a naval port at Tartus—with 49-year leases.  But the most dangerous aspect of the illusion he fosters is that he could split from Iran in Syria in a way that helps the U.S. contain Russia’s partner in propping up the Assad dictatorship.

This is a pipe dream with growing appeal to U.S. policymakers, who sidelined themselves in Syria, apart from the fight against ISIS, starting with the Obama Administration. The fact is that if the U.S. wants to contain Iran’s growing Syrian footprint, counting on Putin isn’t the way to do it.

It’s going to be hard to get the Iranians out: they are entrenching themselves in Damascus (where Iran has been buying property for years), southern Syria, Aleppo, and elsewhereIran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its auxiliaries are spread all over the country.

The Obama Administration did nothing to block the Russian military presence in Syria, and the Trump Administration followed suit.  But the Trump White House has repeatedly refused—at least rhetorically– to accept a permanent Iranian military presence there.  With good reason: allowing Iran to keep bases in Syria would make a recently-released U.S. containment strategy for Iran nearly meaningless.

The U.S. has negotiated “de-escalation zones” in Syria with Russia, which theoretically require Iranian forces to withdraw. For the most part, they haven’t.

The U.S. has negotiated “de-escalation zones” in Syria with Russia, which theoretically require Iranian forces to withdraw. For the most part, they haven’t. U.S. officials have offered no indication they actually plan to do anything substantive to reduce Tehran’s presence.

The idea is now growing that Russia and Iran could “split” in Syria after the declared “defeat” of ISIS, and that Putin could then help contain Tehran’s aggressive activity. But how, concretely, could Putin do that?

One idea, especially in the wake of Putin’s “retrenchment,” is that he could withhold air support to Iranian forces in Syria to cause a pullback. Indeed, Putin may be withholding Russian military support for Iranian operations in Syria’s northerly Idlib Province right now.

Tehran, however, has a much stronger hand to play in threatening to withhold military assistance than Putin does— the Iranian coalition defends Russia’s bases at Tartus and Latakia.  If he makes Iran his enemy in Syria he will lose everything he’s fought for there.

In fact, Iranian military force, not Russian, is dominant in Syria.  Moscow’s military contingent consists of a few thousand personnel devoted to securing bases and supporting air operations, along with a very limited number of special forces (SPETSNAZ) and military police, as well as some private contractors.  Russia has developed some of its own Syrian proxy forces, but their numbers are small.

Iran, by contrast, commands a coalition of many tens of thousands of fighters—its own Revolutionary Guards, Qods Force, and Basij fighters; Lebanese Hezbollah; Iraqi Shi’a militias (now pouring into Syria after the recapture of Mosul); and thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis it has recruited, trained, and brought into the Levant.

That coalition force is by far the most powerful single military organization in Syria.  It can and will dictate realities on the ground in matters of any great importance to Tehran.

As things stand, Putin now tolerates Israeli attacks on Iranian positions in Syria that his air defenses and air force could have resisted and possibly deterred.  Some  analysts argue that this divergence opens the door for Israel to contain Iran in Syria with tacit Russian permission.

But Israeli strikes have so far been pin-pricks aimed mainly at installations reportedly involved in chemical weapons, missile systems, and other advanced Iranian technologies, rather than changing the Iranian footprint in Syria overall.  To change Iran’s posture, Israel would have to undertake a large-scale air campaign and probably a ground campaign into Syria as well—something akin to a full-scale war with Iran and its proxies.

Israel is not interested in such a war, which would quickly escalate to include massive Hezbollah attacks on Israel, Israeli engagement in Lebanon, and Iranian retaliation against the U.S. around the region, since Tehran blames the U.S. for anything the Israelis do.

An even bigger challenge is that any Israeli expulsion of the IRGC and most of its proxies from Iran would lead to the collapse of the Assad regime, which cannot survive without their help.  The Israelis have shown no interest in collapsing the regime, and for Putin, that result would undo everything he has achieved so far.

Any Russo-Israeli entente, therefore, will be limited to moderating Iranian military presence in Syria at a level well above what the Trump administration’s regional Iran strategy, and American interests, require.

Policymakers can argue endlessly about Putin’s intentions, concerns, or feelings toward Iran, his willingness to cooperate with the U.S., and his objectives in Syria. But it is almost impossible to point to real evidence that any of those things support the idea that Putin would ever want to help us there with Iran.

What we could do in Syria without Putin is an even more difficult discussion, but that is the conversation we should actually be having instead.

Frederick W. Kagan is the Christopher DeMuth Scholar and the director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute.

Anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok had eye-popping influence at Justice Dept.
 

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Over the past two weeks it has been revealed that Justice Department official Peter Strzok is facing an inquiry from the DOJ’s Inspector General over what appears to be highly inappropriate conduct while he was engaged in several high-profile, politically charged investigations over the past two years.

Strzok, a former deputy to the assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI who also weaseled his way onto Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia Collusion investigation until he was removed in July, has been in the headlines lately over text messages showing his utter disdain for then-candidate Donald Trump and his attempt to plan a mysterious “insurance policy” incase the billionaire real estate and media mogul won the highest office in the land.

So what did Strzok actually accomplish at the Justice Department up until his reassignment to an “supervisory job in the bureau’s human resources department” over the summer?

Remarkably, (and some would say disturbingly) quite a lot.

1: Strzok was able to modify FBI Director James Comey’s initial finding that Hillary Clinton had been “grossly negligent” in her handling of sensitive and classified government documents with the use of her private email server. Strzok’s Svengali-like manipulation of Comey (a man who’s credibility can not and should not ever be questioned because Joe Scarborough has told us he’s impeccable…  although it’s kind of strange to hear how this partisan underling manipulated Comey in such a blatant and perverse way) successfully changed the FBI’s findings on the Clinton email debacle to “extremely careless” thereby keeping the outrageous behavior free from criminal referral. Score one for the Thesauras!  Hillary saved by the synonym machine!

2. Strzok participated in the interview of Hillary Clinton over her private email server. The interview, conducted days before Comey released his controversial findings in July 2016, was conducted without the benefit of any recording devices or a sworn oath.

3. Strzok also convinced Comey (a pillar of virtue and a man who’s competence and effectiveness you really shouldn’t ever question, I mean, just look at the great job he did) to soften the language in his findings over the likelihood Clinton’s private and unauthorized email server had been hacked by a foreign entity.

“In an early draft, Comey said it was “reasonably likely” that “hostile actors” gained access to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account. That was changed later to say the scenario was merely ‘possible.’” Fox News reported this week.

4. Strzok also oversaw the questioning of then-National Security Director Michael Flynn over his contacts with Russian officials during the post-election transition process. Flynn’s answers to Strzok’s questions were later found to rise to the level of criminal deception leading Flynn to a guilty plea agreement with the Mueller investigation.

5. We’ve also learned that Strzok was a “key figure” with regard to the acceptance of and possible dissemination of the infamous Russian Dossier, a collection of unverified tales about Donald Trump that was paid for by the Clinton campaign. Strzok reportedly briefed the House Intelligence Committee on the dossier in December of 2016, just one month after the presidential election and in the middle of the transition process.

6. Fox News has also reported that Strzok has been accused of “obstructing” the House Intel Committee’s investigation.  “Investigators were contacted by an informant suggesting that there was “documentary evidence” that Strzok was purportedly obstructing the House probe into the dossier,” James Osen and Jake Gibson earlier this month.

7. As a highly placed member of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation team, Strzok rubbed elbows and cooperated with other intelligence agency heads including John Brennan at CIA and Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Both Brennan and Clapper have shown themselves to be as virulently anti-Trump and partisan as Strzok displayed in his text messages. And let’s not forget, Clapper’s report on Russian involvement with the DNC hack and WikiLeak’s was the foundation of the fake “Seventeen Intelligence Agencies have concluded Russian hacking on behalf of Trump” talking point that emanated from the Obama Administration, was parroted by the Clinton campaign and became a montra of the New York Times, AP, CNN and most mainstream media outlets until they corrected their own record earlier this year.

That’s the list as of now… but we expect it to keep growing.

It is unclear whether Strzok was involved with the FISA warrant that ultimately led to a wiretap on former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort who has been indicted as a result of the Mueller investigation. But given his alleged involvement in the FBI’s handling of the dossier and the infamous “insurance policy” texts suggesting an attempt to undermine the Trump campaign or a potential Trumppresidency, many observers are connecting those dots and reaching reasonable conclusions.

Strzok is the quintessential swamp creature and it is remarkable to look at how many highly politically charged pies he had his fingers in over the past two years. Remarkable until you recognize exactly what has sadly become the reality here on the ground in Washington DC. There was a time when “Career Justice Department Official” was a badge of honor and something that suggested that the individual attached was one of extreme integrity and beyond political influence or corruption. Now, sadly, it appears the exact opposite applies.

Where are the “Career Justice Department Officials” who don’t appear to be more loyal to the swamp, the system and their chosen political allies rather than the rule of law?

Trump says he is not planning to fire Mueller as Republican attacks increase – The Guardian
 

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The Guardian
Trump says he is not planning to fire Mueller as Republican attacks increase
The Guardian
So far, other than issuing characteristic attacks on Twitter, the president has fought something of a proxy war. After it was reported this month that Mueller removed from his team an FBI agent who sent text messages critical of Trump, Republicans in 
Donald Trump allies say special counsel ‘unlawfully’ obtained thousands of emailsDeutsche Welle
Trump transition lawyer claims special counsel illegally obtained emailsABC News
Trump Could Fire Mueller Next Week Before Christmas When Congress Is Gone, Rep SaysNewsweek
PBS NewsHour –CBS News –CNN
all 325 news articles »
Donald Trump and his goons have their new DOJ scapegoat, and its not Robert Mueller
 

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Donald Trump’s advisers, surrogates, family members, and Republican allies in Congress have spent the past week frantically trying to smear the reputation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. They’re panicking at the idea that Mueller is moving closer to exposing Trump’s wide array of serious crimes. But thus far there is no basis for believing that Trump is actually gearing up to try to fire Mueller, which he can’t directly do anyway. Instead, Trump and his people are firmly targeting a different key figure at the Department of Justice.

The clues have been in plain sight for days. Congressman Trey Gowdy, who was on the Trump transition team and is likely panicking over the transition emails that Mueller has his hands on, has spent the week making up phony scandals about Mueller. But when it came down to it, Gowdy arrogantly bragged that he actually believes Trump is going to fire Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He’s far from the only one who thinks McCabe is about to take the fall.

Over the past few days Donald Trump Jr has tweeted or retweeted several false and disparaging claims about McCabe. These people have no poker face at all, because they’re telegraphing that Donald Trump is gearing up to fire McCabe. How did he become the scapegoat? Trump has spent months tweeting phony claims about McCabe being some kind of paid Hillary Clinton shill, which he presumably heard about from Fox News or another propaganda source.

Donald Trump would surely like to fire Robert Mueller. But he knows that firing James Comey was what led to Mueller’s appointment to begin with, and he presumably has some understanding that firing Mueller would be likely to backfire in similar fashion. He might also have to fire half the DOJ in order find someone there who is willing to fire Mueller. So it appears his handlers are steering him toward firing McCabe instead, which will let him fulfill his desire for blood.

The post Donald Trump and his goons have their new DOJ scapegoat, and its not Robert Muellerappeared first on Palmer Report.

Robert Mueller also has Donald Trump teams laptops and cellphones. Heres what that means.
 

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Over the past twelve hours, the Trump-Russia scandal has taken a series of twists and turns, largely focused on the revelation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has had the Trump transition team’s emails all along. These emails likely incriminate quite a number of Trump’s current and former people. But an overlooked detail in the story may prove to be the most crucial of all: Mueller also has the Trump team’s laptops and cellphones.

Here’s the relevant passage from Reuters, which we’ll quote here for the purpose of dissecting what’s really going on here: “The FBI had requested the materials from GSA staff on Aug. 23, asking for copies of the emails, laptops, cell phones and other materials associated with nine members of the Trump transition team responsible for national security and policy matters.” (link). So what are we looking at? First, it means Mueller has copies of all the data and history on the laptops and cellphones used by the Trump transition team. This provides far broader avenues for evidence gathering than mere emails.

If Trump’s people were their usual sloppy selves, it’s unlikely that they wiped (or sufficiently wiped) the devices they had been using. This means Mueller would have access to every word processing document they typed, and perhaps access to personal email accounts that were being used on those laptops. The cellphones would not provide recordings of transition team phone conversations, but would have call histories, and potentially copies of voicemails. This is just the beginning.

Reuters says that Robert Mueller was targeting nine people on the Trump transition team in particular. Who are they? “National security and policy matters” could be interpreted in a few different ways. While this is not an indicator of guilt, here is a partial list of some Trump transition team members whose official titles could fit the above description: Michael Flynn, Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani, Reince Priebus, and Jeff Sessions. Flynn has already cut a plea deal.

The post Robert Mueller also has Donald Trump team’s laptops and cellphones. Here’s what that means.appeared first on Palmer Report.

Trump and allies are trying to destroy Mueller – WTHITV.com
 

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Trump and allies are trying to destroy Mueller
WTHITV.com
Peter Carr, a Mueller spokesman, made a statement soon after the allegation emerged: “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process and more »
FBI and Justice Dept. officials might be investigated for Trump bias – Raw Story
 

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Raw Story
FBI and Justice Dept. officials might be investigated for Trump bias
Raw Story
Top officials at the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department might be subpoenaed as part of a House investigation into alleged agency bias against President Donald Trump. A Republican on the House Judiciary Committee said Saturday that the panel’s chairman 
Former FBI Asst. Dir. Jim Kallstrom: ‘Strong Obstruction of Justice Case Against Strzok and Many Others’ – PJ Media
 

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PJ Media
Former FBI Asst. Dir. Jim Kallstrom: ‘Strong Obstruction of Justice Case Against Strzok and Many Others’
PJ Media
Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom says a strong case can be made for an obstruction of justice charge against demoted FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and many others at the FBI and Department of Justice. Strzok, the former
Putin thanks Trump for CIA intel – New York Post
 

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New York Post
Putin thanks Trump for CIA intel
New York Post
WASHINGTON Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Trump to offer thanks for sharing an intelligence tip that thwarted a major terror plot, the White House confirmed Sunday. It was the second phone call between the world leaders sinceand more »
Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s performance as US president cartoon | Opinion | The Guardian
 

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Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s performance as US president cartoon | Opinion
 

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Robert Mueller takes warning shot at Donald Trump and his criminal advisers
 

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So much for Robert Mueller pulling his punches. After a week of media hype about the possibility that Donald Trump might try to fire him, Mueller ended the week with a bang. He leaked that he’s been sitting on fifty thousand emails which incriminate any number of Trump’s advisers. When Trump’s attorneys complained about the manner in which Mueller acquired the emails, he fired back, making a point of using the word “criminal” twice.

The emails in question, which are from the Trump transition team, likely incriminate half a dozen or more of Trump’s people, up to and perhaps including Mike Pence. The implication was clear enough: if Trump tries to fire Mueller, then Mueller will use these emails to arrest Trump’s own people before Trump can complete the multi-step process of getting him fired. That was enough to prompt Trump’s White House to quickly issue a statement confirming that Trump won’t be firing Mueller, but it wasn’t enough to silence Trump’s attorneys so Mueller took another shot.

Trump’s legal team made the baseless claim that Mueller improperly acquired the emails by getting them from the General Services Administration, because some of the emails were supposedly privileged. However, legal experts wasted no time pointing out the invalid nature of that argument. Mueller made the unusual move of putting out a statement through his spokesman. Not only did Mueller defend the legality of his actions, he also took a pointed warning shot at Trump’s people, reminding them what he has on them.

Robert Mueller’s spokesman said “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owners consent or appropriate criminal process” (link). There are only two sentences that truly matter in that sentence, and they’re both “criminal.” Mueller is reminding Trump’s people that if they can’t stop Trump from trying to fire him, he’s holding more evidence against them than they know.

The post Robert Mueller takes warning shot at Donald Trump and his “criminal” advisers appeared first on Palmer Report.

Trump Gave a Racist and Anti-Immigrant Speech to Cops at the FBI and They Loved It
 

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Putin phoned Trump to thank him for CIA intel that foiled a planned terrorist attack in Russia, the Kremlin says
 

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Gregg Jarrett: FBI Has Become “America’s Secret Police,” Mueller Using FBI As “Political Weapon” – RealClearPolitics
 

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RealClearPolitics
Gregg Jarrett: FBI Has Become “America’s Secret Police,” Mueller Using FBI As “Political Weapon”
RealClearPolitics
FOX News’ Gregg Jarrett on Wednesday night said the Federal Bureau of Investigation has become “America’s secret police” and that special counsel Robert Mueller is using the government entity as a “political weapon.” “The FBI is a shadow government now 
Fox legal analyst Jarrett: Mueller investigation ‘illegitimate and corrupt’The Hill
Fox News’s Gregg Jarrett Goes Full-Conspiracist on Mueller: ‘KGB That Comes For You in the Dark of Night’Mediaite
Top Fox News analyst goes off in wild segment about Russia, calls the FBI America’s ‘secret police’ and like ‘the Business Insiderall 5 news articles »
Family Security Matters
 

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FBI: American Gestapo

by LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHDDecember 16, 2017Any government agency with law enforcement and surveillance authority that uses those powers for political purposes is the definition of a secret police, no better than the Nazi Gestapo or the Soviet KGB.

There is indeed probable cause to conclude, meaning indictable offenses, that employees of the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the Democrat Party, used the power of their offices and with the assistance of foreign nationals to influence the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton, first to exonerate her and then obtain information to prevent the election of Donald Trump or to provide a basis for his impeachment should he win.

It is also abundantly clear from the Congressional investigations involving the Department of Justice and the FBI that those institutions of government are protecting themselves at the expense of transparency and accountability to the American people.

In other words, the government employees involved consider the survival of the Deep State more important than the survival of the Constitution. That is the definition of tyranny.

Here is a summary of the apparent sequence of events based on the revelations so far. There may be more damning evidence yet to be disclosed.

–        The Democrats hired Fusion GPS to find dirt on Donald Trump.

–        Fusion GPS hired former British MI6 agent in Moscow, Christopher Steele, to canvass and very likely pay his Russian contacts, some of whom may be present or former members of Russian intelligence, for negative information about Trump.

–        Steele creates the “Trump dossier” and distributes it either directly or indirectly to media outlets and to politicians like Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

–        The FBI obtains the “Trump dossier,” but inexplicably or perhaps intentionally does not check the veracity of any of Steele’s assertions.

–        The FBI uses the “Trump dossier” to apply to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to obtain warrantless authorization to conduct surveillance on Trump and his associates.

–        It now appears that Christopher Steele might have been, at some point, on the FBI payroll, and, by extension, the Russians.

The use of an un-vetted document from dubious Russian sources as a basis for unwarranted surveillance of American citizens, ultimately for political purposes, renders the entire Mueller investigation a farce and could provide exculpatory evidence to vacate the guilty plea of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. It is a verdict many believe was based on improperly-obtained information as part of an overall effort by politically-motivated federal employees to manipulate the results of the 2016 election.

The conditions that led to the election of Donald Trump as President remain. They bear repeating.

The federal government and the media are, as institutions, hopelessly corrupt and, although we have elections, we no longer have representative government.

There is a Cold Civil War underway in the United States to determine who should control the federal government. It is not a contest between the Democrat and Republican policies, but a battle between the entrenched power of the bipartisan political establishment, the Deep State, versus the freedom and well-being of the American people. It is a conflict between those who want to adhere to the Constitution and the rule of law and a ruling elite, who wish to continue the practices of political expediency and crony capitalism for the purposes of personal power and profit.

Americans now believe that we are no longer citizens of a republic, but subjects of an elected aristocracy, composed of a self-absorbed and self-perpetuating permanent political class, which serves its own interests and those of its international financiers, not those of the American people.

Three years before the start of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said a government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free – that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Likewise, a government separated from the people cannot stand.

The American Revolution, a war to free ourselves from foreign tyranny, lasted eight years.

The Second American Revolution, a battle to root out the corruption and despotism of the Deep State will take longer, but equally necessary.

Enjoying your FSM article? The Family Security Foundation is a non-profit and we keep bringing you articles because of donors’ generous contributions. Your year-end tax-free contribution allows <a href=”http://FamilySecurityMatters.org” rel=”nofollow”>FamilySecurityMatters.org</a> to continue to be your go to site for National Security issues!  Ready to support FSM? Click here.

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FBI: American Gestapo – Family Security Matters
 

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FBI: American Gestapo
Family Security Matters
There is indeed probable cause to conclude, meaning indictable offenses, that employees of the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the Democrat Party, used the power of their offices and with the 
10:40 AM 12/16/2017 What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good for America!
 

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M.N.: This graph below, from the cited article, is meaningless and misleading, just as the article itself: the overall “ideological orientation” (rated as the “conservative” for the FBI, with the score of about +1,5 on the -2 to +2 scale), in no way can be the predictor or correlate of the behaviors and actions, including … Continue reading“10:40 AM 12/16/2017 – What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good for America! “

WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI – Townhall
 

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Townhall
WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI
Townhall
There is something rotten at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I mean all of this is just absurd. We have two FBI agents texting one another, one of which is having an extramarital affair with the other, cryptically talking about insurance against and more »
President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong. – Washington Post
 

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Washington Post
President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong.
Washington Post
The former FBI director James BComey and current FBI director Christopher A. Wray have both previously donated to Republicans. All agencies this size include employees who donate to Democrats and others who donate to Republicans donations that are 
President Trump’s speech at the FBI Academy was recklessThe Hill
White House: FBI records show ‘extreme bias’ against TrumpWashington Times
Andrew C. McCarthy: Mueller needs to make a changeWinston-Salem Journal
Week Facts –Fox News
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8:26 PM 12/17/2017 – Trump says he is not planning to fire Mueller

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Putin Thanks Trump for Intelligence About Planned Terror Attack – Wall Street Journal
Trump year one: better scorecard than predicted – Financial Times
Why America’s business leaders aren’t speaking out about Trump – NBCNews.com
Democrats see plot to fire Mueller in escalating GOP attacks – Politico
Trump lawyer accuses Mueller of improperly obtaining transition emails – NBCNews.com
Donald Trumps lazy incompetence directly led to Robbert Mueller getting his emails
As multiple Fox News figures suggest the FBI is corrupt, Chris Wallace says that no one is attacking the FBI as an … – Media Matters for America
Trump says he is not considering firing Mueller – CNN
Trump calls investigation into transition emails ‘very sad,’ but says he won’t fire Mueller – USA TODAY
Russian oligarchs sue Trump dossier producer for becoming ‘collateral damage’ in smear campaign – Washington Times
Donald Trump and his goons have their new DOJ scapegoat, and its not Robert Mueller
House panel to interview publicist Rob Goldstone, Rep. Wasserman Schultz on Monday – CNN
Families Of Americans Imprisoned In Egypt Pin Their Hopes On … Mike Pence?
Robert Mueller also has Donald Trump teams laptops and cellphones. Heres what that means.
Trump’s administration’s seven banned words are an attack on science – CNN
The President Plays With Matches And The Whole World Burns – HuffPost
The President Plays With Matches And The Whole World Burns
One year in, Trump tries to define his national security strategy to fit his ‘America first’ vision – Los Angeles Times
The Tax Cut And The Fake Trump Boom
If Trump delivers on the economy, he will gallop into a second term – The Times
Trump: ‘No, I’m not’ firing Mueller, as allies step up attacks on special counsel probe – Los Angeles Times
Jared Kushner is at the center of Robert Muellers secret Trump-Russia emails
Trump and allies are trying to destroy Mueller – WTHITV.com
FBI and Justice Dept. officials might be investigated for Trump bias – Raw Story

 

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Trump says he is not planning to fire Mueller as Republican attacks increase – The Guardian


The Guardian
Trump says he is not planning to fire Mueller as Republican attacks increase
The Guardian
So far, other than issuing characteristic attacks on Twitter, the president has fought something of a proxy war. After it was reported this month that Mueller removed from his team an FBI agent who sent text messages critical of Trump, Republicans in 
Donald Trump allies say special counsel ‘unlawfully’ obtained thousands of emailsDeutsche Welle
Trump transition lawyer claims special counsel illegally obtained emailsABC News
Trump Could Fire Mueller Next Week Before Christmas When Congress Is Gone, Rep SaysNewsweek
PBS NewsHour –CBS News –CNN
all 325 news articles »
Putin Thanks Trump for Intelligence About Planned Terror Attack – Wall Street Journal


Wall Street Journal
Putin Thanks Trump for Intelligence About Planned Terror Attack
Wall Street Journal
MOSCOWRussian President Vladimir Putin thanked U.S. President Donald Trump by telephone for intelligence that the Kremlin said had helped prevent a series of terrorist bombings in St. Petersburg, Mr. Putin’s office said Sunday. The Kremlin said Mr 

Trump year one: better scorecard than predicted – Financial Times


Financial Times
Trump year one: better scorecard than predicted
Financial Times 
President Donald Trump is within reach of his first big legislative victory as the US Congress prepares to pass a tax bill that would allow the president to end his first year with a better scorecard than many had predicted. Republicans appear to have 
Last-Minute Real Estate Tax Break In GOP Bill Will Benefit TrumpInternational Business Times

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Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia politics professor, said Mr Trump had also made progress on his agenda in ways that were less obvious. Most people don’t follow federal rulemaking, but Trump and company are deconstructing the regulatory system 

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Why America’s business leaders aren’t speaking out about Trump – NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com
Why America’s business leaders aren’t speaking out about Trump
NBCNews.com
The outdoor recreation industry responded last week with a unified repudiation of the White House’s announcement to sharply reduce the size of two national monuments, but there is little indication that this or other controversial positions, ranging 

Democrats see plot to fire Mueller in escalating GOP attacks – Politico


Politico
Democrats see plot to fire Mueller in escalating GOP attacks
Politico
A sense of foreboding has settled over congressional Democrats, who fear that GOP lawmakers, the White House and conservative media figures are orchestrating a messaging campaign with one logical goal: the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller by 
Trump’s Likely Victory With GOP Tax Overhaul Overshadowed By Russia ProbeTPM
Trump: I’m not considering firing special counsel MuellerChicago Tribune
Robert Mueller’s team accused by Trump lawyer of inappropriately obtaining thousands of emailsTelegraph.co.uk
New Vision
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Trump lawyer accuses Mueller of improperly obtaining transition emails – NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com
Trump lawyer accuses Mueller of improperly obtaining transition emails
NBCNews.com
A top lawyer for President Donald Trump’s transition team has accused a government agency of unlawfully turning over thousands of emails to special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russia’s election meddling and potential  
Trump says he is not considering firing Mueller
 
Mueller team denies accusations it ‘unlawfully’ obtained Trump transition emails
 CNN

Trump allies say Mueller unlawfully obtained thousands of emailsReuters
Trump : Won’t Fire Special Counsel Over Collection of Transition EmailsVoice of America Allies Flip Out After Mueller Lands Tens Of Thousands Of EmailsHuffPost 
BBC NewsNewsweek PoliticoKQED
all 334 Voice of America
all 309
 
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Donald Trumps lazy incompetence directly led to Robbert Mueller getting his emails

Donald Trump isn’t merely an illegitimately elected president with authoritarian ambitions and personal loyalty to a foreign enemy. He’s also lazily incompetent. He spends most of his time watching cable news or playing golf. He hasn’t bothered to fill numerous crucial government positions. He’s surrounded himself with sycophantic staffers who are as bumbling as he is. Now it turns out Special Counsel Robert Mueller got a major leg up on Trump because of that lazy ineptitude.

Last night it was revealed that all along, Mueller has secretly had every Trump transition team email. He was interviewing Trump’s people about the Trump-Russia scandal, not because he wanted to learn something from them, but because he wanted them to incriminate themselves by lying about what was in those emails. So how did Mueller get the fifty thousand emails in question? He simply asked the General Services Administration to turn them over. Trump had put one of his own people in place at the GSA, presumably in order to specifically stop this kind of thing from happening. Then the guy got sick and died.

