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FBI Increasingly Politicized Under Comey and Mueller

6:52 AM 12/6/2017 Obstruction of Justice was Coming from Inside the FBI FrontPage Magazine

Doctors identify brain abnormalities in Cuba attack patients

Russias Terrifying Nuclear-Armed Doomsday Train: Everything You Need To Know

Poland’s former military intelligence head detained
The Army Has a New Way to Take on Russia or China in a Ground Fight
Counterterrorism expert named to lead FBI in Indianapolis – Kokomo Tribune
“Its catastrophic: Europe allies reject Trumps expected Jerusalem pronouncement
Israel’s Super Secret Nuclear Weapons Program: Everything You Need to Know
Israel Has a Submarine That Could Destroy Entire Nations (Armed with Nuclear Weapons)
In Defense of Rosensteins and Wrays Responses to Trump
German Foreign Minister Unironically Calls for Solution to the Jerusalem Problem
Doctors identify brain abnormalities in Cuba attack patients
Tillerson touts good opportunity for Mideast peace despite criticism of U.S. policy shift on Jerusalem
The Early Edition: December 6, 2017
Time names the #metoo movement as 2017 Person of the Year
Silence Breakers named Time magazine’s Person of the Year
‘War Cry’ enters New Brooklyn comics with a bang
Cuomo attacks GOP for tax bill that ‘cripples’ high-tax states
22 Russian athletes appeal to have Olympic bans lifted
Sleeping straphanger ripped off for phone, license, and charge cards
Thief robs Downtown hotel, but drops stolen cash trying to outrun cops
Dastardly duo jumps a man, steals his cash, and cuts him when he resists
Reefer badness: Two men busted for smoking marijuana on the street
Assassins killed Panama Papers journalist with text message bomb

 

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FBI Increasingly Politicized Under Comey and Mueller

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, once America’s storied crime fighting agency, is under fire for an increasing leftward politicization blamed on recent liberal directors and a bureaucracy operating with nearly unchecked power.

Once a bastion of conservative anti-communism under long-time director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI has become one of the more liberal political agencies of government, and some critics say appears increasingly to operate outside normal constitutional controls.

The shift is the result of a bureaucratic culture that emerged in the 1990s and was fueled by its two most recent former directors, James Comey and Robert Mueller, who ran the agency for the past 16 years. Mueller headed the FBI from 2001 to 2013, when Comey took over and served until he was fired by Trump in May.

Both former directors currently are at the center of a fierce political debate over the FBI’s competency and integrity.

“People are finally tumbling to the realization that this [FBI] has become a proto-KGB,” said a former senior intelligence official with extensive experience in counterintelligence. “We’re in a constitutional crisis. These guys are playing out a silent coup against an elected official.”

President Trump castigated the FBI this week in unusually harsh tweets and comments.

Commenting on disclosures that the Justice Department’s inspector general launched an investigation of political bias by senior FBI Agent Peter Strzok working for Mueller’s Russian election meddling probe, Trump compared the FBI’s lenient approach to Hillary Clinton’s misuse of a private email server while secretary of state with the recent case of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about post-election contacts with Russia.

“Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI ‘agents role in Clinton probe under review.’ Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

“After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness,” the president declared.

On Tuesday, Mueller appeared to counter the comments by leaking word he has issued subpoenas for bank records at Deutche Bank related to Trump and members of his family.

The leak produced a spate of news stories under the ongoing liberal narrative of the past year of alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, a narrative lacking hard facts.

The problem of the FBI, according to national security strategist Angelo Codevilla, is more the result of careerism and an out of control bureaucracy than liberal politicization of the ostensibly nonpartisan FBI, the nation’s most powerful law enforcement agency and main domestic counterspying and counterterrorism agency.

“Im afraid that the explanation is all too simple: Bureaucratsemployees of large organizationsfigure out on which side their bread is going to be buttered,” Codevilla said. “They learn to think, feel, and do what advances their careers.”

Under President Barack Obama, the FBI suffered a string of failures that critics blame on the FBI being pressured by liberal, politically correct policies that emphasized diversity and multiculturalism of its workforce over competence and results.

The problem is evident whenever a U.S.-based terror attack or other major crime takes place and the FBI, seemingly ever on the lookout for ways to protect its reputation, puts out word to pro-FBI news reporters that the problem is less serious than it is.

That was the case shortly after several major Islamic terror attacks in the United States when Bureau officials initially put out word the attacks had no link to terrorism.

Similarly, when North Korea conducted a major cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, the FBI agent heading the probe at first said there was no foreign involvement in the hack.

In another case last June, after an anti-Trump gunmanand Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) supportershot a congressman and four other people in Alexandria, the FBI sought to minimize the politics of the incident. The agent running the investigation, Tim Slater, told reporters the shooting was “spontaneous,” despite evidence the shooter had a list of targeted members of Congress.

John Guandolo, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, has criticized the FBI for caving in to pressure from Muslim groups in watering down its training of agents by limiting references to Islam and jihad, or holy war.

“I am not aware of any time in the FBI’s history when FBI leadership was so incapable of performing their duties as they are today,” Guandolo said.

“The FBI’s inability or lack of desire to aggressively pursue obvious major threats to the republicthe Marxist and Islamic movements for instanceis stunning and frightening.”

Guandolo said that instead the FBI is working with “our Islamic enemy.”

“In fact, all three of the Muslim organizations listed on the FBI’s website as ‘Outreach Partners’ are Muslim Brotherhood organizations,” he said.

Additionally, liberal left or Marxist inclinations appear to motivate some of the FBI’s key leaders.

Guandolo said FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was promoted by Comey despite internal leadership reviews that questioned his fitness.

Congressional Republicans are investigating whether McCabe should have recused himself from the Clinton email probe.

McCabe’s wife, a Democrat, received payments of some $700,000 from a political action committee affiliated with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close ally of Clinton, during a failed bid to run for the state senate.

The president’s online criticism of the FBI was followed by comments he made Monday calling the FBI’s treatment of Flynn “very unfair” compared to how the Bureau treated Clinton during last year’s election-year investigation into the misuse of her private email server.

“I feel badly for Gen. Flynn. I feel very badly. Hes led a very strong life,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I will say this, Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and they destroyed his life. I think its a shame.”

The president referred to the July 2, 2016, FBI interview of Clinton regarding her use of a private email server used while she was secretary of state to send some highly classified information and the deletion of emails after published reports of the private server revealed the existence of it.

Clinton, according to the FBI summary of the interview, asserted she did not recall being given a security briefing on handling information held in Special Access Programs (SAP), the government’s most sensitive secrets. Some SAP information on drone strike targeting was found on her private email server.

Days after the FBI interview, Comey issued his now famous public statement recommending against prosecuting Clinton for mishandling classified information, despite evidence the mere presence of the secret information is a crime.

Comey also would later disclose that under political pressure for Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch he agreed not to refer to the email scandal as an investigation and instead call it a “matter.”

Comey also granted immunity from prosecution for two key witnesses, Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson. The immunity prevented the FBI from conducting searches for evidence. The immunity deal also required the FBI to destroy the two aides’ laptops after they were searched, a step that potentially eliminated evidence of a crime.

In October, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) revealed that Comey had decided in May 2016months before the FBI probe of Clinton was completedthat he was planning to issue a statement exonerating Clinton.

“Conclusion first, fact-gathering secondthat’s no way to run an investigation,” the senators said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray in August. “The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.”

An FBI source said Comey’s politically charged handling of the Clinton email probe upset many of the FBI’s agents who saw it as a disheartening indication of political bias in favor of Clinton.

Trump fired Comey in May prompting the Justice Department to create the special counsel investigation headed by Mueller, a long-time Comey associate.

The more recent disclosures that one of Mueller’s investigators, Strzok, is under investigation for anti-Trump bias is now raising new questions about the integrity of the special counsel probe and whether it too has reached a pre-determined outcome against the president.

The FBI also is under fire from Congress for refusing to provide documents to congressional investigators looking into the Democrat-funded private intelligence dossier at the center of Republicans’ investigation into the potential misuse of security agencies for political ends.

The Bureau has so far refused to provide the House Intelligence Committee with details on how it pursued salacious allegations regarding Trump and the Russians contained in the dossier produced by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said this week he is drafting a contempt of Congress resolution against Wray, the FBI chief, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for failing to disclose to Congress earlier Strzok’s political bias against Trump.

Nunes revealed Strzok was involved in the Clinton email probe in addition to Mueller’s election meddling probe and that hiding those facts from Congress was “a willful attempt to thwart Congress constitutional oversight responsibility.”

“This is part of a months-long pattern by the DOJ and FBI of stonewalling and obstructing this committees oversight work, particularly oversight of their use of the Steele dossier,” Nunes said. “At this point, these agencies should be investigating themselves.”

Security experts said it is likely that Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who specializes in Russian spying, has been the driving force behind the mainly Democratic political narrative that Russia stole the 2016 election from Clinton and gave it to Trump.

Congress wants to question him about what role the discredited Steele dossier played in the FBI’s Russian election meddling investigation.

One irony of the FBI’s zealousness on the Russian election influence probe is that for many years during the 1980s, the FBI refused to acknowledge that Moscow at the time was engaged in similar sophisticated disinformation and so-called “active measures” operations against the United States.

Under the Reagan administration, the FBI was forced to investigate and take steps to counter Moscow’s intelligence-driven influence operations.

Now it seems the FBI is convinced, despite the lack of evidence, there was a Russian conspiracy to elect Trump and it is searching for a way to prove its theory.

Observers say a major problem for the FBI today is a lack constitutional oversight and controls. Bureau leaders have created the myth that the White House or any agency cannot have any control over the FBI.

That is not true. While it would be illegal for the White House to interfere or corrupt FBI investigations, the Constitution makes clear the FBI, as an executive branch agency, is ultimately responsible to the president.

Under the Comey-Mueller bureaucracy, however, the FBI seems to regard itself as a power center answerable to no one, critics say.

According to FBI sources, FBI agents and other personnel have been told unequivocally that they are not to have any dealings with the White House, and that doing so risks career-ending measures.

As for Congress, the FBI for years also has stonewalled overseers under both Comey and Mueller.

Even routine requests for FBI documents and information have been rejected or ignored, and congressional overseers have not taken action to force the FBI to comply.

The lack of congressional oversight and administration controls have left the FBI with enormous power and little accountability.

The former intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity over concerns about FBI retaliation, said the mindset of Comey, Mueller and others of their group is that they are going to punish Trump for his criticism of the FBI.

“Mueller, Comey, and Rosenstein are going to make Trump pay for having dissed the bureau,” the former official said.

A spokesman for Mueller did not respond when asked if the special counsel probe has been tainted by Strzok’s involvement.

“Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the special counsels office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation,” the spokesman said.

An FBI spokesman defended the FBI’s handling of the issue of Islamic threat training and said the Defense Department and not the FBI was the first to refer to the Fort Hood terror attack as workplace violence.

On Strozk, FBI spokesman Andrew Ames referred to the statement on the matter.

“The matter is an ongoing investigation by the Office of Inspector General, consistent with well-established processes designed to objectively, thoroughly and fairly determine the facts regarding potential wrongdoing,” the statement said.

“The FBI has clearly defined policies and procedures regarding appropriate employee conduct, including communications,” the statement added. “When the FBI first learned of the allegations, the employees involved were immediately reassigned, consistent with practices involving employee matters.

The FBI employees are held to “the highest standards of integrity, independence and professionalism, as the American public rightly expects.”

Disclosure: The Washington Free Beacon was once a client of Fusion GPS, which produced the Steele dossier. That relationship ended in January 2017. For more information, see here.”

The post FBI Increasingly Politicized Under Comey and Mueller appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

6:52 AM 12/6/2017 Obstruction of Justice was Coming from Inside the FBI FrontPage Magazine

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Republicans are betting the future won’t happen. Who wants to tell them? – USA TODAY Donald Trump Jr. to face questions about Russia contacts on Capitol Hill – ABC News More charges could be coming against former Trump aide in Russia probe – CNN Legal Weed Is Coming to … Continue reading“6:52 AM 12/6/2017 – Obstruction of Justice was Coming from Inside the FBI – FrontPage Magazine”
Doctors identify brain abnormalities in Cuba attack patients

WASHINGTON (AP) — Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned.

It’s the most specific finding to date about physical damage, showing that …

Russias Terrifying Nuclear-Armed Doomsday Train: Everything You Need To Know

Robert Beckhusen

Security,

The Kremlin shuts down a really bad idea.

In 2013, the Russian military announced it would bring back rail-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles. In other words, trains with big nukes crammed inside, capable of darting around Russia, raising their launchers and firing at a moments notice. It was called Barguzin and would begin testing in 2019.

That was the idea. In December 2017, the Russian government put the Barguzin project on hiatus, saving the world from the specter of doomsday trains roaming Siberia. The ostensible reason the weapon is too expensive, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the governments paper of record.

The Barguzin project was a revival of a retired leg of the Soviet Unions ground-based nuclear triad. While the Soviets had nuke-equipped submarines and nuclear-armed bombers, its ground-based component had nuclear missiles mounted on huge trucks, inside underground silos and on trains. The Soviet military first signed the order for the creation of rail-mobile ICBMs in 1969, but the launchers came later.

Recommended: Uzi: The Israeli Machine Gun That Conquered the World

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Poland’s former military intelligence head detained

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish military police say they have detained a former head of Poland’s military counterintelligence services for further questioning over alleged illegal cooperation with Russian security services in 2010.

Gen. Piotr Pytel denies the cooperation was illegal. The case relates to Poland’s and NATO’s agreement with Russia’s …

The Army Has a New Way to Take on Russia or China in a Ground Fight

Kris Osborn

Security,

And its pretty slick.

Our recent conflicts against less sophisticated threats allowed for more open-hatch operations. A commander would be up out of the hatch using his own senses. Operations against a near-peer using artillery, drones and other sophisticated weapons would likely be more closed-hatched operations. This technology will enable him to have more capability in closed-hatched scenarios, Klager said.

The Army is testing emerging next-generation ground combat vehicle sensors using computer algorithms and artificial intelligence to identify, target and destroy enemy tanks, drones and incoming fire, service officials said.

The technologies now being tested, currently in prototype form, are being engineered for the yet-to-be-built future fleet of Army Next Generation Combat Vehicles to surface in coming years. Equipping Army combat vehicles with an ability to conduct mechanized vehicle operations in a massive, full-scale ground war against a near-peer adversary is a fundamental priority in the rationale for creating this technology.

The concept is to use what Army weapons developers call multi-function sensors which not only help vehicle crews find and destroy enemy targets at greater distances – but also simultaneously provide 360-degree cameras around the exterior of a vehicle to more quickly locate threats or enemy attacks.

The new sensor technology, to integrate and test on actual vehicle platforms by next year, is designed to increase situational awareness by using algorithms and computer automation to help soldiers find targets or areas of combat significance; technologies include more narrow-beam thermal sights for long range targeting along with closer-in, vehicle-surrounding electro-optical cameras able to quickly detect approaching enemy drones and incoming fire, Gene Klager, Deputy Director, Ground Combat Systems Division, Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, told Warrior in an interview. Klagers unit is part of the Armys Communications, Electronics, Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC).

We are developing algorithms for infrared search and track – we have a passive way to detect and track we would then hand off the target location to a countermeasure system, Klager said.

Read full article

Counterterrorism expert named to lead FBI in Indianapolis – Kokomo Tribune

Counterterrorism expert named to lead FBI in Indianapolis
Kokomo Tribune
INDIANAPOLIS FBI Director Christopher A. Wray has appointed a counterterrorism expert to be the top bureau official in Indianapolis. Wray this week named Bradley “Grant” Mendenhall as the special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Division 

and more »

“Its catastrophic: Europe allies reject Trumps expected Jerusalem pronouncement

U.S. allies in Europe are warning that the move could further disrupt relations between Palestinians and Israelis and spark unrest in the region.

Israel’s Super Secret Nuclear Weapons Program: Everything You Need to Know

Kyle Mizokami

Security,

Israel does not confirm nor deny having nuclear weapons. Experts generally assess the country as currently having approximately eighty nuclear weapons, fewer than countries such as France, China and the UK.

Israels first land-based nuclear weapons were based on Jericho I missiles developed in cooperation with France. Jericho I is believed to have been retired, replaced by Jericho II and -III ballistic missiles. Jericho II has a range of 932 miles, while Jericho III, designed to hold Iran and other distant states at risk, has a range of at least 3,106 miles. The total number of Israeli ballistic missiles is unknown, but estimated by experts to number at least two dozen.

In a private email leaked to the public in September of 2016, former secretary of state and retired U.S. Army general Colin Powell alluded to Israel having an arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons. While this number appears to be an exaggeration, there is no doubt that Israel does have a small but powerful nuclear stockpile, spread out among its armed forces. Israeli nuclear weapons guard against everything from defeat in conventional warfare to serving to deter hostile states from launching nuclear, chemical and biological warfare attacks against the tiny country. Regardless, the goal is the same: to prevent the destruction of the Jewish state.

Recommended: Uzi: The Israeli Machine Gun That Conquered the World

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Israel Has a Submarine That Could Destroy Entire Nations (Armed with Nuclear Weapons)

Kyle Mizokami

Security,

And this is everything we think we know about it.

Whatever the missile, a 932-mile range gives it the abilityjust barelyto strike the Iranian capital of Tehran, as well as the holy city of Qom and the northern city of Tabriz, from a position off the coast of Syria. (Irans pursuit of nuclear arms is likely the main and enduring driver of Israels second strike capability.) That isnt an ideal firing position, and its been seventeen years since the missiles first flight, so its also reasonable to assume that the weapons range has been extended to the point where it can launch against Tehran and even more Iranian cities from a relatively safe location.

Israels submarine corps is a tiny force with a big open secret: in all likelihood, it is armed with nuclear weapons. The five Dolphin-class submarines represent an ace in the hole for Israel, the ultimate guarantor of the countrys security, ensuring that if attacked with nukes, the tiny nation can strike back in kind.

Israels first nuclear weapons were completed by the early 1970s, and deployed among both free-fall aircraft bombs and Jericho ballistic missiles. The 1991 Persian Gulf War, which saw Iraqi Scuds and Al Hussein ballistic missiles raining down on Israeli cities, led Tel Aviv to conclude that the country needed a true nuclear triad of air-, land- and sea-based nukes to give the countrys nuclear deterrent maximum flexibilityand survivability.

