26 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-9-18

  1. More of what they’ve been hiding is out, and more is coming.

    Can you say “prosecutorial misconduct”?

    I knew ya’ could….


    “Justice Department documents released on Friday confirm that the DOJ attorney known as Robert Mueller’s “pit bull” arranged a meeting with journalists in April 2017 to discuss an investigation into Paul Manafort.

    The documents show that Andrew Weissmann arranged a meeting with DOJ and FBI officials and four Associated Press reporters on April 11, 2017, just over a month before Mueller was appointed special counsel.

    Manafort’s lawyers obtained the documents on June 29 and revealed them in a briefing filed in federal court in Virginia. The attorneys are pushing for a hearing into what they say are possible leaks of secret grand jury information, false information and potentially classified materials from the meeting.

    “The meeting raises serious concerns about whether a violation of grand jury secrecy occurred,” a lawyer for Manafort, Kevin Downing, wrote in a motion requesting a hearing. “Based on the FBI’s own notes of the meeting, it is beyond question that a hearing is warranted.”

    Manafort’s attorneys have for months questioned whether Weissmann, the number two official on the Mueller team, leaked information about Manafort to The AP. At the time of the meeting, Weissmann served as chief of the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section.

    He previously served as general counsel to Mueller when he was FBI director. Weissmann joined the special counsel’s investigation when it was formed on May 17, 2017.”

    The existence of meeting between AP reporters and DOJ officials was first reported in January. The government confirmed it for the first time in a pre-trial hearing held on June 29.

    In the hearing, FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Pfeiffer said that the FBI may have conducted a May 2017 raid of a storage locker that Manafort was renting based on a tip from AP reporters. He also said that the purpose of the meeting was for the DOJ and FBI to obtain information from The AP.”


  2. Now try “journalistic malpractice”…


    “It’s pretty much an inviolable rule of journalism: Protect your sources.

    Reporters have gone to jail to keep that covenant.

    But Marcy Wheeler, who writes a well-regarded national security blog, not only revealed a source – she did so to the FBI, eventually becoming a witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Donald Trump’s possible connections to Russia.

    “On its face, I broke one of the cardinal rules of journalism, but what he was doing should cause a source to lose protection,” Wheeler told me in a lengthy phone interview.

    “It’s not a decision I regret,” she added.

    That she did so, as detailed in a post last week on her Empty Wheel blog, stunned those who have followed her work because she has so frequently criticized American intelligence agencies and their penchant for surveilling U.S. citizens.

    “For her to go to the FBI, that made my jaw drop,” said Daniel Drezner, a Tufts University professor of international politics. (He doesn’t know her personally but has followed her work.)

    “It’s like Glenn Greenwald calling up the CIA and saying I’ve discovered a mole,” Drezner said. (He was referring to the Pulitzer-winning, anti-surveillance, civil liberties lawyer who is co-founder of the Intercept, which focuses on national security news.)”


  3. More on that….


    “One of the FBI memos indicates that the AP did get some information at the meeting. At the conclusion of the session, reporters got a vague assurance that they “appeared to have a good understanding of Manafort’s business dealings,” one memo says. The same memo says the meeting was “arranged” by Andrew Weissmann, then the chief of the fraud section of Justice’s Criminal Division and now the top prosecutor on the Manafort case.

    Weissmann responded to an AP query about Cyprus’ cooperation in the probe by urging the reporters to ask Cypriot officials whether they had given the U.S. all the information it sought about Manafort’s bank dealings there or just a portion of it, one of the memos says.

    However, the memos indicate that the bulk of the information flow at the meeting went the other way, with the AP journalists providing the FBI with a bevy of facts the news organization uncovered during its inquiries into Manafort’s work and finances. The meeting took place a day before the AP published a story saying that Manafort received at least some payments ascribed to him or his companies in a so-called black ledger of off-the-books spending by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

    Reporters do sometimes give government agencies a heads-up on forthcoming stories that could significantly affect an investigation, but the details in the FBI memos show that the AP provided numerous details to the officials about the news outlet’s investigation. Many appear to have already been public, but some seem unreported, like a claim that Manafort sent an internal White House document to people he was working with in Ukraine.

    One of memos also says the purpose of the meeting was for the FBI to “obtain documents from the AP reporters,” although it’s unclear any documents were shown or changed hands.

    The memos also show that one of the AP journalists gave the FBI an unusual detail about a storage unit in Alexandria, Virginia, that Manafort used to keep records of his worldwide business dealings. Both memos say the AP revealed a code number to access the unit, although one memo says the reporters declined to share the number or location of the locker. (The memos give two slightly different versions of the code, with one suggesting it was to access a locked parking lot at the storage facility.)

