1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: What the heck are Robert Mueller and Donald Trump “negotiating” tonight?


Over the past week, Donald Trump has gotten his backside handed to him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a number of ways. Mueller got Trump to submit his written answers before letting on that he knew Trump was coordinating stories with Paul Manafort. Mueller used Michael Cohen to expose Trump Tower Moscow, and used Michael Flynn to send everyone in Trump world scrambling. Now it’s suddenly being reported tonight by NBC News that Mueller and Trump are “negotiating” things. Wait, negotiating what?




Donald Trump already decided that he was only willing to answer Robert Mueller’s questions in writing, and he’s now submitted them. If that infamous secret court battle is indeed over whether Trump has to come testify in person, that’ll be decided by the court, meaning there’s nothing for Trump and Mueller to discuss about it in the meantime. That leaves us to conclude that they’re instead “negotiating” something about the written answers that Trump turned in.




The big question is why Donald Trump would now be willing to negotiate this. He already decided what he was willing to say in his written answers, and he was clearly uninterested in providing any additional information beyond those answers. So even if Robert Mueller has predictably come back and asked him for additional information or followup answers, it’s noteworthy that Trump is playing ball with him on this.



Considering the manner in which Rudy Giuliani is suddenly trying to distance himself from the entire Trump legal team debacle, we’re not even sure who’s running Donald Trump’s defense at this point. But it sure looks like Mueller found something in Trump’s answers that gave him the kind of leverage that’s convinced Trump to resume negotiating with him. Stay tuned, because there’s probably a lot more to this.

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Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Rudy Giuliani waves the white flag


After Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his Michael Flynn sentencing memo on Tuesday, we saw Donald Trump’s criminal defense attorney Rudy Giuliani short-circuit on a level that was jarring even by his standards. Rudy went off about “special whatever” and “sick puppies” and other bizarreness. Then on Wednesday, Mueller made a criminal referral that we think may be targeting Rudy. Today, Rudy seems to be waving the white flag.




Rudy Giuliani admitted to the Atlantic today that Donald Trump is an impossible client. Rudy revealed that it took him weeks to walk Trump through the process of answering Mueller’s written questions, when it should have taken just a couple days, implying that there’s something wrong with Trump’s cognitive abilities. Then Rudy admitted that he can’t get Trump to stop tweeting incriminating things about the investigation, which is really weird, considering how often Rudy tweets incriminating things about the investigation.




This entire lengthy piece from the Atlantic feels like it’s Rudy Giuliani’s come-to-Jesus moment. He’s distancing himself from Trump’s obviously-perjured answers. He’s accusing Trump of being out of control. Rudy does have a problem with running his mouth and admitting things he shouldn’t, but not on this level. This is Rudy waving the white flag.



From the start, we’ve all instinctively known that Rudy Giuliani only joined Donald Trump’s criminal defense team in the hope of getting himself off the hook. Now, just one day after a Robert Mueller criminal referral that we think just sealed Rudy’s fate, suddenly Rudy is giving up on the whole idea of being Trump’s rescuer, and distancing himself from the whole Trump mess. Funny how that works.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Roger Stone screws up and makes really stupid admission about Trump-Russia probe


If you were to believe what Donald Trump has been tweeting, and what Roger Stone has been posting on Instagram in response, you’d think the two couldn’t be any more in lockstep when it comes to the Trump-Russia scandal and investigation. But Stone just screwed up and made a really stupid admission that paints the entire thing in a different light.




By now it’s been well established that Donald Trump has joint criminal defense agreements in place with dozens of his current and former associates who are caught up in the Trump-Russia scandal. This is not a secret; Trump’s side has routinely acknowledged as much. It allows Trump and the others to share information with each other about the scandal, and plot a coherent defense strategy. Here’s the kicker: it doesn’t include Roger Stone.




Roger Stone publicly admitted today that he doesn’t have a joint defense agreement with Donald Trump, according to CNN. Stone is a frequent liar, but if he were to lie about this, he would be pretending he does have one when he doesn’t, not the other way around. So in this instance he’s almost certainly telling the truth. There are only two plausible reasons why Stone wouldn’t have a joint defense agreement with Trump, when everyone else in Trump’s orbit does.



The first would be that Donald Trump wants nothing to do with Roger Stone at all, to the point that he isn’t even interested in receiving information about the scandal from Stone’s camp. The second would be that Stone doesn’t want an agreement because he’s looking at a plea deal against Trump. Either way, Stone should not have admitted this. So what’s going on here?

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump and intelligence community” – Google News: Riots sweep Athens on anniversary of teen’s shooting death – NTV

Riots sweep Athens on anniversary of teen’s shooting death  NTV

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Protesters in Athens set up a massive burning barricade and pelted riot police with firebombs and rocks Thursday on the 10th …

“trump and intelligence community” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Donald Trump and NRA busted for illegal 2016 campaign conspiracy, just as Maria Butina plea deal falls into place


Last night Palmer Report brought you the story of how Donald Trump and/or his allies were floating the desperate and unrealistic scheme of shipping alleged Kremlin spy and confirmed NRA operative Maria Butina off to Russia in some kind of spy swap. We noted that this was coming even as Butina was on the verge of a plea deal. Now, in a magnificent fit of timing, the illegal financial connection between the Trump campaign and the NRA has been blown wide open.




The 2016 Trump campaign and the NRA were breaking just about every federal election law on the books by directly coordinating on the NRA’s multimillion dollar advertising campaigns, even going so far as to meet at Trump Tower in order to plot things out, according to a lengthy new bombshell from Mother Jones. This confirms what we have all long suspected: Trump and the NRA were illegally in bed with each other during the election. So what does this have do with Butina?




That’s the big question. The Mother Jones expose doesn’t mention Maria Butina. But she appears to have been a linchpin connecting the Kremlin, the NRA, the Donald Trump campaign, and the Republican Party during the 2016 election. If this is a coincidence, it’s a remarkable one. We suspect it’s more likely that someone with inside knowledge of the Trump-NRA conspiracy has concluded that Butina is about to blow the lid off it anyway, and is leaking it accordingly.



In any case, this is the latest sign that things are now unfolding at an accelerating pace across all fronts of the Trump-Russia scandal and investigation. Now we have a clear-cut criminal financial conspiracy between the Donald Trump campaign and the NRA. Butina should be able to help prove the widely suspected similar link between the NRA and Russia. This would draw a money trail straight from Trump to the Kremlin.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “organized crime and intelligence” – Google News: Gardaí arrest 15 people in Wexford and seize €85,000 worth of drugs during sting operation – thejournal.ie

Gardaí arrest 15 people in Wexford and seize €85,000 worth of drugs during sting operation  thejournal.ie

GARDAÍ IN WEXFORD carried out an Operation Thor day of action yesterday, which resulted in a number of arrests and searches in the north of the county.

“organized crime and intelligence” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): trump and putin – Google News: Kremlin Sours on Trump After Putin Snubs – Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Kremlin Sours on Trump After Putin Snubs
Bloomberg
Donald Trump may have stood up Vladimir Putin once too often. After the U.S. president snubbed the Kremlin leader twice in less than a month, Russia is finally losing faith in Trump’s promise to improve relations and bracing instead for increased tensions.
Putin’s Mouthpiece Is Center Stage in the Mueller InvestigationDaily Beast

all 3 news articles »

trump and putin – Google News

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trump putin – Google News: Kremlin Sours on Trump After Putin Snubs – Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Kremlin Sours on Trump After Putin Snubs
Bloomberg
Donald Trump may have stood up Vladimir Putin once too often. After the U.S. president snubbed the Kremlin leader twice in less than a month, Russia is finally losing faith in Trump’s promise to improve relations and bracing instead for increased tensions.
Maybe now we know why Donald Trump won’t criticize Vladimir Putin: Today’s talkerUSA TODAY
As if we did not know: Trump’s love affair with Putin was all about the moneyChicago Sun-Times

all 3,354 news articles »

trump putin – Google News

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Tabish v. Attorney General and the Legal Framework Governing Physical Coercion in ISA Interrogations

Recent legal developments have again brought the interrogation practices of the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) to the fore. As new details emerged about the first-ever criminal investigation against ISA interrogators over gross misconduct during an interrogation, the ISA’s interrogation practices survived another legal challenge at the Israeli Supreme Court. The latest Supreme Court decision, Tabish v. Attorney General, further dilutes the legal framework famously established by the Supreme Court in its 1999 decision in Public Committee Against Torture v. Israel—and highlights the shortcomings of that decision.  

The significance of Tabish stems in part from the fact that the case was not limited to the ISA’s conduct toward Tabish. The petitioners also challenged the validity of the internal guidelines put in place by the ISA to regulate the application of so-called “special interrogation methods.” The Supreme Court dismissed the challenge on both counts.  Notably, the decision came after the court ordered the government, for the first time, to submit the internal ISA guidelines with respect to the resort to “special interrogation methods” for the court’s review.

The Case

On Nov. 26, the Supreme Court of Israel (in its capacity as the High Court of Justice) dismissed yet another attempt to challenge the ISA’s resort to so-called “special interrogation methods” or “pressure techniques” in interrogations of terrorist suspects. These terms refer to interrogation methods that entail physical and psychological coercion. Petitioners Fares Tabish and the NGO Public Committee Against Torture alleged that Tabish was tortured while in ISA custody in 2012. Tabish was suspected of involvement in Hamas plots to carry out attacks and kidnappings and was accused of storing and concealing weapons for these purposes. The government denied that Tabish was tortured, but did not contest that special interrogation methods were applied in his case. The petitioners brought the case after the attorney general declined to order a full criminal investigation into Tabish’s allegations, seeking the reversal of the attorney general’s decision with respect to Tabish’s complaint.

In addition, the petitioners argued that the internal ISA guidelines that govern the application of special interrogation methods are unlawful and should be invalidated. Their argument rested on the legal framework outlined by the Supreme Court in its famous 1999 decision Public Committee Against Torture v. Israel (PCATI). (I explored this framework at length in a previous Lawfare post, as did Yuval Shany.) In a nutshell, the Supreme Court held that torture in ISA interrogations is prohibited. However, the court left the door open for the application of a set of interrogation methods it described as “pressure techniques.” Resort to such methods, the court held, could be excused if these techniques were required in order to prevent an imminent, concrete and serious danger to human lives. The necessity defense under Israeli criminal law would be available to interrogators who apply “pressure techniques” in such exigent circumstances, shielding them from criminal liability. The court made it clear, however, that the necessity doctrine cannot serve as a basis for ex ante authorization of physical interrogation methods. Only primary legislation could provide such authorization.

At the same time, the PCATI Court noted that the attorney general “can establish guidelines regarding circumstances in which investigators shall not stand trial, if they claim to have acted from ‘necessity.’” The attorney general issued such guidelines in 1999, which in turn encouraged the ISA to put in place its own guidelines with respect to the process of consultation and authorization prior to resorting to “special methods” out of necessity. It is those internal guidelines that the government shared with the court ex parte—for the first time—in the framework of the proceedings in Tabish.

The Tabish petitioners argued that the ISA’s internal guidelines and consultation procedure flout PCATI because they essentially authorize the resort to “special interrogation methods” in advance, contrary to the Supreme Court’s express prohibition against ex ante authorization based on the necessity defense. PCATI, they maintained, envisioned spontaneous decisions by individual interrogators triggered by unexpected, urgent circumstances that render physical coercion immediately necessary. Such circumstances, they asserted, do not lend themselves to a bureaucratic consultation and authorization process. Consequently, the petitioners argued that these internal ISA guidelines, as well as the portion of the attorney general’s 1999 guidelines that sanctioned those guidelines, should be annulled.

The government, on its part, argued that the internal ISA guidelines only address the procedure to be followed if and when the need for special interrogation methods arises, in keeping with the 1999 attorney general guidelines. The government denied that the internal ISA guidelines authorize the resort to “special interrogation methods” in advance. In a somewhat puzzling argument, the government noted that even when a superior officer is asked about potential application of such methods in a given case, that official cannot affirmatively authorize the use of violence based on the necessity defense in the particular circumstances in question, but can express an opinion on the matter. The government further noted that superior officials have the power to constrain the application of special methods by subordinates and to safeguard against abuse.

Therefore, the government argued, both the internal ISA guidelines and the attorney general’s guidelines are consistent with PCATI. It underscored that the precedent set by PCATI does not require that an interrogator decide whether and how to apply special methods alone without consulting with other officers. The government further argued that invalidating the guidelines would be unfair to the interrogators, who work on behalf of the government and should have at least some degree of legal certainty as to whether or not they might face criminal liability. It emphasized that the ISA has applied “special measures” or “pressure techniques” in only a small fraction of interrogations.

The Decision

The petitioners in Tabish faced an uphill battle in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Abu Gosh v. Attorney General (analyzed in the previous Lawfare posts mentioned above, here and here). In that case, the Supreme Court dismissed a similar petition brought by a Palestinian man who alleged that he had been tortured while in ISA custody. As in Tabish’s case, the attorney general declined to order a criminal investigation into Abu Gosh’s allegations. The Supreme Court affirmed the attorney general’s conclusion that Abu Gosh’s interrogators met the requirements for the necessity defense to apply, precluding their criminal liability. 

Importantly, in Abu Gosh the court acknowledged that the interrogators may have followed internal guidelines and consulted with their superiors before resorting to physical interrogation methods. It asserted, however, that the circumstances of the case merited the necessity defense, internal consultations notwithstanding. The court stopped short of explicitly holding that the existence of internal ISA guidelines and a consultation or authorization process was consistent with PCATI. But if that question remained open in Abu Gosh, it has now been answered in Tabish.

The court first addressed the attorney general’s decision with respect to Tabish’s individual case. Similar to Abu Gosh, the court held that based on the available evidence, it was reasonable for the attorney general’s to decide not to order a criminal investigation into Tabish’s complaint following an internal examination. The court declined to intervene in the attorney general’s conclusion that Tabish had not been tortured, nor in his conclusion that Tabish’s interrogators were entitled to the necessity defense with respect to “special methods” applied during his interrogation. The court also reiterated that the attorney general is under no obligation to order a full criminal investigation into each complaint alleging misconduct during ISA interrogations. As it did in previous decisions, the court reaffirmed the legitimacy of the internal complaint examination mechanism within the Justice Ministry as a tool the attorney general may rely upon for assessing the applicability of the necessity defense before ordering a criminal investigation.

Turning to the broader question of the validity of the internal ISA interrogation guidelines, the court explicitly held that the guidelines are lawful and consistent with PCATI.  Without divulging the full content of the classified document, the court underscored that the guidelines only address the process for applying special interrogation methods in real time when the need arises. The guidelines encompass consultation with superiors; constraints on the exercise of discretion in particular cases; and documentation. According to the court, the guidelines do not outline the substantive conditions under which the application of such measures would be covered by the necessity defense. Therefore, they do not constitute ex ante authorization.

The court accepted the government’s interpretation that PCATI does not require that interrogators decide whether to apply “special methods” on their own initiative, without consulting with superior officers. It agreed that such consultations are desirable because they constrain the application of these methods and protect against abuse.

Further Dilution of the Public Committee Against Torture Framework?

The Supreme Court’s decision in Tabish has significant implications for both the scope of the criminal law necessity defense as applied to ISA interrogations, and the broader “special interrogation methods” legal architecture.

First, the court again advanced a capacious interpretation of the scope of the necessity defense that is at odds with PCATI’s relatively narrow construction of that defense in the ISA interrogations context. As Justice Yitzhak Amit noted in his brief concurrence, Tabish’s case “is not the classic case of a ‘ticking bomb’ that might explode in a matter of minutes” (my translation)—the paradigmatic case for the application of the necessity defense under PCATI. The link between Tabish’s knowledge and actions and impending deadly Hamas attacks seems to be even more attenuated than in Abu Gosh, in which information Abu Gosh had provided led to the discovery of an explosive device in the heart of Tel Aviv weeks later. The Tabish Court deemed sufficient to grant his interrogators the protection of the necessity defense the mere fact that Tabish stored around ten weapons intended to be used at some point in future attacks.