Recommended: Uzi: The Israeli Machine Gun That Conquered the World

Recommended: The M4: The Gun U.S. Army Loves to Go to War With

Recommended: Why Glock Dominates the Handgun Market (And Better than Sig Sauer and Beretta)

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In Defense of Rosensteins and Wrays Responses to Trump

wrote Monday morning about costs within the Justice Department when its leaders stay silent in the face of the Presidents caustic attacks on the departments independence and integrity. I mentioned in particular the silence of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and FBI Director Christopher Wray. I concluded:

I suspect that these men tell themselves a story that crossing the president in public would result in their firing but not stop Trump, and that the nation is better off if they stay silent and do their jobs. Perhaps so. That calculus, and that decision, are intensely personal and contextual.

But in performing this calculus, the leaders of the Justice Department should candidly consider the large costs of their silence. When they do not speak out against the presidents attacks on their institutions and the rule of law, they signal to their employees and the world that they are indefeasibly beholden to the president, or that they do not care. The failure to protect and defend the department engenders anger, suffering, and resentment by the men and women they are charged with leading. It also contributes to a sense of delegitimization within the department, and thus stokes the morale crisis. These are not consequences that any leader should ever tolerate.

Since I wrote these words, Wray and Rosenstein spoke in ways that are widely seen as a response to the President and a defense of the Justice Department and FBI workforces. On Monday, Wray sent an emailto FBI employees in which he stated that he was inspired by example after example of professionalism and dedication to justice demonstrated around the bureau. It is truly an honor to represent you. Wray urged the FBI to continue to keep focused on our critical mission, and concluded: Keep calm and tackle hard. And yesterday, Rosenstein stated in remarks at a Criminal Division ceremony that: In this department, Justice is our name. And justice is our mission. Justice is not just about winning a particular case, or sending a particular person to prison. It is about a fair and impartial process.

Neither Wray nor Rosenstein mentioned Trump by name. But both statements were rightly interpreted as responses to Trumps attacks. I assume they were interpreted this way within the DOJ and the FBI as well.

Are these responses adequate? Susan probably represents many in thinking not. She says:

In worst days post-Snowden, Gen. Alexander’s full-throated defense and support of NSA rank and file was so critical to morale. Hard to see how gestures like this from Wray are sufficient. https://twitter.com/jacklgoldsmith/status/938016100670955520 

I disagree, or at least think the matter is more complex. As NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexanders full-throated defense and support of NSA rank and file was in response to a body blow to the agency due to the Snowden revelations, and perhaps a response as well to the too-tepid initial support of the agency offered by President Obama. But Alexanders situation was much different, as was his President, and he never openly disagreed with Obama by nameat least not that I recall.

Rosenstein and Wray are engaged in a much more difficult and delicate balancing act. They are dealing with a President who is attacking the integrity of the Justice Department and the FBI in a truly unprecedented fashion at a time when many of the Presidents associates, and probably the President himself, are under investigation by the Justice Department and FBI. And indeed, the Presidents attacks on the department and FBI are probably designed to discredit that investigation. Against this background, Rosenstein and Wray face at least three important challenges.

First, they have to defend the Justice Department and FBI in a way that maintains their personal credibility with the President. This is an admittedly slight consideration. Taken alone, it might not count for much, and one might think that the two men should simply stand on principle, stand up to the President openly and be fired. But there are at least two other considerations that cut the other way.

The second consideration is the impact on the Justice Department if Trump cans Rosenstein and especially Wray. If these men more openly defied the President and he fired them, it is hard to see how the department and FBI, or the Trump investigation, would strengthened. The more likely consequence would be that the Justice Department and FBI would be thrown into further disarray than they already have been due to the many unfortunate events of the last year, ranging from Comeys firing to Rosensteins uneven performance to Sessions utter failure to stand up for the Justice Departments integritydisarray all exacerbated a great deal, of course, by the Presidents destructive tactics. One might even think that Trump would benefit from such a course of action and would look for an excuse to fire one or both. (I acknowledge that it is a hard question when to stand on principle and when notBen and Ihave debated this question in an analogous context.)

I am largely persuaded by this second consideration, but the difficulty of Rosensteins and Wrays predicament comes into yet clearer focus when one considers that the Mueller investigation is now under relentless attack for being biased, out of control and vindictive. I cannot yet assess the reality of these charges. Even the appearance of bias here is deadly because, as I once wrote in an analogous context, Muellers work will be judged not just through the legal lens, but also through the political lens, and its success will stand in part on political factors. In this light, it is important to remember that Rosenstein and Wray are deeply responsible for the Mueller investigation. Rosenstein appointed Mueller and, under the pertinent regulations, retains significant authority over Muellers investigation. Wray is leading the FBI, which is obviously heavily involved in the investigation. For legal and political reasons, they thus must be scrupulous in not being, or appearing, biased against the President.

Rosenstein and Wray thus find themselves in a wholly unprecedented situation and very awkward position. For reasons I outlined Monday, they must defend their workforce from the Presidents unprecedented attacks. But they must do so in ways that do not compromise the Mueller investigation or their role in it. The President deepens their dilemma every time he attacks the Justice Department and the FBI. Indeed, Trump certainly senses this, even if he does not fully understand ithis attacks on law enforcement invariably help him by making Muellers and Rosensteins and Wrays jobs in connection with the investigation harder and more political.

Against this background, the general statements by the two men in the past two daysstatements which were formally neutral even as they unambiguously underscored the integrity of the Justice Department and FBI in ways that were widely seen as responses to Trumpis about the most that we, or their workforces, can reasonably expect.

German Foreign Minister Unironically Calls for Solution to the Jerusalem Problem

German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel does not support President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to the Washington Post. “We all know the far-reaching impact this move would have,” he said in an interview. “Germany’s position on this issue remains unchanged: A solution to the Jerusalem problem can only be found through direct negotiations between both parties. Everything which worsens the crisis is counterproductive.”

Leaving aside Gabriel’s conventional pro-Palestinian policy analysis, maybe he could have chosen his words more carefully?

And maybe European governments might want to sit this one out? The Washington Post goes on to say that word of President Trump’s announcement “dominated European news coverage Wednesday, especially in countries such as Germany, France, and Britain where anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in recent yearspartially due to an escalation of tensions between Israel and Palestinians.”

That’s one way of looking at it, we suppose. Reporters never waste an opportunity to blame Israel for Europe’s troubles. Another way of looking at it is that rising European anti-Semitism has coincided with rising European Islamism, rising European secularism hostile to Jewish particularity and ritual, and rising European nationalism of the kind that led to the murder of six million European Jews less than a century ago. The Boycott Divest Sanctions movement, the spearhead of global efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel, is also strong on the continent, where goods made in Jewish communities in the West Bank are required to carry a warning label. Little surprise that Jews are leaving places like France in record numbers.

Jewish migration from Germany is relatively stable, but that may be because there are so few Jews left in Germany to begin with. Still, Josef Schuster, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, told Bild last July that “In some districts in major cities, I’d advise people not to identify themselves as Jews.”

Minister Gabriel might want to advise his government to spend less time on a “Jerusalem problem” that exists mainly in the heads of diplomats, and more time on an anti-Semitism problem that affects the lives of German Jews every day. Just a thought.

The post German Foreign Minister Unironically Calls for ‘Solution to the Jerusalem Problem’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Doctors identify brain abnormalities in Cuba attack patients

Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned.

Tillerson touts good opportunity for Mideast peace despite criticism of U.S. policy shift on Jerusalem

The secretary of state said at NATO headquarters that President Trump remains very committed to the Middle East peace process.

The Early Edition: December 6, 2017

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.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

President Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, marking a seismic change in U.S. policy and amid warnings from Middle East leaders, who have highlighted the potential for violence and the threat the decision could pose to Israel-Palestine peace efforts. Mark Landler and David M. Halbfinger report at the New York Times.

Trump’s speech announcing the policy change will be delivered at midday today, the president informed his counterparts in the Middle East of his decision yesterday and, according to an adviser to the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, Abbas told Trump that he would not “accept” the policy change and warned him that he was “playing into the hands of extremism.” David Nakamura, Loveday Morris and Anne Gearan report at the Washington Post.

A timetable for the U.S. Embassy relocation is not expected to be set out in the speech and the president is expected to sign a waiver delaying the move, however Trump informed the Palestinian and Jordanian leaders yesterday of his plans to relocate the mission, which has been met with calls for protests by the rival Palestinian factions – Abbas’s Fatah party and the Islamist Hamas group. Sam Fleming, Erika Solomon and Ilan Ben Zion report at the Financial Times.

The embassy relocation will be delayed to address logistical and security challenges, administration officials said yesterday, adding that the delay would allow them to identify and construct a new facility in Jerusalem. Trump is also expected to say that the specific boundaries of Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations, Felicia Schwartz, Dion Nissenbaum and Rory Jones report at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump administration officials described the forthcoming policy decision as a “recognition of reality” that Jerusalem has long been the seat of the Israeli government, with one senior administration official saying that it “seems clear now that the physical location of the American embassy is not material to a peace deal” as the location of the mission has not changed the dynamics of the peace negotiations over the past two decades.  Jeremy Diamond and Nicole Gaouette report at CNN.

“Such a dangerous step is likely to inflame the passions of Muslims and the world due to the great status of Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted the Saudi King Salman as telling to Trump during a phone call yesterday, Trump also spoke the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Netanyahu who avoided directly mentioning the change in U.S. policy during a speech in Jerusalem, Julian Borger and Peter Beaumont report at the Guardian.

The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be the “kiss of death to the two state solution” and a declaration of war in the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic representative to the U.K., Manuel Hassassian, said today, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem warned U.S. government employees and family members from traveling in Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank, and advised U.S. citizens to consider their own safety when traveling. Felicia Schwartz reports at the Wall Street Journal.

No country currently has an embassy in Jerusalem and leaders across the world have expressed concern about the Trump administration’s plan. Al Jazeera provides a breakdown of the various reactions.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on the U.S. to bring forward its proposals on the Middle East peace process “as a matter of priority” in light of the U.S. policy announcement, Johnson made the comments yesterday alongside the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said that the U.K. would have to “wait and see” what Trump says in his speech today. The AP reports.

The repercussions of Trump’s announcement, and what to look for in the speech, are examined by Adam Taylor at the Washington Post, noting that a decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital but not to move the embassy would have subtly different implications than a decision to relocate the embassy and recognize Jerusalem.

The recognition of Jerusalem is a sensitive issue steeped in historical and religious divisions, the policy change may have potentially serious ramifications for the region, and Trump’s decision has reportedly surprised Arab leaders amid a changing dynamic in the Middle East – with some arguing that the announcement would undermine the developing relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel in their rivalry against Iran. Ishaan Tharoor provides an analysis at the Washington Post.

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without advancing peace talks raises tensions rather than improving chances of making a deal between Israel and Palestine, and the move demonstrates how Trump has been pandering to his base at the expense of diplomacy and peace. The New York Times editorial board writes.

The U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem at this point would “unnecessarily put lives at risk,” incite violence from the Hamas terrorist group, and draw the ire of Sunni Arab states at the time when Israel needs their cooperation to counter Iran. Eliora Katz offers the Zionist case against the decision at the Wall Street Journal.

Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital would be a “catastrophe,” creating “enormous and new insoluble problems without addressing the real issues that beset the city,” Nicholas Blincoe writes at the Guardian.

Jerusalem is “unmistakably Israel’s capital” and U.S. recognition of this fact would be a “great American moment,” even if it results in violence. Shmuel Rosner writes at the New York Times.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Special counsel Robert Mueller issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank requesting documents and data about people and entities affiliated with Donald Trump, according to an individual briefed on the matter, however Ty Cobb, the White House chief lawyer handling the Russia investigation, said that the reports about the subpoena were “false.” Jenny Strasburg reports at the Wall Street Journal.

“No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources,” Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow said yesterday, a spokesperson for Mueller declined to comment on the matter. Arno Schuetze and Karen Freifeld report at Reuters.

Donald Trump Jr. is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee today in a closed-door session, he will be questioned on financial relationships with Russia and his meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016 at Trump Tower. Katie Bo Williams and Olivia Beavers report at the Hill.

Trump Jr. asked Veselnitskaya whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation at their June meeting, Veselnitskaya said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, she also contended that she did not work for the Russian government and was not carrying messages from government officials. Ken Dilanian and Natasha Lebedeva report at NBC News.

The British publicist Rob Goldstone who arranged the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting will testify before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, perhaps as earlier as next week, according to sources familiar with the matter. Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju report at CNN.

The confirmation of K.T. McFarland as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore has been “frozen” following questions about her knowledge of Trump campaign aide Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late December 2016, McFarland submitted written responses in July to questions posed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) about the transition period and Russian contacts and denied knowledge of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak. Byron Tau reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Justice Department prosecutor and key member of Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann, said he was “so proud and in awe” of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates on the day she was fired by Trump for refusing to defend the travel ban, providing ammunition to conservatives who contend that Mueller’s investigation has been compromised by partisan prosecutors. Jonathan Easley reports at the Hill.

Democrats have been engaged in efforts to defend Mueller following attacks from Trump allies and the revelation that Weissmann showed apparent anti-Trump sentiments, with lawmakers pushing for two bills seeking to protect Mueller from being fired. Elana Schor and Kyle Cheney report at POLITICO.

The claim that Vice President Mike Pence has been completely unaware of Russia connections has been tested by court filings unsealed last week in relation to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Elizabeth Landers, Kevin Liptak and Jeff Zeleny explain at CNN.

The anti-Trump bias of top F.B.I. official and Mueller team member Peter Strzok warrants a review but does not undermine the Mueller investigation, Bradley P. Moss writes at POLITICO Magazine.

YEMEN

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have set up checkpoints across the capital of Sana’a and consolidated their control yesterday, having killed the former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday, the Houthi gains and Saleh’s death marking a possible turning point in the conflict which has seen Iran backing the Houthis and a Saudi-led military coalition intervening to try and reinstate the internationally-recognized president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Mohammed al-Kibs and Margherita Stancati report at the Wall Street Journal.

The Saudi-led coalition carried out 25 air strikes on Houthi targets overnight as the Houthis tightened their grip on Sana’a, the BBC reports.

Saleh’s son Ahmed Ali Saleh said he would “confront the enemies of the homeland and humanity” in a statement yesterday railing against the Houthis and their Iranian backers, Ahmed Ali’s intervention signaling that he may be the Saleh family’s last chance to win back influence in the conflict. Sami Aboudi and Noah Browning report at Reuters.

Saleh’s nephew and senior military commander Tareq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh was also killed this week, a statement from Saleh’s party said yesterday. Reuters reports.

The Defense Secretary Jim Mattis noted yesterday that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is likely to get worse following the death of Saleh, Idrees Ali reporting at Reuters.

NORTH KOREA

The U.S. military flew a B-1B bomber over South Korea in an apparent show of force as part of U.S.-South Korea largescale joint military exercises that began on Monday, the BBC reports.

China’s foreign ministry called for restraint after the B-1B bomber flew over South Korea, Reutersreporting.

North Korea has not demonstrated its “reentry capability,” “remote targeting, or the miniaturization required to do this,” South Korea’s foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said today, doubting North Korea’s nuclear capability but acknowledging that they have developed their program at “a pace that’s far faster than many of us have expected.” Mick Krever reports at CNN.

Russia is “ready to deploy” its channels for conducting dialogue with North Korea, the R.I.A. news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov as saying yesterday. Vladimir Soldatkin reporting at Reuters.

South Korea will develop a weaponized drone unit for reconnaissance missions and to monitor North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile sites, a South Korean official confirmed yesterday. Bryan Harris reports at the Financial Times.

The U.S. cannot rely on Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Xi has used the crisis to undermine American credibility by tolerating North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons. Daniel Nidess writes at the Wall Street Journal.

TILLERSON IN EUROPE

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Brussels yesterday and received chilly reception from European diplomats, the E.U.’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini welcomed Tillerson in a matter-of-fact tone, warned the Trump administration about the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and reinforced Europe’s support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.

Tillerson and Mogherini discussed joint efforts under the Iran nuclear agreement to “hold Iran fully compliant with the terms of that deal and fully enforce that agreement,” Tillerson said in a statement yesterday, making the comments ahead of Congress’s forthcoming decision whether to re-apply sanctions on Iran. Al Jazeera reports.

“While we don’t have any wins on the board yet, I can tell you we’re in a much better position to advance America’s interests around the world than we were 10 months ago,” Tillerson told senior U.S. diplomats and embassy staff in Brussels yesterday, he also sought to reassure European foreign ministers that the U.S. remains committed to transatlantic ties. Robin Emmott reports at Reuters.

Tillerson called on European allies to help with efforts to curb Iran’s expansionism and its missile program, Mogherini said that the E.U. would be willing to work with the U.S. but that it would be dependent on Washington abiding by the provisions of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Laurence Norman and Julian E. Barnes report at the Wall Street Journal.

Tillerson’s encounter in Europe was awkward, demonstrating how Trump has become a destabilizing for E.U. policymakers and amid speculation over the future of Tillerson’s position. David M. Herzenhorn writes at POLITICO.

SYRIA

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed eight and injured 16 others in the Syrian city of Homs yesterday, Reuters reporting.

Russian long-range bombers struck Islamic State group target in Syria’s Deir al-Zour province, Russian news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying yesterday, Reuters reporting.

Fewer than 3,000 Islamic State militants remain in Iraq and Syria, the spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the terrorist group, Col. Ryan Dillon, said yesterday. Ahmed Aboulenein reports at Reuters.

The major combat against Islamic State group is practically over, however Syria and Iraq are braced for a wave of terrorist violence, which explains the lack of a celebration over the gains against the extremist group. Tamer El-Ghobashy, Mustafa Salim and Louisa Loveluck observe at the Washington Post.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 33 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq between December 1 and December 3. [Central Command]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Al-Qaeda’s “No. 2 leader” Omar bin Khatab was killed in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation, along with several other al-Qaeda operatives, the U.S. military command in Afghanistan confirmed yesterday. Sayed Salahuddin and Dan Lamothe report at the Washington Post.

