FBI Nabs Russian Mob that Hacked Casino Slots and Stole Five Tons of Chocolate
In addition to casino fraud, the outfit allegedly engaged in racketeering, narcotics, firearms offenses and murder-for-hire, as well as the theft and trafficking of over five tons of illegal chocolate into the United States, according to the indictment …
russian organized crime in us – Google News
David Rockefeller’s historic double-wide mansion on the Upper East Side, where he and his wife, Peggy, raised their six children and created a comfortable family residence with museum-quality artwork mixed in with a homey décor, is being put on the market by his estate.
The price for this townhouse at 146 East 65th Street — a red brick Colonial Revival with limestone details, 40 feet wide and four stories high — will be $32.5 million, according to Hall F. Willkie, the president of Brown Harris Stevens, which is listing the property. Its annual property taxes are $137,680.
Mr. Rockefeller, a banker and philanthropist who was a grandson of the oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, died in March at the age of 101; his wife died 21 years earlier. The estate is also planning to auction off the couple’s personal art collection at Christie’s, with the proceeds benefiting charities.
A significant portion of their artwork has been housed throughout the sprawling Manhattan home, which the Rockefellers purchased in 1948 and had used as a primary residence after renovations. Their art collection included works by Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso, along with Chinese and European porcelains and 18th-century furniture.
The mansion, built in 1924 and situated on a quiet tree-lined block between Lexington and Third Avenues, became part of the Upper East Side Historic District extension about seven years ago. It has around 9,777 square feet of interior space that includes eight bedrooms, eight full baths and three half baths, in addition to six smaller staff bedrooms. The basement level has nearly 2,500 square feet of additional space that contains a laundry area, storage and two vaults — one for storing wine, another for valuables.
Throughout the home are high ceilings, ornate dentil moldings and paneling, pegged oak floors and numerous oversize windows that bring in an abundance of natural light.
There is also ample outdoor space, totaling nearly 3,000 square feet, that features a south-facing landscaped garden in the rear — with silver birch trees, mature rhododendrons and trimmed moss — along with a small garden in the front and several planting balconies.
“When you walk in, you can see through the house right into the garden,” Mr. Willkie said. “You don’t even feel like you’re in the city.”
The main entrance opens to a spacious gallery that flows into a large dining room with bright floral wallpaper and display shelves, as well as a sitting room. Each of these rooms faces the rear garden and has a wood-burning fireplace of carved wood and marble surround. There are eight fireplaces in all. This first level also includes the kitchen, butler’s pantry and offices.
A grand spiral staircase with a domed skylight at the top leads to the other floors — and, yes, there is also an elevator that serves all levels.
On the second, or parlor, floor, which has ceilings rising to just over 13 feet and another spacious gallery, is an enormous south-facing living room of knotted paneling, with a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows. It extends to the width of the house. (A baby grand piano looks almost small in this space.) At the north end is a partly paneled library with built-in bookcases and an en-suite guest bedroom; both rooms have fireplaces.
The other remaining bedrooms, some with fireplaces and en-suite baths, are on the top levels, including the master suite on the third floor, and five of the six staff bedrooms on the fourth. At that top level, “there’s a family side and a staff side,” Mr. Willkie said.
Mr. Rockefeller’s son David Rockefeller Jr., who is also a philanthropist, said that he and his siblings loved the house.
“It was our home,” he said in an email. “We walked and rode to school from there. We celebrated Christmas there.”
He said he remembered small concerts being held at the house, including a piano performance by Van Cliburn, and dinner parties with distinguished guests (the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Kofi Annan was among them).
In addition to Mr. Willkie, the listing brokers are Mary K. Rutherfurd, Paula Del Nunzio and Leslie R. Coleman, all of Brown Harris Stevens.
Deputy Solicitor General and criminal law expert Michael Dreeben will join special counsel Robert Mueller’s quietly growing team of legal minds assisting with the probe into Russia’s involvement with the 2016 election.
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Darryl Paulson: Will Donald Trump be dumped? — The 25th Amendment
The FBI investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 election discovered that at least five members of the Trump administration or campaign team had met with Russian officials. Many had failed to disclose these meetings as was … The Goldwater Rule …
2016 elections and mental health – Google News
The NSA headquarters building is as compelling as it is unsettling—much like the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the headquarters for the FBI. The hundreds of cars parked around the building stand in for the thousands of intelligence workers inside—the serfs of the deep state, as it were. The photo anonymizes them: It’s not possible to make out the make or model of most of the vehicles, much less any information about the lives of the employees who drive them. Dots of colors of vehicles reflected in the mirrored building envelope betray nothing about what happens inside. Fort Meade looks like it might be the end of the earth, an exurb you never hope to have reason to visit. Like the FBI Building, the NSA headquarters is a metaphor for the agency it hosts.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives headquarters, pictured in 2008. (Ketzirah Lesser and Art Drauglis/Flickr)
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives headquarters in Washington, D.C., is another piece of security architecture with a design pedigree. It was built by Moshe Safdie, who is best known for designing Expo 67 in Montreal and Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas. Elsewhere in D.C., he designed the U.S. Institute of Peace, a building that is more frequently mentioned in connection with Safdie’s name locally than the ATF Building.