According to various major media outlets, Mueller asked the GSA for the emails in question back in August. Back in May, Trump had appointed Richard W. Beckler, one of his own loyalists, as the General Counsel of the GSA (link). It would have been Beckler’s job to fight back against Mueller in the name of preventing those emails from being turned over. But when Beckler became seriously ill and could no longer show up for the job, neither Trump nor his people bothered to put another loyalist in his place (link). This allowed Mueller to get what he wanted without any hassle.

If Donald Trump and his handlers had been on top of this, they might have been able to significantly delay Robert Mueller’s acquisition of the incriminating emails in question. Instead, Mueller has had them for months. For that matter, Trump and his people are so clueless, they weren’t even aware that the GSA had turned them over. That ineptitude may prove to be Trump’s undoing.

The post Donald Trump’s lazy incompetence directly led to Robbert Mueller getting his emails appeared first on Palmer Report.

As multiple Fox News figures suggest the FBI is corrupt, Chris Wallace says that no one is attacking the FBI as an … – Media Matters for America


Media Matters for America
As multiple Fox News figures suggest the FBI is corrupt, Chris Wallace says that no one is attacking the FBI as an …
Media Matters for America
A top counterintelligence agent, Peter Strzok, exchanged the messages with Lisa Page, a senior F.B.I. lawyer. Some messages criticized Mrs. Clinton’s team, the Obama administration, Congress and other Democrats. But the two appeared appalled at some of 

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Trump says he is not considering firing Mueller – CNN


CNN
Trump says he is not considering firing Mueller
CNN
Following his return to the White House from Camp David, Trump told reporters that he thought it was “pretty sad” that the special counsel got a hold of the emails, which Trump transition lawyers said Mueller’s team “unlawfully” obtained. The President 
Trump: I’m Not Considering Firing Robert MuellerSlate Magazine 
Trump says he has no intention to fire special counsel MuellerCNBC

Trump’s likely tax victory overshadowed by probePBS NewsHour 
The GuardianABC NewsNewsweek
all 328 
Trump transition lawyer claims special counsel illegally obtained emailsABC News
NewsweekCBS NewsThe Guardian
all 331
 news articles »
Trump calls investigation into transition emails ‘very sad,’ but says he won’t fire Mueller – USA TODAY


USA TODAY
Trump calls investigation into transition emails ‘very sad,’ but says he won’t fire Mueller
USA TODAY
Trump also said he was confident that he emails wouldn’t show any evidence that his campaign or transition teams colluded with Russia in the 2016 election. “I can’t imagine there’s anything on them, frankly, because as we said, there’s no collusion 
Democrats see plot to fire Mueller in escalating GOP attacksPolitico
Trump Allies Flip Out After Mueller Lands Tens Of Thousands Of EmailsHuffPost
Trump allies say Mueller unlawfully obtained thousands of emailsReuters
NPR –Washington Post –BBC News
all 333 news articles »
Russian oligarchs sue Trump dossier producer for becoming ‘collateral damage’ in smear campaign – Washington Times

Russian oligarchs sue Trump dossier producer for becoming ‘collateral damage’ in smear campaign
Washington Times
Fusion’s founders have been forced to appear before the House and Senate intelligence committees. Republicans are pressing the FBI to reveal details on how it used an unverified, Democrat-funded dossier to investigate the Trump campaign. Mr. Steele 

Donald Trump and his goons have their new DOJ scapegoat, and its not Robert Mueller

Donald Trump’s advisers, surrogates, family members, and Republican allies in Congress have spent the past week frantically trying to smear the reputation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. They’re panicking at the idea that Mueller is moving closer to exposing Trump’s wide array of serious crimes. But thus far there is no basis for believing that Trump is actually gearing up to try to fire Mueller, which he can’t directly do anyway. Instead, Trump and his people are firmly targeting a different key figure at the Department of Justice.

The clues have been in plain sight for days. Congressman Trey Gowdy, who was on the Trump transition team and is likely panicking over the transition emails that Mueller has his hands on, has spent the week making up phony scandals about Mueller. But when it came down to it, Gowdy arrogantly bragged that he actually believes Trump is going to fire Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He’s far from the only one who thinks McCabe is about to take the fall.

Over the past few days Donald Trump Jr has tweeted or retweeted several false and disparaging claims about McCabe. These people have no poker face at all, because they’re telegraphing that Donald Trump is gearing up to fire McCabe. How did he become the scapegoat? Trump has spent months tweeting phony claims about McCabe being some kind of paid Hillary Clinton shill, which he presumably heard about from Fox News or another propaganda source.

Donald Trump would surely like to fire Robert Mueller. But he knows that firing James Comey was what led to Mueller’s appointment to begin with, and he presumably has some understanding that firing Mueller would be likely to backfire in similar fashion. He might also have to fire half the DOJ in order find someone there who is willing to fire Mueller. So it appears his handlers are steering him toward firing McCabe instead, which will let him fulfill his desire for blood.

The post Donald Trump and his goons have their new DOJ scapegoat, and its not Robert Muellerappeared first on Palmer Report.

House panel to interview publicist Rob Goldstone, Rep. Wasserman Schultz on Monday – CNN


CNN
House panel to interview publicist Rob Goldstone, Rep. Wasserman Schultz on Monday
CNN
… paid a law firm that retained the services of Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm behind the controversial dossier containing allegations of Trump and Russian connections. She has denied having any knowledge of the matter. The committee is 
House panel to interview publicist Goldstone, Rep. Wasserman Schultz on MondayNBC Montana

all 2 news articles »

Families Of Americans Imprisoned In Egypt Pin Their Hopes On … Mike Pence?

The vice president stops in Cairo this week. Advocates for two detainees have reached out to the National Security Council 11 times this year without a response.

Robert Mueller also has Donald Trump teams laptops and cellphones. Heres what that means.

Over the past twelve hours, the Trump-Russia scandal has taken a series of twists and turns, largely focused on the revelation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has had the Trump transition teams emails all along. These emails likely incriminate quite a number of Trumps current and former people. But an overlooked detail in the story may prove to be the most crucial of all: Mueller also has the Trump teams laptops and cellphones.

Heres the relevant passage from Reuters, which well quote here for the purpose of dissecting whats really going on here: The FBI had requested the materials from GSA staff on Aug. 23, asking for copies of the emails, laptops, cell phones and other materials associated with nine members of the Trump transition team responsible for national security and policy matters. (link). So what are we looking at? First, it means Mueller has copies of all the data and history on the laptops and cellphones used by the Trump transition team. This provides far broader avenues for evidence gathering than mere emails.

If Trumps people were their usual sloppy selves, its unlikely that they wiped (or sufficiently wiped) the devices they had been using. This means Mueller would have access to every word processing document they typed, and perhaps access to personal email accounts that were being used on those laptops. The cellphones would not provide recordings of transition team phone conversations, but would have call histories, and potentially copies of voicemails. This is just the beginning.

Reuters says that Robert Mueller was targeting nine people on the Trump transition team in particular. Who are they? National security and policy matters could be interpreted in a few different ways. While this is not an indicator of guilt, here is a partial list of some Trump transition team members whose official officials titles could fit the above description: Michael Flynn, Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani, Reince Priebus, and Jeff Sessions. Flynn has already cut a plea deal.

The post Robert Mueller also has Donald Trump teams laptops and cellphones. Heres what that means.appeared first on Palmer Report.

Trump’s administration’s seven banned words are an attack on science – CNN


CNN
Trump’s administration’s seven banned words are an attack on science
CNN
As Americans, we must hold strong to the ideals of education, research, science and innovation — and not backpedal any further to appease the potential financial gains of wealthy individuals or the narrow-minded conscience of an uninformedelectorate 

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The President Plays With Matches And The Whole World Burns – HuffPost


HuffPost
The President Plays With Matches And The Whole World Burns
HuffPost
The president’s next move in the international arena his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel hasn’t yet slipped from memory, in part because of the outrage it evoked around the world. As Moustafa Bayoumi, acclaimed 

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The President Plays With Matches And The Whole World Burns

California is ready to explode in flames. Sort of like the whole world in the age of Trump.

One year in, Trump tries to define his national security strategy to fit his ‘America first’ vision – Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles Times
One year in, Trump tries to define his national security strategy to fit his ‘America first’ vision
Los Angeles Times
President Trump has found it much easier to say “America first” than to fit the nationalist slogan into actual national securitystrategy. Now, nearly a year into his term, he is seeking to define his vision often articulated in impulsive tweets 

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The Tax Cut And The Fake Trump Boom

Will Donald Trump and the Republican tax bill take political credit for the boom of 2017-18?

If Trump delivers on the economy, he will gallop into a second term – The Times

If Trump delivers on the economy, he will gallop into a second term
The Times
His party’s defeat in last week’s Senate election in rock-solid Republican Alabama simply signals a new low in Mr Trump’s electoral standing. He finishes 2017 as the least popular first-year president since records began, with an approval rating of 32

and more »

Trump: ‘No, I’m not’ firing Mueller, as allies step up attacks on special counsel probe – Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles Times
Trump: ‘No, I’m not’ firing Mueller, as allies step up attacks on special counsel probe
Los Angeles Times
On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin repeated a frequent complaint of Trump and his supporters, suggesting that the probe had dragged on too long. We’ve got to get past this investigation it’s a giant distraction, Mnuchin said on CNN’s
Mnuchin says he has no reason to think Trump will fire MuellerCNN

all 329 news articles »

Jared Kushner is at the center of Robert Muellers secret Trump-Russia emails

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has secretly had all of the Trump transition team’s emails all along, and it spells bad news for a whole lot of people in Donald Trump’s orbit. Reuters is reporting that Mueller has been targeting at least nine transition team members, without naming any names. Axios, however, is naming just one name when it comes to the emails in question: Jared Kushner. This looks to be even worse for him than you might think.

Here’s how Axios characterized the revelation: “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained many tens of thousands” of Trump transition emails, including emails of Jared Kushner” (link). It then goes on to explain that Mueller has obtained emails that include “sensitive exchanges.” So what precisely does he have? We don’t know yet, but Kushner sure does. That leads to a rather obvious question. When Kushner recently began looking to hire a crisis management public relations firm, was it because he knows what’s coming?

Here’s how Congressman Ted Lieu initially characterized the news about Kushner trying to hiring a crisis firm: “The only reason Jared Kushner would hire a crisis public relations firm is because … wait for it … A CRISIS IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO HIM. Also, anyone who needs a crisis firm should not have a security clearance. Oh, and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, you backed the wrong person.” After the other shoe dropped, Lieu piled on: “I wonder if Jared Kushner looking to hire a crisis public relations firm is related to him finding out Mueller has all his .gov emails? Also, why does Kushner still have a security clearance?”

When Robert Mueller gave Michael Flynn a lenient plea deal two weeks ago, it could only have been because Flynn provided strong evidence against one or more bigger fish in the Trump-Russia scandal. There are only a very small handful of bigger fish than Flynn: Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions, and Jared Kushner. Is Kushner panicking because of what Flynn knows about him, or because of what’s in those emails, or both?

The post Jared Kushner is at the center of Robert Mueller’s secret Trump-Russia emails appeared first on Palmer Report.

Trump and allies are trying to destroy Mueller – WTHITV.com

Trump and allies are trying to destroy Mueller
WTHITV.com
Peter Carr, a Mueller spokesman, made a statement soon after the allegation emerged: “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process 

and more »

FBI and Justice Dept. officials might be investigated for Trump bias – Raw Story


Raw Story
FBI and Justice Dept. officials might be investigated for Trump bias
Raw Story
Top officials at the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department might be subpoenaed as part of a House investigation into alleged agency bias against President Donald Trump. A Republican on the House Judiciary Committee said Saturday that the panel’s chairman 
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5:59 PM 12/17/2017 – Robert Mueller takes warning shot at Donald Trump

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

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Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s performance as US president cartoon | Opinion | The Guardian
Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s performance as US president cartoon | Opinion

Robert Mueller takes warning shot at Donald Trump and his criminal advisers

Trump Gave a Racist and Anti-Immigrant Speech to Cops at the FBI and They Loved It
Putin phoned Trump to thank him for CIA intel that foiled a planned terrorist attack in Russia, the Kremlin says
Gregg Jarrett: FBI Has Become “America’s Secret Police,” Mueller Using FBI As “Political Weapon” – RealClearPolitics
Family Security Matters
FBI: American Gestapo – Family Security Matters
10:40 AM 12/16/2017 What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good for America!
WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI – Townhall
President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong. – Washington Post
Former FBI official: Comey let politics creep into process
Former agent agrees with Trump that FBI is in ‘tatters’
Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history investigating Trump – Media Matters for America
British Intervention Into 2016 US Election – Executive Intelligence Review (EIR)
Sessions Says Bias Concerns About FBI Are Being Taken Seriously
The Latest: Trump slams investigators at ‘disgraceful’ FBI
Trump praises police after blasting ‘sad,’ ‘disgraceful’ FBI
Republican Trey Gowdy suggests deputy FBI director will be ousted soon
Facebook admits it poses mental health risk but says using site more can help – The Guardian
Saved Stories – 1. FBI: 8:10 AM 12/15/2017 FBI stands for FOOLS, BUNGLERS, IDIOTS. And how about it?
GOP lawmaker claims FBI purged training documents. Here’s what we found
Trump says Americans are ‘very, very angry’ at FBI before he pledges his support – Los Angeles Times
Sessions says FBI ‘functioning at a high level’ after Trump criticism
Court rules against FBI in reporter impersonation document fight

 

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Ben Jennings on Donald Trump’s performance as US president cartoon | Opinion | The Guardian

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Robert Mueller takes warning shot at Donald Trump and his criminal advisers

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

So much for Robert Mueller pulling his punches. After a week of media hype about the possibility that Donald Trump might try to fire him, Mueller ended the week with a bang. He leaked that he’s been sitting on fifty thousand emails which incriminate any number of Trump’s advisers. When Trump’s attorneys complained about the manner in which Mueller acquired the emails, he fired back, making a point of using the word “criminal” twice.

The emails in question, which are from the Trump transition team, likely incriminate half a dozen or more of Trump’s people, up to and perhaps including Mike Pence. The implication was clear enough: if Trump tries to fire Mueller, then Mueller will use these emails to arrest Trump’s own people before Trump can complete the multi-step process of getting him fired. That was enough to prompt Trump’s White House to quickly issue a statement confirming that Trump won’t be firing Mueller, but it wasn’t enough to silence Trump’s attorneys so Mueller took another shot.

Trump’s legal team made the baseless claim that Mueller improperly acquired the emails by getting them from the General Services Administration, because some of the emails were supposedly privileged. However, legal experts wasted no time pointing out the invalid nature of that argument. Mueller made the unusual move of putting out a statement through his spokesman. Not only did Mueller defend the legality of his actions, he also took a pointed warning shot at Trump’s people, reminding them what he has on them.

Robert Mueller’s spokesman said “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owners consent or appropriate criminal process” (link). There are only two sentences that truly matter in that sentence, and they’re both “criminal.” Mueller is reminding Trump’s people that if they can’t stop Trump from trying to fire him, he’s holding more evidence against them than they know.

The post Robert Mueller takes warning shot at Donald Trump and his “criminal” advisers appeared first on Palmer Report.

Trump Gave a Racist and Anti-Immigrant Speech to Cops at the FBI and They Loved It

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Putin phoned Trump to thank him for CIA intel that foiled a planned terrorist attack in Russia, the Kremlin says

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Gregg Jarrett: FBI Has Become “America’s Secret Police,” Mueller Using FBI As “Political Weapon” – RealClearPolitics

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RealClearPolitics
Gregg Jarrett: FBI Has Become “America’s Secret Police,” Mueller Using FBI As “Political Weapon”
RealClearPolitics
FOX News’ Gregg Jarrett on Wednesday night said the Federal Bureau of Investigation has become “America’s secret police” and that special counsel Robert Mueller is using the government entity as a “political weapon.” “The FBI is a shadow government now 
Fox legal analyst Jarrett: Mueller investigation ‘illegitimate and corrupt’The Hill
Fox News’s Gregg Jarrett Goes Full-Conspiracist on Mueller: ‘KGB That Comes For You in the Dark of Night’Mediaite
Top Fox News analyst goes off in wild segment about Russia, calls the FBI America’s ‘secret police’ and like ‘the Business Insider

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Family Security Matters

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FBI: American Gestapo

by LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHDDecember 16, 2017Any government agency with law enforcement and surveillance authority that uses those powers for political purposes is the definition of a secret police, no better than the Nazi Gestapo or the Soviet KGB.

There is indeed probable cause to conclude, meaning indictable offenses, that employees of the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the Democrat Party, used the power of their offices and with the assistance of foreign nationals to influence the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton, first to exonerate her and then obtain information to prevent the election of Donald Trump or to provide a basis for his impeachment should he win.

It is also abundantly clear from the Congressional investigations involving the Department of Justice and the FBI that those institutions of government are protecting themselves at the expense of transparency and accountability to the American people.

In other words, the government employees involved consider the survival of the Deep State more important than the survival of the Constitution. That is the definition of tyranny.

Here is a summary of the apparent sequence of events based on the revelations so far. There may be more damning evidence yet to be disclosed.

–        The Democrats hired Fusion GPS to find dirt on Donald Trump.

–        Fusion GPS hired former British MI6 agent in Moscow, Christopher Steele, to canvass and very likely pay his Russian contacts, some of whom may be present or former members of Russian intelligence, for negative information about Trump.

–        Steele creates the “Trump dossier” and distributes it either directly or indirectly to media outlets and to politicians like Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

–        The FBI obtains the “Trump dossier,” but inexplicably or perhaps intentionally does not check the veracity of any of Steele’s assertions.

–        The FBI uses the “Trump dossier” to apply to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to obtain warrantless authorization to conduct surveillance on Trump and his associates.

–        It now appears that Christopher Steele might have been, at some point, on the FBI payroll, and, by extension, the Russians.

The use of an un-vetted document from dubious Russian sources as a basis for unwarranted surveillance of American citizens, ultimately for political purposes, renders the entire Mueller investigation a farce and could provide exculpatory evidence to vacate the guilty plea of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. It is a verdict many believe was based on improperly-obtained information as part of an overall effort by politically-motivated federal employees to manipulate the results of the 2016 election.

The conditions that led to the election of Donald Trump as President remain. They bear repeating.

The federal government and the media are, as institutions, hopelessly corrupt and, although we have elections, we no longer have representative government.

There is a Cold Civil War underway in the United States to determine who should control the federal government. It is not a contest between the Democrat and Republican policies, but a battle between the entrenched power of the bipartisan political establishment, the Deep State, versus the freedom and well-being of the American people. It is a conflict between those who want to adhere to the Constitution and the rule of law and a ruling elite, who wish to continue the practices of political expediency and crony capitalism for the purposes of personal power and profit.

Americans now believe that we are no longer citizens of a republic, but subjects of an elected aristocracy, composed of a self-absorbed and self-perpetuating permanent political class, which serves its own interests and those of its international financiers, not those of the American people.

Three years before the start of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said a government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free – that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Likewise, a government separated from the people cannot stand.

The American Revolution, a war to free ourselves from foreign tyranny, lasted eight years.

The Second American Revolution, a battle to root out the corruption and despotism of the Deep State will take longer, but equally necessary.

Enjoying your FSM article? The Family Security Foundation is a non-profit and we keep bringing you articles because of donors’ generous contributions. Your year-end tax-free contribution allows <a href=”http://FamilySecurityMatters.org” rel=”nofollow”>FamilySecurityMatters.org</a> to continue to be your go to site for National Security issues!  Ready to support FSM? Click here.

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FBI: American Gestapo – Family Security Matters

mikenova shared this story from former FBI agents power influence – Google News.

FBI: American Gestapo
Family Security Matters
There is indeed probable cause to conclude, meaning indictable offenses, that employees of the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the Democrat Party, used the power of their offices and with the 

10:40 AM 12/16/2017 What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good for America!

mikenova shared this story from FBI News Review.

M.N.: This graph below, from the cited article, is meaningless and misleading, just as the article itself: the overall “ideological orientation” (rated as the “conservative” for the FBI, with the score of about +1,5 on the -2 to +2 scale), in no way can be the predictor or correlate of the behaviors and actions, including … Continue reading“10:40 AM 12/16/2017 – What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good for America! “

WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI – Townhall

mikenova shared this story from fbi – Google News.


Townhall
WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI
Townhall
There is something rotten at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I mean all of this is just absurd. We have two FBI agents texting one another, one of which is having an extramarital affair with the other, cryptically talking about insurance against 

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President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong. – Washington Post

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Washington Post
President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong.
Washington Post
The former FBI director James BComey and current FBI director Christopher A. Wray have both previously donated to Republicans. All agencies this size include employees who donate to Democrats and others who donate to Republicans donations that are 
President Trump’s speech at the FBI Academy was recklessThe Hill
White House: FBI records show ‘extreme bias’ against TrumpWashington Times
Andrew C. McCarthy: Mueller needs to make a changeWinston-Salem Journal
Week Facts –Fox News
all 593 news articles »
Former FBI official: Comey let politics creep into process

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 05:24

Former FBI deputy assistant director Danny Coulson speaks out about allegations of bias within the FBI on ‘The Story.’

Former agent agrees with Trump that FBI is in ‘tatters’

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 06:08

Former FBI official Kevin Brock weighs in on ‘Fox News @ Night.’

Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history investigating Trump – Media Matters for America

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Media Matters for America
Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history investigating Trump
Media Matters for America
Louie, some things you might have either missed or simply ignored in your false claim that the “FBI and DOJ are corrupt.” An agent and a lawyer were exchanging text messages which expressed their political opinions – that is not a crime. They are still

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British Intervention Into 2016 US Election – Executive Intelligence Review (EIR)

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British Intervention Into 2016 US Election
Executive Intelligence Review (EIR)
According to Luke Harding, author of Collusion, Simpson specialized as a journalist on the intersection between organized crime and the Russian state. According to Harding, Steele and Simpson knew the same FBI agents, shared expertise on Russia, and 

Sessions Says Bias Concerns About FBI Are Being Taken Seriously

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The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

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The Latest: Trump slams investigators at ‘disgraceful’ FBI

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s visit to the FBI (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump has unleashed a blistering attack on the FBI’s leadership.

He is denouncing the bureau for its handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, calling it “really disgraceful.”

Trump says “you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it.”

The president’s broadside appears to reflect his anger over revelations that senior FBI officials exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Clinton text messages while working on last year’s Clinton probe and during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Russian officials in the 2016 election.

Trump laced into the bureau as he was departing for its training academy in Virginia, where he lavished praise on graduates of a weeks-long FBI National Academy program for law enforcement leaders from around the country.

See How Virtual Reality Is Being Used in HospitalsPaid Content by CIT Group

See How Virtual Reality Is Being Used in Hospitals

__

3:45 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is distancing himself from President Donald Trump’s criticism of the FBI. Sessions says he does not share the view that the FBI “is not functioning at a high level all over the country.”

Sessions, speaking Friday at a news conference about the Justice Department’s crime-fighting efforts, said the FBI is “fulfilling a fabulously important role working to fight against violent crime.” But he stopped short of saying whether he agrees with Trump that the reputation of the agency is “in tatters.”

Trump again blasted FBI leadership Friday even as he praised state and local officers.

Sessions says it’s noteworthy that Trump expressed support for law enforcement in a speech at the FBI’s National Academy. The program is for law enforcement leaders from around the country, not FBI agents.

___

11:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is calling for the death penalty for anyone convicted of killing a police officer.

Trump, while speaking at the FBI National Academy in Virginia on Friday, pledged to support law enforcement officers and condemned those who attack them.

During the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to sign an executive order as president that would demand capital punishment for cop killers.

He has yet to do so.

The president was warmly received by the crowd of local law enforcement officers who cheered his calls for a crackdown on gangs and an end to chain migration.

The president painted a dark picture of a nation under siege by crime, at one moment wondering aloud “What the hell is going on in Chicago?”

The crowd laughed.

___

10:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is addressing a graduating class of law enforcement officers at the FBI National Academy.

Trump on Friday praised the academy, a 10-week professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement officers.

Trump, a frequent FBI critic, promised that as president he will be “more loyal than anyone else could be” to the police.

He honored the graduates for completing the rigorous training, saying the “elite training will help save lives.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray says Trump is the first president to address a graduating class at the FBI training center in Quantico, Virginia since Richard Nixon.

__

9:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says “it’s a shame what’s happened” with the FBI, calling its handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation “really disgraceful.”

Speaking to reporters as he departs for a speech at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Va., Trump promises that “we’re going to rebuild the FBI.”

Trump alluded to newly revealed edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s 2016 statement on the Clinton probe: “It is very sad when you look at those documents, how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful, and you have a lot of really angry people who are seeing it.”

Trump reiterated that “there was no collusion” between his campaign and the Russian government, adding the recent revelations prove his claim that the Clinton investigation was “rigged.”

___

7:53 a.m.

The White House says newly-revealed FBI records show there is “extreme bias” against President Donald Trump among senior leadership at the FBI.

Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley tells Fox News Channel that edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s statement on Hillary Clinton’s private email server and text messages from a top agent critical of Trump are “deeply troubling.”

“There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time,” Gidley charges, as special counsel Robert Mueller pushes on with a probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. Gidley says Trump maintains confidence in the FBI’s rank-and-file the Justice Department.

Trump is scheduled to attend an FBI National Academy graduation service later Friday.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Trump praises police after blasting ‘sad,’ ‘disgraceful’ FBI

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump heaped praise on law enforcement while decrying anti-police sentiment in a speech to FBI academy graduates on Friday not long after he lamented the agency’s “sad” and “disgraceful” state.

In remarks to the FBI National Academy that also touched on immigration and violent crime, Trump called himself a “true friend and loyal champion” of police while noting that members of law enforcement “rarely get the recognition” they deserve.

“We will protect those who protect us,” the president said, adding that those accused of killing police officers “should get the death penalty.”

“Anti-police sentiment is wrong and it’s dangerous, and we will not stand for it,” he said.

Trump to FBI academy grads: I’m a ‘true friend and loyal champion’ to police 0:49

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An hour earlier, speaking to reporters on the White House lawn on his way to talk to graduates of the academy in Quantico, Virginia, Trump said: “It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI, but we’re going to rebuild the FBI. It’ll be bigger and better than ever.”

Referencing the 90 pages of newly released messages, many critical of the president, between an FBI lawyer and an agent later assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, Trump called it “sad when you look at those documents and how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful and you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it.”

In his speech, the president also made a pitch for cracking down on immigration and stepped up his attacks on the visa lottery system and chain migration, which his administration has called on Congress to end in the wake of recent terror attacks in New York City.

He also painted an inaccurate picture, however, of a system that invites the “worst people,” insinuating that names were put “in a bin” and chosen out at random. (Actually, visa lottery applicants must meet eligibility requirements to enter the program, and applicants are vetted through strict State Department processes.)

“Congratulations, you’re going to the United States!” Trump said. “What a system.”

Promises of an immigration crackdown spurred applause from the law enforcement crowd as Trump went on to issue a new message to members of the MS13 gang Friday. “We will find you, we will arrest you, we will jail you, we will throw you the hell out of the country,” he said.

But the last option was the one preferred by the president, he said, because in jail “we have to take care of them — who the hell wants to take care of them?”

The “jail stuff,” Trump said over laughter from the crowd, “is wonderful, but we have to pay for them right?”

The FBI’s website describes the National Academy as a 10-week “professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers nominated by their agency heads because of demonstrated leadership qualities.”

Trump tweeted this month that the FBI’s “reputation is in tatters,” prompting FBI staffers — including Trump’s own pick to head the agency after he fired former director James Comey — to defend it against the president’s assertions.

