11:44 AM 6/13/2017 – Links

11:44 AM 6/13/2017 – Links

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6.13.17

The Early Edition: June 13, 2017 | Just Security

Sessions and his Testimony

Sessions – Google Search
Attorney General Sessions Set Respond Comey | Video | C-SPAN.org
Senate Intel Committee holds last minute meeting with NSA before Jeff Sessions testimony – Palmer Report
AG Sessions to Testify Before Senate Committee Probing Trump Campaign’s Russia Ties
Sessions’ loyalty to Trump will be…
Jeff Sessions is a coward – Palmer Report
Sessions’s Senate Testimony: How to Watch and What to Expect – The New York Times
Sessions to face sharp questions on…
Things to Know About Jeff Sessions on Day of Senate Hearing

Mueller under Fire?

Friend Says Trump Is Considering Firing Mueller as Special Counsel – The New York Times
“Mass hysteria” inside White House as Donald Trump considers trying to fire Robert Mueller – Palmer Report
mueller – Google Search
Trump Is Flirting with Another…
Expert: Donald Trump may be trying to get himself impeached by targeting Robert Mueller – Palmer Report
Conservative David Frum: If Trump fires Mueller he should write ‘I’m super guilty’ in the sky over the White House
Trump Friend Says President Weighing Firing Counsel Probing Russia Ties
Can the president fire special counsel Robert Mueller? (And then what?) – The Washington Post
Today: Mueller Under Fire, Sessions Under Oath – LA Times
Trump supporters turn on special…
Collins: Firing Mueller would be a ‘disaster’ – YouTube
Friend Says Trump Is Considering Firing Mueller as Special Counsel – The New York Times
TheUnion local.com | TheUnion.com

Trump as Brezhnev: Cabinet Meeting

trump cabinet meeting – Google Search
Trump Is a Mobster President | New Republic
(44) Совещание кабинета Трампа стало объектом насмешек – YouTube
Mike Nova on Twitter: “Donald is not just first American Mobster President. He is the first Secretary General of America, Inc.! https://t.co/QRMlglen3Y.”
Mike Nova on Twitter: “Donald is morphing into Brezhnev! Maybe, he was programmed years ago?! Ah?!”
(44) Trump: ‘I love getting even with people’ – YouTube
(132,381/58) NewsBlur
What stops Republicans from behaving rationally – The Washington Post
The current American project seems to be privatizing totalitarianism – The Washington Post

Russia Sanctions in the Senate

russia sanctions – Google Search
New Bipartisan Sanctions Would Punish Russia for Election Meddling – The New York Times
Senators strike comprehensive deal to increase Russia sanctions – The Washington Post
Senate Strikes Deal on Russia Sanctions, Stripping Power From Trump – NBC News
Senate reaches deal on Russia sanctions | TheHill
U.S. Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal On Bill To Increase Sanctions On Russia
US senators reach deal to stop White House easing Russia sanctions without approval | US news | The Guardian
Tough new sanctions on Russia agreed…
Horsey: Trump’s big crime: Ignoring Russia’s assault on US elections – Google Search
Top Armed Services Dem to propose bill to address Russian aggression | TheHill
US Senators Back Legislation Strengthening Russia Sanctions
New Bipartisan Sanctions Would Punish Russia for Election Meddling – The New York Times
Senate Draws Up Bill to Impose More Sanctions on Russia | Fox Business
Senate leaders reached a bipartisan…
Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known – Bloomberg

Russia News

Russia – Google Search
The Daily Vertical: One Man’s Terrorist…
Путин: США загнали себя в ловушку идеей о собственной исключительности – «Life.ru» — информационный портал
Mattis: No Indication Russia Wants Positive Relationship With US
Russian Police Detain Hundreds at Corruption Protest on National Day
The Shadow of Stalin Hangs Over Russian Anti-Putin Protests
Пресса Британии: Путин предает российскую молодежь – BBC Русская служба
“Как я заснул под беседу Оливера…
Oliver Stone Doubles Down on Putin…
The Putin Interviews review – first Oliver Stone loses. Then the gloves come off | Television & radio | The Guardian
Навального арестовали на 30 суток / Новости – YouTube
“Как я заснул под беседу Оливера…

Kislyak

kislyak – Google Search
Russian ambassador hosted Washington insiders, diplomats at embassy | TheHill

Other News

Is Comey frenzy a distraction? Six questions about U.S. strategy and growing threats in the Middle East | Fox News
Not against any religion, it’s about national security: US on visa ban | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis
Liveblog: Rod Rosenstein Testifies Before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee – Lawfare
Syrian army advances west of Raqqa: Hezbollah military media unit | Reuters
Food poisoning sickens hundreds at camp for displaced people – YouTube
Iraq: Mass Food Poisoning, 2 Die at Mosul Camp for Displaced
(44) Several wounded by shots at German rail station, man detained – YouTube
Shooting at Munich, Germany, Train Station After Cop’s Gun Is Grabbed – NBC News
(44) Life Inside Kerobokan – YouTube

Mattis

Mattis – Google Search
Mattis slams Congress for…
Defense chief ‘shocked’ by poor state of US combat readiness – U.S. – Stripes
Mattis is “Shocked” by U.S. Military Readiness Crisis | The National Interest Blog
Mattis: ‘Shocked’ by Poor State of Military’s Readiness
Mattis: North Korea has ramped up missile, nuclear programs
Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea poses most urgent threat to international security: Pentagon chief Mattis
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Opinions: The current American project seems to be privatizing totalitarianism

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Opinions

Donald is morphing into Brezhnev! Maybe, he was programmed years ago?! Ah?!

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Donald is morphing into Brezhnev! Maybe, he was programmed years ago?! Ah?!

The main difference between them: Brezhnev’s eyebrows were thicker and bushier. Maybe, Kremlin should send him his secret barber, to bring them in line…

YouTube Videos: Совещание кабинета Трампа стало объектом насмешек

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From: euronewsru
Duration: 01:18

Президент США Дональд Трамп в понедельник провёл первое совещание своего кабинета в полном составе. Он начал с того, что попросил представиться всех присутствующих.
– Благодарю вас, господин Президент, для меня величайшая честь занимать пост вице-президента при президенте, который держит слово, данное американскому народу.
– Хотел бы поблагодарить вас за вашу преданность американским рабочим.
– Я представлял США на саммите «Большой двадцатки» в Берлине и на Всемирной ассамблее здравоохранения…
ЧИТАТЬ ДАЛЕЕ: http://ru.euronews.com/2017/06/13/soveshhanie-kabineta-trampa-stalo-obektom-nasmeshek

Donald is not just first American Mobster President. He is the first Secretary General of America, Inc.!

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Donald is not just first American Mobster President. He is the first Secretary General of America, Inc.!

 

Saved Stories – None: International Security – Google News: Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea poses most urgent threat to international security: Pentagon chief Mattis – Firstpost

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Firstpost
Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea poses most urgent threat to international security: Pentagon chief Mattis
Firstpost
“The most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security is North Korea,” Mattis said. “The regime’s nuclear weapons program is a clear and present danger to all, and the regime’s provocative actions, manifestly illegal under international law, have
Pentagon chief declares North Korea the new top threat to US securityWashington Post
North Korea ‘most urgent’ threat to security: MattisReuters
North Korea Can Hit The US Mainland With Ballistic Missiles At Any Time, Warns Head Of US Missile DefenseThe Inquisitr

all 263 news articles »

International Security – Google News

Saved Stories – None

International Security – Google News: Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea poses most urgent threat to international security: Pentagon chief Mattis – Firstpost

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Firstpost
Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea poses most urgent threat to international security: Pentagon chief Mattis
Firstpost
“The most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security is North Korea,” Mattis said. “The regime’s nuclear weapons program is a clear and present danger to all, and the regime’s provocative actions, manifestly illegal under international law, have
Pentagon chief declares North Korea the new top threat to US securityWashington Post
North Korea ‘most urgent’ threat to security: MattisReuters
North Korea Can Hit The US Mainland With Ballistic Missiles At Any Time, Warns Head Of US Missile DefenseThe Inquisitr

all 263 news articles »

International Security – Google News

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Saved Stories – None: Trump – Google News: Friend Says Trump Is Considering Firing Mueller as Special Counsel – New York Times

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New York Times
Friend Says Trump Is Considering Firing Mueller as Special Counsel
New York Times
WASHINGTON — A longtime friend of President Trump said on Monday that Mr. Trump was considering whether to fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials. The
Trump friend says president might fire special counsel Robert MuellerLos Angeles Times
Trump friend floats possibility of firing special counsel in Russian probeWashington Post
A Friend of Trump’s Reports That He Is Considering Firing Robert MuellerThe Atlantic
CNN –Politico –The Hill
all 184 news articles »