Based on the public record, therefore, Tabish further stretches the concept of an imminent, concrete danger to human lives as the threshold for the application of the necessity defense, and empowers the ISA to resort to “special interrogation methods” in a broad category of cases. However, it is worth noting that the court described the details of the Hamas attacks prevented by the “special methods” only vaguely, and appeared to rely heavily on the classified record. The full factual picture could cast the court’s application of the necessity defense in this case in a different light. 

Furthermore, Justice Yosef Elron, who wrote the main opinion, favorably invoked in dicta the view of some theorists that the necessity defense is a justification that strips the criminality of an act—rather than an excuse that protects a would-be defendant from criminal liability even while acknowledging the criminality of the act itself. This view bestows an air of legitimacy on “special interrogation methods” applied out of necessity, rather than characterizing their application as a necessary evil. Adding to this, Justice David Mintz’s brief concurrence appears to suggest in passing that the necessity defense could excuse not only physical coercion short of torture, but also actual torture. It is not clear whether this is an expression of a considered legal position or simply a poor turn of phrase, but commentators have taken it very seriously (see also here, and  here, Hebrew). 

The pairing of what appears to be an increasingly broad and permissive interpretation of necessity with heavy emphasis on internal oversight has exacerbated concerns that abuses of these methods could go unaddressed. As Yuval Shany and Mordechai Kremnitzer previously pointed out, despite hundreds of complaints of physical abuse in ISA interrogations, only one criminal investigation has been opened to date. The case reportedly involved a brutal sexual assault of a Palestinian woman as part of a search and interrogation directed by ISA officers.

Second, in addition to stretching the concept of necessity, the court imposed a substantial burden on Tabish to prove his claim that he had been tortured. The Court highlighted inconsistencies in Tabish’s account of the events over time. It found that Tabish’s refusal to take a polygraph test undermined his credibility and minimized the weight of documented physical complaints that could suggest excessive violence, as well as expert medical opinions submitted by the petitioners. The court therefore placed a practically insurmountable evidentiary burden on the plaintiff, further immunizing the ISA from accusations of wrongdoing.     

Third, Tabish is in tension with the spirit of the PCATI framework. While strictly process-oriented guidelines that govern the application of “special interrogation methods” when the need arises in individual cases may technically be reconciled with PCATI, the existence of a bureaucratic process for authorizing physical violence in interrogations in many ways undermines the essence of that precedent, which went against the institutionalization of physical coercion in ISA interrogations.  

To a certain extent, the affirmation of the ISA internal guidelines is a product of the analytical flaws of the PCATI framework itself. PCATI precluded prior authorization of physical interrogation methods, while at the same time recognizing that such methods might be necessary and permissible in some cases and inviting the attorney general to issue guidelines to that effect. Since this framework was the point of departure, it would have been difficult for the court in Tabish to conclude that the ISA may not put in place an internal process for addressing necessity cases when they arise. It simply does not make any sense to rule that interrogating officers should not consult their superiors when contemplating whether or not to use physical methods and that they should act on their own initiative. An approach like this only loosens the constraints on the resort to those methods and increases the risk of abuse. Moreover, the ISA is, after all, a bureaucracy, and bureaucracies need standard operating procedures and chains-of-command to function. Finally, there is something to the government’s argument that interrogating officers should have at least some clarity as to their legal situation when they apply what the government views as measures necessary to prevent an imminent danger to human lives.

Reconsidering the PCATI Framework?

Tabish illustrates, as I have noted before, that the necessity back door that former Chief Justice Aharon Barak left open in PCATI serves as a basis for de-facto authorization of the resort to physical interrogation methods under certain conditions. The Supreme Court has gradually stretched the concept of necessity, and the ISA could interpret these judicial decisions as permission to apply physical methods in the circumstances that the decisions address. What’s more, the court has now explicitly sanctioned the institutionalization of “special interrogation methods” in affirming the ISA’s internal guidelines. It is perhaps time to recognize that the PCATI framework was rendered impracticable when translated and applied to the day-to-day operations of a complex government bureaucracy. Over time, that framework has served as the basis for the normalization of the resort to physical methods in ISA interrogations, with the blessing of the Supreme Court. 

If one accepts the highly controversial position that physical interrogation methods short of torture might be excused in certain cases, the question arises whether the PCATI framework as it currently stands is analytically better than the scheme that preceded it, which the Court annulled in that case. Prior to PCATI, the ISA used a permit system that outlined the circumstances in which physical interrogation methods would be excused based on necessity and provided for oversight of their application. (This is not to say that PCATI did nothing to constrain the resort to physical violence in ISA interrogations in practice. As Justice Amit notes, there has been a significant reduction in the application of these measures since 1999.)

PCATI’s principled stance that physical violence short of torture is banned and could only be excused ex post facto in rare cases on a case-by-case basis is morally appealing, and it is possible that it has deterred ISA officers from resorting to physical interrogation methods. However, given that the PCATI scheme as it stands today de facto legitimizes and authorizes “special interrogation measures,” there is an argument for abandoning the rhetorical maneuvering and instead focusing on charting a restrictive, clear set of rules and oversight mechanisms that would enshrine the general prohibition against physical interrogation methods while outlining the rare conditions in which they may still be applied.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “crime and terror” – Google News: Terror laws designed to stop Kiwis joining Isis results in eight passports cancelled or suspended – New Zealand Herald

Terror laws designed to stop Kiwis joining Isis results in eight passports cancelled or suspended  New Zealand Herald

Terror experts concerned that eight Kiwis deemed national security threat.

“crime and terror” – Google News

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Hillary Clinton handled Donald Trump perfectly at the funeral

What would your reaction be if a KGB thug like Vladimir Putin sat down on a pew three or four people to your right at the start of a funeral? The tug-of-war between revulsion and propriety would presumably find some sort of compromise for the time being, to be sure.



Vlad couldn’t make it so he sent his little toad Donald Trump instead, and Hillary Clinton’s compromise was to sit stony-faced looking fixedly ahead and refusing to acknowledge the, er, “president” of the United States. The range of reactions from the others was fabulous – in the sense “of or pertaining to a fable,” specifically, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” – and ranged over degrees of too soft.


One cannot blame the Obamas, for whom the enormous weight of propriety caused them to greet the “president” with at least icy cordiality, though it was satisfying to note the flicker of disgust that flashed across the face of Michelle, as if she’d just been asked to shake hands with a turd. Bill Clinton’s half-turn with a smarmy half-smile, which was quickly extinguished when he noticed it wasn’t needed, was the least welcome, though his natural amiability made it hard for him to do less, I suppose.


But Hillary got it right. If Washington, D.C. protocol must be observed above all else, you at least aren’t required to like it. And Hillary didn’t like it.




And who could blame her? After having to endure two years of being called “crooked” by the arch criminal, liar, sexual predator and treasonous bastard Donald Trump, Hillary was understandably at the end of her tether. Having to endure two years of the “president,” a man who by any code of rational justice should be serving consecutive life sentences at ADX Supermax Prison with Terry Nichols as a cellmate – and who tried to get her investigated on bogus charges for crimes she didn’t commit – must have filled her with a fury that was more than comprehensible by the rational among us.



What is more, Donald Trump is a man who – with the help of his thuggish paymaster Vladimir Putin – stole a presidency that was rightfully hers. That protocol required her to share a pew with the Quasimodo-in-Chief was an indignity beyond the endurance of most of us. Hillary Clinton once again proved she possesses the mettle to be President of the United States.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Just Security: Trump Administration Must Publicly Disclose the Truth About Khashoggi Murder

President Donald Trump wants Americans to believe that the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 has little to do with the United States. Even though Khashoggi was a columnist at the Washington Post. Even though Khashoggi was a U.S. resident, living in Virginia. And, even though he was likely killed on the personal orders of a man who is supposed to be one of our closest allies in the Middle East.

But, for Trump and his administration, the matter should be put aside now. No matter how heinous the crime, it seems it is none of our business to inquire into it.

And it is most particularly not for us to ask too closely about the role Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), may have played, even though he is widely assumed to have ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Indeed, Trump’s statement last month, in which he stood with Saudi Arabia, was notable for its glaring omission of any reference to American values. This was juxtaposed against Trump’s boastful (and untrue) claims about “the record amount of money” he had negotiated for the Saudis to spend in the United States.

After meeting with lawmakers last week on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to be trying to put an end to any further inquiry by stating that there was “no direct reporting” connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Khashoggi. And yet, leaked reports of what the CIA has in its possession compellingly tie MBS to the murder. On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal cited a “highly classified CIA assessment” to report that MBS had sent at least 11 messages to Saud al-Qahtani, his closest adviser and the man who oversaw the team that killed Khashoggi in the consulate, in the hours before and after his death. This most recent revelation comes on top of prior media reports revealing the gruesome details of how Saudi agents killed Khashoggi, including the use of a bone saw to dismember his body.

To find out the truth, we have filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA, and with other federal agencies, for the release of all U.S. records relating to the Khashoggi murder—which would include the CIA’s report to the White House.

The records should be declassified and made publicly available because they are already the subject of intense public debate and the focus of bipartisan calls in Congress for the facts about who was ultimately responsible. If the Trump administration is deliberately hiding evidence of the crown prince’s responsibility—essentially that one of our closest allies is a cold-blooded murderer—then the American people have a right to know.

But there is more at stake here. The information currently in the CIA’s possession may contain evidence critical to any attempt—and there will be attempts—to hold MBS and other alleged perpetrators of this horrific crime to account before national courts outside the United States. A complaint filed with Argentine judicial authorities on the eve of last weekend’s G-20 summit in Buenos Aires is only the first of what will almost certainly be a series of attempts to translate popular revulsion at this crime into legal proceedings.

CIA Director Gina Haspel has a special responsibility to ensure the CIA comes clean. Her own involvement more than a decade ago in the illegal American campaign of secret detention and torture of 9/11 suspects did not impede her from assuming the CIA’s helm. But it did sully her reputation. Moving now to disclose what the CIA knows about Khashoggi’s killing would go some way to repairing that. It appears she did not hold back this week when she briefed a select group of senators. Based on what lawmakers took away from her briefing, it seems Haspel made a clear case for MBS’ culpability, unlike the message Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sent last week. Now, the American public deserves the same level of candor.

This would help restore some faith in America’s institutions at a time when many are worried about their capacity to survive an administration ruled by personal interest and little else.

Photo by BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

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Mueller’s Russia investigation – Google News: Samantha Bee’s Russia Investigation Segment Celebrates A Very “Mueller Christmas” – Bustle


Bustle

Samantha Bee’s Russia Investigation Segment Celebrates A Very “Mueller Christmas”
Bustle
After weeks away from your television screen, the only woman of late-night comedy is back! To honor her return, Samantha Bee celebrated the Russia investigation’s latest developments, including the withdrawn plea agreement of former Trump campaign …

Mueller’s Russia investigation – Google News

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Just Security: The Early Edition: December 6, 2018

Signup to receive the Early Edition in your inbox here.

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Federal prosecutors in Virginia are investigating a clandestine Turkish lobbying effort previously involving former national security adviser Michael Flynn, even as Flynn’s role in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian electoral interference winds down, according to people familiar with the inquiry. Mueller had been handling the Turkish lobbying case – at some point referring it back to the prosecutors in Alexandria, Va., who had originally opened the investigation, Mark Mazzetti and Adam Goldman report at the New York Times.

Mueller’s prosecutors appeared to make reference to the investigation in documents released on Tuesday detailing Flynn’s cooperation in the Russia inquiry. In 2016, Flynn penned an op-ed for the Hill attacking exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen; prosecutors claim that the op-ed targeting Gulen “was valuable to the Republic of Turkey’s efforts to shape public opinion,” and was not written of his Flynn’s initiative as he had previously told investigators. John Bowden reports at the Hill.

The heavily redacted court documents noted Flynn’s “substantial help” in several unspecified but continuing investigations. Carrie Johnson considers possibilities for what these other investigations might entail in an analysis at NPR.

The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. has privately told friends that he expects an indictment forthcoming from Mueller’s office, Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano disclosed yesterday in an interview with “Live PD” executive producer Dan Abrams, John Bowden reports at the Hill.

The boyfriend of alleged Russian agent Maria Butina – G.O.P. political operative Paul Erickson –has been told he may face similar accusations of acting as a covert agent, according to a “target letter” federal investigators sent to Erickson’s lawyer, warning that the investigators are considering charging Erickson for acting as an agent of a foreign government and for conspiracy, Betsy Woodruff and Erin Banc report at The Daily Beast.

A long-standing exception to the double-jeopardy rule will be reconsidered today when the Supreme Court takes up Gamble v U.S.. An explainer is provided at the Economist, noting: “Mueller … is well aware of double-jeopardy rules in states like New York and Virginia where his witnesses reside and may have strategized his charges around them”

A series of “unanswered questions” regarding acting attorney general Mathew Whitaker is posed by the Washington Post editorial board, with the questions including whether Whitaker examined “the memo that … Mueller … released Tuesday?” … has he seen the material that Mr. Mueller redacted from the document? … has he sought the advice of Justice Department ethics experts on how much he should be involved in the Russia investigation? … If so, what did those experts say?”

U.S. RUSSIA RELATIONS

Russian president Vladimir Putin yesterday threatened to develop nuclear missiles prohibited under the 1987 the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (I.N.F.), a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Washington would withdraw from the treaty within 60 days if Russia does not dismantle missiles that the U.S. claims breach the deal. Putin dismissed Pompeo’s statement as a smokescreen, claiming that Washington had already taken the decision to pull out the I.N.F.; “they thought we would not notice,” Putin said adding: “we are against the destruction of this treaty … but if this happens, we will react accordingly,” AFP reports.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated yesterday that the U.S. had yet to provide any evidence Moscow was in breach of the I.N.F., although it added that it was ready to continue discussing the issue with Washington. Spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a briefing that the U.S. embassy in Moscow had handed over a note Tuesday evening saying Washington would quit agreement unless Russia began complying with it – Zakharova commented: “these documents were received for further processing … in them once again there were groundless allegations about our alleged violation of this agreement … we have repeatedly said that this is conjecture … no proof (of our alleged violation) has been presented to us,” Reuters reports.

The U.S. Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer into Russian-claimed waters in the Sea of Japan in what it dubbed a “freedom of navigation” operation yesterday. The Navy said in a statement that the U.S.S. McCampbell destroyer had sailed near Peter the Great Bay “to challenge Russia’s excessive maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by the U.S. and other nations,” Alex Johnson reports at NBC.

“With all that currently divides the United States and Russia … these two leaders have the opportunity to take a step that would reassure the world that they each understand the terrible responsibility they bear as custodians of civilization-ending weapons,” Richard Burt and Thomas Countryman comment at POLITICO Magazine, appealing for the preservation of the I.N.F.

JAMAL KHASHOGGI KILLING

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called yesterday for an international investigation into the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. “I do believe it is really needed in terms of ensuring what really happened and who are the [people] responsible for that awful killing,” Bachelet said in response to a question about the need for international intervention at a news conference in Geneva, Chris Mills Rodrigo reports at the Hill.

Six U.S. Senators have introduced a “scathing” bipartisan resolution to hold the Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman accountable for Khashoggi’s killing on Oct 2. The proposal, introduced yesterday, states the Senate “has a high level of confidence” that Bin Salman “was complicit in the murder,” Al Jazeera reports.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo misled senators last week in their Senate-only briefing on Khashoggi’s murder, Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) – excluded from Tuesday’s classified briefing with C.I.A. Director Gina Haspel – said yesterday. Murphy added that senators coming out of the briefing with Haspel undercut the administration’s claim that restricting access to the intelligence was necessary, Caitlin Oprysko reports at POLITICO.