Kirstjen M. Nielsen was confirmed to lead the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) yesterday, Nielsen was the deputy to John Kelly – now the White House chief of staff – when he led the D.H.S., Nick Miroff reports at the Washington Post.

The meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.) ended abruptly yesterday, raising the possibility that the G.C.C. is “effectively dead,” Al Jazeera explains, also referring to comments calling for the G.C.C. to be restructured.

An Islamist plot to kill the British Prime Minister Theresa May was foiled by MI5 and the British police and the two suspects will appear in court today on charges of terrorism offences.  David Bond reports at the Financial Times.

Read on Just Security »

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Sleeping straphanger ripped off for phone, license, and charge cards

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne McShane

Brooklyn Paper

68th Precinct

Bay Ridge—Dyker Heights

Nodded, and robbed

A punk stole a man’s iPhone 7, driver’s license, and debit and credit cards when he was sleeping on the N train between the Bay Parkway and Eighth Avenue stops on Dec. 3.

The man told police that he got on the train at Stillwell Avenue at 3 am, and missed his stop at Bay Parkway because he fell asleep. He woke up at Eighth Avenue by 4 am, when he realized his phone — along with the accompanying wallet case and the aforementioned cards — was missing.

Cash grabber

A lout stole a little more than $700 from a Ridge man’s purloined debit card at an ATM on 18th Avenue at some point after Nov. 13.

The thief snagged the cash at the corner of 65th Street, according to a police report.

Stroller heist

A lowlife stole $300 in cash plus a woman’s debit card, two credit cards, and driver’s license from her child’s stroller after she left it briefly to drop off her child at daycare on Ridge Boulevard on Nov. 30. The theft occurred at some point in the 10-minute window between 7:40 and 7:50 am, when the woman briefly abandoned her childless stroller when she left it on the sidewalk at 71st street, according to the report.

Out of order

A no-goodnik stole a little more than $1,000 via money order after a Ridge man mailed it to his landlord from his Fourth Avenue home at some point after June 5.

The man mailed the money from his home between 72nd and 73rd streets after 10 am on the June day, he reported to police on Dec. 1. But a lout cashed the money order soon after he mailed it, he said.

Left it, lost it

A miscreant stole from a man’s wallet, citizenship card, two credit cards, and one debit card from his unlocked car parked on 14th Avenue at some point between Nov. 26 and 29.

The man parked the car at 81st Street at 4 pm on the 26th and returned at noon on the 29th to find the items gone, according to the report.

— Julianne McShane

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Thief robs Downtown hotel, but drops stolen cash trying to outrun cops

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

84th Precinct

Brooklyn Heights–DUMBO–Boerum Hill–Downtown

Checking out

A thief robbed a Duffield Street hotel at gunpoint on Dec. 4, taking cash.

An employee told police that the suspect waltzed into the hotel between Willoughby and Fulton streets at 4:15 am, holding what looked like a gun inside his pocket and snarling, “Give me the money, or I’ll shoot.”

The thief fled with two cash registers containing $1,500, but cops were quick on the scene and a foot chase ensued along Prince Street that resulted in the perp making his escape, but leaving his ill-gotten gains for cops to recover, according to police.

Code breaker

Some goon stole a man’s phone on Pacific Street on Dec. 01, after the crook forced the victim into giving up his passcode.

The victim, 15, told police he was between Third and Fourth avenues at 4:31 pm, when the suspect snatched his phone and barked, “Enter your passcode, or I will f— you up.”

The teen duly complied, and the brute absconded with his $900 iPhone 8, cops said.

Teen terrorized

Two thieves robbed a 15-year-old boy on Livingston Street on Dec. 1.

The victim told police he was strolling with a friend near Flatbush Avenue at 3:45 pm, when some goon pressed an unknown object against his back, while an accomplice went through his pockets, pulling out his debit card and smart phone.

The crooks fled with their ill-gotten stuff, and a police search came up short, cops said.

Rough commute

Some crook beat and robbed a straphanger waiting at the DeKalb Avenue subway station on Dec. 1.

The victim told police he was standing on the Manhattan-bound platform at the station near Flatbush Avenue Extension at 3:20, when the crook snatched the phone from his hand and gave him a shove, before fleeing into the station with three other men.

Beats

Cops arrested a man who stole someone’s headphones inside a Main Street building on Dec. 1, before threatening with a pair of scissors.

The victim told police he forgot his headphones in the building between Water and Front streets at 8:30 am, and returned to find them in the suspect’s possession.

The 29-year-old suspect allegedly refused to hand the $300 headphones back, and at one point brandished a pair of scissors, shouting, “Come in and get them,” according to police.

Cops busted the suspect on robbery charges later that day, and recovered the victim’s valuables from the suspect’s backpack, according to police.

—Colin Mixson

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Dastardly duo jumps a man, steals his cash, and cuts him when he resists

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

88th Precinct

Fort Greene–Clinton Hill

Street stabbing

A pair of louts stabbed a guy and stole his cash on Myrtle Avenue on Nov. 28, police said. The 63-year-old victim told police he was walking near Washington Park at about 10:30 am when the two nogoodniks came up to him, and the first put his hand on his shoulder and then removed $152 in cash from his pocket, according to authorities. The second malefactor then tried to knife him when he told the baddies he had no more money, but he put up his hand to block the blade and wound up getting cut, officials said. The ruffians then threw him to the ground, and he hit his head, police said.

Phantom pilferer

A jerk broke into a woman’s Saint James Place home on Nov. 30 and stole her jewelry and electronics, police said.

Some baddie broke into the apartment through the front door between Greene and Gates avenue sometime between 3:30 and 5:30 and swiped a Macbook Pro, diamond earrings, $100 bills, gold rings, and a speaker worth a total of $3,050, according to authorities.

Bye bye bike!

Some weasel stole a woman’s keys and the CitiBike she was using on Willoughby Street on Nov. 24, police said. The woman told police she dropped her keys somewhere with the key ring attached and used it to access the bike for unlimited usage near Hall Street at about 4 pm, when she later got an email that she was still getting charged for someone using the bike, officials said.

In the blink of an eye

A goniff swiped a woman’s wallet from her purse as she was on a G train near Lafayette Avenue on Nov. 28, police said. The scofflaw must have reached inside the 39-year-old woman’s purse and grabbed her wallet aboard the Church Avenue-bound green bullet after she got on at the Classon Avenue station, police said. The woman hopped off near Fulton Street when she realized her bag was opened and her wallet with her driver’s license, five credit cards, BJ’s card, and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association card worth a total of $45 was missing, officials said.

Dropped and gone

Some sneak stole a woman’s wallet at a DeKalb Avenue hospital on Nov. 29, police said. The 27-year-old said she dropped her wallet in the medical center near Willoughby Street at about 2 pm, with her Dominican Republic identification card, United States resident card, and two credit cards inside, and later got a call from one of the credit card companies that some baddie was charging them, according to authorities.

— Julianne Cuba

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Reefer badness: Two men busted for smoking marijuana on the street

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

Reefer madness

Patrolmen at the 78th Precinct busted two men for allegedly smoking pot on separate occasions late last month.

One officer was near Prospect Place and Carlton Avenue at 1 am on Nov. 20, when he spotted a man smoking a joint on the street, cops said.

Police pinched another alleged pot smoker on Wykoff Street between Nevins Street and Third Avenue at 9:25 am on Nov. 25, after a patrolmen spotted him with a joint in his hand, according to police

Both men were arrested and charged with criminal possession of marijuana, cops said.

Teen terror

Cops busted a 16-year-old boy suspected of stealing a man’s phone inside a Hanson Place shopping center on Nov. 22, and then threatening to shoot him when he demanded its return.

The victim, 60, told police he stopped inside the mall between Hanson Place and Atlantic Avenue to charge his cell at 3:50 am, when the suspect approached him and started up a conversation.

As the pair spoke, the alleged crook slyly unplugged the man’s phone from the charger and slid it into his pocket, but he wasn’t slick enough and the older fellow called him out on it, cops said.

Not willing to hand over his illicit catch, the suspect reached into his waistband and the told victim he’d shoot him, according to police.

He didn’t get far after that, and New York’s Finest booked him that night on a robbery charge, cops said.

Pie guys

Police arrested two men, ages 45 and 53, accused of busting into a Fifth Avenue pizza joint on Nov. 22.

The suspects allegedly made numerous attempts to force their way into the pie spot between 10th and 11th streets at around 3:45 am, before finally breaking open the front door and letting themselves inside, cops said.

The pair hung around for a few minutes, but didn’t take anything and soon fled, according to police.

Someone from the restaurant reported the break in at around 2 pm, and investigators made short work of tracking down the suspects, who were arrested on attempted burglary charges later that day, cops said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

Comment on this story.

Assassins killed Panama Papers journalist with text message bomb

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s car exploded last month as she was driving near her home in Malta.

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11:13 AM 12/6/2017 – Poland’s former military intelligence head detained

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Poland’s former military intelligence head detained

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Poland’s former military intelligence head detained

mikenova shared this story .

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish military police say they have detained a former head of Poland’s military counterintelligence services for further questioning over alleged illegal cooperation with Russian security services in 2010.

Gen. Piotr Pytel denies the cooperation was illegal. The case relates to Poland’s and NATO’s agreement with Russia’s military intelligence that allowed for the passage of Polish troops back home from Afghanistan. Poland’s prime minister of the time, Donald Tusk, now European Union leader was questioned in the case last year.

On Wednesday, opposition politicians accused Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz of ordering the detention in revenge against Pytel, who has criticized him.

The opposition has called for the dismissal of Macierewicz.

God’s Plan for Mike Pence – The Atlantic

mikenova shared this story from Top Stories – Google News.


The Atlantic
God’s Plan for Mike Pence
The Atlantic
Subscribe to The Atlantic’s Politics & Policy Daily, a roundup of ideas and events in American politics. No man can serve two masters, the Bible teaches, but Mike Pence is giving it his all. It’s a sweltering September afternoon in Anderson, Indiana 
Mike Pence and Reince Priebus reportedly planned a coup to replace Trump after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tapeBusiness Insider
Mike Pence’s Wife Thinks Donald Trump Is ‘Reprehensible’ and ‘Totally Vile’Newsweek
Report: Mike Pence Offered to Replace Trump on GOP Ticket After the Access Hollywood TapeSlate Magazine
Daily Beast –Bustle –TPM –The New Yorker
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Mueller Said to Have Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank: DealBook Briefing – New York Times

mikenova shared this story from Top Stories – Google News.


New York Times
Mueller Said to Have Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank: DealBook Briefing
New York Times
Good Tuesday. Here’s what’s happening: Robert Mueller is said to have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on its business dealings with President Trump. Steve Case has introduced very big backers for his new Rise of the Rest investment fund 
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Mueller’s probe cost $3.2 million in opening 4.5 monthsPolitico
Mueller probe’s expenses totaled $6.7M in early monthsThe Hill
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Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics, Some Athletes to Compete Under Neutral Flag – Sports Illustrated

mikenova shared this story from Top Stories – Google News.


Sports Illustrated
Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics, Some Athletes to Compete Under Neutral Flag
Sports Illustrated
The Russian Olympic Committee has been suspended from the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after the International Olympic Committee examined the findings of a 16-month investigation into Russia’s doping and cheating at the 2014 Winter Games 
Russia banned from 2018 Olympics for widespread doping programWashington Post
Russia banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChangYahoo Sports
Russia’s Olympic team barred from 2018 Winter GamesLos Angeles Times
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Collusion | IRRUSSIANALITY

mikenova shared this story from IRRUSSIANALITY.

The investigation into suspected collusion between US President Donald Trump and the Russian government has claimed its first three victims: one (Paul Manafort) for completely unconnected money laundering charges, and two (George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn) for lying to investigators about things which were not themselves criminal, and which are therefore crimes which would never have happened had there never been an investigation. To date, the evidence of direct collusion between Trump and the Russians is looking a little thin, to say the least. Now, into this maelstrom steps Guardian reporter Luke Harding with his book Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russian Helped Donald Trump Win.

Collusion spends over 300 pages insinuating that Trump is a long-standing agent of the Russian secret services, and hinting, without ever providing any firm evidence, that Trump and his team acted on orders from the Kremlin to subvert American democracy. I’ll be honest, and admit that I picked this book up expecting it to be a series of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, and to be utterly unbalanced in its analysis, and in that sense I’m not an unbiased reader. At the same time, I was interested to see if Harding had come up with anything that everybody else had not, and was willing to give him a chance. I needn’t have bothered. For alas, my worst suspicions proved to be true, and then some.

collusion

The first thing to note about Collusion is that most of it is padding. That is to say, that it consists mainly of a lot of digressions in which Harding describes people and events not directly related to the main story of collusion. Whenever a new character is introduced, you tend to get pages of background information, along with descriptions of various places they’ve been to, things they’ve done in the past, and so on. At the start of the book, for instance, Harding introduces Christopher Steele, who prepared an infamous dossier purportedly based on secret sources within the Kremlin, which made all sort of extreme accusations against Trump. We learn about Steele’s parents, his childhood, his education, his career, and so on. Harding recounts how he met Steele. We learn about how they tried one café, then another, who drank what, etc, etc. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the book. There’s a lot of padding. This padding makes Collusion an easy read, and gives it colour, and the flavour of a spy novel. But none of it adds anything to our knowledge of Donald Trump and his relationship with Russia. It’s just filler, designed to cover up the fact that, when it comes to the matter of collusion, Harding doesn’t have a whole lot new to say and certainly doesn’t have enough to fill up an entire book.

The second thing to note is that Harding’s modes of argumentation and standards of evidence are not  – how can I be polite about this? – what I’m used to as an academic. Let’s take the example of Trump’s former convention manager, Paul Manafort, to whom Harding devotes an entire chapter, obviously on the basis that the Trump-Manafort connection somehow proves a Trump-Kremlin connection. The problem Harding has is that, despite pages of fluff about Manafort, he hasn’t got any evidence that Manafort is a Kremlin agent. In fact, he quotes one source – a former Ukrainian official, Oleg Voloshin – as telling him that when Manafort worked as a political advisor to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich:

Manafort was an advocate for US interests. So much so that the joke inside the Party of Regions [in Ukraine] was that he actually worked for the USA. … He supported Ukraine’s association with NATO and with the EU. He warned Yanukovich not to lock up [former Prime Minister Iuliia] Tymoshenko. “If it weren’t for Paul, Ukraine would have gone under Russia much earlier,” Voloshin told me.

This is pretty funny behaviour for a Kremlin agent, and Harding has to admit that, “It’s unclear to what extent, if any, Manafort was involved in supplying intelligence to Russia.” This doesn’t fit with the conclusion that Harding obviously wants readers to draw – that Manafort was a Kremlin agent, and so Trump must be too. So, he comes up with something else: some of Manafort’s associates in Ukraine “were rumoured to have links with Russian intelligence.” Note the use of the word “rumoured”. It’s not exactly convincing, but it’s good enough for Luke, who uses it to tell a story about one such associate, Konstantin Kilimnik. Harding recounts that he contacted Kilimnik by email to ask him about his relationship with Manafort. Kilimnik responds by telling him that the collusion accusations are  “insane” and “gibberish”, and signs off his email with a bit of self-mockery: “Off to collect my paycheck at KGB. :))”

And here’s where it gets interesting. For Harding thinks there’s something suspicious about Kilimnik’s answer. He writes:

The thing which gave me pause was Kilimnik’s use of smiley faces. True, Russians are big emoticon fans. But I’d seen something similar before. In 2013 the Russian diplomat in charge of political influence operations in London was named Sergey Nalobin. Nalobin had close links with Russian intelligence. He was the son of a KGB general; his brother had worked for the FSB; Nalobin looked like a career foreign intelligence officer. Maybe even a deputy resident, the KGB term for station chief. On his Twitter feed Nalobin described himself thus:

A brutal agent of the Putin dictatorship : )

And that’s it. That’s Harding’s evidence. Just to make sure readers get the point, he follows the last line up with a double paragraph space. Stop and think what this means, he seems to be saying. Someone who “looked like a career foreign intelligence officer” uses smiley faces. Kilimnik uses smiley faces!!! Say no more.

This is the level at which Harding’s logic works. Harding recounts a meeting of Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the White House, a meeting which was photographed by someone from the Russian news agency TASS. As Harding tells us:

The Times put the photo of Trump and Lavrov on its front page. At the bottom of the photo taken inside the White House was a credit. It said: “Russian Foreign Ministry.”

Yet another double paragraph break follows,  just to make sure that readers take in the implication of what this means.

Take another example. We learn (which in fact we knew already if we’d been following this story) that Trump’s short-lived National Security Advisor, and former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael Flynn, attended a conference on the subject of intelligence at Cambridge University, where he met a Russian woman, Svetlana Lokhova. Harding admits that, “There is no suggestion she is linked to Russian intelligence.” Nevertheless, he feels it necessary to tell us that Flynn later corresponded with her by email. He writes:

In his emails, Flynn signed off in an unusual way for a US spy. He called himself “General Misha.”

Misha is the Russian equivalent of Michael.

Again, Harding then introduces a section break, leaving this ominous fact hanging in the air. Think of what it means, he is saying!

This is typical of how Harding argues. He puts in some suspicious sounding fact, or asks some question, and then just leaves it hanging. The implication is that the question doesn’t need answering, that the most damaging and extreme answer is obviously true. There’s an awful lot of this technique in Collusion. Harding spends pages on a digression about Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybovlev before telling us that Rybovlev’s private jet sometimes parks next to that of Donald Trump. Seems suspicious, huh? Except that Harding tells us that, ‘The White House … said that Trump and Rybovlev had never met. This appears to be true.” But Harding isn’t satisfied, and asks, “Had he [Rybovlev] perhaps met someone else from Trump’s entourage during his travels? Like, for example, Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen?” Later, Harding tells us that Rybovlev’s yacht was once at Dubrovnik at the same time as Ivanka Trump’s yacht. “Was this perhaps planned” he asks.

