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

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Poland’s former military intelligence head detained

God’s Plan for Mike Pence – The Atlantic
Mueller Said to Have Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank: DealBook Briefing – New York Times
Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics, Some Athletes to Compete Under Neutral Flag – Sports Illustrated
Collusion | IRRUSSIANALITY
Yes, the Kremlin is worried about Russias own presidential elections – The Washington Post
This explains how social media can both weaken and strengthen democracy.
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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
all 46 news articles »
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 
Subpoena For Deutsche Bank May Put Mueller On Collision Course With TrumpNPR
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
NBCNews.com –Bloomberg –Business Insider –TMZ.com
all 203 news articles »
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

mikenova shared this story from Twitter Search / CNNPolitics.

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

mikenova shared this story from trump and republican party – Google News.


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

and more »

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.

The post How Robert Mueller is using Deutsche Bank to prove Russia bought off Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

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

mikenova shared this story from Abedin – Google News.


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

mikenova shared this story .

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

  • 1/9

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

    PA wire

  • 2/9

    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

  • 3/9

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

    BBC News

  • 4/9

    Police were also called to an incident on Westminster Bridge nearby

    AP

  • 5/9

    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

  • 6/9

    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

  • 7/9

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

    AP

  • 8/9

    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

  • 9/9

    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

  • 1/37

    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

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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

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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

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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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    Emergency services near the scene of the incident

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

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

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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

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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
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
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 »

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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

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God’s Plan for Mike Pence – The Atlantic


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God’s Plan for Mike Pence
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3:31 PM 12/4/2017 – Just Security: Why Trumps Lawyer is Dead Wrong on Obstruction of Justice

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1. US Security from mikenova (83 sites)
Just Security: Why Trumps Lawyer is Dead Wrong on Obstruction of Justice
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1. US Security from mikenova (83 sites)
Just Security: Why Trumps Lawyer is Dead Wrong on Obstruction of Justice

President Donald Trumps personal lawyer, John Dowd, now claims that the president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under Article II of the Constitution. Dowds remarks, reported Monday morning by Axios, have little basis in text or history, and they fly in the face of a decades-old bipartisan consensus: the obstruction of justice statutes indeed apply to the president.

As Eric Posner and I note in a forthcoming California Law Review article, obstruction of justice is a crime with roots in the nations founding. The Declaration of Independence charged King George III with obstruct[ing] the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to the laws for establishing judiciary powers. That alone is evidence that the founding generation did not believe that heads of state were immune from obstruction charges. And while Article II instructs the president to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, that does not give him carte blanche to wield his law enforcement powers any way he chooses.

Trump is not the first sitting president to face accusations of obstruction of justice. During the Watergate scandal, the first article of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee charged Richard Nixon with obstructing justice by endeavoring to influence an FBI investigation into the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. That article passed the committee by a 27-11 vote, with six Republicans joining all the committees Democrats in the majority. And after Nixons resignation, the 11 Republicans who voted against the first article of impeachment acknowledged that, in light of subsequent revelations, they believed that Nixon had committed obstruction. Nixon himself conceded at a press conference prior to leaving office that of course, the crime of obstruction of justice is a serious crime and would be an impeachable offense. The idea that the president was immune from obstruction liability was never taken seriously even by Nixons most ardent defenders.

Nixons resignation did not bring an end to obstruction allegations against sitting presidents. During the investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal that engulfed Ronald Reagans administration, independent counsel Lawrence Walsh also considered whether obstruction charges should be filed against President Reagan. Walsh declined to bring charges due to problems of proof, but not because of any doubt that the obstruction statutes applied to the commander-in-chief. And in December 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached for obstruction of justice in relation to a sexual harassment lawsuit and a federal grand jury inquiry.

While the Clinton impeachment was controversial, the claim that the obstruction statutes applied to the president was not. The House Judiciary Committees report said that the first article of impeachment against Nixon had established a clear precedent that a president who used his position of power to obstruct the administration of justice committed an impeachable offense. Clintons defenders quickly conceded that the obstruction statutes applied to the president. A group of more than 400 law professors sent a letter to Congress opposing impeachment but acknowledging that [a] President who corruptly used the Federal Bureau of Investigation to obstruct an investigation would have criminally exercised his presidential powers.

To be sure, the application of the obstruction statutes to the president raises complicated questions regarding the line between enforcement discretion and criminal obstruction. Eric Posner and I have argued thatas a general mattera president commits criminal obstruction only when he abuses his power over law enforcement for personal, pecuniary, or purely partisan ends. But Dowds claim that the obstruction statutes never apply to the President is without merit. Trump is not the first president to face serious allegations of obstruction, and he may not be the last. But so far, he is the only one whose lawyers have argued thatwith respect to obstruction of justicethe president is above the law.

Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Read on Just Security »

Just Security

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Documents: Criminal Information and Plea Agreement in NSA Employee Willful Retention Case

Former NSA Tailored Access Operations (TAO) developer, Nghia Hoang Pho, pleaded guilty on Friday to willful retention of national defense information. Pho faces a maximum of ten years in prison for removing and retaining classified U.S. government documents in his home from 2010 to March 2015. You can read the the criminal information and plea agreement here.

Criminal Information:

Pho Criminal Information (PDF)

Pho Criminal Information (Text)
Plea Agreement:

Pho Plea Agreement (PDF)

Pho Plea Agreement (Text)

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

Washington Free Beacon: Moulton Again Calls for New Democratic Leadership After Pelosis Response to Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton (Mass.) on Monday accused his party of failing to show “leadership” in response to sexual misconduct allegations made against Democratic lawmakers.

Moulton has been an outspoken critic of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), and said her leadership in recent weeks has not been what the Democratic Party expects from its leaders, BuzzFeedreported.

“I mean, at the end of the day this just wasnt leadership that we saw from our Democratic party leaders, and thats why Im calling for a new generation of leaders in our party,” Moulton said on BuzzFeed‘s Twitter morning show “AM to DM.”

The congressmans comments came in the wake of calls for both Democratic Reps. John Conyers (Mich.) and Ruben Kihuen (Nev.) to step down as they face sexual harassment allegations from former female staffers.

Pelosi has faced a wave of criticism after she initially responded during an appearance on “Meet the Press” to the allegations against Conyers by calling him an “icon” and calling for due process.

Over a week after reports came out of the allegations against Conyers, Pelosi reversed course and saidthe longest-serving current member of the House should resign. Pelosi was more quick to call for Kihuens resignation, making her stance clear the day after BuzzFeed reported allegations against him.

When Moulton was asked directly if Conyers and Kihuen should resign, he said “they probably should,” but would not discuss any specifics or give a more pointed answer.

“Im not going to get into the details of these individual cases because it distracts from the larger issue, which is that we have a rampant problem, not just in Congress, but across the United States,” he said.

Moulton also said Congress Office of Compliance, reported to have settled harassment claims with taxpayer funds, has been operating under a “crazy system.”

“The United States Congress should be setting the tone, setting the example for the country, instead were like a century behind with this crazy system where we just pay off, apparently, you know, victims,” Moulton said.

The post Moulton Again Calls for New Democratic Leadership After Pelosi’s Response to Sexual Misconduct Allegations appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Stars and Stripes: High military rate of sexually transmitted disease defies treatment and education efforts

Sexually transmitted disease cases are rising in the military in line with a record number of reported cases across the civilian population in the U.S.

Stars and Stripes

Washington Free Beacon: Netanyahu Calls Out Iran for Anti-Israel Ideology After Iranian Wrestler Told to Throw Match to Avoid Israeli

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday denounced the Iranian government’s hostility to Israel, warning that a regime that crushes “the creative and competitive spirits of its people” and threatens to destroy the Jewish state is “doomed.”

In a video statement posted to Twitter, Netanyahu recalled the story of an Iranian wrestler named Alireza Karimi-Machiani, 23, whose coach told him last week to throw his match in the U23 World Senior Wrestling Championship to avoid facing an Israeli opponent in the next round. Karimi-Machiani, who was easily defeating his Russian opponent, at first continued to compete for the win until his coach shouted again for him to “lose,” at which point he intentionally lost.

Iranian athletes are forbidden from facing Israelis in any sports competition, and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, often refers to Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognize as a state, as a “cancerous tumor.”

“I never imagined I’d say this, but I think Iran’s hostility to Israel can be summed up by the experience of a single Iranian wrestler named Alireza,” Netanyahu said, noting that Karimi-Machiani indicated he did not want to lose and had dreams of winning a gold medal.

“It’s the people of Iran who pay the price” for the regime’s anti-Israel ideology, Netanyahu added.

“Just imagine, a government forbidding its athletes from competing against blacks, gays, or Arabs,” Netanyahu said. “The Iranian regime would rather see its athletes lose than compete against Israelis.”

Netanyahu then issued a challenge to those viewing the video, saying it will “honor and inspire future Alirezas.”

“I want you to film yourself playing a sport against someone of a different nationality, a different faith, or a different color. I want you to compete like hellwe’re all for competition,” Netanyahu said. “Then I want you to shake hands, go out for a drink together, and then upload this to social media. I want you to show Iran’s regime that hating others will never make you a champion. It only makes you a pathetic and insecure loser.”

Netanyahu then issued a message to Karimi-Machiani directly.

“Alireza, I want you to know that the tyrants who made you take a fallwill fall themselves,” Netanyahu said. “A regime that crushes the creative and competitive spirits of its peoplethat regime is doomed.”

“So are those who threaten to destroy the Jewish state,” Netanyahu added. “They’ll go down for the count.”

The post Netanyahu Calls Out Iran for Anti-Israel Ideology After Iranian Wrestler Told to Throw Match to Avoid Israeli appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Stars and Stripes: Marine general asks federal court to overturn his Guantanamo contempt conviction

Lawyers for a Marine general who was found guilty of contempt of the war court and confined to his trailer park quarters are asking a federal judge to cancel the conviction.

Stars and Stripes

Washington Free Beacon: House to Vote on National Gun-Carry Reciprocity, Background Check Fix Bill this Week

The House of Representatives will vote on national gun-carry reciprocity and gun background check fix bills this week.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 and the Fix NICS Act will be combined and likely voted on Wednesday, a GOP aide told the Washington Free Beacon Monday.

“It is my understanding they may be combined,” the aide said. “Rules is meeting at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday. They have both. Floor vote should be Wednesday.”

The House Committee on Rules website shows the texts of the two bills combined as well as an amendment filed by Rep. Dina Titus (D., Nev.) that would strip the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act from the bill. The Republican-controlled committee is likely to defeat the amendment and move the combined bill to the House floor where it is currently scheduled for a vote on or after Wednesday. The bill, which currently has 213 cosponsors, is likely to pass the House vote.

It will then move to the Senate where it will face an uphill battle to garner the 60 votes necessary for passage.

Rep. Richard Hudson (R., N.C.), who introduced the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, expressed optimism about the growing momentum behind the bill since it passed the Judiciary Committee last week.

“An overwhelming majority of Americans support concealed carry reciprocity. Momentum, common sense, and the facts are on our side,” Rep. Hudson said in a statement. “I want to thank Speaker Paul Ryan for his strong support of the Second Amendment, and I urge my colleagues to support this common-sense bill to protect law-abiding citizens.”

Gun-rights activists and gun-control activists have fiercely disagreed over national gun-carry reciprocity. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has made the issue its top priority and announced its intention to get a vote on the issue before the end of the year during its convention earlier this year.

“Our number-one legislative priority remains right-to-carry reciprocity,” Chris Cox, head of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told the Washington Free Beacon at the time.

The NRA and other gun rights proponents have pointed to the case of Shaneen Allen, a Philadelphia mother arrested for carrying a gun in New Jersey despite having a valid Pennsylvania gun-carry permit. Allen spent 40 days in prison and lost her job before being pardoned by Gov. Chris Christie (R., N.J.). Allen was punished, activists said, because New Jersey refuses to recognize gun-carry permits of law-abiding citizens from other states.

Cox cheered passage of the bill through committee last week as a defense of the rights of people like Allen.

“Law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense while traveling across state lines without fear of unknowingly breaking the law,” Cox said. “For years, the National Rifle Association’s top legislative priority has been to pass National Concealed Carry Reciprocity, a much-needed solution to the confusing patchwork of state and local gun laws. The NRA and law-abiding gun owners across America are excited to see this important legislation headed for a vote in the House of Representatives.”

Gun-control activists, on the other hand, have decried national gun-carry reciprocity as “dangerous” and are actively opposing its passage.

“With Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs still in shock over their communities’ losses, Congress is actually moving to weaken our public safety,” former congresswoman Gabby Giffords said in a statement. “It’s an extraordinary violation of the public’s trust. Elections have consequences. We will be watchingand acting.”

Giffords’s self-named gun control group is now running TV ads opposing the national gun-carry reciprocity bill in Minnesota and New Jersey swing districts, a radio ad in Southern California, as well as a digital ad campaign.

The Fix NICS Act, which seeks to better hold military, state, and federal agencies accountable for turning over criminal records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), has not faced the same opposition. Gun-rights and gun-control activists have supported its passage in the wake of the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., which left 26 dead. The shooter was able to pass background checks and purchase firearms because the Air Force had not shared his disqualifying criminal records with the system.

Last month, two former special agents for a Defense Department law enforcement agency told theWashington Free Beacon they had warned about issues with record sharing between the military and the FBI but were ignored. A review of decades of reports from the military’s watchdog agency backs up the agents’ claims and shows negligence from all branches continued in spite of repeated warnings and policy changes.

Rep. John Culberson (R., Texas), who introduced the Fix NICS Act, said it will address the problems in the system and save lives.

“Had existing law been enforced, the terrible tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas, would have never occurred,” Culberson said. “There is simply no excuse for the ongoing negligence of criminal history reporting into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). I’m greatly encouraged by this bipartisan effort to ensure federal and state authorities enforce existing law. I urge my colleagues in Congress to support this lifesaving piece of legislation.”

The NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Giffords, and Everytown for Gun Safety have all expressed support for the Fix NICS Act.

The post House to Vote on National Gun-Carry Reciprocity, Background Check Fix Bill this Weekappeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

global security – Google News: Global Security Printing Procurement Market Intelligence Report 2017 – Research and Markets – Digital Journal

Global Security Printing Procurement Market Intelligence Report 2017 – Research and Markets
Digital Journal
Security Printing Market, provides up-to-date information about market shifts and potential risks, as well as in-depth knowledge of products and services, which can help in planning and executing category management activities. It focuses on the cost 

and more »

global security – Google News

Washington Free Beacon: Acosta: When Journalists Are Attacked, Journalists Have to Resist

CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta on Monday continued to vocally criticize President Donald Trump and his attacks on the media.

During the inaugural Poynter Journalism Ethics Summit, which is “intended to focus on strengthening political reporting and increasing trust in the media,” Acosta commented on his behavior while reporting, behavior that has been criticized by some of his own CNN colleagues.