But the latter is absolutely more distinctive, especially as an example of security theater in the built environment. ATF’s headquarters, completed in 2008, was the first to abide by new security standards set forth for federal buildings after the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995. Blast-resistant glass is a defining feature, as are deep setbacks—a “landscaped demilitarized zone between the building and the street,” as critic Witold Rybczynski once put it. Much of the ATF campus is given over to pure design: Two giant arching wings form a crescent “garden wall” along the north and west sides of the building, which face out to the busy intersection of New York and Florida Avenue NW. (A grave concern, then and now: As far back as 2003, al Qaeda was pledging that “cars of death” would rain destruction down on D.C.)
The Embassy of the United States in London, designed by KieranTimberlake. (KieranTimberlake)
A paranoid style is easy to spot in even the more sophisticated national security designs from the post–9/11 era. Consider the forthcoming U.S. Embassy in London, a $1 billion landmark designed by KieranTimberlake. While (soon-to-be former) Rep. Jason Chaffetz described the project’s glass curtain wall as “opulent looking,” his comments came during a discussion about whether Congress could rely on claims that this façade would be utterly blast proof. As my colleague Amanda Kolson Hurley explains for CNN, critics say that the embassy—which also gets its own moat—is too forbidding. The architecture of the security state is awesome: terrible in its implications, but also an almost poetic reflection of national anxiety.
Jeffrey Smith heads Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s National Security practice, which regularly counsels both US and foreign companies on a wide range of national security issues. His practice includes advising major defense and aerospace companies and representing major media organizations and individuals with respect to First Amendment issues and unauthorized disclosures of classified information. Mr. Smith has frequently represented prominent individuals in congressional investigations and federal prosecutions. He also represents major universities on national security issues.
Mr. Smith is a former General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and served on the Department of Defense Legal Policy Advisory Board. He has also served as General Counsel of the Senate Armed Services Committee and was Senator Sam Nunn’s designee to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Iran/Contra Committee. Prior to working for the Senate, he was the Assistant Legal Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence at the State Department. Earlier, as an Army Judge Advocate General officer, he served as the Pentagon’s lawyer for the Panama Canal negotiations.
In 1992 and 1993, Mr. Smith served as the chief of the Clinton Transition Team at the US Department of Defense. He also chaired the Joint Security Commission established in 1993 by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and CIA Director James Woolsey to examine the security procedures of the defense and intelligence communities and the companies that contract with them. In addition, he served on the congressionally mandated Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Services.
The most extraordinary thing to come out of the hearing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held Thursday may not be former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony, but the baffling, typo-riddled response to that testimony issued by Donald Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz.
Perhaps the most irresponsible aspect of Kasowitz’s press release was the suggestion that Comey might have violated the law by relaying his account of unclassified conversations with Trump to the press, via a friend. As a veritable chorus of legal scholars, including our own Steve Vladeck, have already observed, this is arrant nonsense. Indeed, it is so clearly false that it’s hard to see how a minimally competent attorney could have made it in good faith——though it will doubtless make perfectly serviceable chum for the cable news shows.
This only scratches the surface, however. The whole document is so remarkable for both its sloppiness and disingenuousness that it’s worth going through paragraph by paragraph.
Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told the President privately: The President was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference. He also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference.
This is a master class in claiming vindication by denying claims that haven’t been made. I don’t know what “numerous false press reports” Kasowitz is alluding to here, since he conveniently declines to name any offenders, but I can’t recall any reputable news outlets reporting that Trump was personally the named target of a counterintelligence investigation. Nor, despite the president’s evident obsession with the topic, is this all that significant for reasons Comey alluded to in his testimony: An investigation into potential coordination between the Trump *campaign* and the Russian government——which, of course, is underway——would naturally implicate the candidate even if the direct links between Russia and the campaign involved staffers lower down the totem pole. It was for precisely this reason, Comey testified, that one of the FBI officials with whom he consulted advised against assuring Trump that “he” was not under investigation. Moreover, Comey’s reassurances to Trump on this score appear to have been primarily about affirming that the FBI was not following up on salacious claims repeated in the press concerning a supposed tape of sexual escapades in Moscow. Similarly, nobody outside the fever swamps has argued that Russian interference involved literally altering vote tallies, though it does appear to have at least laid the groundwork for such an effort in future elections.