Trump – Google News

Saved Stories – None

Voice of America: Sessions Expected to Face Sharp Questioning in Senate

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Now it’s Jeff Sessions’ turn in the spotlight. Less than a week after fired FBI Director James Comey delivered riveting testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee about a series of what he described as “awkward” and “inappropriate” interactions with President Trump, Sessions, the attorney general, appears before the same panel Tuesday to take issue with some of Comey’s statements. But while Sessions says he wants to address the “matters” brought up by Comey during his testimony last Thursday, Democrats are aiming for a broader line of questioning that will include his meetings with the Russian ambassador to Washington during the 2016 presidential campaign and his role in Comey’s firing on May 9. “The attorney general of the United States needs to tell the American people why he testified untruthfully about his Russian contacts, and he needs to explain all of his conversations with the Russians that have been concealed, and also why he failed to protect the FBI and why he participated in firing the FBI director when he had recused himself because of those Russian conversations,” said Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. Sessions’ testimony, his first since he recused himself from the Russian investigation in early March, comes less than a week after Comey recounted during widely viewed testimony before the intelligence panel how Trump had sought to pressure him into dropping an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Trump’s request, Comey testified, came during an unusual, one-on-one February 14 Oval Office conversation that followed other senior officials briefing Trump on counter-terrorism, including Sessions. Comey later complained to the attorney general about what he described as a “highly inappropriate” meeting, but he said Sessions “did not reply.” In a closed session that followed his public testimony, Comey told senators that Sessions may have had a third meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, leading officials to conclude the attorney would have to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, several media outlets reported.  The Department of Justice has dismissed the purported third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak and denied Sessions ignored Comey’s complaint.  Nevertheless, Sessions will face tough questioning about whether he perjured himself when he failed to disclose the meetings, said Jed Shugerman, a professor of at Fordham University School of Law in New York. “That was a problem already. The problem only gets deeper if there is in fact a third contact he did not report,” Shugerman said. Sessions has denied charges that he misled the senators about his contacts with Kisliyak. Another key question on senators’ minds: Sessions’ role in Comey’s firing.  The White House had initially said Trump fired Comey on the recommendations of Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  But Trump later said he dismissed Comey because of the Russia investigation. Stephen Gillers, a professor of law at New York University, said Sessions has not answered why he played a role in Comey’s firing given that he had recused himself from the Russia investigation. “If he was recused, as he says he was, he should not have participated in the Comey firing,” Gillers said. Trump was never happy with Sessions’ March 2 decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe.  Sessions reportedly threatened to resign as tensions with Trump grew. The Department of Justice says Sessions has adhered to the terms of his recusal from the Russia investigation, but Democrats are likely to press the attorney general about it. “I believe that answer should be made to the American people,” said Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. The recusal likely will limit the scope of his answers. “What can he possibly tell the Senate committee if indeed he’s done what he said he was going to do, which would include staying away from any intelligence on the ongoing investigation,” Gillers said.  Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions asked that his appearance be open to the public. “He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee’s questions,” she said. The testimony will be scrutinized as much for what Sessions says as what he declines to say.  Shugerman said Sessions is unlikely to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-recrimination in order to avoid answering certain questions.  “He’s trying to defend his reputation and hold on to his job,” Shugerman said.  Asked if the White House thought Sessions should invoke executive privilege to avoid answering questions about his conversations with Trump, press secretary Sean Spicer said, “It depends on the scope of the questions.” Spicer did not explicitly endorse Sessions’ appearance, saying in response to a question, “We’re aware of it, and we’ll go from there.” VOA’s Michael Bowman contributed to this article.

Voice of America

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mueller – Google News: Swamp Fights Back: Mueller Hires Clinton Foundation Lawyer for Russia Probe – Breitbart News

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Breitbart News
Swamp Fights Back: Mueller Hires Clinton Foundation Lawyer for Russia Probe
Breitbart News
Mueller — who, on his appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, took independent control of the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 elections — had a shadow cast on his impartiality when Comey, a one-time mentee of …

and more »

mueller – Google News

Trump – Google News: Friend Says Trump Is Considering Firing Mueller as Special Counsel – New York Times

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New York Times
Friend Says Trump Is Considering Firing Mueller as Special Counsel
New York Times
WASHINGTON — A longtime friend of President Trump said on Monday that Mr. Trump was considering whether to fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials. The
Trump friend says president might fire special counsel Robert MuellerLos Angeles Times
Trump friend floats possibility of firing special counsel in Russian probeWashington Post
A Friend of Trump’s Reports That He Is Considering Firing Robert MuellerThe Atlantic
CNN –Politico –The Hill
all 184 news articles »

Trump – Google News

Voice of America: Mattis: No Indication Russia Wants Positive Relationship With US

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U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday there was no indication that Russia wanted a positive relationship with the United States, saying it had chosen to be a strategic competitor. “At this time … I do not see any indication that Mr. Putin would want a positive relationship with us. That is not to say we can’t get there as we look for common ground,” Mattis told a House Armed Services Committee hearing, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “But at this point, he has chosen to be competitive, a strategic competitor with us and we will have to deal with that as we see it,” he said. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that the United States had an adversarial relationship with Russia. Russia and the United States have a number of diverging interests, including in Syria. Russia said on Saturday it had told the United States it was unacceptable for Washington to strike pro-government forces in Syria after the U.S. military carried out air strikes on pro-Syrian government militia. U.S. senators said on Monday they were close to an agreement on legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, including a possible provision that would prevent the White House from easing sanctions without congressional approval. Democrats and Republicans on the Foreign Relations and Banking Committees have been negotiating for about a week on an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill that also would impose sanctions to punish Russia over issues including its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and support for the government of Syria in that country’s six-year-long civil war.

Voice of America

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1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): euronewsru’s YouTube Videos: Совещание кабинета Трампа стало объектом насмешек

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From: euronewsru
Duration: 01:18

Президент США Дональд Трамп в понедельник провёл первое совещание своего кабинета в полном составе. Он начал с того, что попросил представиться всех присутствующих.
– Благодарю вас, господин Президент, для меня величайшая честь занимать пост вице-президента при президенте, который держит слово, данное американскому народу.
– Хотел бы поблагодарить вас за вашу преданность американским рабочим.
– Я представлял США на саммите «Большой двадцатки» в Берлине и на Всемирной ассамблее здравоохранения…
ЧИТАТЬ ДАЛЕЕ: http://ru.euronews.com/2017/06/13/soveshhanie-kabineta-trampa-stalo-obektom-nasmeshek

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Russia – Google News: Senators strike comprehensive deal to increase Russia sanctions – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Senators strike comprehensive deal to increase Russia sanctions
Washington Post
Senators have struck a deal to put a comprehensive Russia sanctions bill on the floor this week, according to those negotiating the legislation. The measure, which will be attached to a bill to stiffen Iran sanctions that is under consideration
Senate Strikes Deal on Russia Sanctions, Stripping Power From TrumpNBCNews.com
Senate deal to boost Russia sanctions seen as imminentPolitico
US senators reach deal on Russia sanctionsReuters
The Hill (blog) –Minneapolis Star Tribune –PoliticusUSA
all 19 news articles »

Russia – Google News

Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News: Senators strike comprehensive deal to increase Russia sanctions – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Senators strike comprehensive deal to increase Russia sanctions
Washington Post
Various senators involved in the discussions had filed three different bills to increase sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the wars in Ukraine and Syria, as well as over allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential
Senate GOP, Dems Agree on New Sanctions on RussiaU.S. News & World Report
Senate Republicans Smack Down Trump’s Attempt To Lift Sanctions On RussiaPoliticusUSA
US Senate looks to jab RussiaPOLITICO.eu
The Hill (blog) –Chicago Tribune –Sputnik International
all 23 news articles »

Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News

World – Google News: Senators strike comprehensive deal to increase Russia sanctions – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Senators strike comprehensive deal to increase Russia sanctions
Washington Post
Senators have struck a deal to put a comprehensive Russia sanctions bill on the floor this week, according to those negotiating the legislation. The measure, which will be attached to a bill to stiffen Iran sanctions that is under consideration
Senate Strikes Deal on Russia Sanctions, Stripping Power From TrumpNBCNews.com

all 22 news articles »

World – Google News

US – Russia relations – Google News: Mattis: No Indication Russia Wants Positive Relationship With US – Voice of America

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Voice of America
Mattis: No Indication Russia Wants Positive Relationship With US
Voice of America
I do not see any indication that Mr. Putin would want a positive relationship with us. That is not to say we can’t get there as we look for common ground,” Mattis told a House Armed Services Committee hearing, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
US Taking ‘Regional Approach’ In New Afghanistan Strategy, Mattis SaysRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

all 52 news articles »

US – Russia relations – Google News

russia helping trump – Google News: Senate Strikes Deal on Russia Sanctions, Stripping Power From Trump – NBCNews.com

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NBCNews.com
Senate Strikes Deal on Russia Sanctions, Stripping Power From Trump
NBCNews.com
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a new round of sanctions against Russia, a move that will likely force President Donald Trump to either sign or veto a measure that he has not said he supports. The sanctions are in
Senate reaches deal on Russia sanctions, reining in TrumpThe Hill (blog)
Senate strikes bipartisan deal to boost Russia sanctionsPolitico
By Going After Russia, Are Senate Republicans Breaking with Trump?GQ Magazine
PoliticusUSA –The Guardian –Washington Times
all 78 news articles »

russia helping trump – Google News

Stars and Stripes: Defense chief ‘shocked’ by poor state of US combat readiness

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared Monday that he was “shocked” upon his return to the Pentagon by the poor state of the U.S. military’s readiness for combat.