Lobbyists representing the kingdom’s government reserved series of rooms at President Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel within a month of Trump’s election in 2016 — paying for an estimated 500 nights at the luxury hotel in just three months, according to organizers of the visits and documents obtained by The Washington Post. The transactions will face scrutiny next year from the House’s new Democratic majority – with Democrats claiming that they want to understand Trump’s business links with the Saudi government in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s killing, David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell report at the Washington Post.

YEMEN

Peace talks aimed at ending nearly four years of civil war in Yemen have commenced in Sweden, and have been described by the U.N. special envoy Martin Griffiths as an important “milestone.” Griffiths also announced the signing of a prisoner swap deal that would see thousands of families reunited, the BBC reports.

“Without a congressional freeze on weapons to the coalition states … there will never be enough political space for peace negotiations to take root,” Daniel R. Mahanty and Eric Ekinberry comment at Just Security, in an analysis of how reforms to arm sales legislation could prevent U.S. “enabling … other governments’ gross violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws” – with Yemen as a prime example

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 185 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria between Nov.18. and Nov. 24. [Central Command]

A suicide car bomber has attacked a police headquarters in the Iranian port city of Chabahar, in a rare assault that has killed at least two people and wounded several others, the AP reports.

New satellite images suggest that North Korea has significantly expanded a key long-range missile base located in the mountainous interior of the country, providing a further sign that diplomatic talks with the U.S. have not prevented leader Kim Jong-un from “pursuing his promise to mass produce and deploy the existing types of nuclear warheads in his arsenal,” Zachary Cohen reports in an exclusive at CNN.

The U.K. Parliament yesterday released a trove of internal Facebook communications that show C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg and other executives pursuing “hard-nosed tactics” to suppress competitors, as well as considering a raft of options for monetizing the vast amounts of data the social media collects on its users, Deepa Seetharaman, Stu Woo and Kirsten Grind report at the Wall Street Journal.

Rescue operations are underway today for five U.S. marines missing, after two U.S. military aircraft crashed during a refueling operation off the coast of Japan, according to Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya. One crew member has already been rescued and is thought to be in a stable condition, Iwaya told reporters; a spokesperson for the Japan Self-Defense Forces (S.D.F.) said another crew member had been found though there were no immediate details of that marine’s condition. AFP reports.

“Our common task is not to allow Russia to spill its aggression into the Sea of Azov,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko writes in an Op-Ed at the New York Times, arguing that “an ‘Azov package of sanctions’ against Russia would be the least the world should respond with this time … It is time to respond.”

Just Security

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7:13 AM 12/6/2018 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Trump presidency could hang on $50 million penthouse offer to Putin

7:13 AM 12/6/2018 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks:

Trump presidency could hang on $50 million penthouse offer to Putin

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ 
America’s body politic awaits the ‘Mueller report’, or is it already reading it?
7:40 AM 12/5/2018 – The World News and Global Security Review: Reuters: World News: Germany’s Schaeuble gives valuable backing to old Merkel rival to head party.
8:41 AM 12/5/2018 – NATO – Russia | M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI
A “fig leaf on a fig leaf”: Mueller-referred probe into Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig, Clinton-linked Tony Podesta heats up: report
tony podesta – Google Search
tony podesta – Google Search
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Mueller-referred probe into Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig, Clinton-linked Tony Podesta heats up: report
greg craig – Google Search
Toward a Progressive Theory of Security
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trump putin 50 mil Moscow Penthouse – Google Search
8:55 AM 12/5/2018 – Grassley Demands Information About FBI Raid on Whistleblower | FBI News Review
Grassley Demands Information About FBI Raid on Whistleblower
nato russia – Google Search
nato russia – Google Search
US Russia: Moscow rejects ‘groundless’ US claim Russia breaching arms treaty
The Latest: Police arrest about 90 in raids on Italian mafia – The Washington Post
M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI! The least that they can be accused of is the manifest and obvious, utter professional incompetence. The worst, no one wants to think and to talk about. They made the FBI and the American political system the laughing stock of the world. They undermined the American and the Global Security.
M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI, and consider bringing the criminal charges against all the former and current FBI officials! | Bill Priestap, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will exit the agency at the end of the year, according to a new report. – WSJ | FBI News Review
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring – Washington Examiner
E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi – Google Search
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring
Mueller Preparing Endgame For Russia Investigation – HuffPost

America’s body politic awaits the ‘Mueller report’, or is it already reading it?

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One theory is that special counsel Robert Mueller is using pleadings on the Trump-Russia investigation to make his report

Last February, legal analysts reeled at the indictment of 13 Russians for alleged election tampering in the US, not only for the extraordinary nature of the charges but for the remarkable way in which the indictment was written.

Special counsel Robert Mueller had chosen to tell a story, about a multi-stage, years-long plan directed at the top levels in Moscow to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election using multiple techniques, from attempted voter registration hacking to social media monkey-wrenching.

Yet it was unlikely that any of the Russians would ever appear in a US courthouse. But, with his indictment, Mueller had disclosed details – including an account of an intelligence-gathering road trip that two of the Russians took from California to New York – that would cast suspicion on the motives of anyone who denied the Russian plot.

As well as legal charges, some observers spotted a broader power-play by the man tasked with investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Among the first analysts to see a canny purposefulness in Mueller’s use of a “speaking indictment,” as it is known, was Marcy Wheeler, a journalist who writes about national security issues and civil liberties on her web site emptywheel.

By using criminal indictments and informations, sentencing memoranda and other official filings to tell a bigger story, Wheeler has since noted, Mueller has diminished the need to issue a doorstop “Mueller report” at the end of his investigation, in order to bring his discoveries to light. In effect, as America’s body politic awaits the Mueller report with baited breath – it might in fact be already reading large chunks of it.

The Mueller report, in this sense, is being written in chapters and excerpted in court documents, under Donald Trump’s nose. Chapters to come soon might detail previously unknown features of the Trump campaign’s relationship with Moscow, just as plea documents submitted by Mueller last week shed new light on the Trump organization’s effort to build a Moscow tower.

The theory has gained traction in legal circles. “I’m down with the theory that Mueller will use pleadings to ‘make his report’, as @emptywheel suggests,” the lawyer Ken White recently tweeted @popehat. “My sense of Mueller is that he’ll do it in cases where it’s material, though” – meaning no gratuitous expository writing by the special counsel.

One such case will resurface on Friday, when Mueller is scheduled to submit a report describing how former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort broke his plea agreement by allegedly lying to investigators.

The Mueller report is being written in chapters and excerpted in court documents, under Donald Trump’s nose.

That document is expected to shed light on what Mueller knows about Manafort’s contacts with his former partners in the former Soviet bloc, and it could hold new information about the nature of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.

However, other experts think Mueller will still submit a final full report to the justice department.

“I think there will be a report at the end, because I think there’s a whole lot more that needs to be laid out and put together, and the whole picture presented,” said Alex Whiting, a Harvard law professor and former prosecutor on the international criminal court.

“People have talked about he’s trying to get the story out through these speaking indictments and speaking informations. I don’t think that – my guess is that Mueller is just sort of doing his job and and doesn’t have some sort of grand strategy that way.”

Even analysts, who find the notion plausible that Mueller is writing his report in public in pieces, think he still might file a report with his superiors at the justice department at the conclusion of his investigation.

Wheeler has separately noted that Watergate precedent affords a path for a Mueller report to make its way to the House judiciary committee, even if Mueller were fired.

Federal code governing the special counsel’s work explicitly demands a report: “At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work,” the law says, “he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.”

But with apparent Trump loyalist Matt Whitaker currently running the justice department, there is ample concern that such a report might be suppressed. Trump himself has even called publicly for the investigation to be ended and frequently lambasts Mueller and his colleagues as conducting a “witch hunt”.

“[Whitaker] plays a crucial role in determining what report by Mueller, if any, is given to congress and ultimately the public,” wrote Neal Katyal, an author of the special counsel regulations, in the Washington Post.

Whatever Mueller’s plan, the overwhelming sense is that he has one – if simply to work and follow the investigation wherever it leads and despite what obstacles – or tweets – might be put in his way.

Or, as lawyer and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa put it after Trump installed Whitaker: “Mueller has this whole thing booby trapped for precisely these kinds of Mickey Mouse moves by POTUS.”

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· · · ·

7:40 AM 12/5/2018 – The World News and Global Security Review: Reuters: World News: Germany’s Schaeuble gives valuable backing to old Merkel rival to head party. 

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В танковую армию ЗВО поставлены новейшие комплексы РЭБ «Лесочек»
Они будут обеспечивать защиту бронетехники, автомобильной техники и личного состава от поражения радиоуправляемыми устройствами как во время стоянки, так и в движении.

The World News and Global Security Review

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8:41 AM 12/5/2018 – NATO – Russia | M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI 

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Trump and NATO Show Rare Unity in Confronting Russia’s Arms …

Foreign Policy15 hours ago
After a meeting of senior U.S., Canadian, and European diplomats at NATO in Brussels on Tuesday, Pompeo accused Russia of being in …
US, NATO give Russia 60 days to comply with nuclear pact
<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>15 hours ago
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World War 3 warning: NATO deploys reinforcements amid fears of …

Express.co.ukDec 4, 2018
“Ukraine is not a NATO member but we strongly support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “We also call on Russia to release the …
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Story image for nato russia from The Guardian

The Guardian

North Atlantic Council statement on developments near the Sea of Azov

NATO HQ (press release)Nov 27, 2018
In view of Russia’s use of military force against Ukraine near the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait,NATO Allies call on Russia to ensure unhindered access to …
Story image for nato russia from Newsy

NATO Says Russia Violated A Cold War-Era Arms Treaty

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NATO Says Russia Violated A Cold War-Era Arms Treaty … NATO members said Tuesday that Russiabreached the INF Treaty, which bans …
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Ukraine’s President Appeals for NATO Support After Russia Standoff

New York TimesNov 29, 2018
MOSCOW — Since Russia fired shots at three Ukrainian Navy ships over the weekend, Western countries have issued statements saying they …
Ukraine asks for NATO vessels in Sea of Azov over Russia standoff
In-Depth<a href=”http://Aljazeera.com” rel=”nofollow”>Aljazeera.com</a>Nov 29, 2018

Story image for nato russia from Irish Times

Nato says Russia seeks full control of Azov Sea after Ukraine clash

Irish Times18 hours ago
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Story image for nato russia from The National Interest Online (blog)

Russia Jammed GPS Signals During a NATO Military Exercise. That’s …

The National Interest Online (blog)Dec 1, 2018
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has accused Russia of jamming GPS signals during its recent military exercise in Norway.
Story image for nato russia from U.S. News & World Report

US Sets Deadline for Russia, Warns It May Quit Nuclear Pact

U.S. News & World Report15 hours ago
The U.S. has shared intelligence evidence with its NATO allies that Russia’s new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the …
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US Russia: Moscow rejects ‘groundless’ US claim Russia breaching arms treaty

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MOSCOW: Moscow on Wednesday dismissed US claims it is violating a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms, as a senior general lashed out at Washington’s attempts to “contain”

Russia

.

The tense rhetoric comes a day after Secretary of State

Mike Pompeo

 said Washington would withdraw from the treaty within 60 days if Russia does not dismantle missiles that the US claims breach the deal.

“Groundless accusations are again being repeated,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Zakharova said “no proof has been produced to support this American position” on the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which she described as a cornerstone of global security.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said facts had been distorted “in order to camouflage the true goal of the US withdrawing from the treaty”.

In October, President

Donald Trump

 sparked global concern by declaring the United States would pull out of the deal and build up America’s nuclear stockpile “until people come to their senses”.

But on Monday, the US leader said he wants talks with his Chinese and Russian counterparts Xi Jinping and

Vladimir Putin

 “to head off a major and uncontrollable arms race”.

Meanwhile, the Russian Army Chief of Staff Vasily Gerasimov said Wednesday that Moscow would increase the capabilities of its ground-based strategic nuclear arms.

“One of the main destructive factors complicating the international situation is how the US is acting as it attempts to retain its dominant role in the world,” he said in comments released by the defence ministry.

“It is for these purposes that Washington and its allies are taking comprehensive, concerted measures to contain Russia and discredit its role in international affairs.”

Signed in 1987 by then US president

Ronald Reagan

 and

Mikhail Gorbachev

, the last Soviet leader, the INF resolved a crisis over Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals.

But it was a bilateral treaty between the US and the then

Soviet Union

, so it puts no restrictions on other major military actors like China.

Pompeo said at a meeting with fellow

NATO

 foreign ministers on Tuesday that there was no reason why the US “should continue to cede this crucial military advantage” to rival powers.

NATO said it was now “up to Russia” to save the treaty.

The Trump administration has complained of Moscow’s deployment of Novator 9M729 missiles, which Washington says fall under the treaty’s ban on missiles that can travel distances of between 310 and 3,400 miles (500 and 5,500 kilometres).

The nuclear-capable Russian cruise missiles are mobile and hard to detect and can hit cities in Europe with little or no warning, according to NATO, dramatically changing the security calculus on the continent.

The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that it had provided Moscow with “more than enough information for Russia to engage substantively on the issue”.

The information included details on the missile’s test history and the names of companies involved in developing and producing the missile and its launcher, the State Department said.

US-Russia ties are under deep strain over accusations Moscow meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.

The two states are also at odds over Russian support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria’s civil war, and the conflict in Ukraine.

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The Latest: Police arrest about 90 in raids on Italian mafia – The Washington Post

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December 5 at 6:14 AM

BERLIN — The Latest on raids on the Italian mob across Europe (all times local):

12:10 p.m.

Police say they have arrested about 90 suspected mafia members in a series of coordinated raids in four European countries.

The arrests in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium came as part of an investigation codenamed Pollino that was launched in 2016 against the ‘ndrangheta criminal group on allegations of cocaine trafficking, money laundering, bribery and violence, said Eurojust, the European agency that fights cross-border organized crime, which coordinated the operation.

Dutch chief public prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said Wednesday dozens of raids also netted about 2 million euros in criminal proceeds as well as drugs including ecstasy and cocaine.

___

8:55 a.m.

Authorities are conducting coordinated raids in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands in a crackdown on the Italian mafia.

German federal police said in a statement Wednesday that there had been multiple arrests in the early morning raids on premises linked to the ‘ndrangheta, a southern Italy-based organized crime group.

In Germany the focus was on the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which borders the Netherlands and Belgium, and Bavaria to the south.

Police say the operation is being coordinated by Eurojust, a European unit established to fight cross-border organized crime

Further details were not immediately available but a news conference was scheduled for later in the day in The Hague.

M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI! The least that they can be accused of is the manifest and obvious, utter professional incompetence. The worst, no one wants to think and to talk about. They made the FBI and the American political system the laughing stock of the world. They undermined the American and the Global Security. 

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M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI, and consider bringing the criminal charges against all the former and current FBI officials! | Bill Priestap, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will exit the agency at the end of the year, according to a new report. – WSJ | FBI News Review

Investigate the investigators! Save America! Reform the FBI now!

M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI, and consider bringing the criminal charges against all the former and current FBI officials who were involved in “Clinton emails investigation” (which was designed by the adversaries, and was used to divert the resources), and “Trump – Russia NON-INVESTIGATION” for this fundamental, historical, unprecedented failure of the American Counterintelligence which is primarily the responsibility of the FBI. 

The least that they can be accused of is the manifest and obvious, utter professional incompetence. The worst, no one wants to think and to talk about. They made the FBI and the American political system the laughing stock of the world. They undermined the American and the Global Security. 