Acosta seemed to speak for all reporters, saying they are not part of the “resistance,” but added, “When journalists are attacked, journalists have to resist.”

.@Acosta says reporters are not a part of the “resistance,” but adds: “When journalists are attacked, journalists have to resist.” 

Trump began calling CNN “fake news” while on the campaign trail, and continued his fight on Twitter and during speaking engagements after taking office. Acosta, meanwhile, has continued to gain attention for repeated outbursts during press conferences. Some colleagues see his behavior as indicative of an effort to obtain his own opinion show, as opposed to being straight reporting.

After Acosta clashed with White House advisor Stephen Miller in August over immigration policy, MSNBC “Morning Joe” host and vocal Trump critic Joe Scarborough sided with Miller, saying Acosta’s Antics were “like something out of Mein Kampf.”

“Where things seemed to really meltdown was when Jim Acosta talked, and we’re certainly not putting this on Jim Acosta You can watch the clip and choose sides,” Scarborough said. “But when Jim Acosta used the language, it seems like your policies are trying to engineer racial and ethnic percentages’ or something, it sure sounded like something that you would read out of Mein Kampf or something at that point, it went off the rails.”

The CNN correspondent also criticized Trump for hosting a “fake news conference” in July during a trip to Warsaw, Poland where the president once again called CNN “fake news.” Shortly before, Acosta claimed the president’s remarks would lead to a “journalist being hurt,” Mediaitereported.

“We have to stand up to this. We have to confront this and say that its wrong,” he said. “My concern is, and I know its shared by others, is that this kind of rhetoric, this kind of behavior is going to lead to a journalist being hurt. Thats the thing I worry about.”

The press secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, said Acosta’s conduct was “hurting the profession.”

“Hes recognized that if you make a spectacle on the air then youll get more airtime and more clicks,” Spicer told the Washington Post. “If I were a mainstream, veteran reporter, Id be advocating for him to knock it off. Its hurting the profession.”

The post Acosta: ‘When Journalists Are Attacked, Journalists Have to Resist’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Washington Free Beacon: Congress Stalling Trump Ambassadors, Harming U.S. Effort to Combat N. Korea, Conduct Diplomacy

Trump administration insiders are becoming increasingly concerned that a congressional holdup of key ambassador posts is beginning to interfere with critical American foreign policy efforts, particularly those to rally the international community against North Korea and its contested nuclear program, according to Trump administration insiders and congressional officials familiar with the situation.

Amid a global showdown over North Korea’s repeated and increasingly dangerous nuclear tests, Republican leaders in the Senate have declined to hold a vote on several of President Donald Trump’s picks for U.S. ambassador, most notably Richard Grenell, the former U.S. spokesman at the United Nations who was tapped in September to serve as the next American ambassador to Germany.

With no indication that Congress will move in the near future to confirm Trump’s picks, congressional and administration insiders are expressing growing concerns that the holdup is interfering with U.S. attempts to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the situation.

The State Department has been working to pressure Germany and other countries to pull their ambassadors from Pyongyang as part of a larger effort to isolate North Korea from the international community.

Germany has yet to comply with U.S. requests, leading some to express frustration over the vacant ambassador post in that country and other key nations that could help forward U.S. diplomatic efforts to combat North Korea.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), who has the power to push these key votes along, told the Free Beacon late last week that there is no timeframe for confirming ambassadors such as Grenell, sparking further frustration among some in Congress and the White House.

“We need a U.S. ambassador in Berlin urgently,” one lawmaker told the Free Beacon, speaking only on background about the sensitive situation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel “is struggling to form a new government after the collapse of the Jamaica Coalition talks. For anyone who cares about our transatlantic relationship with Europe’s number one economy, moving our ambassador to a final vote should be a priority.”

Trump supporters on Capitol Hill have begun to quietly express concerns about the holdup and the interference it is causing in U.S. diplomatic efforts.

“This is becoming a bigger problem by the day,” said a senior Republican congressional official, also speaking on background. “Without proper representation within some of our greatest international partners, the United States is sabotaging its own influence abroad.”

“The administration needs to immediately install an ambassador to Germany, and work to ensure our allies sever diplomatic ties with North Korea,” the source said.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert emphasized multiple times late last week that Germany and other nations must do more to isolate Pyongyang, though there is little indication Germany has gone as far as the Trump administration would like.

The United States has called “upon countries to do a lot more, which could include kicking out an ambassador,” Nauert said on Friday.

Nauert also hinted at frustration in Foggy Bottom over Congress’s failure to forward personnel choices for critical regions.

“Is this all moving fast enough? Absolutely not,” she told reporters. “We would like it to move faster. The secretary has had conversations internally here and I know he has a lot of conversations with people on the Hill, including a flurry of letters that will go back and forth between our building and also members on Capitol Hill, trying to get people through. So we would like it to move faster. Part of that is not having those selections made, but part of that is the responsibility of the Hill as well to get some of those people moved forward.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel at the State Department last week, but officials said the request to pull its ambassador from North Korea was not discussed.

The diplomatic tension has highlighted the need for President Trump to have his ambassadors in place, sources said.

In addition to the North Korea crisis, Germany is part of the U.S. Visa Waiver program, which has come under scrutiny amid renewed security concerns about potential terrorist exploitation of the program.

“Germany is part of the U.S. Visa Waiver program,” said one former senior U.S. national security official who spoke about the situation. “The Germans’ enforcement of their immigration policies directly impact U.S. national security.”

The Trump administration is said to be increasingly concerned over efforts to stall its picks for key posts.

“When the president gets the people he wants, the machine works,” said one Republican foreign policy adviser who is close to the administration. “Look at how the decisions were done on Iran certification and our embassy in Israel. Those went through staff, deputies, principals, then feedback from the president, and then again.”

“But overseas we still don’t have the president’s people implementing his policies and engaged in the policy process,” the source explained. “Good work is getting done, but it’s below the ambassador level, and in diplomacy there are certain things you need an ambassador appointed by the current president to accomplish. It’s well past time for the Senate to clear out the backlog of nominees. ”

The post Congress Stalling Trump Ambassadors, Harming U.S. Effort to Combat N. Korea, Conduct Diplomacy appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Stars and Stripes: Living with TBI: Veteran injured in Iraq in ’07 is on to a second career as a teacher

Marine Corps Capt. Wally Blair suffered a traumatic brain injury about three weeks into his deployment to Iraq in September 2007 when a roadside bomb exploded near a vehicle he was riding in. Eight years passed before Blair was diagnosed with TBI and today he is thriving, even working toward a second career as a social studies teacher.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes: Soldier from Ohio killed in snowboarding crash in Colorado

A snowboarder killed when he hit a tree at a Colorado ski area was a 23-year-old soldier from Ohio.

Stars and Stripes

Washington Free Beacon: Josh Hawley Takes Aim at Al Frankens Fundraiser for Missouri Democrats, McCaskill

Republican Senate hopeful Josh Hawley is renewing his call for the Missouri Democratic Party and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) to return donations received during a November fundraiser headlined by Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.), who has now been accused by six women of unwanted sexual advances.

Hawley, the sitting attorney general in Missouri, immediately asked McCaskill to join him in calling for Franken’s resignation and to return money received from him. McCaskill returned $30,000 she received from Franken’s Midwest Values PAC and called for an investigation, but is yet to call for his resignation even as women continue to come forward with groping allegations against him.

Hawley’s campaign, bringing up the fact that Franken was introduced and praised by McCaskill at a major fundraiser for the state Democrats just two weeks before the initial allegation, says more needs to be done.

“Just weeks prior to the revelations on Al Franken, Sen. McCaskill stood with him and proudly took his money, and the Missouri Democratic Party did too,” said Scott Paradise, a Hawley spokesman.

Franken keynoted the Missouri Democratic Party’s annual Truman Dinner on November 4. He was introduced by McCaskill, who praised the fundraising boost he provided her campaign.

“Don’t mistake [Franken’s] wit and humor as any substitute for his heart,” McCaskill said in her speech. “He agreed to come to Missouri tonight to help us, but he also agreed to work all day long helping us raise money for our campaign, crisscrossing the state.”

“We had a very successfully day of fundraising for the campaign, because of this man,” McCaskill said.

Hawley’s campaign thinks both McCaskill and the state party should return “every single penny” Franken helped them raise. It added that McCaskill should also return money she received from longtime Minnesota radio host Garrison Keillor, a Democratic donor who defended Franken and was fired last week for “inappropriate behavior.”

“Senator McCaskill should return the money from Garrison Keillor just like she and the Missouri Democrat Party should be returning every single penny raised from their fundraiser with Al Franken,” Paradise said.

Both representatives for McCaskill’s campaign and the Missouri Democrats failed to respond to requests for comment on Hawley’s call.

It is currently unknown how much money was raised on the “very successful day of fundraising” Franken provided McCaskill’s campaign, which won’t have to disclose November fundraising totals until next year.

McCaskill called Franken’s alleged behavior “completely unacceptable” after the first woman, Leeann Tweeden, came forward to say Franken kissed and groped her without consent. “Comedy is no excuse for inappropriate conduct, and I believe there should be an ethics investigation,” the Missouri senator added.

At the fundraising dinner in November, McCaskill praised Franken’s character and referred to him as a friend.

“He knows how to shine the brightest light on wrongdoing and malfeasance,” she said. “He is a truth seeker and no one in the Senate does it better.”

Video of McCaskill’s introduction and Franken’s speech can be viewed below.

The post Josh Hawley Takes Aim at Al Franken’s Fundraiser for Missouri Democrats, McCaskill appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Global Security News: 1:48 PM 12/4/2017 Israel threatened to attack Syria

Israel threatened to attack Syria if Damascus allows Iran to set up military bases in the country,  the Wall Street Journal reported. Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary Recent Searches December 2017 3:36 AM 12/4/2017 – British security services are vastly outgunned by the Russian counterintelligence… … Continue reading“1:48 PM 12/4/2017 – Israel threatened to attack Syria”

Global Security News

Stars and Stripes: Facing a shortage of nurses to care for aging veterans, Milwaukee’s VA hospital rolls out the perks

It’s nurses like Michelle Post who are on the front lines of a health care system ministering to a rapidly aging population of American veterans whose average age is now 65. There aren’t enough nurses like Post to meet the demand.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes: USS Little Rock arrives in NY in advance of commissioning

The U.S. Navy’s new combat ship, the USS Little Rock, glided past its permanently docked World War II-era namesake Monday and into the Buffalo harbor, where it will be commissioned later this month.

Stars and Stripes

Washington Free Beacon: Ellison Dodges on Whether Conyers, Franken Should Resign: Im Going to Ask Them Both to Examine Their Conscience

Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) would not say Monday whether he believes that fellow Democratic lawmakers Rep. John Conyers (Mich.) and Sen. Al Franken (Minn.) should resign over sexual misconduct allegations, instead calling on both men to “examine their conscience.”

“Democracy Now!” host Amy Goodman asked Ellison, deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, whether Conyers and Franken should resign after several woman came forward in recent weeks to accuse both lawmakers of sexual harassment.

“Well, you know, Amy, you know, here’s the thing. I would ask every member of Congress, including those, to look inside their conscience and ask themselves just a few questions,” Ellison responded. “Can you be effective? If you stood up your whole life to stand up for the rights of peopleand both of them haveis it not a moment now where you apply some standards to yourself that you have asked others to live by? These are the questions. Can you be effective? Can you be there for your constituents at this point? These are questions that we all have to answer.”

Ellison added that he hopes for a society in which every person, including women, can go to work and not be afraid of being harassed.

“Ill tell you this. When thisI am hoping for a society where every person, women, can go to work and just do their job without any fear of being harassed, mistreated, treated like second-class-citizenship individuals,” Ellison said. “And the social trends that are driving us, I think, are leading our society to a better place. So, you know, I’ll trust that they will do the right thing for their constituents, for our country.”

Goodman further pressed Ellison on whether Conyers should resign.

AMY GOODMAN: But specifically

REP. KEITH ELLISON: as we move forward.

GOODMAN: Specifically, should John Conyers resign?

ELLISON: I heard your question. I heard your question. I heard your question.

GOODMAN: So you’re not willing to say that?

ELLISON: I’m going to say that I’m going to ask them both to examine their conscience and do the right thing for all of us

GOODMAN: And, of course

ELLISON: and for their legacies.

Goodman then asked whether Ellison’s response is the same for Franken, noting that both he and Franken are from Minnesota.

“And, of course, Senator Franken is your fellow congressional leader from Minnesota. You are answeringyour response is the same for Senator Franken?” Goodman asked.

“Right,” Ellison said.

Several women have accused Franken of inappropriately touching them and one woman said the senator forcibly kissed her. Former staffers for Conyers have accused the congressman of sexual misconduct, and in one case, he used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim. Conyers confirmed the settlement but has denied all allegations of misconduct.

The post Ellison Dodges on Whether Conyers, Franken Should Resign: ‘I’m Going to Ask Them Both to Examine Their Conscience’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Stars and Stripes: Coast Guard medevacs crewmember from ship off California

A crewmember suffering a medical emergency was flown from a cruise ship more than 200 miles off Southern California to a hospital on shore.

Stars and Stripes

RSS for National Security: What’s at stake if the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moves embassy

null

RSS for National Security

Washington Free Beacon: Argentine Navy Calls off Rescue Mission, Continues Search for Missing Submarine

Argentina’s Navy has called off its search for the missing ARA San Juan crew members, acknowledging the diminished chance of finding anyone alive.

The submarine and its 44 crew members had been been missing for weeks, and the point had passed when those aboard would have run out of oxygen without surfacing, the Independent reports.

Argentine Navy official Enrique Balbi said on Friday that the search for the wreckage remained an “active one,” but acknowledged there was “no change of survival,” CNN reported.

“Given … the amount of time that has passed, the extreme and adverse conditions that I have been discussing, we have inferred that there is no chance of survival,” spokesman Enrique Balbi said.

“We are using all means at our disposal, both national and foreign, in the search,” Balbi added. “This will obviously be key in order to conduct our investigation.”

Balbi acknowledged search efforts will now focus on recovering human remains and determining the cause for the loss of vessel.

The submarine first went missing on Nov. 15, according to CNN.

The ARA San Juan disappeared November 15 off Argentina’s coast, about midway on its journey from Usuaia in the country’s south and its northern port of Mar del Plata. The search centered on an area roughly 900 kilometers (559 miles) off the Argentine coast.

At the height of the search, 28 ships and nine airplanes from 11 nations — including the United States and United Kingdom — scoured the sea, backed by more than 4,000 people. The search area extended more than 480 square kilometers (185 square miles) and was roughly 900 kilometers (559 miles) from the Argentine coast.

The German-built diesel-electric submarine had reported water leakage that led to a battering short circuiting and the beginnings of fire. More than a week later, a noise, consistent with an explosion, was detected near the last known location of the missing submarine on the day it vanished.