Stars and Stripes

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Putinism – Google News: Top Armed Services Dem to propose bill to address Russian aggression – The Hill

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The Hill
Top Armed Services Dem to propose bill to address Russian aggression
The Hill
The ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee will introduce in the coming weeks a bill aimed at forcing the Trump administration to craft a comprehensive policy to deter Russian aggression, he said Tuesday. “Today, we are witnessing some …

Putinism – Google News

Palmer Report: Senate Intel Committee holds last minute meeting with NSA before Jeff Sessions testimony

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It’s not clear what Attorney General Jeff Sessions is prepared to admit during his public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. But it does appear the committee is getting its hands on some more of the answers in advance, so it knows precisely what to hit Sessions on when it comes to his involvement in several aspects of Donald Trump’s Russia scandal.

The Senate Intel Committee scheduled a last minute after-hours meeting with NSA Director Mike Rogers on Monday evening, according to NBC News (link). The details of the meeting haven’t been revealed, and some of them won’t be, as it’s a closed session in a secure classified room. The committee’s website only lists it as “Closed Briefing: Intelligence Matters” without even acknowledging the NSA’s participation. But it’s not that difficult to guess what’s likely being discussed.

Jeff Sessions has admitted to multiple secret meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the course of the election, which he had initially lied about during his confirmation hearings. But there have since been multiple reports of an additional meeting between Sessions and Kislyak, which he failed disclose even when he amended his testimony. The Senate Intel Committee is expected to grill Sessions on that additional meeting during his testimony tomorrow.

So this last minute after-hours meeting with the NSA suggests that the U.S. intelligence community may have additional classified evidence about Jeff Sessions’ phantom Russia meeting that it’s been able to share with the committee. If so, Sessions will go into his testimony on Tuesday afternoon without knowing what all the committee knows about his Russia meetings. If he tries to lie about it, the committee may be in a position to call him out for it on the spot, while the whole thing plays out on live national television. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report.

The post Senate Intel Committee holds last minute meeting with NSA before Jeff Sessions testimony appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos: Today in History for June 13th

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 01:42

Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

Highlights of this day in history: The Pentagon Papers hits newsstands amid the Vietnam War; Thurgood Marshall nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court; The ‘Miranda’ warning; Pioneer 10 leaves solar system; Swing legend Benny Goodman dies. (June 13)

Highlights of the day in history – a retrospective view on political events, historic battles, and life changing decisions. More: http://smarturl.it/TodayInHistory

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content – we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

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AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos

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1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos: Names of Pulse Shooting Victims Read

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 02:31

The names of the 49 people killed in the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016 were read at a ceremony in Orlando on Monday night. (June 13)

Subscribe for more Breaking News: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress
Get updates and more Breaking News here: http://smarturl.it/APBreakingNews

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats.
AP’s commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
Today, AP employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content – we have daily uploads covering the latest and breaking news in the world of politics, sport and entertainment. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/AssociatedPress

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AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites)

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Voice of America: Mattis Describes Qatar Situation as ‘Difficult’

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U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described the diplomatic spat between Qatar and several other American allies in the Middle East as a “complex situation” that the United States needed to help solve. “I believe that (Qatar’s) Prince Thani inherited a difficult, very tough situation, and he’s trying to turn the society in the right direction,” Mattis told lawmakers at a House Armed Services Committee hearing late Monday. “But we all agree that funding of any kind of terrorist group is inimical to all of our interest.” Mattis said President Donald Trump was focused on stopping all terrorist funding, including what he called “grey funding.” “It’s not black and white; it goes into some kind of nebulous area,” he said. He added that he believed Qatar is “moving in the right direction” when it comes to curtailing its funding of terrorism and said the United States needed to find common ground with Qatar due to the two countries’ shared interest. Qatar’s Al-Udeid Air Base is the largest American air base in the Middle East, serving as the forward operational headquarters of U.S. Central Command and the host to about 10,000 American troops. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and stopped transportation to and from the tiny Gulf nation, accusing Qatar of funding terrorists groups including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. During the hearing, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Washington) said he was “not clear” on the administration’s strategy concerning Qatar, accusing President Trump of being unhelpful Friday when he lashed out against Qatar and sided with Saudi Arabia. “We should be finding ways to solve that problem, not throwing gasoline on the fire,” Smith said. Afghanistan When asked about the military strategy in Afghanistan, Secretary Mattis said he would present options “very soon” to the president. Mattis added that it was important to include the relationships between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in the U.S. strategy. “We are taking a regional approach to this,” he said, “because if we look at it in isolation, we’ll probably have something that’s lacking.” Earlier this year, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, described the situation in the war-torn country as a “stalemate.”  Officials have said the strategy in Afghanistan needs to be flexible enough to provide the tools needed for Afghan forces to put more pressure on the Taliban. “It’s not just about numbers of troops. It’s about authorities. It’s about other things we can do diplomatically and economically as well,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. general, told lawmakers Monday.  Increased authorities could allow American troops to work with Afghan troops below the corps level, potentially putting them closer to fighting.

Voice of America

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intelNews.org: Former head of Qatar spy agency sides with Saudis in diplomatic quarrel

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A former director of Qatar’s intelligence agency broke ranks with the government of Qatar and accused Doha of supporting terrorism. He also warned that the United States, which has a base in Qatar, would not allow the presence of foreign troops there.

intelNews.org

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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: U.S. Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal On Bill To Increase Sanctions On Russia

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U.S. senators have announced a bipartisan agreement on legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia over human rights abuses, for arming Syria, and for allegedly meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: Trump Friend Says President Weighing Firing Counsel Probing Russia Ties

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A close associate of U.S. President Donald Trump has said Trump is considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who the Justice Department appointed last month to investigate Russian ties with Trump’s campaign.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Voice of America: Russian Police Detain Hundreds at Corruption Protest on National Day

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Police in Russia have detained hundreds of protesters and some journalists at anti-corruption demonstrations in cities across the country on Russia’s national day.  The protests were organized by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was detained in Moscow as he left his home to try to join a demonstration in the capital.  VOA’s Moscow Correspondent Daniel Schearf reports that the White House condemned the detentions and said it is monitoring the situation.

Voice of America

Voice of America: Seeds of Change Offer Hope in Lebanon

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Just south of Aleppo there was once a research center where Syria’s agricultural heritage was preserved with a view to helping feed the world. The seed bank may have been abandoned due to the country’s civil war, but efforts of scientists and farmers now continue in neighboring Lebanon. With harvesting just begun for the year, the vital work taking place there could prove crucial. John Owens reports.

Voice of America

Voice of America: AG Sessions to Testify Before Senate Committee Probing Trump Campaign’s Russia Ties

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies in open session Tuesday before the Senate committee investigating alleged ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Kremlin election meddling. VOA White House correspondent Peter Heinlein reports that Sessions wants to explain why he recused himself from the collusion probe. But senators have other questions.

Voice of America

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): AlJazeeraEnglish’s YouTube Videos: Donald Trump sued over president’s business benefits

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From: AlJazeeraEnglish
Duration: 02:20

A new lawsuit has been filed against US President Donald Trump over his alleged use of business interests for personal gain.

Officials in Maryland and Washington DC are suing Trump for accepting payments and benefits from foreign governments through his business empire.

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo reports from Washington, DC.

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Voice of America: Trump Uniquely Vulnerable to ‘Emoluments’ Lawsuit

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The state of Maryland and the District of Columbia on Monday filed what they described as a “major” lawsuit against President Donald Trump. The suit claims Trump’s sprawling business empire represents a conflict of interest and is violating the U.S. Constitution, as VOA’s Bill Gallo reports from the White House.

Voice of America

Comey – Google News: It’s Jeff Sessions’ turn in the hot seat – CNN

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Washington Examiner
It’s Jeff Sessions’ turn in the hot seat
CNN
And while Sessions agreed to testify publicly, there are questions about his motivations. Does he simply want to get his side of the story out following Comey’s testimony? Or does his appearance represent a White House-orchestrated counter attack
House Judiciary Democrats ask Sessions to confirm or deny Comey’s storyWashington Examiner
The Note: Comey saga gets new playersABC News
Attorney general to face questions on Comey firing, RussiaCNBC
Bloomberg –Slate Magazine (blog) –The Independent –ThinkProgress
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Comey – Google News

Russia | The Guardian: US senators reach deal to stop White House easing Russia sanctions without approval

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The agreement, which includes new sanctions, is intended to punish Russia over issues including its alleged meddling in the 2016 US election

US senators have reached an agreement on legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, including a provision that would prevent the White House from easing, suspending or ending sanctions without congressional approval.