Harding’s method is to ask these questions, as if asking was itself proof of guilt. Trump borrowed money from Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank was bailed out at one point by the Russian bank VTB. “Was there a connection?” Harding asks. But Harding doesn’t answer these questions. In fact, one of the interesting things about this book is that again and again the author has to confess that the facts don’t really fit what he’s trying to say. For instance, when discussing Trump and Deutsche Bank, and trying to make it sound as if Trump was in some way connected to the Kremlin because he was borrowing from the Germans, Harding writes, “The sources insist that the answer was negative. No trail to Moscow was ever discovered, they told us.”

This isn’t a lone example. Harding spends quite a few pages discussing Carter Page, a businessman who appeared on RT and gave a talk at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and who at one point had a marginal role in the Trump election campaign. It’s clear that he wants it all to sound really damaging. And yet, he writes that Page’s “attempts to meet Trump individually failed.” So, it turns out that there’s not much of a connection there after all. Likewise, when discussing Russian computer hackers, Harding writes: “By the second decade of the twenty-first century the cyber world looked like the high seas of long ago. The hackers who sailed on it might be likened to privateers. Sometimes they acted for the ‘state’, sometimes against it.” This rather undermines his claim that the Russian state was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

In another example, Harding discusses the sudden death of Oleg Erovinkin, who worked for the oil company Rosneft. He speculates that “Erovinkin was Steele’s source deep inside Rosneft,” and was murdered because word of Steele’s document had leaked out. The murder, he implies, is proof of the dossier’s validity. Except that Harding admits that, “there was nothing suspicious about Erovinkin’s sudden death” and “Steele was adamant that Erovinkin wasn’t his source.” Yet this doesn’t stop Harding from writing that, “in the wake of the dossier the Kremlin did appear to be wiping out some kind of American or Western espionage network. … It certainly looked that way.”

I could give other examples, but I can’t make this review too long. The point is that Harding ignores his own evidence. He argues by innuendo, and on occasion he just lets his imagine run away with itself. Steele’s dossier alleged that Trump had hired prostitutes while on a trip to Moscow. Vladimir Putin’s response was to crack a joke about Russian prostitutes being the best in the world. But to Harding it wasn’t a joke. As he writes:

Putin may have been sending a second message, darkly visible beneath the choppy, translucent waters of the first. It said: we’ve got the tape, Donald!

I wish I could say that this book was a joke. If you were going to write a parody of the collusion story, this is perhaps what it would look like. Unfortunately, Harding is deadly serious and I suspect that a lot of uncritical readers will soak it all up, not stopping to reflect on the awful methodology. So, I end on a word of warning. By all means read this book. But don’t do so in order to find out the truth about Donald Trump and Russia; do so in order to understand the methods currently being used to enflame Russian-Western relations. In that respect, Collusion is really quite revealing.

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Yes, the Kremlin is worried about Russias own presidential elections – The Washington Post

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Monkey Cage

December 6 at 6:00 AM

It’s a foregone conclusion that Vladimir Putin will win Russia’s March 2018 presidential elections, so why is the Kremlin fretting about turnout? And how is Russia’s big business supposed to help get people to vote? Here’s what’s going on.

Russia’s Central Election Commission is expected to formally kick off the campaign season sometime in mid-December, and Putin will likely declare his candidacy shortly afterwards. But Russia under Vladimir Putin is not a democracy. The Constitutional Court has deemed the country’s best-known opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, ineligible to register for the upcoming March 2018 election, citing two controversial financial-crimes convictions. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that both decisions were arbitrary and unreasonable.

In Navalny’s place, the election will feature Ksenia Sobchak, a television personality. Sobchak polls nationally at less than 1 percent — and her supposedly oppositional campaign has refused to criticize Putin.

Why do unfair elections even matter?

Putin’s regime represents what Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way term “competitive authoritarianism.” Elections in hybrid systems like Russia are not designed to determine who rules, but rather to signal the regime’s power and resilience to potential challengers.

Elections in these polities are often marred by abuses of state power, but they are nonetheless held and can be bitterly fought. It is tempting to disregard the results of such elections because of the extent to which they are manipulated by elites in power. Yet counterintuitively, the level of state control over the electoral process is itself a reason to pay close attention.

In his book “Patronal Politics,” Henry Hale points out that authoritarian regimes deploy every available resource to dominate elections, even when opposition candidates would not win a free and fair contest. Competitive, if unfair, elections send a potent message about the power of incumbent regimes.

A crushing electoral victory signals to potential opponents that they can expect the regime to remain in power, and that open opposition will be futile. But low turnout can communicate the regime’s potential weakness. Challengers may become empowered, while erstwhile allies consider defection to avoid falling on the wrong side of a revolutionary wave.

The Kremlin has high turnout goals for 2018

The “great power of expectations,” as Hale labels this phenomenon, drives Russian politics — and the Putin regime has set a high bar for itself. Last year, the Kremlin’s top political technologists established a “70 at 70” objective for Putin’s reelection in March 2018 — 70 percent of the vote with 70 percent turnout. In a recent interview, Russian political expert Tatyana Stanovaya remarked, “Putin just needs to be elected quietly and quickly, without fuss, with good turnout, and a good result.”

…but may struggle to meet them

September’s regional and municipal elections, though, showed Russians aren’t particularly excited about voting. The low turnout has left the Kremlin scrambling to boost voter enthusiasm for next March. Putin remains popular, but protest activity is rising, particularly in the provinces.

According to the Russian government’s own polling, public support for government policies is at the lowest level in nearly a decade. Russia’s regional governments remain under the Kremlin’s tight control, but they are increasingly at odds with federal policies.

In three regions, fiscal problems have become so dire that their governors circumvented official channels and appealed publicly to Moscow for bailouts. Foreign policy adventures — first in Ukraine, then in Syria — may have temporarily distracted Russians from problems at home, but public interest in both conflicts is waning.

The Kremlin has enlisted help from big business

Putin has publicly downplayed Russia’s low turnout but Kremlin policy tells a different story. Russian authorities have long included state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in their voter mobilization efforts, but “corporate mobilization” has taken on new significance this election cycle. Following record low turnout in Russia’s 2016 parliamentary elections, reports emerged that SOEs, rather than the ruling party United Russia, would drive get-out-the-vote efforts and socioeconomic monitoring in future elections.

Here’s how this played out in September’s regional and municipal elections. State-run energy giants Rosatom and RosHydro funded initiatives to monitor pre-election risks in the regions, and report the findings to the Kremlin. With the presidential contest approaching, Rosatom recently hired a contractor to file reports on socioeconomic conditions in the remote “closed cities” in which the company operates power plants. Rosatom’s former chief executive, Sergei Kiriyenko, is first deputy head of the Presidential Administration tasked with managing domestic politics.

The Kremlin increasingly expects SOEs to deliver investment and social services that struggling regional governments cannot provide. For instance, state-run Gazprom ratcheted up its spending on development projects this year, according to Bloomberg reporting. Despite initial plans to slash “non-core expenditures,” outlays on charity were up 60 percent 2017, reaching 26.3 billion rubles ($438 million).

The company built a patriotic theme park and a sports complex in the Siberian city of Irkutsk — projects that may provide temporary jobs and boost support at the polls for Putin next March. SOEs routinely subsidize economically impractical investments across Russia, especially in the country’s single-industry towns. Economists Clifford Gaddy and Barry Ickes have referred to a political imperative to “keep the lights on” in the Russian provinces.

Reuters report, meanwhile, suggests the Kremlin ordered major energy and utility companies to supply the Presidential Administration with news items that cast Russia’s leadership in a positive light. A memo to industry leaders requested stories “where it’s possible to say that state support helped lift the economy out of crisis” and benefited local residents. State-run media outlets are supposed to disseminate the stories to the public.

Prioritizing short-term political goals hinders Russia’s growth

Over the past decade, the Kremlin has allowed SOEs to monopolize and dominate the Russian economy. The regime is asking SOEs to leverage their weight and reach to ensure Putin wins a convincing mandate in the March 2018 election.

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But the tacit trade of market share for political help comes at the cost of competitiveness in Russia’s economy. Relying on corporations, rather than regional and municipal governments, to fulfill the state’s development goals also risks further atrophying of the country’s federal structure. Under Putin, the Kremlin has increasingly sought to circumvent lower levels of government, preferring instead to dictate policy from Moscow.

Choosing political goals over economic efficiency harms minority investors and will limit Russia’s potential to improve its ranking in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” report, once a key goal of Putin’s third term.

According to a Levada Center poll from late November, 67 percent of likely voters would vote for Putin, with anticipated turnout between 53 and 55 percent — not the 70 percent figure the Kremlin hopes to see. Trailing far behind are the nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the Russian Communist Party’s Gennady Zyuganov, each with just four percent.

Nonetheless, the logic of patronal politics demands that the authorities pull out all the stops to encourage a high turnout in an election Putin will surely win, even if their methods hinder Russia’s future development.

Christopher Jarmas is a master’s candidate in Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian area studies at Harvard University. Follow him on Twitter @jarmascm.

This explains how social media can both weaken and strengthen democracy.

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White House casts decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem as a recognition of reality http://cnn.it/2BA3xwf pic.twitter.com/W1pHSO9kYR

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White House casts decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem as a “recognition of reality”http://cnn.it/2BA3xwf  

Rick Gates’ lawyer believes superseding indictments could be coming against client

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In a court appearance Monday in Manhattan, Gates’ attorney Walter Mack said that federal prosecutors have told him that more charges, called superseding indictments, may be coming.

“We don’t know what the government is going to do,” Mack said in court, referring to both Gates’ case and a white-collar case in New York involving one of Gates’ business partners. “I mean, in both cases we’ve been told that there may be a superseder. We don’t know what’s happening.”

Mueller charged President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Gates, on October 30 with 12 alleged crimes related to money laundering and foreign lobbying violations. Both have pleaded not guilty. The charges against Manafort and Gates are unrelated to the Trump campaign, though it’s possible Mueller could add additional federal charges.

Mack represents both Gates in DC and his business partner in New York. Neither is a witness or co-defendant in the other’s case, federal prosecutors say, but attorneys from Mueller’s special counsel investigation have raised the possibility that a conflict of interest could arise between the two men and their attorney.

close dialog

The indictments came almost six months after Mueller assumed the federal investigation into Russian collusion, yet so far the charges have not directly related to Manafort and Gates’ work for the Trump campaign or to Russian foreign policy.

This week, lawyers working for Mueller revealed that Manafort was ghostwriting an op-ed about Ukraine with a Russian as recently as last Thursday. It’s unclear how the investigators found this new information, as the op-ed was never published. The prosecutors have submitted it to the court under seal.

The ghostwriting revelation puts a proposed bail deal for Manafort in question. He and Gates are both currently under house arrest and GPS monitoring and subject to $10 million and $5 million unsecured bond, respectively. The federal prosecutors argue they’re both flight risks.

Manafort’s lawyers are expected to respond to the op-ed accusation by Thursday, and both Manafort and Gates are scheduled to appear in court December 11.

It’s not unusual for federal prosecutors to charge defendants in white-collar cases once part of their investigation is complete, then bring additional charges later on. Typically, a second round of charges can come if the prosecutors had more work to do in certain aspects of the investigation or if they’re attempting to persuade a defendant toward a plea agreement or cooperation in a broader investigation.

Two targets in Mueller’s investigation, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, have already pleaded guilty to charges of lying to investigators.

The other case that Gates’ lawyer is working on involves three defendants who allegedly took part in a scheme to defraud feature film and documentary movie investors. Mack’s client, Steven Brown, has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a trial in March.

Gates was a partner in one of the companies caught up in those charges. Gates is not accused of wrongdoing in the New York case.

The New York judge verified in a hearing Monday that Brown understood the possibility of a conflict of interest and chose to keep Mack as his attorney.

Mack declined to comment, as did a spokesperson with the special counsel’s office.

The judge in Gates’ case in DC has ordered the lawyers involved not to make comments that could influence public perception of Gates and Manafort, and not to share documents outside of the official court proceedings. Mack mentioned those restrictions in his court appearance in New York Monday, calling them and the prosecutors’ ability to bring up new information about Gates, such as his connection to Brown, “unfair.”

Republicans are betting the future won’t happen. Who wants to tell them? – USA TODAY

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USA TODAY
Republicans are betting the future won’t happen. Who wants to tell them?
USA TODAY
So how is Trump’s GOP handling a hemorrhaging of young voters who are establishing voting patterns that could last the rest of their adult lives? By trolling them out of the middle class. How does the GOP tax plan, which has now passed the House and

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More charges could be coming against former Trump aide in Russia probe – CNN

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CNN
More charges could be coming against former Trump aide in Russia probe
CNN
The indictments came almost six months after Mueller assumed the federal investigation into Russian collusion, yet so far the charges have not directly related to Manafort and Gates’ work for the Trump campaign or to Russian foreign policy. This week

and more »

Robert Mueller reveals hes taking down Mike Pence along with Donald Trump

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

For quite some time, it’s been clear that Mike Pence willfully lied to the American public in an attempt at protecting Michael Flynn and covering up Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. That means Pence is guilty of obstruction of justice and maybe a lot more. The big question has been whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller would try to take Pence down along with Trump, or wait to tackle Pence until after Trump has been ousted. Now we’re getting our answer.

Mike Pence’s people are preparing him for what they believe is an inevitable interview with Mueller, according to details buried pretty far down the page in a lengthy new CNN online report (link). Mueller now has Michael Flynn on his side, and Flynn’s testimony and evidence are enough to incriminate Pence. Make no mistake: if Mueller is sitting down with Pence while he’s still investigating Trump, it’s to try to nail Pence. So where does this go?

Flynn is admitting that he was notifying the Trump transition team in real time about his efforts to get the Russian Ambassador to delay the Russian government’s sanctions response. Mike Pence was the head of the transition team. So unless the entire team conspired to keep this information from Pence, which is not a believable scenario, Pence knew that Flynn was committing crimes. That means Pence lied a month later when he claimed he had no knowledge of Flynn doing anything wrong.

Someone on the transition team will cut a deal and confirm that Mike Pence knew what Michael Flynn was up to. Throw in the fact that Congress notified Pence about some of Flynn’s crimes back in November of 2016, and Pence is hosed. Is Robert Mueller seeking to force Pence to cut a deal against Trump and resign the vice presidency? Only Mueller knows but it’s clear Pence knows he’s in jeopardy.

The post Robert Mueller reveals he’s taking down Mike Pence along with Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

Erik Prince proposed private spy network to Trump administration, US official says

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“This idea is going nowhere,” the official said and stressed neither the agency nor the director of the CIA is or was ever considering the proposal.

National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton told CNN that “the White House does not and would not support such a proposal” and that, “I can find no evidence that this ever came to the attention of anyone at the NSC or (White House) at all.”

The Intercept

 was first to report the proposal. A CIA spokesperson told The Intercept, “You have been provided wildly inaccurate information by people peddling an agenda.”

A spokesperson for Prince denied the claims in a statement to CNN’s Erin Burnett.

close dialog

“The allegations made in Intercept’s latest article about Erik are completely false and this was made clear to them before the article was published. Any meetings Erik did have with members of the intelligence community, current or former, focused on his well-publicized plan for saving the US taxpayer $42 billion in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

“The Intercept has, once again, targeted Erik using his high profile as a click-bait to promote its own website and indulge the fantasies of its reporters with no care or regard for the facts.”

Prince founded Blackwater, a private defense contractor that provoked international outrage after a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq.

Blackwater lost a $1 billion contract with the State Department to protect American diplomatic personnel in 2009, after the Iraqi government refused to renew the company’s operating license. The company was later renamed and sold, and now operates as Academi.

Prince was also

questioned by House lawmakers last month

 over reports that he met the head of a Russian investment fund in an apparent effort to set up a backchannel for Russian communication with the Trump administration, and that senior Trump officials had authorized the meeting.

While Prince testified to House lawmakers that he met the head of a Russian investment fund earlier this year — he insisted it was not part of an effort to set up a Russian backchannel with the Trump administration, multiple sources told CNN.

Prince informed the House Intelligence Committee during private testimony that he met in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, who is the chief executive of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, at the request of the United Arab Emirates to discuss business opportunities. The meeting on the island in the Indian Ocean, he said, lasted roughly 20 minutes after dinner over a beer.

Prince insisted he did not have the meeting at the request of the Trump administration, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

He also downplayed his ties to the Trump’s team, merely saying he was a Trump donor and had met the President on only one occasion, the sources said. CNN has previously reported that Prince met with members of Trump’s incoming national security team during the presidential transition, and that he boasted about his influence in the Trump orbit around that same time.

CNN’s Erin Burnett, Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report

Erik Prince proposed private spy network to Trump administration … – CNN

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CNN
Erik Prince proposed private spy network to Trump administration …
CNN
The founder of the controversial military contracting firm Blackwater, Erik Prince, and his allies lobbied contacts inside the administration to provide the CIA with a private network of intelligence contractors, according to a US official with 
US official: Erik Prince proposed private spy network to Trump administrationWENY-TV

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How Robert Mueller is using Deutsche Bank to prove Russia bought off Donald Trump

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Many Americans were surprised to learn today that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is working with a bank in Germany to try to connect the dots between Donald Trump and the Russian government. If you’ve been reading Palmer Report since January, you’re not surprised to see this story at all. All year long it’s been inevitable that Mueller would target Deutsche Bank in the Trump-Russia scandal. We know exactly what he’s looking for, because the biggest clues have long been hiding in plain sight.

For years, Deutsche Bank has been loaning unreasonably large sums of money to Donald Trump. Even after most banks worldwide concluded that Trump had become too unlikely to repay his loans and had thus stopped lending to him, Deutsche Bank continued floating Trump almost single handedly. Even after Deutsche Bank hit hard times of its own and should’t have been making risky loans of any kind, it continued to keep Trump afloat for no apparent reason. Then in January of 2017, we learned what appeared to be the reason.

Regulators in the United States and Europe busted Deutsche Bank for having laundered billions of dollars in Russian money into the hands of clients in places like New York City. The story was widely reported in the British press at the time, but it barely got a mention in the American press. Nonetheless it wasn’t difficult to put the pieces together: the Russian government appeared to be sending money to Deutsche Bank, which the bank then turned around and “loaned” to Donald Trump, as a way of funneling money to him.