Investigate all of them in fullest and in-depth!

Saved Stories

Saved Stories – None 
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring
E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi – Google Search
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring – Washington Examiner
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office recommends little to no jail time for Michael Flynn in exchange for assistance – NBCNews.com
Mueller filing: Flynn gave substantial assistance – CNN
Prosecutors recommend no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn – Press of Atlantic City
Mueller gives new details on Flynn’s secretive work for Turkey – NBCNews.com
Mike Flynn Report Expected to Shed Light on Mueller Probe – Wall Street Journal
Mueller Investigation Just ‘Tying Up Loose Ends’ Before Climax of Russia Probe in Coming Weeks: Report – Newsweek
Nato accuses Russia of breaking nuclear missile treaty – BBC News
National Republican Congressional Committee says it was hacked during this year’s election cycle – Washington Post
Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI, and consider bringing the criminal charges against all the former and current FBI officials! | Bill Priestap, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will exit the agency at the end of the year, according to a new report. – WSJ | FBI News Review

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Investigate the investigators! Save America! Reform the FBI now!

M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI, and consider bringing the criminal charges against all the former and current FBI officials who were involved in “Clinton emails investigation” (which was designed by the adversaries, and was used to divert the resources), and “Trump – Russia NON-INVESTIGATION” for this fundamental, historical, unprecedented failure of the American Counterintelligence which is primarily the responsibility of the FBI. 

The least that they can be accused of is the manifest and obvious, utter professional incompetence. The worst, no one wants to think and to talk about. They made the FBI and the American political system the laughing stock of the world. They undermined the American and the Global Security. 

Investigate all of them in fullest and in-depth!

Saved Stories

Saved Stories – None 
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring
E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi – Google Search
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring – Washington Examiner
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office recommends little to no jail time for Michael Flynn in exchange for assistance – NBCNews.com
Mueller filing: Flynn gave substantial assistance – CNN
Prosecutors recommend no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn – Press of Atlantic City
Mueller gives new details on Flynn’s secretive work for Turkey – NBCNews.com
Mike Flynn Report Expected to Shed Light on Mueller Probe – Wall Street Journal
Mueller Investigation Just ‘Tying Up Loose Ends’ Before Climax of Russia Probe in Coming Weeks: Report – Newsweek
Nato accuses Russia of breaking nuclear missile treaty – BBC News
National Republican Congressional Committee says it was hacked during this year’s election cycle – Washington Post
Trump Offers German Automakers a Pause on Car Tariffs, for Now – New York Times
2 attorneys general to subpoena Trump Organization, IRS – Politico
Dow Tumbles Nearly 800 Points as Trade Jitters Return – Wall Street Journal
U.S., NATO give Russia 60 days to comply with nuclear pact – NBC News
US Prosecutors Charge Four People in Panama Papers Probe – Wall Street Journal
Mueller seeks no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, citing his ‘substantial assistance’ – Washington Post
Mueller Preparing Endgame For Russia Investigation – HuffPost
Manafort Tried to Broker Deal With Ecuador to Hand Assange Over to US – New York Times
President Donald Trump Praises a Witness Who Refuses to Testify Against Him in the Russia Probe – TIME
Ambert Alert issued for 14-year-old girl from Rochester – WABC-TV
French PM Édouard Philippe preparing to suspend fuel tax increases, according to government source – euronews
ECJ’s top legal adviser says UK can unilaterally end Brexit – Financial Times
The Supreme Court rejected an environmental group’s appeal to stop Trump’s border wall – Business Insider
Amazon briefly edges out Apple for most valuable company – Reuters

 

Saved Stories – None 
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring

Bill Priestap, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will exit the agency at the end of the year, according to a new report.

Priestap, the assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counterintelligence division, has decided to retire from the bureau, the Wall Street Journal reported.

He was involved with the investigation regarding the unauthorized email server of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that she used while she was secretary of state and the investigation examining Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

With officials like former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe no longer at the FBI, Priestap is currently the last high-ranking official at the FBI who originally worked on both investigations.

The investigations have come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats, who have cited mismanagement issues in both. For example, Democrats have expressed frustration that the FBI shared they were conducting an investigation into Clinton prior to the election but waited until after the election to disclose they were also investigation Russian interference.

Meanwhile, Republicans fault the FBI for going easy on Clinton and not charging her with any wrongdoing and have claimed that the FBI inappropriately obtained a surveillance warrant to monitor a Trump campaign aide.

The FBI told the Journal that Priestap’s retirement was unrelated to the 2016 investigations and said he “became eligible to retire and has chosen to do so after 20 years of service.” It’s uncertain what Preistap plans to do following his retirement.

E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi – Google Search
Story image for E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi from Wall Street Journal

Another High-Ranking FBI Official to Depart

Wall Street Journal7 hours ago
WASHINGTON—A top FBI official who helped oversee two politically … Bill Priestap, who currently serves as assistant director of the Federal … shortly before Election Day after obtaining newevidence, with some saying that it …
Story image for E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi from New York Times

After a Hiatus, China Accelerates Cyberspying Efforts to Obtain US …

New York TimesNov 29, 2018
The new operatives have intensified their focus on America’s commercial …. F.B.I. director, Bill Priestap, called “the Chinese government’s direct …
Story image for E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi from Fox News

Demoted FBI agent Peter Strzok had larger role in Clinton, Russia …

Fox NewsJun 5, 2018
Demoted FBI agent Peter Strzok had larger role in Clinton, Russia probes than … including a closed-door interview with FBI espionage chief Bill Priestap. … 30 of that year, Strzok emailed Priestap and another FBI colleague … Top Dem blames Trump for GM plant shutdowns, praises new truce with China …

EW Priestap Named Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence …

Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)Dec 21, 2015
FBI Director James B. Comey has named E.W. “Bill” Priestap as the assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters …
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring – Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring
Washington Examiner
With officials like former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe no longer at the FBI, Priestap is currently the last high-ranking official at the FBI who originally worked on both investigations. The investigations have come under 
Another High-Ranking FBI Official to DepartWall Street Journalall 3  news articles »
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office recommends little to no jail time for Michael Flynn in exchange for assistance – NBCNews.com

NBCNews.com
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office recommends little to no jail time for Michael Flynn in exchange for assistance
<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn provided “substantial assistance” in special counsel RobertMueller’s Russia investigation, according to court papers filed Tuesday. Prosecutors described Flynn’s cooperation with federal prosecutors in a …
Special Counsel Robert Mueller Asks for No Jail Time for Mike FlynnWall Street Journal
Mueller recommends no prison time for former Trump adviser Michael FlynnABC News
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Vox –The Atlantic
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Mueller filing: Flynn gave substantial assistance – CNN

CNN
Mueller filing: Flynn gave substantial assistance
CNN
Special counsel Robert Mueller told a federal court that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has given “substantial assistance” to the Russia investigation and should not get jail time. Source: CNN …
Prosecutors recommend no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn – Press of Atlantic City

NBCNews.com
Prosecutors recommend no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn
Press of Atlantic City
WASHINGTON — Michael Flynn, a retired Army general who played a key role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and then served briefly as White House national security adviser, has provided “substantial assistance” to investigators in the Russia …
Mueller seeks no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, citing his ‘substantial assistance’Washington Post
Prosecutors recommend no prison time for Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisorLos Angeles Timesall 989 news articles »
Mueller gives new details on Flynn’s secretive work for Turkey – NBCNews.com

NBCNews.com
Mueller gives new details on Flynn’s secretive work for Turkey
<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>
WASHINGTON — Special Counsel Robert Mueller disclosed more details Thursday of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s efforts to cover up the extent of his ties to the government of Turkey while he was a top official on President Donald 
4 takeaways from Mueller’s sentencing memo for Michael FlynnVox
Mueller seeks no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, citing his ‘substantial assistance’Washington Post
Mueller filing reveals Michael Flynn interviewed with investigators 19 times, recommends no jail timeBusiness Insider
CNN –The New Yorker
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Mike Flynn Report Expected to Shed Light on Mueller Probe – Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Mike Flynn Report Expected to Shed Light on Mueller Probe
Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—A new filing Tuesday is expected to detail how former Trump adviser Mike Flynn has been helping federal investigators since pleading guilty a year ago, potentially providing a window into the special counsel probe into Russian election …and more »
Mueller Investigation Just ‘Tying Up Loose Ends’ Before Climax of Russia Probe in Coming Weeks: Report – Newsweek
  1. Mueller Investigation Just ‘Tying Up Loose Ends’ Before Climax of Russia Probe in Coming Weeks: Report  Newsweek
  2. Mueller may be poised to lift the lid of his investigation  CNN
  3. Mueller Preparing Endgame For Russia Investigation  HuffPost
  4. Michael Cohen’s Trump Tower revelation could implicate Trump in a bribery scheme involving Russia  NBC News
  5. Cohen and Manafort developments add very little to answering THIS ultimate question  Fox News
  6. View full coverage on Google News
Nato accuses Russia of breaking nuclear missile treaty – BBC News

BBC News
Nato accuses Russia of breaking nuclear missile treaty
BBC News
Western military alliance Nato has formally accused Russia of breaching the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned land-based nuclear missiles in Europe. Following a meeting, Nato foreign ministers issued a statement …and more »
National Republican Congressional Committee says it was hacked during this year’s election cycle – Washington Post

Washington Post
National Republican Congressional Committee says it was hacked during this year’s election cycle
Washington Post
The campaign organization for House Republicans was the victim of a cyberattack that exposed email accounts to an unknown intruder during the 2018 election cycle, people familiar with the matter said. It wasn’t known whether a foreign government was …
House GOP Campaign Arm Says It Was Hacked During The 2018 Election CycleNPR
Exclusive: Emails of top NRCC officials stolen in major 2018 hackPoliticoall 149 news articles »
Trump Offers German Automakers a Pause on Car Tariffs, for Now – New York Times
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FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring – Washington Examiner

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Washington Examiner
FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring
Washington Examiner
With officials like former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe no longer at the FBI, Priestap is currently the last high-ranking official at the FBI who originally worked on both investigations. The investigations have come under 
Another High-Ranking FBI Official to DepartWall Street Journalall 3 news articles »

E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi – Google Search

1 Share
Story image for E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi from Wall Street Journal

Another High-Ranking FBI Official to Depart

Wall Street Journal7 hours ago
WASHINGTON—A top FBI official who helped oversee two politically … Bill Priestap, who currently serves as assistant director of the Federal … shortly before Election Day after obtaining new evidence, with some saying that it …
Story image for E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi from New York Times

After a Hiatus, China Accelerates Cyberspying Efforts to Obtain US …

New York TimesNov 29, 2018
The new operatives have intensified their focus on America’s commercial …. F.B.I. director, Bill Priestap, called “the Chinese government’s direct …
Story image for E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi from Fox News

Demoted FBI agent Peter Strzok had larger role in Clinton, Russia …

Fox NewsJun 5, 2018
Demoted FBI agent Peter Strzok had larger role in Clinton, Russia probes than … including a closed-door interview with FBI espionage chief Bill Priestap. … 30 of that year, Strzok emailed Priestap and another FBI colleague … Top Dem blames Trump for GM plant shutdowns, praises new truce with China …

EW Priestap Named Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence …

Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)Dec 21, 2015
FBI Director James B. Comey has named E.W. “Bill” Priestap as the assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters …
Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring

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Bill Priestap, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will exit the agency at the end of the year, according to a new report.

Priestap, the assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counterintelligence division, has decided to retire from the bureau, the Wall Street Journal reported.

He was involved with the investigation regarding the unauthorized email server of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that she used while she was secretary of state and the investigation examining Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

With officials like former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe no longer at the FBI, Priestap is currently the last high-ranking official at the FBI who originally worked on both investigations.

The investigations have come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats, who have cited mismanagement issues in both. For example, Democrats have expressed frustration that the FBI shared they were conducting an investigation into Clinton prior to the election but waited until after the election to disclose they were also investigation Russian interference.

Meanwhile, Republicans fault the FBI for going easy on Clinton and not charging her with any wrongdoing and have claimed that the FBI inappropriately obtained a surveillance warrant to monitor a Trump campaign aide.

The FBI told the Journal that Priestap’s retirement was unrelated to the 2016 investigations and said he “became eligible to retire and has chosen to do so after 20 years of service.” It’s uncertain what Preistap plans to do following his retirement.

Mueller Preparing Endgame For Russia Investigation – HuffPost

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HuffPost
Mueller Preparing Endgame For Russia Investigation
HuffPost
WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are “tying up loose ends” in their investigation, providing the clearest clues yet that the long-running probe into Russia’s interference in 
Mueller to detail ex-NSA Flynn’s cooperation in Russia probeMinneapolis Star Tribune
Adam Schiff: Trump is compromised. What else is he hiding and who else knows about it?USA TODAYall 335 news articles »

Russian Minister Says Authenticity Of War Legend Beyond Dispute, ‘Amoral’ To Dig Further

N.A.T.O. yesterday formally accused Russia of breaching the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (I.N.F.), issuing a statement supporting U.S. accusations of Russian violations. “Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security,” N.A.T.O. foreign ministers said in a statement after the meeting, adding: “we strongly support the finding of the U.S. that Russia is in material breach of its obligations under the I.N.F. Treaty,” Reuters reports.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced yesterday that the U.S. would suspend its obligations to the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (I.N.F.) in 60 days’ time unless Russia takes steps to return to compliance. The move follows remarks in October from President Trump, who claimed that the U.S. would withdraw from the accord as Russia had been violating the agreement “for many years,” Jessica Donati and Daniel Michaels report at the Wall Street Journal.

The Kremlin said today that the U.S. was manipulating facts in order to falsely accuse Moscow of violating the I.N.F. and thus create a pretext to leave it. When asked about the ultimatum, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said statements from the United States and N.A.T.O. are serving to stir up tensions, Reuters reports.

Deaths from terrorism declined worldwide in 2017 for the third straight year but far-right extremism was found to be on the rise, according to the 2018 Global Terrorism Index report, out today. The Daily Beast reports.