“The FBI that I see is tens of thousands of agents and analysts and staff working their tails off to keep Americans safe from the next terrorist attack, gang violence, child predators, spies from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran,” FBI director Christopher Wray said last week during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.

During a passionate, two-minute-long defense, Wray described the FBI as “respected and appreciated by our partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement, in the intelligence community, and by our foreign counterparts in both law enforcement and national security in something like 200 countries around the globe.”

Sessions: DOJ will ‘take seriously’ Trump’s concerns about FBI 2:34

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Later on Friday, in response to questions from reporters, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he did not agree with Trump’s dim assessment of the FBI.

“Well, I don’t share the view that the FBI is not functioning at a high level,” Sessions said during a press conference announcing new anti-violent crime initiatives. “In my view, the FBI has huge national security requirements, it’s also fulfilling a fabulously important role in helping fight against violent crime, also.”

Republican Trey Gowdy suggests deputy FBI director will be ousted soon

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Trey GowdyRep. Trey Gowdy. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

  • Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy suggested that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will be forced out at the top law enforcement agency as soon as next week.
  • Gowdy argued that newly released FBI records reveal political bias against President Donald Trump — and in favor of Hillary Clinton — at the highest levels of the FBI.

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, suggested in a Friday interview that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will be forced out at the top law enforcement agency as soon as next week.

Gowdy argued that newly released FBI records reveal political bias against President Donald Trump — and in favor of Hillary Clinton — at the highest levels of the FBI. Gowdy said that McCabe will likely be pushed out of the agency as a result of the perceived bias.

“I’ll be a little bit surprised if he’s still an employee of the FBI this time next week,” Gowdy told Fox News of McCabe, adding that he would be “shocked” if McCabe testifies before the House next week.

The Washington Post reported last week that Gowdy settled a $150,000 veteran discrimination and retaliation claim from a former aide, who was fired in 2015 from the House Benghazi committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The aide alleged that he was wrongfully terminated in part for his unwillingness to engage in what he believed was a partisan investigation into Hillary Clinton’s time as US secretary of state.

Attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators have escalated sharply in recent weeks, culminating in a partisan haranguing of the FBI director last week over the perceived missteps of his predecessor.

Conservative and far-right media outlets, already skeptical of Mueller’s probe into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, grew louder in their calls for FBI Director Chris Wray to either clean house or for Mueller to resign. It came after news that two special counsel investigators at one point exhibited perceived political bias.

Trump again characterized the criminal justice system as “rigged” during a rally in Florida on Friday, echoing comments he made last weekend following former national security Michael Flynn’s guilty plea as part of Mueller’s probe.

President Donald Trump lamented the state of the FBI, the nation’s top law-enforcement agency, shortly before delivering a speech at an FBI graduation ceremony on Friday in Quantico, Virginia.

“It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI, but we’re going to rebuild the FBI. It’ll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump told reporters before boarding Virginia-bound Marine One on Friday morning.

The president also recently described the country’s top law-enforcement agency as “in tatters,” but a White House spokesman said on Friday that Trump had “full faith and confidence” in the rank-and-file members of the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Also on Friday morning, Hogan Gidley, the White House’s deputy press secretary, said that recently released FBI records showed “extreme bias” against Trump among leadership at the FBI.

Recently disclosed text messages between two FBI agents assigned to the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign included a reference to Trump as an “idiot.” Both agents are no longer involved in the Russia investigation. Other records revealed edits made to soften the statement of James Comey, then the FBI director, concerning the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Gidley called the records “eye-opening” and “deeply troubling.”

“There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time,” Gidley told “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning.

Facebook admits it poses mental health risk but says using site more can help – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Facebook admits it poses mental health risk but says using site more can help
The Guardian
Facebook has repeatedly been accused of spreading Russian propaganda and fake news, providing a platform and network for white supremacists, enabling hate speech and offensive ads and censoring critics of oppressive governments. The company’s CEO, Mark 

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Saved Stories – 1. FBI: 8:10 AM 12/15/2017 FBI stands for FOOLS, BUNGLERS, IDIOTS. And how about it?

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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None FBI stands for FOOLS, BUNGLERS, IDIOTS. And how about it? 7:12 AM 12/15/2017 After Months Of Withering Criticism, Trump Prepares To Visit FBI NPR Republicans are worried about the integrity of Mueller’s team. That’s overblown. – Washington Post Mueller needs to make a change – Washington Post Justice Department … Continue reading“8:10 AM 12/15/2017 – “FBI” stands for “FOOLS, BUNGLERS, IDIOTS”. And how about it?”

 Saved Stories – 1. FBI

GOP lawmaker claims FBI purged training documents. Here’s what we found

mikenova shared this story from The latest updates from The Obameter.

Did the Barack Obama administration ditch FBI material used to train counterterrorism agents?

At a House committee hearing on worldwide terror threats, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., claimed the former administration purged information that could “allow us to see in totality the threat that faces America.”

“Just curious if you can tell me if the FBI has taken any steps to reverse the previous administration’s purge of training courses and information about Islamism, jihad, Sharia, and the Muslim Brotherhood,” Perry asked FBI director Christopher Wray at the Nov. 30 hearing.

Wray said he was not aware of efforts to purge training material.

“They were purged in the last administration,” Perry told him.

Is that true?

Perry’s office did not respond to our requests for information. We found the FBI did rescind training material during the Obama administration — but it was less than 1 percent of 160,000 pages of training documents that were found to contain information that was factually inaccurate, imprecise or used stereotypes.

The review came after media reports show that training material included claims identifying “mainstream” American Muslims as “likely to be terrorist sympathizers.”

The Arab American Institute said the documents “crudely” depicted Arab Americans and American Muslims “as threatening, irrational, or otherwise abnormal.”

Here’s what we know about the FBI’s review and rescinded documents.

Reports of anti-Muslim training material

Wired in July 2011 reported that part of a January 2009 presentation for new FBI recruits said that Islam “transforms (a) country’s culture into 7th-century Arabian ways.”

Additional Wired reporting in September 2011 found that during a training session at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., agents were told that “mainstream” American Muslims were “likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a ‘cult leader’; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a ‘funding mechanism for combat’.” A chart in the presentation contended that the more “devout” Muslims are, the likelier they are to be violent, Wired reported.

The FBI distanced itself from the messages in the training.

It told Wired that the presentation had a disclaimer saying the views expressed were of the author and “do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government.” An FBI press release issued a day after Wired’s report said the training segment was presented only one time and quickly discontinued.

At a November 2011 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked then-Attorney General Eric Holder about the training material, presenting among examples a claim that ‘‘the Arabic mind is swayed more by ideas than facts.”

“It is regrettable that that information was, in fact, a part of a training program,” Holder said, adding that there was an ongoing review of training material “to ensure that that kind of misinformation” was not being used, because it could undermine and negatively impact outreach efforts.

The FBI reviewed 160,000 pages of material and eventually removed hundreds of pages from its training. Less than 1 percent of the material reviewed had “factually inaccurate or imprecise information or used stereotypes,” the FBI told Wired in February 2012.

March 2012 letter from Durbin to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller expressed disappointment that the FBI would not produce a written report on the material deemed inappropriate, and that it would not be publicly shared or given to Congress. Durbin’s letter said FBI briefers shared copies of “a handful” of the material with Senate Judiciary Committee staff, but were not allowed to keep the copies.

The FBI did not confirm to PolitiFact if it eliminated such material, but referred us to public source material and 2012 congressional testimony.

At a May 2012 House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the FBI, Mueller said 876 inappropriate training documents had been removed after a review of 160,000 documents and over 1,000 videos, but did not specify what the material said.

Judicial Watch, a conservative group that litigates on public corruption and other issues, said documents it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit showed that reasons cited for the removal of material included: “Article is highly inflammatory and inaccurately argues the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization,” and “author seems to conflate ‘Islamic Militancy’ with ‘terrorism’ and needs to define the difference and use it in their analysis.”

“The excised material included references linking the Muslim Brotherhood to terrorism, tying al Qaeda to the 1993 World Trade Center and Khobar Towers bombings, and suggesting that ‘young male immigrants of Middle Eastern appearance … may fit the terrorist profile best’,” Judicial Watch said.

Our ruling

Perry said the Obama administration purged “training courses and information about Islamism, jihad, Sharia, and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The FBI removed nearly 900 training documents containing information that was inaccurate, imprecise or depicted stereotypes, after a review of 160,000 pages and more than 1,000 videos. The review came after 2011 media reports about training material portraying Muslims stereotypically and prone to violence.

Though the FBI did not publicly disclose the material it rescinded, Judicial Watch said that through a lawsuit for information, it found that removed material included references to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Perry’s statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context. We rate it Half True.

Scott Perry

Representative

Says the Obama administration purged “training courses and information about Islamism, jihad, Sharia, and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

in a House committee hearing – Thursday, November 30, 2017

Trump says Americans are ‘very, very angry’ at FBI before he pledges his support – Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times
Trump says Americans are ‘very, very angry’ at FBI before he pledges his support
Los Angeles Times
A White House spokesman reinforced criticism of the FBI earlier Friday, telling Fox News that the texts are signs the FBI has an extreme bias against Trump. It is troubling, deeply troubling, that the revelations have now come to light that there is 
White House: FBI has ‘extreme bias’ against TrumpThe Hill
WHITE HOUSE: New FBI records show ‘extreme bias’ against TrumpBusiness Insider
BREAKING: The FBI Has Released New Info About Loretta Lynch’s Tarmac Meeting With Bill ClintonTownhall
Fox News –The Week Magazine –MSNBC
all 199 news articles »
Sessions says FBI ‘functioning at a high level’ after Trump criticism

mikenova shared this story .

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the FBI’s work Friday hours after President Trump said its reputation was ‘in tatters’.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the FBI Friday, hours after President Donald Trump ripped the bureau’s leadership and suggested that its reputation was “in tatters.”

“I don’t share the view that the FBI is not functioning at a high level all over the country,” said Sessions, who added, “… In my view, the FBI has huge national security requirements but it’s also fulfilling a fabulously important role working to fight against violent crime.”

Sessions also praised Trump for speaking to graduates of a weeks-long FBI National Academy program for law enforcement leaders from around the country, calling it “the first time a president in 47 years has spoken to the FBI[‘s] … graduating police academy class.”

“He made clear that he supports them 100 percent in their activities and that we are going to be a law enforcement administration that helps the law enforcement be successful,” said Sessions.

As Trump departed the White House for the speech in Virginia, he said, “It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI,” an apparent reference to revelations that senior bureau officials exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages while working on last year’s Clinton probe and during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Russian officials in the 2016 election.

“We’re going to rebuild the FBI, it’ll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump went on, “but it is very sad when you look at those documents, and how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful, and you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it.”

Also Friday, White House Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News that edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s statement on Clinton’s private email server and anti-Trump texts from a top agent were “deeply troubling.”

“There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time,” Gidley charged, as Mueller pushes on with a probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. Gidley says Trump maintains confidence in the FBI’s rank-and-file.

Sessions had previously drawn the wrath of Trump for recusing himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation over questions about his own contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Court rules against FBI in reporter impersonation document fight

mikenova shared this story from Stars and Stripes.

A federal appeals court has sided with reporters in a court fight over documents that began after an FBI agent pretended to be an Associated Press journalist while investigating bomb threats at a Washington state high school.

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What is a “nutjob” exactly? Semantically rich word, with many different meanings and nuances.

What is a “nutjob” exactly? Semantically rich word, with many different meanings and nuances. For example, “L. Ron Hubbard was a nutjob.” 

“The “Nut Job” has nothing to do with Sexuality. It is completely and utterly the term used to describe a Maniac, Just like a Nut Case.

In other words, it is an old man or stalker that has lost his mind; Or just a Hyperactive person that is all over the place and always looking for fun”.

So, who is really a “nutjob”?

“That’s right,” Baldwin’s Trump muses. “Sadly, I had to fire Comey because he was a nutjob and because he knew all my secrets. So I had to pull a little obstruction-ay of ustice-jay.”

 

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2:10 PM 12/16/2017 – M.N.: Strzok and Page were removed from the Mueller’s investigation and they or their positions cannot taint it. What is more important, is the media hysteria around them.

M.N.: Strzok and Page were removed from the Mueller’s investigation, and they or their positions cannot taint it. What is more important, is the media hysteria around them. It reminds me the situation with Mrs. Clinton’s emails, which, I think, was used as a diversion maneuver, to deflect attention from Trump and his issues. Now Strzok-Page affair is used to fan the flames of the mythical “anti-Trump” conspiracy within the FBI. This is the “turning the tables on your opponent” device: the real FBI conspiracy or the infamous “FBI cabal” was pro-Trump and was represented and conducted, and quite efficiently, by Giuliani, Kallstrom, and others. To turn the tables in this fashion is one of the favorite instruments in Putin’s toolbox, among many other politicians and manipulators, of course. 

______________________________

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WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI – Townhall
 


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WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI
Townhall
There is something rotten at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I mean all of this is just absurd. We have two FBI agents texting one another, one of which is having an extramarital affair with the other, cryptically talking about insurance against and more »
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PBS NewsHour
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Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, suggested in a Friday interview that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will be forced out at the top law enforcement agency as soon as next week. Gowdy argued that newly released  
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CNN –RealClearPolitics –legal Insurrection (blog)
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4:54 AM 12/16/2017 Foxs Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our countrys history investigating Trump Media Matters for America

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Trump Says Russia ‘Not Helping’ On North Korea; Russia Fires Back – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history investigating Trump – Media Matters for America America’s chaotic, crazy, challenging, great, tumultuous, horrible, disappointing year – Allentown Morning Call How … Continue reading“4:54 AM 12/16/2017 – Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history investigating Trump – Media Matters for America”
President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong. – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong.
Washington Post
The former FBI director James BComey and current FBI director Christopher A. Wray have both previously donated to Republicans. All agencies this size include employees who donate to Democrats and others who donate to Republicans donations that are 
President Trump’s speech at the FBI Academy was recklessThe Hill
White House: FBI records show ‘extreme bias’ against TrumpWashington Times
Andrew C. McCarthy: Mueller needs to make a changeWinston-Salem Journal
Week Facts –Fox News
all 593 news articles »
Must-See Moments: Text Messages Prove Bias and Corruption in FBI – Daily Signal
 


Daily Signal
Must-See Moments: Text Messages Prove Bias and Corruption in FBI
Daily Signal
The Daily Signal’s Facebook Live show Top 10 features the top news stories of the weekmany of which have gone either misreported or underreported by the mainstream media. This week, text messages revealed that FBI investigators who were part of 
Week 30: Republicans Put a New Special Counsel (or Two) on Their Wish Lists – Politico
 


Politico
Week 30: Republicans Put a New Special Counsel (or Two) on Their Wish Lists
Politico
Mueller’s critics aren’t ticked off by what he has accomplishedthe guilty pleas (George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn) or the criminal charges (Paul Manafort and Rick Gates). Those cases seem rock solid. Nor did many of his current critics find and more »
Woman arrested for laundering money to ISIS through Bitcoin
 

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 02:57

Feds: Woman laundered money to people in China, Pakistan and Turkey, then planned to travel to Syria.

Trump declares support for law enforcement at FBI graduation
 

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 03:46

The president reiterated his backing despite slamming the agency for apparent bias in the Clinton email investigation and ongoing Russia probe; Kevin Corke has more for ‘Special Report.’

News Wrap: Sessions defends FBI after Trump criticism
 

From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 05:17

In our news wrap Friday, President Trump launched fresh criticism at the FBI, saying, “we’re going to rebuild” the agency, before speaking to its training academy graduates and striking a different tone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he didnt hold the presidents view. Also, a federal judge will release former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort from house arrest once he meets conditions.

Do men look good in a string bikini? (1977)
 

From: NewsOnABC
Duration: 03:44

From This Day Tonight aired on October 12th, 1977, reporter Sue Faulkner asks beachgoers and fashion experts their opinion on the racy new style of beachwear for men, the male string bikini. Is it too much or too little?

PBS NewsHour full episode December 15, 2017
 

From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 54:07

Friday on the NewsHour, Republicans on the verge of a tax cut agreement make final deals in an aggressive push to get it done before the holidays. How will it affect national debt? Also: What U.S. officials are signaling to North Korea, Shields and Brooks analyze the news, reviewing some of the best movies of 2017 and using poetry as a gateway to reading.

Former FBI official: Comey let politics creep into process
 

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 05:24

Former FBI deputy assistant director Danny Coulson speaks out about allegations of bias within the FBI on ‘The Story.’

Former agent agrees with Trump that FBI is in ‘tatters’
 

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 06:08

Former FBI official Kevin Brock weighs in on ‘Fox News @ Night.’

Trump Reasserts No Collusion with Russia
 

From: VOAvideo
Duration: 02:08

President Donald Trump on Friday again attacked the investigations looking into alleged collusion between his election campaign and Russia. This comes as some of his allies, including Republicans in Congress, would like to see a special counsel appointed to look into what they allege is political bias by federal investigators. VOA White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman reports.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-reasserts-no-collusion-with-russia/4166014.html

Trump Says Russia ‘Not Helping’ On North Korea; Russia Fires Back – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
 


RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Trump Says Russia ‘Not Helping’ On North Korea; Russia Fires Back
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
U.S. President Donald Trump said he has sought Russia’s help in resolving the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program but he is not satisfied with Russia’s efforts. Shortly after Trump made his remarks to reporters at the White House on
Trump says Russia not helping with North KoreaNK News
Trump
 : Russia not helping on North Korea
Guardian (blog)
Trump dodges question on talks with N. KoreaThe Korea Heraldall 162 128 news articles »
Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history investigating Trump – Media Matters for America
 


Media Matters for America
Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history investigating Trump
Media Matters for America
Louie, some things you might have either missed or simply ignored in your false claim that the “FBI and DOJ are corrupt.” An agent and a lawyer were exchanging text messages which expressed their political opinions – that is not a crime. They are stilland more »
America’s chaotic, crazy, challenging, great, tumultuous, horrible, disappointing year – Allentown Morning Call
 


Allentown Morning Call
America’s chaotic, crazy, challenging, great, tumultuous, horrible, disappointing year
Allentown Morning Call
Americans reacted to intelligence reports about Russia’s attempted election meddling and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation with steady concern and sharp criticism of Trump and his campaign associates, all colored heavily by partisanship. A and more »
How we know Donald Trump is going down

If you listen to nearly anyone in the media this week, on the left or right, you’ll get the impression that Donald Trump is about to magically fire Robert Mueller (even though he can’t do that), and as a result Trump will magically be off the hook for his criminal antics (even though it doesn’t work that way). But here in the real world, it’s never been more clear that Trump is going down. In fact it’s Trump himself who’s showing us why he’ll go down.Just today, Trump tepidly floated the idea that maybe he’ll consider pardoning Michael Flynn at some point. This might have been a smart move on his part, six months ago. By now Flynn has already legally committed himself to a plea deal, and he’s turned over incriminating evidence against Trump and other big fish. Because Trump is hesitant and indecisive by nature, he blew the opportunity to save himself with a Flynn pardon a long time ago. This is part of a larger pattern.This fall, Trump had the opportunity to try to get Robert Mueller fired back before any arrests got underway. It would have been a convoluted process, and there’s a strong chance it would have backfired on him, but he did have a window of opportunity. However now that four of his own people have been arrested and two of them have cut a deal, he doesn’t have a fraction of the political muscle required to get away with it. As we’ve previously explained, the Republican Party is only making noise about Mueller so it can make the case to Trump’s base that it tried to stop Mueller.

Once the public figures out that Donald Trump isn’t about to fire Robert Mueller, the media will move on to claiming that Trump is about to start a war as a distraction from his scandal. But again, it’s far too late for Trump to get away with starting a needless war; that window closed months ago. Trump is hesitant and tepid by nature, and he’s not a man of action until it’s far too late to matter. It’s how we know he’s going down.

The post How we know Donald Trump is going down appeared first on Palmer Report.

Trump to accuse China of ‘economic aggression’ – Financial Times
 


Financial Times
Trump to accuse China of ‘economic aggression’
Financial Times
Donald Trump will accuse China of engaging in economic aggression when he unveils his national security strategy on Monday, in a strong sign that he has become frustrated at his inability to use his bond with China’s President Xi Jinping to convince 
The Real Russia Scandal – New York Times
 


New York Times
The Real Russia Scandal
New York Times
In November 2006 I wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal under the headline Russia: The Enemy. It was then a controversial view. At the time, Moscow had bombed Chechnya into submission. But it hadn’t yet invaded Georgia and Ukraine. The and more »
How we know Donald Trump is going down

How we know Donald Trump is going downHow we know Donald Trump is going down

It’s more of a sure thing than ever
A healthy Republican Party can only be built atop the ruins – Kansas City Star (blog)
 


Kansas City Star (blog)
A healthy Republican Party can only be built atop the ruins
Kansas City Star (blog)
In the end, the restoration of the Republican Party will require Republicans to lose elections. It will require Republican voters as in Alabama and (to some extent) Virginia to sit out, write in or even vote Democratic in races involving pro 
The Secret Post-Alabama Fantasy of the Anti-Trump GOP EstablishmentThe New Yorker
Alabama delivers a wake-up call to Trump’s Republican PartyMSNBC
ANALYSIS: Alabama result more about the GOP and Trump than AlabamaABC News
New York TimesWashington Post Wall Street Journal
all 7,974 Shreveport Times
all 7,899
 
news articles »
Roger Stone beats defamation case brought by political foe – New York Post
 


New York Post
Roger Stone beats defamation case brought by political foe | New … 
New York Post
Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone on Friday beat a defamation case by a political rival who claimed the self-described Dirty Trickster falsely portrayed him as a child molester. Five of six Manhattan Supreme Court jurors found that former New York 
Longtime
 portrayed… 
Trump associate Roger Stone cleared of defamation allegations  New York Daily News
Roger Stone wins lawsuit and is cleared of defamation chargesWashington Examinerall 3 news articles »
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1:18 PM 12/15/2017 – Trump appears delighted that Putin has very nice things to say about him – Vox

Saved Stories

Saved Stories – None
Donald Trump – Google News: Donald Trump On Potential Michael Flynn Pardon: ‘We’ll See What Happens’ – HuffPost
Donald Trump On Potential Michael Flynn Pardon: ‘We’ll See What Happens’ – HuffPost
Donald Trump On Potential Michael Flynn Pardon: ‘We’ll See What Happens’
WATCH: Trump rants against ‘sad’ FBI and praises Putin after reporters ambush him at White House – Raw Story
Trump says US wants Russia’s help on North Korea – Reuters
‘We’ll See What Happens.’ President Trump Won’t Rule Out Michael Flynn Pardon – TIME
What Were Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin Trying to Hide? – CNSNews.com
Donald Trump says he doesn’t know his accusers. Does he? – PolitiFact
Facebook joins debate over whether social media makes us unhappy – Mashable
Even Sean Spicer Isn’t Sure Why Donald Trump Hired Omarosa Manigault Newman
Trump: Russia not helping on North Korea – Malay Mail Online
Trump slams FBI and DOJ on his way to Quantico – ABC News
Trump on whether he’ll pardon Michael Flynn: ‘We’ll see’ – Business Insider
Trump rips FBI before speech at its training academy – The Hill
Libre: Trump vs. Putin | SunStar – Sun.Star
This story on Trump’s Russia paranoia is terrifying – CNN
Trump blasts the FBI minutes before a major speech at the top law-enforcement agency – Business Insider
Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure – Whitehouse.gov (press release)
Psychiatrists Deeply Concerned by Trump’s Instability Call for Urgent Mental Health Evaluation – Democracy Now!
How Putin’s proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns – Dallas News (blog)
Cyprus is at the center of a circle of corruption surrounding Trump – Dallas News (blog)
DHS Announces New Rules to Prevent Terrorism, Curb Visa Overstays – Washington Free Beacon
Trump Speaks At FBI Graduation After Trashing Bureau’s ‘Worst In History’ Reputation
Trump attacks FBI texts, ‘scam’ probes into Russia collusion – Politico

 

Saved Stories – None
Trump appears delighted that Putin has very nice things to say about him – Vox


Vox
Trump appears delighted that Putin has very nice things to say about him
Vox
President Donald Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Thursday to discuss the crisis in North Korea and thanked the Russian strongman for his effusive praise of Trump on Russian national TV. Putin had applauded Trump 

and more »

Donald Trump – Google News: Donald Trump On Potential Michael Flynn Pardon: ‘We’ll See What Happens’ – HuffPost


TIME
Donald Trump On Potential Michael Flynn Pardon: ‘We’ll See What Happens’
HuffPost
President Donald Trump refused to state whether he’d consider pardoning former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying, We’ll see what happens. I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We’ll see what happens, Trump told
‘We’ll See What Happens.’ President Trump Won’t Rule Out Michael Flynn PardonTIME

all 26 news articles »

 Donald Trump – Google News

Donald Trump On Potential Michael Flynn Pardon: ‘We’ll See What Happens’ – HuffPost

Donald Trump On Potential Michael Flynn Pardon: ‘We’ll See What Happens’
HuffPost
President Donald Trump refused to say if he’d consider pardoning former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying, We’ll see what happens. I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We’ll see what happens, Trump told reporters 

and more »

Donald Trump On Potential Michael Flynn Pardon: ‘We’ll See What Happens’

“I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet.” 

WATCH: Trump rants against ‘sad’ FBI and praises Putin after reporters ambush him at White House – Raw Story


Raw Story
WATCH: Trump rants against ‘sad’ FBI and praises Putin after reporters ambush him at White House
Raw Story
President Donald Trump delivered an angry rant on the White House lawn in front of reporters on Friday in which he ranted about both the Department of Justice and the FBI. When reporters stopped Trump on the White House lawn Friday morning to ask him 

and more »

Trump says US wants Russia’s help on North Korea – Reuters


Reuters
Trump says US wants Russia’s help on North Korea
Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that Washington hoped to receive more help fromRussian President Vladimir Putin in efforts to convince North Korea to abandon its missile and nuclear weapons program. FILE PHOTO: U.S 
Trump says would like to have Russia’s help with North KoreaRT
TrumpRussia not helping on North KoreaOutlook India
Trump, Putin speak by phoneCNN
The Hill
all 1,101 news articles »
‘We’ll See What Happens.’ President Trump Won’t Rule Out Michael Flynn Pardon – TIME


TIME
‘We’ll See What Happens.’ President Trump Won’t Rule Out Michael Flynn Pardon
TIME
President Trump refused to rule out a pardon for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn Friday. Speaking to reporters shortly before an appearance at an FBI National Academy graduation, Trump said he did not want to address the possibility of a  
Trump won’t rule out Flynn pardonThe Hill

Trump: ‘I don’t want to talk about pardons with Michael Flynn yet’ WPTV.com KTNV Las Vegas
Trump doesn’t want to talk about Flynn pardon ‘yet’Seattle Times
The Daily Caller

all 25 news articles »

What Were Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin Trying to Hide? – CNSNews.com


CNSNews.com
What Were Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin Trying to Hide?
CNSNews.com
The U.S. government has known for thirteen years that the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission in America is destroying Western civilization from within by our hands. Consequently, none of these Sharia-supremacists should have been allowed anywhere near our 
Judicial Watch: State Dept Struck Deal With Clinton, Abedin to Keep …Fox News Insider
Huma Abedin Took “Muslim Engagement” Files Out of State Dept …FrontPage Magazine
Hillary, Huma carted off ‘Muslim’ files, other docs – WND.comWND.com
LifeZette –Conservative Free Press
all 11 news articles »
Donald Trump says he doesn’t know his accusers. Does he? – PolitiFact


PolitiFact
Donald Trump says he doesn’t know his accusers. Does he?
PolitiFact
President Donald Trump is again being forced to address questions about uninvited sexual dealings with women, the same reports that surfaced during the presidential campaign. Trump continues to receive criticism when there are new reports about the 
White House qualifies false Trump claim he doesn’t know his accusersCNN
Donald Trump Claims He ‘Never Met’ Accusers Like PEOPLE’s Natasha Stoynoff, But We Have the PhotoPEOPLE.com

all 62 news articles »

Facebook joins debate over whether social media makes us unhappy – Mashable


Mashable
Facebook joins debate over whether social media makes us unhappy
Mashable
That’s a much more optimistic view of social media than what Chamath Palihapitiya, the company’s former vice president for user growth, shared with an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business last month. “The short-term, dopamine-driven

and more »

Even Sean Spicer Isn’t Sure Why Donald Trump Hired Omarosa Manigault Newman

“Im not really sure. 