We’ve never been able to definitively prove this, but Robert Mueller can. It’s why he sent a subpoena to Deutsche Bank months ago in order to get his hands on financial records in relation to the Trump-Russia scandal. We don’t yet know why Deutsche Bank has chosen now to finally cooperate. But we do know what Mueller is looking for: the money trail that proves Russia bought Trump with cold hard cash before installing him as a puppet in the White House.

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Obstruction of Justice was Coming from Inside the FBI – FrontPage Magazine

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FrontPage Magazine
Obstruction of Justice was Coming from Inside the FBI
FrontPage Magazine
Hillary Clinton, Mills and Huma Abedin made what appear to be false statements to the FBI. Had Mills been working for Trump, the same number would have been run on Mills as on Flynn and Papadopoulos. But the men interviewing Mills didn’t want her to 

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Mike Pompeo just proved why America needs him at the CIA

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Mike Pompeo is being lined up to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, but I believe he should remain in his present position as CIA director.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe Pompeo could serve effectively as America’s chief diplomat. He has the knowledge and intellectual curiosity to manage the team at Foggy Bottom and the temperament to negotiate with championship BSers like the Russian and Iranian foreign ministers. It’s also clear that Tillerson’s tenure needs to come to an end.

The problem, however, is that assuming Jeff Bezos can’t be persuaded to take on the CIA job, Pompeo is not easily replaceable.

After all, it’s increasingly clear that Pompeo is thriving in his current position.

We gained proof of this last week, when Pompeo and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, were interviewed by Bret Baier in California.

Put simply, Pompeo evidenced an abundance of the two qualities that the CIA most depends on for its success: comfort with risk taking and intellectual rigor.

On Iran, Pompeo (rightly) confirmed that he recently warned the head of the Islamic Republic’s covert action force not to threaten U.S. interests in Iraq. But if he was aggressive in this regard, Pompeo also showed cognizance of the complexity of Iranian politics. Describing various power blocks in Tehran, Pompeo referenced Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, President Hassan Rouhani, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and explained that “one not ought to think of Iran as a unitary actor here.”

This distinction is important in that it suggests Pompeo is focused on countering Iranian aggression while also mitigating actions that would destabilize more-moderate elements in the regime. This is necessary for any long-term U.S. policy success against Iran.

The California event also showed that Pompeo has the trust of President Trump. That’s a big deal.

Earning Trump’s trust, as we know, is a rare quality and one that Panetta rightly praised Pompeo for his success in establishing. Consider that if Trump doesn’t trust his CIA director, American policymaking will suffer in a vacuum of ignorance.

Instead, it is based on Trump’s appreciation for Pompeo’s product. Some criticize the director for being “too political” in this regard, but I believe the opposite is true. By engaging with Trump at a personal level, Pompeo ensures the weighted influence of his agency in Trump’s deliberations.

For one example as to why this is important, consider how Pompeo responded when Baier asked him whether the U.S. would continue supporting the Kurds of northern Syria. This is relevant in light of the apparent pledge by President Trump to Turkey to cease U.S. support for Kurdish groups. While Pompeo wouldn’t be drawn to an exact answer, he noted that “throwing allies under the bus is bad form.”

I smiled at those words. As I’ve explained, the U.S. has a keen strategic interest in ensuring that Iran is not able to displace Kurdish influence along the Iraq-Syrian border.

Pompeo also evidenced success at the broader strategic level. He argued that “in each and every case” he has asked Trump for more authority to take risks, the president has assented. Again, as I‘ve outlined, while Pompeo’s pro-risk approach to leading the CIA is important (albeit complex), it requires political support from the top. That he has won that support means Pompeo can lead his agency to deliver more security for America and better understandings to our policymakers.

Still, the event also showed why Trump trusts Pompeo: The CIA director has a penchant for rising to the fight!

For a few minutes during the discussion, Pompeo and Panetta were at each other’s necks as they disagreed over the merits (or otherwise) of President Trump’s tweets. With Panetta criticizing Trump, Pompeo pointed out that many of the foreign policy issues Trump is now addressing were left to metastasize under President Obama’s watch.

Yet, Pompeo also exemplified an intellectual independence that is an absolute necessity for any effective CIA director.

Praising Panetta for his work on counterterrorism operations while at the CIA, Pompeo stated that he frequently asks the Obama-era director “how to think about things.” This might seem simple, but it shows a bipartisan intellectual introspection — something that defines the CIA at its best.

Finally, Pompeo also showed that he’s willing to listen and learn from his foreign counterparts. He specifically referenced ongoing U.S. efforts to support European counterintelligence operations against Russian intelligence services. Intelligence relations are instrumental in the U.S.-European alliance.

Ultimately, the work of the CIA is too important to be left to just anybody. Pompeo is clearly exceeding expectations, both in his relationship with Trump and in his leadership of a complex but crucially important agency. For the sake of the nation, he should remain in Langley, Va.

Obstruction of Justice was Coming from Inside the FBI

mikenova shared this story from Frontpage Mag.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

“There’s always conflicting recollections of facts,” FBI Director Comey said.

It was a year ago and Comey was explaining why Hillary’s close aide, Cheryl Mills, not only received an immunity agreement in exchange for turning over her laptop, but a pass on lying to the FBI.

The FBI Director claimed that Mills had to receive immunity because the laptop might be protected by attorney-client privilege. Mills, like Hillary Clinton, had worked as a lawyer. But they were both government officials working for the State Department. Hillary wasn’t Mills’ client. The government was.

Comey and his people knew the law. They chose to ignore it to protect a key Hillary aide from rolling over. Mills was the woman Hillary would send in to clean up her dirty laundry. Mills had taken point on the email server cover-up. If anyone knew where the bodies were buried, she did. Instead not only did she get an immunity agreement, but the FBI also agreed to destroy the computers after the search.

Mills had told the FBI that she didn’t know about Hillary’s email server. But the FBI had notes and emails proving that Mills was lying. And when Comey was asked about it, he came out with, “There’s always conflicting recollections of facts.”

No doubt.

That is what the lawyer of the woman who had been caught lying to the FBI might have been expected to argue. But there were no charges, instead the FBI Director was presenting her defense.

George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn were charged with lying to investigators. But lying to investigators isn’t a crime when you’re Hillary Clinton.

Or one of her associates.

Hillary Clinton had told the FBI that she had no idea that the “C” stood for confidential. Instead of laughing in her face or arresting her, the FBI boss testified personally to her truthfulness.

Hillary Clinton, Mills and Huma Abedin made what appear to be false statements to the FBI.

Had Mills been working for Trump, the same number would have been run on Mills as on Flynn and Papadopoulos. But the men interviewing Mills didn’t want her to sing. They wanted her to keep quiet.

Mills and Abedin were interviewed by the FBI’s Peter Strzok and the DOJ’s David Laufman. Strzok was exchanging pro-Hillary and anti-Trump messages in an extramarital affair with a woman working for FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. McCabe’s wife had received a sizable amount of money from a Clinton ally. Laufman, whose counterintelligence section was heading the investigation, is an Obama donor.

Mills’ lie made it more urgent to hand her an immunity agreement on any pretext. The immunity agreement wasn’t leverage for her testimony. It was leverage to keep her from testifying. The obstruction of justice was coming from the inside.

Strzok received input on the Comey letter exonerating Clinton. The Mills interview killed two birds with one stone. A key Hillary aide got immunity and the evidence would be destroyed.

This wasn’t an interview. It was a cover-up.

It’s why Comey sounded like Mills’ lawyer. And why so many Clinton associates got immunity agreements. Why the FBI agreed to destroy evidence. Why there were no recordings of Hillary’s testimony. And why lying to the FBI wasn’t a crime when it came to Hillary and her aides.

But the double standard kicked in when the Clinton cover-up crew went after Trump.

While Mills received an immunity agreement based on an imaginary attorney-client privilege that didn’t exist, Manafort was denied attorney-client privilege with his actual attorney.

The double standard isn’t surprising when you look at who was doing the interviewing.

Strzok and Laufman had also interviewed Hillary. No recordings were made of the session. But Comey testified that it’s a “crime to lie to us”.

Not for the Clintons and their associates.

Hillary had told her interviewers that she hadn’t received training on handling classified information, but she signed a document testifying that she had. Hillary claimed that she hadn’t carried a second phone, but an aide, Justin Cooper, who made the server possible, testified that indeed she did.

Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills told the same lie.

These are the kinds of misstep that Team Mueller would have used to hang a Trump associate. But Comey testified that Hillary Clinton did not lie.

And that meant he was lying.

Not only did Clinton’s people lie to the FBI. But the head of the FBI had lied for them.

The fix had been in all along.

Comey had drafted his letter exonerating Clinton before the interviews even took place. Strzok had been copied on the next email. His contribution had included changing the description of Clinton’s actions from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”  Strzok is now in the spotlight because Team Mueller’s stonewalling of the reasons for his removal have been exposed.

Strzok, a Hillary partisan, had given his favorite politician a pass and signed the document opening the Russia investigation. The Steele dossier, provided by a Russian intelligence operative and paid for by the Clinton campaign, was funneled through to Strzok’s team. And Strzok had interviewed Flynn.

Team Mueller resisted discussing Strzok. Alongside the constant leaks to favored media outlets like the Washington Post, Mueller’s people have worked to maintain a monopoly on information.

Judge Beryl Howell, an Obama appointee, a friend of Loretta Lynch, Obama’s DOJ boss, and of Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s deputy, decided to seal the Papadopolous case. Howell also decided that Manafort isn’t entitled to attorney-client privilege. These actions took place at the behest of Weissmann. The latter had sent an email praising Sally Yates, the disgraced former acting Attorney General, for refusing to stand by the law on the Trump travel ban.

Weissmann, like the rest of Team Mueller, wasn’t there to get at the truth, but to stop President Trump. The Mueller deputy is one of two Obama donors on the team. There are also five Clinton donors. One of whom had represented the Clinton Foundation. Another had represented Justin Cooper, the Clinton adviser, who helped run Hillary’s email server and claimed to have destroyed some of Hillary’s devices.

It’s hard to imagine how this investigation could have been any more partisan or tainted.

The endgame for this is to go after President Trump on obstruction of justice. But you can’t obstruct a justice that was already obstructed. Both the Clinton and Trump investigations were tainted by blatant partisanship. While the Clinton investigation did everything possible to protect her and her aides, regardless of the evidence, the Trump investigation did everything possible to destroy him and his associates without producing a single charge relevant to the actual investigation.

The Clintons and their allies have obstructed justice. And it’s time for a real investigation.

US to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Trump Says, Alarming Middle East Leaders – New York Times

mikenova shared this story from Trump – Google News.


Washington Post
US to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Trump Says, Alarming Middle East Leaders
New York Times
President Trump told Israeli and Arab leaders on Tuesday that he plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a symbolically fraught move that would upend decades of American policy and upset efforts to broker peace between Israel and the 
Trump tells Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians he intends to move the US Embassy in Israel to JerusalemWashington Post
Turkey joins US allies in warning Trump not to recognize JerusalemCNN
Trump tells Abbas he will move US embassy to JerusalemAljazeera.com
NBCNews.com –Wall Street Journal –The Intercept
all 1,797 news articles »
Deportations Of Noncriminals Rise As ICE Casts Wider Net

mikenova shared this story from Donald Trump.

The number of undocumented immigrants without criminal convictions deported from the U.S. interior rose dramatically in Trump’s first year in office.

Donald Trumps attorneys go off the deep end after Robert Mueller seizes Trumps bank records

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Earlier today several major news outlets reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has seized Donald Trump’s financial records from Deutsche Bank, which should uncover the money pipeline from Russia to Trump. This prompted Trump’s attorneys to frantically insist that the story is fake news. Various news outlets have responded by re-confirming the story. It appears Trump’s attorneys are trying to snow their own client, in the desperate hope of keeping him from lashing out.

Unless Reuters and several other respected news outlets have all simultaneously published the same fake story, which is nearly inconceivable, the story is true. This means Mueller really is going after Trump’s finances. Moreover, he’s boldly doing it at a time when the media is pushing the notion that Trump is about to fire Mueller. This means Mueller knows something we don’t about his job security, and he’s concluded he can’t be fired, so he’s going for the jugular. But what are Trump’s attorneys up to?

It appears Trump’s legal team is publicly shooting down this story in the hope of getting a message across to Trump himself that there’s nothing to worry about. Trump’s attorneys don’t want him hitting the panic button and firing Mueller, which would probably lead to his swift ouster. You can debate whether you think Trump’s attorneys are simply trying to protect him by keeping him from firing Mueller, or they just don’t want their paychecks to stop coming in yet.

But regardless of their motivation, Donald Trump’s lawyers are publicly going off the deep end by yelling “fake news” at a story that they cannot possibly know is fake news. They’re reacting just like Trump typically does. It all seems to be nothing more than a show in order to keep their client calm. After all, they’ve been trying to convince him all along that Robert Mueller isn’t targeting him, and that the Russia probe will be over soon. If he’s buying that nonsense, he’ll buy anything his attorneys tell him.

The post Donald Trump’s attorneys go off the deep end after Robert Mueller seizes Trump’s bank records appeared first on Palmer Report.

Special Counsel Investigation Has Cost at Least $6.7 million

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The Trump Team Definitely Colluded With a Foreign PowerJust Not the One You Think

mikenova shared this story from The Nation.

Former US national-security adviser Michael Flynn departs US District Court in Washington on December 1, 2017. (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

Friday’s indictment of former national-security adviser Michael Flynn has confirmed that Donald Trump’s inner circle colluded with a foreign power before entering the White House—just not the foreign power that has been the subject of our national fixation for the past year. To be sure, the jury is still out on Russia, though there are new grounds for questioning the case for a plot tying the Kremlin to Trump Tower. But with Flynn’s plea, we can now say for certain that the Trump team did collude—with Israel.

To recap, Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his conversations with then–Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the period after Trump’s November 2016 victory. As Foreign Policy previously reported, Flynn reached out to Kislyak as part of “a vigorous diplomatic bid,” to undermine President Obama’s decision to allow a December 2016 Security Council resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlement building in the Occupied Territories. The indictment fills in some details.

According to the charge sheet, Flynn first made contact with Kislyak to discuss the Israel vote. We found out this weekend his reason for doing so. “[Special counsel Robert] Mueller’s investigators have learned through witnesses and documents that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel,” The New York Times reported after Flynn’s court appearance on Friday. “Investigators have learned that Mr. Flynn and [Trump son-in-law Jared] Kushner took the lead in those efforts”—efforts which failed to change a single vote, including Russia’s, which backed the measure in defiance of the Trump-Netanyahu subversion attempt.

In short, the first known contact between the Trump campaign and Russia after the election occurred in the service of a different foreign power, Israel, and was ultimately fruitless.

The next contact between Flynn and Kislyak was more productive. In late December, Obama imposed new sanctions on Russia for its alleged meddling in the 2016 election. A day later, Flynn called the Russian ambassador to request that the Kremlin, according to the plea document, “only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.” Flynn’s overture came after a Trump transition colleague told him that the incoming administration “did not want Russia to escalate the situation.” By all accounts, Russia complied.

Whatever one thinks about this covert attempt to reduce tensions with a nuclear-armed power, it demonstrates an effort by the Trump transition, as with the Israel vote, to undermine the outgoing administration’s policy. Trump critics have seized on that as a violation of the Logan Act, which bars citizens from having unauthorized negotiations with foreign governments in a dispute with the United States. But the Logan Act has seldom been used except as a partisan talking point, not a prosecutable offense. More importantly, there’s the question as to whether Flynn’s overture on sanctions prove a quid pro quo.

Notwithstanding the post-election contact with Flynn, not only has Russia failed to gain a reduction in sanctions, but its relations with Washington have deteriorated. In early August, Trump signed new sanctions on Russia overwhelmingly approved by Congress. The administration recently presented lawmakers with a list of targets that “reads like a who’s who of the Russian defense and intelligence sectors,” The New York Times noted. In September, Trump shut down the Russian consulate in San Francisco and two annexes in New York City and Washington, DC. Just last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denounced Russia’s “malicious tactics” against the West and vowed that sanctions imposed over Russian’s role in Ukraine “will remain in place until Russia reverses the actions that triggered them.” Meanwhile, Trump has enlarged NATO over Russia’s objections, carried out the “biggest military exercise in Eastern Europe since the Cold War” on Russia’s border, appointed several anti-Russia hawks to key posts, and continues to deliberate over whether to supply Ukraine with a weapons package that Obama himself rejected out of fear it would worsen the country’s civil war. In the latest flare-up, Russia has ordered international media outlets to register as foreign agents in retaliation for the Justice Department first doing so to Washington-based RT America.

It is, of course, possible that all of this is an elaborate ruse to mask the secret, as yet unproven, conspiracy that many insist will lead to Trump’s downfall. The fact that Flynn is now a cooperating witness has refueled hopes that this day is finally approaching. After all, why would Flynn lie about his contacts with Russia if he did not have something to hide? And why would Mueller offer him a plea deal if Flynn wasn’t offering him a bigger fish to fry? (One plausible motive, as Buzzfeed notes, is that Flynn may have lied to hide his potential Logan Act violation.)

Only time will tell whether Flynn has something to offer Mueller, or whether Mueller has gotten from him what he can. In the meantime, more than a year after the election, we still have exactly zero evidence of any cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government—nor, it must be repeated, any evidence to back up US intelligence officials’ claims that the Russian government meddled in the election. We do have instances of Trump campaign figures’—namely, Donald Trump Jr. and low-level adviser George Papadopoulos—making contact with people that they thought were Russian government intermediaries. But whatever they were told or believed, there is still no proof that their contacts led to an actual Kremlin connection.

What we do have is evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Israel to subvert the US government’s official position at the United Nations Security Council. Yet reaction to that news has been quite a departure from the standards of Russiagate when it comes to foreign meddling.

The contrast was put on stark display on Sunday, when Jared Kushner appeared with billionaire Israeli-American media tycoon Haim Saban at the latter’s annual forum on US-Israel relations. Saban took a moment to thank Kushner for his role in the subversion effort that Flynn admitted to have undertaken on Israel’s behalf. “To be honest with you, as far as I know there’s nothing illegal there,” Saban told his stage companion. “But I think that this crowd and myself want to thank you for making that effort, so thank you very much.”