The agreement, to be filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill, is intended to punish Russia over issues including its alleged meddling in the 2016 US election, annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and support for the government of Syria in that country’s six-year-long civil war.

Related: Senators sound calls to release Comey ‘tapes’ as Trump attacks ‘cowardly’ leak

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Russia | The Guardian

Palmer Report: Jeff Sessions is a coward

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When Jeff Sessions heads into his nationally televised Senate testimony today, the choices he makes and the answers he provides will define how history remembers him. He could do the right thing, helping to salvage his own legacy and the sanctity of the United States in the process. Or he could do the wrong but loyal thing by helping out a guilty friend. But he’s already shown us that he’s not going to do either one, because he’s a coward.

Donald Trump elevated Jeff Sessions to the position of Attorney General for one reason: so that Sessions could protect him from the Russia scandal in which they both conspired. But at the very first sign of trouble, when Sessions got caught lying under oath about his Russia role, he all but immediately recused himself from the investigation in the hope that the Senate wouldn’t come after him for perjury. Sessions turned out to be too much of a coward to carry out the backstop duty he’d been given when Trump appointed him.

But lest anyone think Jeff Sessions may have recused himself because it was the right thing to do, look no further than when Donald Trump began trying to obstruct the Russia investigation by leaning on FBI Director James Comey. What did Sessions do? Nothing, one way or the other. Because he’s a coward. And when Trump made the extraordinarily wrong move of firing Comey? Sessions once again did nothing – because he’s a coward.

So when Jeff Sessions heads into his testimony today, his moment in the history books will be defined by what he’s not willing to do. Sessions won’t do the right thing and rat out Donald Trump for his crimes. Sessions won’t do the loyal thing and defend Trump either. Instead, Sessions will give the kind of noncommittal answers, aimed only at protecting himself, that have defined him from start to finish as nothing more than a coward. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report.

The post Jeff Sessions is a coward appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

Voice of America: US Senators Back Legislation Strengthening Russia Sanctions

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A group of U.S. Senators agreed Monday on legislation to strengthen sanctions against Russia, including a provision that would require congressional review if the White House relaxed, suspended or terminated sanctions already in place. The bipartisan agreement comes in the form of an amendment to legislation the Senate is already considering on sanctions for Iran.  The bill is expected to have strong support when it goes before the full Senate, and would have to then pass in the House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump. A statement from Republican and Democratic leaders on the Senate banking committee said the amendment “expands sanctions against the government of Russia in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyberattacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria.” The measure would strengthen existing sanctions targeting Russian energy projects, while imposing new sanctions on those involved in serious human rights abuses, supplying weapons to the Syrian government, carrying out malicious cyber activities and doing business with Russian intelligence and defense. The House and Senate, as well as a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department, are all investigating Russia’s activities related to last year’s U.S. elections, as well as potential links to Trump’s campaign.  The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a January report that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign meant to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump’s chances of winning. “These additional sanctions will also send a powerful and bipartisan statement to Russia and any other country who might try to interfere in our elections that they will be punished,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

Voice of America

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Friend Says Trump Is Considering Firing Mueller as Special Counsel

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“Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said in a statement hours later. “With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment.”

Allies of the president cast doubt on the idea that Mr. Trump would take such a drastic step, and White House officials said Mr. Ruddy had not met directly with the president while he was there.

Firing Mr. Mueller would be a politically explosive move that would raise new questions about Mr. Trump, whose abrupt dismissal of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director generated accusations of obstruction of justice and led to Mr. Mueller’s appointment.

Mr. Trump has been known, in moments of frustration and stress, to vent threats of action to members of his inner circle. In the past, some of those private expressions of anger have been made public by friends and associates, only to generate speculation about moves that never take place — including a senior staff shake-up that has yet to happen.

Such moments sometimes reflect the deep division among Mr. Trump’s White House advisers about the best course for the president to take in the face of political or legal adversity.

Under Justice Department rules, Mr. Trump would seemingly have to order Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to rescind department regulations protecting a special counsel from being fired for no good reason, and then to fire Mr. Mueller. If Mr. Rosenstein refused, Mr. Trump could fire him, too — a series of events that would recall the “Saturday Night Massacre” during Watergate, when President Richard M. Nixon sought to dismiss a special prosecutor, Archibald Cox.

White House officials referred questions to Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, as they have recently on all matters relating to the Russia investigation. A spokesman for Mr. Kasowitz declined to comment.

The former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a longtime supporter of Mr. Trump’s, said in a tweet on Monday that it was time to “rethink” Mr. Mueller’s ability to be fair.

“Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair,” Mr. Gingrich tweeted after praising Mr. Mueller’s integrity in recent weeks. Apparently referring to Federal Election Commission reports, he added: “Look who he is hiring. check fec reports. Time to rethink.”

The idea that the investigation is illegitimate and politically motivated has been gaining currency on the political right for months. Conservative writers, radio hosts and cable personalities — emboldened by the president himself, who has called it a witch hunt — have repeatedly sought to discredit the inquiry, its investigators, the mainstream news accounts of it, and the lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are demanding more answers.

Initially, Mr. Comey was the subject of much of their derision. Now they have moved on to Mr. Mueller, whom they are attacking as too compromised and conflicted to lead an independent inquiry.

In the PBS interview, Mr. Ruddy said Mr. Trump had considered replacing Mr. Comey with Mr. Mueller, who served as F.B.I. director during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. A senior White House official confirmed that the president had interviewed Mr. Mueller for the F.B.I. post in the Oval Office the day before Mr. Rosenstein tapped him to be the special counsel in the Russia investigation.

Mr. Ruddy said the president was weighing whether to dismiss Mr. Mueller because of concerns about conflicts of interest. He said those concerns included the interview for the F.B.I. post and connections between Mr. Mueller’s law firm and White House officials.

“There are some real conflicts. He comes from a law firm that represents members of the Trump family,” Mr. Ruddy said. “I know for a fact that he was under consideration and that the president did talk with him in the days before he was named special counsel. I think there’s a conflict there.”

He also said that he believed it would be “a very significant mistake” for Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Mueller, but emphasized that he was concerned about what he described as conflicts.

The criticism of Mr. Mueller has intensified in recent days, spreading from Trump surrogates like Mr. Gingrich to powerful media personalities like Rush Limbaugh. On his radio program last week, Mr. Limbaugh endorsed the suggestion that Mr. Trump fire Mr. Mueller.

Mark Levin, another prominent radio host, has also called for Mr. Mueller’s firing. “Mueller must step aside,” he wrote on Facebook over the weekend.

Much of the criticism has focused on whether Mr. Mueller is too close to Mr. Comey. The two became friends after working closely together during the Bush administration.

Democrats accused Republicans on Monday of beginning a campaign to smear Mr. Mueller’s reputation as he engages in a broad investigation that could include whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice by pressuring Mr. Comey to end parts of the inquiry and then by firing him.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, scoffed at the idea that the president might fire Mr. Mueller.

“If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller,” Mr. Schiff said in a tweet. “Don’t waste our time.”

The independent counsel statute, passed after Watergate, allowed the appointment of a prosecutor who would look into high-level executive branch wrongdoing and answer to a panel of judges, and who could not be fired by the president, as Mr. Nixon sought to do.

Both Republicans and Democrats came to dislike the statute, which they saw as permitting prosecutors to run amok in the Iran-contra and Whitewater investigations during the Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton administrations. Congress let it lapse when it expired in 1999.

It would take a two-thirds supermajority in both chambers of Congress to overcome Mr. Trump’s likely veto of any similar legislation. It is far from clear that Mr. Schiff’s proposal could command such support.

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New Bipartisan Sanctions Would Punish Russia for Election Meddling

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Russia: New Bipartisan Sanctions Would Punish Russia for Election Meddling

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Senate leaders said they had reached an agreement to approve the new sanctions, which would place the White House in an uncomfortable position.

Russia

russia and the west – Google News: Senate Draws Up Bill to Impose More Sanctions on Russia – Fox Business

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Chicago Tribune
Senate Draws Up Bill to Impose More Sanctions on Russia
Fox Business
The Russian government has denied any involvement in the hacks, though Russian President Vladimir Putin recently suggested that Russian “patriotic” hackers may have been behind the cyberintrusions that affected Western elections. “These additional …
Senate GOP, Democrats reach agreement on new sanctions on RussiaChicago Tribune

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1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos: ‘Summer of Love’ Remembered 50 Years Later

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 02:24

They came for the music, the mind-bending drugs, to resist the Vietnam War, or simply to escape summer boredom. And they left an enduring legacy. This season marks the 50th anniversary of that legendary “Summer of Love,” in San Francisco. (June 13)

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NYT > Contributing Writers: You’re Probably Going to Need Medicaid

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Don’t let the government destroy it….