Trump: Russia not helping on North Korea – Malay Mail Online


Malay Mail Online
Trump: Russia not helping on North Korea
Malay Mail Online
US President Donald Trump criticised Russia today for not doing enough to pressure North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons programme. Reuters picWASHINGTON, Dec 15 US President Donald Trump criticised Russia today for not doing enough to pressure  
Trump Blasts FBI Leadership But Says He’s Loyal to PoliceNBC New York
Trump calls FBI’s handling of Clinton email probe ‘disgraceful’ after White House alleges ‘extreme bias’Toronto Star

all 205 
Donald Trump won’t say that he won’t pardon Michael Flynn and that’s worrying peopleSalon

all 117 news articles »

Trump slams FBI and DOJ on his way to Quantico – ABC News


Fox News
Trump slams FBI and DOJ on his way to Quantico
ABC News
In May, Trump was expected to visit the FBI headquarters in Quantico but the trip was notably scrapped following mounting backlash over his controversial firing of then-FBI Director Jim Comey. Since then, the president has taken to publicly deriding
Trump heads to FBI for graduation ceremony after months of bad blood between White House, bureauFox News

all 76 news articles »

Trump on whether he’ll pardon Michael Flynn: ‘We’ll see’ – Business Insider


Business Insider
Trump on whether he’ll pardon Michael Flynn: ‘We’ll see’
Business Insider
President Donald Trump gave a cryptic answer to reporters on Friday when he was asked whether he will consider pardoning his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. “I don’t want to talk about 
Pardon Michael Flynn? Trump says not ready to talk about that – ‘yet’Fox News 
Donald Trump On Potential Michael Flynn Pardon: ‘We’ll See What Happens’HuffPost
Trump doesn’t rule out pardon for Michael FlynnNBCNews.com
Newsweek
 
Trump on a Flynn pardon: ‘Let’s see’CNN
Trump says he won’t discuss pardoning Michael Flynn ‘yet’
 The Week Magazine
 
all 132
 
Washington ExaminerNewsweekHuffPost
all 81 news articles »
Trump rips FBI before speech at its training academy – The Hill


The Hill
Trump rips FBI before speech at its training academy
The Hill
The president and his allies are increasingly questioning the FBI’s integrity as they attack the Russia probe. Republicans on Capitol Hill have slammed former FBI Director James Comey for revising a draft document detailing the agency’s findings of the 
PHOTOS: The Trump Russia ProbeMeriden Record-Journal

all 111 news articles »

Libre: Trump vs. Putin | SunStar – Sun.Star


The National
Libre: Trump vs. Putin | SunStar
Sun.Star
With Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shared the same view that Trump’s move could escalate tension in the region. Then there was the offer of Russia to
Backed by Putin, Russian military pushes into foreign policyThe National
Putin Targets Navalny, Defends Trump, Sets Stage For Reelection With Hours-Long Press ConferenceRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
In Major Shift, Putin Pushing Russia’s Military Leadership Into Foreign Policy RoleHaaretz

all 1,184 1,142 news articles »

This story on Trump’s Russia paranoia is terrifying – CNN


CNN
This story on Trump’s Russia paranoia is terrifying
CNN
(CNN) The Washington Post published a breathtaking piece this week detailing the depth and breadth of President Donald Trump’s blind spot on Russia. The story is, in a word, terrifying. Trump, as revealed in scrupulous detail in the article, simply 

and more »

Trump blasts the FBI minutes before a major speech at the top law-enforcement agency – Business Insider


Business Insider
Trump blasts the FBI minutes before a major speech at the top law-enforcement agency
Business Insider
“It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI, but we’re going to rebuild the FBI. It’ll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump told reporters before boarding Virginia-bound Marine One on Friday morning. The president also recently described the country’s 
President Trump Escalates Criticism of FBI Role in Russia InquiryNew York Times
Trump calls conduct at FBI ‘disgraceful’ before appearing at QuanticoWashington Post
Trump rips the FBI before speech at its training academyThe Hill

all 126 news articles »

Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure – Whitehouse.gov (press release)


Whitehouse.gov (press release)
Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure
Whitehouse.gov (press release)
He said very nice things about what I’ve done for this country in terms of the economy, and then he said also some negative things in terms of what’s going on elsewhere. But the primary point was to talk about North Korea, because we would love to have 
Trump described admitting Kremlin hacked Dem emails as a ‘trap’: reportThe Hill
After a year of slowly unfolding Russia news, America’s views on the issue have barely changedWashington Post

all 104 news articles »

Psychiatrists Deeply Concerned by Trump’s Instability Call for Urgent Mental Health Evaluation – Democracy Now!


Democracy Now!
Psychiatrists Deeply Concerned by Trump’s Instability Call for Urgent Mental Health Evaluation
Democracy Now!
We continue our interview with someone who’s led a discussion of mental health professionals who are deeply concerned about President Trump’s psychological instability. Dr. Bandy Lee is a forensic psychiatrist on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine 

and more »

How Putin’s proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns – Dallas News (blog)


Dallas News (blog)
How Putin’s proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns
Dallas News (blog)
(FEC records list his employer as Renova US Management LLC.) Intrater had no significant history of political contributions prior to the 2016 elections. But in January 2017 he contributed $250,000 to Trump’s Inaugural Committee. His six-figure gift 

Cyprus is at the center of a circle of corruption surrounding Trump – Dallas News (blog)


Dallas News (blog)
Cyprus is at the center of a circle of corruption surrounding Trump
Dallas News (blog)
During Ackermann’s tenure as chief executive, Deutsche Bank engaged in a wide range of financial misconduct including, according to The New Yorker, laundering $10 billion of Russian money through its offices in New York, Cyprus and Moscow. Through 

DHS Announces New Rules to Prevent Terrorism, Curb Visa Overstays – Washington Free Beacon


Washington Free Beacon
DHS Announces New Rules to Prevent Terrorism, Curb Visa Overstays
Washington Free Beacon
It specifically requested that Congress codify the reporting of foreign terrorist fighter information to international crime-fighting organizations like INTERPOL and EUROPOL, aid the systematic collection of traveler data, and allow U.S. Federal Air 

and more »

Trump Speaks At FBI Graduation After Trashing Bureau’s ‘Worst In History’ Reputation

He promoted anti-immigration and tough-on-crime policies.

Trump attacks FBI texts, ‘scam’ probes into Russia collusion – Politico


Politico
Trump attacks FBI texts, ‘scam’ probes into Russia collusion
Politico
President Donald Trump unloaded Friday on the Russia investigations, decrying the probes as a scam and Democrat hoax that has wasted millions and millions of dollars that hasn’t come up with any evidence of collusion between his 2016 campaign and 

and more »

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12:31 PM 12/14/2017 – FBI Plot Against Trump – A PLAGUE A’ BOTH YOUR HOUSES!

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Donald Trump Told Of Putin’s ‘Specific’ Orders For Russia To Hack Election, Ignored CIA Intel, New Report Says – The Inquisitr

How Trumps skepticism of U.S. intelligence on Russia left an election threat unchecked

Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election-meddling divides America – The Economist

Is John Kelly plotting to take Donald Trump down?

The Early Edition: December 14, 2017 – Just Security

Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s – New York Times
Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked
The Early Edition: December 14, 2017
Putin’s Syria victory lap is premature, experts say
“Drunk Fox News Anchor Gregg Jarrett Arrested During Airport Fight” VIDEO “Fox News Anchor Arrested” – YouTube
Gregg Jarrett – Google Search
Pills possible factor in Fox News anchor’s arrest
Has the FBI ‘become America’s secret police,’ like the KGB?
Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! Not for the criminals but for themselves Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks 2:48 PM 12/12/2017
Trump – Google News: Omarosa Manigault’s departure highlights lack of diversity in Trump White House – Washington Post
Handcuffs for the FBI: This is the best solution for their problems!
Sanctions trial witness says he got $50,000 from FBI
Report: Turkish Police Summon FBI Official – Voice of America
6:56 AM 11/20/2017 Should The FBI Be Abolished?
In Major Shift, Putin Pushing Russia’s Military Leadership Into Foreign Policy Role – Haaretz
‘Unfit to clean toilets’: USA Today’s unusually forceful editorial about Trump – Washington Post
Tyrrell: Russia’s influence spreads throughout the capital – News Chief
Donald Trumps demise just became assured
Russia, China make gains globally as US influence wanes – CBC.ca

 

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Donald Trump Told Of Putin’s ‘Specific’ Orders For Russia To Hack Election, Ignored CIA Intel, New Report Says – The Inquisitr
 

mikenova shared this story from Elections 2016 Investigation videos – Google News.


The Inquisitr
Donald Trump Told Of Putin’s ‘Specific’ Orders For Russia To Hack Election, Ignored CIA Intel, New Report Says
The Inquisitr
Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald Trump was told in a top-secret briefing that the CIA had extraordinary intelligence proving Russian president Vladimir Putin gave specific instructions on how Russia would hack the United States 2016 and more »
How Trumps skepticism of U.S. intelligence on Russia left an election threat unchecked
 

mikenova shared this story .

In the final days before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, members of his inner circle pleaded with him to acknowledge publicly what U.S. intelligence agencies had already concluded — that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was real.

Holding impromptu interventions in Trump’s 26th-floor corner office at Trump Tower, advisers — including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and designated chief of staff, Reince Priebus — prodded the president-elect to accept the findings that the nation’s spy chiefs had personally presented to him on Jan. 6.

They sought to convince Trump that he could affirm the validity of the intelligence without diminishing his electoral win, according to three officials involved in the sessions. More important, they said that doing so was the only way to put the matter behind him politically and free him to pursue his goal of closer ties with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

“This was part of the normalization process,” one participant said. “There was a big effort to get him to be a standard president.”

But as aides persisted, Trump became agitated. He railed that the intelligence couldn’t be trusted and scoffed at the suggestion that his candidacy had been propelled by forces other than his own strategy, message and charisma.

How Trump fought the intelligence on Russia and left an election threat unchecked

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The Washington Post examines how, nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject evidence that Russia supported his run for the White House. (Dalton Bennett, Thomas LeGro, John Parks, Jesse Mesner-Hage/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post examines how, nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject evidence that Russia supported his run for the White House as part of an unprecedented assault on a pillar of American democracy. (Dalton Bennett,Thomas LeGro,John Parks,Jesse Mesner-Hage/The Washington Post)

Told that members of his incoming Cabinet had already publicly backed the intelligence report on Russia, Trump shot back, “So what?” Admitting that the Kremlin had hacked Democratic Party emails, he said, was a “trap.”

As Trump addressed journalists on Jan. 11 in the lobby of Trump Tower, he came as close as he ever would to grudging acceptance. “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said, adding that “we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”

As hedged as those words were, Trump regretted them almost immediately. “It’s not me,” he said to aides afterward. “It wasn’t right.”

Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House.

The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government.

Rather than search for ways to deter Kremlin attacks or safeguard U.S. elections, Trump has waged his own campaign to discredit the case that Russia poses any threat and he has resisted or attempted to roll back efforts to hold Moscow to account.

His administration has moved to undo at least some of the sanctions the previous administration imposed on Russia for its election interference, exploring the return of two Russian compounds in the United States that President Barack Obama had seized — the measure that had most galled Moscow. Months later, when Congress moved to impose additional penalties on Moscow, Trump opposed the measures fiercely.

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at Trump Tower in New York on Jan. 11. (Photo by Jabin Botsford; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

Trump has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it, administration officials said. Although the issue has been discussed at lower levels at the National Security Council, one former high-ranking Trump administration official said there is an unspoken understanding within the NSC that to raise the matter is to acknowledge its validity, which the president would see as an affront.

Trump’s stance on the election is part of a broader entanglement with Moscow that has defined the first year of his presidency. He continues to pursue an elusive bond with Putin, which he sees as critical to dealing with North Korea, Iran and other issues. “Having Russia in a friendly posture,” he said last month, “is an asset to the world and an asset to our country.”

His position has alienated close American allies and often undercut members of his Cabinet — all against the backdrop of a criminal probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

This account of the Trump administration’s reaction to Russia’s interference and policies toward Moscow is based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U.S. officials, many of whom had senior roles in the Trump campaign and transition team or have been in high-level positions at the White House or at national security agencies. Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

Trump administration officials defended the approach with Russia, insisting that their policies and actions have been tougher than those pursued by Obama but without unnecessarily combative language or posture. “Our approach is that we don’t irritate Russia, we deter Russia,” a senior administration official said. “The last administration had it exactly backwards.”

White House officials cast the president’s refusal to acknowledge Russian interference in the election as an understandably human reaction. “The president obviously feels . . . that the idea that he’s been put into office by Vladi­mir Putin is pretty insulting,” said a second senior administration official. But his views are “not a constraint” on the government’s ability to respond to future election threats, the official said. “Our first order in dealing with Russia is trying to counter a lot of the destabilizing activity that Russia engages in.”

Others questioned how such an effort could succeed when the rationale for that objective is routinely rejected by the president. Michael V. Hayden, who served as CIA director under President George W. Bush, has described the Russian interference as the political equivalent of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, an event that exposed a previously unimagined vulnerability and required a unified American response.

“What the president has to say is, ‘We know the Russians did it, they know they did it, I know they did it, and we will not rest until we learn everything there is to know about how and do everything possible to prevent it from happening again,’ ” Hayden said in an interview. Trump “has never said anything close to that and will never say anything close to that.”

‘More than worth the effort’

The feeble American response has registered with the Kremlin.

U.S. officials said that a stream of intelligence from sources inside the Russian government indicates that Putin and his lieutenants regard the 2016 “active measures” campaign — as the Russians describe such covert propaganda operations — as a resounding, if incomplete, success.

Moscow has not achieved some its most narrow and immediate goals. The annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has not been recognized. Sanctions imposed for Russian intervention in Ukraine remain in place. Additional penalties have been mandated by Congress. And a wave of diplomatic retaliation has cost Russia access to additional diplomatic facilities, including its San Francisco consulate.

But overall, U.S. officials said, the Kremlin believes it got a staggering return on an operation that by some estimates cost less than $500,000 to execute and was organized around two main objectives — destabilizing U.S. democracy and preventing Hillary Clinton, who is despised by Putin, from reaching the White House.

The bottom line for Putin, said one U.S. official briefed on the stream of post-election intelligence, is that the operation was “more than worth the effort.”

The Kremlin’s Building One. U.S. officials say the Kremlin sees its 2016 election interference campaign as a success, if an incomplete one. (Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

The Russian operation seemed intended to aggravate political polarization and racial tensions and to diminish U.S. influence abroad. The United States’ closest alliances are frayed, and the Oval Office is occupied by a disruptive politician who frequently praises his counterpart in Russia.

“Putin has to believe this was the most successful intelligence operation in the history of Russian or Soviet intelligence,” said Andrew Weiss, a former adviser on Russia in the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations who is now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It has driven the American political system into a crisis that will last years.”

U.S. officials declined to discuss whether the stream of recent intelligence on Russia has been shared with Trump. Current and former officials said that his daily intelligence update — known as the president’s daily brief, or PDB — is often structured to avoid upsetting him.

Russia-related intelligence that might draw Trump’s ire is in some cases included only in the written assessment and not raised orally, said a former senior intelligence official familiar with the matter. In other cases, Trump’s main briefer — a veteran CIA analyst — adjusts the order of his presentation and text, aiming to soften the impact.

“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference — that takes the PDB off the rails,” said a second former senior U.S. intelligence official.

Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said the briefing is “written by senior-level, career intelligence officers,” and that the intelligence community “always provides objective intelligence — including on Russia — to the president and his staff.”

Trump’s aversion to the intelligence, and the dilemma that poses for top spies, has created a confusing dissonance on issues related to Russia. The CIA continues to stand by its conclusions about the election, for example, even as the agency’s director, Mike Pompeo, frequently makes comments that seem to diminish or distort those findings.

In October, Pompeo declared the intelligence community had concluded that Russia’s meddling “did not affect the outcome of the election.” In fact, spy agencies intentionally steered clear of addressing that question.

Presenting the intelligence

Obama administration intelligence chiefs

brief president-elect and

Director of

national

intelligence

National

security

adviser

JAN. 6

Comey briefs Trump privately on the

salacious allegations in the dossier

JAN. 7 TO 11

Trump aides try to persuade him

to accept the intelligence

community’s consensus

Obama administration intelligence chiefs brief

president-elect and transition-team members

Director of

national

intelligence

National

security

adviser

JAN. 6

Comey briefs Trump privately on the salacious allegations in the dossier

Trump aides try to persuade him to accept the intelligence community’s consensus

Obama administration intelligence chiefs brief

president-elect and transition-team members

Director of

national

intelligence

Incoming

national

security

adviser

JAN. 6

Comey briefs Trump

privately on the

salacious allegations

in the dossier

JAN. 7 TO 11

Trump aides try

to persuade him to

accept the

intelligence

community’s

consensus

On Jan. 6, two weeks before Trump was sworn in as president, the nation’s top intelligence officials boarded an aircraft at Joint Base Andrews on the outskirts of Washington to travel to New York for one of the most delicate briefings they would deliver in their decades-long careers.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael S. Rogers flew together aboard an Air Force 737. FBI Director James B. Comey traveled separately on an FBI Gulfstream aircraft, planning to extend his stay for meetings with bureau officials.

The mood was heavy. The four men had convened a virtual meeting the previous evening, speaking by secure videoconference to plan their presentation to the incoming president of a classified report on Russia’s election interference and its pro-Trump objective.

During the campaign, Trump had alternately dismissed the idea of Russian involvement — saying a hack of the Democratic National Committee was just as likely carried out by “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” — and prodded the Kremlin to double down on its operation and unearth additional Clinton emails.

The officials had already briefed Obama and members of Congress. As they made their way across Manhattan in separate convoys of black SUVs, they braced for a blowup.

“We were prepared to be thrown out,” Clapper said in an interview.

Instead, the session was oddly serene.

The officials were escorted into a spacious conference room on the 14th floor of Trump Tower. Trump took a seat at one end of a large table, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the other. Among the others present were Priebus, Pompeo and designated national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Following a rehearsed plan, Clapper functioned as moderator, yielding to Brennan and others on key points in the briefing, which covered the most highly classified information U.S. spy agencies had assembled, including an extraordinary CIA stream of intelligence that had captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation.

Trump seemed, at least for the moment, to acquiesce.

“He was affable, courteous, complimentary,” Clapper said. “He didn’t bring up the 400-pound guy.”

A copy of the report was left with Trump’s designated intelligence briefer. But there was another, more sensitive matter left to cover.

President Trump with then-FBI Director James B. Comey at a White House gathering on Jan. 22. (Pool photo by Andrew Harrer/Getty Images; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

Clapper and Comey had initially planned to remain together with Trump while discussing an infamous dossier that included salacious allegations about the incoming president.

It had been commissioned by an opposition research firm in Washington that had enlisted a former British intelligence officer to gather material. As The Washington Post reported in October, the research was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

But in the end, Comey felt he should handle the matter with Trump alone, saying that the dossier was being scrutinized exclusively by the FBI. After the room emptied, Comey explained that the dossier had not been corroborated and that its contents had not influenced the intelligence community’s findings — but that the president needed to know it was in wide circulation in Washington.

Senior officials would subsequently wonder whether the decision to leave that conversation to Comey helped poison his relationship with the incoming president. When the dossier was posted online four days later by the news site BuzzFeed, Trump lashed out the next morning in a 4:48 a.m. Twitter blast.

“Intelligence agencies never should have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public,” Trump said. “One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” The Post was one of several news organizations that had been briefed on key allegations included in the dossier months earlier and had been attempting to verify them.

After leaving the Jan. 6 meeting at Trump Tower, Comey had climbed into his car and began composing a memo.

“I knew there might come a day when I would need a record of what happened, not just to defend myself but to defend the FBI and our integrity as an institution,” he testified to Congress in June. It was the first of multiple memos he would write documenting his interactions with Trump.

Clapper’s office released an abbreviated public version of the intelligence report later that day. Trump issued a statement saying that “Russia, China” and “other countries” had sought to penetrate the cyberdefenses of U.S. institutions, including the DNC.

In their Trump Tower interventions, senior aides had sought to cement his seeming acceptance of the intelligence. But as the first year of his presidency progressed, Trump became only more adamant in his rejections of it.

In November, during a 12-day trip to Asia, Trump signaled that he believed Putin’s word over that of U.S. intelligence.

“He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump said to reporters aboard Air Force One after he and Putin spoke on the sidelines of a summit in Vietnam. “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”

As those remarks roiled Washington, Trump sought to calm the controversy without fully conceding the accuracy of the intelligence on Russia. He also aimed a parting shot at the spy chiefs who had visited him in January in New York.

“As to whether I believe it or not,” he said the next day, “I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership.”

‘Don’t walk that last 5½ feet’

In the early days of his presidency, Trump surrounded himself with aides and advisers who reinforced his affinity for Russia and Putin, though for disparate reasons not always connected to the views of the president.

Flynn, the national security adviser, saw Russia as an unfairly maligned world power and believed that the United States should set aside its differences with Moscow so the two could focus on higher priorities, including battling Islamist terrorism.

Some on the NSC, including Middle East adviser Derek Harvey, urged pursuing a “grand bargain” with Russia in Syria as part of an effort to drive a wedge into Moscow’s relationship with Iran. Harvey is no longer in the administration.

Others had more idiosyncratic impulses. Kevin Harrington, a former associate of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel brought in to shape national security strategy, saw close ties with oil- and gas-rich Russia as critical to surviving an energy apocalypse — a fate that officials who worked with him said he discussed frequently and depicted as inevitable.

The tilt of the staff began to change when Flynn was forced to resign after just 24 days on the job for falsehoods about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. His replacement, Army Gen. H.R. McMaster, had more conventional foreign policy views that included significant skepticism of Moscow.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster at the White House in September. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu, photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

The change helped ease the turmoil that had characterized the NSC but set up internal conflicts on Russia-related issues that seemed to interfere with Trump’s pursuit of a friendship with Putin. Among them was the administration’s position on NATO.

The alliance, built around a pledge of mutual defense against Soviet or Russian aggression among the United States and its European allies, became a flash point in internal White House battles. McMaster, an ardent NATO supporter, struggled to fend off attacks on the alliance and its members by Trump’s political advisers.

The president’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, moved to undermine support for NATO within weeks of arriving at the White House. After securing a position on the NSC, Bannon ordered officials to compile a table of arrears — alleged deficits on defense spending by every NATO member going back 67 years. Officials protested that such a calculation was impractical, and they persuaded Bannon to accept a partial list documenting underspending dating from 2007.

Bannon and McMaster clashed in front of Trump during an Oval Office discussion about NATO in the spring, officials said. Trump, sitting behind his desk, was voicing frustration that NATO member states were not meeting their defense spending obligations under the treaty. Bannon went further, describing Europe as “nothing more than a glorified protectorate.”

McMaster, an ardent supporter of NATO, snapped at Bannon. “Why are you such an apologist for Russia?” he asked, according to two officials with knowledge of the exchange. Bannon shot back that his position had “nothing to do with Russians” and later told colleagues how much he relished such confrontations with McMaster, saying, “I love living rent-free in his head.”

Bannon and his allies also maneuvered to sabotage displays of unity with the alliance. As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived for an April visit at the White House, McMaster’s team prepared remarks for Trump that included an endorsement of Article 5 — the core NATO provision calling for members to come to one another’s defense.

But the language was stripped out at the last minute by NATO critics inside the administration who argued that “it didn’t sound presidential enough,” one senior U.S. official said. A month later, Stephen Miller, a White House adviser close to Bannon, carried out a similar editing operation in Brussels where Trump spoke at a dedication ceremony for NATO’s gleaming new headquarters.

Standing before twisted steel wreckage from the World Trade Center that memorialized NATO’s commitment to defend the United States after the 9/11 attacks, Trump made no mention of any U.S. commitment to mutual defense.

Trump finally did so in June during a meeting with the president of Romania. Officials said that in that case, McMaster clung to the president’s side until a joint news conference was underway, blocking Miller from Trump and the text. A senior White House official said that Trump has developed a good relationship with Stoltenberg and often praises him in private.

On sensitive matters related to Russia, senior advisers have at times adopted what one official described as a policy of “don’t walk that last 5½feet” — meaning to avoid entering the Oval Office and giving Trump a chance to erupt or overrule on issues that can be resolved by subordinates.

Another former U.S. official described being enlisted to contact the German government before Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit at the White House in March. The outreach had two aims, the official said — to warn Merkel that her encounter with Trump would probably be acrimonious because of their diverging views on refugees, trade and other issues, but also to urge her to press Trump on U.S. support for NATO.

The signature moment of the trip came during a brief photo appearance in which Trump wore a dour expression and appeared to spurn Merkel’s effort to shake his hand, though Trump later said he had not noticed the gesture.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Trump at a joint White House news conference in March. (Photo by Jabin Botsford, photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

His demeanor with the German leader was in striking contrast with his encounters with Putin and other authoritarian figures. “Who are the three guys in the world he most admires? President Xi [Jinping] of China, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and Putin,” one Trump adviser said. “They’re all the same guy.”

Merkel has never fit into that Trump pantheon. Before her arrival, senior White House aides witnessed an odd scene that some saw as an omen for the visit. As McMaster and a dozen other top aides met with Trump in the Oval Office to outline issues Merkel was likely to raise, the president grew impatient, stood up and walked into an adjoining bathroom.

Trump left the bathroom door open, according to officials familiar with the incident, instructing McMaster to raise his voice and keep talking. A senior White House official said the president entered the restroom and merely “took a glance in the mirror, as this was before a public event.”

TRUMP’S

RELATIONSHIP WITH NATO

President-elect Trump calls NATO

“obsolete,” alarming European allies.

Trump repeats the claim that NATO is not

focused on terrorism, an assertion

disputed by U.S. partners. NATO has sent

troops to Afghanistan and has an

established counterterrorism agenda.

President Trump says NATO is “no longer

obsolete” during a joint news conference

with NATO Secretary General Jens

Stoltenberg. NATO critics in the

administration remove language that

endorses Article 5 of the alliance’s

founding treaty, which states an attack

on one country is an attack on all.

Trump, standing alongside Romanian

President Klaus Iohannis at the White

House, publicly endorses Article 5.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster

blocked Trump adviser Stephen Miller

from Trump and the speech until the

news conference began.

TRUMP’S CONTENTIOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH NATO

President-elect Trump calls NATO

“obsolete,” alarming European allies.

Trump repeats the claim that NATO is not

focused on terrorism, an assertion

disputed by U.S. partners. NATO has sent

troops to Afghanistan and has an

established counterterrorism agenda.

President Trump says NATO is “no longer

obsolete” during a joint news conference

with NATO Secretary General Jens

Stoltenberg. NATO critics in the

administration remove language that

endorses Article 5 of the alliance’s

founding treaty, which states an attack

on one country is an attack on all.

Trump, standing alongside Romanian

President Klaus Iohannis at the White

House, publicly endorses Article 5.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster

blocked Trump adviser Stephen Miller

from Trump and the speech until the

news conference began.