Mr Comey’s testimony also makes clear that the President never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election, and in fact, according to Mr. Comey, the President told Mr. Comey “it would be good to find out” in that investigation if there were “some ‘satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong.” And he did not exclude anyone from that statement.
That’s a charitable read of Trump’s reported comment. But the last sentence here hints at an awareness of, and an effort to preempt, a less charitable read: That Trump was signaling his willingness to pin the blame for any misconduct on people at the periphery of the campaign——Carter Page, say——if it became necessary to do so. Kasowitz takes pains to point out that Trump’s remark “did not exclude anyone,” but it is hard to imagine someone as central to the campaign as former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn qualifying as a “satellite.”
Consistent with that statement, the President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that that Mr. Comey “let Flynn go.” As he publicly stated the next day, he did say to Mr. Comey, “General Flynn is a good guy, he has been through a lot” and also “asked how is General Flynn is doing.” Admiral Rogers testified that the President never “directed [him] to do anything . . . illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate” and never “pressured [him] to do so.” Director Coates said the same thing. The President likewise never pressured Mr. Comey.
This is remarkable because, even as most of Trump’s defenders take for granted that Comey’s account is accurate while seeking to excuse Trump’s conduct on the basis of naïveté or inexperience, the White House is doubling down on the claim that the former FBI director simply lied under oath. Consider, then, what we are being asked to believe here. We are supposed to believe that Trump sent everyone but Comey out of the room simply to convey the sentiment that Mike Flynn is a “good guy.” Comey then——in February, with no indication that his job was in peril——immediately fabricated a request that he “let [Flynn] go,” which he committed to writing and shared with other senior FBI officials, in a display of prescient strategic planning worthy of Batman.
Then we come to the selective account of Coates’ and Rogers’ testimony. Both did indeed deny that they had been “directed” or felt “pressured” to wind down the Russia probe. Both also, however, conspicuously refused, repeatedly, to say whether they had been “asked” to do so. As several senators pointed out, their legal basis for this refusal was somewhat fuzzy, as they did not explicitly invoke executive privilege. Nor is it clear why they felt it was off-limits to speak to what they had been “asked” to do, but at liberty to deny an explicit “direction.” A cynic might suspect that the reason is that the answer would have been different.
The President also never told Mr. Comey, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” in form or substance. Of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving in an administration, and, from before this President took office to this day, it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.
Here, again, if we are to believe the White House, we must ascribe to Comey the Batmanesque foresight of falsely memorializing a request in January, when he was being asked to stay on as FBI director, presumably as a hedge against his future dismissal. The White House then attempts to conflate Comey’s recollection of an unclassified private conversation with the illegal leaking of classified information. While such a leak, if that’s the proper term, might well be grounds for termination of a government employee, that ship has sailed. I’ll skip over the next two paragraphs, since others have dealt thoroughly with the absurdity of the claim that Comey’s actions here violated the law or some binding executive privilege.
Although Mr. Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey’s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to entirely retaliatory. We will leave it the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated.
The first sentence here is presumably a reference to a May 11 story in the New York Times alluding to the dinner at which Trump allegedly demanded Comey’s loyalty. But that story makes no reference to “memos,” which are first described in a story by the same reporter that ran on May 18, after Trump’s tweet, and concerns a purported conversation that took place before Trump’s inauguration, rendering it mysterious how its contents could in any sense be considered “privileged,” except perhaps by the rules of etiquette. It does seem likely the earlier story was also planted by an associate acting with Comey’s approval, but that’s perfectly consistent with Comey’s account of his subsequent decision to make it known that he had written memoranda memorializing several of their conversations.
The final sentence is consistent with Trump’s lifelong penchant for threatening (and, less often, actually bringing) frivolous litigation as a means of harassing his public critics.
On the whole, this document seems like a good illustration of why so many respectable law firms have declined to represent Trump, and of the sort of work product you get when forced to make do with the leftovers who lack such qualms.