    The FBI agent who wrote one of the memos, Jeff Pfeiffer, testified last week that the tip from the AP may have led to discovery of the locker, although he said there was a possibility he had heard about the storage site before the April 2017 meeting. The FBI later found a Manafort aide who led them to the spot where Manafort’s records were stored. After looking in with the aide, the FBI got a search warrant and seized many of the records.

    One journalism expert said he was taken aback by the AP sharing the code with the FBI, but he cautioned that the FBI’s accounts are only their perspective on the meeting.

    “I’m surprised by the access code notation, that does seem rather unorthodox if the FBI memo is accurate in stating or implying that the AP reporters volunteered that information,” said University of Maryland journalism professor Mark Feldstein. “Generally speaking, skepticism is warranted when it comes to self-reporting by both the FBI and news outlets about their interactions. Neither side is supposed to share confidential information with the other, but in fact each often does — perhaps to seek corroboration, perhaps to get other confidential information back in exchange or perhaps to spur on the other side’s investigation.”


  4. And speaking of Glenn Greenwald….

    All the news that’s fit to just make up on the spot.


    “DURING THE 2016 primary and general election campaigns, various MSNBC hosts were openly campaigning for Hillary Clinton. One of the network’s programs featured Malcolm Nance (pictured, above), whose background is quite sketchy but who is presented by the cable network (and now by NBC News) as an “intelligence expert” and former intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy.

    On August 20, 2016, weekend host Joy Reid asked Nance about the supposed “affinity” for Russia harbored by Jill Stein supporters. In response, Nance told MSNBC viewers: “Jill Stein has a show on Russia Today.” You can still watch the video of this claim here on MSNBC’s own website, or see it here:

    Whatever your views might be about Jill Stein and her third-party candidacy, there is no disputing the fact that Nance’s statement was a falsehood, a fabrication, a lie. Jill Stein did not have a show on RT, nor did she ever host a show on RT. What Nance said was made up out of whole cloth – fabricated – in order to encourage MSNBC viewers to believe that Stein, one of the candidates running against Clinton, was a paid agent of the Kremlin and was an employee of RT.

    Reid allowed Nance’s lie to stand. Perhaps she did not realize at the time that it was a lie. But subsequently, a campaign was launched to urge MSNBC to correct the lie that MSNBC broadcast, based on the assumption that MSNBC – which is part of NBC News – was a normal news outlet that functions in accordance with basic journalistic principles and would, of course, correct a false statement once that was brought to its attention.

    The media watchdog group FAIR repeatedly documented the lie told by Nance and urged MSNBC to issue a correction. The Intercept wrote about this falsehood on several occasions and also noted that MSNBC was refusing to issue a correction of what everyone knows is a false – but an obviously quite significant – claim. Multiple tweets were directed at NBC News, MSNBC, Nance and Reid asking them to correct the fabrication to their viewers:

    To date – almost two years later – neither NBC News nor MSNBC, nor a single journalist who works for either one of those media outlets – has corrected this significant falsehood, despite obviously knowing that it was broadcast to their viewers. In other words, NBC News and MSNBC knows that it told its viewers something that was materially false, and yet refuses to correct it. Please, defenders of this network: tell me what that says about its integrity, about its real function, about whether it is a real news outlet.

    Worse, not only was Nance never sanctioned in any way for the lie he told, but he was rewarded: he has since gone from “MSNBC Contributor” to “MSNBC intelligence analyst,” is far more pervasive on that network, and its hosts have spent the month aggressively promoting his new book on how Putin is destroying U.S. democracy.

    On MSNBC, lies are not corrected; they are rewarded, provided the lies are designed to smear the reputations of Democratic Party critics. Is this not definitive and conclusive proof of that: that this is not a news outlet but a political arm of the Democratic Party? What else could possibly explain, let alone justify, behavior like this? I’m asking that earnestly.”

    I BRING THIS UP again now not because I think MSNBC will ever correct its lie – it has made clear that lies designed to destroy the reputations of Democratic Party critics are perfectly permissible – but because a very similar event happened on Friday night involving the same MSNBC analyst.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And speaking of made up news propaganda……


    “Media are really covering themselves in glory on the issue of immigration reform.

    That’s sarcasm.

    Consider, for example, how certain newsrooms reported on a roughly four-minute fundraising video this week produced by the not-for-profit advocacy group Immigration Counseling Service.

    The Daily Beast advertised the film with a headline that read, “Watch: Immigrant Kids Forced to Defend Themselves in Court.”