 Just Security

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)

Just Security: The Early Edition: December 5, 2018

» nato russia – Google Search
05/12/18 08:30 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

» nato russia – Google Search
05/12/18 08:28 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from nato russia – Google News. Trump and NATO Show Rare Unity in Confronting Russia’s Arms … Foreign Policy – 15 hours ago After a meeting of senior U.S., Canadian, and European diplomats at NATO in …

» US Russia: Moscow rejects ‘groundless’ US claim Russia breaching arms treaty
05/12/18 07:32 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . MOSCOW: Moscow on Wednesday dismissed US claims it is violating a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms, as a senior general lashed out at Washington’s attempts to “contain” Russia . T…

» The Latest: Police arrest about 90 in raids on Italian mafia – The Washington Post
05/12/18 07:30 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . By Associated Press December 5 at 6:14 AM BERLIN — The Latest on raids on the Italian mob across Europe (all times local): 12:10 p.m. Police say they have arrested about 90 suspected mafia membe…

» M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI! The least that they can be accused of is the manifest and obvious, utter professional incompetence. The worst, no one wants to think and to talk about. They made the FBI and the American polit
05/12/18 02:22 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Global Security News. M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI, and consider bringing the criminal charges against all the former and current FBI officials! | Bill Pr…

» M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI, and consider bringing the criminal charges against all the former and current FBI officials! | Bill Priestap, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will exit the agency at the end of the year, accordi
05/12/18 02:13 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from FBI News Review. Investigate the investigators! Save America! Reform the FBI now! M.N.: Investigate the entire upper echelon of the Obama’s FBI, and consider bringing the criminal charges aga…

» FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring – Washington Examiner
05/12/18 01:45 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Andrew McCabe – Google News. Washington Examiner FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring Washington Examiner With officials like former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Directo…

» E.W. “Bill” Priestap fbi – Google Search
05/12/18 01:43 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . Another High-Ranking FBI Official to Depart Wall Street Journal – 7 hours ago WASHINGTON—A top FBI official who helped oversee two politically … Bill Priestap , who currently serves as assista…

» FBI veteran who worked on Clinton, Russia probes retiring
05/12/18 01:39 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . B ill Priestap, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will exit the agency at the end of the year, according to a new report. Priestap, the assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s co…

» Mueller Preparing Endgame For Russia Investigation – HuffPost
04/12/18 11:49 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Top Stories – Google News. HuffPost Mueller Preparing Endgame For Russia Investigation HuffPost WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks t…

» Russian Minister Says Authenticity Of War Legend Beyond Dispute, ‘Amoral’ To Dig Further
03/12/18 14:37 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. Russia’s culture minister has revealed historical records that he claims prove the authenticity of a World War II legend largely debunked by historians, deliverin…

» World War 3: Russia accuses the UK of trying to use psychological warfare in Ukraine | World | News
03/12/18 10:46 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Cell Phone For Senior Citizens. The Russian Embassy in London claimed the UK was trying to expand its military presence in Ukraine prior to the March presidential elections. Sputnik, the Russian go…

» MI6 boss on Salisbury Novichok poisoning
03/12/18 10:41 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . Signed in as Michael_Novakhov Share this story on NewsBlur Shared stories are on their way…

» Gen. Korobov – Google Search
03/12/18 07:48 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

» Gen. Korobov – Google Search
03/12/18 07:47 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Gen. Korobov – Google News. Head of Russian Skripal-linked GRU spy agency dies BBC News – Nov 21, 2018 The head of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, General Igor Korobov, has died aged 62,…

» Adm. Stearney – Google Search
03/12/18 07:46 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

» Adm. Stearney – Google Search
03/12/18 07:46 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Adm. Stearney – Google News. Navy Admiral Scott Stearney Is Found Dead in Bahrain Home New York Times – Dec 1, 2018 The admiral overseeing American naval operations in the Middle East and Southwest…

» Adm. Scott Stearney Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
03/12/18 07:33 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Heavy.com. United States Navy Admiral Scott Stearney was found dead in his apartment in Bahrain on December 1. Stearney was the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet, maki…

» mi6 – Google Search
02/12/18 23:14 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from mi6 – Google News. Don’t underestimate UK capabilities, MI6 chief to warn Russia The Guardian – 5 hours ago The head of MI6 will warn Russia not to underestimate the UK’s ability to retaliate in th…

» Alex Younger – Google Search
02/12/18 23:11 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

» Alex Younger – Google Search
02/12/18 23:10 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

» Alex Younger – Google Search
02/12/18 23:10 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Alex Younger – Google News. Don’t underestimate UK capabilities, MI6 chief to warn Russia The Guardian – 5 hours ago Alex Younger will also set out how his agency, known formally as the Secret Inte…

» Happy Hanukkah! – Google Search
02/12/18 22:57 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

» Russian spy chief and answer to 007 gadget whizz ‘Q’ vanishes amid suspicions Novichok guru masterminded the Salisbury attack
02/12/18 22:44 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Irish Sun. RUSSIA’S answer to 007 gadget whizz “Q” has vanished amid suspicions he masterminded the Salisbury poison plot, a Sun investigation can reveal. Spy chief Oleg Marty…

» Man Changing Tire in Brooklyn Killed in Hit and Run: NYPD – NBC New York
02/12/18 02:35 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . A minivan struck and killed a man who was trying to change a tire Saturday evening in Brooklyn, then drove off, police said.  The 65-year-old victim was struck on 28th Street and Shore Parkw…

» 7:13 AM 12/1/2018 – BOOK REVIEW: Craig Unger – ‘House of Trump, House of Putin,’ the plot to put a Russian operative in the White House.
01/12/18 08:06 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Trump Investigations Report. Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ ‘House of Trump, House of Putin,’ the plot to put a Russian operative in the White House | When the Manafort Plea Deal Blew Up…

» 5:54 AM 12/1/2018 – Is This “All About Mogilevich”? Or Is This All About The “New Abwehr” And Their (“Unwitting”) Agent Mogilevich?
01/12/18 08:04 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Trump Investigations Report. Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ mogilevich and investigations of trump – Google Search mogilevich and investigations of trump – Google Search Trum…

» Books on the Russia scandal focus on the news. What they need is more history.
01/12/18 07:53 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . T he early books detailing investigations of the Trump campaign and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election tend to have lame, repetitive endings. “Mueller’s investigation was far…

» ‘House of Trump, House of Putin,’ the plot to put a Russian operative in the White House |
01/12/18 06:37 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Comments on: BOOK REVIEW: ‘House of Trump, House of Putin,’ the plot to put a Russian operative in the White House. House of Trump, House of Putin Penguin Random House LLC 375 Hudson St. New York, …

» When the Manafort Plea Deal Blew Up, It Was Good News for Oligarchs – Mother Jones
01/12/18 06:33 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Mother Jones. Looking for news you can trust? Subscribe to our free newsletters. When the news broke that special counsel Robert Mueller was ending Paul Manafort’s plea deal—because the…

» mogilevich and investigations of trump – Google Search
01/12/18 05:50 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
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» mogilevich and investigations of trump – Google Search
01/12/18 05:49 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from mogilevich and investigations of trump – Google News. It’s All About Mogilevich Slate Magazine – 8 hours ago Virginia Heffernan talks to Craig Unger, author of House of Trump , House of … House I…

» Trump Tower’s ties to the Russian mafia.
01/12/18 04:37 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . Tweet Share

» Putin and the Russian Mafia – Google News: It’s All About Mogilevich – Slate Magazine
01/12/18 04:35 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from 1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites). Slate Magazine It’s All About Mogilevich Slate Magazine Virginia Heffernan talks to Craig Unger, author of House of Trump, House of Putin , about Semion …

» As Trump Panic-Tweets, Putin Cracks His Whip and Shows Him Who’s Boss – Observer
30/11/18 23:47 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from trump putin – Google News. Observer As Trump Panic-Tweets, Putin Cracks His Whip and Shows Him Who’s Boss Observer This was the week that the bottom fell out of Donald Trump’s presidency. After alm…

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30/11/18 09:35 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Puerto Rico Times. US life expectancy declines again, a dismal trend not seen since World War I – Washington Post   José Andrés Was Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for His Hu…

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30/11/18 09:21 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . Eric Rojas/The New York Times/Redux Celebrity chef José Andrés rushes toward disaster zones. In the past year, there have been a lot of them. When fires ravaged California last summer, Andr&… 

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A “fig leaf on a fig leaf”: Mueller-referred probe into Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig, Clinton-linked Tony Podesta heats up: report 

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A “fig leaf on a fig leaf.”

Mueller-referred probe into Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig, Clinton-linked Tony Podesta heats up: report

“Prosecutors say employees of both companies “referred to the client in ways that made clear they knew it was Ukraine.” One Mercury employee said the nonprofit was the client “in name only,” likening the situation to “Alice in Wonderland.” A Podesta employee referred to the nonprofit’s certification that it wasn’t related to the Ukrainian political party as a “fig leaf on a fig leaf.” 

Mueller’s team also noted that “the head of” the Podesta Group, an apparent reference to Tony Podesta, told his team to think the president of Ukraine is the client.”

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… of Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, the former being the firm of Tony Podesta, brother of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

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Trump offers advice to Mueller on what he should include in final report

<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>Nov 26, 2018
Trump’s Monday tweet also asks, “Whatever happened to Podesta?” — an apparent reference to Tony Podesta, the former lobbyist under …

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Former lobbyist Tony Podesta, others under investigation by federal …

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Tony Podesta offered immunity to testify against Paul Manafort

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Mueller: Ex-Trump campaign chair Manafort lied, broke plea agreement

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Prosecutors there are looking into the conduct of longtime Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta, former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig …
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Mueller-referred probe into Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig, Clinton-linked Tony Podesta heats up: report

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An investigation referred to Justice Department prosecutors by Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year into possible criminal activity by Clinton-linked Washington insider Tony Podesta and former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig is heating up, according to a new report that underscores federal authorities’ increasing enforcement of laws governing foreign business relationships.

The inquiries center not only on Craig and Podesta — a Democratic lobbyist and co-founder of the onetime lobbying powerhouse known as the Podesta Group — but also on Vin Weber, a former GOP congressman from Minnesota.

The probes had been quiet for months since Mueller referred them to authorities in New York City because they fell outside his mandate of determining whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia.

But in a flurry of new activity, Justice Department prosecutors in the last several weeks have begun interviewing witnesses and contacting lawyers to schedule additional questioning related to the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, people familiar with the inquiry anonymously told the Associated Press.

The apparent ramp-up comes as multiple reports and indications suggest that the Mueller probe into possible collusion in 2016 between the Russian government and President Trump’s campaign is winding down.

The New York work underscores the broad effects of Mueller’s investigation, extending well beyond that collusion question. Mueller has made clear he will not turn away if he discovers alleged crimes outside the scope of his inquiry; instead, he refers them out in investigations that may linger on even after the special counsel’s work concludes. Other Justice Department referrals from Mueller have ended in guilty pleas, including the hush money payment case of Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.

STATE DEPT PROVIDED ‘CLEARLY FALSE’ DOCS TO DERAIL CLINTON DOC REQUESTS, ‘SHOCKED’ FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS

The investigation reflects how Mueller, in latching onto an obscure law, has shined a light on high-dollar lobbying practices that have helped foreign governments find powerful allies and advocates in Washington. It’s a practice that has spanned both parties and enriched countless former government officials, who have leveraged their connections to influence American politics.

In New York, Mueller’s referral prompted a fresh look at the lobbying firms of Podesta and Weber, who have faced scrutiny for their decisions not to register as foreign agents for Ukrainian lobbying work directed by ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Fox News first reported, and court filings later confirmed, that Podesta was offered “use immunity” by Mueller this summer to testify in the Washington, D.C., trial of Manafort that was planned at the time — separate from the Virginia case in which he was convicted on bank and fraud charges.

Prosecutors typically offer witnesses immunity to legally prevent them from asserting their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying. “Use immunity” means prosecutors agreed not to use any statements Podesta would make on the witness stand against him in court.

“Use immunity” is not as expansive as “transactional immunity” — which would have protected Podesta more broadly from being prosecuted on the subject matter of his testimony, even if prosecutors could independently confirm relevant details and didn’t need to use his statements on the stand.

Manafort averted the D.C. trial by pleading guilty to two federal counts in September and agreeing to cooperate with the Mueller probe, meaning Podesta did not have to testify at all, seemingly rendering the immunity deal moot as to any potential future prosecutorial action involving Podesta.

An attorney for Greg Craig claims his client “was not required to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.” (Facebook)

Mueller’s team has since said Manafort violated that agreement, and the Special Counsel’s office is set to file a sentencing memorandum in Manafort’s case on Friday that is expected to include prosecutors’ recommended sentence for him.

Podesta is a longtime Democratic operative whose brother, John Podesta, ran Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign; Weber is a former Republican congressman from Minnesota. Neither man has been charged with any crimes. Their firms have defended the decisions by saying they relied on the advice of outside attorneys.

Mueller’s referral also involved Craig, a former White House counsel for President Barack Obama. Craig supervised a report authored on behalf of the Ukrainian government, and Mueller’s team has said Manafort helped Ukraine hide that it paid more than $4 million for the work. CNN reported in September that prosecutors were weighing charges against Craig.

MUELLER MEMO SAYS EX-NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER PROVIDED ‘SUBSTANTIAL ASSISTANCE’ TO INVESTIGATORS ON MULTIPLE PROBES

It’s unclear if the renewed interest will produce charges or if prosecutors are merely following up on Mueller’s referral.

Lawyers for Weber and Craig and a spokeswoman for Podesta declined to comment. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan didn’t return an email seeking comment.

Mercury spokesman Michael McKeon said the firm has “always welcomed any inquiry since we acted appropriately at every step of the process, including hiring a top lawyer in Washington and following his advice. We’ll continue to cooperate as we have previously.”

Foreign lobbying work was central to Mueller’s case against Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates, two high-profile Trump campaign officials who pleaded guilty earlier this year and have been interviewed extensively by prosecutors.

The Podestas have been frequent targets of Trump and his associates, who have repeatedly demanded to know why Tony Podesta has not been arrested and charged. Trump confidant Roger Stone, for instance, has insisted a 2016 tweet of his that appeared to presage the release by WikiLeaks of John Podesta’s emails — “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel” — was instead a reference to the brothers’ foreign connections getting them into the hot seat.

ROGER STONE TO PLEAD FIFTH TO AVOID TESTIFYING, PROVIDING DOCS TO SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

Stone’s legal team announced in a letter Tuesday that Stone would assert his Fifth Amendment right not to testify or provide documents to a Senate committee investigating potential collusion between the president’s team and Russia.

“Mr. Stone’s invocation of his Fifth Amendment privilege must be understood by all to be the assertion of a Constitutional right by an innocent citizen who denounces secrecy,” Stone’s attorney, Grant Smith, said in the statement. He also called the Senate Judiciary Committee’s requests a “fishing expedition” that is “far too overboard, far too overreaching, far too wide-ranging.”

In September, Manafort admitted to directing Mercury and the Podesta Group to lobby in the U.S. on behalf of a Ukrainian political party and Ukraine’s government, then led by President Viktor Yanukovych, Manafort’s longtime political patron.

Tony Podesta’s firm is facing scrutiny from the Robert Mueller probe. (Facebook)

While doing the lobbying, neither the Podesta Group nor Mercury registered as foreign agents under a U.S. law known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, which requires lobbyists to declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders, governments or their political parties.

LAWYER WITH OBAMA, CLINTON TIES MAY FACE FEDERAL CHARGES

The Justice Department has rarely prosecuted such cases, which carry up to five years in prison, but has taken a more aggressive tack lately.

To secretly fund the lobbying and to avoid registration with the Justice Department, Manafort said he along with unidentified “others” arranged for the firms to be hired by a Brussels-based nonprofit, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, rather than the Ukrainian political interests directly.

Mercury and Podesta, which were paid a combined $2 million on the project, then registered under a less stringent lobbying law that doesn’t require as much public disclosure as FARA.

Both firms have said they registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, rather than FARA, on the advice of lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Craig’s former firm.

Gates admitted in his plea deal that he lied to Mercury’s attorneys about the project, a fact the lobbying firm has publicly highlighted. The Podesta Group has said it was misled by the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, citing a written certification from the nonprofit stating it wasn’t directed or controlled by the Ukrainian Party of Regions, one of Manafort’s clients.

Both firms have since registered under FARA. But in court papers filed alongside Manafort’s plea agreement, Mueller’s prosecutors suggested the firms were aware they were working on Ukraine’s behalf.

Prosecutors say employees of both companies “referred to the client in ways that made clear they knew it was Ukraine.” One Mercury employee said the nonprofit was the client “in name only,” likening the situation to “Alice in Wonderland.” A Podesta employee referred to the nonprofit’s certification that it wasn’t related to the Ukrainian political party as a “fig leaf on a fig leaf.”

Mueller’s team also noted that “the head of” the Podesta Group, an apparent reference to Tony Podesta, told his team to think the president of Ukraine is the client.

Fox News’ Bill Mears and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Mueller-referred probe into Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig …

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Mueller Accuses Manafort of Breaking Plea Agreement by Lying

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Feds weighing charges against Greg Craig

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Toward a Progressive Theory of Security

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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Policy Roundtable: The Future of Progressive Foreign Policy from our sister publication, the Texas National Security Review. Be sure to check out the full roundtable.