Image: Getty/Win McNamee Read on Just Security »
In this episode, Professors Chesney and Vladeck have a full plate. The arrest of a contractor named Reality Winner (for having stolen classified information relating to Russian efforts to hack a voting-machine system and providing that information to the Intercept) provides the basis for a wide-ranging conversation about the Espionage Act, the First Amendment, and associated policy and legal issues. Naturally this also leads to previews of Jim Comey’s upcoming Congressional testimony, discussion of Jared Kushner’s attempt to establish a communications channel with Moscow using Russian government channels, and notes on the latest developments with Mike Flynn. That in turn leads to a detailed assessment of the prospects for the Supreme Court to take review of the Fourth Circuit’s Travel Ban ruling and to stay the various injunctions associated with the Travel Ban (the government having recently filed applications relating to all of this). But they save the best for last: the Supreme Court has granted cert. in Carpenter v. United States, which presents the question whether the collection of a sizeable amount of historical Cell Site Location Information (CSLI) from service providers is a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and if so whether a warrant is required. Put in plainer terms: The Supreme Court will consider whether the Third Party Doctrine (from Smith v. Maryland) should apply to a circumstance in which new technologies enable information gathering of a kind and scale that might warrant (see what I did there?) a different outcome than Smith. Finally, Steve and Bobby wrap the show by talking about some of their favorite foreign cities.
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices
Those old enough to remember Watergate will recall that “we are a government of laws, not men” became a mantra. It was repeated so often as to risk banality.
But we are a nation of laws, unique in the world, held together not by ethnicity or religion but by an idea – that we are free men and women who govern ourselves and are treated equally under the law regardless of station in life. In other words, we are held together by our constitution.
The constitution is not self-executing. It is given life and sustained by our institutions of government, by checks and balances so as not to become the tyranny we overthrew in our revolution. These institutions – the congress, the agencies of government, the courts, and the media who watch over them – are not buildings. They are the men and women who work in them and devote their professional lives to the rule of law and keeping us secure.
When these institutions are threatened, as they now are, we must speak up.
James Clapper, one of the most respected intelligence officers of our time, has warned us of these threats. On CNN he said our institutions are “under assault” not only by actions of the Russians but also by our own president. And he recently said, as quoted in Fortune, that the “Watergate scandal pales in comparison to events in Washington surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump and alleged links between his campaign and Russia.”
The threat coming into sharpest focus is whether the president sought to interfere in the FBI’s investigation of possible links between his campaign and the Russian, including the activities of his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. The press has reported that the president asked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Director of the NSA Admiral Mike Rogers to issue statements that he was not under investigation. According to the same press reports, Director Coats and Admiral Rogers refused to do so. Their courage and judgment is admirable and it is regrettable that in their recent testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) they refused to confirm or deny that the president had made such a request. They will surely be asked about these reports in a closed session of the SSCI and by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. I am confident they will tell the truth when questioned.
If the president seeks to muzzle them by asserting executive privilege, he will have set a course toward possible impeachment. Recall that the first article of impeachment of President Nixon was for obstruction of justice.
And now we have the remarkable testimony of former FBI Director James Comey. His powerful recitation of the facts as he recorded them contemporaneously is compelling and persuasive. His thoughtful and detailed responses to every question added enormous weight not only to his own credibility but also to his conclusions, namely that Mr. Trump often lies and was trying to influence the Bureau’s investigation of Russian activity associated with the Trump campaign.
For example, when Senator James Risch (R- Idaho) raised the theory that when the president said “I hope you can see your way” to drop the investigation of Flynn, it was not an order and therefore not obstruction, Comey demolished the theory. Even his candid and remarkable admission that he leaked a copy of his memorandum of the conversation with the president added to his credibility. A less honest person would have conjured up some way of avoiding the truth.
Furthermore, Comey’s conclusions are made more credible by comparison to the president’s tweets that are self-serving and conclusory. The president’s frequent referral to the investigations as “witch hunts” and leaks as “fake news” – that later often prove to be true – only add weight to the case that he did, in fact, seek to interfere improperly in the investigation.
Perhaps most persuasive is that the president has acknowledged he fired Mr. Comey because of the Russia investigation. The president has been characteristically jumbled in his explanations as to precisely what about the investigation he didn’t like. But surely it was not because Mr. Comey was being insufficiently vigorous or professional.
President Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, has denied that Mr. Trump demanded “loyalty” from Mr. Comey and then added, “of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving in an administration.” Mindful of the consequences of claiming that president Trump is entitled to expect loyalty from government employees, he tried to draw a distinction by saying the “Office of the President” is entitled to loyalty. Neither assertion is right. Government employees have a duty to follow the lawful orders of the president, but their loyalty is to the constitution. Unquestioned loyalty to a leader belongs to an alternative form of government.
The president’s actions raise fundamental questions about his commitment to the rule of law and his understanding about his role in assuring the fair and impartial execution of our laws.
There are three institutions that are part of the executive branch but whose independence from political manipulation is sacred. They are the law enforcement and intelligence agencies and the armed forces. Each of them work for the president and must execute his policies; but they must not be used for his political purposes.