TRUMP’S CONTENTIOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH NATO

President Trump says NATO is “no longer

obsolete” during a joint news conference

with NATO Secretary General Jens

Stoltenberg. NATO critics in the

administration remove language that

endorses Article 5 of the alliance’s

founding treaty, which states an attack

on one country is an attack on all.

President-elect Trump calls NATO

“obsolete,” alarming European allies.

Trump repeats the claim that NATO is not

focused on terrorism, an assertion

disputed by U.S. partners. NATO has sent

troops to Afghanistan and has an

established counterterrorism agenda.

Trump, standing alongside Romanian

President Klaus Iohannis at the White

House, publicly endorses Article 5.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster

blocked Trump adviser Stephen Miller

from Trump and the speech until the

news conference began.

The campaign

March 21, 2016

Questioning NATO

In an interview with The Washington Post, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump calls NATO outdated and says allies should spend more on defense. “I think NATO as a concept is good, but it is not as good as it was when it first evolved,” Trump says.

July 21, 2016

Trump says U.S. won’t rush to defend NATO

Trump sets off alarm bells with a suggestion that his administration would not automatically defend fellow members of NATO from an attack if they have not lived up to their financial obligations. His remarks provoke a swift rebuke from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The transition

Jan. 15

NATO is ‘obsolete’

President-elect Trump calls NATO “obsolete,” alarming European allies. Trump repeats the claim that NATO is not focused on terrorism, an assertion disputed by U.S. partners. NATO has sent troops to Afghanistan and has an established counterterrorism agenda.

Jan. 18

Leader responds

Stoltenberg, in response to Trump’s criticisms, says the defense organization is constantly evolving to meet modern security threats, including terrorism.

The administration

Feb. 6

Trump wants more

President Trump says he supports NATO but asks that members “make their full and proper financial contribution to the NATO alliance.”

March 17

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the White House

March 18

‘Vast sums of money’

Trump says Germany owes the United States “vast sums of money” for NATO. The statement is inaccurate. All NATO countries have committed to spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense by 2024, but they do not owe the United States money.

March 19

Germany responds

Germany rejects Trump’s NATO claim. Germany’s defense minister says the country has “no debt account in NATO.”

April 12

Trump reverses NATO stance

Trump, during a joint news conference with Stoltenberg, says NATO is “no longer obsolete.” NATO critics in the administration remove language that endorses Article 5 of the alliance’s founding treaty, which states an attack on one country is an attack on all.

May 25

Trump chastises NATO members

Trump criticizes NATO leaders in Brussels, saying they are not spending enough money on their own defense. There is widespread disappointment among NATO leaders when Trump does not explicitly reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Article 5.

May 28

Merkel: Europe can’t rely on others

Merkel says Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands,” offering a stark view of U.S.-European relations.

May 30

Trump tweets back

Trump fans the dispute with Merkel by tweeting: “We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change.”

June 9

Trump backs collective defense commitment

Trump, standing alongside the president of Romania at the White House, publicly endorses Article 5.

June 28

NATO allies boost defense spending

NATO allies announce plans to boost defense spending by 4.3 percent this year, partly a response to Trump’s pressure. “We have really shifted gears,” NATO’s secretary general says.

McMaster gained an internal ally on Russia in March with the hiring of Fiona Hill as the top Russia adviser on the NSC. A frequent critic of the Kremlin, Hill was best known as the author of a respected biography of Putin and was seen as a reassuring selection among Russia hard-liners.

Her relationship with Trump, however, was strained from the start.

In one of her first encounters with the president, an Oval Office meeting in preparation for a call with Putin on Syria, Trump appeared to mistake Hill for a member of the clerical staff, handing her a memo he had marked up and instructing her to rewrite it.

When Hill responded with a perplexed look, Trump became irritated with what he interpreted as insubordination, according to officials who witnessed the exchange. As she walked away in confusion, Trump exploded and motioned for McMaster to intervene.

McMaster followed Hill out the door and scolded her, officials said. Later he and a few close staffers met to explore ways to repair Hill’s damaged relationship with the president.

Hill’s standing was further damaged when she was forced to defend members of her staff suspected of disloyalty after details about Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — in which the president revealed highly classified informationto his Russian guests — were leaked to The Post.

The White House subsequently tightened the circle of aides involved in meetings with Russian officials. Trump was accompanied only by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a meeting with Putin at a July summit of Group of 20 nations in Hamburg. In prior administrations, the president’s top aide on Russia was typically present for such encounters, but Hill has frequently been excluded.

A senior administration official said that the NSC “was not sidelined as a result” of Hill’s difficult encounters with Trump, that Hill is regularly included in briefings with the president and that she and her staff “continue to play an important role on Russia policy.”

An insult to Moscow

White House officials insist that the Trump administration has adopted a tougher stance toward Moscow than the Obama administration on important fronts.

They point to Trump’s decision, after a chemical weapons attack in Syria, to approve a U.S. military strike on a base where Russian personnel and equipment were present. They cite Trump’s decision in early August to sign legislation imposing additional economic sanctions on Moscow and steps taken by the State Department at the end of that month ordering three Russian diplomatic facilities — two trade offices and the consulate in San Francisco — closed. They also said that the NSC is preparing options for the president to deal with the threat of Russian interference in American elections.

“Look at our actions,” a senior administration official said in an interview. “We’re pushing back against the Russians.”

Senior Trump officials have struggled to explain how. In congressional testimony in October, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pressed on whether the administration had done enough to prevent Russian interference in the future. “Probably not,” Sessions said. “And the matter is so complex that for most of us we are not able to fully grasp the technical dangers that are out there.”

The administration’s accomplishments are to a large measure offset by complicating factors — Trump had little choice but to sign the sanctions — and competing examples. Among them is the administration’s persistent exploration of proposals to lift one of the most effective penalties that Obama imposed for Russia’s election interference — the seizure of two Russian compounds.

Russia used those sprawling estates in Maryland and New York as retreats for its spies and diplomats but also — according to CIA and FBI officials — as platforms for espionage. The loss of those sites became a major grievance for Moscow.

Lavrov has raised the confiscation of those properties in nearly every meeting with his American counterparts, officials said, accusing the United States of having “stolen our dachas,” using the Russian word for country houses.

Putin may have had reason to expect that Russia would soon regain access to the compounds after Trump took office. In his recent guilty plea, Flynn admitted lying to the FBI about a conversation with the Russian ambassador in late December. During the call, which came as Obama was announcing sanctions on Russia, Flynn urged the ambassador not to overreact, suggesting the penalties would be short-lived.

After a report in late May by The Post that the administration was considering returning the compounds, hard-liners in the administration mobilized to head off any formal offer.

Several weeks later, the FBI organized an elaborate briefing for Trump in the Oval Office, officials said. E.W. “Bill” Priestap, the assistant director of the counterintelligence division at the FBI, brought three-dimensional models of the properties, as well as maps showing their proximity to sensitive U.S. military or intelligence installations.

Appealing to Trump’s “America first” impulse, officials made the case that Russia had used the facilities to steal U.S. secrets. Trump seemed convinced, officials said.

Smoke rises from a chimney at the Russian Consulate in San Francisco on Sept. 1, a day after the Trump administration ordered its closure. (Photo by Eric Risberg/AP; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

“I told Rex we’re not giving the real estate back to the Russians,” Trump said at one point, referring to Tillerson, according to participants. Later, Trump marveled at the potential of the two sites and asked, “Should we sell this off and keep the money?”

But on July 6, Tillerson sent an informal communication to the Kremlin proposing the return of the two compounds, a gesture that he hoped would help the two sides pull out of a diplomatic tailspin. Under the proposed terms, Russia would regain access to the compounds but without diplomatic status that for years had rendered them outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law enforcement.

The FBI and some White House officials, including Hill, were livid when they learned that the plan had been communicated to Russia through a “non-paper” — an informal, nonbinding format. But “Tillerson never does anything without Trump’s approval,” a senior U.S. official said, making clear that the president knew in advance.

Administration officials provided conflicting accounts of what came next. Two officials indicated that there were additional communications with the Kremlin about the plan. One senior official said that Tillerson made a last-minute change in the terms, proposing that the Maryland site be returned “status quo ante,” meaning with full diplomatic protections. It would again be off-limits to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.

State Department officials disputed that account, however, saying that no such offer was ever contemplated and that the final proposal shared with the Kremlin was the non-paper sent on July 6 — one day before Trump met with Putin in Hamburg.

Tillerson “never directed anyone to draft” a revised proposal to the Kremlin, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a written statement. “We considered possible options for restoring Russian access for recreational purposes in a way that would meet the security concerns of the U.S. government.” By the end of July, Congress had passed a new sanctions bill that “imposed specific conditions for the return of the dachas,” she said, “and the Russians have so far not been willing to meet them.”

Moscow made clear through Lavrov and others in mid-July that it regarded the overture, and the idea that any conditions would be placed on the return of the sites, as an insult. State Department officials interpreted that response as evidence that Russia’s real purpose was the resumption of espionage.

‘He was raging. He was raging mad.’

With no deal on the dachas, U.S.-Russia relations plunged into diplomatic free fall.

Even before Trump was sworn in, a group of senators including John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) had begun drafting legislation to impose further sanctions on Russia.

In the ensuing months, McCain’s office began getting private warnings from a White House insider. “We were told that a big announcement was coming regarding Russia sanctions,” a senior congressional aide said. “We all kind of assumed the worst.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had blocked the sanctions bill from moving forward at the behest of Tillerson, who kept appealing for more time to negotiate with Moscow.

But after Comey’s firing in early May, and months of damaging headlines about Trump and Russia, an alarmed Senate approved new sanctions on Russia in a 98-to-2 vote.

Trump at times seemed not to understand how his actions and behavior intensified congressional concern. After he emerged from a meeting in Hamburg with Putin, Trump said he and the Russian leader had agreed upon the outlines of a cooperative cybersecurity plan.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) described the proposed pact as “pretty close” to “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard” and introduced additional provisions to the sanctions bill that would strip Trump of much of his power to undo them — a remarkable slap at presidential prerogative.

Then, in late July, new information surfaced about the extent of Trump’s interactions with Putin in Hamburg that sent another wave of anxiety across Capitol Hill.

At the end of a lavish banquet for world leaders, Trump wandered away from his assigned seat for a private conversation with the Russian leader — without a single U.S. witness, only a Kremlin interpreter.

A Trump administration official described the reaction to the encounter as overblown, saying that Trump had merely left his seat to join the first lady, Melania Trump, who had been seated for the dinner next to Putin. Whatever the reason, little over a week later both chambers of Congress passed the sanctions measure with overwhelming margins that would withstand any Trump veto.

Trump’s frustration had been building as the measure approached a final vote. He saw the bill as validation of the case that Russia had interfered, as an encroachment on his executive authority and as a potentially fatal blow to his aspirations for friendship with Putin, according to his advisers.

In the final days before passage, Trump watched MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program and stewed as hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski declared that the bill would be a slap in the face to the president.

“He was raging,” one adviser said. “He was raging mad.”

After final passage, Trump was “apoplectic,” the adviser recalled. It took four days for aides to persuade him to sign the bill, arguing that if he vetoed it and Congress overturned that veto, his standing would be permanently weakened.

“Hey, here are the votes,” aides told the president, according to a second Trump adviser. “If you veto it, they’ll override you and then you’re f—ed and you look like you’re weak.”

Trump signed but made his displeasure known. His signing statement asserted that the measure included “clearly unconstitutional provisions.” Trump had routinely made a show of bill signings, but in this case no media was allowed to attend.

The reaction from Russia was withering. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev taunted the president in a Facebook post that echoed Trump’s style, saying that the president had shown “complete impotence, in the most humiliating manner, transferring executive power to Congress.”

Putin, who had shown such restraint in late December 2016, reacted to the new sanctions with fury, ordering the United States to close two diplomatic properties and slash 755 people from its staff — most of them Russian nationals working for the United States.

Rather than voice any support for the dozens of State Department and CIA employees being forced back to Washington, Trump expressed gratitude to Putin.

“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll,” Trump told reporters during an outing at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. — remarks his aides would later claim were meant as a joke. “We’ll save a lot of money.”

President Barack Obama announces

sanctions meant to punish Russia for its

election interference. Michael Flynn, the

incoming national security adviser, asks

Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to

have Moscow withhold a strong

diplomatic response. The next day, Putin

announces he will not retaliate.

During the Group of 20 summit,

President Trump says he “strongly

pressed” Russian President Vladimir

Putin twice about Russia’s election

meddling. Afterward, Trump promises to

“move forward in working constructively

with Russia.” The two leaders have a

second meeting that was not

immediately disclosed by the

White House.

After Trump said he agreed with Putin on

a cooperative cybersecurity plan, Sen.

Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) introduced

additional provisions to a sanctions bill

that would strip Trump of much of his

power to undo them. The bill passes, and

Trump reluctantly signs it on Aug. 2 —

setting off a diplomatic fight between the

United States and Russia.

President Barack Obama announces

sanctions meant to punish Russia for its

election interference. Michael Flynn, the

incoming national security adviser, asks

Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to

have Moscow withhold a strong

diplomatic response. The next day, Putin

announces he will not retaliate.

During the Group of 20 summit, President

Trump says he “strongly pressed” Russian

President Vladimir Putin twice about

Russia’s election meddling. Afterward,

Trump promises to “move forward in

working constructively with Russia.” The

two leaders have a second meeting that

was not immediately disclosed by the

White House.

After Trump said he agreed with Putin on

a cooperative cybersecurity plan, Sen.

Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) introduced

additional provisions to a sanctions bill

that would strip Trump of much of his

power to undo them. The bill passes, and

Trump reluctantly signs it on Aug. 2 —

setting off a diplomatic fight between the

United States and Russia.

President Barack Obama announces

sanctions meant to punish Russia for its

election interference. Michael Flynn, the

incoming national security adviser, asks

Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to

have Moscow withhold a strong

diplomatic response. The next day, Putin

announces he will not retaliate.

During the Group of 20 summit, President

Trump says he “strongly pressed” Russian

President Vladimir Putin twice about

Russia’s election meddling. Afterward,

Trump promises to “move forward in

working constructively with Russia.” The

two leaders have a second meeting that

was not immediately disclosed by the

White House.

After Trump said he agreed with Putin on

a cooperative cybersecurity plan, Sen.

Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) introduced

additional provisions to a sanctions bill

that would strip Trump of much of his

power to undo them. The bill passes, and

Trump reluctantly signs it on Aug. 2 —

setting off a diplomatic fight between the

United States and Russia.

The transition

Nov. 10, 2016

Obama’s warning

President Barack Obama warns President-elect Donald Trump about choosing Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

Dec. 1, 2016

Trump Tower meeting

Flynn and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, meet with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at Trump Tower. At this meeting, they discuss setting up a secret communications system between Trump’s team and Moscow.

Dec. 13, 2016

Kushner meets Russian banker

Kushner, apparently at Kislyak’s urging, meets with Sergey Gorkov, head of the Russian bank VEB, which is under sanctions.

Dec. 29, 2016

Obama announces sanctions

Obama announces sanctions meant to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election. Obama expels dozens of Russian officials and orders two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland to be closed.

Dec. 29, 2016

Flynn calls Kislyak

Kislyak contacts Flynn and they talk on the phone. Flynn asks Kislyak to have the Russian government withhold a strong diplomatic response.

Dec. 30, 2016

Putin is quiet

Surprisingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin chooses not to retaliate against the United States — choosing to wait and see what the new administration will do

Dec. 30, 2016

Trump praises Putin’s response

Trump tweets: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin). I always knew he was very smart!”

Jan. 6

Intel chiefs meet with Trump

The nation’s top intelligence officials present Trump a classified report on Russia’s election interference and its pro-Trump objective. Trump seems to accept the report’s conclusions.

Jan. 16

Trump’s faith in Merkel and Putin

Trump says he will trust German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Putin at the start of his presidency. “I start off trusting both,” he said. “But let’s see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all.”

The administration

Feb. 2

Haley calls out Russia

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley declares to the U.N. Security Council that sanctions against Russia for its intervention in Ukraine will not be lifted until Russia reverses its annexation of Crimea.

Feb. 3

Moral question

Trump declines to condemn a record of violence against Putin’s opponents, telling Fox News interviewer Bill O’Reilly, “You think our country is so innocent?”

April 10

Chemical attacks in Syria

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia bears at least partial responsibility for a chemical attack on villagers in Idlib province.

April 11

White House releases records discrediting Russia

The White House accuses Russia of attempting to cover up a Syrian chemical attack with the use of disinformation tactics.

April 13

Trump hopes for peace

Trump tweets: “Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!” His optimistic tone runs counter to the sentiments of senior members of his national security team.

May 3

Trump speaks by phone with Putin

The two leaders discuss the Syrian civil war, terrorism and North Korea. A day later, Putin says Trump told him that he supports establishing safe zones in Syria. “As far as I understood, the American administration supports these ideas,” Putin says.

May 10

White House meeting

Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kislyak in the Oval Office. The Post reports that Trump revealed highly classified information in the meeting.

May 16

McMaster defends Trump

National security adviser H.R. McMaster describes Trump’s conversation with Lavrov and Kislyak as “wholly appropriate.”

June 15

Senate approves sanctions bill

The Senate approves tougher sanctions against Iran and Russia, setting up a potential showdown with Trump. The measures include language that would prevent Trump from scaling back sanctions against Moscow without seeking congressional approval.

June 20

Poroshenko at the White House

Trump meets with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko as expanded sanctions against Russia are announced.

July 7

Trump meets Putin at the G-20

Trump said he “strongly pressed” Putin twice about Russia’s interference in the U.S. election and said Putin denied it. Trump promises to “move forward in working constructively with Russia.”

July 9

Trump denies sanctions talk

Trump tweets: “Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!”

July 18

Russia continues to demand the return of compounds

Lavrov calls the closure of Russian compounds in the United States as “robbery in broad daylight.”

July 18

Revelation that Trump met Putin for an additional hour at G-20

Trump left his seat at a Group of 20 dinner to sit next to Putin, who was with his official interpreter. The meeting was not immediately disclosed by the White House.

July 25

House approves sanctions bill

The sanctions bill preserves Congress’s power to block the president from unilaterally lifting its provisions. The sanctions include measures targeting Russia’s defense, intelligence, energy, railway, metals and mining sectors.

July 27

The measure is passed

The Senate passes the Russia-Iran-North Korea sanctions bill.

July 28

Russia responds

Moscow says it plans to seize two U.S. properties in Russia and orders a significant reduction of U.S. diplomatic staff in the country in retaliation for the Russia sanctions bill.

July 31

White House largely silent on Russian action

Trump remains largely quiet on the explusion of U.S. diplomats.

Aug. 2

Trump reluctantly signs the sanctions bill

In a statement, Trump calls the bill “seriously flawed.”

Aug. 21

U.S. halts visas

The U.S. Embassy says it will temporarily stop issuing non-immigrant visas in Russia as the diplomatic spat worsens.

Aug. 22

Treasury sanctions related to North Korea

The Treasury Department, in an effort to further isolate Pyongyang, places sanctions on Chinese and Russian individuals and companies it says had conducted business with North Korea.

Aug. 31

White House answers

The Trump administration orders three Russian diplomatic and trade facilities in San Francisco, New York and Washington closed following the expulsion of American diplomats from Russia.

Oct. 27

No business with Russia

The State Department warns 39 companies and government organizations that they could be hit with sanctions for doing significant business with Russia.

Nov. 11

Trump meets Putin in Vietnam

Trump says he believes Putin is sincere when he denies that Moscow meddled in the presidential election. “He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump says.

Nov. 21

Trump talks to Putin about Syria

Putin tells Trump that he has secured a commitment from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to cooperate with Russia’s new initiatives in Syria, including constitutional changes and presidential and parliamentary elections, the Kremlin says.

‘Scream bloody murder’

Trump has never explained why he so frequently seems to side with Putin.

To critics, the answer is assumed to exist in the unproven allegations of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, or the claim that Putin has some compromising information about the American president.

Aides attribute Trump’s affection for Putin to the president’s tendency to personalize matters of foreign policy and his unshakable belief that his bond with Putin is the key to fixing world problems.

“When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump tweeted last month. “There always playing politics – bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!”

White House officials present Trump as the latest in a long line of presidents who began their tenures seeking better relations with Moscow, and they argue that the persistent questions about Russia and the election only advance the Kremlin’s aims and damage the president. “This makes me pissed because we’re letting these guys win,” a senior administration official said of the Russians. Referring to the disputed Florida tallies in the 2000 presidential election, the official said: “What if the Russians had created the hanging chads? How would that have been for George Bush?”

The allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, which the president has denied categorically, also contribute to his resistance to endorse the intelligence, another senior White House official said. Acknowledging Russian interference, Trump believes, would give ammunition to his critics.

Still others close to Trump explain his aversion to the intelligence findings in more psychological terms. The president, who burns with resentment over perceived disrespect from the Washington establishment, sees the Russia inquiry as a conspiracy to undermine his election accomplishment — “a witch hunt,” as he often calls it.

“If you say ‘Russian interference,’ to him it’s all about him,” said a senior Republican strategist who has discussed the matter with Trump’s confidants. “He judges everything as about him.”

Recent months have been marked by further erosion of the U.S.-Russia relationship and troubling developments for the White House, including the indictment of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of Flynn.

Trump remains defiant about the special counsel’s probe, maintaining that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing and describing the matter as a “hoax” and a “hit job.”

Some of Trump’s most senior advisers support that view. One senior official said that Trump is right to portray the investigations and news reports as politically motivated attacks that have hurt the United States’ ability to work with Russia on real problems.

“We were looking to create some kind of bargain that would help us negotiate a very dangerous world,” said a senior White House official. “But if we do anything, Congress and the media will scream bloody murder.”

Putin expressed his own exasperation in early September, responding to a question about Trump with a quip that mocked the idea of a Trump-Putin bond while aiming a gender-related taunt at the American president. Trump “is not my bride,” Putin said, “and I am not his groom.”

The remark underscored the frustration and disenchantment that have taken hold on both sides amid the failure to achieve the breakthrough in U.S.-Russian relations that Trump and Putin both envisioned a year ago.

As a result, rather than shaping U.S. policy toward Russia, Trump at times appears to function as an outlier in his own administration, unable to pursue the relationship with Putin he envisioned but unwilling to embrace tougher policies favored by some in his Cabinet.

A Pentagon proposal that would pose a direct challenge to Moscow — a plan to deliver lethal arms to Ukrainian forces battling Russia-backed separatists — has languished in internal debates for months.

From left, national security adviser H.R. McMaster; then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus; then-Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; and Vice President Pence at President Trump’s news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in May. (Photo by Jabin Botsford; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

The plan is backed by senior members of Trump’s Cabinet, including Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who voiced support for arming Ukrainian forces in meetings with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in August. Mattis “believes that you should help people who are fighting our potential adversaries,” said a senior U.S. official involved in the deliberations.

A decision to send arms has to be made by the president, and officials said Trump has been reluctant even to engage.

“Every conversation I’ve had with people on this subject has been logical,” the senior U.S. official said. “But there’s no logical conclusion to the process, and that tells me the bottleneck is in the White House.”

In July, the administration appointed former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker to serve as special envoy to Ukraine, putting him in charge of the delicate U.S. relationship with a former Soviet republic eager for closer ties with the West.

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Putin has taken extraordinary measures to block that path, sending Russian commandos and arms into Ukraine to support pro-Russian separatists. And Putin is bitter about U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression. A decision by Trump to send arms would probably rupture U.S.-Russian relations beyond immediate repair.

Trump was forced to grapple with these complexities in September, when he met with Poroshenko at the United Nations. Volker met with Trump to prepare him for the encounter. Tillerson, McMaster and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, who had replaced Priebus, were also on hand.

Trump pressed Volker on why it was in the United States’ interests to support Ukraine and why U.S. taxpayers’ money should be spent doing so, Volker said in an interview. “Why is it worth it?” Volker said Trump asked. As Volker outlined the rationale for U.S. involvement, Trump seemed satisfied.

“I believe that what he wants is to settle the issue, he wants a better, more constructive U.S.-Russia relationship,” Volker said. “I think he would like [the Ukraine conflict] to be solved . . . get this fixed so we can get to a better place.”

The conversation was about Ukraine but seemed to capture Trump’s frustration on so many Russia-related fronts — the election, the investigations, the complications that had undermined his relationship with Putin.

Volker said that the president repeated a single phrase at least five times, saying, “I want peace.”

Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

This story has been updated to note that The Post had been briefed on the dossier, but did not receive a copy until a couple of weeks before it was first published by BuzzFeed.

Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election-meddling divides America – The Economist
 

mikenova shared this story from trump money laundering – Google News.


South China Morning Post
Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election-meddling divides America
The Economist
Read Trump-sceptic newspapers or watch such cable networks as MSNBC or CNN, and the evidence is stacking up of Russian collusion with the president. This story comes with villains and prime suspects. Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to 
Bill Press: Flynn proves Russian investigation not going awayBaltimore Sun
As Mueller’s Russia Probe Forges Ahead, Potential Legal Endgames Begin to Take ShapeNPR
FBI agents on Russia probe called Trump an ‘idiot’, ‘loathsome human being’South China Morning Post
The Hill –New York Daily News –Los Angeles Times –Twitter
all 1,093 news articles »
Is John Kelly plotting to take Donald Trump down?
 

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Today we saw the ouster of yet another of Donald Trump’s personal allies from the White House, when former Apprentice contestant Omarosa was fired. Her job in the White House was a joke, and she did nothing. As we explained earlier), the controversial nature of her departure looks like it may have been mutually staged. But nonetheless, General John Kelly has managed to dispense with yet another of Trump’s pals. It’s time to start asking why, and it’s time to start looking at the bigger picture when it comes to Trump’s other allies that aren’t truly allies.

Anyone who has been paying close attention has been able to see that Trump’s personal attorneys in the Russia scandal aren’t really playing on his team. They keep telling him that the investigation is almost over, and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller isn’t even really investigating him. They’re misleading him because they know its what he wants to hear, which means they’re not even bothering to put him in a position to help understand his own best defense options. They’re either doing this because they just want to get paid, and they figure it’s the best way to remain on the job for as long as possible, or because they truly believe Trump should be ousted.

This seems incredible: the personal attorneys for the “President” of the United States are misleading him in a scandal that’s going to end his presidency and ruin his family, and he can’t figure it out. Yet all the evidence says that’s precisely what’s happening. If Trump is that far removed from coherence or reality, it’s very easy to believe that John Kelly might be getting away with doing the same thing to him, and perhaps for the same reason: Kelly thinks Trump is unstable and wants him ousted. So let’s look at what Kelly has done here.

Upon taking the White House Chief of Staff job, Kelly immediately began ousting every adviser Trump personally liked: Anthony Scaramucci. Steve Bannon. Sebastian Gorka. And now Omarosa. These were Trump’s jesters, the ones he talks to, the ones he seeks advice from, the ones he likes and trusts. They’re all gone. Other than perhaps Kellyanne Conway, it’s no longer clear that Trump has anyone in the White House who’s truly on his team (the way things are playing out with them, Ivanka and Jared no longer count). That may be the point.

John Kelly has managed to physically separate Donald Trump from all the people he likes to rely on, the personal allies who have probably been doing the most to keep him upright as everything else continues to fail for him. Kelly hasn’t stopped Trump from continuing to post self-defeating tweets. Kelly hasn’t tried to reel in Trump’s racism, and has instead seemingly tried to steer Trump further in that direction. The case can be made that Kelly isn’t doing anything to improve Trump’s prospects; all he’s done is to isolate Trump from his own people and make him even more miserable and less able to function.

Perhaps John Kelly is merely incompetent at this job. It’s difficult to imagine anyone being particularly competent at the task of turning a mentally unstable buffoon into a successful President of the United States. But if Kelly’s goal has been to help Trump succeed, he’s consistently failed in stunning fashion, and in fact has marched Trump closer to catastrophic failure and thus closer to ouster. It’s time to ask if Kelly might be doing it on purpose, because he knows better than anyone that Trump is a mortal danger to the United States of America.