    The article is even filed under the tag “heartbreaking.”

    Newsweek also promoted the film, running with a headline that read, “Watch: Video Shows What Immigrant Children Face Alone in Court Using Real Transcripts.”

    Here’s the thing, though: The video is not real, despite what’s suggested in these headlines.

    The film, titled “Unaccompanied: Alone in America,” features performers re-enacting real-life transcripts of conversations between unaccompanied immigrant minors who’ve appeared in court without any legal representation and the judge who heard their cases.

    The video is well-produced, and it even addresses a problem dating back to at least 2016, but it’s still an emotionally manipulative fundraising pitch for Immigration Counseling Service. It’s a commercial.

    And this is where things reflect poorly on the newsroom that gave the film glossy coverage. Both Newsweek and the Daily Beast note in their write-up that the short video is a re-enactment. But that’s not how they promote the story in their headlines and on social media.

    There’s also the partisan framing. The story is being sold by straight and partisan media as a problem of unaccompanied minors in courtrooms that is unique to the Trump administration. But it’s not. This issue predates the current president, a fact that is curiously absent from these write-ups of the Immigration Counseling Service’s movie.

    Readers are left with nothing more than an emotionally manipulative video that pushes a certain point of view, all important context and detail omitted. That’s called propaganda.”


  6. If Sasse challenges Trump in 2020 I will support him and vote for him. However, I would encourage intelligent conservatives such as Sasse to wait until:

    1. Trump retires, is defeated or is removed from office; and

    2. Several years of Democrat misrule make people forget how most of the Republican Party served as stooges and apologists for Trump’s dishonesty, economic and historical illiteracy, incompetence and childishness.


  7. A former NATO ambassador quoted in this editorial said that NATO can withstand four years of Trump. It probably can’t withstand eight years. I suspect Putin has reached a similar conclusion.


  8. The old Russians were very active:


  9. I see the hacks from the NT crowd and at the NYTimes are active too. But still losing. 🙂

    And yeah, if you’re down to Nazi comparisons, you’re losing the argument.


    “Doomsayers who warn that “the end is nigh” if so-and-so politician is elected become deeply depressed if the so-and-so is elected and horrible things do not occur.

    From a conservative perspective, Trump has not caused horrible things to occur. Quite the opposite, in fact. Yet the nominally conservative NeverTrumps are growing more depressed; they’re making ever more dire prophecies; and now, with the end yet to appear nigh, dammit, they’re doing everything in their power to make it so.

    George Will originally predicted that “Trump would be the most unpopular nominee ever[.] … [He] would create down-ballot carnage sufficient to end even Republican control of the House … and guarantee a Supreme Court with a liberal cast for a generation.” After Trump was elected and the Republicans held Congress, did Will announce he’d been mistaken? He did not. Instead, he announced his resignation from the Republican Party.

    Trump has confounded Will’s nightmare predictions ever since. He’s guaranteed a conservative cast to the Supreme Court for a generation, and Republican fortunes for the midterm elections are rising. You might think this would make Will happy, but Will isn’t the happy sort. Besides, his opposition was never about the Supreme Court or losing the Congress. It was only about hating Trump. Will is now calling for Republicans to vote for Democratic candidates in 2018, figuring, probably, that a Democratic takeover of Congress will produce the disaster he has so often and wistfully predicted.

    Former conservative Max Boot has joined Will in calling for Republicans to abandon their party. His Fourth of July column explains: “Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.” Why is such drastic action necessary? Because Trump’s Republican Party, according to Boot, “doesn’t even know what it stands for, and … in fact may stand for positions that I find repugnant.” Exactly like Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan.”

    “Hatred destroys your soul. It also destroys your ability to think rationally, or write clearly, or laugh. And when your hatred so consumes you that you start praying for your fellow citizens to suffer, while pretending to be concerned for their welfare, you’re going to spark outrage.

    That’s when you have to remind everyone that you’re just a comedian or a satirist, unless you’re George Will.”

    Those last 2 bits seemed like they might be a helpful reminder for some.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Squirrel!

    They’re everywhere……….

    And not only for Democrats. When you’ve already made a mockery of our govt. for decades, you’re not gonna be taken seriously when accuse a newcomer of doing so.


    “Every year, without fail, some conservative says, “Why doesn’t Saturday Night Live make fun of liberals the way they mock conservatives?” It makes sense on the surface; the show is hopelessly, and joylessly, liberal because it’s written by liberals, and they happen to be in a perpetual state of anger. But there’s another problem. Even if SNL wanted to mock liberals it would be nearly impossible to do. Not because there’s nothing to mock, it’s because they’ve actually become a parody of themselves, and it’s very difficult to parody a parody.