Word of the possible explosion at the time angered relatives, who seek answers and accused the military of refusing to admit the submariners were dead. The Argentine Navy’s first female submarine officer was among those onboard.

The post Argentine Navy Calls off Rescue Mission, Continues Search for Missing Submarine appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

The National Interest: America is Training F-22, F-35, F-15 and F-16 Pilots to Destroy North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons

Dave Majumdar

Security, Asia

Vigilant Ace 18 is here.

The United States Air Force and the Republic of Korea Air Force are kicking off their massive Vigilant Ace 18 annual wargames just days after the North Korea tested its Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile on November 28.

The massive week-long simulated air warfare exercise will include no less than a total of 230 aircraft including six stealthy top-of-the-line Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air superiority fighters and sixpossibly as many as 18Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. While the exercise comes on the heels of North Koreas missile test, the timing of the wargames is purely coincidence. U.S. and Korean forces have been preparing the for Vigilant Ace for weeks.

“In the event we need to help defend our 51 million Korean allies, I need to be sure the 51st Fighter Wing is synchronized with the Combined-Joint force, Col. William D. Betts, commander of the Osan, Korea-based 51st Fighter Wingwhich flies the venerable Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falconsaid in a statement.

Recommended: This Video Shows What Happens if Washington, D.C. Is Attacked with Nuclear Weapons

Recommended: 8 Million People Could Die in a War with North Korea

Read full article

The National Interest


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1:48 PM 12/4/2017 – Israel threatened to attack Syria

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Israel threatened to attack Syria if Damascus allows Iran to set up military bases in the country, 

the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Putin, Trump and ISIS ‘main threats to liberal values,’ European deputies say – StopFake.org
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Donald Trump says he feels ‘very badly’ for Michael Flynn – video
SNL Warns Trump With ‘Christmas Carol’ Sketch: Ghosts Of Mike Flynn, Billy Bush, And Vladimir Putin Will Haunt You – RealClearPolitics
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Clashes in Yemens capital between rival rebel factions left hundreds dead, including former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the New York Times reported. Houthi rebels said a bomb at his residence killed Saleh, the countrys former ruler who joined with Iranian-backed rebel groups after his ouster in 2011. Online videos appeared to show Salehs body outside his home. Violence between factions of the rebel movement threatened to undermine chances for a peace agreement with Yemens Saudi-backed government. On Saturday, Saleh extended an offer to the Saudi-led coalition to resolve Yemens conflict. Separately, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) denied that a Houthi missile had hit a nuclear power plant being built in Abu Dhabi, according to the Times. The Saudi-led coalitionwhich includes the UAEhas accused Iran of supplying cruise missiles to the Houthi rebels that it is supporting in Yemen.

An Israel-Palestine peace plan that Saudi crown prince Mohamed bin Salman has presented to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has sparked outrage across the Middle East, according to the Times. Bin Salman pushed a plan that heavily favors Israel, giving a proposed state of Palestine only limited sovereignty and allowing most Israeli settlements in the West Bank to remain. Both the Saudi government and the White House denied responsibility for the plan. Separately, Arab states warned the U.S. against recognizing Jerusalem as Israels capital, the Washington Post reported. The foreign ministers from Egypt and Jordan told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that such a move could trigger political protests across the Middle East and disrupt stability. The Trump administration is considering not issuing waiver that would allow the U.S. to keep its embassy in Tel Aviv. The Arab League will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

John Dowd, President Donald Trumps personal lawyer for matters related to the Russia investigation, said the president knew last January that Michael Flynn had given the same misleading account to FBI investigators about his interactions with the Russian ambassador that he gave to Vice President Mike Pence, the Post reported. Dowd said White House Counsel Don McGahn relayed information to Trump from then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates that Flynn had given FBI agents the same story he gave the vice president, about his contacts with Russian officials. Two weeks later, Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to be lenient with Flynn, according to memos that Comey kept of the conversation. Yates testified before the Senate in May that she had not disclosed any details of the FBI investigation to McGahn.

An operative connected to the National Rifle Association (NRA) offered to arrange a back-channel meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the presidential campaign, the Times reported. The conservative operative reached out to Rick Dearborn, a Trump campaign adviser, for advice in how to connect the two leaders. Other conservative operatives also proffered similar requests, all related to the NRAs annual convention and the 2016 election campaign.

Israel threatened to attack Syria if Damascus allows Iran to set up military bases in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Syria against permitting an Iranian military presence shortly before what Syrian officials described as an Israeli missile struck a Syrian military base that supports Iranian activity. Israel has remained mostly uninvolved civil war but has launched about 100 strikes against transports of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah.

The U.S. and South Korea began large-scale joint air force exercises that will carry out simulated strikes on North Korean nuclear and missile sites, the Times reported. Coming one week after North Korea tested a missile capable of reaching all of the continental United States, the drills will include advanced fighter jets and stealth bombers in the over 230 aircraft participating. Pyongyang warned the exercises made nuclear war in the Korean peninsula much more likely.

The U.S. left United Nations talks about a global agreement on migrants and refugees, the Times reported. The Trump administration announced it would quit the U.N. Global Compact on Migration, saying the proposed agreement would have undermined U.S. sovereignty. The Obama administration endorsed a commitment to protecting the rights of migrants and refugees last year. Migrant-rights advocates condemned the Trump administrations decision to withdraw.

Defense Secretary James Mattis called for Pakistan to increase its efforts to fight militants, Reuters reported. Speaking during a one-day visit to Islamabad, Mattis expressed American frustrations that Pakistan has not done more against a resurgent Taliban. Pakistans prime minister affirmed his commitment to achieving peace in Afghanistan during a joint press conference with Mattis.

Maltese authorities arrested ten suspects in connection with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, an investigative journalist who exposed corruption in Maltas government, the Times reported. Galizias killing in October shocked human rights observers who said that Malta should be condemned for failing to respect the rule of law. A European Parliament delegation said Malta had a culture of impunity after visiting the island country.

 

ICYMI: Last Weekend on Lawfare

David Bosco outlined a strategy for the U.S. to navigate the legal and political complexities of the International Criminal Court case that is investigating U.S. activity in Afghanistan.

 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit ourEvents Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on ourJob Board.

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3:36 AM 12/4/2017 – British security services are vastly outgunned by the Russian counterintelligence threat – Business Insider | “We’re going to be growing everything, Mr. Trump said. – M.N.: Sounds sexy…
3:36 AM 12/4/2017 – British security services are vastly outgunned by the Russian counterintelligence…

3:36 AM 12/4/2017 – British security services are vastly outgunned by the Russian counterintelligence threat – Business Insider | “We’re going to be growing everything, Mr. Trump said. – M.N.: Sounds sexy…
4:02 AM 12/4/2017 – The FBI’s reputation is “in Tatters worst in History!” New FBI Director Chris …

4:02 AM 12/4/2017 – The FBI’s reputation is “in Tatters worst in History!” New FBI Director Chris Wray “needs to clean house.”
5:23 AM 12/4/2017 – Et Tu, Brutus?! Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations…

5:23 AM 12/4/2017 – Et Tu, Brutus?! Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations – New York Times
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5:52 AM 12/4/2017 – Trump: FBI’s reputation in tatters – The Hill
The U.S. and Global Security Review: Behavior and Law: M.N.: FBI, get your hands off the Sciences!!! We d…

Behavior and Law: M.N.: FBI, get your hands off the Sciences!!! We d…: We do need the comprehensive, in-depth, objective investigation, reassessment, and reevaluation of the FBI M.N. In my humble opinion, w…

 The U.S. and Global Security Review

M.N.: FBI, get your hands off the Sciences!!! We do need the comprehensive, in-depth, objective investigation…

M.N.: FBI, get your hands off the Sciences!!! We do need the comprehensive, in-depth, objective investigation, reassessment, and reevaluation of the FBI. The FBIs darling special, professional, and VIP informants made the nice careers for themselves in Psychiatry, including the leadership positions in the American Psychiatric Association, not because of their intellectual or other abilities, but because of their special affiliation with the FBI, and informing on the researchers who have these abilities. Some psychiatric Mata Haries apparently would not even stop at using their sexual connections for these purposes.
Personally, besides the FBIs blatant and undue interference in political matters, I am especially concerned…

Personally, besides the FBIs blatant and undue interference in political matters, I am especially concerned about the FBIs interference in Science, and in Psychiatry. For example, the FBIs interference in Anthropology is the well known and the well-established fact.
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10:55 AM 12/4/2017 – Michael Flynn Investigation Sparks Concern About a Politicized FBI – LifeZette
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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Michael Flynn Investigation Sparks Concern About a Politicized FBI – LifeZette Your DNA kit begins a journey of discovery but are results in safe hands? Women Line Up to Run for Office, Harnessing Their Outrage at Trump – New York Times Is Trump About to Blow Up Jared Kushner’s … Continue reading“10:55 AM 12/4/2017 – Michael Flynn Investigation Sparks Concern About a Politicized FBI – LifeZette”
Putin, Trump and ISIS ‘main threats to liberal values,’ European deputies say – StopFake.org


StopFake.org
Putin, Trump and ISIS ‘main threats to liberal values,’ European deputies say
StopFake.org
The deputies of the European Parliament who form Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) at a meeting in Amsterdam say that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Donald Trump along with the Islamic state are the 

Trump: Fired National Security Adviser Treated Unfairly – Voice of America


Newsweek
Trump: Fired National Security Adviser Treated Unfairly
Voice of America
President Donald Trump has expressed sympathy for his former National security adviser Michael Flynn, saying Flynn had been treated unfairly by investigators looking into Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential election. Flynn pleaded guilty Friday 
The Early Edition: December 4, 2017Just Security
Byron York: In Trump-Russia probe, was it all about the Logan Act?Washington Examiner
‘Closer to the bullseye’: How damning is Michael Flynn’s guilty plea for Trump?SBS
Mic –Haaretz –Politico
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Russia hits back over ‘completely absurd’ Flynn allegations – CNN


CNN
Russia hits back over ‘completely absurd’ Flynn allegations
CNN
The lies were about a series of calls Flynn had with Kislyak. The calls were about two distinct events: a controversial vote at the United Nations and President Barack Obama’s decision to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 US election. The Obama

and more »

Donald Trump says he feels ‘very badly’ for Michael Flynn – video

The US president addresses the media about his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who last week pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Trump had already fired Flynn for lying to the vice-president, Mike Pence, about his contacts with Russia in February. Trump said it was very unfair how Flynn was being treated compared to Hillary Clinton, who Trump claimed had lied to the FBI many times without sanction

Continue reading…

SNL Warns Trump With ‘Christmas Carol’ Sketch: Ghosts Of Mike Flynn, Billy Bush, And Vladimir Putin Will Haunt You – RealClearPolitics


RealClearPolitics
SNL Warns Trump With ‘Christmas Carol’ Sketch: Ghosts Of Mike Flynn, Billy Bush, And Vladimir Putin Will Haunt You
RealClearPolitics
Via Saturday Night Live: President Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) is visited by the spirits of Michael Flynn (Mikey Day), Billy Bush (Alex Moffatt), Vladimir Putin (Beck Bennett) and Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon) in this ‘Christmas Carol’ parody warning 
Trump is Haunted by Xmas Ghosts Billy Bush, Vladimir Putin and Hillary Clinton in SNL Cold Open: WATCHTowleroad

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US govt could ‘lose perspective’ & move towards war Oliver Stone – Newsline


Newsline
US govt could ‘lose perspective’ & move towards war Oliver Stone
Newsline
Stone went on to speak about his perception of Putin, after interviewing him for over 30 hours for the interview series. If I can give you an overall opinion of Mr. Putin, he’s the ultimate negotiator; he will wear you out. He really believes in 

and more »

US Using Political Pressure to Draw Balkans Into NATO – Russian Foreign Ministry – Sputnik International


Sputnik International
US Using Political Pressure to Draw Balkans Into NATO – Russian Foreign Ministry
Sputnik International
The Western states repeatedly raised concerns with regard to the joint drills, saying that the Russian troops, deployed in Belarus for the military exercises, were likely to stay in the country afterward, which was repeatedly refuted by Russia. Moscow 

Bob Mueller ‘Has a Huge Conflict of Interest,’ Says Former Assistant FBI Director – Breitbart News


Breitbart News
Bob Mueller ‘Has a Huge Conflict of Interest,’ Says Former Assistant FBI Director
Breitbart News
Bob Mueller should have never been offered nor accepted the job as special counsel as he has a huge conflict of interest, JimKallstrom tells Breitbart News. He should have recused himself. Not only do observers describe Mueller and the man he 

Why Does Our Side Keep Losing Elections? – New York Times


New York Times
Why Does Our Side Keep Losing Elections?
New York Times
Turning Point: Elections in Europe give wind to right-wing nationalist movements. In the wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Narendra Modi’s voter-sanctioned authoritarianism and the Polish and Hungarian 

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11:26 AM 12/4/2017 – Turkey issues warrant for ex-CIA officer over alleged role in 2016 coup

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‘Closer to the bullseye’: How damning is Michael Flynn’s guilty plea for Trump? – SBS
Tom Hanks Blasts Trump For Attacking The Media
Tom Hanks Blasts Trump For Attacking The Media – HuffPost
Your Guide to Understanding the Trump-Russia Saga – Bloomberg
Trump is having the best and worst days of his presidency right now – CNN
All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next? – The Guardian
All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next? | Jill Abramson
Robert Mueller forced Michael Flynn to agree to wear a wire
Flynn’s Case Proves It’s Time to Fire Mueller – FrontPage Magazine
Google needs the First Amendment, too – Washington Examiner
Republican tax bill is ‘fiscally irresponsible’ and based on ‘delusional’ assumption, investor says – CNBC
Donald Trump – Google News: Donald Trump, Syria, Corsica: Your Monday Briefing – New York Times
Mexico Inches Closer to Solidifying Military’s Crime-Fighting Role – Insightcrime.org
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Trump lashes out at own FBI in a series of tweets – WTHR
Trump Bashes FBI After Agent Removed From Election Investigation – CBS Minnesota / WCCO
All America now part of Trump’s distracting reality show – Charleston Post Courier
Russia edges in as key power broker with North Korea – Nikkei Asian Review
Imagine With Me…
James Comey continues to subtweet Donald Trump into the ground after President’s Twitter attack on FBI – Mirror.co.uk
BC Attorney-General moves to curb casino money laundering – The Globe and Mail

 

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Turkey issues warrant for ex-CIA officer over alleged role in 2016 coup

The Turkish government has issued a warrant for the arrest of a former officer in the United States Central Intelligence Agency, which Ankara claims was instrumental in the failed July 2016 attempt to topple the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The move comes amidst heightened tensions in relations between Ankara and Washington. The two NATO allies have partially revoked entry visas for each others citizens, while it is alleged that Michael Flynn, US President Donald Trumps former national security advisor, had an illegal agreement with Turkey to help abduct a Turkish dissident cleric living in Pennsylvania and help transport him to Turkey.

