Defense One – All Content: Is America Getting Sucked Into More War in Syria?by Ilan Goldenberg and Nicholas A. Heras, The Atlantic Sunday June 11th, 2017 at 11:19 AM

Defense One – All Content: Is America Getting Sucked Into More War in Syria?

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This Tuesday, March 7, 2017 frame grab from video provided by Arab 24 network, shows U.S. forces take up positions on the outskirts of the Syrian town of Manbij.

Defense One – All Content

Washington Free Beacon: Manchin: We Haven’t Seen Any Evidence of Collusion ‘Whatsoever’

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) said Sunday that he has seen no evidence of collusion “whatsoever” between the Trump campaign and Russian entities.

Manchin was interviewed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday morning regarding former FBI director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which Manchin sits on, which delved into the investigations into the Trump campaign and Russian entities.

Stephanopoulos asked Manchin if he felt there was collusion, which President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied.

“Do you agree with the conclusion that the president has reached that there was no evidence of collusion?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“You know, we haven’t seen any of that whatsoever, George,” Manchin said. “We’ve been looking and showing everything that they possibly have. That has not led to that.”

Manchin went on to praise the special counsel Robert Mueller for his integrity in the Russia investigation and said he would accept Mueller’s conclusion.

The post Manchin: We Haven’t Seen Any Evidence of Collusion ‘Whatsoever’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Donald Trump | The Guardian: How Trump’s actions and tone affect US alliances and perception on global stage

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Trump’s foreign policy approach has stunned observers, but recent weeks have underscored potential ramifications of his loose rhetoric and abrupt policy shifts

In less than 140 characters, Donald Trump had left the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee speechless.

Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, could barely mask his disbelief when reporters on Capitol Hill informed him of tweets in which Trump accused Qatar, a close US ally, of being a state sponsor of terrorism. “The president?” Corker asked, lowering his register.

Related: Gulf crisis: Trump escalates row by accusing Qatar of sponsoring terror

It’d be easier if Trump wasn’t tweeting so much. In terms of foreign policy, this is going to have serious consequences

What do you think the message is? The message is that America doesn’t want to lead

Related: Trump defends chaotic foreign policy: ‘We’re going to straighten it out, OK?’

Continue reading…

Donald Trump | The Guardian

organized crime and intelligence – Google News: Mueller adds muscle for Russia investigation – Axios

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Mueller adds muscle for Russia investigation
Axios
Why it matters: “[H]e 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

and more »

organized crime and intelligence – Google News

Comey’s ‘truth’ crusade is really an anti-Trump one

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As we sift through the rubble of the James Comey ­ hearing, I have a confession to make: My descriptions of the former FBI boss as J. Edgar Comey are accurate but incomplete.

By his actions, Comey reveals himself to be a fellow traveler with Never Trumpers. His firing brought him out of the shadows and into the open “resistance” to the president.

In hindsight, their clash was ­inevitable.

Yes, the FBI does enormous good in catching bad guys. But the same could be said of the bureau during the long, sordid tenure of J. Edgar Hoover.

The founding G-man, Hoover kept his job because five presidents were afraid to fire him. His insurance was the dirt he secretly collected on them.

Comey is cut from the same cloth, but Trump wasn’t afraid to fire him. For his trouble, and for his mistakes in how he did it, Trump faces an investigation that could consume his presidency.

And Comey is now a driving force in the scheme to overturn the 2016 election.

Comey testified that he leaked a secret memo in hopes a special counsel would be appointed. He hit the jackpot with Robert Mueller, a long associate and mutual admirer.

Like many of our government betters, Comey forgot he was a public servant. The arrogance of unaccountable power drips from him like sweat from a racehorse.

You see it in his decision to write memos after every meeting with Trump, including the first one. He never did this with previous presidents, but didn’t trust his new boss.

Curiously for a man who claims to be nonpartisan, Comey wasn’t bothered nearly as much when a Democratic attorney general tried to meddle in the election by smothering his investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. Or when the IRS went after conservatives.

If Comey didn’t trust a duly elected president, the honorable thing would be to resign. But Comey was not honorable.

Instead, he was a sneaky note-taker collecting grievances as insurance for himself. But he didn’t create a national crisis alone.

He colluded with the anti-Trump media, which recognized the FBI director as a kindred spirit; he cemented their brotherhood with leaks.

He admitted to the Senate he leaked just one memo criticizing Trump over the Gen. Michael Flynn case, asking a friend to give it to The New York Times. In its May 16 story, the paper identified its sources only as “two people who read the memo.”