The post Is John Kelly plotting to take Donald Trump down? appeared first on Palmer Report.

FBI Plot Against Trump – FrontPage Magazine
 

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FrontPage Magazine
FBI Plot Against Trump
FrontPage Magazine
DoJ investigations must not be tainted by individuals imposing their own political prejudices. Committee members learned that Peter Strzok, the principal investigator in the Hillary Clinton email scandal, was exchanging pro-Clinton and anti-Trump 
Rosenstein sees no cause to fire MuellerThe Detroit News
Rosenstein says he sees no cause to fire MuellerMiddletown Press
Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty To Lying To FBINPRall 1,119 news articles »
The Early Edition: December 14, 2017 – Just Security
 

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The Early Edition: December 14, 2017
Just Security
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, making the and more »
Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s – New York Times
 

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New York Times
Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s
New York Times
But they thought he was no worse than other recent presidents, and they challenged The Times to do the same exercise for a president other than Trump. Today, we’re publishing the results of that challenge. We analyzed every statement of President and more »
Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked
 

mikenova shared this story from | INFORUM.

Holding impromptu interventions in Trump’s 26th-floor corner office at Trump Tower, advisers – including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and designated chief of staff, Reince Priebus – prodded the president-elect to accept the findings that the nation’s spy chiefs had personally presented to him on Jan. 6.

They sought to convince Trump that he could affirm the validity of the intelligence without diminishing his electoral win, according to three officials involved in the sessions. More important, they said that doing so was the only way to put the matter behind him politically and free him to pursue his goal of closer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This was part of the normalization process,” one participant said. “There was a big effort to get him to be a standard president.”

But as aides persisted, Trump became agitated. He railed that the intelligence couldn’t be trusted and scoffed at the suggestion that his candidacy had been propelled by forces other than his own strategy, message and charisma.

Told that members of his incoming Cabinet had already publicly backed the intelligence report on Russia, Trump shot back, “So what?” Admitting that the Kremlin had hacked Democratic Party emails, he said, was a “trap.”

As Trump addressed journalists on Jan. 11 in the lobby of Trump Tower, he came as close as he ever would to grudging acceptance. “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said, adding that “we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”

As hedged as those words were, Trump regretted them almost immediately. “It’s not me,” he said to aides afterward. “It wasn’t right.”

Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House.

The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president – and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality – have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government.

Rather than search for ways to deter Kremlin attacks or safeguard U.S. elections, Trump has waged his own campaign to discredit the case that Russia poses any threat and he has resisted or attempted to roll back efforts to hold Moscow to account.

His administration has moved to undo at least some of the sanctions the previous administration imposed on Russia for its election interference, exploring the return of two Russian compounds in the United States that President Barack Obama had seized – the measure that had most galled Moscow. Months later, when Congress moved to impose additional penalties on Moscow, Trump opposed the measures fiercely.

Intelligence officials who brief the president play down information about Russia they fear might displease him, current and former officials said. Plans for the State Department to counter Russian propaganda remain stalled. And while Trump has formed a commission to investigate widely discredited claims of U.S. voter fraud, there is no task force focused on the election peril that security officials regard as a certainty – future Russian attacks.

Trump has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it, administration officials said. Although the issue has been discussed at lower levels at the National Security Council, one former high-ranking Trump administration official said there is an unspoken understanding within the NSC that to raise the matter is to acknowledge its validity, which the president would see as an affront.

Trump’s stance on the election is part of a broader entanglement with Moscow that has defined the first year of his presidency. He continues to pursue an elusive bond with Putin, which he sees as critical to dealing with North Korea, Iran and other issues. “Having Russia in a friendly posture,” he said last month, “is an asset to the world and an asset to our country.”

His position has alienated close American allies and often undercut members of his Cabinet – all against the backdrop of a criminal probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

This account of the Trump administration’s reaction to Russia’s interference and policies toward Moscow is based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U.S. officials, many of whom had senior roles in the Trump campaign and transition team or have been in high-level positions at the White House or at national security agencies. Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

Trump administration officials defended the approach with Russia, insisting that their policies and actions have been tougher than those pursued by Obama but without unnecessarily combative language or posture. “Our approach is that we don’t irritate Russia, we deter Russia,” a senior administration official said. “The last administration had it exactly backwards.”

White House officials cast the president’s refusal to acknowledge Russian interference in the election as an understandably human reaction. “The president obviously feels . . . that the idea that he’s been put into office by Vladimir Putin is pretty insulting,” said a second senior administration official. But his views are “not a constraint” on the government’s ability to respond to future election threats, the official said. “Our first order in dealing with Russia is trying to counter a lot of the destabilizing activity that Russia engages in.”

Others questioned how such an effort could succeed when the rationale for that objective is routinely rejected by the president. Michael V. Hayden, who served as CIA director under President George W. Bush, has described the Russian interference as the political equivalent of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, an event that exposed a previously unimagined vulnerability and required a unified American response.

“What the president has to say is, ‘We know the Russians did it, they know they did it, I know they did it, and we will not rest until we learn everything there is to know about how and do everything possible to prevent it from happening again,’ ” Hayden said in an interview. Trump “has never said anything close to that and will never say anything close to that.”

The feeble American response has registered with the Kremlin.

U.S. officials said that a stream of intelligence from sources inside the Russian government indicates that Putin and his lieutenants regard the 2016 “active measures” campaign – as the Russians describe such covert propaganda operations – as a resounding, if incomplete, success.

Moscow has not achieved some its most narrow and immediate goals. The annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has not been recognized. Sanctions imposed for Russian intervention in Ukraine remain in place. Additional penalties have been mandated by Congress. And a wave of diplomatic retaliation has cost Russia access to additional diplomatic facilities, including its San Francisco consulate.

But overall, U.S. officials said, the Kremlin believes it got a staggering return on an operation that by some estimates cost less than $500,000 to execute and was organized around two main objectives – destabilizing U.S. democracy and preventing Hillary Clinton, who is despised by Putin, from reaching the White House.

The bottom line for Putin, said one U.S. official briefed on the stream of post-election intelligence, is that the operation was “more than worth the effort.”

The Russian operation seemed intended to aggravate political polarization and racial tensions and to diminish U.S. influence abroad. The United States’ closest alliances are frayed, and the Oval Office is occupied by a disruptive politician who frequently praises his counterpart in Russia.

“Putin has to believe this was the most successful intelligence operation in the history of Russian or Soviet intelligence,” said Andrew Weiss, a former adviser on Russia in the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations who is now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It has driven the American political system into a crisis that will last years.”

U.S. officials declined to discuss whether the stream of recent intelligence on Russia has been shared with Trump. Current and former officials said that his daily intelligence update – known as the president’s daily brief, or PDB – is often structured to avoid upsetting him.

Russia-related intelligence that might draw Trump’s ire is in some cases included only in the written assessment and not raised orally, said a former senior intelligence official familiar with the matter. In other cases, Trump’s main briefer – a veteran CIA analyst – adjusts the order of his presentation and text, aiming to soften the impact.

“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference – that takes the PDB off the rails,” said a second former senior U.S. intelligence official.

Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said the briefing is “written by senior-level, career intelligence officers,” and that the intelligence community “always provides objective intelligence – including on Russia – to the president and his staff.”

Trump’s aversion to the intelligence, and the dilemma that poses for top spies, has created a confusing dissonance on issues related to Russia. The CIA continues to stand by its conclusions about the election, for example, even as the agency’s director, Mike Pompeo, frequently makes comments that seem to diminish or distort those findings.

In October, Pompeo declared the intelligence community had concluded that Russia’s meddling “did not affect the outcome of the election.” In fact, spy agencies intentionally steered clear of addressing that question.

On Jan. 6, two weeks before Trump was sworn in as president, the nation’s top intelligence officials boarded an aircraft at Joint Base Andrews on the outskirts of Washington to travel to New York for one of the most delicate briefings they would deliver in their decades-long careers.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael S. Rogers flew together aboard an Air Force 737. FBI Director James B. Comey traveled separately on an FBI Gulfstream aircraft, planning to extend his stay for meetings with bureau officials.

The mood was heavy. The four men had convened a virtual meeting the previous evening, speaking by secure videoconference to plan their presentation to the incoming president of a classified report on Russia’s election interference and its pro-Trump objective.

During the campaign, Trump had alternately dismissed the idea of Russian involvement – saying a hack of the Democratic National Committee was just as likely carried out by “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” – and prodded the Kremlin to double down on its operation and unearth additional Clinton emails.

The officials had already briefed Obama and members of Congress. As they made their way across Manhattan in separate convoys of black SUVs, they braced for a blowup.

“We were prepared to be thrown out,” Clapper said in an interview.

Instead, the session was oddly serene.

The officials were escorted into a spacious conference room on the 14th floor of Trump Tower. Trump took a seat at one end of a large table, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the other. Among the others present were Priebus, Pompeo and designated national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Following a rehearsed plan, Clapper functioned as moderator, yielding to Brennan and others on key points in the briefing, which covered the most highly classified information U.S. spy agencies had assembled, including an extraordinary CIA stream of intelligence that had captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation.

Trump seemed, at least for the moment, to acquiesce.

“He was affable, courteous, complimentary,” Clapper said. “He didn’t bring up the 400-pound guy.”

A copy of the report was left with Trump’s designated intelligence briefer. But there was another, more sensitive matter left to cover.

Clapper and Comey had initially planned to remain together with Trump while discussing an infamous dossier that included salacious allegations about the incoming president.

It had been commissioned by an opposition research firm in Washington that had enlisted a former British intelligence officer to gather material. As The Washington Post reported in October, the research was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

But in the end, Comey felt he should handle the matter with Trump alone, saying that the dossier was being scrutinized exclusively by the FBI. After the room emptied, Comey explained that the dossier had not been corroborated and that its contents had not influenced the intelligence community’s findings – but that the president needed to know it was in wide circulation in Washington.

Senior officials would subsequently wonder whether the decision to leave that conversation to Comey helped poison his relationship with the incoming president. When the dossier was posted online four days later by the news site BuzzFeed, Trump lashed out the next morning in a 4:48 a.m. Twitter blast.

“Intelligence agencies never should have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public,” Trump said. “One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” The Post was one of several news organizations that had received the dossier months earlier, had been attempting to verify its claims and had not published it.

After leaving the Jan. 6 meeting at Trump Tower, Comey had climbed into his car and began composing a memo.

“I knew there might come a day when I would need a record of what happened, not just to defend myself but to defend the FBI and our integrity as an institution,” he testified to Congress in June. It was the first of multiple memos he would write documenting his interactions with Trump.

Clapper’s office released an abbreviated public version of the intelligence report later that day. Trump issued a statement saying that “Russia, China” and “other countries” had sought to penetrate the cyberdefenses of U.S. institutions, including the DNC.

In their Trump Tower interventions, senior aides had sought to cement his seeming acceptance of the intelligence. But as the first year of his presidency progressed, Trump became only more adamant in his rejections of it.

In November, during a 12-day trip to Asia, Trump signaled that he believed Putin’s word over that of U.S. intelligence.

“He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump said to reporters aboard Air Force One after he and Putin spoke on the sidelines of a summit in Vietnam. “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”

As those remarks roiled Washington, Trump sought to calm the controversy without fully conceding the accuracy of the intelligence on Russia. He also aimed a parting shot at the spy chiefs who had visited him in January in New York.

“As to whether I believe it or not,” he said the next day, “I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership.”

In the early days of his presidency, Trump surrounded himself with aides and advisers who reinforced his affinity for Russia and Putin, though for disparate reasons not always connected to the views of the president.

Flynn, the national security adviser, saw Russia as an unfairly maligned world power and believed that the United States should set aside its differences with Moscow so the two could focus on higher priorities, including battling Islamist terrorism.

Some on the NSC, including Middle East adviser Derek Harvey, urged pursuing a “grand bargain” with Russia in Syria as part of an effort to drive a wedge into Moscow’s relationship with Iran. Harvey is no longer in the administration.

Others had more idiosyncratic impulses. Kevin Harrington, a former associate of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel brought in to shape national security strategy, saw close ties with oil- and gas-rich Russia as critical to surviving an energy apocalypse – a fate that officials who worked with him said he discussed frequently and depicted as inevitable.

The tilt of the staff began to change when Flynn was forced to resign after just 24 days on the job for falsehoods about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. His replacement, Army Gen. H.R. McMaster, had more conventional foreign policy views that included significant skepticism of Moscow.

The change helped ease the turmoil that had characterized the NSC but set up internal conflicts on Russia-related issues that seemed to interfere with Trump’s pursuit of a friendship with Putin. Among them was the administration’s position on NATO.

The alliance, built around a pledge of mutual defense against Soviet or Russian aggression among the United States and its European allies, became a flash point in internal White House battles. McMaster, an ardent NATO supporter, struggled to fend off attacks on the alliance and its members by Trump’s political advisers.

The president’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, moved to undermine support for NATO within weeks of arriving at the White House. After securing a position on the NSC, Bannon ordered officials to compile a table of arrears – alleged deficits on defense spending by every NATO member going back 67 years. Officials protested that such a calculation was impractical, and they persuaded Bannon to accept a partial list documenting underspending dating from 2007.

Bannon and McMaster clashed in front of Trump during an Oval Office discussion about NATO in the spring, officials said. Trump, sitting behind his desk, was voicing frustration that NATO member states were not meeting their defense spending obligations under the treaty. Bannon went further, describing Europe as “nothing more than a glorified protectorate.”

McMaster, an ardent supporter of NATO, snapped at Bannon. “Why are you such an apologist for Russia?” he asked, according to two officials with knowledge of the exchange. Bannon shot back that his position had “nothing to do with Russians” and later told colleagues how much he relished such confrontations with McMaster, saying, “I love living rent-free in his head.”

Bannon and his allies also maneuvered to sabotage displays of unity with the alliance. As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived for an April visit at the White House, McMaster’s team prepared remarks for Trump that included an endorsement of Article 5 – the core NATO provision calling for members to come to one another’s defense.

But the language was stripped out at the last minute by NATO critics inside the administration who argued that “it didn’t sound presidential enough,” one senior U.S. official said. A month later, Stephen Miller, a White House adviser close to Bannon, carried out a similar editing operation in Brussels where Trump spoke at a dedication ceremony for NATO’s gleaming new headquarters.

Standing before twisted steel wreckage from the World Trade Center that memorialized NATO’s commitment to defend the United States after the 9/11 attacks, Trump made no mention of any U.S. commitment to mutual defense.

Trump finally did so in June during a meeting with the president of Romania. Officials said that in that case, McMaster clung to the president’s side until a joint news conference was underway, blocking Miller from Trump and the text. A senior White House official said that Trump has developed a good relationship with Stoltenberg and often praises him in private.

On sensitive matters related to Russia, senior advisers have at times adopted what one official described as a policy of “don’t walk that last 5½feet” – meaning to avoid entering the Oval Office and giving Trump a chance to erupt or overrule on issues that can be resolved by subordinates.

Another former U.S. official described being enlisted to contact the German government before Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit at the White House in March. The outreach had two aims, the official said – to warn Merkel that her encounter with Trump would probably be acrimonious because of their diverging views on refugees, trade and other issues, but also to urge her to press Trump on U.S. support for NATO.

The signature moment of the trip came during a brief photo appearance in which Trump wore a dour expression and appeared to spurn Merkel’s effort to shake his hand, though Trump later said he had not noticed the gesture.

His demeanor with the German leader was in striking contrast with his encounters with Putin and other authoritarian figures. “Who are the three guys in the world he most admires? President Xi [Jinping] of China, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and Putin,” one Trump adviser said. “They’re all the same guy.”

Merkel has never fit into that Trump pantheon. Before her arrival, senior White House aides witnessed an odd scene that some saw as an omen for the visit. As McMaster and a dozen other top aides met with Trump in the Oval Office to outline issues Merkel was likely to raise, the president grew impatient, stood up and walked into an adjoining bathroom.

Trump left the bathroom door open, according to officials familiar with the incident, instructing McMaster to raise his voice and keep talking. A senior White House official said the president entered the restroom and merely “took a glance in the mirror, as this was before a public event.”

McMaster gained an internal ally on Russia in March with the hiring of Fiona Hill as the top Russia adviser on the NSC. A frequent critic of the Kremlin, Hill was best known as the author of a respected biography of Putin and was seen as a reassuring selection among Russia hard-liners.

Her relationship with Trump, however, was strained from the start.

In one of her first encounters with the president, an Oval Office meeting in preparation for a call with Putin on Syria, Trump appeared to mistake Hill for a member of the clerical staff, handing her a memo he had marked up and instructing her to rewrite it.

When Hill responded with a perplexed look, Trump became irritated with what he interpreted as insubordination, according to officials who witnessed the exchange. As she walked away in confusion, Trump exploded and motioned for McMaster to intervene.

McMaster followed Hill out the door and scolded her, officials said. Later he and a few close staffers met to explore ways to repair Hill’s damaged relationship with the president.

Hill’s standing was further damaged when she was forced to defend members of her staff suspected of disloyalty after details about Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – in which the president revealed highly classified information to his Russian guests – were leaked to The Post.

The White House subsequently tightened the circle of aides involved in meetings with Russian officials. Trump was accompanied only by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a meeting with Putin at a July summit of Group of 20 nations in Hamburg. In prior administrations, the president’s top aide on Russia was typically present for such encounters, but Hill has frequently been excluded.

A senior administration official said that the NSC “was not sidelined as a result” of Hill’s difficult encounters with Trump, that Hill is regularly included in briefings with the president and that she and her staff “continue to play an important role on Russia policy.”

White House officials insist that the Trump administration has adopted a tougher stance toward Moscow than the Obama administration on important fronts.

They point to Trump’s decision, after a chemical weapons attack in Syria, to approve a U.S. military strike on a base where Russian personnel and equipment were present. They cite Trump’s decision in early August to sign legislation imposing additional economic sanctions on Moscow and steps taken by the State Department at the end of that month ordering three Russian diplomatic facilities – two trade offices and the consulate in San Francisco – closed. They also said that the NSC is preparing options for the president to deal with the threat of Russian interference in American elections.

“Look at our actions,” a senior administration official said in an interview. “We’re pushing back against the Russians.”

Senior Trump officials have struggled to explain how. In congressional testimony in October, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pressed on whether the administration had done enough to prevent Russian interference in the future. “Probably not,” Sessions said. “And the matter is so complex that for most of us we are not able to fully grasp the technical dangers that are out there.”

The administration’s accomplishments are to a large measure offset by complicating factors – Trump had little choice but to sign the sanctions – and competing examples. Among them is the administration’s persistent exploration of proposals to lift one of the most effective penalties that Obama imposed for Russia’s election interference – the seizure of two Russian compounds.

Russia used those sprawling estates in Maryland and New York as retreats for its spies and diplomats but also – according to CIA and FBI officials – as platforms for espionage. The loss of those sites became a major grievance for Moscow.

Lavrov has raised the confiscation of those properties in nearly every meeting with his American counterparts, officials said, accusing the United States of having “stolen our dachas,” using the Russian word for country houses.

Putin may have had reason to expect that Russia would soon regain access to the compounds after Trump took office. In his recent guilty plea, Flynn admitted lying to the FBI about a conversation with the Russian ambassador in late December. During the call, which came as Obama was announcing sanctions on Russia, Flynn urged the ambassador not to overreact, suggesting the penalties would be short-lived.

After a report in late May by The Post that the administration was considering returning the compounds, hard-liners in the administration mobilized to head off any formal offer.

Several weeks later, the FBI organized an elaborate briefing for Trump in the Oval Office, officials said. E.W. “Bill” Priestap, the assistant director of the counterintelligence division at the FBI, brought three-dimensional models of the properties, as well as maps showing their proximity to sensitive U.S. military or intelligence installations.

Appealing to Trump’s “America first” impulse, officials made the case that Russia had used the facilities to steal U.S. secrets. Trump seemed convinced, officials said.

“I told Rex we’re not giving the real estate back to the Russians,” Trump said at one point, referring to Tillerson, according to participants. Later, Trump marveled at the potential of the two sites and asked, “Should we sell this off and keep the money?”

But on July 6, Tillerson sent an informal communication to the Kremlin proposing the return of the two compounds, a gesture that he hoped would help the two sides pull out of a diplomatic tailspin. Under the proposed terms, Russia would regain access to the compounds but without diplomatic status that for years had rendered them outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law enforcement.

The FBI and some White House officials, including Hill, were livid when they learned that the plan had been communicated to Russia through a “non-paper” – an informal, nonbinding format. But “Tillerson never does anything without Trump’s approval,” a senior U.S. official said, making clear that the president knew in advance.

Administration officials provided conflicting accounts of what came next. Two officials indicated that there were additional communications with the Kremlin about the plan. One senior official said that Tillerson made a last-minute change in the terms, proposing that the Maryland site be returned “status quo ante,” meaning with full diplomatic protections. It would again be off-limits to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.

State Department officials disputed that account, however, saying that no such offer was ever contemplated and that the final proposal shared with the Kremlin was the non-paper sent on July 6 – one day before Trump met with Putin in Hamburg.

Tillerson “never directed anyone to draft” a revised proposal to the Kremlin, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a written statement. “We considered possible options for restoring Russian access for recreational purposes in a way that would meet the security concerns of the U.S. government.” By the end of July, Congress had passed a new sanctions bill that “imposed specific conditions for the return of the dachas,” she said, “and the Russians have so far not been willing to meet them.”

Moscow made clear through Lavrov and others in mid-July that it regarded the overture, and the idea that any conditions would be placed on the return of the sites, as an insult. State Department officials interpreted that response as evidence that Russia’s real purpose was the resumption of espionage.

With no deal on the dachas, U.S.-Russia relations plunged into diplomatic free fall.

Even before Trump was sworn in, a group of senators including John McCain, R-Ariz., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., had begun drafting legislation to impose further sanctions on Russia.

In the ensuing months, McCain’s office began getting private warnings from a White House insider. “We were told that a big announcement was coming regarding Russia sanctions,” a senior congressional aide said. “We all kind of assumed the worst.”

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had blocked the sanctions bill from moving forward at the behest of Tillerson, who kept appealing for more time to negotiate with Moscow.

But after Comey’s firing in early May, and months of damaging headlines about Trump and Russia, an alarmed Senate approved new sanctions on Russia in a 98-to-2 vote.

Trump at times seemed not to understand how his actions and behavior intensified congressional concern. After he emerged from a meeting in Hamburg with Putin, Trump said he and the Russian leader had agreed upon the outlines of a cooperative cybersecurity plan.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., described the proposed pact as “pretty close” to “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard” and introduced additional provisions to the sanctions bill that would strip Trump of much of his power to undo them – a remarkable slap at presidential prerogative.

Then, in late July, new information surfaced about the extent of Trump’s interactions with Putin in Hamburg that sent another wave of anxiety across Capitol Hill.

At the end of a lavish banquet for world leaders, Trump wandered away from his assigned seat for a private conversation with the Russian leader – without a single U.S. witness, only a Kremlin interpreter.

A Trump administration official described the reaction to the encounter as overblown, saying that Trump had merely left his seat to join the first lady, Melania Trump, who had been seated for the dinner next to Putin. Whatever the reason, little over a week later both chambers of Congress passed the sanctions measure with overwhelming margins that would withstand any Trump veto.

Trump’s frustration had been building as the measure approached a final vote. He saw the bill as validation of the case that Russia had interfered, as an encroachment on his executive authority and as a potentially fatal blow to his aspirations for friendship with Putin, according to his advisers.

In the final days before passage, Trump watched MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program and stewed as hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski declared that the bill would be a slap in the face to the president.

“He was raging,” one adviser said. “He was raging mad.”

After final passage, Trump was “apoplectic,” the adviser recalled. It took four days for aides to persuade him to sign the bill, arguing that if he vetoed it and Congress overturned that veto, his standing would be permanently weakened.

“Hey, here are the votes,” aides told the president, according to a second Trump adviser. “If you veto it, they’ll override you and then you’re f—ed and you look like you’re weak.”

Trump signed but made his displeasure known. His signing statement asserted that the measure included “clearly unconstitutional provisions.” Trump had routinely made a show of bill signings, but in this case no media was allowed to attend.

The reaction from Russia was withering. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev taunted the president in a Facebook post that echoed Trump’s style, saying that the president had shown “complete impotence, in the most humiliating manner, transferring executive power to Congress.”

Putin, who had shown such restraint in late December 2016, reacted to the new sanctions with fury, ordering the United States to close two diplomatic properties and slash 755 people from its staff – most of them Russian nationals working for the United States.

Rather than voice any support for the dozens of State Department and CIA employees being forced back to Washington, Trump expressed gratitude to Putin.

“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll,” Trump told reporters during an outing at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey – remarks his aides would later claim were meant as a joke. “We’ll save a lot of money.”

Trump has never explained why he so frequently seems to side with Putin.

To critics, the answer is assumed to exist in the unproven allegations of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, or the claim that Putin has some compromising information about the American president.

Aides attribute Trump’s affection for Putin to the president’s tendency to personalize matters of foreign policy and his unshakable belief that his bond with Putin is the key to fixing world problems.

“When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump tweeted last month. “There always playing politics – bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!”

White House officials present Trump as the latest in a long line of presidents who began their tenures seeking better relations with Moscow, and they argue that the persistent questions about Russia and the election only advance the Kremlin’s aims and damage the president. “This makes me pissed because we’re letting these guys win,” a senior administration official said of the Russians. Referring to the disputed Florida tallies in the 2000 presidential election, the official said: “What if the Russians had created the hanging chads? How would that have been for George Bush?”

The allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, which the president has denied categorically, also contribute to his resistance to endorse the intelligence, another senior White House official said. Acknowledging Russian interference, Trump believes, would give ammunition to his critics.

Still others close to Trump explain his aversion to the intelligence findings in more psychological terms. The president, who burns with resentment over perceived disrespect from the Washington establishment, sees the Russia inquiry as a conspiracy to undermine his election accomplishment – “a witch hunt,” as he often calls it.

“If you say ‘Russian interference,’ to him it’s all about him,” said a senior Republican strategist who has discussed the matter with Trump’s confidants. “He judges everything as about him.”

Recent months have been marked by further erosion of the U.S.-Russia relationship and troubling developments for the White House, including the indictment of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of Flynn.

Trump remains defiant about the special counsel’s probe, maintaining that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing and describing the matter as a “hoax” and a “hit job.”

Some of Trump’s most senior advisers support that view. One senior official said that Trump is right to portray the investigations and news reports as politically motivated attacks that have hurt the United States’ ability to work with Russia on real problems.

“We were looking to create some kind of bargain that would help us negotiate a very dangerous world,” said a senior White House official. “But if we do anything, Congress and the media will scream bloody murder.”

Putin expressed his own exasperation in early September, responding to a question about Trump with a quip that mocked the idea of a Trump-Putin bond while aiming a gender-related taunt at the American president. Trump “is not my bride,” Putin said, “and I am not his groom.”

The remark underscored the frustration and disenchantment that have taken hold on both sides amid the failure to achieve the breakthrough in U.S.-Russian relations that Trump and Putin both envisioned a year ago.

As a result, rather than shaping U.S. policy toward Russia, Trump at times appears to function as an outlier in his own administration, unable to pursue the relationship with Putin he envisioned but unwilling to embrace tougher policies favored by some in his Cabinet.

A Pentagon proposal that would pose a direct challenge to Moscow – a plan to deliver lethal arms to Ukrainian forces battling Russia-backed separatists – has languished in internal debates for months.

The plan is backed by senior members of Trump’s Cabinet, including Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who voiced support for arming Ukrainian forces in meetings with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in August. Mattis “believes that you should help people who are fighting our potential adversaries,” said a senior U.S. official involved in the deliberations.