NYT > Contributing Writers

Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News: Russian Breach of 39 States Threatens Future US Elections – Bloomberg

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Bloomberg
Russian Breach of 39 States Threatens Future US Elections
Bloomberg
One of the mysteries about the 2016 presidential election is why Russian intelligence, after gaining access to state and local systems, didn’t try to disrupt the vote. One possibility is that theAmerican warning was effective. Another former senior U

Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News

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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: Haqqani Network Commander Reportedly Killed By Drone Strike In Pakistan

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A suspected U.S. drone strike in northwestern Pakistan has killed a commander of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, local officials say.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Opinions: The Trump family shouldn’t fight Shakespeare. They’ll lose.

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Queen Elizabeth I knew better than to persecute the bard or his company for putting on plays about assassinations.

Opinions

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Washington Free Beacon: Friend Claims Trump ‘Considering’ Firing Mueller, Schiff Says ‘Don’t Waste Our Time’

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A close friend of President Donald Trump said Monday that Trump is “considering” firing special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director the Justice Department put in charge of the Russia investigation.

NewsMax Media founder Christopher Ruddy said on the PBS program Newshour that he thought Trump is “weighing that option” but added it would be a mistake.

“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. I think he’s weighing that option,” Ruddy said. “I think it’s pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently. I personally think it would be a very significant mistake, even though I don’t think there’s a justification [for the special counsel].”

Ruddy could not say, however, that Trump suggested that to him directly. Instead he told Fox News he was “confident of my sourcing.” The White House responded that Ruddy did not speak to Trump on the matter:

When reached by Fox News after the remarks, Ruddy said, “while I am not claiming the president said it to me, I am confident of my sourcing. He is definitely considering it as an option.”

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said Ruddy “never spoke to the president regarding this issue. With respect to this subject, only the president [or] his attorneys are authorized to comment.”

The New York Times reported that to fire Mueller, Trump would have to order Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to turn back regulations that protect ta special counsel from being fired for no good reason. If Rosenstein refused, Trump could fire Rosenstein.

A CNN source said Trump is being advised not to fire Mueller. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will likely be asked about the matter when he testifies Tuesday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted Trump would waste everyone’s time by dismissing Mueller.

If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller. Don’t waste our time.

“They’re clearly afraid of Mueller and his independence and the thoroughness of the investigation he’s likely to lead,” Schiff told MSNBC on Monday. “You can’t exclude the possibility, but I think it’s just a way of raising doubts about this very good man respected by people on both sides of the aisle.”

Mueller was appointed to lead the investigation in May, fulfilling the wishes of former FBI Director James Comey. Comey testified Thursday that, after he was fired by Trump, he leaked the memo of when Trump hoped Comey would let go of the Michael Flynn investigation, in hopes of prompting the appointment of a special counsel.

CNN reported Mueller has been “quietly and methodically” building a team of seasoned legal minds that have worked on high-profile cases like Watergate and Enron.

The post Friend Claims Trump ‘Considering’ Firing Mueller, Schiff Says ‘Don’t Waste Our Time’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

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Russian Intelligence services and international organized crime and terrorism – Google News: TRUMP’S lunch companions today — FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Sergey Kislyak plays host for Russia Day — the DAWSEY … – Politico

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TRUMP’S lunch companions today — FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Sergey Kislyak plays host for Russia Day — the DAWSEY …
Politico
PLAYBOOK EXCLUSIVE — SERGEY KISLYAK TRYING TO REPAIR FRAYED U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS: Embattled Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak played host to Washington insiders and diplomats at the Russian Embassy Monday night, greeting guests one-by-one in a long

Russian Intelligence services and international organized crime and terrorism – Google News

US elections and russia – Google News: Russian Breach of 39 States Threatens Future US Elections – Bloomberg

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Bloomberg
Russian Breach of 39 States Threatens Future US Elections
Bloomberg
Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously

US elections and russia – Google News

Putin Trump – Google News: From Russia With Chaos: Putin Doesn’t Support Donald Trump, He Supports American Political Paralysis – Fox News

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From Russia With Chaos: Putin Doesn’t Support Donald Trump, He Supports American Political Paralysis
Fox News
The reset was intended to support Dmitry Medvedev, who was Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012 before Mr. Putin returned for a third term. But while Mr. Medvedev was chairman of Gazprom from 2001 to 2007, 6.4% of the state energy conglomerate’s …

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mueller – Google News: Trump Weighs Firing Mueller, According To Confidante – NPR

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NPR
Trump Weighs Firing Mueller, According To Confidante
NPR
In what is sure to ignite another firestorm of debate in polarized Washington, a longtime friend of President Trump said Monday night that Trump is “weighing” whether to dismiss Robert Mueller, the Justice Department special counsel investigating
Rumor That Trump May Fire Mueller Sets Washington AlightNBCNews.com
Friend Says Trump Is Considering Firing Mueller as Special CounselNew York Times
Trump considering ‘terminating’ Mueller, friend saysUSA TODAY
Politico –Washington Examiner –Twitter –PBS NewsHour
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Comey – Google News: Between the Lines of Jim Comey’s Testimony – The Atlantic

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The Atlantic
Between the Lines of Jim Comey’s Testimony
The Atlantic
The White House did get some good news: Comey said that the president was not personally under investigation while he led the bureau, and that a New York Times article detailing contacts between Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign was “in the …

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Comey – Google News

trump as putin’s puppet – Google News: Donald Trump’s foreign policy is so much more corrupt and dangerous than his possible ties to Putin – Salon

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Salon
Donald Trump’s foreign policy is so much more corrupt and dangerous than his possible ties to Putin
Salon
How to make sense of Donald Trump’s foreign policy? Is Trump an “America First” Jacksonian nationalist? An isolationist? A neoconservative? A conventional captive of the DC foreign policy establishment? A Russian puppet? An unhinged warmonger?

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trump as putin’s puppet – Google News

Russian Intelligence services – Google News: Horsey: Trump’s big crime: Ignoring Russia’s assault on US elections – Baltimore Sun

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Baltimore Sun
Horsey: Trump’s big crime: Ignoring Russia’s assault on US elections
Baltimore Sun
He has asserted that no one really knows who hacked what, despite the universal conclusion of U.S. intelligence services that it was the Russians. He has repeatedly alleged that the concern about Russian activities is being manufactured by the
Beginning of the End of Trump EraHuffPost
BREAKING: AG Sessions to Testify in Open Hearing Before the Senate’s IntelligenceCommitteeYellowhammer News
The Latest: Secret Service says it has no Trump tapesBoston Herald
Bloomberg
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Russian Intelligence services – Google News

cia – Google News: Marc Thiessen: New York Times endangered life of CIA operative – The Columbus Dispatch

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Marc Thiessen: New York Times endangered life of CIA operative
The Columbus Dispatch
When President Donald Trump declared the media the “enemy of the American people,” I called it an outrage. Well, The New York Times seems to be working overtime to prove me wrong and Trump right. In a front-page story, the Times recently exposed the …

cia – Google News

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): ReutersVideo’s YouTube Videos: Putin critic Navalny jailed in Russia protests

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From: ReutersVideo
Duration: 01:45

Baton-wielding riot police broke up anti-corruption protests and detained hundreds of demonstrators in Moscow and other Russian cities on Monday, before a court sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to his second prison term this year. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.

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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: Two Dead, Hundreds Critically Ill From Food Poisoning At Iraqi IDP Camp

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Two people have died and hundreds are critically ill from what Iraq’s health minister says was food poisoning at a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

organized crime and intelligence – Google News: When Organized Crime Becomes Official – OZY

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OZY
When Organized Crime Becomes Official
OZY
Russia is increasingly subcontracting its dirty work abroad to organized crime syndicates. Whether it’s stirring up insurgencies, hacking elections, or knocking off enemies, it turns out gangsters and other rank-and-file criminals have the skills the

organized crime and intelligence – Google News

putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Report: Russia hacked election systems in 39 US states – Engadget

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Engadget
Report: Russia hacked election systems in 39 US states
Engadget
Russia’s US election meddling was much more widespread than the public has been told, according to a report from Bloomberg. Hackers attacked vote systems in 39 states, accessed campaign finance databases in one state and tried to delete or alter voter …
Russian Breach of 39 States Threatens Future US ElectionsBloomberg

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putin won US 2016 election – Google News