Theresa May ‘appears on Saturday Night Live’ and brags about her war of words with Donald Trump – The Sun


The Sun
Theresa May ‘appears on Saturday Night Live’ and brags about her war of words with Donald Trump
The Sun
The second post features a clip showing a Muslim man appearing to destroy a statue of the Virgin Mary. The third and final tweet claims to show a group of men killing a youngster and is titled: “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to 

and more »

‘Closer to the bullseye’: How damning is Michael Flynn’s guilty plea for Trump? – SBS


SBS
‘Closer to the bullseye’: How damning is Michael Flynn’s guilty plea for Trump?
SBS
Former United States national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had had with the Russian ambassador to the US. Mr Flynn admitted on Saturday he lied when he told FBI agents in January this year 
Byron York: In Trump-Russia probe, was it all about the Logan Act?Washington Examiner
Kushner said to have ordered Flynn to contact RussiaThe Edge Markets MY
This week in Trump-Russia news: Well, that escalated quickly, didn’t it?Mic
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Tom Hanks Blasts Trump For Attacking The Media

“We’re not the United States without the First Amendment,” says the actor.

Tom Hanks Blasts Trump For Attacking The Media – HuffPost


HuffPost
Tom Hanks Blasts Trump For Attacking The Media
HuffPost
Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks decried President Donald Trump‘s relentless attacks on the media on Saturday. Trump’sattempts to delegitimize mainstream media will only raise the stock of agenda-filled outlets, Hanks told CNN’s Axe Files. They’re 

and more »

Your Guide to Understanding the Trump-Russia Saga – Bloomberg

Your Guide to Understanding the Trump-Russia Saga
Bloomberg
By now, few American elected leaders — other than President Donald Trump, on occasion –dispute that elements of the Russian state interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. What remains unproven is whether anybody from Trump’swinning 

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Trump is having the best and worst days of his presidency right now – CNN


CNN
Trump is having the best and worst days of his presidency right now
CNN
Washington (CNN) No wonder the President is lashing out. Donald Trump waited 10 long months for the vindication of his first legacy-boosting win on Capitol Hill — the Senate vote on tax reform. But his triumph, when it came, was tainted by his worst  
Russia-Trump: President criticised for attacking FBIBBC News
Week Ahead: Trump Aims To Dismiss Russia Probe As Partisan; Can He Get His Taxes Win?NPR

Trump lawyer says president knew Flynn had given FBI the same account he gave to vice presidentWashington Post 
Trump’s lawyer offered a dubious explanation for Trump’s bombshell tweet about Michael FlynnBusiness Insider
Trump, Defending Himself After Flynn Guilty Plea, Says FBI Is in ‘Tatters’New York Times

Los Angeles Times Business InsiderNew York Times
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All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next? – The Guardian


The Guardian
All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next?
The Guardian
The Flynn plea deal makes clear that he was not acting as a lone ranger in his communications with Russian officials, including the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. Documents show that Flynn was told to call the Russians and other key 
Russia investigation sheds new light on Jared Kushner’s involvement with MoscowLos Angeles Times

all 683 news articles »

All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next? | Jill Abramson

The investigation is taking a new twist, as Donald Trump appears to be distancing himself from his son-in-lawGame of Trumps is about to get really bloody. With special counsel Robert Muellers investigation moving ever closer to President Trump himself, it looks like someone inside the family is about to be sacrificed.

With Michael Flynn, Trumps former national security adviser, pleading guilty last week to the charge of lying to the FBI, much more about the Russia scandal is now coming into focus. The Flynn flip was by far the most dramatic event so far in the investigation into alleged Russian interference in 2016s US presidential race. Flynns evidence can only lead up the chain of power towards Trump.

Related: Mueller investigation takes a big step closer to Donald Trump

What Kushner told the president about firing former FBI director James Comey will be critical

Continue reading…

Robert Mueller forced Michael Flynn to agree to wear a wire

This week Special Counsel Robert Mueller finalized a plea agreement with Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who agreed to testify in the Trump-Russia scandal in exchange for sentencing leniency. Now that the deal is official, its details are becoming a matter of public record. Among the most fascinating aspects of the plea deal: Mueller forced Flynn to agree to wear a wire.

In exact words, the deal required Flynn to agree to participate “in covert law enforcement activities,” as dug up by the Guardian (link). In other words, Flynn had to agree to spy on other suspects or targets involved in the Trump-Russia scandal. In Flynn’s case that could only have meant wearing a wire, planting a bug, or something similar. Considering that Flynn is ex-military and used to run the Defense Intelligence Agency, it’s perfectly reasonable to believe he could have pulled this off. Now for the bigger question: when the heck would this have happened?

We don’t know that Flynn actually did wear a wire, only that he was forced to agree to wear a wire. The strange part is that the clause is being included in Flynn’s plea deal just now, as his deal is becoming public, so everyone in the Trump-Russia scandal now knows not to talk to Flynn anyway. Some will argue that this is merely boilerplate language. But I believe there are two other possible, and more specific, explanations.

I’ve long suspected, based on a variety of circumstantial evidence, that Michael Flynn began partially cooperating with Robert Mueller this summer, to try to get Mueller to leave his son alone. If so, it’s possible Mueller had Flynn wearing a wire and spying on Donald Trump’s people back then. The other explanation would be that Mueller is throwing this clause into Flynn’s plea deal, despite not being able to act on it, simply to scare every other Trump-Russia suspect. The more paranoid they become about the possibility of Mueller already having dirt on them, the more likely they are to cut a deal.

The post Robert Mueller forced Michael Flynn to agree to wear a wire appeared first on Palmer Report.

Flynn’s Case Proves It’s Time to Fire Mueller – FrontPage Magazine


FrontPage Magazine
Flynn’s Case Proves It’s Time to Fire Mueller
FrontPage Magazine
A week before Trump’s inauguration, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that there was nothing necessarily inappropriate about contact between members of the incoming administration and foreign officials because Flynn was part of the 

and more »

Google needs the First Amendment, too – Washington Examiner


Washington Examiner
Google needs the First Amendment, too
Washington Examiner
Government officials may have threatened Google to bring about this de-ranking of Russia Today. If so, the First Amendment poses questions for us. We need to answer such questions, however, only if government officials did in fact threaten Google 

Republican tax bill is ‘fiscally irresponsible’ and based on ‘delusional’ assumption, investor says – CNBC


CNBC
Republican tax bill is ‘fiscally irresponsible’ and based on ‘delusional’ assumption, investor says
CNBC
The Senate GOP tax plan will increase the deficit by more than $1.4 trillion over a decade, according to analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. That includes money for additional debt service payments due to the bill. “I think when you add a

and more »

Donald Trump – Google News: Donald Trump, Syria, Corsica: Your Monday Briefing – New York Times


New York Times
Donald Trump, Syria, Corsica: Your Monday Briefing
New York Times
While the selection has been criticized as non-news, it is already getting attention from last year’s recipient, Donald Trump, who was then the U.S. president-elect. Mr. Trump recently said that Time editors had called to tell him he would probably 

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 Donald Trump – Google News

Mexico Inches Closer to Solidifying Military’s Crime-Fighting Role – Insightcrime.org


Insightcrime.org
Mexico Inches Closer to Solidifying Military’s Crime-Fighting Role
Insightcrime.org
Lawmakers in Mexico moved one step closer to cementing the military’s role in the fight against organized crime, despite criticisms about whether oversight mechanisms have been put in place to ensure accountability and transparency. Mexico’s lower 

The Irrational, Unshakable Faith of the Collusion Conspiracists – Townhall


Townhall
The Irrational, Unshakable Faith of the Collusion Conspiracists
Townhall
Instantly the Trump impeachment mob was high fiving and laying bets how soon the trail would lead to Trump and force his exit. ABC’s Brian Ross added to the frenzy when he breathlessly blurted that Flynn was cooperating with Muller, and would testify 

and more »

Investigation sheds new light on Kushner’s ties to Russia – Cecil Whig


Cecil Whig
Investigation sheds new light on Kushner’s ties to Russia
Cecil Whig
Kushner met Kislyak in April 2016 at a foreign policy speech by Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Kushner also held a Dec. 13 meeting with Sergey Gorkov, head of the state-owned Vnesheconombank, Russia’s national development bank. He said he 

and more »

Is Vladimir Putin really the evil genius behind Donald Trump? – Toronto Star


Toronto Star
Is Vladimir Putin really the evil genius behind Donald Trump?
Toronto Star
I expect Flynn wouldn’t have bothered lying to the FBI about conversations with, say, the Canadian ambassador on matters of mutual interest. But, in this climate, talking to the Russians was simply one step too far. The ostensible reason is the widely  
Kremlin says Flynn didn’t influence Putin’s decision to not retaliate against US sanctionsNBCNews.com
Kremlin denies that Flynn persuaded Putin to hold off on retaliatory sanctionsWashington Post

all 46 news articles » 

and more »

Trump lashes out at own FBI in a series of tweets – WTHR

Trump lashes out at own FBI in a series of tweets
WTHR
FBI ‘agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.’ Led Clinton Email probe.” In a separate tweet, he wrote: “Report: ‘ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE’ Now it all starts to make sense!” Strzok’s removal almost certainly reflected a desire to 

and more »

Trump Bashes FBI After Agent Removed From Election Investigation – CBS Minnesota / WCCO

Trump Bashes FBI After Agent Removed From Election Investigation
CBS Minnesota / WCCO
Latest Videos. Sponsored By. Trump Bashes FBI After Agent Removed From Election Investigation. The president says the FBI’s reputation is in tatters after reports of an FBI agent being removed from investigating in the 2016 election, Laura Podesta 

All America now part of Trump’s distracting reality show – Charleston Post Courier

All America now part of Trump’s distracting reality show
Charleston Post Courier
The truth about Trump is not that he’s crazy. He’s a narcissist and a neurotic with a feral talent for attracting the attention he craves. In Russia, Putin can compel attention thanks to his complete control over most media and many other aspects of 

and more »

Russia edges in as key power broker with North Korea – Nikkei Asian Review


Nikkei Asian Review
Russia edges in as key power broker with North Korea
Nikkei Asian Review 
Unlike China, Russia traditionally has little economic leverage over Pyongyang.
 But the Putin administration is believed to have given the North Korean issue high priority. Moscow likely sees its role as go-between as a bargaining chip with the U.SU.S. administration of President Donald Trump. Relations with Washington have 

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Imagine With Me…

Imagine with me since extraordinary times call for extraordinary imaginings that tonight, with little forewarning, there

James Comey continues to subtweet Donald Trump into the ground after President’s Twitter attack on FBI – Mirror.co.uk


Mirror.co.uk
James Comey continues to subtweet Donald Trump into the ground after President’s Twitter attack on FBI
Mirror.co.uk
Flynn admitted making false statements about contacts he had in December with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, after Trump’s election but before he was sworn in as President. “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge 
President Trump attacks FBI in Twitter tiradeTen Eyewitness News

all 78 news articles »

BC Attorney-General moves to curb casino money laundering – The Globe and Mail


The Globe and Mail
BC Attorney-General moves to curb casino money laundering
The Globe and Mail
The ability to launder millions of dollars through British Columbia’s casinos has come to be known internationally as the “Vancouver Model,” says the province’s Attorney-General, who maintains regulations have been so lax that the province has become 

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9:42 AM 12/4/2017 – K.T. McFarland discussed how sanctions imposed by the Obama administration would make it harder for Trump to reach out to Moscow

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The F.B.I.s reputation is in Tatters worst in History! Trump tweeted yesterday, as part of a series of tweets directed at the F.B.I. accusing the agency of bias, the presidents comments drew condemnation from an array of figures. Trump also accused the former F.B.I. Director James Comey of lying about his role in the investigation into Flynn, Michael D. Shear reportS at the New York Times.

Emails between trop transition officials suggest that the

Trump transition team were keen to improve relations with Russia and that Flynn was not a mere rogue actor,

an email from transition adviser

K.T. McFarland discussed how sanctions imposed by the Obama administration would make it harder for Trump to reach out to Moscow.

Michael S. Schmidt, Sharon LaFraniere and Scott Shane report at the New York Times.

Saved Stories

Saved Stories – None
8:47 AM 12/4/2017 Dear Mr. Clapper
The Early Edition: December 4, 2017
Clapper pushes back on Trump: FBI is premiere law enforcement organization in world – The Hill
In pre-dawn Twitter message, Trump issues a fresh denial about intervening in Flynn investigation
McMaster: National security team not missing a beat because of Trump controversies
A killer cop is using Jeff Sessions’ lies as criminal defense – Salon
5:52 AM 12/4/2017 Trump: FBIs reputation in tatters The Hill
Presidential Attacks on the FBI Are Losing Their Novelty – New York Magazine
New documents reveal FBI’s Clinton cover-up | Fox News – Fox News
Trump: FBI’s reputation in tatters – The Hill
9:26 AM 12/3/2017 Trump issues a fresh denial about intervening in Flynn investigation
Russia-Trump: President hits out at FBI over Russia inquiry – BBC News
DOJ And FBI Threatened With Contempt Of Congress For ‘Hiding’ Info On Anti-Trump FBI Investigator – The Daily Caller
House Republicans target FBI, DOJ for contempt over Russia investigation – MassLive.com
House Republicans prepare contempt action against FBI, Department of Justice – Kansas City Star
11:41 AM 12/3/2017 Trump lashes out at own FBI in a series of tweets The Daily Freeman
FBI asked to lead probe into slain Baltimore detective’s death – Police News
‘Now it all starts to make sense!’ Trump touts report that FBI agent removed from Russia probe exchanged anti-Trump … – Daily Mail
Trump reloads on FBI’s Clinton email probe, after reports of ‘tainted’ anti-Trump agent – Fox News
Trump, Defending Himself After Flynn Guilty Plea, Says F.B.I. Is in Tatters
The Latest: Senator foresees obstruction of justice case – Wichita Eagle
Why Mueller banished a top agent to the FBI’s ‘Siberia’ – CNN
Holder hits back at Trump: The FBI’s reputation is not in ‘tatters’ – The Hill
‘Meet The Press’ Roundtable: No Confidence In Trump? Mueller Investigation, Sexual Harassment – RealClearPolitics
Huckabee: Mueller’s investigation needs to be investigated after FBI agent fired – The Hill

 

Saved Stories – None
8:47 AM 12/4/2017 Dear Mr. Clapper

(From a “rank and file” and the very ordinary citizen)  Dear Mr. Clapper:  To say that the FBI is the “premier law enforcement organization in the world” implies the same underlying logic as to say that “Mr. Clapper is the most perfect gentleman in the world”. Both statements might very well be true, to put the … Continue reading“8:47 AM 12/4/2017 – Dear Mr. Clapper…”

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/12/03/20171203-100000-VEN119-program_original.mp3

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The Early Edition: December 4, 2017
 

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Trumps former national security advisor Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the F.B.I. on Friday and said that a senior Trump transition official told him to make contact with Russia. A brief by special counsel Robert Mueller alleged that Flynn willfully and knowingly made materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations to F.B.I. agents when interviewed in January, and also alleged that Flynn had lied about the nature of his phone calls with the former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late December 2016 regarding further sanctions on Moscow and a U.N. Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements. Jenna McLaughlin reports at Foreign Policy.