A decision to send arms has to be made by the president, and officials said Trump has been reluctant even to engage.

“Every conversation I’ve had with people on this subject has been logical,” the senior U.S. official said. “But there’s no logical conclusion to the process, and that tells me the bottleneck is in the White House.”

In July, the administration appointed former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker to serve as special envoy to Ukraine, putting him in charge of the delicate U.S. relationship with a former Soviet republic eager for closer ties with the West.

Putin has taken extraordinary measures to block that path, sending Russian commandos and arms into Ukraine to support pro-Russian separatists. And Putin is bitter about U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression. A decision by Trump to send arms would probably rupture U.S.-Russian relations beyond immediate repair.

Trump was forced to grapple with these complexities in September, when he met with Poroshenko at the United Nations. Volker met with Trump to prepare him for the encounter. Tillerson, McMaster and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, who had replaced Priebus, were also on hand.

Trump pressed Volker on why it was in the United States’ interests to support Ukraine and why U.S. taxpayers’ money should be spent doing so, Volker said in an interview. “Why is it worth it?” Volker said Trump asked. As Volker outlined the rationale for U.S. involvement, Trump seemed satisfied.

“I believe that what he wants is to settle the issue, he wants a better, more constructive U.S.-Russia relationship,” Volker said. “I think he would like [the Ukraine conflict] to be solved . . . get this fixed so we can get to a better place.”

The conversation was about Ukraine but seemed to capture Trump’s frustration on so many Russia-related fronts – the election, the investigations, the complications that had undermined his relationship with Putin.

Volker said that the president repeated a single phrase at least five times, saying, “I want peace.”

Authors Information: Greg Jaffe is a national security reporter for The Washington Post, where he has been since March 2009. Greg Miller is a national security correspondent for The Washington Post. Philip Rucker is the White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post. The Washington Post’s Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

The Early Edition: December 14, 2017
 

mikenova shared this story from Just Security.

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.

 

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

The leaders gathered at the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (O.I.C.) declared East Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine yesterday in response to Trumps decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the meeting also considered Trumps announcement to be a violation of U.N. resolutions and illegal under international law. Carlotta Gall reports at the New York Times.

The U.N. should replace the U.S. as the mediator of Middle East peace talks, the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday, signaling a possible refusal to engage with the U.S. following Trumps announcement. Karin Laub and Zeynep Bilginsoy report at the AP.

The U.S. can no longer act impartially, the Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the O.I.C. meeting, Isil Sariyuce and Arwa Damon and Tamara Qiblawi report at CNN.

All these statements fail to impress us, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the O.I.C. communiqué recognizing East Jerusalem as Palestines capital. Al Jazeera reports.

Trump remains as committed to peace as ever, a senior White House official said in response to Abbass comments that the Palestinians would no longer accept a U.S. role in the peace process, adding that the Trump administration would unveil its plan for peace when it is ready and the time is right. The APreports.

The Israeli military carried out overnight airstrikes on facilities belonging to the Palestinian Hamas militant group in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets being fired from the territory, the AP reports.

Israel announced the closure of its Gaza border crossing today in response to daily rocket fire over the past week, Reuters reports.

The Islamic State group today threatened attacks on U.S. soil in response to the Trumps Jerusalem decision, but did not give any details. Reuters reports.

Trumps announcement has angered Christians in the region and the pope of the Egyptian Coptic Church has called off a scheduled meeting with Vice President Mike Pence when he visits the region next week. Loveday Morris reports at the Washington Post.

A video has emerged of plain clothes Israeli troops infiltrating a Palestinian demonstration in Ramallah near the military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, the undercover soldiers arrested Palestinians throwing stones yesterday. Peter Beaumont reports at the Guardian.

The Israeli government should be wary of aligning itself too closely with Trump as it has the potential to undermine the bipartisan support for Israel and ultimately undermine the U.S.-Israel relationship. Derek Chollet writes at Foreign Policy.

NORTH KOREA

Given North Koreas most recent missile test, clearly right now is not the time to engage in dialogue, a White House official said yesterday after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the U.S. is ready to talk without preconditions. Zachary Cohen and Brian Todd report at CNN.

The time for dialogue with North Korea is not now, the State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said yesterday, emphasizing that the Trump administrations policy on North Korea has not changed: talks with North Korea must be based on a commitment to denuclearize. The BBC reports.

The Security Council must be united in implementing sanctions on North Korea, the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said today during a visit to Japan, adding that diplomatic engagement must be permitted to achieve a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The AP reports.

Tillerson is scheduled to participate in a Security Council Ministerial Briefing tomorrow and reiterate the Trump administrations efforts for maximum pressure to be exerted on North Korea. Max Greenwood reports at the Hill.

The South Korean President Moon Jae-in landed in Beijing yesterday for an official trip aimed at improving ties with China, which have been strained due to the deployment of the U.S.-made T.H.A.A.D. anti-missile system in South Korea. The threat posed by North Korea and a resolution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula are set to feature high on the agenda, Christopher Bodeen reports at the AP.

The Russian-North Korean military commission have gathered to discuss a 2015 agreement preventing dangerous military activities, Russias embassy to North Korea said today, Reuters reporting.

The U.S. reneged on its pledge to engage in talks with North Korea if it paused all nuclear and missile tests for 60 days and imposed new sanctions instead, North Korean officials have complained, raising skepticism in Pyongyang about the value of diplomatic engagement. Colym Lynch and Dan De Luce explain at Foreign Policy.

The apparent shift in U.S. policy on North Korea in light of Secretary of State Rex Tillersons comments on engaging in talks without preconditions, is analyzed by Adam Taylor at the Washington Post.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Muellers investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, making the comments following revelations of alleged bias in text messages between top F.B.I. agent Peter Strzok and F.B.I. lawyer Lisa Page. Aruna Viswanatha and Del Quentin Wilber report at the Wall Street Journal.

Republicans on the Committee called for investigations into former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the Justice Departments handling of the controversial dossier compiled by former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele, and some called for an investigation into Mueller himself, however Rosenstein defended Mueller from the attacks and noted that Strzok was removed from Muellers team as soon as the special counsel learned of the text messages. Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein report at POLITICO.

Rosenstein said he would only fire the special counsel if there was good cause and called Mueller a dedicated, respected and heroic public servant, Spencer Ackerman reports at The Daily Beast.

Donald Trump Jr. appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Reuters reports.

There are causes of concern regarding Muellers investigation, the results till now suggest that his probe is free of political taint, but the special counsel must be mindful that the appearance of fairness is as important as the reality, therefore he should remove Andrew Weissmann from his team because he does not appear to be objective. Andrew C. McCarthy writes at the Washington Post.

Mueller has undermined his own credibility, his team have been revealed to have been biased, the talk of anti-Trump insurance policy among F.B.I. officials suggest potential nefarious activity, and the Justice Department and the F.B.I. have damaged public confidence by refusing to cooperate with Congress. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

IRAN

Iran may be defying a U.N. resolution calling on it to halt ballistic missile development, the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has said in a report to the Security Council, which said that the U.N. was investigating the possible transfer of ballistic missiles to the Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen. However, the report emphasized that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal remains the best way to ensure that Irans nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful in nature. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.

The Trump administration has been turning its focus to Iran as its military campaign against the Islamic State group winds down, with some sources saying that the national security adviser H.R. McMaster is considering giving a policy speech on Syria that would outline a new administration strategy and may address the issue of whether U.S. troops in Syria should be used as a bulwark against Iranian expansionism. Dion Nissenbaum reports at the Wall Street Journal.

GUANTÁNAMO BAY

The U.N. special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, claimed that the U.S. has been torturing a detainee at Guantánamo Bay despite banning so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, Melzer made the statement yesterday based on information he has received, however the Pentagon has denied the allegation with a spokesperson saying that no credible evidence has been found to substantiate his claims. Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

The president signed a statement this week saying that he was keeping the prison at Guantánamo Bay open, but added that he had authority under the constitution as commander-in-chief to release captives, an action that bears similarity to the authority asserted by President Barack Obama, but the statement differed by explicitly saying that the president fully intends to keep open that detention facility and to use it for detention operations.  Carol Rosenberg reports at the Miami Herald.

CHINA

Visits by the U.S. navy vessels to Taiwan would constitute an interference in Chinas internal affairs, Chinas foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said today, after Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which lays the groundwork for possible mutual visits. Michael Martina and Jess Macy Yu report at Reuters.

The longer-term concerns of U.S. strategists may turn to the influence exerted by China, while the current focus has been on Russia, China has been developing its soft power, economic interests, possibly interfering in the politics of other countries and using its reach to shape norms and narratives. Ishaan Tharoor writes at the Washington Post.

SYRIA

Russian President Vladimir Putins declaration of impending victory in Syria was an over-simplification that does not take into account the vast swaths of territory beyond the control of Putins ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Alexander Smith provides an analysis at NBC News.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 18 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq between December 4 and December 7. [Central Command]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The Islamist al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a police training camp in Somalias capital of Mogadishu today, the explosion killed at least 15 officers, according to officials. Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar report at Reuters.

A U.S. citizen who has been held as an enemy combatant in Iraq also hold Saudi Arabian citizenship, the detainee was captured in mid-September and surrendered to the U.S. military having apparently fought with the Islamic State group in Syria. Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee does not expect to pass a new Authorization on the Use of Military Force (A.U.M.F.) before the end of the year, the chairman of the committee Bob Coker (R-Tenn.) said yesterday, adding that there has, however, been progress on the measure and five principles on the authorization have been circulated. Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

The closeness between the Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab and Russias F.S.B. security service appears to be unusually close according to a court document revealed by suspected cybercriminal from his jail in Moscow. Ellen Nakashima reports at the Washington Post.

The nearly $700bn allocated to the Pentagon in the annual defense policy bill ignores Americas other urgent needs, some of the budget process has been influence by lobbyists who woo lawmakers to back unneeded or extravagant weapons. While the military is critical to national security, it should not have a license to gobble up tax dollars at the expense of other programs, the New York Times editorial boardwrites.

Putin’s Syria victory lap is premature, experts say
 

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Standing under clear skies at an air base in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his troops the good news: They had all but secured victory in the Middle East country’s six-year civil war.

“The task of combating armed gangs here in Syria … has been largely resolved — brilliantly resolved,” he said during a surprise announcement Monday.

Image: Russian President Vladimir PutinBut many experts say Putin’s victory lap is premature with huge swaths of the country still out of the control of his ally, President Bashar Assad.

“It’s an over-simplification when people say the war is ending,” said Haid Haid, a consulting research fellow at London’s Chatham House think tank. “This conflict will most likely go on for some time.”

Assad has been fighting a patchwork rebel force since 2011 — a conflict that the hyper-violent Islamic State entered three years later.

His regime was losing ground until Russia joined the fray in 2015, launching what many say has been an indiscriminate bombing campaign that turned the tide in Assad’s favor.

An estimated 400,000 people have died in the conflict and 11 million have been displaced from their homes. During the battle for Aleppo, perhaps the war’s most notorious chokepoint, United Nations investigators found that all sides were guilty of war crimes.

For its part, the Assad’s regime has been accused of chemical attacks on its own people, laying sieges that cut off civilians from essential supplies, and torturing or arbitrarily killing thousands of prison inmates.

This campaign has put Assad in a commanding position.

Supported by Russian airstrikes, as well as Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah and Shiite militias, Syrian forces have squeezed most of the rebels into a relatively small pocket in Idlib Province.

ISIS has been routed from its strongholds of Raqqa and Deir el-Zour and currently controls a sliver of land along the Euphrates River and Syria’s border with Iraq, as well as other low-population desert areas.

Heralding these achievements during his victory speech Monday, Putin also announced he would withdraw some of his forces from Syria because they were no longer necessary.

And the drawdown may not mean that Russia is looking to end its involvement in the conflict anytime soon, according to the Institute for the Study of War. According to a recent report by the Washington think tank, in the past these have been used to “reinsert alternative weapons systems better suited for the next phase of pro-regime operations.”

Image: Syrian airstrikeWhatever Putin’s next motive, most experts agree that a complete victory for his Syrian allies is some way off.

Although precise estimates vary, some say Assad only controls 60 percent of the country, and his forces are still fighting ISIS in the east and other rebels in the west.

The parts of the country not governed by the regime are under the command of a web of different actors, each with their own agendas and demands that experts say could lead to more bloodshed.

“Syria and Russia have obtained the upper hand but that doesn’t mean there won’t continue to be violence between these other groups,” according to Robert Lowe, the deputy director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics. “It’s hard to see any end to the war in sight.”

And it’s not just the forces that Assad is fighting directly whose presence he may have to worry about.

Kurdish-led fighters backed by the United States were central to the liberation of Raqqa and areas along the Euphrates river. The Syrian Kurds also control a huge chunk of northeastern Syria and their long-held ambitions for statehood are vehemently opposed by Turkey.

“Tensions between Turkey and Kurdish forces could escalate into armed conflict,” according to Ziad Majed, an associate professor at the American University in Paris, writing for the Carnegie Middle East Center last month.

The U.S. has some 4,000 troops in Syria. And although President Donald Trump’s focus is apparently elsewhere, namely North Korea, U.S. officials cast doubt on Putin’s claims of victory.

“We think the Russian declarations of ISIS’ defeat are premature,” a White House National Security Council spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday. “We have repeatedly seen in recent history that a premature declaration of victory was followed by a failure to consolidate military gains, stabilize the situation and create the conditions that prevent terrorists from reemerging.”

In Idlib Province, the al Qaeda-linked group Tahrir al-Sham is now the dominant force. And ISIS may be squeezed, but earlier this month the group claimed a car bomb attack in the city of Homs that killed 11 members of the Syrian army.

One arena where Assad does appear to hold all the cards is the ongoing peace talks.

The eighth round of negotiations began in Geneva last week but there is still little sign of progress. Assad’s representative suggested at one point that he might not even return to the summit because of the opposition’s demand that the president play no role in any interim administration.

“The regime does not have a reason to negotiate,” said Haid at Chatham House.

The only thing keeping Assad’s representatives engaged at all, according to Lowe at LSE, is international recognition. While Assad has emerged from the past six years still in charge, his supporters hope a peace deal could see Western powers accept his presidency as legitimate.

“If a deal can be done that keeps the regime in power, then that’s in Assad’s interests,” Lowe said. “It’s true that power is what he has now, but it’s not recognized internationally and there’s lots of opposition to him around the world.”

“Drunk Fox News Anchor Gregg Jarrett Arrested During Airport Fight” VIDEO “Fox News Anchor Arrested” – YouTube
 

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Gregg Jarrett: FBI Has Become “America’s Secret Police,” Mueller …

RealClearPoliticsDec 7, 2017
GREGG JARRETT, FOX NEWS: I think we now know that the Mueller investigation is illegitimate and corrupt. And Mueller has been using the FBI as a political weapon. And the FBI has become America’s secret police. Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment, and threats. It’s like the old …

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Gregg Jarrett: Robert Mueller and his politically biased team of …

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Gregg Jarrett: Robert Mueller and his politically biased team of prosecutors need to go. Gregg Jarrett. By Gregg Jarrett | Fox News. Facebook; Twitter …. Gregg Jarrett joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2002 and is based in New York. He currently serves as legal analyst and offers commentary across both …

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Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett: ‘It’s a myth that collusion in a political …

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Discussing that testimony, Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett told host Sean Hannity why the investigation—defended by Rosenstein—is “all manufactured” by the FBI. “It was always a myth that collusion in a political campaign is a crime,” Jarrett insisted. “It’s not. And there was never a scintilla of evidence that …
The Partisan, Nihilist Case Against Robert Mueller
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Gregg Jarrett: How an FBI official with a political agenda corrupted …

Fox NewsDec 5, 2017
How is it possible that Hillary Clinton escaped criminal indictment for mishandling classified documents despite incriminating evidence that she violated the Espionage Act? Why did Donald Trump become the target of a criminal investigation for allegedly conspiring with Russia to influence the presidential …
Pills possible factor in Fox News anchor’s arrest
 

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CLOSE

FOX News weekend anchor Gregg Jarrett was arrested Wednesday and charged with a misdemeanor at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He was on a leave of absence from the station for ‘personal reasons.’ VPC

Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett. Authorities say Jarrett was charged with a misdemeanor following his arrest May 21, 2014, at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.(Photo: Hennepin County Sherriff’s Office via AP)

Fox News Network anchor Gregg Jarrett, who was arrested in a bar at Minneapolis-St.Paul Airport, may have been under the influence of medication that did not mix well with alcohol, a police report says, according to the Associated Press.

The 59-year-old Jarrett was arrested Wednesday afternoon at Northern Lights Grill in Terminal One, according to Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan, KARE-TV reports.

Airport police, who were called to the bar, reported that Jarrett seemed intoxicated, acted belligerently and refused to follow their orders.

A bar employee said Jarrett became intoxicated after only one drink, AP reported. He allegedly told a customer he took medication before his flight, but Jarrett denied the statement when questioned by police.

Police found gabapentin pills in his pocket, according to the report. When officers searched Jarrett’s bag it was revealed he was recently released from an alcohol and chemical dependency treatment facility.

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant used to treat conditions ranging from epilepsy to restless leg syndrome, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Strange or unusual thoughts” and drowsiness are listed as potential side effects of the medication. Alcohol may add to the drowsiness, the Library of Medicine adds.

In some cases people taking gabapentin may become suicidal, and there is a risk a user may experience changes in their mental health, including “aggressive, angry, or violent behavior.”

According to the Star-Tribune, the police report also said that Jarrett, at one point, became increasingly agitated and swore as the arresting officer as fire department personnel began evaluating his medical condition.

As the officer was trying to re-handcuff the newsman, Jarrett allegedly grabbed the officer’s arm. Struggling to get Jarrett cuffed, other officers helped subdue the inmate, who was then driven to jail in downtown Minneapolis, the newspaper reports.

A Fox News spokeswoman said Jarrett, who has not been on the air since mid-April, is dealing with “serious personal issues” and his return to the air has yet to be determined.

Gregg Jarrett is seen in a frame grab from his appearance on Fox News Network’s The Kelly File. (Photo: YouTube via Fox News Network)

“We were made aware late last night that Gregg Jarrett was arrested in Minneapolis yesterday and charged with a misdemeanor,” the statement says. “He is dealing with serious personal issues at this time. A date at which Gregg might return to air has yet to be determined.”

The newsman was booked into Hennepin County Jail and charged with interfering with a peace officer, a misdemeanor.

County jail records show that Jarrett posted $300 bail and is scheduled for a court appearance on June 6. He was released at 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

The website TVNEWSER reported this month that Jarrett, a weekend co-anchor, was taken off the air recently after requesting a leave of absence for personal reasons.

The veteran newsman, who was born in Los Angeles, worked at MSNBC before joining Fox in 2002.

Jarrett, who also worked at CNBC and Court TV, has covered stories ranging from the Iraq War to the O.J. Simpson trial.

Contributing: KARE-TV; the Associated Press

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Has the FBI ‘become America’s secret police,’ like the KGB?
 

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A Fox News legal commentator argued the FBI has become the new KGB, the Soviet-era secret police, during a segment of Hannity.

Here’s the exchange between Gregg Jarrett and the show’s host, Sean Hannity, during the Dec. 6, 2017, edition:

Jarrett: “I think we now know that the (Robert) Mueller investigation is illegitimate and corrupt. And Mueller has been using the FBI as a political weapon. And the FBI has become America’s secret police. Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment and threats. It’s like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of the night banging through your door.”

Hannity: “By the way, this is not a game. This is not hyperbole you are using here.”

Jarrett: “No. Ask Paul Manafort, they came for him and broke through his front door.”

Hannity: “And if it can happen to him, Gregg….”

Jarrett: “It can happen to all of us. Absolutely. The FBI is a shadow government now.”

Are today’s FBI and yesterday’s KGB really interchangeable? Jarrett and Hannity said it wasn’t hyperbole.

We checked with a range of experts in the history of both agencies, and even those who are no fans of past and present FBI practices say the comparison is wrongheaded.

Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett

The statement “is over the top and ridiculous,” said Douglas Charles, a historian at Penn State University Greater Allegheny and author of three books on the FBI, including J. Edgar Hoover and the Anti-interventionists: FBI Political Surveillance and the Rise of the Domestic Security State. “And I say this as an FBI historian who has long been critical of the bureau’s history, its political surveillance, its use of illegal wiretaps, its harassment of the LGBT community, and its promotion of ‘morality’ issues.”

To be sure, some of the tactics Jarrett cited are used by the FBI, or more broadly by law enforcement agencies in the United States.

The pre-dawn, break-down-the-door raid ordered at a house owned by Manafort — President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman now under indictment on several counts involving his foreign lobbying business — is not especially unusual. Such raids are more common in drug investigations than in white collar crime, according to Radley Balko, a criminal justice blogger for the Washington Post and author of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.

Meanwhile, law enforcement has the ability to conduct warrantless wiretaps under certain circumstances, despite the longstanding opposition of civil liberties groups.

A category of subpoena called a “national security letter” provides “a law-enforcement officer with broad discretion or authority to search and seize unspecified places or persons,” said John Pike, director of <a href=”http://globalsecurity.org” rel=”nofollow”>globalsecurity.org</a>.

National security letters have been used to trawl through “customer records held by banks, telephone companies, Internet service providers, and others,” who are then prevented from telling anyone about these searches, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

However, the use of such tools does not make the FBI, or any other U.S. law enforcement agency, the same as a secret police agency such as the old KGB. For one thing, those tactics sometimes may be needed.

“Breaking down front doors in the dark of night is a bit melodramatic, but it is probably necessary to avoid destruction of evidence,” Pike said. (Preventing destruction of evidence was the reported justification for the Manafort raid.)

“Legitimate concerns about the increase in law enforcement’s surveillance capacity over the last decade or so are de-legitimized by such a specious pairing of agencies,” said Victor E. Kappeler, a criminologist at Eastern Kentucky University and co-author of Policing in America and Homeland Security.

Here are some of the reasons why any comparison between the two agencies is problematic.

• Just because the FBI sometimes operates in secret does not mean that it’s a “secret police.”

“By ‘secret police,’ we do not mean ‘police activity that is secret’ any more than by ‘public interest’ we mean ‘what the public is interested in,’ ” said Anthony Glees, director of the Center for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of The Stasi Files: The UK Operations of the East German Intelligence and Security Service.

Indeed, the very fact that a legal analyst can criticize the FBI on a national television broadcast is a significant departure from anything that would be possible in a country with a true secret police.

• The FBI is run by laws, not by whim. The KGB — which translates from the Russian acronym for Committee for State Security — answered to and served the interests of the Communist Party, not any system of law.

Put simply, “the FBI is subject to the laws limiting police powers,” said Joseph Wippl, a former clandestine Central Intelligence Agency officer who now teaches at Boston University. “These laws were passed by a Congress elected by the U.S. population. These laws can be changed, either restricting or expanding police powers.”

Robert Mueller, the special counsel, “needs to work within an independent judicial system to get search warrants and to indict suspects, whereas in the Soviet Union, there was generally no meaningful judicial oversight of the secret police,” said Edward Cohn, a Grinnell College historian and author of The High Title of a Communist. “And KGB efforts at intimidation and surveillance often went beyond anything the FBI is accused of doing.”

Simon Ball, the chair of international history and politics at the University of Leeds and author of The Cold War: An International History 1947-1991, agreed. “The contemporary U.S. political system and the Soviet political system of 1954, when the KGB was formed, are not comparable in any sensible analytical scheme,” he said.

• The FBI doesn’t torture or carry out extrajudicial executions. “The KGB carried out the repression of a totalitarian state that murdered tens of millions of innocent people in the name of a political ideology,” said Gregory Feifer a journalist and author of Russians: The People Behind the Power. “Whatever one thinks about the FBI — with its many faults and occasional moves toward KGB-like surveillance of government critics over the years — it is an integral part of our rule-of-law society.”

A secret police like the KGB operates “through the institutionalised use of torture,” Glees said. By contrast, “any use of unnecessary violence, let alone torture, would be met with the full force of the criminal law.”

Even as bad as the Hoover-era FBI was about civil liberties and abuse of power, Charles said, “it was still no KGB-like organization coming for people in the dead of night who were then ‘disappeared.’ ” Indeed, he said, the excesses of Hoover’s tenure were, to a large extent, curbed after his death by the ordinary workings of the democratic process.

Pike of <a href=”http://globalsecurity.org” rel=”nofollow”>globalsecurity.org</a> said that, while there’s a need for vigilance, “there does seem to have been a remarkable absence of abuses of these far-reaching powers.”

He added, “Whatever happens to you down at the J.Edgar Hoover building, you are pretty confident it will not entail a bullet to the back of the head.”

A Fox News representative did not respond to an inquiry for this article.

Our ruling

Jarrett said that “the FBI has become America’s secret police … “The FBI has become America’s secret police …  like the old KGB.” He also agreed with Hannity that the statement was not an exaggeration.

Numerous historians of the FBI and the KGB say the comparison is ridiculous. The KGB implemented the goals of the Communist Party leadership, including countless examples of tortures and summary executions. The FBI, by contrast, is subject to the rule of law and is democratically accountable. We rate the statement Pants on Fire.

Gregg Jarrett

Fox legal analyst

“The FBI has become America’s secret police … like the old KGB.”

an interview on “Hannity” – Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! Not for the criminals but for themselves Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks 2:48 PM 12/12/2017
 

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! Not for the criminals whom they cannot catch because they are not capable of solving their crimes, but for themselves, for the years of abuse of power, lying to the American people… pic.twitter.com/nVviEklIuq Putin Ordered Theft Of Clinton’s Emails From DNC, Russian Hacker … Continue reading“Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! Not for the criminals but for themselves – Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks – 2:48 PM 12/12/2017”

Trump – Google News: Omarosa Manigault’s departure highlights lack of diversity in Trump White House – Washington Post
 

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Omarosa Manigault’s departure highlights lack of diversity in Trump White House
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Omarosa Manigault, the former reality TV star who joined President Trump’s White House as one of his most prominent African American supporters, resigned under pressure after a confrontation with Chief of Staff John F. Kelly that ended when she was 
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Handcuffs for the FBI: This is the best solution for their problems!
 

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Handcuffs for the FBI: This is the best solution for their problems!
Sanctions trial witness says he got $50,000 from FBI
 

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 NEW YORK/ ANKARA

Sanctions trial witness says he got $50,000 from FBIA fugitive police officer sought over links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) said he received financial aid from the FBI during a trial into a former Turkish bank executive held in the United States.

Former police officer Hüseyin Korkmaz acknowledged receiving financial assistance from the U.S. government, including $50,000 from the FBI and housing assistance from prosecutors, Courthouse News reported on Dec. 12.

Cooperating with the prosecutors, Korkmaz has been testifying against the former Halkbank deputy general manager Mehmet Hakan Atilla.

Another name cooperating with the prosecutor is Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in the Miami last year over violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Zarrab’s name was involved in the corruption probes in Turkey from Dec. 17-25, 2013, which also embroiled four former ministers and other state officials. Zarrab was accused of paying bribes to senior government figures but eventually the charges were quashed by the government, which said the probe was masterminded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

After getting arrested in the U.S., Zarrab become the prosecution’s top witness in the trial, leaving Atilla as the sole man on the dock accused of violating sanctions, bribery and money laundering.

Atilla’s trial continued on Dec. 12 with the testimony of Korkmaz, who said he received financial aid from the U.S. authorities but had not asked for it.

Along the way, Korkmaz claimed that Turkish police were watching Halkbank’s former general manager Süleyman Aslan, former Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and former Interior Minister Muammer Güler.

On Dec. 12, Korkmaz turned his sights to the man on trial, referring to evidence that he said he found on Zarrab’s cellphone.

“I spoke to Hakan,” Zarrab said in a transcript of a phone conversation, according to Korkmaz. “They’re going to transfer soon.”

Korkmaz added later that he recognized the last four digits of two phone numbers: Atilla’s and Zarrab’s.