For all of the fears of Russian oligarchs’ having influence over Trump, the comment from this American oligarch reveals a great deal about who really influences practically everyone in Washington, Republican or Democrat. Saban was not a Trump donor. He is, in fact, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s top all-time financial supporter, to the tune of more than $25 million; a benefactor whose generosity has helped build not just the Clinton Library but also the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters.

But there has been no outrage from democracy-defending #Resistance stalwarts over Saban’s comments (and the Israeli subversion effort he endorsed). The same for news of Kushner’s failure to disclose his leadership of a group that funded the illegal Israeli settlements that he tried to protect at the United Nations. And now we await to see how those who agonize over foreign influence on Trump will respond to his reported plans to move the American embassy to Jerusalem—”a decision that would break with decades of U.S. policy and could fuel violence in the Middle East,” as Haaretz notes.

It is unlikely that Trump will be challenged on Israel, because his approach is harmonic with a bipartisan consensus cemented in large part by the financial contributions of billionaires like Saban and his Republican pro-Israeli government counterpart, Sheldon Adelson. Hence, there are no editorials or opinion pieces denouncing Israel’s “Plot Against America,” or “War on America,” or warnings that “Odds Are, Israel Owns Trump,” or explorations of “What Israel Did to Control the American Mind.” Likewise, there will be no new groups forming dubbed the “Committee to Investigate Israel” or the “Tel Aviv Project.” In fact it is more than likely that, going forward, the media will give Israelgate the same treatment as cable’s top Russiagate sleuth, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, gave during her exhaustive Flynn coverage so far, which is to not even mention it.

This weekend furnished us with another important contrast. Flynn’s indictment was followed hours later by the passage of the Senate Republican tax bill, which stands to be one of the largest upward transfers of wealth in US history. If protecting democracy is our goal, we may want to tune out the Russia-obsessed pundits and look closer to home.

UK terror attacks: Review reveals what MI5 knew about Manchester, London Bridge and Westminster attackers

mikenova shared this story .

Security services missed opportunities to intercept the Manchester and London Bridge attackers, a report has found.

David Anderson QC, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, made a total of 126 recommendations to MI5, police and the Government following the deaths of 36 victims this year.

His report provided new detail on the run-up to the atrocities in Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge. The following information has been declassified from internal reviews by MI5 and police.

Westminster

Date: 22 March 2017

Victims: Five killed, 49 injured

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PerpetratorKhalid Masood, British, 52 (died at scene)

Masood was known to police after seven convictions for violent crime leading up to 2003, and to MI5 for associating with extremists, in particular between 2010 and 2012.

Summary“No intelligence was being gathered on him and neither MI5 nor the police had any reason the anticipate the attack … you’re looking at someone who is such a long way from the top of anyone’s grid that frankly, it’s a bit difficult to see how they would have been easily stopped, whatever agencies had done.”

Met Police announce that terror perpetrator Khalid Masood was born Adrian Russell

Timeline:

  • 2004: Masood appears for the first time on MI5 records after his number appeared on the contacts list of a member of a terrorist network, that was aiming to launch bomb attacks in the UK.
  • 2009: Masood appears on the edge of investigation into jihadis attempting to join an al-Qaeda training camp in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Investigators wrongly believe Masood is an individual in Saudi Arabia facilitating travel.
  • 2010: He is discovered not to be the same person, but an active investigation is launched identifying Masood as a subject of interest (SOI) assessed to be a national security threat. Weeks later, he was downgraded to a potential security threat.
  • 2012: Masood formally closed as an SOI following recommendation in internal review, joining 20,000 other former subjects.
  • 2012-2016: Masood appears intermittently as a contact of a number of SOIs, including some linked to Anjem Choudary’s banned al-Muhajiroun network in Luton and Crawley.
  • 2013: Masood “expresses contentment that violent actions such as the World Trade Centre attacks attracted people to Islam”. Neither his contacts nor those comments were considered to reach the threshold for re-opening an investigation.
  • April 2016: (Discovered after his attack) Masood researches violent attacks, knives, Isis and vehicle types.
  • December 2016 – March 2017: Masood informs family he is considering working overseas, but his job and visa applications fail. He sells his car and makes efforts to say goodbye to relatives.
  • 9 March 2017: Masood buys two carving knives from Tesco in Birmingham, and on the same day sends himself an email with the subject line “Retaliation”.
  • 15 March: He had created a document entitled “Jihad in the Quran and Sunnah”, with his photograph on the front page and multiple extracts from the Quran that could be seen as supportive of jihad and martyrdom.
  • 16 March: He collects the Hyundai Tucson used in the attack.
  • 19 March: Masood conducts reconnaissance of Westminster Bridge in person and online, and browses YouTube for videos relating to terrorism and suicide attacks.
  • 22 March: Minutes before launching the attack, Masood shares his document with numerous WhatsApp contacts, which was soon sent onwards via iMessage and SMS.

In pictures: Westminster attack

In pictures: Westminster attack

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    An air ambulance lands after gunfire sounds were heard close to the Palace of Westminster in London

    PA wire

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    MPs wait until the situation is under control in Westminster. ‘The alleged assailant was shot by armed police,’ David Lidington, leader of the House of Commons, told the house.

    BBC News

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    Crowds gather in Westminster after shooting incident, which police are treating as terror attack

    BBC News

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    Police were also called to an incident on Westminster Bridge nearby

    AP

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    Early reports indicate the car, which mounted the pavement on Westminster Bridge and mowed into around a dozen people, was the same vehicle which then rammed into the railings of the Palace of Westminster, just around the corner

    Reuters

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    Security sources described the suspected assailant as a middle-aged Asian man, who is understood to have left the car before attacking a police officer with a seven-to-eight inch knife

    PA wire

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    Police have asked people to avoid the immediate area to allow emergency services to deal with the ongoing incident

    AP

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    One woman has died and a number of others, including the police officer, have been hurt, according to a junior doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital

    Reuters

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    At least three gun shots were heard by those inside Westminster, and proceedings in the House of Commons have been suspended

    AP

Manchester

Date: 22 May 2017

Victims: 22 killed, 500 injured

PerpetratorSalman Abedi, British, 23 (died at scene)

Abedi was known to police for links with the Rusholme Crips gang, but his criminal record was limited to reprimands for theft and receiving stolen goods in 2012, and an assault on a girl at college which was dealt with by “restorative justice”. He was known to MI5 from 2014, but the investigation was closed and he was deemed low-risk.

Summary“Although Abedi had not given police or MI5 any reason to be highly suspicious of him, they still got very close … information came their way which was assessed from which – with the benefit of hindsight – the wrong conclusions were drawn. Had people understood it in a different way, I think an investigation would have been opened into Abedi, and who knows what it would have found.”

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi’s cousins speak out

Timeline:

  • 2011 onwards: Abedi makes numerous trips to Libya with his family, after his parents returned to live there during the civil war that saw Muammar Gaddafi toppled and killed.
  • 2014: MI5 starts active investigation in the belief Abedi could be individual seen acting suspiciously with another SOI. Although he knew the SOI in question, he turned out not to have been the individual seen with him, and his record was closed in July 2014. Abedi was classed as low residual risk.
  • 2015: Another investigation opened over supposed contact with an Isis figure in Libya, “but he was closed as an SOI on the same day when it transpired that any contact was not direct”.
  • 2015-2017: Although he remained a closed SOI until the day of the attack, Abedi continued to be referenced from time to time in intelligence gathered for other purposes. On two separate occasions in the months prior to the attack, intelligence was received and assessed not to relate to terrorism, but “to possible non-nefarious activity or to criminality”. In retrospect, the intelligence can be seen to have been highly relevant to the planned attack.
  • April 2017: Abedi and his brother Hashem leave Manchester for Libya. Abedi returns to the UK four days before his attack, with subsequent investigations showing he made the “core purchases” for his suicide bomb and manufactured it at various properties around Manchester during the period.
  • May 2017: Abedi was among a small number of the 20,000 SOIs that data analysis showed merited further examination. A meeting assessing him was due to take place on 31 May, but he attacked nine days before.

Manchester explosion in pictures

Manchester explosion in pictures

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    People running down stairs as they attempt to exit the Manchester Arena after a blast, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester

    Twitter/@ZACH_BRUCE/ via REUTERS

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    Helpers attend to people inside the Manchester Arena after a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people

    PA wire

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    Armed officers guard outside a hotel near the Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion, in Manchester, Britain

    EPA

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    Police officers are seen outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England

    Reuters

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    Getty Images

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    Getty Images

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    Getty Images

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    AFP/Getty Images

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    Police and fans close to the Manchester Arena, after reports of an explosion

    Getty Images

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    There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed

    Getty Images

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    Police deploy at scene of explosion in Manchester, England, at a concert in Manchester Arena

    AFP/Getty Images

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    Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena

    Getty Images

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    Police deploy at scene of explosion in Manchester, England

    AFP/Getty Images

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    Police deploy at scene of a reported explosion during a concert in Manchester, England, on May 23, 2017. British police said early May 23 there were “a number of confirmed fatalities” after reports of at least one explosion during a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande. Ambulances were seen rushing to the Manchester Arena venue and police added in a statement that people should avoid the area

    AFP/Getty Images

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    An ambulance drives away from the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester

    Reuters

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    Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

    Getty Images

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    A woman sits in the street in a blanket near the Manchester Arena as police guard the area following reports of an explosion, in Manchester, Britain

    EPA

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    Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena, where US singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester

    Reuters

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    A Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) bomb disposal robot is unloaded outside the Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion, in Manchester. At least 19 people have been confirmed dead and others 50 were injured, authorities said. It is being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise

    EPA

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    A Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) bomb disposal robot is unloaded outside the Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion, in Manchester

    EPA

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    Members of the public receive treatment from emergency service staff at Victoria Railway Station close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area

    Getty Images

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    Armed police after a suspected terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by US star Ariana Grande left 19 dead

    PA wire

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    Emergency services arrive close to the Manchester Arena in Manchester

    Getty Images

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    An amoured police vehicle patrols near Manchester Arena in Manchester

    Getty Images

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    A man carries a young girl on his shoulders near Victoria station in Manchester

    AFP/Getty Images

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    Police officers stand at the Miller Street and Corporation Street Crossroads, in front of the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England

    Getty Images

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    Police block a road near to the Manchester Arena in central Manchester, England

    AP

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    Armed police patrol near Victoria station in Manchester, northwest England. Twenty two people have been killed and dozens injured after a suspected suicide bomber targeted fans leaving a concert of US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester

    Getty Images

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    Police forensic officers leave the Manchester Arena as they investigate the scene of an explosion in Manchester

    Getty Images

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    A forensic officer collects evidence on a walkway between Victoria station and Manchester Arena following a deadly terror attack in Manchester,

    Getty Images

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    A woman and a young girl wearing a t-shirt of US singer Ariana Grande talks to police near Manchester Arena following a deadly terror attack in Manchester,

    Getty Images

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    EPA

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    Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council Leader Sir Richard Leese speak to the media outside Manchester Town Hall after a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, as an explosion tore through fans leaving a pop concert in Manchester

    Dave Higgens/PA Wire

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    The media gather behind a police cordon in Manchester

    Getty Images

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    Flowers left close to the Manchester Arena, the morning after a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, as an explosion tore through fans leaving a pop concert in Manchester

    Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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    Ariana Grande concert attendees Karen Moore and her daughter Molly Steed, aged 14, from Derby, leave the Park Inn where they were given refuge after last night’s explosion at Manchester Arena

    Getty

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    Signs saying ‘We love Manchester’ are displayed in a window in Manchester, England

    Getty Images

London Bridge

Date: 3 June 2017

Victims: Eight killed, 48 injured

PerpetratorsKhuram Butt, British, 27; Youssef Zaghba, Moroccan-Italian, 22; Rachid Redouane, Moroccan, 30 (all died at scene)

Butt was under live investigation as the principal subject of an MI5 operation opened in mid-2015, following information suggesting he wanted to commit a terror attack in the UK. Redouane was known for immigration offences but had no police or terror record. Zaghba had no criminal record but was known to European authorities after telling Italian police he wanted to be a terrorist. He was not investigated by MI5.

Summary“With Butt what you had was a man who was under active investigation from MI5, who did probably around the end of 2016 team up with his two co-conspirators, and yet MI5 and the police between them were not able to identify what they were actually planning.

“Butt displayed strong operational security and much remains unknown, even today, about the mindset of the three conspirators and the planning of the attack.”

London Bridge attack ringleader ‘tried to hire 7.5 tonne lorry’

Timeline:

  • 2005: Butt is granted British citizenship after moving to the UK from Pakistan as a child with his parents, who were granted asylum.
  • 2008-2010: Butt receives cautions for criminal offences.
  • 2009: Redouane seeks asylum in the UK under the false identity of a Libyan national and is refused, which sees him reported to immigration officials.
  • June 2012: Redouane is stopped and arrested in Scotland under his false Libyan name while trying to travel to Northern Ireland by boat. Because removals to Libya had been suspended on humanitarian grounds, he was released from detention in Larne with conditions to reside in Dagenham and report to immigration authorities. He absconded and was not traced.
  • 2012-2015: After going to school and college in London, he works as an office manager with a subsidiary of KFC, marrying a friend’s sister in 2013. The couple had a son in October 2014 and a daughter in May 2017, born less than a month before the London Bridge attack.
  • 2015: Butt makes a pilgrimage to Mecca and “expresses frequent aspirations to travel from late in the year, including to Syria, but never again left England”. MI5’s Operation Hawthorn starts, seeing Butt put under surveillance over suspected attack planning.
  • 2015: Redouane moves in with his Irish wife in Dublin and successfully applies for an EEA Family Permit and EEA residence card, sponsored by his wife. At the time of the attack, Redouane was living legally in the UK under his Moroccan identity.
  • June 2015: Zaghba starts working legally in the UK.
  • September 2015: A potential lone actor triage assessment concluded that Butt represented a medium risk “due to his strong intent but weak capability”. Over the coming months, there was no further indication of attack planning, and Butt appeared to be disengaging from al-Muhajiroun. MI5 believed his focus was moving towards overseas travel, including potentially to Syria to fight with Isis or to another Arabic-speaking country to learn the language.
  • January 2016: Butt is shown among a group of Islamists linked to al-Muhajiroun praying towards an Isis flag in Channel 4 television documentary The Jihadis Next Door. The police and prosecutors deemed that no criminal offences had been committed.
  • February-April 2016: Operation Hawthorn is suspended “because of resourcing constraints” following Isis’s Paris attacks.
  • March 2016: During a stop at Bologna Airport in Italy, Zaghba tells officials he is travelling to Turkey as a “terrorist”, but quickly changes the word to “tourist”. Further investigation in Italy reveals he had expressed an interest in travelling to Syria to join Isis and practice the “Real Islam”. On 23 March 2016, Italian authorities place Zaghba on the EU-wide SIS II warning list, potentially bringing him to the attention of the UK at the border – but under a marker identifying him as subject to checks for serious crime, not a national security risk.
  • Spring 2016: Butt shows further aspirations travel to the Middle East and / or Africa and raises money for it, but there was “no longer any indication that travel would be for extremist purposes”. MI5 decides not to prevent him leaving the country.
  • July 2016: Butt assaults a moderate imam and member of the counter-extremism group Quilliam, but the victim did not press charges in time for the case to be taken forward. Butt re-engages with al-Muhajiroun and increases operational security to evade security forces.
  • September 2016: Operation Hawthorn downgraded to a lower threat category.
  • October 2016: Butt arrested for fraud and granted bail. He was never told the decision was taken not to prosecute.
  • December 2016: Relationships between between Redouane, Butt and Zaghba and Butt start at the Ummah Fitness Centre in Ilford.
  • January 2017: Zaghba enters the UK for the final time.
  • Early 2017: Butt works at the Ummah Fitness Centre and develops links with extremist associates, including Redouane. He teachers Quran class to young members alongside Zaghba.
  • MI5 and police attempt to disrupt the teaching over radicalisation concerns.
  • 7 March 2017: Butt and Redouane meet at the Ummah Fitness Centre, possibly as part of an attempt by Butt to acquire a firearm.
  • MI5 receives strands of intelligence regarding a Moroccan male named “Rashid”, believed to be a peripheral and social associate of Butt, but the figure was not identified as Redouane until after the attack.
  • 21 March 2017: A day before the Westminster attack, the investigation into Butt is suspended for a second time “due to resourcing constraints brought on by a large number of higher-priority investigations”.
  • April 2017: With Operation Hawthorn still suspended, MI5 downgrades Butt’s holding code from one that indicated he was likely to pose a threat to national security, to one that indicated it was merely “likely”. “MI5 noted his continued extremist rhetoric but also uncertainty about whether he posed a threat to national security.”
  • May 2017: Operation Hawthorn is re-opened to consider whether the threat needed continued investigation, or could be closed to put resources elsewhere. A second lone actor triage assessment concluded that the risk posed by Butt had moved from “medium to unresolved” and further investigation was needed. It remained an active investigation until the attack.
  • MI5 surveillance never identified Zaghba as Butt or threats, or revealed their attack planning.
  • 3 June 2017: CCTV footage from Butt’s home address on the evening of the attack shows him getting into a white van hired earlier in the day with a large red holdall. Two males accompanied him, with one carrying chairs – perhaps to support a cover story that they were moving furniture.

London Bridge Terror Attack

London Bridge Terror Attack

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    Armed police on Borough High Street as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

    PA

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    Armed Police talk to members of the public outside London Bridge Hospital as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

    PA

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    Police Officers outside the Barrowboy and Banker Public House on Borough High Street as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

    PA

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    Armed police on Borough High Street as police deal with a ‘major incident’ at London Bridge

    PA

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    Emergency services near the scene of the incident

    Screengrab

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    People run down Borough High Street as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

    Reuters

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    Emergency services arrive at the scene near Borough market at London Bridge

    Carl Court/Getty Images

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    Emergency personnel on London Bridge as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

    PA

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    Police sniffer dogs on London Bridge as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

    PA

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    A second helicopter lands on London Bridge as police are responding to three incidents in the capital, amid reports that a vehicle collided with pedestrians on London Bridge, Scotland Yard said. Officers are dealing with reports of stabbings in Borough Market, where armed officers attended and shots were fired. They are also at an incident in the Vauxhall area

    PA

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    Police attend to an incident on London Bridge in London

    REUTERS

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    Police attend to an incident on London Bridge in London, Britain

    Reuters

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    A police officer escorts members of the public to safety at London Bridge

    Getty Images

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    Police attend to an incident on London Bridge in London, Britain

    REUTERS

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    Police attend to an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain

    Reuters

Finsbury Park

Date: 19 June 2017

Victims: One killed, 10 injured

Alleged perpetratorDarren Osborne, British, 47

Osborne has been arrested and charged with murder. His trial is due to start in January, meaning no indepth findings could be released in the Anderson report because they could prejudice the case.