Voice of America: Sessions to Testify at Public Senate Intelligence Hearing

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is set to testify in a public hearing Tuesday, with members of a Senate panel likely to ask him about his contacts with the Russian ambassador and his involvement in the firing of the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Senate Intelligence Committee hearing is the latest step in multiple ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election. Sessions recused himself from the FBI’s investigation in March after acknowledging he had spoken twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the months before the November vote.  During his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions said he had not met with any Russians during the campaign.  The Justice Department said the conversations were part of Sessions’ job as a senator. His testimony comes less than a week after James Comey, the fired FBI director, said during his own appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he felt Trump had gone against the normal separation of criminal investigations from White House oversight by directing him to end the investigation into Russia’s activities. Comey said Trump told him he hoped Comey would “let go” of investigating the president’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and also asked Comey to pledge his personal loyalty and to “lift the cloud” of the Russia probe. Comey also said the FBI had “additional facts” about Sessions that he could “not discuss in an open setting.” Trump has disputed Comey’s account of the conversation about Flynn as inaccurate, although his oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., a frequent defender of his father’s White House performance, seemed to confirm the gist of it. “When he tells you to do something, guess what, there’s no ambiguity in it,” Trump Jr., speaking of his father, told Fox News on Sunday. “There’s no, ‘Hey, I’m hoping.’  You and I are friends, ‘Hey I hope this happens, but you’ve got to do your job.’  That’s what he told Comey.” Before Comey testified, Trump suggested there might be a White House recording of their private dinner, which Comey said he hopes there is.  But the president and his aides have not definitively said so. Pressed on the issue Friday, he said, “I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future.” The White House again Monday refused to say one way or the other whether there was a tape. But Republican lawmakers are urging the Trump administration to release the recordings, if they exist. Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee that heard Comey’s testimony, said Sunday, “I don’t understand why the president just doesn’t clear this matter up once and for all.” Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, another member of the Senate panel, said, “We’ve obviously pressed the White House.” Trump fired Comey last month. Trump later said he was thinking about “this Russia thing” as he decided to dismiss him because he considered claims that Russian interference in the election influenced it in his favor to be bogus, an excuse by Democrats to account for his stunning upset of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Voice of America

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FOX News: Sen. Rand Paul: If you support Israel, you can’t support more arms sales to Saudi Arabia

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We must pause and ask ourselves, does providing additional weapons to the Saudis make Israel safer or more dangerous in the long run?

FOX News

RSS: Глава российского военного ведомства генерал армии Сергей Шойгу прибыл в Минск для участия в заседании Совета министров обороны ОДКБ

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Руководители оборонных ведомств Армении, Белоруссии, Казахстана, Киргизии, России и Таджикистана обсудят, в частности, вопросы, связанные с развитием сил и средств системы коллективной безопасности, а также совершенствованием нормативно-правовой базы Организации.

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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: Russia Criticized For Detaining More Than 1,500 Anticorruption Protesters

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The United States, the European Union, and human rights groups have condemned the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters across Russia.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

AP Top News at 5:49 a.m. EDT: Senate GOP, Dems agree on new sanctions on Russia

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans and Democrats reached agreement late Monday on a new package of sanctions on Russia amid the firestorm over Russia&apos;s meddling in the presidential election and investigations into Moscow&apos;s possible collusion with members of President Donald Trump&apos;s campaign….

AP Top News at 5:49 a.m. EDT

donald trump russia – Google News: US Senate agrees to new sanctions on Russia and Donald Trump can’t override them – Express.co.uk

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Express.co.uk
US Senate agrees to new sanctions on Russia and Donald Trump can’t override them
Express.co.uk
… amid an intense focus in the US capital on relations with Russia, and investigations by the Department of Justice and congressional committees of whether Russia sought to influence the 2016 US elections to help elect Republican President Donald
Senate Strikes Deal on Russia Sanctions, Stripping Power From TrumpNBCNews.com
Senate looks to jab RussiaPolitico
By Going After Russia, Are Senate Republicans Breaking with Trump?GQ Magazine
The Guardian
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donald trump russia – Google News

Trump Is a Mobster President

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My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part, an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch.

I replied that I loved my work and intended to stay and serve out my ten-year term as Director. And then, because the set-up made me uneasy, I added that I was not “reliable” in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth. I added that I was not on anybody’s side politically and could not be counted on in the traditional political sense, a stance I said was in his best interest as the President.

A few moments later, the President said, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.

On Sunday, Preet Bharara, who was the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York until Trump fired him earlier this year, said that Trump also tried to “cultivate some kind of relationship” with him. “When I’ve been reading the stories about how the president has been contacting Jim Comey over time, it felt a little bit like déjà vu,” Bharara said on ABC’s This Week, going on to say it was “a very weird and peculiar thing.” Bharara said Trump called him three times—twice as president-elect, and again as president. Bharara didn’t return the third call, “and 22 hours later I was asked to resign.”

The mafia analogies aren’t just casual gibes, but speak to something fundamental in Trump’s background and character. In his younger days, Trump was mentored by Roy Cohn, a mob lawyer, and he consorted with criminals, notably convicted felon Felix Sater. Trump’s record shows “repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks,” David Cay Johnston, who has extensively investigated Trump’s mafia tieswrote in Politico last year, and “Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service.”

It was perhaps inevitable that Trump would run into conflict with the likes of Comey, Bharara, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (whom Trump also fired, after she refused to defend his executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries). Trump supporters might dismiss these figures as Washington insiders—inhabitants of “the swamp”—but they are more accurately seen as representatives of the legal and administrative state. They are all experts in the law and bureaucracy; they know the rules, understand why the rules exist, and enforce them. In other words, they are the polar opposite of Trump, an anti-professional to whom laws were meant to be broken.

But the mafia shouldn’t be seen as the antithesis of government, and rather as an alternative apparatus. The mafia tends to thrive when the administrative state is weak or corrupt, and thus unable to protect and provide for its citizens. Trump’s message as an outsider candidate was that normal politicians were unable to protect ordinary Americans, in part because they were too hamstrung by laws and regulations. Like a mafia don, Trump promised he’d deliver for the people, even if it meant breaking the rules (as when he boasted he’d break the Geneva convention to fight terrorism).

Trump didn’t just want loyalty from Comey and Bharara; he expects it from everyone. As White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said last month, the president “expects people who are serving in his administration to be loyal to the country and to be loyal to the administration.” That goes for the public, too. During campaign rallies last year, he’d occasionally ask his followers to raise their hands and pledge allegiance to him:

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Russian Intelligence, organized crime and political interference – Google News: Horsey: Trump’s big crime: Ignoring Russia’s assault on US elections – Baltimore Sun

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Trump’s Meddlesome Priest – The New York Times

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By now many people will have googled the words “meddlesome priest.” The phrase was uttered by James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, during his testimony on Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. When he was asked if he took President Trump’s “hope” that he would drop the Flynn-Russia investigation “as a directive,” Mr. Comey responded, “Yes, yes. It rings in my ears as kind of ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’ ”

These are the words that King Henry II of England allegedly cried out in 1170, frustrated by the political opposition of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury. Four royal knights immediately rushed off to Canterbury and murdered the meddlesome priest.

Unlike many contemporary references to medieval history, this one is apt. Mr. Comey’s point was that a desire expressed by a powerful leader is tantamount to an order. When Senator James E. Risch, a Republican, noted that the president had merely “hoped for an outcome,” Mr. Comey replied, “I mean, this is the president of the United States, with me alone, saying ‘I hope this.’ I took it as, this is what he wants me to do.”

King Henry’s contemporaries likewise assumed that a ruler’s wish constituted a command: Although he denied any intention of inciting murder, Henry was widely held responsible for Becket’s death. The pope issued an order prohibiting Henry from attending church services or participating in the sacraments, and the king was eventually forced to do penance for the violence perpetrated in his name.

There are even more instructive parallels. Although the administration offered various reasons for the firing of Mr. Comey, it is clear that Mr. Trump considered his allegiance to F.B.I. protocol over presidential preference to be a form of disloyalty. Likewise, the main issues at stake in 1170 were divided loyalty and institutional independence.

Before Becket had been elected archbishop, he had been a close friend and faithful servant to the king. Henry had engineered Becket’s election in the expectation that, as archbishop, Becket would continue to serve royal interests. This was not an unreasonable assumption; for centuries bishops had performed dual roles, acting as temporal as well as spiritual lords. They commanded armies, enforced royal decrees, and took it for granted that the rulers who appointed them could claim their loyalty.

It was not until the 1070s that secular control over bishops began to be challenged by a series of reformist popes who sought to free clerics from secular influence and insisted that bishops’ first allegiance was to the church. This goal was rarely fully realized — kings were generally closer than the pope and more able to dispense both patronage and punishment. But to Henry’s fury, Becket unexpectedly embraced reform, becoming a vigorous defender of church privileges and critic of royal interference. Henry felt intensely betrayed. Becket died not because he was “meddlesome,” but because, in the king’s view, he was disloyal.

The Becket episode may likewise help explain why Mr. Trump’s advisers did not prevent him from firing Mr. Comey. King Henry expected all his officials to share his fury at Becket and saw any failure to do so as a betrayal as well. The phrase “meddlesome priest” was a later invention, made famous by Hollywood in the 1964 film “Becket.” Henry’s actual exclamation — or at least the cry attributed to him in the medieval sources — was “What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a lowborn clerk!’”

No wonder the four knights were so eager to take the hint. Henry’s courtiers may well have feared that if they didn’t make a conspicuous display of loyalty, the king might turn on them next. Treachery was a capital offense.

The aftermath of the Becket episode may, moreover, resonate in one final way. Although Henry had longed to get rid of Becket for years, he presumably came to rue the day his words of rage were heeded. In addition to performing humiliating penance, he had to swear obedience to the pope, make a series of concessions to the church and eventually face rebellion. One suspects that Mr. Trump, too, might come to feel the wisdom of the words “be careful what you wish for.”