Such testimony could prove crucial for prosecutors to prove that Atilla played an important role in a scheme in which his attorneys contend he was at best, a minor player.

Before fleeing Turkey, Korkmaz said, he gathered all of the evidence of the cases he had been building and prosecutors entered more of that evidence into the record.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has blasted the New York trial as a “plot against Turkey,” saying Zarrab was “forced to confess” in a case “that includes FETÖ members.”

“Zarrab was put under pressure either with the threat of punishment or on the hope of being released. Would you seek justice in this case?” Bozdağ told parliament during 2018 budget talks on Dec. 12.

“FETÖ terrorists are witnesses in the trial,” he said.

“Recent testimonies have surfaced. The FETÖ terrorist who carried out the Dec. 17 investigation is there and says he ‘brought the documents and pieces of paper.’ He is a witness. Another witness is a fugitive FETÖ banker and his signature is on a piece of paper that is a so-called report there. An official expert was appointed from a non-governmental organization financially supported by FETÖ,” Bozdağ said, noting that the case’s judge Richard Berman visited Turkey in 2014.

“The judge carrying out the trial was brought to Turkey in May 2014 by FETÖ members. This judge released a statement of support regarding the Dec. 17-25 process here,” he added.

“But it is impossible for them to finish a plot in the U.S. that started in Turkey,” Bozdağ said, decrying “lies and smears” in the trial.

“This is a plot and all of those [allegations] were investigated by prosecutors in Turkey. They were also investigated by parliament and decisions were given. So there is nothing new. No one has the right to tire Turkey with these smears and lies. Our stance in this regard is very clear and we will continue to maintain our stance on the side of the people,” he said.

FETÖFethullah GülenReza ZarrabBekir BozdağHüseyin KorkmazSüleyman Aslan

Report: Turkish Police Summon FBI Official – Voice of America
 

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Report: Turkish Police Summon FBI Official
Voice of America
Turkish police summoned a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official on Wednesday over statements made in a U.S. court by a former Turkish police investigator who fled the country last year, the state-run Anadolu Agency said. Anadolu said the FBI
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6:56 AM 11/20/2017 Should The FBI Be Abolished?
 

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Investigate the investigators! Save America! Reform the FBI now! Should The FBI Be Abolished? Monday November 20th, 2017 at 6:34 AM 1 Share For the last few years, the media has been dominated by a number of sensational stories: that Trump colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election; that the Trump team was wiretapped by Obama … Continue reading“6:56 AM 11/20/2017 – Should The FBI Be Abolished?”

In Major Shift, Putin Pushing Russia’s Military Leadership Into Foreign Policy Role – Haaretz
 

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In Major Shift, Putin Pushing Russia’s Military Leadership Into Foreign Policy Role
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During the visit, Haftar spoke to Shoigu via video link about fighting terrorism in the Middle East. One Western official told Reuters such incidents were fuelling fears that Russia plans to expand its footprint beyond Syria, where it has an air base 
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‘Unfit to clean toilets’: USA Today’s unusually forceful editorial about Trump – Washington Post
 

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‘Unfit to clean toilets’: USA Today’s unusually forceful editorial about Trump
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Hot takes aren’t really USA Today’s thing, but the newspaper’s editorial board delivered a pillar of fire to hotel rooms across the country Wednesday. Writing about President Trump’s sexually suggestive statement that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y 
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Tyrrell: Russia’s influence spreads throughout the capital – News Chief
 

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Tyrrell: Russia’s influence spreads throughout the capital
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The FBI has a lot to answer for, and it ought to be investigated itself. As for the Russians, they now have more say in Washington than at any time I can remember. Those in Official Washington who have adopted Clinton’s strategy have made Kislyak a and more »
Donald Trumps demise just became assured
 

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Donald Trumps demise just became assured

Donald Trumps demise just became assured

For some time now, Donald Trump’s demise has been nearly inevitable, and anyone who has paid close attention has been able to see it. However, no matter how thoroughly Special Counsel Robert Mueller proves that

Russia, China make gains globally as US influence wanes – CBC.ca
 

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Russia, China make gains globally as US influence wanes
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And then the Russian President carried on to Cairo, where he signed a $21 billion US deal to build a nuclear plant for the Egyptian government, rekindling a Cold War alliance. Putin also spent some time in Ankara, cozying up to President Recep Tayyip 
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Exposed: Kremlin-Linked Slush Funds Funnelling Money To Syria’s Chemical Weapons Financiers – BuzzFeed News
Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House by Luke Harding review – The Guardian
Comparing the ‘Trump economy’ to the ‘Obama economy’ – Washington Post
Donald Trump Tickles Tweeters With His Curt Message To Omarosa
Ivanka Trumps latest move reveals she might actually be the dumbest Trump kid of all
Trump Lawyers Seek to Leverage Long-Standing Ties to Mueller – Bloomberg
Russia’s Putin, on Track for Easy Re-Election, Laments Dearth of Rivals – U.S. News & World Report
New Year To Bring New Test For Trump Administration On Key Russia Sanctions – NPR
FBI Plot Against Trump – FrontPage Magazine
The Latest: Putin: Trump accusations have hurt US politics – Washington Post
Putin: Trump opponents harm US with ‘invented’ Russia scandal … – BBC News
felix sater – Google News: Bill Press: Flynn proves Russian investigation not going away – Baltimore Sun
Memo to bullying doctors: Heal thyselves – Toronto Star
Top Democrats Say Trump’s Justice Department Helped Undermine the Mueller Investigation – Mother Jones
Putin: Why do you have this spy hysteria, this Russian meddling hysteria?

 

Saved Stories – None
Is John Kelly plotting to take Donald Trump down?

Today we saw the ouster of yet another of Donald Trump’s personal allies from the White House, when former Apprentice contestant Omarosa was fired. Her job in the White House was a joke, and she did nothing. As we explained earlier), the controversial nature of her departure looks like it may have been mutually staged. But nonetheless, General John Kelly has managed to dispense with yet another of Trump’s pals. It’s time to start asking why, and it’s time to start looking at the bigger picture when it comes to Trump’s other allies that aren’t truly allies.Anyone who has been paying close attention has been able to see that Trump’s personal attorneys in the Russia scandal aren’t really playing on his team. They keep telling him that the investigation is almost over, and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller isn’t even really investigating him. They’re misleading him because they know its what he wants to hear, which means they’re not even bothering to put him in a position to help understand his own best defense options. They’re either doing this because they just want to get paid, and they figure it’s the best way to remain on the job for as long as possible, or because they truly believe Trump should be ousted.

This seems incredible: the personal attorneys for the “President” of the United States are misleading him in a scandal that’s going to end his presidency and ruin his family, and he can’t figure it out. Yet all the evidence says that’s precisely what’s happening. If Trump is that far removed from coherence or reality, it’s very easy to believe that John Kelly might be getting away with doing the same thing to him, and perhaps for the same reason: Kelly thinks Trump is unstable and wants him ousted. So let’s look at what Kelly has done here.

Upon taking the White House Chief of Staff job, Kelly immediately began ousting every adviser Trump personally liked: Anthony Scaramucci. Steve Bannon. Sebastian Gorka. And now Omarosa. These were Trump’s jesters, the ones he talks to, the ones he seeks advice from, the ones he likes and trusts. They’re all gone. Other than perhaps Kellyanne Conway, it’s no longer clear that Trump has anyone in the White House who’s truly on his team (the way things are playing out with them, Ivanka and Jared no longer count). That may be the point.

John Kelly has managed to physically separate Donald Trump from all the people he likes to rely on, the personal allies who have probably been doing the most to keep him upright as everything else continues to fail for him. Kelly hasn’t stopped Trump from continuing to post self-defeating tweets. Kelly hasn’t tried to reel in Trump’s racism, and has instead seemingly tried to steer Trump further in that direction. The case can be made that Kelly isn’t doing anything to improve Trump’s prospects; all he’s done is to isolate Trump from his own people and make him even more miserable and less able to function.

Perhaps John Kelly is merely incompetent at this job. It’s difficult to imagine anyone being particularly competent at the task of turning a mentally unstable buffoon into a successful President of the United States. But if Kelly’s goal has been to help Trump succeed, he’s consistently failed in stunning fashion, and in fact has marched Trump closer to catastrophic failure and thus closer to ouster. It’s time to ask if Kelly might be doing it on purpose, because he knows better than anyone that Trump is a mortal danger to the United States of America.

The post Is John Kelly plotting to take Donald Trump down? appeared first on Palmer Report.

The reign of terror when murder was king of New York in the ’80s and ’90s – New York Post
 


New York Post
The reign of terror when murder was king of New York in the ’80s and ’90s
New York Post
Gunfire erupted so frequently that cops didn’t even bother responding to the sound until they knew someone had been hit and sometimes found the body of a different victim, whose shooting hadn’t even been reported yet, on their way to the first crime  

Donald Trump has his most bizarre Twitter moment yet

Donald Trump has his most bizarre Twitter moment yetDonald Trump has his most bizarre Twitter moment yet

What does this even mean?
Is John Kelly plotting to take Donald Trump down?

Is John Kelly plotting to take Donald Trump down?Is John Kelly plotting to take Donald Trump down?

What is really going on here between John Kelly and Donald Trump?
Donald Trump Jr. endures mammoth nine hour interview over probes into Russian election interference – TVNZ
 

Donald Trump Jr. endures mammoth nine hour interview over probes into Russian election interference
TVNZ
Thirty people have been arrested and are facing a total of 87 charges including serious drug offences relating to dealing methamphetamine and cannabis, firearms offences, and offences involving stolen property. They have appeared over the last week in  

Comey Uses Social Media Like a Sad MySpace Teen, and I Hate It – VICE
 


VICE
Comey Uses Social Media Like a Sad MySpace Teen, and I Hate It
VICE
James Comey, what is there to say about such a complicated man? He is astoundingly tall, just four inches shy of seven feet. He is not a basketball player, however, but rather one of the world’s biggest cops. He was once in charge of the Federal Bureau  and more »

Donald Trump is in freefall

Donald Trump’s entire political career has consisted of going from one failure to the next. He ran the most incompetent presidential campaign of all time, but got the nomination anyway. He lost the election by three million votes, but got the White House anyway. He’s a serial sexual predator, a career criminal, a traitor, and he’s mentally incompetent, but he still hasn’t gone off that proverbial cliff to hell just yet. However, something fundamental has changed over these past few days.For starters, Trump is no longer capable of pulling his punches when he knows he occasionally needs to. When his history of sexual assault came into focus late in the campaign, he made the rare move of apologizing for it, because any other response would have been the end of him. When his status as a sexual criminal came back into focus this week, however, he decided to spitefully make the problem worse for himself by posting a sexually harassing tweet about a female Senator. In so doing, Trump has ensured this problem won’t go away, and will only snowball for him.

Then came Trump’s humiliating loss in Alabama. Sure, we already saw in the last few races that Trump is so toxically unpopular, he actually causes Republican candidates to go down in the polls when he endorses them. But this time around, he went all-in with the Alabama race against the advice of his own party, proved he can’t even get anyone elected in a deeply red state, and proved to the GOP that he’s going to cause them all to lose in 2018. Whatever kind of blowback the Republicans in Congress may fear from Trump’s base if he’s ousted, it’s now clear that they’re facing even bigger blowback if he’s not ousted soon.

At this point Donald Trump has zero remaining political muscle, he’s more unpopular than a telemarketer selling rabies, and he’s lost that little smidgeon of occasional self control that was keeping him in the game. For once in his miserable life, Steve Bannon is right: Trump is going to be ousted by his own party. He’s in freefall, and the GOP is only propping him up for the moment because of the tax scam bill. Once that saga is over with, they won’t want him anymore and he’ll be out.

The post Donald Trump is in freefall appeared first on Palmer Report.

Democrats Deployed Russophile Colluder Against Trump – FrontPage Magazine
 


FrontPage Magazine
Democrats Deployed Russophile Colluder Against Trump
FrontPage Magazine
In October, she gave a presentation on Ties Between Government Intelligence Services and Cyber Criminals Closer Than You Think? So the multifaceted Nellie Ohr is a woman for all seasons. In the spring of 2016, Nellie came to work for Fusion GPS  

Donald Trump – Google News: Why Trump Should Consider a Post-Twitter Presidency – National Review
 


National Review
Why Trump Should Consider a Post-Twitter Presidency
National Review
Trump’s stream-of-conscious Twitter observations have sometimes proved eerily prescient. He tweeted warnings about the dangers of illegal immigration shortly before the tragic murder of Kate Steinle by an undocumented immigrant with a lengthy criminal and more »

 Donald Trump – Google News

Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump have a whole new problem

Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump have a whole new problemDonald Trump and Ivanka Trump have a whole new problem

This just got a whole lot uglier for them both
Exposed: Kremlin-Linked Slush Funds Funnelling Money To Syria’s Chemical Weapons Financiers – BuzzFeed News
 


BuzzFeed News
Exposed: Kremlin-Linked Slush Funds Funnelling Funneling Money To Syria’s Chemical Weapons Financiers
BuzzFeed News
A network of secret slush funds inside a corrupt Cyprus bank has exposed Kremlin connections to frontmen for Syria’s chemical weapons programme program and the terrorist group ISIS. The web of accounts at FBME Bank, revealed in an explosive cache of leaked  

Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House by Luke Harding review – The Guardian
 


The Guardian
Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House by Luke Harding review
The Guardian
Trump’s interactions with Russia go back more than 30 years Vladimir Putin is perhaps the only person in the world who will never have to worry about being attacked on the president’s Twitter feed. Many of the incriminating facts reported in and more »

Comparing the ‘Trump economy’ to the ‘Obama economy’ – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
Comparing the ‘Trump economy’ to the ‘Obama economy’
Washington Post
Can’t make it up: Obama now wants credit for the booming Trump economy. At least we can all agree the economy is better under President Trump. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in a tweet, Dec. 10, 2017. The Trumpadministration and more »

Donald Trump Tickles Tweeters With His Curt Message To Omarosa

“Wait come back, we need a shot of you rolling your suitcase out of the board room and getting into the cab.”
Ivanka Trumps latest move reveals she might actually be the dumbest Trump kid of all

We all know the popular perception by now: Eric Trump is the dumb one who know he’s dumb. Donald Trump Jr is the dumb one who thinks he’s smart. Ivanka Trump is, relatively speaking, the smart one of the bunch. As it turns out, not so much when it comes to Ivanka. She just revealed that she doesn’t know how elections work, or how voting works, or how the post office works, or how time works.Several members of the Trump family tried to cast absentee ballots in last month’s election for New York City Mayor. We say “tried” because most of them found a way to screw it up. Melania Trump failed to sign her envelope, thus invalidating her ballot. Jared Kushner requested an absentee ballot but never mailed it in. Donald Trump, in the latest sign that he’s gone completely senile, got his own birthday wrong. But that’s nothing compared to how Ivanka managed to screw it up.

Ivanka mailed her absentee ballot on election day, according to a New York Daily News report (link). She thought she could put a ballot in the mail on the day of the election, and it would somehow magically arrive in a different part of the country on that same day, and be counted when the polls closed. Does she think the post office has a time machine?

Yes, we’re making a point of making fun of Ivanka Trump for a simple mistake. But really, who mails an absentee ballot on election day? At least Kushner had the sense to not bother mailing it in once he realized it was too late. Oh, and did we mention that Donald Trump no longer knows when his own birthday is? America’s white trashiest family just keeps finding new ways to look even dumber.

The post Ivanka Trump’s latest move reveals she might actually be the dumbest Trump kid of allappeared first on Palmer Report.

Trump Lawyers Seek to Leverage Long-Standing Ties to Mueller – Bloomberg
 


Bloomberg
Trump Lawyers Legal Duo Seek to Leverage Long-Standing Ties to Mueller
Bloomberg
But if Mueller’s investigations start to close in on Trump or his immediate family, the lawyers’ relationships could be tested. Mueller, Cobb and Dowd all spent the early part of their careers working as prosecutors. Mueller was an assistant U.S and more »

Russia’s Putin, on Track for Easy Re-Election, Laments Dearth of Rivals – U.S. News & World Report
 


U.S. News & World Report
Russia’s Putin, on Track for Easy Re-Election, Laments Dearth of Rivals
U.S. News & World Report
“The political environment, like the economic environment, needs to be competitive,” Putin told an audience of more than 1,600Russian and foreign reporters gathered in a Moscow conference hall for his annual news conference. “I will strive for us to 
‘There should be competition’: Russian President Vladimir Putin will seek re-election as an independent, dismisses …South China Morning Post
How Putin’s emotional reactions drive Russian strategyPBS NewsHour
Putin: Trump opponents harm US with ‘invented’ Russia scandalBBC News
WFTV Orlando –RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
all 493 news articles »
New Year To Bring New Test For Trump Administration On Key Russia Sanctions – NPR
 


NPR
New Year To Bring New Test For Trump Administration On Key Russia Sanctions
NPR
The New Year will bring a new test for President Trump and the United States’ relationship with Russia. Five years ago, President Obama signed a bill imposing sanctions on a group of powerful people there charged with involvement in the death of a and more »

FBI Plot Against Trump – FrontPage Magazine
 


FrontPage Magazine
FBI Plot Against Trump
FrontPage Magazine 
Goodlatte asked, saying the potential bias of certain career Justice Department officials and lawyers on Mueller’s team was deeply troubling.

DoJ investigations must not be tainted by individuals imposing their own political prejudices. Committee members learned that Peter Strzok, the principal investigator in the Hillary Clinton email scandal, was exchanging pro-Clinton and anti-Trump
Rosenstein sees no cause to fire MuellerThe Detroit News
Rosenstein says he sees no cause to fire MuellerMiddletown Press
Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty To Lying To FBINPRall 1,119 956 news articles »

The Latest: Putin: Trump accusations have hurt US politics – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
The Latest: Putin: Trump accusations have hurt US politics
Washington Post
MOSCOW The Latest on the Russian president’s annual news conference (all times local):. 1:40 p.m.. Russian President Vladimir Putin says accusations of U.S. President Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia have damaged the U.S. political system and 
How Putin made himself a Middle East power brokerCBS News
When Trump tweets, Putin is briefedLos Angeles Times
Putin: Superhero or pragmatist pursuing interests?Hurriyet Daily News
Deutsche Welle
all 466 news articles »
Putin: Trump opponents harm US with ‘invented’ Russia scandal … – BBC News
 


BBC News
Putin: Putin: Trump opponents harm US with ‘invented’ Russia scandal  
BBC News
Russia’s president has accused opponents of his US counterpart Donald Trump of harming the US by “inventing stories” about contacts with Russia. At his annual news conference, Vladimir Putin said contacts between the Trump team and Russian officials  
Putin blames Trump’s ‘opponents’ for poor US-Russian relationsWashington Post
Trump can claim ‘fairly serious achievements’ in first year, Putin saysCNN
Putin Is Preparing for World War IIIIs Trump?Newsweek
Fox NewsPoliticoLos Angeles Times
all 648 
Trump would improve ties with Russia if his foes would let him, laments PutinWashington Post
Putin: Trump-Russia ‘collusion’ talk undermining US systemFox News
Putin: Accusations Russia colluded with Trump damages US politicsPolitico
NBCNews.comBloombergAustin American-Statesman
all 526
 news articles »
felix sater – Google News: Bill Press: Flynn proves Russian investigation not going away – Baltimore Sun
 


Baltimore Sun
Bill Press: Flynn proves Russian investigation not going away
Baltimore Sun
Mr. Trump’s subsequent Russian real estate deals are documented in the now-famous “dossier” prepared by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, whom Mr. Mueller has also interviewed. They include development of the SoHo Trump Tower with and more »

 felix sater – Google News

Memo to bullying doctors: Heal thyselves – Toronto Star
 


Toronto Star
Memo to bullying doctors: Heal thyselves
Toronto Star
At the same time, experts say bullying contributes to doctors’ mental health problems and burnout. Bad behaviour among doctors is believed to be carried out by a small fraction of physicians. Their actions, though, are aimed not only at other doctors 

Top Democrats Say Trump’s Justice Department Helped Undermine the Mueller Investigation – Mother Jones
 


Mother Jones
Top Democrats Say Trump’s Justice Department Helped Undermine the Mueller Investigation
Mother Jones
Some congressional Republicans and pro-Trump pundits have aggressively attacked Mueller in recent weeks. But critics said DOJ’s release of the texts has now involved the agency that houses Mueller’s team in the partisan attack. Democrats also said the  and more »

 
Rod Rosenstein defends Russia probe after anti-Trump text messages released, denies ‘witch hunt’Baltimore Sun (blog)all 40 news articles »

Putin: Why do you have this spy hysteria, this Russian meddling hysteria?
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Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! Not for the criminals but for themselves – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks – 2:48 PM 12/12/2017

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Putin Ordered Theft Of Clinton’s Emails From DNC, Russian Hacker Confesses
Putin Ordered Theft Of Clinton’s Emails From DNC, Russian Hacker Confesses – Newsweek
Is The FBI Biased? Democrats and Republicans Have Accused the Bureau of Political Persecution
Is The FBI Biased? Democrats and Republicans Have Accused the Bureau of Political Persecution – Newsweek
8:56 AM 12/12/2017 FBI News Review: Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! | Democrats seek alleged evidence of anti-Clinton bias at the FBI Politico
Former police officer argues FBI pushed him to support terrorism – Washington Post
Trump attorney says FBI, DOJ ‘conflicts’ require second special counsel – NBCNews.com
12:01 PM 12/12/2017 fbi Google News: Former police officer argues FBI pushed him to support terrorism Washington Post
Trumps lawyer calls for a special counsel investigation of alleged corruption at FBI and Justice Department
fbi – Google News: Former police officer argues FBI pushed him to support terrorism – Washington Post
FBI News Review: The Showboats and The Perfect Robots: Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! Fire the nincompoops and put them in prison! Front Page Link
The Showboats and The Perfect Robots: Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! Fire the nincompoops and put them in prison! Front Page Link
8:16 AM 11/2/2017 Is FBI indeed any closer to drawing a conclusion on motive f…
mueller – Google News: Why Team Trump Needs to Lay Off the Mueller Probe – New York Times
peter strzok is removed – Google News: HUGH HEWITT: A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now – Apalachicola Times
Andrew McCabe – Google News: Democrats seek alleged evidence of anti-Clinton ‘bias’ at the FBI – Politico
mueller – Google News: Let Mueller Keep Digging – Wall Street Journal
fbi – Google News: FBI’s McCabe ‘has an Ohr problem,’ will not testify on Tuesday, source says – Fox News
Andrew McCabe – Google News: FBI’s McCabe ‘has an Ohr problem,’ will not testify on Tuesday, source says – Fox News
FBI News Review: Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems!
Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems!
Trump is the one in ‘tatters,’ not the FBI (opinion)
Democrats seek alleged evidence of anti-Clinton ‘bias’ at the FBI
Leah Vukmir slams Russia probe, FBI: ‘Something is rotten’ | State and Regional
Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! Not for the criminals whom they cannot catch because they are not capable of solving their crimes, but for themselves, for the years of abuse of power, lying to the American people… pic.twitter.com/nVviEklIuq
 

mikenova shared this story from mikenov on Twitter.

Handcuffs are the solution to the FBI problems! Not for the criminals whom they cannot catch because they are not capable of solving their crimes, but for themselves, for the years of abuse of power, lying to the American people… pic.twitter.com/nVviEklIuq



Posted by mikenov on Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 10:54am
Putin Ordered Theft Of Clinton’s Emails From DNC, Russian Hacker Confesses
 

mikenova shared this story from Newsweek.

A Russian hacker accused of stealing from Russian banks reportedly confessed in court that he hacked the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC) and stole Hillary Clinton’s emails under the direction of agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

According to Russian news site The Bell, Konstantin Kozlovsky, a Russian citizen working for a hacker group called Lurk, confessed to hacking Clinton’s emails during a hearing about his arrest in August. An audio recording and minutes from the hearing were posted on Kozlovsky’s Facebook page, and their authenticity was reportedly confirmed by The Bell.

In a handwritten letter that also appears in a photo on his Facebook page, Kozlovsky admits to hacking the DNC on the orders of an FSB agent he called “Ilya.”

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If confirmed, the hacker’s claims could prove that President Vladimir Putin’s government was behind the hacking of the DNC, despite the Kremlin’s insistence that it was not involved.

A handwritten confession appears on Konstantin Kozlovsky’s Facebook page. Facebook

U.S. intelligence services have determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and was involved in stealing emails from the DNC. Cybersecurity company CrowdStrike concluded last year that the DNC’s emails had been breached by hackers associated with the FSB and Russian military intelligence.

“CrowdStrike stands fully by its analysis and findings identifying two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016,” the company said in a statement.

Some of the hacked emails were released by WikiLeaks in July 2016, just in time for the Democratic National Convention. Reportedly, the CIA later identified Russian officials who fed material hacked from the DNC to WikiLeaks under Putin’s orders.

Clinton’s emails also have been the subject of multiple investigations into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. Donald Trump Jr. and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have admitted to meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 who promised that she had dirt on Clinton. Both men later claimed that the lawyer did not provide the promised material.

In this context, it is tempting to view Kozlovsky’s confession as the smoking gun needed to link the Kremlin to the hacks. Nevertheless, experts say there are reasons to be skeptical of the confession.

Many of the individuals implicated in Kozlovsky’s letter are currently on the bad side of the Russian government. For example, Kozlovsky identified his FSB handler as Dmitry Dokuchaev, a cybersecurity expert who worked as a hacker before joining the FSB.

Dokuchaev, who used the moniker “Forb,” has been linked to a group of hackers called Shaltai Boltai, or Humpty Dumpty, that published emails from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other Kremlin officials. The Kremlin has accused him of being a double agent working with U.S. intelligence services.

Dokuchaev is accused in the U.S. of hacking about 500 million Yahoo email accounts in 2014. He appears on the FBI’s most wanted list.

Dmitry Dokuchaev, an officer in Russia’s Federal Security Service, is accused in the U.S. of hacking about 500 million Yahoo email accounts in 2014. Reuters

Kozlovsky also names Kaspersky Lab official Ruslan Stoyanov, who is currently jailed in Russia on charges of treason for allegedly leaking information about Russian hackers to the U.S. government.

In September, the U.S. government ordered all federal agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab software from their networks, alleging that the company is linked to Russian spy networks. Kaspersky has denied that it is tied to the Kremlin, but experts say it would be almost impossible for a company as large as Kaspersky to operate in Russia without cooperating with the government in some way.

To some, it appears that Kozlovsky’s confession conveniently targets enemies of the Kremlin and provides Putin with an opportunity to claim that the hack was ordered by rogue elements.

“[The confession] puts the blame on a narrow group of people who are already in prison, and it moves the blame to an outsourced hack. This would allow Putin to pretend to be shocked that there are hackers in Russia doing this,” Mark Galeotti, a researcher on Russian crime at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, told Newsweek.

“The FSB is prone to employ outside hackers and gives them a choice of working with the FSB or go to prison,” he said.

What’s more, Galeotti said, it’s unlikely the confession letter would have been leaked from prison and added to Kozlovsky’s Facebook page unless someone higher up wanted it to be seen.

Meanwhile, some experts say that Kozlovsky likely had his own reasons for pointing a finger at the two men. Andrei Soldatov, co-author of the book the Red Web and an expert on Russian cybersecurity, said he believes Kozlovsky invented the story about his direction from the FSB for personal gain.

“I’ve been communicating with [Kozlovsky] for four months, and he has failed to give me any proof or answer my questions,” Soldatov told Newsweek.

Kozlovsky’s former hacking group has been accused of stealing more than $17 million from Russian financial institutions with the help of a computer virus. Stoyanov, who worked for Kaspersky’s investigative unit, was allegedly one of the individuals who helped put Kozlovsky and the rest of his hacker group in prison.

“He was put in jail by these guys so it cou