Progressives are in search of a collective voice on foreign policy and national security. As one senior Democratic Senate staffer confided to me over the summer, “I keep asking, ‘What is a progressive national security policy? Are we a bunch of progressives on education, healthcare, etc. who happen to do foreign policy and it should look the same no matter who’s in charge? Or do we have a distinctly progressive outlook on the world that we’re trying to implement as practitioners?’” Until recently, the left has been unable to reliably answer these questions and it’s understandable why.

For one thing, the progressive movement is intellectually diverse. Self-identified progressives range from committed socialists to left-leaning neoliberals and — at the extreme edges of the movement — both hardcore pacifists and anti-fascist militants. Progressives have considerable differences of opinion about capitalism, using force to achieve political ends, and America’s role in the world.

In general, the progressive voice has also historically been muted when it comes to foreign policy, which has partly to do with its modest resourcing and representation. Since the Cold War, the Democratic Party has been captured by the politics of “third way” liberalism. At home, it vacillated between Roosevelt-era, New Deal-style social welfare politics and an alliance with unfettered capitalism, increasingly favoring the latter over time. Abroad, the “third way” amounted to sustaining the once taken-for-granted and now much-contested “liberal international order” — essentially a foreign policy premised on U.S. military superiority underwriting a series of global institutional, economic, and human rights commitments. At most, these “third way” positions only ever partly reflected the priorities of political progressives.

The left’s chronic under-representation within the Democratic Party extends to its presence in the “ideas industry” as well. Authentically progressive ideas are scarce in the Washington think tank landscape, and progressive mega-donors tend to finance domestic policies and projects, not foreign policy.

Constrained in all these ways, progressives have failed to articulate their own “theory of security” — a term of art referring to how their preferred pattern of foreign policy decisions defines and realizes U.S. interests. The lack of one, as Vox reporter Zach Beauchamp concluded, has meant that “foreign policy debate tends to be conducted between the center and the right.” Indeed, the inadequacies of U.S. foreign policy traditions may exist because progressives have a history of rarely showing up analytically to foreign policy fights.

But while these limitations have prevented the left from cohering around a clear theory of progressive national security, it’s possible to tease one out of the progressive worldview all the same, and that progressive vision partially accommodates America’s default position of liberal internationalism: Regional balances of power and alliances still matter, and there is a role for both the U.S. military and international institutions. But the progressive theory of security also makes its own analytical wagers, requiring alterations in key areas of the national security agenda — namely re-scoping the size and shape of the U.S. military, emphasizing political and democratic alliances, rebalancing how international institutions work, and pursuing mutual threat reduction where circumstances allow.

Saving Liberal Internationalism from Itself

America’s traditional theory of security consists in a mix of realist and neoliberal beliefs: military superiority, alliances, economic interdependence through global capitalism, and international institutions to legitimate and sustain the entire enterprise. By pursuing all of the above — it’s typically conceived of as a package deal — the United States is able to keep open a stable international trading system, maintain balances of power in key regions of the world, and minimize the prospect of arms races and interstate wars. Democrats and Republicans have assigned greater or lesser weight to different elements within this formula, but both parties have upheld the basic meta strategy over time.

Progressive principles are not entirely hostile to this theory of security. Despite its intellectual diversity, the progressive movement has a common core emphasizing the pursuit of a more just world through democracy, greater economic equality, and human rights protections, as well as opposition to imperialism and authoritarianism. Progressives are also conditional advocates for the rule of law and international institutions. As leftist author Michael Walzer has argued, “We still need global regulation by social-democratic versions of the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization…” More controversially, there are strongly ingrained biases against the military in some quarters of the left. “Anti-militarism” is an emotionally loaded and imprecise term, but it translates into inherent skepticism about the value of both military spending and the use of force abroad. Taken together, these principled positions and attitudes logically require alterations to America’s longstanding theory of security, but not a wholesale rejection of it.

From Military Superiority to Military Sufficiency

The traditional realist foundation of U.S. national security has been military superiority — ensuring the U.S. military can “deter or defeat all potential future adversaries.” This theory presumes that the capability to prevail in any plausible conflict is necessary for the United States to make credible threats against adversaries and credible reassurances to allies. Military superiority also sustains regional balances of power, ensuring that no other state in Asia, Europe, or the Middle East can exercise hegemony or control of their region.

Even in a progressive government disinclined to call on the Pentagon to solve problems, the U.S. military will need to be capable of projecting power into key regions, making credible threats, and achieving political objectives with force and minimal casualties if called on to do so. But a force structure sufficient to meet these purposes might be achieved without the endlessly increasing requirements of military superiority. A standard of military sufficiency — as opposed to superiority — is both analytically plausible and more morally congruent with progressive principles for several reasons.

First, the U.S. military is traditionally sized to win in temporally overlapping wars in different regions, but the Pentagon’s force planners have assumed very little help from local allies in those fights — this fact is obvious from the massive size of the U.S. military. Yet, looking across the globe today, there is no plausible conflict that would ensnare only (or even primarily) the United States. And in any case, progressives have a consistent track record of opposing unilateral wars of choice. Second, the idea that it takes military superiority to prevent other states from dominating their regions involves some dubious assumptions about the ability of military power to prevent other countries from exercising international political influence. Stopping others from controlling a region does not mean the United States must be able to exercise regional control itself.

As such, there is a case for making America’s security more entwined — not less — with the security of regions of interest by making U.S. force structure more networked with trusted allies and partners. This could meaningfully reduce the defense budget, and the only real risk it would entail is in the assumption that friends will provide significant contributions to a fight involving U.S. forces. It also potentially makes the dirty business of war a more democratic and less imperious endeavor by wagering that “multilateralizing” force structure to a degree tamps down on the tendency to opt into ill-advised conflicts. Military sufficiency potentially ties the hands of future presidents, making them less able to launch unilateral wars, and simultaneously increases the likelihood that any conflict involving large numbers of U.S. troops will be multilateral and cooperative. It would also befit the analytical claim — which some on the left already make — that the world is less dangerous than the Pentagon supposes, implying that a posture of military sufficiency would not hazard any great geopolitical risks.

Preserving Democratic Alliances

In liberal internationalism, alliances are a means by which the United States deters aggression against its allies. They also make it possible for the United States to reliably project military power into key regions, and serve as a unique means of exerting influence in world politics. Not only do alliances act as mechanisms of risk management by controlling the aggression of allies under threat, they have also been a means of preventing nuclear proliferation. The default theory of security bets that these advantages of alliances far outweigh the calculable downsides.

Progressive principles are not necessarily at odds with the traditional reasons for the United States upholding military alliances. In fact, a wide range of progressive thinkers writing on foreign policy have also endorsed sustaining U.S. alliances, though with some qualifications. Progressives are quick to emphasize political — not just military — commitments at the state and sub-state level, and take a very circumspect view of allying with illiberal actors. The idea that “[w]e should act abroad only with those who share our commitments and then, only in ways consistent with those commitments” implies solidarity with democratic countries who see their alliance with the United States as a source of security. But it is likewise a rejection of “[p]olitical and military support for tyrannical, predatory, and corrupt regimes.”

Because one of the principal threats to U.S. security in the progressive view is the spread of authoritarianism and fascism, the United States must keep faith with democratically elected governments that rely on an alliance with the United States for their security. That includes NATO as an institution, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. But where allies turn autocratic or become incubators for fascism — such as Turkey or Hungary (both NATO members) — a commitment to the individual country will have to be tenuous, as a matter of principle. An illiberal state’s membership in an alliance institution will not prevent U.S. policy from promoting solidarity with anti-authoritarian forces within that country. NATO will not be a shield that implicitly permits the growth of illiberal, reactionary politics in Europe.

Alliances are also crucial to a progressive theory of security to the extent the United States seeks to divest itself of the military superiority imperative. As argued above, moving to a concept of military sufficiency without simply becoming isolationist (which itself would be anti-progressive) requires maintaining allies. It would be logically untenable to seek international solidarity with likeminded countries and peoples abroad while destroying alliance architectures around the world — one action would undermine the other. And where the abdication of an alliance is likely to lead to nuclear proliferation, conflict, or the spread of fascism, the alliance may have to stay in place as a short-term exception to the rule. But even then, the principle of supporting only democratic actors remains. In sum, then, the progressive theory of security requires fidelity only to democratic alliances, and any expansion of the U.S. alliance network is likely to emphasize political support first and military support last, if at all.

Reforming International Institutions

U.S. foreign policy debates routinely center on the merits of sustaining the mélange of international institutions that constitute the “post-war” or “liberal international” order: the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization, among many others. These institutions play an essential role in how U.S. liberal internationalism conceives of keeping America secure. Collectively, they preserve a stable international trading system that facilitates conflict-deterring economic interdependence. The existence of international institutions also allows many (not all) nations around the world to escape the predations of international anarchy. The belief in reliable institutions lets many liberal-democratic states be liberal and democratic in their foreign policies — by focusing on trading relations and taking for granted the appearance of international stability. In the liberal internationalist theory of security, this partly explains why neither Europe nor Asia has experienced interstate wars in more than a generation — an architecture that combines U.S. military superiority and alliances with international institutions. It’s a package deal. The institutions part of that deal preserves a “capitalist peace” through economic interdependence, and at the same time encourages many states to opt out of militaristic foreign policies.

The left embraces international institutions in principle because they promote multilateralism, the rule of law, and can help attenuate conflict — all of which favor justice and egalitarianism. But some international institutions must be repurposed or reformed to serve a more democratic, and less corrupting, imperative. This is not just about justice for its own sake, but rather that justice, in the form of equality, lessens the likelihood of war. Progressives believe that yawning gaps in economic inequality are a structural cause of conflict. As Bernie Sanders remarked in 2017: “Foreign policy must take into account the outrageous income and wealth inequality that exists globally and in our own country. This planet will not be secure or peaceful when so few have so much, and so many have so little…”

A progressive security policy would therefore bet significantly on international institutions, but in qualified ways that differ from default liberal internationalism. It would seek to essentially save capitalism from itself by regulating it. At the international level, this might translate into a more democratic distribution of voting rights or agenda setting powers in international financial bodies — especially the World Bank and IMF — and a more relaxed attitude toward economic protectionism in instances where fairness or just labor practices are called into question. Although anathema to the traditional liberal bargain, these steps would serve as a means of attenuating giant wealth transfers across borders, as well as the political corruption that often accompanies those transfers, as dictators around the world have learned to “play” globalization processes to enrich themselves. Such regulations of capitalism might also dramatically elevate the importance of the International Labor Organization, a moribund body that for decades has promoted not labor but rather pro-market deregulation trends. But the larger point is best summarized by Bernie Sanders: “[W]e have got to help lead the struggle to defend and expand a rules-based international order in which law, not might, makes right.” The progressive theory of security wagers on the same institutional arrangements that make up liberal internationalism, but argues for their reform, in order to address the inequality gap, transnational corruption, and authoritarianism, thus prioritizing long-term systemic causes of conflict, even if it might risk the “capitalist peace” in the near term.

Mutual Threat Reduction

The final, and most distinct, element in the progressive theory of national security — one that’s absent from America’s default posture toward the world — is what might be called mutual threat reduction. If the progressive sensibility leads to the military being treated as a policy tool of last resort, progressives would have to prioritize the use of diplomacy to attenuate the threat landscape as a compensatory move. There is a defensible logic in this wager, because deterrence — managing threats by making threats — is not an end in itself but rather a means of buying time. The ultimate success of deterrence derives from whether the time bought was used to ameliorate the conditions that gave rise to the need for deterrence in the first place. In the progressive view, diplomacy in the name of mutual threat reduction takes on concrete meaning: arms control, Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction programs, and international regimes that regulate technology development, transfers, and use. These kinds of initiatives are not new to U.S. foreign policy, but the progressive theory elevates their importance, and justifies taking a certain amount of risk in pursuing them with greater gusto.

Progressive principles commit the United States to doing the spade work necessary to discover whether real and potential adversaries are willing to restrain arms competitions or increase transparency into their military thinking, and to reciprocate when they do. Such a probe may require limited unilateral gestures from the United States. Advocates of realpolitik may see no reason to ever trust the intentions of an enemy or shrink U.S. advantages in military matters. But progressives should be willing to accept some amount of geopolitical risk — while stopping short of naiveté — in the name of, not only probing, but nudging the intentions of a threatening adversary toward the goal of mutual accommodation. In 2012, the Obama administration made a fleeting attempt at getting beyond mutually assured destruction with key competitors like Russia and China to reach a place of “mutually assured stability.” The premise of that forgotten project — that recognized that probing and stimulating opportunities for threat reduction is an essential part of avoiding unnecessary future wars — would be renewed in a progressive security vision. More importantly, it would become a preferred starting point for evaluating all strategic issues, from North Korea to arms races in emerging technologies.

Playing the Long Game

There are significant continuities between the liberal internationalist theory of security and that of progressive internationalism. Nevertheless, the divergences are not trivial. The table below summarizes these distinctions.

Comparing Progressive and Liberal Internationalist Theories of Security
Default Liberal Internationalism Progressive Internationalism
Military Superiority Military Sufficiency
Alliances Democratic Alliances
International Institutions Reformed International Institutions
Economic Interdependence Mutual Threat Reduction

The progressive wager is not without risks. The process of changing American foreign policy in this way may jeopardize certain sources of stability that the progressive worldview takes for granted. But it also addresses long-term sources of recurring conflict that liberal internationalism ignores. Every theory of security amounts to a bet with distinct tradeoffs and risks. The progressive bet is that the American interest is best served by having a more peaceful world, and that’s only possible by pursuing greater justice and equity, and opposing tyranny wherever it arises.

Van Jackson is an associate editor at the Texas National Security Review, a senior lecturer in international relations at Victoria University of Wellington, and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. He is the author of On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War (Cambridge University Press, 2018). The views expressed are solely those of the author.

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Trump presidency could hang on $50 million penthouse offer to Putin

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Norman Eisen and Barry Berke, Opinion contributors Published 8:00 a.m. ET Dec. 2, 2018 | Updated 3:41 p.m. ET Dec. 2, 2018

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‘Avengers’ director Joe Russo launched LA restaurant Simone, all while directing the famous Marvel flicks because ‘he loves food.’ (Dec. 4)AP

MAGA hat cartoon, Nov. 30, 2018(Photo: Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune, UT)

One aspect of Michael Cohen’s blockbuster plea deal hasn’t received as much attention as it deserves. It is the possibility that the Trump Organization and others, perhaps even including the president himself, might have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). These new facts and reports are yet more evidence that Donald Trump’s business activities represent a clear-and-present threat to his presidency.

The revelations last week in connection with Cohen’s plea included the news that during his presidential campaign, Trump pursued a significant project in Russia and a report that Cohen, representing the Trump Organization, discussed with an assistant to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman the idea that the developers would be interested in giving Putin the $50 million penthouse in Trump Tower Moscow. That is, of course, assuming they were allowed to build it.

If this report is true, this type of offer is not, as the president tweeted of the project as a whole, “very legal & very cool.” It is, instead, a possible FCPA violation.

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US law says foreign officials can’t be bribed

Trump has brazenly argued that this long-standing law is not fair because it prevents American business people from paying bribes in jurisdictions where others might. But the FCPA has been on the books for more than 40 years, and it has been aggressively enforced through Democratic and Republican administrations alike.

That is because, as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a speech last year on FCPA enforcement, “paying bribes may still be common in some places — but that does not make it right.”

The FCPA makes it a crime to corruptly offer anything of value to a government official for the purpose of “obtaining or retaining business.” The courts have defined “obtaining or retaining” broadly to include nearly any action that would serve a business purpose. The facts, if true, leave little room to question whether the Trump Organization was seeking to retain or obtain business given its efforts to receive government assistance to go forward with the project, and Cohen’s communications with a Putin aide to discuss that very issue.