He is alleged to have acted alone and he was not known to MI5. Police had no intelligence to suggest that he was going to commit the alleged attack.

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Donald Trump Tells Palestinian President He Plans to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem Despite Opposition – TIME

mikenova shared this story from Donald Trump – Google News.


TIME
Donald Trump Tells Palestinian President He Plans to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem Despite Opposition
TIME
(JERUSALEM) Vociferous Arab and Muslim opposition was building Tuesday to any possible U.S. recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as European leaders expressed concern about harm to fragile Mideast peace efforts. PresidentDonald 
Turkey joins US allies in warning Trump not to recognize JerusalemCNN
Jerusalem: Turkey warns Trump against crossing ‘red line’BBC News
Donald Trump tells Palestinian president he intends to move US embassy to JerusalemThe Independent
The Guardian –Sky News
all 1,603 news articles »

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10:21 AM 12/6/2017 – Israel’s Super Secret Nuclear Weapons Program: Everything You Need to Know

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Israel Has a Submarine That Could Destroy Entire Nations (Armed with Nuclear Weapons)
In Defense of Rosensteins and Wrays Responses to Trump
German Foreign Minister Unironically Calls for Solution to the Jerusalem Problem
Doctors identify brain abnormalities in Cuba attack patients
Tillerson touts good opportunity for Mideast peace despite criticism of U.S. policy shift on Jerusalem
The Early Edition: December 6, 2017
Time names the #metoo movement as 2017 Person of the Year
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‘War Cry’ enters New Brooklyn comics with a bang
Cuomo attacks GOP for tax bill that ‘cripples’ high-tax states
22 Russian athletes appeal to have Olympic bans lifted
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Reefer badness: Two men busted for smoking marijuana on the street
Assassins killed Panama Papers journalist with text message bomb
God’s Plan for Mike Pence – The Atlantic
Mueller Said to Have Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank: DealBook Briefing – New York Times
Border arrests drop, deportations soar in Trump’s first year – SFGate
New York Times forced to heavily amend another supposed KT McFarland ‘scoop’ – Washington Examiner
Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics, Some Athletes to Compete Under Neutral Flag – Sports Illustrated
Donald Trump Jr. asked Russian lawyer for info on Clinton Foundation – NBCNews.com
Trump Asks Judge to Dismiss Accuser’s Defamation Case – Bloomberg
UK authorities say they’ve foiled plot to assassinate Theresa May: reports – The Hill

 

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Israel’s Super Secret Nuclear Weapons Program: Everything You Need to Know

Kyle Mizokami

Security,

Israel does not confirm nor deny having nuclear weapons. Experts generally assess the country as currently having approximately eighty nuclear weapons, fewer than countries such as France, China and the UK.

Israels first land-based nuclear weapons were based on Jericho I missiles developed in cooperation with France. Jericho I is believed to have been retired, replaced by Jericho II and -III ballistic missiles. Jericho II has a range of 932 miles, while Jericho III, designed to hold Iran and other distant states at risk, has a range of at least 3,106 miles. The total number of Israeli ballistic missiles is unknown, but estimated by experts to number at least two dozen.

In a private email leaked to the public in September of 2016, former secretary of state and retired U.S. Army general Colin Powell alluded to Israel having an arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons. While this number appears to be an exaggeration, there is no doubt that Israel does have a small but powerful nuclear stockpile, spread out among its armed forces. Israeli nuclear weapons guard against everything from defeat in conventional warfare to serving to deter hostile states from launching nuclear, chemical and biological warfare attacks against the tiny country. Regardless, the goal is the same: to prevent the destruction of the Jewish state.

Recommended: Uzi: The Israeli Machine Gun That Conquered the World

Recommended: The M4: The Gun U.S. Army Loves to Go to War With

Recommended: Why Glock Dominates the Handgun Market (And Better than Sig Sauer and Beretta)

Read full article

Israel Has a Submarine That Could Destroy Entire Nations (Armed with Nuclear Weapons)

Kyle Mizokami

Security,

And this is everything we think we know about it.

Whatever the missile, a 932-mile range gives it the abilityjust barelyto strike the Iranian capital of Tehran, as well as the holy city of Qom and the northern city of Tabriz, from a position off the coast of Syria. (Irans pursuit of nuclear arms is likely the main and enduring driver of Israels second strike capability.) That isnt an ideal firing position, and its been seventeen years since the missiles first flight, so its also reasonable to assume that the weapons range has been extended to the point where it can launch against Tehran and even more Iranian cities from a relatively safe location.

Israels submarine corps is a tiny force with a big open secret: in all likelihood, it is armed with nuclear weapons. The five Dolphin-class submarines represent an ace in the hole for Israel, the ultimate guarantor of the countrys security, ensuring that if attacked with nukes, the tiny nation can strike back in kind.

Israels first nuclear weapons were completed by the early 1970s, and deployed among both free-fall aircraft bombs and Jericho ballistic missiles. The 1991 Persian Gulf War, which saw Iraqi Scuds and Al Hussein ballistic missiles raining down on Israeli cities, led Tel Aviv to conclude that the country needed a true nuclear triad of air-, land- and sea-based nukes to give the countrys nuclear deterrent maximum flexibilityand survivability.

Recommended: Uzi: The Israeli Machine Gun That Conquered the World

Recommended: The M4: The Gun U.S. Army Loves to Go to War With

Recommended: Why Glock Dominates the Handgun Market (And Better than Sig Sauer and Beretta)

Read full article

In Defense of Rosensteins and Wrays Responses to Trump

wrote Monday morning about costs within the Justice Department when its leaders stay silent in the face of the Presidents caustic attacks on the departments independence and integrity. I mentioned in particular the silence of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and FBI Director Christopher Wray. I concluded:

I suspect that these men tell themselves a story that crossing the president in public would result in their firing but not stop Trump, and that the nation is better off if they stay silent and do their jobs. Perhaps so. That calculus, and that decision, are intensely personal and contextual.

But in performing this calculus, the leaders of the Justice Department should candidly consider the large costs of their silence. When they do not speak out against the presidents attacks on their institutions and the rule of law, they signal to their employees and the world that they are indefeasibly beholden to the president, or that they do not care. The failure to protect and defend the department engenders anger, suffering, and resentment by the men and women they are charged with leading. It also contributes to a sense of delegitimization within the department, and thus stokes the morale crisis. These are not consequences that any leader should ever tolerate.

Since I wrote these words, Wray and Rosenstein spoke in ways that are widely seen as a response to the President and a defense of the Justice Department and FBI workforces. On Monday, Wray sent an emailto FBI employees in which he stated that he was inspired by example after example of professionalism and dedication to justice demonstrated around the bureau. It is truly an honor to represent you. Wray urged the FBI to continue to keep focused on our critical mission, and concluded: Keep calm and tackle hard. And yesterday, Rosenstein stated in remarks at a Criminal Division ceremony that: In this department, Justice is our name. And justice is our mission. Justice is not just about winning a particular case, or sending a particular person to prison. It is about a fair and impartial process.

Neither Wray nor Rosenstein mentioned Trump by name. But both statements were rightly interpreted as responses to Trumps attacks. I assume they were interpreted this way within the DOJ and the FBI as well.

Are these responses adequate? Susan probably represents many in thinking not. She says:

In worst days post-Snowden, Gen. Alexander’s full-throated defense and support of NSA rank and file was so critical to morale. Hard to see how gestures like this from Wray are sufficient. https://twitter.com/jacklgoldsmith/status/938016100670955520 

I disagree, or at least think the matter is more complex. As NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexanders full-throated defense and support of NSA rank and file was in response to a body blow to the agency due to the Snowden revelations, and perhaps a response as well to the too-tepid initial support of the agency offered by President Obama. But Alexanders situation was much different, as was his President, and he never openly disagreed with Obama by nameat least not that I recall.

Rosenstein and Wray are engaged in a much more difficult and delicate balancing act. They are dealing with a President who is attacking the integrity of the Justice Department and the FBI in a truly unprecedented fashion at a time when many of the Presidents associates, and probably the President himself, are under investigation by the Justice Department and FBI. And indeed, the Presidents attacks on the department and FBI are probably designed to discredit that investigation. Against this background, Rosenstein and Wray face at least three important challenges.

First, they have to defend the Justice Department and FBI in a way that maintains their personal credibility with the President. This is an admittedly slight consideration. Taken alone, it might not count for much, and one might think that the two men should simply stand on principle, stand up to the President openly and be fired. But there are at least two other considerations that cut the other way.

The second consideration is the impact on the Justice Department if Trump cans Rosenstein and especially Wray. If these men more openly defied the President and he fired them, it is hard to see how the department and FBI, or the Trump investigation, would strengthened. The more likely consequence would be that the Justice Department and FBI would be thrown into further disarray than they already have been due to the many unfortunate events of the last year, ranging from Comeys firing to Rosensteins uneven performance to Sessions utter failure to stand up for the Justice Departments integritydisarray all exacerbated a great deal, of course, by the Presidents destructive tactics. One might even think that Trump would benefit from such a course of action and would look for an excuse to fire one or both. (I acknowledge that it is a hard question when to stand on principle and when notBen and Ihave debated this question in an analogous context.)

I am largely persuaded by this second consideration, but the difficulty of Rosensteins and Wrays predicament comes into yet clearer focus when one considers that the Mueller investigation is now under relentless attack for being biased, out of control and vindictive. I cannot yet assess the reality of these charges. Even the appearance of bias here is deadly because, as I once wrote in an analogous context, Muellers work will be judged not just through the legal lens, but also through the political lens, and its success will stand in part on political factors. In this light, it is important to remember that Rosenstein and Wray are deeply responsible for the Mueller investigation. Rosenstein appointed Mueller and, under the pertinent regulations, retains significant authority over Muellers investigation. Wray is leading the FBI, which is obviously heavily involved in the investigation. For legal and political reasons, they thus must be scrupulous in not being, or appearing, biased against the President.

Rosenstein and Wray thus find themselves in a wholly unprecedented situation and very awkward position. For reasons I outlined Monday, they must defend their workforce from the Presidents unprecedented attacks. But they must do so in ways that do not compromise the Mueller investigation or their role in it. The President deepens their dilemma every time he attacks the Justice Department and the FBI. Indeed, Trump certainly senses this, even if he does not fully understand ithis attacks on law enforcement invariably help him by making Muellers and Rosensteins and Wrays jobs in connection with the investigation harder and more political.

Against this background, the general statements by the two men in the past two daysstatements which were formally neutral even as they unambiguously underscored the integrity of the Justice Department and FBI in ways that were widely seen as responses to Trumpis about the most that we, or their workforces, can reasonably expect.

German Foreign Minister Unironically Calls for Solution to the Jerusalem Problem

German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel does not support President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to the Washington Post. “We all know the far-reaching impact this move would have,” he said in an interview. “Germany’s position on this issue remains unchanged: A solution to the Jerusalem problem can only be found through direct negotiations between both parties. Everything which worsens the crisis is counterproductive.”

Leaving aside Gabriel’s conventional pro-Palestinian policy analysis, maybe he could have chosen his words more carefully?

And maybe European governments might want to sit this one out? The Washington Post goes on to say that word of President Trump’s announcement “dominated European news coverage Wednesday, especially in countries such as Germany, France, and Britain where anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in recent yearspartially due to an escalation of tensions between Israel and Palestinians.”

That’s one way of looking at it, we suppose. Reporters never waste an opportunity to blame Israel for Europe’s troubles. Another way of looking at it is that rising European anti-Semitism has coincided with rising European Islamism, rising European secularism hostile to Jewish particularity and ritual, and rising European nationalism of the kind that led to the murder of six million European Jews less than a century ago. The Boycott Divest Sanctions movement, the spearhead of global efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel, is also strong on the continent, where goods made in Jewish communities in the West Bank are required to carry a warning label. Little surprise that Jews are leaving places like France in record numbers.

Jewish migration from Germany is relatively stable, but that may be because there are so few Jews left in Germany to begin with. Still, Josef Schuster, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, told Bild last July that “In some districts in major cities, I’d advise people not to identify themselves as Jews.”

Minister Gabriel might want to advise his government to spend less time on a “Jerusalem problem” that exists mainly in the heads of diplomats, and more time on an anti-Semitism problem that affects the lives of German Jews every day. Just a thought.

The post German Foreign Minister Unironically Calls for ‘Solution to the Jerusalem Problem’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Doctors identify brain abnormalities in Cuba attack patients

Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned.

Tillerson touts good opportunity for Mideast peace despite criticism of U.S. policy shift on Jerusalem

The secretary of state said at NATO headquarters that President Trump remains very committed to the Middle East peace process.

The Early Edition: December 6, 2017

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.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

President Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, marking a seismic change in U.S. policy and amid warnings from Middle East leaders, who have highlighted the potential for violence and the threat the decision could pose to Israel-Palestine peace efforts. Mark Landler and David M. Halbfinger report at the New York Times.

Trump’s speech announcing the policy change will be delivered at midday today, the president informed his counterparts in the Middle East of his decision yesterday and, according to an adviser to the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, Abbas told Trump that he would not “accept” the policy change and warned him that he was “playing into the hands of extremism.” David Nakamura, Loveday Morris and Anne Gearan report at the Washington Post.

A timetable for the U.S. Embassy relocation is not expected to be set out in the speech and the president is expected to sign a waiver delaying the move, however Trump informed the Palestinian and Jordanian leaders yesterday of his plans to relocate the mission, which has been met with calls for protests by the rival Palestinian factions – Abbas’s Fatah party and the Islamist Hamas group. Sam Fleming, Erika Solomon and Ilan Ben Zion report at the Financial Times.

The embassy relocation will be delayed to address logistical and security challenges, administration officials said yesterday, adding that the delay would allow them to identify and construct a new facility in Jerusalem. Trump is also expected to say that the specific boundaries of Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations, Felicia Schwartz, Dion Nissenbaum and Rory Jones report at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump administration officials described the forthcoming policy decision as a “recognition of reality” that Jerusalem has long been the seat of the Israeli government, with one senior administration official saying that it “seems clear now that the physical location of the American embassy is not material to a peace deal” as the location of the mission has not changed the dynamics of the peace negotiations over the past two decades.  Jeremy Diamond and Nicole Gaouette report at CNN.

“Such a dangerous step is likely to inflame the passions of Muslims and the world due to the great status of Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted the Saudi King Salman as telling to Trump during a phone call yesterday, Trump also spoke the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Netanyahu who avoided directly mentioning the change in U.S. policy during a speech in Jerusalem, Julian Borger and Peter Beaumont report at the Guardian.

The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be the “kiss of death to the two state solution” and a declaration of war in the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic representative to the U.K., Manuel Hassassian, said today, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem warned U.S. government employees and family members from traveling in Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank, and advised U.S. citizens to consider their own safety when traveling. Felicia Schwartz reports at the Wall Street Journal.

No country currently has an embassy in Jerusalem and leaders across the world have expressed concern about the Trump administration’s plan. Al Jazeera provides a breakdown of the various reactions.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on the U.S. to bring forward its proposals on the Middle East peace process “as a matter of priority” in light of the U.S. policy announcement, Johnson made the comments yesterday alongside the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said that the U.K. would have to “wait and see” what Trump says in his speech today. The AP reports.

The repercussions of Trump’s announcement, and what to look for in the speech, are examined by Adam Taylor at the Washington Post, noting that a decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital but not to move the embassy would have subtly different implications than a decision to relocate the embassy and recognize Jerusalem.

The recognition of Jerusalem is a sensitive issue steeped in historical and religious divisions, the policy change may have potentially serious ramifications for the region, and Trump’s decision has reportedly surprised Arab leaders amid a changing dynamic in the Middle East – with some arguing that the announcement would undermine the developing relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel in their rivalry against Iran. Ishaan Tharoor provides an analysis at the Washington Post.

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without advancing peace talks raises tensions rather than improving chances of making a deal between Israel and Palestine, and the move demonstrates how Trump has been pandering to his base at the expense of diplomacy and peace. The New York Times editorial board writes.

The U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem at this point would “unnecessarily put lives at risk,” incite violence from the Hamas terrorist group, and draw the ire of Sunni Arab states at the time when Israel needs their cooperation to counter Iran. Eliora Katz offers the Zionist case against the decision at the Wall Street Journal.

Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital would be a “catastrophe,” creating “enormous and new insoluble problems without addressing the real issues that beset the city,” Nicholas Blincoe writes at the Guardian.

Jerusalem is “unmistakably Israel’s capital” and U.S. recognition of this fact would be a “great American moment,” even if it results in violence. Shmuel Rosner writes at the New York Times.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Special counsel Robert Mueller issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank requesting documents and data about people and entities affiliated with Donald Trump, according to an individual briefed on the matter, however Ty Cobb, the White House chief lawyer handling the Russia investigation, said that the reports about the subpoena were “false.” Jenny Strasburg reports at the Wall Street Journal.

“No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources,” Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow said yesterday, a spokesperson for Mueller declined to comment on the matter. Arno Schuetze and Karen Freifeld report at Reuters.

Donald Trump Jr. is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee today in a closed-door session, he will be questioned on financial relationships with Russia and his meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016 at Trump Tower. Katie Bo Williams and Olivia Beavers report at the Hill.

Trump Jr. asked Veselnitskaya whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation at their June meeting, Veselnitskaya said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, she also contended that she did not work for the Russian government and was not carrying messages from government officials. Ken Dilanian and Natasha Lebedeva report at NBC News.