    There isn’t an issue in the news that doesn’t have some band of left-wing mutants marching down the streets screeching some recycled 1960s chant of “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Something or other has got to go.” How do you parody that?

    Democrats just nominated a rabid socialist over someone who was in line to be their leader in Congress, then the chairman of their party called her the future of it. The only way to parody that is to have a skit with Che Guevara as head of the DNC.

    The mutant mob calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is one thing. It is also to be expected from those who despise the concept of borders and capitalism. But to have prominent members of Congress and possible presidential nominees publicly jump on board is beyond parody, it’s pandering from behind.

    Saturday Night Live couldn’t mock a mockery like that if it wanted to, the real thing beats them to the punch at every turn.”


  11. Massive federal reform.

    I like the sound of that.

    And again, he’s trying to keep the promises he made to voters, despite the push-back efforts fighting reforms of any kind.


    “President Trump is taking charge of his administration’s effort to reform the federal government and workforce, the biggest demonstration yet that Washington is under new management.

    Aides describe the president as personally invested in the 32-point plan to shake the bureaucracy out of a 1950s model based on secretarial pools.

    “So much of the ability to drive change requires a fresh perspective,” said Margaret Weichert, an author of the recently announced reform blueprint and deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.”


    “Trimming and reeducating the workforce, combining federal agencies and eliminating overlapping services won’t be easy and Trump’s team are bracing for a bruising fight with bureaucrats, federal employee unions and lawmakers.

    But it is one that Trump is approaching like he did many of his business challenges, setting the overall goals and then promoting them.”


    “We are serious about top down change. It cannot all happen at once, it can’t certainly happen by fiat, but when you look at where we are at in 2018 two decades into the 21st century and you pair that with a bureaucratic infrastructure that was very well aligned to the needs of the post-World War II era, it’s so clear there’s a mismatch,” said Weichert, adding, “If now isn’t the time to get traction on this, I don’t know when is. We have to get serious about making change happen.”

    Legislation has already been introduced to begin making Trump’s reforms, headlined by a plan to revamp the federal workforce, reform IT and add automation, and combine the Education and Labor departments so that schools can focus more on filling the nation’s skills gap like some European school systems do.”


  12. Like some others, Sasse knows he probably can’t win re-election, so he’s lashing out. Any effort on his part would simply be to siphon votes from Trump and ensure a Democrat win. Doesn’t really sound like a “principled conservative” to me. Sound like just another traitor to the party and his supposed ideals. Yawn.


    “As the “never Trump” faction of the Republican Party dwindles to a lonely few, the Nebraska senator has shown little interest in backing down – leaving him vulnerable to a Trump-fueled primary challenge in 2020, when he’s up for reelection.

    How Sasse responds — he has a book coming out three weeks before the midterm elections and has quietly launched a new political non-profit group, fueling speculation that he might launch a Hail Mary bid for president rather than seek another term in the Senate — promises to be the next intra-GOP drama.”

    “”I just don’t think Sasse has been a Trump supporter and I don’t think he’s been a good representative of the state because of that,” said Debby Brehm, a Lincoln real estate executive who was a delegate at the 2016 Republican National Convention and served as a “Nebraskans for Trump” co-chair.

    Brehm, who supported Sasse during his 2014 general election bid, said she was interested in recruiting a primary opponent to unseat the senator.

    “Trump won our state handily and I think Sasse should get on board with that,” she added. Trump carried Nebraska in 2016 by 25 points.”


  13. Rush just made the comment that is the main driver in all this issue of Presidency.:

    “Hillary is not making this Supreme Court selection.”
    Even Ricky should appreciate that.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Yes, but Trump farcically met with Kim and is embarrassingly meeting with the EU and is either traitorously or incompetently meeting with Putin and has started a trade war. Both were completely unfit for office. Though both are completely corrupt and their daughters are friends and one attended one of the other’s weddings, there are major differences in their types of unfitness.

    Hillary would likely have been an unpleasant version of her husband or Obama. Trump is an unpleasant version of Bozo the Clown.


  15. It turns out that our choice was:

    1. A conservative Supreme Court for 10-20 years


    2. The preservation of the Western Alliance and the continuation of US global economic leadership.

    Not an easy choice.


  16. “Sure it was, if you’re not the globalist type.”

    See what I mean….