Nothing angers an intelligence officer more than efforts by political leadership to shape their analysis to favor a pre-determined political outcome. After the CIA’s faulty analysis of Saddam Hussein’s WMD program, many reforms were adopted to assure rigorous analysis that was free of any political influence. Nothing angers an FBI Special Agent more than efforts by politicians to interfere in their investigations. Indeed, any effort to do so inevitably leads to an even brighter light being shined on possible crimes committed by the interfering foolish politician. And soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines will fight and die for the constitution, but they will not do so out of loyalty to any given president.
As they should, these great institutions fiercely protect their independence and honor their heritage and culture. Their politically appointed leadership must understand one of their key roles is to insulate the institution from improper political influence. These efforts, and the institutions themselves, must be supported by all Americans, beginning with their oversight committees in the Congress. In that regard, the chairman of the SSCI, Senator Richard Burr, (R-North Carolina), and his colleagues repeatedly praised the professionalism and dedication of the FBI and the Intelligence Community. Well said. Well deserved.
Does the president understand why the independence of the law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community is vital to our democracy? Does he now understand he has overstepped in trying to stop the investigation of General Flynn or get the Russian “cloud” off him by prematurely shutting down the investigation? Sadly, the answers to these questions are not clear.
It is not clear how this ends, but it is not likely to end well.
In 1974, I was an Army JAG lawyer assigned to the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of the Army for International Affairs, who was a Foreign Service Officer and career ambassador. In the days before President Nixon resigned, he called me into his office and said, “I am not supposed to show you this, but you should see it. It’s important.” It was a message from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the four-star Commanders-in-Chief, as they were then known, saying that if they received any “execute orders” from the NCA (the National Command Authority, i.e. the President), they were not to carry them out unless the order was verified by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Secretary of Defense. This episode is now being recalled as an example of how our institutions responded in a responsible way at an extraordinary and critical time.
In Watergate, our institutions – the courts, congress, the FBI, the CIA and the media – responded as they should. It was deliberate and professional. They understood our democracy requires preserving the rule of law, that we are a nation of laws. Ultimately, they put nation over party and deserve our undying admiration.
It is now the turn of the current generation of political leadership to do the same.
Image: Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty
New York Times
Trump Accuses Comey of Lying Under Oath
New York Times
President Trump gave a speech at a Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington on Thursday afternoon. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times. WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday accused James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. …
President Trump cares more about himself than his countryWashington Post
OPINION: The damaging case against James ComeyThe Hill (blog)
Ex-FBI Chief James Comey’s Senate Testimony: Live AnalysisWall Street Journal (subscription)
Business Insider –NPR –CNN –NBCNews.com
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World – Google News
Three weeks ago, the President joined members of the Gulf Cooperation Council in a strong show of partnership, repudiation of extremism, and a plan to defeat terrorism of all kinds in the region and around the world.
Now, the situation in the Arabian Gulf over the last few days is troubling to the United States, the region, and to many people who are directly affected. The United States wishes to reaffirm our commitment to the spirit of the summit. As we combine efforts to defeat the military, financial, and ideological support of terrorists, we expect to see progress in the Arab world toward greater political expression. An important pathway to attack Islamic extremism and to prevent political activism from escalating into violence is to allow marginalized voices opportunities for political expression.
But this process requires regional and global consensus and mutual understanding. The GCC summit creates a platform to achieve this consensus and understanding. We call for calm and thoughtful dialogue with clear expectations and accountability among the parties in order to strengthen relationships. We ask that there be no further escalation by the parties in the region. We call on Qatar to be responsive to the concerns of its neighbors. Qatar has a history of supporting groups that have spanned the spectrum of political expression, from activism to violence. The emir of Qatar has made progress in halting financial support and expelling terrorist elements from his country, but he must do more and he must do it more quickly.
Others must also continue to eliminate factions of support for violent organizations within their own borders. Again, that was a commitment made by all at the summit. We call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar. There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade. We are seeing shortages of food, families are being forcibly separated, and children pulled out of school. We believe these are unintended consequences, especially during this Holy Month of Ramadan, but they can be addressed immediately.
The blockade is also impairing U.S. and other international business activities in the region and has created a hardship on the people of Qatar and the people whose livelihoods depend on commerce with Qatar. The blockade is hindering U.S. military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS.
We support the emir of Kuwait’s efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to this agreement and progress toward eliminating all forms of support for terrorism – military, financial, moral, or ideological. The U.S. will support these mediation efforts along with the emir of Kuwait.