But that was not the first leak, for the Times had reported five days earlier on a separate, personal Comey memo attacking Trump for demanding “loyalty,” calling its anonymous sources “Mr. Comey’s associates.”

Wait, that wasn’t the first leak, either. On March 5, one day after Trump accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping him at Trump Tower, the Times reported that Comey was furious at the charge. Its unnamed sources were “senior American officials.”

All three stories carried the byline of Michael Schmidt, as did others describing intimate details of Comey’s dealings with Trump. Clearly, Schmidt had very, very good sources close to Comey.

The Washington Post also had “Justice Department officials” as anonymous sources for a bombshell report saying Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions failed to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador.

In calling Comey a “leaker,” Trump may have made the first understatement of his life. My bet is that Comey was a fountain of leaks, and didn’t show interest in prosecuting others because of his own guilt.

The scorned avenger’s disclosures softened the ground for his Senate appearance. And showing his talent for grabbing headlines, Comey released his prepared testimony a day early, giving him two days of stories attacking the president.

The career prosecutor also ratcheted up his accusations, making Trump’s alleged words sound increasingly more sinister.

For example, in his prepared remarks, Comey said Trump made a “request” that he drop the Flynn probe and quoted the president saying “I hope you can let this go.”

But in Comey’s answers to senators’ questions, Trump’s request became “an order,” with Comey saying “I took it as a direction.”

When a senator asked if he considered language like “I hope” as a presidential directive, Comey likened himself to a player in a medieval martyr drama, saying, “Yes, it kind of rings in my ears as, ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’ ”

Those are supposedly the words an English king used in 1170 about the Archbishop of Canterbury. Soon, knights loyal to the king murdered Thomas Becket.

This is beyond theatrics. Comey’s claim that he was ordered to end the Flynn probe is the heart of the case that Trump obstructed justice.

Yet it’s a stretch for several reasons. First, Comey testified as head of the FBI on May 3, long after his key meetings with Trump, that he was never asked to end an investigation for political reasons, saying “It’s not happened in my experience.” Now fired, he’s changed his tune.

Second, Comey also believes “I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” which he admits is completely separate from the Flynn probe.

Third, Comey testified that Trump himself was never under investigation and never asked him to stop the Russia probe. Trump only asked that Comey announce the president was not being investigated — but Comey repeatedly refused.

Those facts undercut Comey’s case, so they are ignored or minimized. No surprise there.

Determined to bring down the president, J. Edgar Comey couldn’t let the truth interfere.

Scaring terrorists

With an urgent need to stop jihadists from carrying out attacks on nations that gave them freedom, more people are exploring an idea best expressed by David Marshall, a friend.

He writes: “Plans to curtail terrorism fail because our enemy doesn’t perceive any consequences for their heinous acts. They are under the ridiculous belief that they will be rewarded in heaven with 72 virgins.

“So we have to create consequences they care about. Since they came to the West to get away from awful conditions in their homelands, is it possible that returning their families to their place of origin would cause them to stop to save their families?”

De Blas’ bad PR

By the end of Sunday, the Puerto Rican Day Parade will have come and gone, but the political stench will endure. The decision to “celebrate” a convicted terrorist marks a new low for Mayor Putz.

Despite the city being in the terror crosshairs, he never took a stand against the madness led by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and thus bears ultimate responsibility.

Mayoral leadership means many things, but by any definition, de Blasio failed.

“And perhaps fear of punishment would give families reason to prevent their children from becoming radicalized in the first place.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand drops more F-bombs

New York’s vacuous junior senator is starved for attention. Her cheap resort to foul language illustrates why.

Read the whole story
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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: U.S. Attorney General Agrees To Appear Before Panel Probing Russian Actions

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he has agreed to appear on June 13 before a Senate committee investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

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Voice of America: What’s Next for Comey? Maybe Law, Corporate Work, Politics