    “For more than 100 years, Granite City has defined itself as a hardworking mill town, a place where young people eager to cement a solid financial future without a college degree have to look no further than the dirt and iron and fire of the local steel plant, which stretches over 2 square miles. The opportunity afforded by the plant came to a halt at the end of 2015, when the plant idled production, laying off 2,000 people.

    But the first blast furnace now has been restarted and U.S. Steel is filling 800 jobs at the mill, a result of the steep tariffs that President Donald Trump announced on imported steel and aluminum earlier this year. The Trump administration has in recent months imposed tariffs on goods from Canada, Mexico and China and on Friday imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. That country responded by levying tariffs of its own on American-made goods.

    The trade war has spurred an outcry from most U.S. businesses. In Granite City, though — which voted narrowly for Trump in the 2016 election — the tariffs are helping bring back well-paying steel jobs and lifting its economy. But even as the community of 29,000 along the Mississippi River sees better days, some residents and business owners hold out hope that the city will find another economic engine to define itself by. What that will be, they don’t know yet.”

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Why am I not surprised?


    “The Obama administration reportedly had the chance to cripple the global heroin trade funding terrorism in war-torn Afghanistan, but it shelved the plan to advance a broader political agenda.

    The administration, citing political concerns, shut down a plan to stop the spread of narcotics around the world, prevent Afghanistan’s emergence as a narco-state, and sever the critical revenue streams financing the deadly insurgency American troops are fighting and dying to end, Politico’s John Meyer reported Sunday.

    The plan — Operation Reciprocity — was drafted by Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice legal advisers, but the high-stakes strategy was strangled in its crib by the Obama administration’s deputy chief of mission in Kabul, Tina Kaidanow, to protect the administration’s strategic ambitions.

    Kaidanow told Politico that there were serious concerns the plan would impact the White House’s Afghanistan strategy, including but not limited to the proposed drawdown of America’s military presence in the region. At the time Operation Reciprocity was just starting to gain momentum in the summer of 2013, the conflict in Afghanistan had already cost American taxpayers $686 billion, not to mention the more than 2,000 American lives sacrificed to the war. It appears the administration caved to the political pressure.

    The plan’s architects argued that Operation Reciprocity was in line with the administration’s initiatives and crucial to securing a better future for Afghanistan.

    “This was the most effective and sustainable tool we had for disrupting and dismantling Afghan drug trafficking organizations and separating them from the Taliban,” Michael Marsac, the DEA regional director for Southwest Asia who helped draft the plan with DOJ law enforcement adviser John Seaman, told reporters, adding that the plan to indict 26 Taliban commanders and allied drug lords and try them in U.S. courts — a strategy based on that used against guerrillas in Colombia — “lies dormant, buried in an obscure file room, all but forgotten.”

    Operation Reciprocity’s designers argue that the plan was abandoned not only because the Obama administration feared it would impact plans for a withdrawal from Afghanistan, but also because it threatened engagement and peace talks with the Taliban, as well as negotiations for a prisoner swap that would ultimately see the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five senior terrorist leaders held in Guatanamo Bay.”


  18. Yes please.

    And the irony here is duly noted.


    “Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is planning to create a specialized border force to combat illegal immigration across Mexico’s borders, according to his hand-picked security chief.

    The new force is aimed at stanching the flow of illegal immigrants and contraband from Central America and will also be deployed to Mexico’s northern border, Alfonso Durazo said, according to Bloomberg. It is part of Lopez Obrador’s broader strategy against regional violence, corruption and poverty.

    “We’re going to create a border police force that will be highly specialized,” Durazo, who is set to become Mexico’s public security minister when Lopez Obrador takes office in December, told Bloomberg in an interview.

    “They need to apply the law” against illicit migration and human trafficking, he added.

    A left-wing populist, Lopez Obrador won the presidency on July 1 on the strength of a campaign against the Mexican political establishment, which he blamed for Mexico’s seemingly intractable cartel violence and public corruption. Though he sparred with President Donald Trump over the U.S. government’s treatment of Mexican migrants, he has promised to contain illegal immigration in his own country by using a combination of tighter enforcement and humanitarian aid.”

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Debra, It appears that Trump is trying to help me win our bet, but I am not going to share my candy with him.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Strange. It almost seems like trade and foreign policy are connected. Who would have ever imagined that?


  21. Not my first choice, fourth actually. So who is he?


    “Judge Brett Kavanaugh is one of President Trump’s potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Age: 52

    Current Position: Circuit Court Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (Washington, D.C.)


    B.A., Yale College (1987)

    J.D., Yale Law School (1990); Notes Editor, Yale Law Review

    Judicial Clerkships: Judge Walter Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1990-91); Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1991-92); Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court (1993-94)”


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