The very senior transition official referred to in the Flynn plea agreement is the presidents son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, according to a member of Trumps transition team speaking on the condition of anonymity, the AP reports.

I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies, Trump tweeted at the weekend, the presidents message seemingly contradicted his previous assertions that he had fired Flynn in February because he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence over whether he had spoken to Kislyak about sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration. Maggie Haberman, Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear report at the New York Times.

Trumps personal lawyer John Dowd said yesterday that Trump was aware in late January that Flynn had probably given F.B.I. agents an inaccurate account of his call with Kislyak and that this had been the same misleading account that Flynn had provided Vice President Pence, Dowd also confirmed that he had drafted Trumps controversial tweet about firing Flynn. Carol D. Leonnig, John Wagner and Ellen Nakashima report at the Washington Post.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin had not been influenced by Flynn, the Kremlin said today, Reuters reports.

Legal experts were bemused and concerned by the tweet apparently composed by Dowd, with the tweet suggesting that Trump took part in the obstruction of justice, however Dowd said that the tweet was a mistake and that he was sorry to have misled people. The Guardian reports.

The F.B.I.s reputation is in Tatters worst in History! Trump tweeted yesterday, as part of a series of tweets directed at the F.B.I. accusing the agency of bias, the presidents comments drew condemnation from an array of figures. Trump also accused the former F.B.I. Director James Comey of lying about his role in the investigation into Flynn, Michael D. Shear reportS at the New York Times.

Emails between trop transition officials suggest that the Trump transition team were keen to improve relations with Russia and that Flynn was not a mere rogue actor, an email from transition adviser K.T. McFarland discussed how sanctions imposed by the Obama administration would make it harder for Trump to reach out to Moscow. Michael S. Schmidt, Sharon LaFraniere and Scott Shane report at the New York Times.

An National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) member discussed setting up a back-channel meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in an email to Trump campaign adviser Rick Dearborn in May last year, saying that he would try to make first contact during the N.R.A.s annual convention. The N.R.A. members outreach followed a few days after a similar suggestion by an American advocate for Christian and veterans causes, and the meetings appear to involve Alexander Torshin the deputy governor of the Russian central bank and a key figure in Putins political party, Nicholas Fandos reports at the New York Times.

Mueller removed a high-ranking F.B.I. agent from his team in the late summer due to his potential anti-Trump bias, Peter Strzok had previously been in charge of running the investigation into Hillary Clintons use of a private email server. The revelation was seized on by the president who tweetedyesterday: Now it all starts to make sense! Del Quentin Wilber and Paul Sonne report at the Wall Street Journal.

The Flynn plea agreement includes the possibility of participation in covert law enforcement activities and this may prove to be an important issue as it could include wearing a concealed wire or the recording of telephone conversations with other potential suspects. Marcia Chambers and Charles Keiser set out the potential significance of the section eight of the deal at the Guardian.

You tweet and comment regarding ongoing criminal investigation at your own peril, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned Trump, constituting one of the voices from an array of Democratic and Republican lawmakers expressing concern about the presidents comments. Roberta Rampton and Karen Freifeld report at Reuters.

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) said yesterday that Mueller may be constructing an obstruction of justice case that could implicate the president, Kyle Cheney reports at POLITICO.

The five key takeaways from Flynns guilty plea are provided by Morgan Chalfant at the Hill.

The significance of Flynns guilty plea is analyzed by eleven legal experts at POLITICO Magazine.

The documents filed by Mueller provide a number of interesting insights, including Muellers intention to do away with extraneous issues such as Flynns connections to the Turkish government and that there are more revelations to come. Barbara McQuade provides an analysis at The Daily Beast.

A timeline setting out what is known about Flynns phone calls with Russia, and conversations regarding Obama-era sanctions on Moscow, are provided by Gregor Aisch, K.K. Rebecca Lai and Karen Yourish at the New York Times.

Flynns plea does not shed more light on what happened during the 2016 presidential campaign, Flynn may be cooperating with prosecutors and may have more information to divulge, however it pays to wait for the evidence, the Wall Street Journal editorial board argues.

The question is who might now be swept up in the investigation? The New York Times editorial boardwrites, saying that the plea struck by Mueller shows that Flynn is part of a larger cooperation deal that suggests he has valuable information to share and the obvious candidate to be considered in the probe is Kushner.

The plea reveals that Flynn was being guided by senior transition officials in his calls to Kislyak regarding Obama-era sanctions on Russia and the U.N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements, and as the investigation develops it is of the utmost importance that Mr. Mueller be able to continue unimpeded in his work. The Washington Post editorial board writes.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

Trumps son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role in a foundation that funded an illegal Israeli settlement, the revelations come following indications that a senior adviser attempted to influence a U.N. Security Council vote condemning West Bank settlements. Chris Riotta reports at Newsweek.

Trump is expected to announce a plan on Wednesday that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israels capital but would not move the U.S. Embassy there for now, according to sources familiar with the matter, the move intended to strike a compromise between a pledge made by Trump during the presidential campaign and the need to maintain the peace progress. Mark Landler and Julie Hirschfeld Davis report at the New York Times.

Abbas warned against recognizing Jerusalem as Israels capital and other leaders have joined in condemning such a plan, the Arab League leader Ahmed Abul Gheit saying that nothing justifies this act it will not serve peace or stability, instead it will nourish fanaticism and violence, and Jordans Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi saying that he had spoken to the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the dangerous consequences of recognizing Jerusalem. Peter Beaumont reports at the Guardian.

Kushner spoke at the Saban forum on the Middle East yesterday to discuss a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, saying that he was optimistic that there is a lot of hope for bringing a conclusion, despite acknowledging the many obstacles to achieving the ultimate deal. Annie Karni reports at POLITICO.

Trump is still looking at a lot of different facts regarding the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capital, Kushner said yesterday, adding that Trump would make the announcement when has made a decision. Reuters reports.

A peace deal between Israel and Palestine would be necessary to counter Irans expansionism and Islamist extremism, Kushner also said yesterday, saying that an agreement was essential to stability of the region. Karen DeYoung and Loveday Morris report at the Washington Post.

An insight into the debates within the Trump administration over recognizing Jerusalem as Israels capital is provided by Anne Gearan at the Washington Post.

A private meeting between the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Saudi Arabias Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has caused anxiety across the region, according to officials who have heard Abbass version of the meeting. Bin Salman advocated a plan that was more in favor of Israel than that which has been put forward by the U.S., and the reports of their discussion have led to some speculating that the Crown Prince has been trying to ingratiate himself with President Trump, consequently sowing suspicion about Trumps efforts to negotiate a peace deal, Anne Barnard, David M. Halbfinger and Peter Baker report at the New York Times.

The issue of Jerusalem is the most sensitive and volatile issue in the Israel-Palestine negotiations and should be avoided, such a move would not be worth the trouble and would further complicate the peace process. Aaron David Miller writes at CNN.

NORTH KOREA

The U.S. and South Korea began five days of military exercises today, amid increased tension on the Korean Peninsula, however the U.S. military said the joint maneuvers were not in response to any incident or provocation. Andrew Jeong reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. and South Korea are creating a situation that a nuclear war may break out any moment, North Korean state media said today in response to the large-scale joint military exercises, Brad Lendon and Taehoon Lee report at CNN.

The U.S. is in a race to address the North Korea threat, the White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said yesterday, the BBC reports.

The U.S. should take the example of Israel if it seeks to stop North Koreas aggression, looking particularly to Israels efforts to undermine the financial resources of its enemies. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner reports at the New York Times.

YEMEN

Unconfirmed reports have emerged that Yemens former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed in fighting today, Reuters reporting.

The alliance between supporters of Saleh and the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels seems to have broken down, the two sides having taken aim at each other in street battles in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa over the past few days. The AP reports.

Saleh offered on Saturday to turn a new page in ties with the Saudi-led coalition if it stopped attacking Yemen, making the comments amid increased violence between Salah supporters and the Houthis. Reuters reports.

The Saudi-led coalition welcomed Salehs offer of talks, saying in a statement yesterday that the decision would free Yemen of militias loyal to Iran. The BBC reports.

The cause in the apparent breakdown in the alliance remains unclear, with some pointing at Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and other allies for turning Saleh against the Houthis. Ali Al-Mujahed and Kareem Fahim report at the Washington Post.

An analysis of the breakdown in the Houthi-Saleh alliance is provided by Faisal Edroos at Al Jazeera.

The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday urged the parties to the conflict in Yemen to stop all ground and air assaults, Reuters reporting.

The TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

The Trump administration is scheduled to release its first national security strategy within the next few weeks, according the White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster the strategy would set out the administrations terms for working with other nations. Julian E. Barnes and Gordon Lubold report at the Wall Street Journal.

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refuted reports that he would be leaving his post and be replaced by C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo, saying on Saturday that people need to get better sources. Jeff Mason reports at Reuters.

Diplomats across the world have expressed concern about reports that Tillerson is set to leave the Trump administration, with some longing for stability in U.S. foreign policy and others worried about further unpredictability should he depart. Robin Emmott and Noah Barkin report at Reuters.

SYRIA

Syrian and Russia jets bombed the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near the Syrian capital of Damascus, killing at least 27 people and injuring dozens, aid workers and the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said today. Suleiman Al-Khalidi reports at Reuters.

The politics of rebuilding Syria raises a plethora of issues, including whether the U.S. and the West should provide funds to reconstruct areas, thereby consolidating Syrian President Bashar al-Assads power. Somini Sengupta provides an analysis at the New York Times.

IRAN

C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo sent a letter to Irans Maj. Gen Qassem Soleimani and Iranian leaders about Irans aggressive behavior in Iraq, Pompeo said at a panel on Saturday, saying that the letter communicated that the U.S. would hold him and Iran accountable for any attacks on American interests in Iraq by forces that are under their control. Reuters reporting.

 The Islamic Republic of Iran will definitely not negotiate on defense and missile issues, Irans foreign ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi said today, responding to comments from French officials and the French President Emmanuel Macron on Irans ballistic missile program. Reuters reports.

PAKISTAN

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called on Pakistan to do more to combat terrorism, saying today during a visit to Pakistan that he wants to work with the U.S. to address the problems. Lolita C. Baldor reports at the AP.

The Pakistani government seems to be capitulating to hardline Muslim groups prompting questions about the long-term capability of the government to counter religious extremism. Pamela Constable explains at the Washington Post.

GULF-ARAB DISPUTE

Qatars Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani stated that he would attend the annual summit of Gulf Arab heads of state this week, amid increased tensions in the Gulf following the diplomatic isolation of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain in June. Reuters reports.

The dynamics behind the decision to isolate Qatar were to allow Saudi Arabia to deflect attention from the simmering tension inside their own insular borders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes at the New York Times.

It is unclear whether the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.) summit would help to resolve the Gulf crisis, Farah Najjar and Linah Alsaafin explain at Al Jazeera 

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The death toll from Octobers attack in Somalias capital of Mogadishu has risen to 512, according to the committee investigating the attack which has been blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab terrorist group. The AP reports.

National Security Agency (N.S.A.) employee Nghia Hoang Pho pled guilty to violating the Espionage Act on Friday, Pho took his work home and looked at sensitive files while using anti-virus software from the Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. Ellen Nakashima reports at the Washington Post.

The U.S. has withdrawn from negotiations on a voluntary pact to deal with migration, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley saying on Saturday that Americas immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone. Patrick Wintour reports at the Guardian.

The leader of the Talibans special forces branch was killed last week by Afghan forces, according to Afghanistans National Directorate of Security, Reuters reporting.

The lawyers for Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker who has been confined to quarters after being found guilty of contempt of the war court at Guantánamo Bay have called for a federal judge to cancel his conviction, arguing in a court filing that the conviction that arose out of the U.S.S. Cole case could lead to a series of career-damaging or career-ending consequences. Carol Rosenberg reports at the Miami Herald.

The French President Emmanuel Macron called for the demilitarization of Iraq on Saturday, particularly the Iran-backed Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces (P.M.F.), Michel Rose and Ahmed Aboulenein report at Reuters.

The key takeaways from the trial of Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab are provided by Benjamin Weiser at the New York Times, Zarrab has been charged over a conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran and the Turkish government has denounced the U.S. justice system for pursuing the case.

Read on Just Security »

Clapper pushes back on Trump: FBI is premiere law enforcement organization in world – The Hill
 


The Hill
Clapper pushes back on Trump: FBI is premiere law enforcement organization in world
The Hill
… News ‘I wouldn’t vote for me’ Biden spotted getting his shoes shined at Denver airport MORE and has been a prominent critic of Trump, said he agreed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions · Jefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWhite House calls on and more »

In pre-dawn Twitter message, Trump issues a fresh denial about intervening in Flynn investigation
 

In pre-dawn Twitter message, Trump issues a fresh denial about intervening in Flynn investigation

President Trump issued a fresh denial Sunday that he asked former FBI director James B. Comey to halt an investigation into the conduct of his dismissed national security adviser Michael Flynn. I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn, Trump said in a pre-dawn message on Twitter. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie! […]

McMaster: National security team not missing a beat because of Trump controversies
 

McMaster: National security team not missing a beat because of Trump controversies
McMaster: National security team 'not missing a beat' because of Trump controversies

H.R. McMaster, President Trumps national security adviser, said Sunday that the administration’s controversies including his predecessors guilty plea and rumors of Secretary of State Rex Tillersons departure arent affecting its ability to work with U.S. allies on key issues. McMaster was pressed during an appearance on Fox News Sunday about those and other []

A killer cop is using Jeff Sessions’ lies as criminal defense – Salon
 


Salon
A killer cop is using Jeff Sessions’ lies as criminal defense
Salon
Slager the cop who murdered Walter Scott and Sessions are two peas in a pod. AddThis Sharing Buttons. Share to Facebook Share to Facebook Messenger Share to Twitter Share to Reddit Share to Email Share to More. Kalli Holloway, Alternet12.04.2017 
Ex-cop Michael Slager faces sentencing for videotaped killing of unarmed black manUSA TODAY
South Carolina officer to be sentenced in shooting of unarmed manSFGate
Jeff Sessions’s Constant Lying Is Being Used to Help the Criminal Defense of the White Cop Who Murdered Walter ScottTruth-Outall 16 news articles »

5:52 AM 12/4/2017 Trump: FBIs reputation in tatters The Hill

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Trump: FBI’s reputation in tatters – The Hill 9:26 AM 12/3/2017 Trump issues a fresh denial about intervening in Flynn investigation Russia-Trump: President hits out at FBI over Russia inquiry – BBC News DOJ And FBI Threatened With Contempt Of Congress For ‘Hiding’ Info On Anti-Trump FBI Investigator – … Continue reading“5:52 AM 12/4/2017 – Trump: FBI’s reputation in tatters – The Hill”