In fact, special counsel Robert Mueller indicated as much in Cohen’s plea agreement. Cohen, speaking with the woman in Putin’s press office, “requested assistance in moving the project forward both in financing the project and in “securing land.” She reportedly asked detailed questions and explained that she would follow up “with others in Russia.”

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Similarly, it seems clear that the offer was made “corruptly” — that is, as Congress explained when it passed the FCPA in 1977, to “wrongfully influence the recipient.” It is difficult to imagine how suggesting that the president of the country may receive a $50 million benefit if the development goes forward could be anything other than corrupt.

The repeated and continuous lies about the project by Cohen and likely others, including to Congress, are further evidence of the shadiness of the deal — in other words, of corrupt intent. The false testimony is made even more troubling if individuals in our government knew of its falsity and were therefore aware that they could be subject to blackmail by Russia, whose leaders obviously knew the truth.

If it was actually suggested that should the project be approved and built, those responsible for the development were prepared to potentially offer a $50 million penthouse apartment to Putin, this would certainly appear to satisfy the “offer something of value” prong. While detractors might claim that the $50 million penthouse was not formally “offered,” experienced FCPA practitioners know this is not a defense.

It is important to note that under the FCPA, there does not have to be a transfer, or even a formal offer, of something of value. It is sufficient if there is an attempt to corruptly influence a government decision by holding out the promise of something of value, or even just the possibility it might be available, in order to obtain or retain business. Essentially, the law contemplates and prohibits the wink-and-a-nod agreements that still dominate the business landscape in many markets where public corruption is commonplace.

The $50 million question: Did Trump know?

Still unknown is how much President Trump or his family actually knew about the Putin luxury apartment offer. Cohen says he frequently communicated about the project with Trump, including keeping Trump apprised of his discussions with representatives of Putin. It would be surprising if that did not include information about an inducement of this magnitude.

Under the law of conspiracy and aiding and abetting, even if a person is not otherwise involved in offering an illegal bribe, that individual can still be guilty if he was aware of it and was otherwise part of the transaction that would benefit from it.

While the past week has added significantly to the list of potential crimes that Trump and those close to him might have committed, the potential FCPA criminal violation could be the most straightforward to prove — if the president was aware of the offer.

We know that Trump is well aware of the FCPA; he has called it “a horrible law” and “ridiculous.” We know that Michael Cohen swore in court on Thursday that he “discussed the status and progress” of the negotiations with then-candidate Trump on numerous occasions, and that he gave Trump’s adult children regular briefings.

What we don’t know yet is whether Trump or his children were made aware of this critical $50 million detail. The presidency could hang on that question.

Norman Eisen, chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is author of “The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House.” Follow him on Twitter: @NormEisen. Barry Berke is a nationally recognized trial lawyer specializing in all aspects of white-collar crime. 

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8:55 AM 12/5/2018 – Grassley Demands Information About FBI Raid on Whistleblower | FBI News Review

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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠Grassley Demands Information About FBI Raid on Whistleblower

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Sen. Chuck Grassley is calling for more information about the FBI’s raid on a former agency contractor who had given a watchdog documents claiming that federal officials failed to investigate possible criminal activity related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and the sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to a Russian company’s subsidiary.

Grassley, R-Iowa, has sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and to the Department of Justice’s internal watchdog, seeking more details on the raid of Dennis Nathan Cain in Maryland on Nov. 16, giving them until Dec. 12 to respond, reports Fox News.

Cain’s attorney, Michael Socarras, told The Daily Caller after 16 FBI agents raided the home on Nov. 19 that the agent who led the raid accused Cain of being in possession of stolen federal property.

Cain claims he that he has been recognized as a protected whistleblower under federal law by DOJ watchdog Michael Horowitz. Socarras also said Horowitz sent Cain’s information to the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Grassley, in his letter to Wray, asked why Cain’s house was raided, if the FBI knew of his disclosures to Horowitz, and if the disclosures were considered protected. Further, he asked if agents seized any classified information.

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Mueller-referred probe into Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig, Clinton-linked Tony Podesta heats up: report

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An investigation referred to Justice Department prosecutors by Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year into possible criminal activity by Clinton-linked Washington insider Tony Podesta and former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig is heating up, according to a new report that underscores federal authorities’ increasing enforcement of laws governing foreign business relationships.

The inquiries center not only on Craig and Podesta — a Democratic lobbyist and co-founder of the onetime lobbying powerhouse known as the Podesta Group — but also on Vin Weber, a former GOP congressman from Minnesota.

The probes had been quiet for months since Mueller referred them to authorities in New York City because they fell outside his mandate of determining whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia.

But in a flurry of new activity, Justice Department prosecutors in the last several weeks have begun interviewing witnesses and contacting lawyers to schedule additional questioning related to the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, people familiar with the inquiry anonymously told the Associated Press.

The apparent ramp-up comes as multiple reports and indications suggest that the Mueller probe into possible collusion in 2016 between the Russian government and President Trump’s campaign is winding down.

The New York work underscores the broad effects of Mueller’s investigation, extending well beyond that collusion question. Mueller has made clear he will not turn away if he discovers alleged crimes outside the scope of his inquiry; instead, he refers them out in investigations that may linger on even after the special counsel’s work concludes. Other Justice Department referrals from Mueller have ended in guilty pleas, including the hush money payment case of Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.

STATE DEPT PROVIDED ‘CLEARLY FALSE’ DOCS TO DERAIL CLINTON DOC REQUESTS, ‘SHOCKED’ FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS

The investigation reflects how Mueller, in latching onto an obscure law, has shined a light on high-dollar lobbying practices that have helped foreign governments find powerful allies and advocates in Washington. It’s a practice that has spanned both parties and enriched countless former government officials, who have leveraged their connections to influence American politics.

In New York, Mueller’s referral prompted a fresh look at the lobbying firms of Podesta and Weber, who have faced scrutiny for their decisions not to register as foreign agents for Ukrainian lobbying work directed by ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Fox News first reported, and court filings later confirmed, that Podesta was offered “use immunity” by Mueller this summer to testify in the Washington, D.C., trial of Manafort that was planned at the time — separate from the Virginia case in which he was convicted on bank and fraud charges.

Prosecutors typically offer witnesses immunity to legally prevent them from asserting their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying. “Use immunity” means prosecutors agreed not to use any statements Podesta would make on the witness stand against him in court.

“Use immunity” is not as expansive as “transactional immunity” — which would have protected Podesta more broadly from being prosecuted on the subject matter of his testimony, even if prosecutors could independently confirm relevant details and didn’t need to use his statements on the stand.

Manafort averted the D.C. trial by pleading guilty to two federal counts in September and agreeing to cooperate with the Mueller probe, meaning Podesta did not have to testify at all, seemingly rendering the immunity deal moot as to any potential future prosecutorial action involving Podesta.

An attorney for Greg Craig claims his client “was not required to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.” (Facebook)

Mueller’s team has since said Manafort violated that agreement, and the Special Counsel’s office is set to file a sentencing memorandum in Manafort’s case on Friday that is expected to include prosecutors’ recommended sentence for him.

Podesta is a longtime Democratic operative whose brother, John Podesta, ran Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign; Weber is a former Republican congressman from Minnesota. Neither man has been charged with any crimes. Their firms have defended the decisions by saying they relied on the advice of outside attorneys.

Mueller’s referral also involved Craig, a former White House counsel for President Barack Obama. Craig supervised a report authored on behalf of the Ukrainian government, and Mueller’s team has said Manafort helped Ukraine hide that it paid more than $4 million for the work. CNN reported in September that prosecutors were weighing charges against Craig.

MUELLER MEMO SAYS EX-NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER PROVIDED ‘SUBSTANTIAL ASSISTANCE’ TO INVESTIGATORS ON MULTIPLE PROBES

It’s unclear if the renewed interest will produce charges or if prosecutors are merely following up on Mueller’s referral.

Lawyers for Weber and Craig and a spokeswoman for Podesta declined to comment. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan didn’t return an email seeking comment.

Mercury spokesman Michael McKeon said the firm has “always welcomed any inquiry since we acted appropriately at every step of the process, including hiring a top lawyer in Washington and following his advice. We’ll continue to cooperate as we have previously.”

Foreign lobbying work was central to Mueller’s case against Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates, two high-profile Trump campaign officials who pleaded guilty earlier this year and have been interviewed extensively by prosecutors.

The Podestas have been frequent targets of Trump and his associates, who have repeatedly demanded to know why Tony Podesta has not been arrested and charged. Trump confidant Roger Stone, for instance, has insisted a 2016 tweet of his that appeared to presage the release by WikiLeaks of John Podesta’s emails — “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel” — was instead a reference to the brothers’ foreign connections getting them into the hot seat.

ROGER STONE TO PLEAD FIFTH TO AVOID TESTIFYING, PROVIDING DOCS TO SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

Stone’s legal team announced in a letter Tuesday that Stone would assert his Fifth Amendment right not to testify or provide documents to a Senate committee investigating potential collusion between the president’s team and Russia.

“Mr. Stone’s invocation of his Fifth Amendment privilege must be understood by all to be the assertion of a Constitutional right by an innocent citizen who denounces secrecy,” Stone’s attorney, Grant Smith, said in the statement. He also called the Senate Judiciary Committee’s requests a “fishing expedition” that is “far too overboard, far too overreaching, far too wide-ranging.”

In September, Manafort admitted to directing Mercury and the Podesta Group to lobby in the U.S. on behalf of a Ukrainian political party and Ukraine’s government, then led by President Viktor Yanukovych, Manafort’s longtime political patron.

Tony Podesta’s firm is facing scrutiny from the Robert Mueller probe. (Facebook)

While doing the lobbying, neither the Podesta Group nor Mercury registered as foreign agents under a U.S. law known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, which requires lobbyists to declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders, governments or their political parties.

LAWYER WITH OBAMA, CLINTON TIES MAY FACE FEDERAL CHARGES

The Justice Department has rarely prosecuted such cases, which carry up to five years in prison, but has taken a more aggressive tack lately.

To secretly fund the lobbying and to avoid registration with the Justice Department, Manafort said he along with unidentified “others” arranged for the firms to be hired by a Brussels-based nonprofit, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, rather than the Ukrainian political interests directly.

Mercury and Podesta, which were paid a combined $2 million on the project, then registered under a less stringent lobbying law that doesn’t require as much public disclosure as FARA.

Both firms have said they registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, rather than FARA, on the advice of lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Craig’s former firm.

Gates admitted in his plea deal that he lied to Mercury’s attorneys about the project, a fact the lobbying firm has publicly highlighted. The Podesta Group has said it was misled by the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, citing a written certification from the nonprofit stating it wasn’t directed or controlled by the Ukrainian Party of Regions, one of Manafort’s clients.

Both firms have since registered under FARA. But in court papers filed alongside Manafort’s plea agreement, Mueller’s prosecutors suggested the firms were aware they were working on Ukraine’s behalf.

Prosecutors say employees of both companies “referred to the client in ways that made clear they knew it was Ukraine.” One Mercury employee said the nonprofit was the client “in name only,” likening the situation to “Alice in Wonderland.” A Podesta employee referred to the nonprofit’s certification that it wasn’t related to the Ukrainian political party as a “fig leaf on a fig leaf.”

Mueller’s team also noted that “the head of” the Podesta Group, an apparent reference to Tony Podesta, told his team to think the president of Ukraine is the client.

Fox News’ Bill Mears and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Toward a Progressive Theory of Security

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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Policy Roundtable: The Future of Progressive Foreign Policy from our sister publication, the Texas National Security Review. Be sure to check out the full roundtable.

Progressives are in search of a collective voice on foreign policy and national security. As one senior Democratic Senate staffer confided to me over the summer, “I keep asking, ‘What is a progressive national security policy? Are we a bunch of progressives on education, healthcare, etc. who happen to do foreign policy and it should look the same no matter who’s in charge? Or do we have a distinctly progressive outlook on the world that we’re trying to implement as practitioners?’” Until recently, the left has been unable to reliably answer these questions and it’s understandable why.

For one thing, the progressive movement is intellectually diverse. Self-identified progressives range from committed socialists to left-leaning neoliberals and — at the extreme edges of the movement — both hardcore pacifists and anti-fascist militants. Progressives have considerable differences of opinion about capitalism, using force to achieve political ends, and America’s role in the world.

In general, the progressive voice has also historically been muted when it comes to foreign policy, which has partly to do with its modest resourcing and representation. Since the Cold War, the Democratic Party has been captured by the politics of “third way” liberalism. At home, it vacillated between Roosevelt-era, New Deal-style social welfare politics and an alliance with unfettered capitalism, increasingly favoring the latter over time. Abroad, the “third way” amounted to sustaining the once taken-for-granted and now much-contested “liberal international order” — essentially a foreign policy premised on U.S. military superiority underwriting a series of global institutional, economic, and human rights commitments. At most, these “third way” positions only ever partly reflected the priorities of political progressives.

The left’s chronic under-representation within the Democratic Party extends to its presence in the “ideas industry” as well. Authentically progressive ideas are scarce in the Washington think tank landscape, and progressive mega-donors tend to finance domestic policies and projects, not foreign policy.

Constrained in all these ways, progressives have failed to articulate their own “theory of security” — a term of art referring to how their preferred pattern of foreign policy decisions defines and realizes U.S. interests. The lack of one, as Vox reporter Zach Beauchamp concluded, has meant that “foreign policy debate tends to be conducted between the center and the right.” Indeed, the inadequacies of U.S. foreign policy traditions may exist because progressives have a history of rarely showing up analytically to foreign policy fights.

But while these limitations have prevented the left from cohering around a clear theory of progressive national security, it’s possible to tease one out of the progressive worldview all the same, and that progressive vision partially accommodates America’s default position of liberal internationalism: Regional balances of power and alliances still matter, and there is a role for both the U.S. military and international institutions. But the progressive theory of security also makes its own analytical wagers, requiring alterations in key areas of the national security agenda — namely re-scoping the size and shape of the U.S. military, emphasizing political and democratic alliances, rebalancing how international institutions work, and pursuing mutual threat reduction where circumstances allow.

Saving Liberal Internationalism from Itself

America’s traditional theory of security consists in a mix of realist and neoliberal beliefs: military superiority, alliances, economic interdependence through global capitalism, and international institutions to legitimate and sustain the entire enterprise. By pursuing all of the above — it’s typically conceived of as a package deal — the United States is able to keep open a stable international trading system, maintain balances of power in key regions of the world, and minimize the prospect of arms races and interstate wars. Democrats and Republicans have assigned greater or lesser weight to different elements within this formula, but both parties have upheld the basic meta strategy over time.

Progressive principles are not entirely hostile to this theory of security. Despite its intellectual diversity, the progressive movement has a common core emphasizing the pursuit of a more just world through democracy, greater economic equality, and human rights protections, as well as opposition to imperialism and authoritarianism. Progressives are also conditional advocates for the rule of law and international institutions. As leftist author Michael Walzer has argued, “We still need global regulation by social-democratic versions of the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization…” More controversially, there are strongly ingrained biases against the military in some quarters of the left. “Anti-militarism” is an emotionally loaded and imprecise term, but it translates into inherent skepticism about the value of both military spending and the use of force abroad. Taken together, these principled positions and attitudes logically require alterations to America’s longstanding theory of security, but not a wholesale rejection of it.

From Military Superiority to Military Sufficiency

The traditional realist foundation of U.S. national security has been military superiority — ensuring the U.S. military can “deter or defeat all potential future adversaries.” This theory presumes that the capability to prevail in any plausible conflict is necessary for the United States to make credible threats against adversaries and credible reassurances to allies. Military superiority also sustains regional balances of power, ensuring that no other state in Asia, Europe, or the Middle East can exercise hegemony or control of their region.