Continue reading the main story

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NYT > Opinion: The Stone: Trump and the True Meaning of ‘Idiot’

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The ancient roots of the word reveal more than just a routine insult.

NYT > Opinion

Trump FBI file – Google News: Attorneys general of Maryland and DC plan ‘major lawsuit’ against Trump – Los Angeles Times

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Attorneys general of Maryland and DC plan ‘major lawsuit’ against Trump
Los Angeles Times
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Already used in Ukraine, the malware could be modified to target U.S. systems.

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Will Congress get its way despite the president’s campaign promises? Probably….

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Why did James Comey say, ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’

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Trump’s Meddlesome Priest – The New York Times

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By now many people will have googled the words “meddlesome priest.” The phrase was uttered by James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, during his testimony on Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. When he was asked if he took President Trump’s “hope” that he would drop the Flynn-Russia investigation “as a directive,” Mr. Comey responded, “Yes, yes. It rings in my ears as kind of ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’ ”

These are the words that King Henry II of England allegedly cried out in 1170, frustrated by the political opposition of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury. Four royal knights immediately rushed off to Canterbury and murdered the meddlesome priest.

Unlike many contemporary references to medieval history, this one is apt. Mr. Comey’s point was that a desire expressed by a powerful leader is tantamount to an order. When Senator James E. Risch, a Republican, noted that the president had merely “hoped for an outcome,” Mr. Comey replied, “I mean, this is the president of the United States, with me alone, saying ‘I hope this.’ I took it as, this is what he wants me to do.”

King Henry’s contemporaries likewise assumed that a ruler’s wish constituted a command: Although he denied any intention of inciting murder, Henry was widely held responsible for Becket’s death. The pope issued an order prohibiting Henry from attending church services or participating in the sacraments, and the king was eventually forced to do penance for the violence perpetrated in his name.

There are even more instructive parallels. Although the administration offered various reasons for the firing of Mr. Comey, it is clear that Mr. Trump considered his allegiance to F.B.I. protocol over presidential preference to be a form of disloyalty. Likewise, the main issues at stake in 1170 were divided loyalty and institutional independence.

Before Becket had been elected archbishop, he had been a close friend and faithful servant to the king. Henry had engineered Becket’s election in the expectation that, as archbishop, Becket would continue to serve royal interests. This was not an unreasonable assumption; for centuries bishops had performed dual roles, acting as temporal as well as spiritual lords. They commanded armies, enforced royal decrees, and took it for granted that the rulers who appointed them could claim their loyalty.

It was not until the 1070s that secular control over bishops began to be challenged by a series of reformist popes who sought to free clerics from secular influence and insisted that bishops’ first allegiance was to the church. This goal was rarely fully realized — kings were generally closer than the pope and more able to dispense both patronage and punishment. But to Henry’s fury, Becket unexpectedly embraced reform, becoming a vigorous defender of church privileges and critic of royal interference. Henry felt intensely betrayed. Becket died not because he was “meddlesome,” but because, in the king’s view, he was disloyal.

The Becket episode may likewise help explain why Mr. Trump’s advisers did not prevent him from firing Mr. Comey. King Henry expected all his officials to share his fury at Becket and saw any failure to do so as a betrayal as well. The phrase “meddlesome priest” was a later invention, made famous by Hollywood in the 1964 film “Becket.” Henry’s actual exclamation — or at least the cry attributed to him in the medieval sources — was “What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a lowborn clerk!’”

No wonder the four knights were so eager to take the hint. Henry’s courtiers may well have feared that if they didn’t make a conspicuous display of loyalty, the king might turn on them next. Treachery was a capital offense.

The aftermath of the Becket episode may, moreover, resonate in one final way. Although Henry had longed to get rid of Becket for years, he presumably came to rue the day his words of rage were heeded. In addition to performing humiliating penance, he had to swear obedience to the pope, make a series of concessions to the church and eventually face rebellion. One suspects that Mr. Trump, too, might come to feel the wisdom of the words “be careful what you wish for.”

Continue reading the main story

Read the whole story
· · ·

Trump-Comey Affair Is Modern Adaptation of Classic Elite Political Theatre

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The Russian connection appears to be a red herring serving the Democratic and Republican parties’ purposes of disciplining the White House and providing pseudo-dramas for the news-hungry media.

donald trump, james comey, USA, US president Trump, Trump, US-Russia, Trump RussiaCredit: Reuters

This is a murky story of skulduggery on a massive scale; political theatre unseen since the 1970s political Watergate scandal, but more closely resembling Cold War McCarthyism – with political charges levelled on the basis of suspicion, innuendo, half-truths, unnamed sources and leaks from federal agencies. It’s a tale of accusations against a pluto-populist president – a billionaire from the mainstream American establishment, parading as a man of the people; the powers that be horrified by the pluto-populist POTUS. They have forced through congressional hearings, FBI investigations, CIA intelligence and a special counsel. This political circus is officially focused on alleged Russian hackers and their Trump-collaborators.

But the real story is hardly heard. This is a war of attrition by the political establishment – a vast network across the two parties, the media, think tanks, foundations, military and intelligence communities and other state intellectuals united in disciplining a president and his tightly-knit coterie of unorthodox advisers that neither party wanted in the White House.

The irony is that this is precisely the sort of politics that Donald Trump practised and practices – fake claims, ill-founded accusations, smears, name-calling, repetition of falsehoods to hide his own chaotic style, political and governing inexperience and simple incompetence – now hoist with his own petard. But I doubt he wants the show to end – it’s easier than actually governing a nation, a pursuit in which he has little competence or talent. He is deconstructing the state by not engaging at all with it in any ‘normal’ way.

Yet both sides of this political performance, worthy of Hollywood or Broadway, seem very keen to keep it going. Each protagonist has their audience lapping up their champions and calling out the villain of the piece. Trump, self-declared people’s champion, plays to his anti-establishment core voters, who despise the political class in Washington, DC. They are yet to see through the Trump-fog that this is a road to nowhere: Trump is playing the very game that he was elected to terminate – he is of the swamp.

Trump’s array of opponents are doing the same – duping progressives into thinking that they are really going after Trump’s reactionary administration and exposing him as a fellow-traveller or agent, in McCarthyite style, of a foreign power – Vladimir Putin’s Russia. So far, there has been precious little hard evidence of any such collusion.

The soap opera continues – a Trump tweet calls James Comey “a coward” and hints darkly about investigating the former FBI director’s “illegal” leaks. Meanwhile US attorney general Jeff Sessions plans to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee next week. The drama takes another twist and the media salivates at ratings-driven advertising revenues.

Therein lies a major problem, especially for those who find odious in the extreme the xenophobia, misogyny and crass Islamophobia, among other things, of the Trump administration. Americans are being encouraged to support, even take pleasure in a McCarthyite witch-hunt because we disagree with the administration on so many fronts and therefore, no holds are barred in order to block Trump, to tie him up in proceedings, hearings and investigations and question on the flimsiest of bases anyone associated with him. That is, Trump is being ‘out-Trumped’.

The problem is not even that there’s little, if any, evidence for the charges being levelled at the administration. It is the deeper problem that for good or ill, Trump is the elected president of the US, who broke the political rules but won within the constitutional set up governing US elections.

Is it okay to block and divert just because we oppose his politics? I submit that we are in danger of becoming or may have become the unwitting instruments of a new instance of an old elite strategy against one who rejects the status quo, as defined by an establishment of power.

If that establishment succeeds, who’s to say that when we get someone in office that we might actually like, who happens to be a ‘radical’, that very power elite will not do exactly the same to ‘our’ democratically-elected POTUS.

While Washington’s abuzz with the psychodrama of the Trump-Comey-Russia affair, the central faultline exposed by the tumult of 2016 remains unaddressed and unattended, festering, simmering, breaking out in symptoms, random and organised violence and political clashes on the streets. That’s all about a racialised class system – working, middle and billionaire, the former in conflict with the latter and with unorthodox ideas and candidates demonstrating the fragility of the established order, opening up new horizons, hopes and aspirations for radical change.

For the fact is that the Comey affair is classic elite political theatre posing as real politics, with corporate media lapping up, whipping up the drama with each upcoming set piece – John Brennan’s testimony, what James Clapper knew, what Comey might say and whether Trump has taped conversations with the fired FBI director. There are investigations to feed the media frenzy – the House and the Senate have several committees that provide a form of outdoor relief for the people’s representatives to gain notoriety through air time. All of them are all gainfully employed, very busy “doing politics”.

The circus was perhaps predictable given the unprecedented character of the 2016 campaign and the election of the unpredictable and wild card Trump. The whole Trump style and message was extraordinarily offensive on race, gender, xenophobia. But it was also anti-conservative, opposed to the party establishment, galvanising a racially-anxious white Republican electorate with promises of realising the American dream – which had been snatched from them by usurping minorities on the march since the 1960s.