In the last few days, I have spoken to many leaders in the region. And as I said to all of them, we know you are stronger together. It is clear to me, based on these conversations, that the elements of a solution are available. The GCC must emerge united and stronger to show the world the GCC’s resolve in its fight against violence and terrorism, and its commitment to countering the threat from extremism.
Our expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to de-escalate the situation and put forth a good-faith effort to resolve their grievances they have with each other. Thank you very much.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
editorial | New York Post
Former FBI Director James Comey used his testimony yesterday to demonstrate to the American people that Donald Trump is a pathologically lying felonious obstructor of justice who’s overly worried about Russian hookers. It was the kind of witness stand bodyblow rarely seen outside of the movies. And yet Trump summarily declared victory today, which is not a surprise – because it’s what he always does before he ends up quitting.
Here’s what Donald Trump said on Twitter this morning about James Comey’s testimony: “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication” (link). In the first half of his sentence he claims Comey was lying about everything, then in the second half of his sentence he suggests Comey must have been telling the truth about everything because it vindicated him. You wouldn’t say ‘He’s lying, and his words vindicate me,’ yet Trump just said precisely that. But this psychobabble doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but Trump himself. Because this is what he always does when he has one eye on the exit door.
If you ask Donald Trump, or if you go back and look at his words at the time, you’ll find that he considers every one of his failures to have been successes. He ran his business so poorly that he ended up having to file bankruptcy on it and walk away? He calls that a success. When a downturn in Atlantic City made life harder for all of the casinos there, but the two with his name on them were among the small handful that actually went under? He sees himself as being smart for having failed and left town before things got difficult there.
So when Donald Trump stood up and declared victory this morning by pretending that James Comey’s devastating series of bodyblows somehow vindicated him and got him off the hook for everything, keep in mind that we’ve all heard Trump reach this particular stage before. It’s typically the stage where he realizes that, even if his exit is not imminent, his exit has become inevitable – and he begins trying to convince himself that his loss is somehow a win.
The post Donald Trump just declared victory on James Comey’s testimony. Trump always does this before quitting. appeared first on Palmer Report.
Among the other numerous things it accomplished, James Comey’s testimony has thrown open the floodgates on the infamous Trump-Russia dossier and the allegations made in it. Wolf Blitzer referred to Russian “hookers” on CNN so many times yesterday, it was difficult to keep count. But more than merely embarrassing Donald Trump, it’s also thrown open the legal floodgates when it comes to the dossier.
In the months since former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s Trump-Russia dossier has leaked, everyone involved has had access to the dossier itself. But now a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is demanding access to any relevant documents from the private firm that hired Steele to work on the dossier to begin with, and he’s threatening subpoenas (source: The Hill). Moreover, the Senator in question is Chuck Grassley, one of the more powerful Republicans in the Senate.
Even as certain Trump puppets in Congress are still trying to play minor roles in distracting from the Trump-Russia investigation (including Marco Rubio, John Cornyn, and maybe John McCain, if we can ever figure out what he was trying to say yesterday), the more relevant thing to watch for is signs of smarter Congressional Republicans taking steps to ensure they’re seen as being on the right side of things when Trump ultimately goes down for this. How many Republican politicians are betting on Trump surviving this? How many of them are now betting on his downfall being inevitable?
Based on James Comey’s testimony, it abundantly clear that Donald Trump is petrified of the notion that more details might surface regarding the Trump-Russia dossier, or that he might be further tied to Russian hookers or the alleged “Pee Pee Tape.” And yet Chuck Grassley’s response a day later is to squarely take aim at bringing more details about the dossier to the surface.
The post James Comey threw open the Trump-Russia dossier floodgates, and now here come the subpoenas appeared first on Palmer Report.
Voice of America
Voice of America
Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
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President Trump spoke out publicly a day after former FBI Director James Comey Friday testified that to protect against lies by Mr. Trump, he had taken detailed notes, some of which he leaked in hopes of prompting the naming of a special counsel. The president fired back over Twitter and at a news conference, claiming that some of the things Comey said weren’t true. William Brangham reports.
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Feds fight suit over foreign payments to Trump
The Justice Department is urging a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit claiming that President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution by profiting from business deals with foreign governments. The filing Friday evening in U.S. District Court in …
Government seeks dismissal of suit over Trump’s businessesWashington Post
Trump Administration Calls For Lawsuit About His Businesses To Be DismissedNPR
DOJ: Trump can accept payments from foreign governmentsThe Hill
Bloomberg –Hollywood Reporter –CNNMoney –Wall Street Journal (subscription)
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World – Google News
One day after former FBI Director James Comey laid out the details of several instances in which Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice, the Senate is now taking the early steps in targeting Trump for that crime. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley stated today that he was willing to pursue the matter if his counterpart Dianne Feinstein wanted him to – and she then proceeded to immediately take him up on the matter.