The British publicist Rob Goldstone who arranged the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting will testify before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, perhaps as earlier as next week, according to sources familiar with the matter. Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju report at CNN.

The confirmation of K.T. McFarland as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore has been “frozen” following questions about her knowledge of Trump campaign aide Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late December 2016, McFarland submitted written responses in July to questions posed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) about the transition period and Russian contacts and denied knowledge of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak. Byron Tau reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Justice Department prosecutor and key member of Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann, said he was “so proud and in awe” of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates on the day she was fired by Trump for refusing to defend the travel ban, providing ammunition to conservatives who contend that Mueller’s investigation has been compromised by partisan prosecutors. Jonathan Easley reports at the Hill.

Democrats have been engaged in efforts to defend Mueller following attacks from Trump allies and the revelation that Weissmann showed apparent anti-Trump sentiments, with lawmakers pushing for two bills seeking to protect Mueller from being fired. Elana Schor and Kyle Cheney report at POLITICO.

The claim that Vice President Mike Pence has been completely unaware of Russia connections has been tested by court filings unsealed last week in relation to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Elizabeth Landers, Kevin Liptak and Jeff Zeleny explain at CNN.

The anti-Trump bias of top F.B.I. official and Mueller team member Peter Strzok warrants a review but does not undermine the Mueller investigation, Bradley P. Moss writes at POLITICO Magazine.

YEMEN

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have set up checkpoints across the capital of Sana’a and consolidated their control yesterday, having killed the former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday, the Houthi gains and Saleh’s death marking a possible turning point in the conflict which has seen Iran backing the Houthis and a Saudi-led military coalition intervening to try and reinstate the internationally-recognized president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Mohammed al-Kibs and Margherita Stancati report at the Wall Street Journal.

The Saudi-led coalition carried out 25 air strikes on Houthi targets overnight as the Houthis tightened their grip on Sana’a, the BBC reports.

Saleh’s son Ahmed Ali Saleh said he would “confront the enemies of the homeland and humanity” in a statement yesterday railing against the Houthis and their Iranian backers, Ahmed Ali’s intervention signaling that he may be the Saleh family’s last chance to win back influence in the conflict. Sami Aboudi and Noah Browning report at Reuters.

Saleh’s nephew and senior military commander Tareq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh was also killed this week, a statement from Saleh’s party said yesterday. Reuters reports.

The Defense Secretary Jim Mattis noted yesterday that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is likely to get worse following the death of Saleh, Idrees Ali reporting at Reuters.

NORTH KOREA

The U.S. military flew a B-1B bomber over South Korea in an apparent show of force as part of U.S.-South Korea largescale joint military exercises that began on Monday, the BBC reports.

China’s foreign ministry called for restraint after the B-1B bomber flew over South Korea, Reutersreporting.

North Korea has not demonstrated its “reentry capability,” “remote targeting, or the miniaturization required to do this,” South Korea’s foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said today, doubting North Korea’s nuclear capability but acknowledging that they have developed their program at “a pace that’s far faster than many of us have expected.” Mick Krever reports at CNN.

Russia is “ready to deploy” its channels for conducting dialogue with North Korea, the R.I.A. news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov as saying yesterday. Vladimir Soldatkin reporting at Reuters.

South Korea will develop a weaponized drone unit for reconnaissance missions and to monitor North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile sites, a South Korean official confirmed yesterday. Bryan Harris reports at the Financial Times.

The U.S. cannot rely on Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Xi has used the crisis to undermine American credibility by tolerating North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons. Daniel Nidess writes at the Wall Street Journal.

TILLERSON IN EUROPE

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Brussels yesterday and received chilly reception from European diplomats, the E.U.’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini welcomed Tillerson in a matter-of-fact tone, warned the Trump administration about the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and reinforced Europe’s support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.

Tillerson and Mogherini discussed joint efforts under the Iran nuclear agreement to “hold Iran fully compliant with the terms of that deal and fully enforce that agreement,” Tillerson said in a statement yesterday, making the comments ahead of Congress’s forthcoming decision whether to re-apply sanctions on Iran. Al Jazeera reports.

“While we don’t have any wins on the board yet, I can tell you we’re in a much better position to advance America’s interests around the world than we were 10 months ago,” Tillerson told senior U.S. diplomats and embassy staff in Brussels yesterday, he also sought to reassure European foreign ministers that the U.S. remains committed to transatlantic ties. Robin Emmott reports at Reuters.

Tillerson called on European allies to help with efforts to curb Iran’s expansionism and its missile program, Mogherini said that the E.U. would be willing to work with the U.S. but that it would be dependent on Washington abiding by the provisions of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Laurence Norman and Julian E. Barnes report at the Wall Street Journal.

Tillerson’s encounter in Europe was awkward, demonstrating how Trump has become a destabilizing for E.U. policymakers and amid speculation over the future of Tillerson’s position. David M. Herzenhorn writes at POLITICO.

SYRIA

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed eight and injured 16 others in the Syrian city of Homs yesterday, Reuters reporting.

Russian long-range bombers struck Islamic State group target in Syria’s Deir al-Zour province, Russian news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying yesterday, Reuters reporting.

Fewer than 3,000 Islamic State militants remain in Iraq and Syria, the spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the terrorist group, Col. Ryan Dillon, said yesterday. Ahmed Aboulenein reports at Reuters.

The major combat against Islamic State group is practically over, however Syria and Iraq are braced for a wave of terrorist violence, which explains the lack of a celebration over the gains against the extremist group. Tamer El-Ghobashy, Mustafa Salim and Louisa Loveluck observe at the Washington Post.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 33 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq between December 1 and December 3. [Central Command]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Al-Qaeda’s “No. 2 leader” Omar bin Khatab was killed in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation, along with several other al-Qaeda operatives, the U.S. military command in Afghanistan confirmed yesterday. Sayed Salahuddin and Dan Lamothe report at the Washington Post.

Kirstjen M. Nielsen was confirmed to lead the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) yesterday, Nielsen was the deputy to John Kelly – now the White House chief of staff – when he led the D.H.S., Nick Miroff reports at the Washington Post.

The meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.) ended abruptly yesterday, raising the possibility that the G.C.C. is “effectively dead,” Al Jazeera explains, also referring to comments calling for the G.C.C. to be restructured.

An Islamist plot to kill the British Prime Minister Theresa May was foiled by MI5 and the British police and the two suspects will appear in court today on charges of terrorism offences.  David Bond reports at the Financial Times.

Read on Just Security »

Time names the #metoo movement as 2017 Person of the Year

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Silence Breakers named Time magazine’s Person of the Year

The anti-harassment #MeToo movement has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
‘War Cry’ enters New Brooklyn comics with a bang

Looking for a zany new superhero comic, War Cry might just answer your call.

Cuomo attacks GOP for tax bill that ‘cripples’ high-tax states

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22 Russian athletes appeal to have Olympic bans lifted

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it has registered appeals by 22 Russian athletes.

Sleeping straphanger ripped off for phone, license, and charge cards

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne McShane

Brooklyn Paper

68th Precinct

Bay Ridge—Dyker Heights

Nodded, and robbed

A punk stole a man’s iPhone 7, driver’s license, and debit and credit cards when he was sleeping on the N train between the Bay Parkway and Eighth Avenue stops on Dec. 3.

The man told police that he got on the train at Stillwell Avenue at 3 am, and missed his stop at Bay Parkway because he fell asleep. He woke up at Eighth Avenue by 4 am, when he realized his phone — along with the accompanying wallet case and the aforementioned cards — was missing.

Cash grabber

A lout stole a little more than $700 from a Ridge man’s purloined debit card at an ATM on 18th Avenue at some point after Nov. 13.

The thief snagged the cash at the corner of 65th Street, according to a police report.

Stroller heist

A lowlife stole $300 in cash plus a woman’s debit card, two credit cards, and driver’s license from her child’s stroller after she left it briefly to drop off her child at daycare on Ridge Boulevard on Nov. 30. The theft occurred at some point in the 10-minute window between 7:40 and 7:50 am, when the woman briefly abandoned her childless stroller when she left it on the sidewalk at 71st street, according to the report.

Out of order

A no-goodnik stole a little more than $1,000 via money order after a Ridge man mailed it to his landlord from his Fourth Avenue home at some point after June 5.

The man mailed the money from his home between 72nd and 73rd streets after 10 am on the June day, he reported to police on Dec. 1. But a lout cashed the money order soon after he mailed it, he said.

Left it, lost it

A miscreant stole from a man’s wallet, citizenship card, two credit cards, and one debit card from his unlocked car parked on 14th Avenue at some point between Nov. 26 and 29.

The man parked the car at 81st Street at 4 pm on the 26th and returned at noon on the 29th to find the items gone, according to the report.

— Julianne McShane

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Thief robs Downtown hotel, but drops stolen cash trying to outrun cops

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

84th Precinct

Brooklyn Heights–DUMBO–Boerum Hill–Downtown

Checking out

A thief robbed a Duffield Street hotel at gunpoint on Dec. 4, taking cash.

An employee told police that the suspect waltzed into the hotel between Willoughby and Fulton streets at 4:15 am, holding what looked like a gun inside his pocket and snarling, “Give me the money, or I’ll shoot.”

The thief fled with two cash registers containing $1,500, but cops were quick on the scene and a foot chase ensued along Prince Street that resulted in the perp making his escape, but leaving his ill-gotten gains for cops to recover, according to police.

Code breaker

Some goon stole a man’s phone on Pacific Street on Dec. 01, after the crook forced the victim into giving up his passcode.

The victim, 15, told police he was between Third and Fourth avenues at 4:31 pm, when the suspect snatched his phone and barked, “Enter your passcode, or I will f— you up.”

The teen duly complied, and the brute absconded with his $900 iPhone 8, cops said.

Teen terrorized

Two thieves robbed a 15-year-old boy on Livingston Street on Dec. 1.

The victim told police he was strolling with a friend near Flatbush Avenue at 3:45 pm, when some goon pressed an unknown object against his back, while an accomplice went through his pockets, pulling out his debit card and smart phone.

The crooks fled with their ill-gotten stuff, and a police search came up short, cops said.

Rough commute

Some crook beat and robbed a straphanger waiting at the DeKalb Avenue subway station on Dec. 1.

The victim told police he was standing on the Manhattan-bound platform at the station near Flatbush Avenue Extension at 3:20, when the crook snatched the phone from his hand and gave him a shove, before fleeing into the station with three other men.

Beats

Cops arrested a man who stole someone’s headphones inside a Main Street building on Dec. 1, before threatening with a pair of scissors.

The victim told police he forgot his headphones in the building between Water and Front streets at 8:30 am, and returned to find them in the suspect’s possession.

The 29-year-old suspect allegedly refused to hand the $300 headphones back, and at one point brandished a pair of scissors, shouting, “Come in and get them,” according to police.

Cops busted the suspect on robbery charges later that day, and recovered the victim’s valuables from the suspect’s backpack, according to police.

—Colin Mixson

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Dastardly duo jumps a man, steals his cash, and cuts him when he resists

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

88th Precinct

Fort Greene–Clinton Hill

Street stabbing

A pair of louts stabbed a guy and stole his cash on Myrtle Avenue on Nov. 28, police said. The 63-year-old victim told police he was walking near Washington Park at about 10:30 am when the two nogoodniks came up to him, and the first put his hand on his shoulder and then removed $152 in cash from his pocket, according to authorities. The second malefactor then tried to knife him when he told the baddies he had no more money, but he put up his hand to block the blade and wound up getting cut, officials said. The ruffians then threw him to the ground, and he hit his head, police said.

Phantom pilferer

A jerk broke into a woman’s Saint James Place home on Nov. 30 and stole her jewelry and electronics, police said.

Some baddie broke into the apartment through the front door between Greene and Gates avenue sometime between 3:30 and 5:30 and swiped a Macbook Pro, diamond earrings, $100 bills, gold rings, and a speaker worth a total of $3,050, according to authorities.

Bye bye bike!

Some weasel stole a woman’s keys and the CitiBike she was using on Willoughby Street on Nov. 24, police said. The woman told police she dropped her keys somewhere with the key ring attached and used it to access the bike for unlimited usage near Hall Street at about 4 pm, when she later got an email that she was still getting charged for someone using the bike, officials said.

In the blink of an eye

A goniff swiped a woman’s wallet from her purse as she was on a G train near Lafayette Avenue on Nov. 28, police said. The scofflaw must have reached inside the 39-year-old woman’s purse and grabbed her wallet aboard the Church Avenue-bound green bullet after she got on at the Classon Avenue station, police said. The woman hopped off near Fulton Street when she realized her bag was opened and her wallet with her driver’s license, five credit cards, BJ’s card, and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association card worth a total of $45 was missing, officials said.

Dropped and gone

Some sneak stole a woman’s wallet at a DeKalb Avenue hospital on Nov. 29, police said. The 27-year-old said she dropped her wallet in the medical center near Willoughby Street at about 2 pm, with her Dominican Republic identification card, United States resident card, and two credit cards inside, and later got a call from one of the credit card companies that some baddie was charging them, according to authorities.

— Julianne Cuba

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Reefer badness: Two men busted for smoking marijuana on the street

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

Reefer madness

Patrolmen at the 78th Precinct busted two men for allegedly smoking pot on separate occasions late last month.

One officer was near Prospect Place and Carlton Avenue at 1 am on Nov. 20, when he spotted a man smoking a joint on the street, cops said.

Police pinched another alleged pot smoker on Wykoff Street between Nevins Street and Third Avenue at 9:25 am on Nov. 25, after a patrolmen spotted him with a joint in his hand, according to police

Both men were arrested and charged with criminal possession of marijuana, cops said.

Teen terror

Cops busted a 16-year-old boy suspected of stealing a man’s phone inside a Hanson Place shopping center on Nov. 22, and then threatening to shoot him when he demanded its return.

The victim, 60, told police he stopped inside the mall between Hanson Place and Atlantic Avenue to charge his cell at 3:50 am, when the suspect approached him and started up a conversation.

As the pair spoke, the alleged crook slyly unplugged the man’s phone from the charger and slid it into his pocket, but he wasn’t slick enough and the older fellow called him out on it, cops said.

Not willing to hand over his illicit catch, the suspect reached into his waistband and the told victim he’d shoot him, according to police.

He didn’t get far after that, and New York’s Finest booked him that night on a robbery charge, cops said.

Pie guys

Police arrested two men, ages 45 and 53, accused of busting into a Fifth Avenue pizza joint on Nov. 22.

The suspects allegedly made numerous attempts to force their way into the pie spot between 10th and 11th streets at around 3:45 am, before finally breaking open the front door and letting themselves inside, cops said.

The pair hung around for a few minutes, but didn’t take anything and soon fled, according to police.

Someone from the restaurant reported the break in at around 2 pm, and investigators made short work of tracking down the suspects, who were arrested on attempted burglary charges later that day, cops said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

Comment on this story.

Assassins killed Panama Papers journalist with text message bomb

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s car exploded last month as she was driving near her home in Malta.

God’s Plan for Mike Pence – The Atlantic


The Atlantic
God’s Plan for Mike Pence
The Atlantic
Subscribe to The Atlantic’s Politics & Policy Daily, a roundup of ideas and events in American politics. No man can serve two masters, the Bible teaches, but Mike Pence is giving it his all. It’s a sweltering September afternoon in Anderson, Indiana 
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Mueller Said to Have Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank: DealBook Briefing – New York Times


New York Times
Mueller Said to Have Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank: DealBook Briefing
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Good Tuesday. Here’s what’s happening: Robert Mueller is said to have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on its business dealings with President Trump. Steve Case has introduced very big backers for his new Rise of the Rest investment fund  
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Trump-Russia probe: Mueller ‘demands Deutsche Bank data’BBC News
Mueller Spent More Than $3.2 Million Through September on Russia ProbeBloomberg
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Border arrests drop, deportations soar in Trump’s first year – SFGate


SFGate
New York Times forced to heavily amend another supposed KT McFarland ‘scoop’ – Washington Examiner


Washington Examiner
New York Times forced to heavily amend another supposed KT McFarland ‘scoop’
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The New York Times got ahead of itself again with yet another supposedly hot scoop involving former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, the Russians and the 2016 presidential election. The story, now titled McFarland’s Testimony About 
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Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics, Some Athletes to Compete Under Neutral Flag – Sports Illustrated


Sports Illustrated
Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics, Some Athletes to Compete Under Neutral Flag
Sports Illustrated
The Russian Olympic Committee has been suspended from the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after the International Olympic Committee examined the findings of a 16-month investigation into Russia’s doping and cheating at the 2014 Winter Games 
Russia banned from 2018 Olympics for widespread doping programWashington Post
Russia banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChangYahoo Sports
Russia’s Olympic team barred from 2018 Winter GamesLos Angeles Times
NBCNews.com –Bloomberg –Business Insider –TMZ.com
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Donald Trump Jr. asked Russian lawyer for info on Clinton Foundation – NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com
Trump Asks Judge to Dismiss Accuser’s Defamation Case – Bloomberg


Bloomberg
Trump Asks Judge to Dismiss Accuser’s Defamation Case
Bloomberg
Summer Zervos, right, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” arrives with lawyer Gloria Allred at the New York County Criminal Court on Dec. 5, 2017, in New York. Photographer: KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images. As the rest of the U.S. wrestles with 
Trump lawyer pushes to dismiss ‘Apprentice’ suit over groping claimsPolitico
Lawyers: Trump Too Busy to Face Woman’s Defamation LawsuitU.S. News & World Report
Former ‘Apprentice’ contestant in court against Trump todayABC News
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UK authorities say they’ve foiled plot to assassinate Theresa May: reports – The Hill


The Hill
UK authorities say they’ve foiled plot to assassinate Theresa May: reports
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British authorities said Tuesday they believe they have foiled an assassination plot against Prime Minister Theresa May, according to multiple reports. Two men were allegedly plotting to use a bomb disguised as a bag to blow off the gates of Downing 
Islamic terror plot to assassinate British PM Theresa May thwarted, report saysFox News
Plot to kill British premier May foiled: Sky NewsReuters
Plot to Assassinate UK Prime Minister May Foiled, Sky ReportsBloomberg
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