The Trump message was also totally opposed to the post-1945 liberal international order – NATO, the Japan and South Korea security treaties, military intervention in the Middle East and America’s role in upholding it. This latter message was the one that truly galvanised the foreign policy establishment – from the Council on Foreign Relations to the American Enterprise Institute, the CIA to NSA and FBI, not to mention the military and other armed forces. Practically all of those groups were forged in the heat of war – WWI, WWII and the Cold War. They helped make the world the way it is and America’s hegemonic role within it. They are not going to allow the maverick Trump to upset their apple-cart. Except it isn’t just Trump they’re really taking on – he is a proxy for American anti-elitism, the major movement and lesson of 2016.

For those who live in the evidence-based community, the Russian connection appears to be, at the moment, a red herring serving the leaders of both Democratic and Republican parties and providing pseudo-dramas galore for the news-hungry media. For Democrats and their corporate media allies, Russian hackers for or on behalf of Trump snatched the election from them, and would overturn the liberal international order, including free trade agreements. For the Republicans, Trump’s unreliability and crisis-prone style and character threatens to derail a domestic neoliberal agenda and NATO, their much-loved bulwark against Russian expansionism.

It is instructive to note that both parties and their media supporters are unanimous in applauding Trump when he bombs Syria and Afghanistan with reckless abandon, sells arms to the Saudis, backs the illegal war on Yemen and continues Obama-era military aid to Israel to maintain its qualitative military edge over other US allies in the Middle East.

That’s their view of what it is to be presidential. On that front, Trump remains unreliable, is not ‘one of us’ and has odd friends. He needs to be monitored and disciplined.

Inderjeet Parmar is head of international politics at City University of London. He is chair of the Research Network on the Presidency of Barack Obama.

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Published on Feb 2, 2016

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U.S. National Security and Military News Review: President Trump’s War Room on Russia, As If Russia Were Running It

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President Trump is setting up a “war room” to counter the Russia probe. With all of the talk about Russian government tactics for meddling in Western democratic processes, I thought it would be interesting to tease out what the Russians might do in such a war room.

There are several timely monographs detailing Russian tactics in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), including from the Center for Strategic and International StudiesJamestown Foundation, the journal of Comparative Strategies, and Yale Press. Together, these pieces highlight three tactics that Russia might use if it were running Trump’s new war room:  high-level pressure, information dissemination and persuasion, and revisionism.

We have already witnessed high-level pressure in the form of Trump asking investigators in federal agencies to halt a line of query and pledge loyalty to the president, or be fired. The White House could next offer deceptive interactions, such as pretending to support an investigation by slowly offering information, while at the same time trying to subvert it.

This has been used by Russia in regard to conflict resolution measures in separatist and war torn parts of Eurasia. By pretending to be for peace, Russia has been able to delay resolving conflicts, while aiding one side, or sometimes both.

Meanwhile, the White House could find an otherwise legitimate actor to apply pressure on members of the investigation teams. This could include carrots, such as favors, or sticks, such as the collection and threat of dissemination of personally embarrassing information or threatening to support a politician’s opponent in the next race. This has done by Russia to gain leverage over political outcomes and business assets in CEE.

Another means to apply pressure could be a significant increase in White House staff allegiant to the president. Tens more people working the case for the White House could substantially strengthen their collection of information and abilities to counter information. Since Putin came to power, Russian embassy staff in every CEE capital has increased, including hundreds of intelligence agents working across Europe. This has strengthened counterespionage efforts, as well as recruitment.

The Trump team could tap into a growing admiration of the ‘strongman’ Putin and his way of governing.  Among broader society, there is already a sympathetic base that does not like the ‘Russia bashing’ by the liberal media.

A counter effort to recruit businesspeople, journalists, academics, and other public figures in the U.S. to speak more positively about ties to Russia could take place. Russia has covert and overt funds for this and has managed to retain a list of pro-Russian voices throughout Europe.

he Trump Administration could also infiltrate and pressure civil society in America by creating a fund to cultivate divides, and then offer mediation services, all the while recruiting subversives. By manipulating societal tensions, the government and society will turn their attention to addressing this issue rather than the Russia probe. In Russia’s case, this has included encouraging campaigns for minorities, advising on separatist tactics, and even arming groups in third countries.

The second tactic—sophisticated information dissemination—has become a hallmark of Russia in CEE, including the buying up of media outlets.

More recently, Russia’s toolkit includes cyber, trolling, and propaganda dissemination combined with actions, or “active measures,” such as disinformation campaigns, media manipulation (particularly on political and public opinion), media creation, or spreading confusion and fear, i.e. “psychological operations.” The White House has several loyal media outlets that could ramp up their operations.

Ideologically, the White House could claim victimization by creating an alternative story behind the “witch hunt” on Russia. Russia has gone after foreign funded NGOs, multinational institutions, and the media, labeling them “enemies of the state” and crippling their capability, including jailing citizens and closing down organizations.

An image of the wounded Russians at the hands of the sinful, racist, and fascist Russophobic Westerners could translate into the wounded conservative at the hands of sinful, violent, and irrational liberals.

Finally, rewriting the wrongs of history by literally revising history is a Russian tactic. According to current historical rewriting, Russia tried to join the West, but was rebuffed. So, it had no option but to create new alliances by revising borders and international alliances. In blaming ‘the other’ by revising the Obama/Clinton years as sacrificing American greatness and making America weak, the Trump Administration is righting wrongs by making relations with Russia great again.

Trump’s war room against the Russia probe, if run by the Russians, could employ the tactics of high-level pressure, information dissemination and persuasion, and revisionism. Governments in CEE, meanwhile, are taking measures to counter Russian tactics.

The first step is recognizing what is happening and mobilizing to counter it.

The second step is informing society about potential subterfuge, such as false media reports and disruptive organizations.

The third step is to strengthen government institutions and ensure they remain independent and immune from corrupt practices.

The fourth step is ensuring freedom of the press, protecting journalists from influence as well as external financing for media outlets.

Fifth and final, educational bodies must continue to check for historical accuracies and take measures to reeducate society.

Perhaps most important of these countermeasures is that we, the people, make more of an effort to discern when these tactics are being used and urge our lawmakers to take action. We face a critical point in preserving our democratic system, our freedom of the press, and our own interpretation of ourselves.

Stacy Closson is a Global Fellow with the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. and a Truman National Security Fellow. She lives with her family in Bismarck. Views expressed are her own.

The post President Trump’s War Room on Russia, As If Russia Were Running It appeared first on Foreign Policy Blogs.

U.S. National Security and Military News Review

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BBC News – World: Thousands march in US for LGBT rights under Trump

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Many of the protesters said they feared some of the progress made could be reversed under Trump.

BBC News – World

Hourly News Summary: NPR News: 06-11-2017 1PM ET

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NPR News: 06-11-2017 1PM ET

Download audio: https://play.podtrac.com/npr-500005/npr.mc.tritondigital.com/NPR_500005/media/anon.npr-mp3/npr/newscasts/2017/06/11/newscast130624.mp3?orgId=1&d=300&p=500005&story=532486295&t=podcast&e=532486295&ft=pod&f=500005

Hourly News Summary

CNN’s YouTube Videos: Investigations continue on key players in Trump’s orbit

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From: CNN
Duration: 02:14

The FBI and both chambers of Congress are investigating whether there were improper contacts between the Trump orbit and Russia during the 2016 election.

CNN’s YouTube Videos

FBI – Google News: Did James Comey Cover Up a Massive and Illegal FBI-CIA Spying Operation? – LifeZette

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fbi – Google News: Did James Comey Cover Up a Massive and Illegal FBI-CIA Spying Operation? – LifeZette Sunday June 11th, 2017 at 9:24 AM 1. FBI From Mikenova (8 Sites) 1 Share LifeZette Did James Comey Cover Up a Massive and Illegal FBI-CIA Spying Operation? LifeZette The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering whether to …

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mikenov on Twitter: RT @nytimes: The front page of today’s New York Times. pic.twitter.com/Briwm92Hnb by nytimes Sunday June 11th, 2017 at 10:38 AM

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mikenov on Twitter: RT @nytimes: The front page of today’s New York Times. pic.twitter.com/Briwm92Hnb by nytimes Sunday June 11th, 2017 at 10:38 AM 1. My News Blogs From Mikenova (3 Sites) 1 Share The front page of today’s New York Times. pic.twitter.com/Briwm92Hnb Posted by nytimes on Friday, June 9th, 2017 2:30pm Retweeted by mikenov on …

WSJ.com: World News: Iran Rounds Up ISIS Suspects Following Deadly Attack in Tehran Sunday June 11th, 2017 at 10:48 AM

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WSJ.com: World News: Iran Rounds Up ISIS Suspects Following Deadly Attack in Tehran Sunday June 11th, 2017 at 10:48 AM 1. News In Photos From Mikenova (4 Sites) 1 Share 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 …

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

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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 1. US Security From Mikenova (71 Sites) 1 Share This Tuesday, March 7, 2017 frame grab from video provided by Arab 24 network, shows U.S. forces …

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?’

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Donald Trump | The Guardian

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