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/12/03/20171203-100000-VEN119-program_original.mp3

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Presidential Attacks on the FBI Are Losing Their Novelty – New York Magazine
 


New York Magazine
Presidential Attacks on the FBI Are Losing Their Novelty
New York Magazine
Picture it: hours after FBI Director James Comey reveals that the bureau is reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server days before the 2016 election, President Obama launches into a public tirade. He calls Comey a liar 
New documents reveal FBI’s Clinton cover-up | Fox NewsFox Newsall 7 news articles »

New documents reveal FBI’s Clinton cover-up | Fox News – Fox News
 


Fox News
New documents reveal FBI’s Clinton cover-up | Fox News
Fox News
American Center for Law and Justice says documents show FBI was more focused on keeping the meeting quiet than the meeting itself. In Washington, the ostensible story is rarely the real story. We know, for example, that former President Clinton
 

Fox News
And in another we learn that the Phoenix FBI office was contacted in an attempt to stem any further damage. An FBIofficial working on Lynch’s security detail even goes so far as to suggest non-disclosure agreements to keep the full facts from coming
 and more »

Trump: FBI’s reputation in tatters – The Hill
 


The Hill
Trump: FBI’s reputation in tatters
The Hill
President Trump early Sunday criticized the FBI, saying its reputation is in Tatters and vowing to fix the bureau. After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters 
FBI agent assigned to Russia investigation removed after anti-Trump textsUSA TODAY
FBI agent was dumped from special counsel’s team over potentially anti-Trump text messagesABC News
FBI removed agent from Russia probe for anti-Trump messages …WFTV Orlando
New York Times –ABC News –The Hill –Washington Post
all 176 news articles »
9:26 AM 12/3/2017 Trump issues a fresh denial about intervening in Flynn investigation

In pre-dawn Twitter message, Trump issues a fresh denial about intervening in Flynn investigation – Washington Post On eve of trial, trash titans settle civil racketeering suit with echoes of federal probe – The Advocate Trump denies asking Comey to drop Flynn investigation – Axios Immigration Reform Shouldn’t Mean Scapegoating – The Jewish Press – … Continue reading“9:26 AM 12/3/2017 – Trump issues a fresh denial about intervening in Flynn investigation”

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/12/03/20171203-100000-VEN119-program_original.mp3

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Russia-Trump: President hits out at FBI over Russia inquiry – BBC News
 


BBC News
Russia-Trump: President hits out at FBI over Russia inquiry
BBC News
Donald Trump lashed out at the FBI on Sunday, issuing a fresh denial that he asked former director James Comey to drop an investigation into the conduct of one of his top aides, Michael Flynn. In a Twitter tirade, Mr Trump said the FBI’s reputation was
‘I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn’: Trump goes on tweetstorm about the FBIWashington Post 
Trump Rages at FBI as He Struggles to Escape Mueller’s CrosshairsVanity Fair
‘Reputation is in Tatters Worst in History!’ President Trump Attacks His Own FBI in Tweet StormTIME
 
Trump, Defending Himself After Flynn Guilty Plea, Says FBI Is in ‘Tatters’

New York Times Politico
all 1,183 

Trump slams FBI, Justice DepartmentPolitico
NPRWBIR-TVChicago Sun-TimesNew York Times
all 1,158
 news articles »
DOJ And FBI Threatened With Contempt Of Congress For ‘Hiding’ Info On Anti-Trump FBI Investigator – The Daily Caller
 


CNN
DOJ And FBI Threatened With Contempt Of Congress For ‘Hiding’ Info On Anti-Trump FBI Investigator
The Daily Caller
Nunes set a Monday deadline for the DOJ and FBI to comply with the committee’s list of demands, which includes requests for interviews with Rosenstein, Wray, and deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe as well as documents related to the anti-Trump dossier 
Mueller Removed Top Agent in Russia Inquiry Over Possible Anti-Trump TextsNew York Times
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation tops $5 millionABC News
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton | TheHillThe Hill
Washington Post
all 120 news articles »
House Republicans target FBI, DOJ for contempt over Russia investigation – MassLive.com
 


MassLive.com
House Republicans prepare contempt action against FBI, Department of Justice – Kansas City Star
 


Kansas City Star
House Republicans prepare contempt action against FBI, Department of Justice
Kansas City Star
U.S. House Republicans are drafting a contempt of Congress resolution against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, claiming stonewalling in producing material related to the Russia-Trump probes and other matters 
Trump Lashes Out at Own FBI in a Series of TweetsFOX40all 161 news articles »

11:41 AM 12/3/2017 Trump lashes out at own FBI in a series of tweets The Daily Freeman

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Trump lashes out at own FBI in a series of tweets – The Daily Freeman Trump Attacks The FBI On Twitter, Urges Followers To Sue ABC News Donald Trumps lawyer may have just sent himself to prison too Trump says he has nothing to fear from Flynn, then stokes … Continue reading“11:41 AM 12/3/2017 – Trump lashes out at own FBI in a series of tweets – The Daily Freeman”
FBI asked to lead probe into slain Baltimore detective’s death – Police News
 

FBI asked to lead probe into slain Baltimore detective’s death
Police News
Davis said police, the FBI and federal prosecutors don’t believe there’s a connection between Suiter’s planned testimony and his death Nov. 15. He suggested at a news conference, however, that the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office haven’t been forthcoming and more »

‘Now it all starts to make sense!’ Trump touts report that FBI agent removed from Russia probe exchanged anti-Trump … – Daily Mail
 


Daily Mail
‘Now it all starts to make sense!’ Trump touts report that FBI agent removed from Russia probe exchanged anti-Trump …
Daily Mail
On Sunday morning, President Trump latched onto the story that FBI agent Peter Strzok was removed from working within special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe over anti-Trump tweets. He used the story broken by the New York Times and the 
Top investigator removed from Mueller team after discovery of texts that might look anti-Trump: ReportWashington Examiner
Mueller reassigned top FBI agent in Russia probe over anti-Trump texts, reports sayNBCNews.com
FBI removed agent from Russia probe for anti-Trump messagesLas Vegas Sun
AxiosHeavy.comCBS News
all 164 news articles »
Trump reloads on FBI’s Clinton email probe, after reports of ‘tainted’ anti-Trump agent – Fox News
 


Fox News
Trump reloads on FBI’s Clinton email probe, after reports of ‘tainted’ anti-Trump agent
Fox News
WSJ associate editor John Bussey weighs in on latest developments in the special counsel investigation. President Trump suggested Sunday that news reports about an FBI agent on the agency’s Hillary Clinton email investigation who also opposed Trump 
House Republicans Prepare Contempt Action Against FBI, DOJBloomberg
House Republicans target FBI, DOJ for contempt over Russia investigationMassLive.com 
Why Mueller banished a top agent to the FBI’s ‘Siberia’CNN
NPRWashington Post
 
Mueller Removed FBI Agent From Russia Probe Over Anti-Trump MessagesNPR
Washington PostCNN
 –RadioFreeEurope/RadioLibertyNew York Times

all 132 127 news articles »
Trump, Defending Himself After Flynn Guilty Plea, Says F.B.I. Is in Tatters

In an extraordinary attack on the top law enforcement body in his own government, Mr. Trump accused the F.B.I. and its career investigators of having a bias against him.
The Latest: Senator foresees obstruction of justice case – Wichita Eagle
 


Wichita Eagle
The Latest: Senator foresees obstruction of justice case
Wichita Eagle
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3:36 AM 12/4/2017 – British security services are vastly outgunned by the Russian counterintelligence threat – Business Insider | “We’re going to be growing everything,” Mr. Trump said. – M.N.: Sounds sexy…

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British security services are vastly outgunned by the Russian counterintelligence threat

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Theresa May and PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin meets British PM Theresa May at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, in 2016. Reuters / Sputnik Photo Agency

  • MI6 has elevated Russia to “tier one” threat status.
  • The head of MI6 has told NATO its response to Russian interference in Europe and the West needs to get sharper.
  • Russia has at least 700,000 security and intelligence personnel on its payrolls.
  • Britain has only about 16,000 equivalent  people in its special security services.
  • NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force is outnumbered six to one by Russian forces.

LONDON — MI6, the secret intelligence service, has reclassified Russia as a “tier one” threat, alongside Islamic terrorism, after years of regarding the nation as a second-rung security issue. Back in 2010, Russia was not even named in the British National Security Council’s annual strategic defence and security review. In 2015, Russia was mentioned but not named specifically as a top priority. Only in 2016 was Russia once again called out — as it was during the Cold War — as a serious threat to national security, in the security review.

Alex Younger, the head of MI6, went to NATO last month to tell the joint forces that Europe and the US need to get their act together when it comes to opposing Russia, according to Edward Lucas writing in The Times.

The British people have been slow to wake up to Russia’s interference in domestic politics. For years, the Russian government has funded misinformation around the Brexit referendum, oligarchs have invested in the London property market via offshore financial vehicles, and Russian espionage services have used the UK as a location for assassinating their political opponents.

But the intelligence community has become increasingly alarmed at the boldness of Russian interventions inside Britain. Fourteen people are suspect to have been killed in Britain by Russian spiessince 2003, according to BuzzFeed.

Now MI6 will no longer stand idly by while Putin acts with a “sense of impunity,” Younger told NATO in November.

But Younger has a problem: The sheer size of the Russian security and intelligence apparatus. Britain has about 16,000 people devoted to intelligence and security. By contrast, the Russian state employs between 705,000 and 940,000 people across its various security, intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies, according to Victor Madeira, a Russia expert at the Institute for Statecraft, who testified to the House of Commons defence committee. That’s 42 times as many, for a country whose population is roughly twice the size of the UK’s.

  • TOTAL Russian security agency staffing (ca 2006-2015) 705,000-940,000
  • FSB: 387,000
  • SVR: 13,000
  • GRU: 280,000-480,000
  • Special Communications and Information Service (Spetssvyaz): 53,000-120,000
  • TOTAL British security agency staffing (2015): 16,586
  • MI5, MI6, GCHQ: 12,080
  • DI, NSS, JIO, OSCT: ~4,506

Of course, not all those people are deployed against the UK. The US remains Russia’s great enemy, Madeira told Business Insider. And many of them will be employed in low-level work, such as border guards. But even so, “you’re talking orders of magnitude [over the UK] that the number of people that Russia can deploy,” Madeira says.

For instance, Russia has a massive official propaganda budget. “The resources we have collectively in the West even since Crimea, since Ukraine, that we’ve thrown at the problem are minuscule compared to what Russia does officially and unofficially, to the tune of annual budgets anywhere from $600 million to $1 billion, the Russians spend on the RTs and the Sputniks and outlets like this,” Madeira testified.

Russia has maintained that force because of the “mindset” of the Russian state, which has a completely different conception of the post-Cold War “peace” than Western nations do. In the West, peacetime is regarded as a dividend to be celebrated, a time to relax and prosper. But inside the Russian state, which is still run largely by former Soviet intelligence officials, peace is regarded as the period you use to prepare for the next inevitable conflict.

The Russian security apparatus, in other words, is in a constant state of war preparation in way that the British government is not.

“Russia continuously conducts strategic influence operations, especially in what NATO sees as ‘peacetime’, because to Moscow that is when the foundations of wartime success are laid,” Madeira wrote to the Commons defence committee. “Recent Russian security and intelligence budgets have grown annually by an estimated 15%-20% – with spending going to operations, not infrastructure.”

“That mindset in the Russian security and intelligence services remains that way today,” he told Business Insider.

It’s not just that the spies are outnumbered, either. NATO is probably not equipped to fend off a surprise attack from Russia, the defence committee heard last year. On that panel, MP Bob Stewart asked Igor Sutyagin, of the Royal United Services Institute, if NATO was capable of reacting in time to a sudden, unprovoked military assault from Russia.

“The problem is that the NATO Very High Readiness [Joint Task] Forces are not enough to cope … the mobility, even if they will be there, they will be outnumbered six to one which is very serious,” Sutyagin said. “Secondly, the forces, even if deployed have some structural deficiencies … the Western side might be unprepared to deal with these environments.”

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The expanding federal investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election is shining new light on the central role played by one member of President Trump’s inner circle — his son-in-law and top advisor Jared Kushner — in reaching out to Moscow.

The latest disclosure — that even before Trump took office Kushner directed campaign foreign policy advisor Michael Flynn to try to persuade Russia to quash a United Nations resolution — is one example of numerous Kushner contacts with Moscow and meetings with Russian intermediaries now under scrutiny by investigators for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Kushner, a 36-year-old former Manhattan real estate developer and Washington neophyte, may be key as Mueller pursues the still-unresolved mystery of whether Trump’s campaign had improper dealings with Russia, a charge that Kushner denies.

Revelations about Kushner’s Russia contacts have been dribbling out for months, forcing Kushner and other Trump aides who denied or downplayed them to repeatedly backtrack.

But with Flynn now cooperating with Mueller’s investigators, Kushner’s role in handling outreach to foreign governments for Trump is likely to get even more scrutiny from investigators. Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his own Russia contacts.

Publicly Trump insists he is not worried, telling reporters Saturday there had been “absolutely no collusion” with Moscow, but adding, “We’ll see what happens.”

In the wake of Flynn’s plea deal, Democrats on both the House and Senate intelligence committees said they wanted Kushner, who appeared in private before both panels in July, to return to answer new questions about his dealings with Russian officials and intermediaries from Moscow.

“Mike Flynn wasn’t acting as a free agent. He was acting at the behest of very senior people close to the president or the president himself,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff of Burbank, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “If Mr. Kushner was involved in that, he’d have a lot to tell us that he hasn’t told us so far.”

Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, declined to comment on Kushner’s Russia contacts.

Kushner has described himself as an overworked and inexperienced campaign aide who was “forced to make changes on the fly” when it came to Russia.

“I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so,” Kushner said after July’s closed-door meeting with investigators from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Trump cycled through a cadre of high-level aides during the presidential campaign, but Kushner remained a trusted advisor with one particularly unassailable credential — he is family through his marriage to Trump’s older daughter, Ivanka.

After running his real estate company like a family business, Trump saw no reason to change course while campaigning or after winning the White House. Kushner joined the administration and received a vast portfolio of responsibilities, including overhauling the federal government with the newly created Office of American Innovation and pursuing a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

He has insisted that his initial failure to report his meetings with the Russians or any other foreigners on forms required for a government security clearance was not deliberate. He blamed an aide who he said had mistakenly submitted the form, known as an SF-86, before it was complete, and said that he later updated it.

As a trusted advisor, Kushner was the intermediary with foreign officials, a role that led to several contacts with Russian officials, either directly or through intermediaries.