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The former FBI director boldly challenged the president who fired him, accused the Trump administration of lying and supplied material that could be used to build a case against President Donald Trump. But after stepping away from the Capitol Hill spotlight, where he’s always seemed comfortable, the 56-year-old veteran lawman now confronts the same question long faced by Washington officials after their government service. His dry quip at a riveting Senate hearing that he was “between opportunities” vastly understates the career prospects now available to him – not to mention potential benefits from the public’s fascination with a man who has commanded respect while drawing outrage from both political parties. Comey was pilloried for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, yet is now seen as a critical cog in the inquiry into possible connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. He may be called upon to provide more detail about his interactions with Trump, which he documented in a series of memos, even as he turns attention to potential opportunities in law, corporate work or perhaps even politics. “There’s some jobs where the controversy would not be a benefit, but that’s why I see him ending up in a place where he can be himself,” said Evan Barr, a former federal prosecutor in New York City who worked under Comey in the U.S. attorney’s office. “If he were the president of a college or an important think tank, he could pursue the issues that mean the most to him and not be worried about trying to make anyone happy.” Comey is unlikely to play any sort of direct role in the investigation now led by special counsel Robert Mueller, his predecessor as FBI director. But he almost certainly would avail himself as a witness to Mueller in any obstruction of justice investigation centered on his firing, or to further discuss requests he received from Trump that he interpreted as directives. Comey’s carefully crafted memos are laden with contemporaneously recorded details and verbatim quotes that could easily lay down a path for investigators, and already have been turned over to Mueller. In one note, Comey says Trump cleared the room before encouraging Comey to end an investigation into Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Comey’s decision to share with reporters, through an intermediary, details from those conversations, and his insistence on testifying in public attest to his determination to confront the president head-on. “I do think he is unquestionably, if this thing goes anywhere, one of the star witnesses,” said Robert Anderson, a retired FBI executive assistant director. “It really comes down to his testimony, in some avenues.” Career options are generally plentiful for departing FBI leaders and attorneys general. Both Mueller and former Attorney General Eric Holder, for instance, took jobs with prestigious law firms after leaving public service. But few if any have as public a profile as Comey or have generated such intense feelings. Even Democrats who disagree with his firing remain stung by his revival of the Clinton email investigation days before the November election. Pro-Trump Republicans who were pleased by Comey some seven months ago may now concur with the president’s assessment of Comey as a “showboat.” And companies that do business with the government might find it risky to bring aboard someone who’s so publicly at odds with the current administration. Comey’s name over the years has been floated in politics, though it’s not clear the former Republican – now an independent – has any interest. Educated at the College of William & Mary, where he wrote a senior thesis on a 20th century theologian, Comey went on to law school at the University of Chicago. The bulk of his work has been in government, with the exception of private practice legal work in Virginia early in his career, lucrative general counsel stints at defense contractor Lockheed Martin and a Connecticut hedge fund, and a teaching job at Columbia University. He was the U.S. attorney in Manhattan who in 2003 charged Martha Stewart with obstructing justice in a stock trade investigation. He then became deputy attorney general, the No. 2 spot at the Justice Department, where he famously faced down fellow Bush administration officials over a surveillance program authorization. In 2013, he was sworn in as FBI director, a job he’s called the honor of his life. Friends and colleagues say the father of five reveled in his public service. “Anyone who has ever worked with Jim as far as I know, certainly speaking for myself, holds him in incredibly high esteem,” said Sharon McCarthy, who worked for him at the U.S. attorney’s office. “You’d be working late, he’d have a Coke in his hand and he’d come in, sit down, put his feet on your desk and start talking,” Though Comey joked at a Senate hearing one week before his May 9 firing that he perhaps regretted picking up the phone when he was recruited for the FBI job while living comfortably in Connecticut, he also was known to pepper speeches with cracks about the “soulless” private sector. He’d urge young audiences to imagine asking themselves on their death beds who they would want to have been, saying he hoped everyone’s answer would be that they tried to help others. His own law firm life, he’d say, was lacking despite the matching furniture, parking space and Colonial-style home that accompanied the job. “You do not make much money working for the FBI. You will not get famous working for the FBI. But you will be rich beyond belief if you look at it from [the public service] vantage point,” he has said. One other question for Comey regardless of his next job will be how much he chooses, either directly or through intermediaries, to respond to allegations from Trump or Republicans rallying to the president’s defense. On Friday, Trump strongly suggested Comey had lied about their encounters and accused him of being a “leaker.” “In the days to come,” Comey friend Ben Wittes wrote on his Lawfare blog, “we’re going to see a full-court press against Comey; indeed it is already well under way.”

Voice of America

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NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Contributor: Will Iran Descend Into Chaos?

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Islamic State attacks on Tehran might signal an end to Iran being exempt from sectarian violence.

NYT > Opinion

WSJ.com: World News: Iran Rounds Up ISIS Suspects Following Deadly Attack in Tehran

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Intelligence Ministry says 41 people were taken into custody, and a large number of weapons, bomb-making materials and explosives vests were seized, as authorities try to root out the Sunni Muslim extremist group.

WSJ.com: World News

WSJ.com: World News: Notre Dame Attacker Charged With Attempted Murder, Terrorism

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The hammer-wielding man who allegedly attacked police officers patrolling in front of Notre Dame Cathedral described himself as a Sunni Muslim who started radical religious observance about 10 months ago.

WSJ.com: World News

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