CNN reporter Manu Raju spoke with Grassley outside his office on Friday, and got him to confirm that he’s in if Feinstein is in. The clip was so notable that it ended up being played not only on CNN, but also during Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC. Later in the day, Feinstein sent Grassley a formal letter (link) which stated that “It is my strong recommendation that the Judiciary Committee investigate all issues that raise a question of obstruction of justice.”
Grassley is a Republican who’s shown no real interest in protecting Donald Trump in the Russia investigation. On the contrary, at one point Grassley held up all of Trump’s appointments in order to force evidence to be overturned. He also tends to choose his words carefully. So when he told a reporter that he was on board with targeting Trump’s obstruction if Feinstein was, he was purposely signaling to her that she should go ahead and start the process.
So now we see where this goes. Impeachment hearings must start in the House of Representatives. But the Senate Judiciary Committee can go a long way to building the obstruction of justice case against Donald Trump, helping to convict him in the court of public opinion, and pressuring the House to do the same. This also comes even as Special Counsel Robert Mueller also appears to be targeting Trump for obstruction. Follow Palmer Report on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report
The post Senate Judiciary Committee targets Donald Trump for obstruction of justice appeared first on Palmer Report.
Stars and Stripes
Russian jet intercepts US bombers over Baltic Sea
The alliance is currently running its annual Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise, a multinational, maritime-focused live training event which first began in 1972, in the region close toRussia’s border. A Russian foreign ministry official said the …
Russia international behavior – Google News
New York Times
Prozac Nation Is Now the United States of Xanax
New York Times
On college campuses, anxiety is running well ahead of depression as the most common mental health concern, according to a 2016 national study of more than 150,000 students by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Pennsylvania State University …
2016 elections and mental health – Google News
The former FBI director threw out a trail of clues for the special counsel to follow in the Trump-Russia investigation, which looks set to shadow his presidency
At 10.20pm, Kellyanne Conway wandered in from the landscaped gardens of the British ambassador’s residence, built in the 1920s and resembling an English country house in the heart of Washington. An Andy Warhol portrait of the Queen watched from above the ornate fireplace as results of the British election flashed up on a giant TV screen.
Conway, a senior adviser at the White House, could not quite escape questions about former FBI director James Comey’s testimony earlier in the day. Donald Trump had “never intended to tweet” during the session, she told the Guardian, with a dismissive air that implied he had much better things to do.
A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest
Donald Trump | The Guardian
Voice of America
Comey admits he indirectly passed a personal memo to the media, but legal experts say Trump is misusing the term and case appears extremely thin
When Donald Trump gets in a fight, he sues. “SEE YOU IN COURT,” he tweeted in February, after his first travel ban was blocked. It is a pattern established over many decades. So the president’s plan to file a legal complaint against the former FBI director James Comey, who on Thursday called him a liar, is business as usual.
But in this particular fight, the president might want to check his impulse to sue. The supposed case against the former federal prosecutor appears to be extremely thin, legal experts say. And suing could actually draw the president himself further into legal trouble.
Donald Trump | The Guardian
What’s the worst thing that happened to Donald Trump this week? It was NOT Director Comey’s testimony. Rather, it must be the late Friday news that Robert Mueller has hired Michael Dreeben, on a part-time basis, to help with his investigation. Dreeben, a deputy in the Office of the Solicitor General, has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court. His specialty has, for the last 20 years, been criminal matters and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of criminal law. I once saw him argue a Supreme Court matter without a single note. In short, he is quite possibly the best criminal appellate lawyer in America (at least on the government’s side). That Mueller has sought his assistance attests both to the seriousness of his effort and the depth of the intellectual bench he is building.
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices
Los Angeles Times
Missing From Comey’s Fireworks: Trump-Russia Collusion
James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee centered on his interactions with President Donald Trump. But, in case anyone has forgotten, the underlying issue being investigated is the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 …
Talking with Comey, Trump focused on himself, not Russian hacksLos Angeles Times
Comey Disputes New York Times Article About Russia InvestigationNew York Times
Russian Media Greets The ‘Comey Show’ With A SmirkWestern Journalism
Adweek –Fortune –Raw Story –Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
all 10,104 news articles »
Russian Intelligence services – Google News
Michael Cohen, Trump and the Russian Connection
Cohen was also the intermediary who met with mafia-linked Trump business partner, Felix Saterand a Ukraine parliamentarian, Andrii Artemenko at the Loews Regency hotel in Manhattan in the first days of the Trump presidency. They were there to discuss …
felix sater – Google News
A Commentary By Patrick J. Buchanan
Friday, June 09, 2017
Pressed by Megyn Kelly on his ties to President Trump, an exasperated Vladimir Putin blurted out, “We had no relationship at all. … I never met him. … Have you all lost your senses over there?”