Even in a progressive government disinclined to call on the Pentagon to solve problems, the U.S. military will need to be capable of projecting power into key regions, making credible threats, and achieving political objectives with force and minimal casualties if called on to do so. But a force structure sufficient to meet these purposes might be achieved without the endlessly increasing requirements of military superiority. A standard of military sufficiency — as opposed to superiority — is both analytically plausible and more morally congruent with progressive principles for several reasons.

First, the U.S. military is traditionally sized to win in temporally overlapping wars in different regions, but the Pentagon’s force planners have assumed very little help from local allies in those fights — this fact is obvious from the massive size of the U.S. military. Yet, looking across the globe today, there is no plausible conflict that would ensnare only (or even primarily) the United States. And in any case, progressives have a consistent track record of opposing unilateral wars of choice. Second, the idea that it takes military superiority to prevent other states from dominating their regions involves some dubious assumptions about the ability of military power to prevent other countries from exercising international political influence. Stopping others from controlling a region does not mean the United States must be able to exercise regional control itself.

As such, there is a case for making America’s security more entwined — not less — with the security of regions of interest by making U.S. force structure more networked with trusted allies and partners. This could meaningfully reduce the defense budget, and the only real risk it would entail is in the assumption that friends will provide significant contributions to a fight involving U.S. forces. It also potentially makes the dirty business of war a more democratic and less imperious endeavor by wagering that “multilateralizing” force structure to a degree tamps down on the tendency to opt into ill-advised conflicts. Military sufficiency potentially ties the hands of future presidents, making them less able to launch unilateral wars, and simultaneously increases the likelihood that any conflict involving large numbers of U.S. troops will be multilateral and cooperative. It would also befit the analytical claim — which some on the left already make — that the world is less dangerous than the Pentagon supposes, implying that a posture of military sufficiency would not hazard any great geopolitical risks.

Preserving Democratic Alliances

In liberal internationalism, alliances are a means by which the United States deters aggression against its allies. They also make it possible for the United States to reliably project military power into key regions, and serve as a unique means of exerting influence in world politics. Not only do alliances act as mechanisms of risk management by controlling the aggression of allies under threat, they have also been a means of preventing nuclear proliferation. The default theory of security bets that these advantages of alliances far outweigh the calculable downsides.

Progressive principles are not necessarily at odds with the traditional reasons for the United States upholding military alliances. In fact, a wide range of progressive thinkers writing on foreign policy have also endorsed sustaining U.S. alliances, though with some qualifications. Progressives are quick to emphasize political — not just military — commitments at the state and sub-state level, and take a very circumspect view of allying with illiberal actors. The idea that “[w]e should act abroad only with those who share our commitments and then, only in ways consistent with those commitments” implies solidarity with democratic countries who see their alliance with the United States as a source of security. But it is likewise a rejection of “[p]olitical and military support for tyrannical, predatory, and corrupt regimes.”

Because one of the principal threats to U.S. security in the progressive view is the spread of authoritarianism and fascism, the United States must keep faith with democratically elected governments that rely on an alliance with the United States for their security. That includes NATO as an institution, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. But where allies turn autocratic or become incubators for fascism — such as Turkey or Hungary (both NATO members) — a commitment to the individual country will have to be tenuous, as a matter of principle. An illiberal state’s membership in an alliance institution will not prevent U.S. policy from promoting solidarity with anti-authoritarian forces within that country. NATO will not be a shield that implicitly permits the growth of illiberal, reactionary politics in Europe.

Alliances are also crucial to a progressive theory of security to the extent the United States seeks to divest itself of the military superiority imperative. As argued above, moving to a concept of military sufficiency without simply becoming isolationist (which itself would be anti-progressive) requires maintaining allies. It would be logically untenable to seek international solidarity with likeminded countries and peoples abroad while destroying alliance architectures around the world — one action would undermine the other. And where the abdication of an alliance is likely to lead to nuclear proliferation, conflict, or the spread of fascism, the alliance may have to stay in place as a short-term exception to the rule. But even then, the principle of supporting only democratic actors remains. In sum, then, the progressive theory of security requires fidelity only to democratic alliances, and any expansion of the U.S. alliance network is likely to emphasize political support first and military support last, if at all.

Reforming International Institutions

U.S. foreign policy debates routinely center on the merits of sustaining the mélange of international institutions that constitute the “post-war” or “liberal international” order: the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization, among many others. These institutions play an essential role in how U.S. liberal internationalism conceives of keeping America secure. Collectively, they preserve a stable international trading system that facilitates conflict-deterring economic interdependence. The existence of international institutions also allows many (not all) nations around the world to escape the predations of international anarchy. The belief in reliable institutions lets many liberal-democratic states be liberal and democratic in their foreign policies — by focusing on trading relations and taking for granted the appearance of international stability. In the liberal internationalist theory of security, this partly explains why neither Europe nor Asia has experienced interstate wars in more than a generation — an architecture that combines U.S. military superiority and alliances with international institutions. It’s a package deal. The institutions part of that deal preserves a “capitalist peace” through economic interdependence, and at the same time encourages many states to opt out of militaristic foreign policies.

The left embraces international institutions in principle because they promote multilateralism, the rule of law, and can help attenuate conflict — all of which favor justice and egalitarianism. But some international institutions must be repurposed or reformed to serve a more democratic, and less corrupting, imperative. This is not just about justice for its own sake, but rather that justice, in the form of equality, lessens the likelihood of war. Progressives believe that yawning gaps in economic inequality are a structural cause of conflict. As Bernie Sanders remarked in 2017: “Foreign policy must take into account the outrageous income and wealth inequality that exists globally and in our own country. This planet will not be secure or peaceful when so few have so much, and so many have so little…”

A progressive security policy would therefore bet significantly on international institutions, but in qualified ways that differ from default liberal internationalism. It would seek to essentially save capitalism from itself by regulating it. At the international level, this might translate into a more democratic distribution of voting rights or agenda setting powers in international financial bodies — especially the World Bank and IMF — and a more relaxed attitude toward economic protectionism in instances where fairness or just labor practices are called into question. Although anathema to the traditional liberal bargain, these steps would serve as a means of attenuating giant wealth transfers across borders, as well as the political corruption that often accompanies those transfers, as dictators around the world have learned to “play” globalization processes to enrich themselves. Such regulations of capitalism might also dramatically elevate the importance of the International Labor Organization, a moribund body that for decades has promoted not labor but rather pro-market deregulation trends. But the larger point is best summarized by Bernie Sanders: “[W]e have got to help lead the struggle to defend and expand a rules-based international order in which law, not might, makes right.” The progressive theory of security wagers on the same institutional arrangements that make up liberal internationalism, but argues for their reform, in order to address the inequality gap, transnational corruption, and authoritarianism, thus prioritizing long-term systemic causes of conflict, even if it might risk the “capitalist peace” in the near term.

Mutual Threat Reduction

The final, and most distinct, element in the progressive theory of national security — one that’s absent from America’s default posture toward the world — is what might be called mutual threat reduction. If the progressive sensibility leads to the military being treated as a policy tool of last resort, progressives would have to prioritize the use of diplomacy to attenuate the threat landscape as a compensatory move. There is a defensible logic in this wager, because deterrence — managing threats by making threats — is not an end in itself but rather a means of buying time. The ultimate success of deterrence derives from whether the time bought was used to ameliorate the conditions that gave rise to the need for deterrence in the first place. In the progressive view, diplomacy in the name of mutual threat reduction takes on concrete meaning: arms control, Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction programs, and international regimes that regulate technology development, transfers, and use. These kinds of initiatives are not new to U.S. foreign policy, but the progressive theory elevates their importance, and justifies taking a certain amount of risk in pursuing them with greater gusto.

Progressive principles commit the United States to doing the spade work necessary to discover whether real and potential adversaries are willing to restrain arms competitions or increase transparency into their military thinking, and to reciprocate when they do. Such a probe may require limited unilateral gestures from the United States. Advocates of realpolitik may see no reason to ever trust the intentions of an enemy or shrink U.S. advantages in military matters. But progressives should be willing to accept some amount of geopolitical risk — while stopping short of naiveté — in the name of, not only probing, but nudging the intentions of a threatening adversary toward the goal of mutual accommodation. In 2012, the Obama administration made a fleeting attempt at getting beyond mutually assured destruction with key competitors like Russia and China to reach a place of “mutually assured stability.” The premise of that forgotten project — that recognized that probing and stimulating opportunities for threat reduction is an essential part of avoiding unnecessary future wars — would be renewed in a progressive security vision. More importantly, it would become a preferred starting point for evaluating all strategic issues, from North Korea to arms races in emerging technologies.

Playing the Long Game

There are significant continuities between the liberal internationalist theory of security and that of progressive internationalism. Nevertheless, the divergences are not trivial. The table below summarizes these distinctions.

Comparing Progressive and Liberal Internationalist Theories of Security
Default Liberal Internationalism Progressive Internationalism
Military Superiority Military Sufficiency
Alliances Democratic Alliances
International Institutions Reformed International Institutions
Economic Interdependence Mutual Threat Reduction

The progressive wager is not without risks. The process of changing American foreign policy in this way may jeopardize certain sources of stability that the progressive worldview takes for granted. But it also addresses long-term sources of recurring conflict that liberal internationalism ignores. Every theory of security amounts to a bet with distinct tradeoffs and risks. The progressive bet is that the American interest is best served by having a more peaceful world, and that’s only possible by pursuing greater justice and equity, and opposing tyranny wherever it arises.

Van Jackson is an associate editor at the Texas National Security Review, a senior lecturer in international relations at Victoria University of Wellington, and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. He is the author of On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War (Cambridge University Press, 2018). The views expressed are solely those of the author.

Image: Carlos Fernandez

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Trump presidency could hang on $50 million penthouse offer to Putin

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Norman Eisen and Barry Berke, Opinion contributors Published 8:00 a.m. ET Dec. 2, 2018 | Updated 3:41 p.m. ET Dec. 2, 2018

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‘Avengers’ director Joe Russo launched LA restaurant Simone, all while directing the famous Marvel flicks because ‘he loves food.’ (Dec. 4)AP

MAGA hat cartoon, Nov. 30, 2018(Photo: Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune, UT)

One aspect of Michael Cohen’s blockbuster plea deal hasn’t received as much attention as it deserves. It is the possibility that the Trump Organization and others, perhaps even including the president himself, might have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). These new facts and reports are yet more evidence that Donald Trump’s business activities represent a clear-and-present threat to his presidency.

The revelations last week in connection with Cohen’s plea included the news that during his presidential campaign, Trump pursued a significant project in Russia and a report that Cohen, representing the Trump Organization, discussed with an assistant to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman the idea that the developers would be interested in giving Putin the $50 million penthouse in Trump Tower Moscow. That is, of course, assuming they were allowed to build it.

If this report is true, this type of offer is not, as the president tweeted of the project as a whole, “very legal & very cool.” It is, instead, a possible FCPA violation.

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US law says foreign officials can’t be bribed

Trump has brazenly argued that this long-standing law is not fair because it prevents American business people from paying bribes in jurisdictions where others might. But the FCPA has been on the books for more than 40 years, and it has been aggressively enforced through Democratic and Republican administrations alike.

That is because, as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a speech last year on FCPA enforcement, “paying bribes may still be common in some places — but that does not make it right.”

The FCPA makes it a crime to corruptly offer anything of value to a government official for the purpose of “obtaining or retaining business.” The courts have defined “obtaining or retaining” broadly to include nearly any action that would serve a business purpose. The facts, if true, leave little room to question whether the Trump Organization was seeking to retain or obtain business given its efforts to receive government assistance to go forward with the project, and Cohen’s communications with a Putin aide to discuss that very issue.

In fact, special counsel Robert Mueller indicated as much in Cohen’s plea agreement. Cohen, speaking with the woman in Putin’s press office, “requested assistance in moving the project forward both in financing the project and in “securing land.” She reportedly asked detailed questions and explained that she would follow up “with others in Russia.”

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Similarly, it seems clear that the offer was made “corruptly” — that is, as Congress explained when it passed the FCPA in 1977, to “wrongfully influence the recipient.” It is difficult to imagine how suggesting that the president of the country may receive a $50 million benefit if the development goes forward could be anything other than corrupt.

The repeated and continuous lies about the project by Cohen and likely others, including to Congress, are further evidence of the shadiness of the deal — in other words, of corrupt intent. The false testimony is made even more troubling if individuals in our government knew of its falsity and were therefore aware that they could be subject to blackmail by Russia, whose leaders obviously knew the truth.

If it was actually suggested that should the project be approved and built, those responsible for the development were prepared to potentially offer a $50 million penthouse apartment to Putin, this would certainly appear to satisfy the “offer something of value” prong. While detractors might claim that the $50 million penthouse was not formally “offered,” experienced FCPA practitioners know this is not a defense.

It is important to note that under the FCPA, there does not have to be a transfer, or even a formal offer, of something of value. It is sufficient if there is an attempt to corruptly influence a government decision by holding out the promise of something of value, or even just the possibility it might be available, in order to obtain or retain business. Essentially, the law contemplates and prohibits the wink-and-a-nod agreements that still dominate the business landscape in many markets where public corruption is commonplace.

The $50 million question: Did Trump know?

Still unknown is how much President Trump or his family actually knew about the Putin luxury apartment offer. Cohen says he frequently communicated about the project with Trump, including keeping Trump apprised of his discussions with representatives of Putin. It would be surprising if that did not include information about an inducement of this magnitude.

Under the law of conspiracy and aiding and abetting, even if a person is not otherwise involved in offering an illegal bribe, that individual can still be guilty if he was aware of it and was otherwise part of the transaction that would benefit from it.

While the past week has added significantly to the list of potential crimes that Trump and those close to him might have committed, the potential FCPA criminal violation could be the most straightforward to prove — if the president was aware of the offer.

We know that Trump is well aware of the FCPA; he has called it “a horrible law” and “ridiculous.” We know that Michael Cohen swore in court on Thursday that he “discussed the status and progress” of the negotiations with then-candidate Trump on numerous occasions, and that he gave Trump’s adult children regular briefings.

What we don’t know yet is whether Trump or his children were made aware of this critical $50 million detail. The presidency could hang on that question.

Norman Eisen, chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is author of “The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House.” Follow him on Twitter: @NormEisen. Barry Berke is a nationally recognized trial lawyer specializing in all aspects of white-collar crime. 

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trump putin 50 mil Moscow Penthouse – Google Search

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Story image for trump putin 50 mil Moscow Penthouse from USA TODAY

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8:55 AM 12/5/2018 – Grassley Demands Information About FBI Raid on Whistleblower | FBI News Review

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sen. chuck grassley speaks to reporters on capitol hill

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠Grassley Demands Information About FBI Raid on Whistleblower

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

Sen. Chuck Grassley is calling for more information about the FBI’s raid on a former agency contractor who had given a watchdog documents claiming that federal officials failed to investigate possible criminal activity related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and the sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to a Russian company’s subsidiary.

Grassley, R-Iowa, has sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and to the Department of Justice’s internal watchdog, seeking more details on the raid of Dennis Nathan Cain in Maryland on Nov. 16, giving them until Dec. 12 to respond, reports Fox News.

Cain’s attorney, Michael Socarras, told The Daily Caller after 16 FBI agents raided the home on Nov. 19 that the agent who led the raid accused Cain of being in possession of stolen federal property.

Cain claims he that he has been recognized as a protected whistleblower under federal law by DOJ watchdog Michael Horowitz. Socarras also said Horowitz sent Cain’s information to the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Grassley, in his letter to Wray, asked why Cain’s house was raided, if the FBI knew of his disclosures to Horowitz, and if the disclosures were considered protected. Further, he asked if agents seized any classified information.

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Grassley Demands Information About FBI Raid on Whistleblower

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