According to court papers disclosed on Friday, Flynn was directed by a “very senior member” of Trump’s transition team — identified by a former official as Kushner — to lobby Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and officials from other foreign governments in an attempt to delay or defeat a United Nations Security Council resolution critical of Israel in December 2016.

Trump had publicly opposed the resolution, saying it “puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

But the Trump team’s attempts to block the resolution was at odds with the position taken by the Obama administration, which still occupied the White House and planned to let the resolution pass.

The attempts to influence the vote, which a person familiar with the transition described as a collaborative endeavor by multiple high-ranking members of Trump’s team, did not succeed. Kislyak said Russia would not vote against the resolution, which passed after the United States abstained.

Earlier that month, at a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, Kislyak asked Kushner whether the Trump transition office had a secure telephone line that Trump’s aides could use to talk to Russian generals about the war in Syria.

Because none was available, Kushner said he asked about using one at the Russian Embassy instead to conduct “direct discussions” with Moscow.

He said that after Kislyak, who was recalled to Moscow last summer, told him that was impossible, they agreed to follow up after the inauguration. Kushner did not explain why the Trump team did not simply ask to use a secure U.S. government line.

In contrast to Flynn, who admitted this week in court that he and Kislyak had discussed U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, Kushner has said that he did not discuss lifting the sanctions.

Kushner met Kislyak in April 2016 at a foreign policy speech by Trump at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.

Kushner also held a Dec. 13 meeting with Sergey Gorkov, head of the state-owned Vnesheconombank, Russia’s national development bank. He said he took the meeting at Kislyak’s urging because Gorkov had a “direct relationship” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian bank described the session in March as part of a new outreach to “a number of representatives of the largest banks and business establishments of the United States, including Jared Kushner, the head of Kushner Companies.” Kushner, by contrast, said he and Gorkov did not discuss “private business of any kind.”

In testimony to Congress last summer, Kushner also denied having any contact with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, during the campaign, according to a statement from his lawyer, and said he could not recall anyone from the campaign having such contacts.

WikiLeaks was responsible for releasing hacked emails that U.S. intelligence agencies say were obtained through Russia’s attempt to interfere with the presidential election.

But Kushner was forced to backtrack when the Atlantic magazine revealed last month that the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., forwarded a message from WikiLeaks to Kushner and others.

Lowell said his client did not respond to the email and was not in touch with WikiLeaks.

“Mr. Kushner had no contacts with that organization,” he wrote in a letter last month to the Senate Judiciary Committee after the panel’s bipartisan leadership requested more documents from him.

Kushner also attended a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney introduced to Trump Jr. as “a Russian government attorney” who was part of “its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

The emails said she could provide documents that “would incriminate” Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and would be “very useful to your father.” Kushner insisted he showed up to the meeting without reading the emails about who she was and left early, calling it a “waste of time.”

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Twitter: @davidcloudLAT

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This article was originally published on November 28, 2016 and republished after reports of KT McFarland’s involvement in the Trump-Russia probe.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has filled two more top administration posts.

The incoming president has tapped Fox News analyst Kathleen “KT” McFarland to serve as deputy national security adviser, and campaign attorney Donald McGahn as White House counsel.

Trump confirmed the picks Friday in a statement from his transition team.

He cited McFarland’s “tremendous experience and innate talent,” which he said would “complement the fantastic team we are assembling.”

Trump had already tapped retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

McFarland has most recently served as a Fox News analyst. She served in various posts under former Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan.

While on Fox News McFarland has offered analysis on various issues of national security, some of which has raised an eyebrow or two over the years.

In 2012 McFarland said to, “Either bomb Iran, or let Iran get the bomb.”

In response to the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, McFarland called for more racial profiling, while blaming the attacks on the failings of political correctness. Candidate Trump echoed McFarland’s sentiments in 2016 following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, insisting that the U.S. should adapt “Israeli style” racial profiling.

In a segment with Sean Hannity on Fox News, McFarland defended waterboarding saying, “It’s not torture, but even if it is torture, it’s worth doing.”

While discussing Saudi Arabia’s support for the Iran nuclear agreement, McFarland inisted Saudi Arabia was being duplicitous, based upon her reasons that “they are Arabs, they are not going to say something to your face that will upset you… it’s not what they say, it’s what they do.”

McFarland whose national security experience goes as far back as serving on Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council Staff in the Ford administration, wrote a column in 2013 praising Vladimir Putin for his role in the Syrian conflict. She even went as far as to suggest Putin should receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

McFarland’s position does not require Senate confirmation.

Meet KT McFarland, Trump’s anti-Arab, Putin-praising Former Deputy National Security Adviser – Haaretz
 

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Haaretz
Meet KT McFarland, Trump’s anti-Arab, Putin-praising Former Deputy National Security Adviser
Haaretz
This article was originally published on November 28, 2016 and republished after reports of KT McFarland’s involvement in theTrump-Russia probe. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has filled two more top administration posts. The incoming president has 
Police search for driver who hit at least 4 people in New York City – CBS News
 

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Police search for driver who hit at least 4 people in New York City
CBS News
Last Updated Dec 3, 2017 7:38 AM EST. NEW YORK — Police are searching for a driver who hit and killed one person and injured three others outside a nightclub in Queens, New York, early Sunday morning, CBS New York reports. Two of the three who are 
ABC’s ‘The Good Doctor’ takes on sexual harassment in timely new episodeUSA TODAY
Police: 1 killed, 3 injured after driver strikes 4 in NYCfox6now.com
1 dead after hit-and-run driver strikes several pedestrians in QueensNew York’s PIX11 / WPIX-TV
WPLG Local 10 –Daily Star
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Queens New York – Google Search
 

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One dead after hit-and-run driver strikes four people during knife …

New York Daily News2 hours ago
One dead after hit-and-run driver strikes four people during knife fight outside Queens hookah bar … (Marc A. Hermann for New York Daily News) … An irate hit-and-run driver mowed down at least four people, killing one, after a knife fight outside a Queens hookah bar Sunday morning, according to police …

Story image for Queens New York from CBS News

Police search for driver who hit at least 4 people in New York City

CBS News1 hour ago
NEW YORK — Police are searching for a driver who hit and killed one person and injured three others outside a nightclub in QueensNew York, early Sunday morning, CBS New York reports. Two of the three who are injured are in serious condition, according to the station. Two other people were stabbed …
1 dead after hit-and-run driver strikes several pedestrians in Queens
Local SourceNew York’s PIX11 / WPIX-TV12 minutes ago

Story image for Queens New York from New York Daily News

Man shot to death near Queens housing complex

New York Daily News9 hours ago
Medics rushed Lewis to Mount Sinai Hospital Queens, where he died, according to authorities. The 20-year-old man lived in the nearby Queensbridge Houses, police said. Cops from the 114th Precinct in Astoria took to Twitter and asked people to avoid the area as police investigated the slaying.
20-year-old fatally shot in Long Island City
New York’s PIX11 / WPIX-TV10 hours ago

BREAKING – Sputnik International
 

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BREAKING
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Police are searching for a driver of a white sedan that has reportedly struck several people in New York City and fled the scene. A car has rammed into a crowd in the Queens area in New York City, killing at least one and injuring three people, CNNand more »
Trump: we will grow everything – Google Search
 

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Story image for Trump: we will grow everything from Telegraph.co.uk

Tax cuts for businesses and rich as Donald Trump wins major 11th …

Telegraph.co.ukDec 2, 2017
US corporation tax will drop from 35 per cent to 20 per cent under Donald Trump’s overhaul which has been backed by Congress. The move piles pressure … “We‘re going to grow the country, we‘re going to grow jobs, we‘re going to be growing everything,” Mr Trump said in New York. “We have companies …

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Newsday

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Vox

Story image for Trump: we will grow everything from Washington Times

We are unbeatable,’ Trump tells crowd at New York fundraiser

Washington Times18 hours ago

President Donald Trump speaks at a fundraiser at Cipriani in New York, Saturday, Dec. … The president gave the rosy assessment based on the economic upswing since he took office, which the president believes will be supercharged by tax cuts … We‘re going to be growing everything,” Mr. Trump said.


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7:21 AM 12/3/2017 – Voice of America: McMaster: ‘Increasing’ Possibility of War with North Korea

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Voice of America: VOA Newscasts – December 03, 2017
NPR News Now: NPR News: 12-03-2017 5AM ET
HR McMaster brushes off reports that North Korea ICBM broke up – Washington Examiner
McMaster: North Korean threat increasing every day – ABC News
McMaster: North Korean threat increasing every day – ABC News
Two CIA directors spar over President Trump’s tweets – Los Angeles Times
Exclusive: Pentagon Evaluating US West Coast Missile Defense Sites – Officials – U.S. News & World Report
Secretary of State Tillerson on reports that White House is considering plan to oust him: “It’s laughable” – WTHR
Mueller reportedly ousted an investigator on his team over possible anti-Trump texts – Business Insider
Mueller removed top FBI agent over possible anti-Trump texts – WatertownDailyTimes.com
Mueller reassigned top FBI agent in Russia probe over anti-Trump texts, reports say – NBCNews.com
Why Robert Mueller Threw An Agent Off the Trump-Russia Probe – Newsweek
Top FBI official on Russia probe said to have been removed after anti-Trump texts – Jamestown Sun
Mueller Removed FBI Agent From Russia Probe Over Anti-Trump Messages – KWIT
Deutsche Welle: Tens of thousands protest Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu, corruption
Palestinians to US: Don’t Recognize Jerusalem as Israeli Capital
6:31 PM 12/2/2017 To Promote Global Security and Tackle Extremism, Decriminalize Drugs World Politics Review
The Latest: Trump expresses no concern about Flynn plea deal
Kaspersky Lab, Russian antivirus vendor, singled out in warning issued by U.K. cybersecurity chief
FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacks
Trump Calls Reports That He Will Fire Tillerson Fake News
Mattis Begins Five-Day Tour of the Middle East
Remembering Stalins Hunger
Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI as Trump-Russia inquiry takes critical step

 

Saved Stories – None
Voice of America: McMaster: ‘Increasing’ Possibility of War with North Korea

The White House national security advisor says the  possibility of war with impoverished, but nuclear-armed North Korea is “increasing every day.” “There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict,” H.R. McMaster said Saturday, “but it is a race because he’s getting closer and closer and there’s not much time left,” in a reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea announced last week that it can now hit the U.S. mainland with a warhead, after its test-firing of a new intercontinental ballistic missile. Media reports say the Pentagon is looking at U.S. west coast sites where additional defense systems can be installed, following the North Korean threat of a strike on the U.S.    The Reuters news agency says the defenses would likely include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missiles, similar to those deployed in South Korea. “The newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-15 has been successfully test-launched according to the political decision and strategic judgement of the Workers’ Party of Korea, read an announcer Wednesday on North Koreas state-run KRT television. Following previous launches, the North has claimed its projectiles can hit any part of the continental United States, but this would be the first time it would be able to do so with this new type of upgraded missile, which both North Korean and U.S. officials said could fly higher than the ones the country has tested earlier. McMaster urged China to slap a total oil embargo on North Korea, as a way of deterring fuel missile launches. “You can’t shoot a missile without fuel,” he said. North Korea, meanwhile, characterized the U.S. and South Korea as “warmongers” Sunday, a day ahead of the U.S. and South Korea’s largest-ever joint air exercises.     The North’s ruling party Rodong newspaper said Sunday the joint exercises are “an open, all-out provocation against” North Korea that could “lead to a nuclear war any moment.” It is not clear if Pyongyang has mastered the capability of miniaturizing and mounting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM, which South Korean officials have said could happen within a matter of months.   Analysts also question North Koreas technical mastery of ICBM re-entry, which plays a key role in targeting.  In the event of a launch at the U.S. mainland, U.S. missile defense systems would be employed.

 Voice of America

Voice of America: VOA Newscasts – December 03, 2017

Give us 5 minutes, and we’ll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/12/03/20171203-100000-VEN119-program_original.mp3

 Voice of America

NPR News Now: NPR News: 12-03-2017 5AM ET

NPR News: 12-03-2017 5AM ET

Download audio: https://play.podtrac.com/npr-500005/npr.mc.tritondigital.com/NPR_500005/media/anon.npr-mp3/npr/newscasts/2017/12/03/newscast050630.mp3?orgId=1&d=300&p=500005&story=568123697&t=podcast&e=568123697&ft=pod&f=500005

 NPR News Now

HR McMaster brushes off reports that North Korea ICBM broke up – Washington Examiner


Washington Examiner
HR McMaster brushes off reports that North Korea ICBM broke up
Washington Examiner
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said Saturday that North Korea is improving its nuclear missile program even amid reports that the regime’s intercontinental ballistic missile launched this week broke upon re-entry. Kim 
McMaster: Potential of war with North Korea ‘increasing every day’The Hill (blog)

all 11 news articles »

McMaster: North Korean threat increasing every day – ABC News


CNN
McMaster: North Korean threat increasing every day
ABC News
The threat emerging from North Korea’s rogue regime is increasing every day, according to White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster. Interested in North Korea? Add North Korea as an interest to stay up to date on the latest North Korea news 
HR McMaster: Potential for war with North Korea increases ‘every day’Fox News
McMaster: Potential of war with North Korea ‘increasing every day’The Hill (blog)
McMaster: Potential for War with NKorea ‘Increasing Every Day’Newsmax
Washington Examiner
all 15 news articles »
McMaster: North Korean threat increasing every day – ABC News


CNN
McMaster: North Korean threat increasing every day
ABC News
National security adviser H.R. McMaster listens during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, July 31, 2017. more +. 0 Shares. Email. The threat emerging from North Korea’s rogue regime is increasing every day, according to White 
McMaster: Potential for War with NKorea ‘Increasing Every Day’Newsmax
Trump adviser says war with North Korea closer ‘every day’ as rogue nation makes further threatsDaily Telegraph
McMaster: Potential of war with North Korea ‘increasing every day’The Hill (blog)
Washington Examiner
all 14 news articles »
Two CIA directors spar over President Trump’s tweets – Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles Times
Two CIA directors spar over President Trump’s tweets
Los Angeles Times
President Trump’s provocative use of social media including his recent retweeting of three anti-Muslim videos from a far-right British fringe group could put lives at risk, according to one former CIA director. The agency’s current director 
CIA director: Trump tweets yielding valuable intelligenceCNN 
CIA chief Pompeo says he warned Iran’s Soleimani over Iraq aggressionReuters
CIA Chief Sends Letter To Iranian General Over Threats To US Forces In IraqRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
 
Pompeo: Trump tweets actually ‘help’ CIAThe Hill
CIA director warns Iranian general on IraqSFGate
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLibertyToronto Star

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Exclusive: Pentagon Evaluating US West Coast Missile Defense Sites – Officials – U.S. News & World Report


U.S. News & World Report
Exclusive: Pentagon Evaluating US West Coast Missile Defense Sites – Officials
U.S. News & World Report
FILE PHOTO: A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. U.S. Department of Defense, Missile 

and more »