Yes, Vlad, we have.
Consider the questions that have convulsed this city since the Trump triumph, and raised talk of impeachment.
Did Trump collude with Russians to hack the DNC emails and move the goods to WikiLeaks, thus revealing the state secret that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was putting the screws to poor Bernie Sanders?
If not Trump himself, did campaign aides collude with the KGB?
Now, given that our NSA and CIA seemingly intercept everything Russians say to Americans, why is our fabled FBI, having investigated for a year, unable to give us a definitive yes or no?
The snail’s pace of the FBI investigation explains Trump’s frustration. What explains the FBI’s torpor? If J. Edgar Hoover had moved at this pace, John Dillinger would have died of old age.
We hear daily on cable TV of the “Trump-Russia” scandal. Yet, no one has been charged with collusion, and every intelligence official, past or prevent, who has spoken out has echoed ex-acting CIA Director Mike Morrell:
“On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. … There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark.”
Where are the criminals? Where is the crime?
As for the meetings between Gen. Mike Flynn, Jared Kushner, Sen. Jeff Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, it appears that Trump wanted a “back channel” to Putin so he could honor his commitment to seek better relations with Russia.
Given the Russophobia rampant here, that makes sense. And while it appears amateurish that Flynn would use Russian channels of communication, what is criminal about this?
Putin is not Stalin. Soviet divisions are not sitting on the Elbe. The Cold War is over. And many presidents have used back channels. Woodrow Wilson sent Col. Edward House to talk to the Kaiser and the Brits. FDR ran messages to Churchill through Harry Hopkins.
As for Trump asking Director James Comey to cut some slack for Flynn, it is understandable in human terms. Flynn had been a loyal aide and friend and Trump had to feel rotten about having to fire the man.
So, what is really going on here?
All the synthetic shock over what Kushner or Sessions said to Kislyak aside, this city’s hatred for President Trump, and its fanatic determination to bring him down in disgrace, predates his presidency.
For Trump ran in 2016 not simply as the Republican alternative. He presented his candidacy as a rejection, a repudiation of the failed elites, political and media, of both parties. Americans voted in 2016 not just for a change in leaders but for a revolution to overthrow a ruling regime.
Thus this city has never reconciled itself to Trump’s victory, and the president daily rubs their noses in their defeat with his tweets.
Seeking a rationale for its rejection, this city has seized upon that old standby. We didn’t lose! The election was stolen in a vast conspiracy, an “act of war” against America, an assault upon “our democracy,” criminal collusion between the Kremlin and the Trumpites.
Hence, Trump is an illegitimate president, and it is the duty of brave citizens of both parties to work to remove the usurper.
The city seized upon a similar argument in 1968, when Richard Nixon won, because it was said he had colluded to have South Vietnam’s president abort Lyndon Johnson’s new plan to bring peace to Southeast Asia in the final hours of that election.
Then, as now, the “t” word, treason, was trotted out.
Attempts to overturn elections where elites are repudiated are not uncommon in U.S. history. Both Nixon and Reagan, after 49-state landslides, were faced with attempts to overturn the election results.
With Nixon in Watergate, the elites succeeded. With Reagan in Iran-Contra, they almost succeeded in destroying that great president as he was ending the Cold War in a bloodless victory for the West.
After Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson sought to prevent Radical Republicans from imposing a ruthless Reconstruction on a defeated and devastated South.
The Radicals enacted the Tenure of Office Act, stripping Johnson of his authority to remove any member of the Cabinet without Senate permission. Johnson defied the Radicals and fired their agent in the Cabinet, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
“Tennessee” Johnson was impeached, and missed conviction by one vote. John F. Kennedy, in his 1956 book, called the senator who had voted to save Johnson a “Profile in Courage.”
If Trump is brought down on the basis of what Putin correctly labels “nonsense,” this city will have executed a nonviolent coup against a constitutionally elected president. Such an act would drop us into the company of those Third World nations where such means are the customary ways that corrupt elites retain their hold on power.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
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Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports. Comments about this content should be directed to the author or syndicate.
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The Hill (blog)
OPINION: It’s not Comey versus Trump — it’s Putin versus America
The Hill (blog)
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence in the 2016 American elections is undeniable, former FBI Director James Comey pointed out at Thursday’s hearing. Throughout Comey’s hearing, he emphasized that state-sponsored Russian cyberattacks will …
Putin and Putinism – News Review
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