Secretary of State Tillerson on reports that White House is considering plan to oust him: “It’s laughable” – WTHR

Secretary of State Tillerson on reports that White House is considering plan to oust him: “It’s laughable”
WTHR
The removal of the agent, who also had worked on the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, occurred this summer. The person who discussed the matter with The Associated Press was not authorized to speak about it publicly and 

and more »

Mueller reportedly ousted an investigator on his team over possible anti-Trump texts – Business Insider


Business Insider
Mueller reportedly ousted an investigator on his team over possible anti-Trump texts
Business Insider
Special counsel Robert Mueller ousted a top counterintelligence investigator on his team because of an investigation into messages he sent that could be seen as critical of President Donald Trump. The investigator, Peter Strzok, worked on the FBI’s 
Top FBI counterintelligence agent who helped lead investigation into Clinton emails is FIRED from the Mueller probe …Daily Mail
Report: Mueller removed ‘top FBI’ agent from Trump-Russia case after anti-Trump texts discoveredTheBlaze.com
FBI agent removed from Mueller probe for anti-Trump messagesThe Advocate
Toronto Sun –Newser
all 66 news articles »
Mueller removed top FBI agent over possible anti-Trump texts – WatertownDailyTimes.com

Mueller removed top FBI agent over possible anti-Trump texts
WatertownDailyTimes.com
WASHINGTON The special counsel, Robert Mueller, removed a top FBI agent from his investigation into Russian election meddling after the Justice Department’s inspector general began examining whether the agent had sent text messages that expressed 

and more »

Mueller reassigned top FBI agent in Russia probe over anti-Trump texts, reports say – NBCNews.com


Axios
Mueller reassigned top FBI agent in Russia probe over anti-Trump texts, reports say
NBCNews.com
Special counsel Robert Mueller removed a top FBI agent over the summer helping to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, a spokesman for Mueller’s office said Saturday. Confirmation of the agent’s dismissal came after two reports 
FBI agent removed from Mueller’s team for sending anti-Trump textsAxios
Justice Dept. watchdog confirms review of FBI agent communicationsThe Hill (blog)
FBI agent pulled from Mueller probe for alleged anti-Trump textsWDEF News 12
Guardian (blog)
all 48 news articles »
Why Robert Mueller Threw An Agent Off the Trump-Russia Probe – Newsweek


Newsweek
Why Robert Mueller Threw An Agent Off the Trump-Russia Probe
Newsweek
The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller removed a top investigator amid allegations that he had sent text messages appearing critical of President Donald Trump, the office confirmed on Saturday. Mueller is overseeing the FBI’s investigation into 
Donald Trump says he knew Michael Flynn lied to FBI when he fired himABC Online

all 597 news articles »

Top FBI official on Russia probe said to have been removed after anti-Trump texts – Jamestown Sun


Jamestown Sun
Top FBI official on Russia probe said to have been removed after anti-Trump texts
Jamestown Sun
A former senior Trump administration official said Strzok was even-handed in all of his dealing with the Trump White House. “I had the occasion to work closely with Special Agent Peter Strzok and never experienced even a hint of political bias. He was

Mueller Removed FBI Agent From Russia Probe Over Anti-Trump Messages – KWIT


KWIT
Mueller Removed FBI Agent From Russia Probe Over Anti-Trump Messages
KWIT
In addition to both having worked on Mueller’s probe, Strzok and Page also both had roles in the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, according to the Post. The reports of Strzok’s removal came just a day after Mueller’s team 

Deutsche Welle: Tens of thousands protest Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu, corruption

Around 20,000 Israelis have protested in Tel Aviv against corruption and legislation they say is designed to protect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from investigation. Netanyahu is suspected in two corruption cases.

 Deutsche Welle

Palestinians to US: Don’t Recognize Jerusalem as Israeli Capital

The Palestinians are warning the United States against recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Mahmoud Habash, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Saturday that if President Donald Trump were to do so, it would amount to a “complete destruction of the peace process.” Speaking in Abbas’ presence, Habash said “the world will pay the price” for any change in Jerusalem’s status. Officials in Washington say Trump…

6:31 PM 12/2/2017 To Promote Global Security and Tackle Extremism, Decriminalize Drugs World Politics Review

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None The Latest: Trump expresses no concern about Flynn plea deal Kaspersky Lab, Russian antivirus vendor, singled out in warning issued by U.K. cybersecurity chief FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacks Trump Calls Reports That He Will Fire Tillerson Fake News Mattis Begins Five-Day Tour … Continue reading“6:31 PM 12/2/2017 – To Promote Global Security and Tackle Extremism, Decriminalize Drugs – World Politics Review”
The Latest: Trump expresses no concern about Flynn plea deal

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s pleading guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia (all times local):

9:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is expressing no concern about the guilty plea by his former national security adviser Michael …

Kaspersky Lab, Russian antivirus vendor, singled out in warning issued by U.K. cybersecurity chief

The head of Britain’s top cybersecurity agency has warned the U.K. government against using Russian antivirus products amid concerns surrounding Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based software vendor recently banned by U.S. officials over its alleged ties to Russian intelligence.

Ciaran Martin, the director of the U.K. National Cyber Security Centre, warned …

FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacks

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Thursday that adversarial governments are more often collaborating with criminals to carryout cyber attacks against the United States.

Wray said the indictment of a Canadian national who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to helping Russian spies hack into Yahoo email accounts reflect “one of the more dangerous, emerging threats” facing the United States today, known in the intelligence community as a “blended threat.”

“We are seeing an emergence of that kind of collaboration,” Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, noting that until recently governments and criminals worked separately. “Now there’s this collusion, if you will, that’s occurring on a number of instances like mercenaries being used to commit cyber attacks.”

The Justice Department announced charges in March against Karim Baratov, a 22-year-old Canadian citizen, and three other men, including two officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, for their involvement in the 2014 hack into Yahoo that affected 500 million accounts.

U.S. law enforcement officials said Baratov, who they dubbed a “hacker-for-hire,” acknowledged breaking into email accounts and selling the passwords to an agent of the FSB, a Russian intelligence agency.

The individuals targeted included Russian officials, a European diplomat, a former economic minister from a neighboring country, and a prominent banker.

The case confirmed longstanding suspicions that Russia’s government hires non-government hackers and uses its spy services to facilitate criminal activity in addition to conducting espionage.

Wray, who President Donald Trump handpicked to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey in June, said Russia is attempting to assert its dominance in the world by relying on asymmetric warfare to “damage and weaken” the United States

To combat the threat, Wray said he has set up a “foreign influence task force” within the bureau made up of different divisions, including counterintelligence, cyber, and criminal investigation. He said the agency would also coordinate closely with the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with overseeing critical election infrastructure, to prevent against cyberattacks.

The post FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacksappeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Trump Calls Reports That He Will Fire Tillerson Fake News

President Donald Trump on Friday dismissed press reports that he plans on firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, calling them “fake news” in a tweet.

Trump’s comments followed multiple reports, citing administration officials, that the White House has developed a plan to oust Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who in turn would be replaced by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.).

“The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soonFake News!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “He’s not leaving.”

Trump added that although he and Tillerson “disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!”

The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon – FAKE NEWS! He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!https://instagram.com/p/BcLCXDYgQed/ 

The tweet also linked to a post on Trump’s Instagram account, which includes a picture of Tillerson’s swearing-in ceremony.

Trump has frequently been at odds with Tillerson, airing some of their disagreements publicly. The president once said that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done,” he tweeted.

In October, both Trump and Tillerson denied reports that the secretary of state threatened to resign, calling them “fake news.” Some news outlets reported at the time that Tillerson had privately called Trump a “moron” at a meeting over the summer.

The post Trump Calls Reports That He Will Fire Tillerson ‘Fake News’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Mattis Begins Five-Day Tour of the Middle East

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is beginning his five-day tour of the Middle East on Friday.

The Department of Defense announced that Mattis will visit Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and Kuwait.

During his time in Egypt on Saturday, Mattis will meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Defense Minister Gen. Sedki Sobhi.

Mattis will then go to Jordan on Sunday, where King Abdullah II will host a conference on combating extremism in West Africa. Attendees of the meeting in Jordan will include representatives from many countries in Africa and Europe.

Mattis will meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Gen. Qamar Bajwa, who serves as Chief of Army Staff, on Monday. His final stop will be in Kuwait Tuesday, where he will meet with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

Mattis is well known in the region due to his time as commander of U.S. Central Command, which focuses on the Middle East. Mattis had traveled throughout much of the region then and met with regional and local leaders.

The post Mattis Begins Five-Day Tour of the Middle East appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Remembering Stalins Hunger

History is the only laboratory we have in which to test the effect of ideas. Scientific knowledge may progress by abandoning its old notions and even forgetting them. But political knowledgethe interplay of regimes and policies and personalitiesadvances only while we recall the political arrangements of the past and what came of them. In the old adage of Dr. Johnson, humankind is far more often in need of being reminded than of being instructed.

The modern historian Anne Applebaum is determined that no one forget what Soviet communism really was, and in many ways her latest book, Red Famine, is simply a cry for remembrance of the Holodomorthe great Soviet starvation of the early 1930s, in which nearly 4 million Ukrainians died because Joseph Stalin had an idea, and the political regime he ruled allowed him to implement it.

“The starvation of a human body,” Applebaum notes, “always follows the same course. In the first phase the body consumes its stores of glucose. . . . In the second phase, . . . the body begins to consume its own fats. . . . In the third phase, the body devours its own proteins.” In the endskin thinned, eyes sclerotic, belly swollen, the mind beaten down by hallucinationsa mortal apathy takes hold as the body slumps toward death.

Just as starvation follows a familiar course in each individual, so food shortages all follow a recognizable pattern. As Amartya Sen showed in his classic 1981 study, Poverty and Famines, government is a primary cause of scarcity. Modern famines aren’t acts of God so much as acts of politics: born of the actions and inactions of distant officials, the incompetence and cupidity of local administrators, and, perhaps most of all, the imposition of bad policy at the highest reaches of power.

Here in 2017, the centennial of the Russian Revolution, Applebaum insists that we look again at how the Ukrainian famine was allowed to begin and how it was allowed to continue. The particulars she relates are fascinating, but, as Sen would have predicted, the overall story traces a murderous arc that ought to be familiar: the death of millions in the exercise of tyrannical power. When we forget what Communist tyranny did, we forget why we must always resist its return.

In the battles that followed the Bolshevik revolution, the system of Soviet  republics slowly emerged in part as Lenin’s way to coopt the peasants and tie them to the Russian government that was determined to keep the breadbasket of Ukrainian territory within the new Communist territory. Stalin began his own rule by expanding the policy, allowing Ukraine to keep some distinctive national elements.

By 1927, however, Stalin felt the political situation had become both more secure and more fragile. International threats loomed large in the Russian mind, even while greater controls over the population allowed large-scale attempts to modernize the Soviet republics. The peasants as a class, especially the richer peasants known as kulaks, resisted Communist efforts and thereby seemed in league with foreign powers. So Stalin began confiscating land to form collective farms.

It was, in conception, a political masterstroke, aimed at solving all his problems at once. Forcing the peasants to join collective farms would disempower the kulaks and thereby weaken Ukrainian identity. Collectivization promised a uniform modernizing of agriculture, which would increase yields across the Soviet empire. Even more, it would allow greater state control of agricultureproviding Moscow with Ukrainian food to distribute to less treasonous Soviet areas, ensuring their loyalty to Moscow. The collective farms would even provide grain that could be sold abroad, bringing in the cash necessary for Stalin’s radical plans to build a modern industrial base for the Soviet Union.

Unfortunately, the farming population resisted, which Stalin took as sedition. Brutal police enforcers from the cities were sent in to punish the peasants, killing anyone they suspected of hiding grain and confiscating even the seed they needed for the next planting. And so the familiar tale of modern famine began to march toward its inevitable conclusion. “Starvation,” Applebaum points out, “was the result of the forcible removal of food from peoples’ home; roadblocks that prevented peasants seeing work or food; blacklists imposed on farms and villages.”

In the Great Famine of 1932 and 1933, cannibalism became an open secret. All pets and farm animals disappeared. The hunger of the farmers reduced their strength to work the farms, worsening the crisis. And around 3.9 million Ukrainians starved to death, with at least a million more elsewhere in the Soviet Union. None of that famine originated in the old causes of bad weather. Stalin killed the peasants because he had ordered a policy that no one could resist.

Robert Conquest’s path-breaking 1986 study, The Harvest of Sorrow, convinced most readers that the famine had in fact taken place, though the Soviets never fully admitted it and, as Applebaum acidly points out, Western journalists (notably the New York Times‘s Walter Duranty) helped keep the millions of deaths hidden from the world.

The only question that remains these days is whether Stalin directly intended the deaths. He certainly caused them with his policies, and he was obviously willing to allow the slaughter to continue, once it had began. But did he want a Ukrainian genocide from the beginning? Given the archival evidence of Soviet pride in destroying the kulaks, the answer seems to be both yes and no. Stalin planned on any number of deaths, and he pursued his agricultural reforms even once it was clear that no goal other than punishing the peasants was being served. “Stalin did not seek to kill all Ukrainians,” Applebaum writes. But he did intend to eliminate “the most active and engaged.”

In Red Famine, Applebaum shows that she understands the purposes that remembering the Holodomorserves today. The Ukrainians have repurposed the particular Soviet oppression as general Russian oppression, with the Great Famine understood as a deliberate genocideand thus a rallying cry for Ukraine to resist encroachment from Putin’s post-Soviet Russia.

With her 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning volume, Gulag: A History, Anne Applebaum endeavored to return to conscious memory the Soviet prison system that figures from Alexander Solzhenitsyn to Robert Conquest had chronicled. It was a fine book, just as Red Famine is a fine book. But Applebaum’s greatest strengthher most admirable gift to her readersis her unwillingness to let us forget just how relentlessly murderous, cruel, and ideological the Soviet regime really was.

She knows, in other words, that here in 2017, a hundred years after the Bolshevik revolution, we are still in need of being reminded what the laboratory of history has taught us about the evil of communism.

The post Remembering Stalin’s Hunger appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI as Trump-Russia inquiry takes critical step

  • Flynn ready to testify about contact between Trump campaign and Russians
  • I recognize that my actions were wrong I am working to set things right

In a startling breakthrough for prosecutors investigating potential collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump presidential campaign, former national security adviser Michael Flynn announced on Friday that he was cooperating with prosecutors and ready to testify about Russian contacts.

After months of silence and invisibility, Flynn walked into a federal courthouse in Washington DC on Friday morning and pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. The plea was part of a larger deal with special counsel Robert Muellers team, and strikes at the heart of the Trump White House.

Related: Frame by frame: how the Michael Flynn-Russia saga unfolded

Michael Flynn is the fourth Donald Trump aide to face criminal charges in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and any alleged collusion.

Related: Jared Kushner questioned by Mueller’s team about Michael Flynn, insider says

Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!

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