Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Czer, Jun 30, 2017.
Calls for Barr to Be Investigated–and Possibly Impeached–Intensify After Lying to Congress About FBI Spying
November 30th, 2019
Attorney General Bill Barr lied to Congress by spreading fictitious stories about the Department of Justice (DOJ) spying on President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign, according to legal experts. And now, congressional calls are ramping up for Barr to be investigated by oversight authorities–and, some critics say, possibly impeached.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr told a panel of senators in April of this year–without providing any evidence for the controversial claim. “I think spying did occur.”
Congressional Democrats groused at the time–saying Barr’s comments were the result of “willful ignorance” and that they directly contradicted previous DOJ briefings on the subject.
Former U.S. Attorney and current University of Alabama Law Professor Joyce Alene Vance said a forthcoming report by the DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) will put the lie to Barr’s heavily-criticized “spying” claim once and for all.
“[T]he important takeaway is that everything that President Trump has been saying for the last couple of years about the deep state and the effort by the Obama Justice Department to attack his campaign, that’s all been made up,” Vance told MSNBC. “None of it was true.”
The MSNBC contributor then took direct aim at Barr’s role:
But [the deep state narrative] was fomented and it was really put into progress, as much as by the president, by his attorney general, Bill Barr, who famously went in front of Congress and talked about spying, which is not what the Justice Department does. The Justice Department does court-ordered supervision or court-ordered evidence collection. The notion that the attorney general would call it “spying” was shocking to many of us then, and the inspector general report confirms that it was indeed untrue.
As Law&Crime previously reported, the DOJ’s OIG report will vindicate the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over the spying claims relentlessly promoted by Trump and his allies in government and media since the early days of the 45th president’s administration.
“Terrible!” Trump exclaimed via Twitter just weeks after taking office. “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process,” Trump tweeted later that same day in March 2017. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
According to the New York Times, the DOJ’s OIG “found no evidence” to support the idea that FBI agents engaged in material abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)–citing anonymous sources said to be familiar with a draft of the report.
Rather, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to ding a “low-level” FBI attorney for improperly altering a surveillance application on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. That alteration, however, was not significant enough to override the legal and factual basis for the Page warrant, Horowitz is expected to say.
News of Horowitz rubbishing the longstanding story line pushed by the White House has prompted critics to call for Barr’s head.
Congressional Democrats are wondering out loud why the attorney general is not himself the subject of investigation due to his seemingly tortured relationship with the truth while under oath.
Law&Crime reached out to former White House ethics counsel and current University of Minnesota Law School Professor Richard Painter for his take on Barr’s previous congressional testimony in light of the OIG’s soon-to-be-released findings.
Painter was asked if he thought Barr lied to Congress and, if so, whether such lies warranted Barr’s impeachment.
“Yes and yes,” Painter replied.
The full DOJ OIG report will be released December 9.
Six degrees of Rudy: Giuliani's web tangles three Trump controversies
Ukraine only skims the surface of the former mayor's influence in the administration.
Nov. 30, 2019
All roads lead to Rudy.
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is in the news constantly for his role in the impeachment inquiry. But while Giuliani's efforts to have Ukraine launch investigations politically beneficial to Trump are much discussed, it's not the only way he and his associates have woven themselves into the fabric of Trump's world.
Asked in a text Wednesday by NBC News about how his circle has been able to be so influential in the Trump administration, Giuliani responded, "I don't know."
Here's a look at Giuliani's key players and how they intersect with Trump:
Giuliani's ties to Ukraine go back to at least 2008 when he did consulting work for Vitaly Klitschko, a former boxer who is now mayor of Kyiv. While he's had other business dealings there over the years, Giuliani said he started focusing on Ukraine's alleged role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as a way of countering special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference.
This year, Giuliani seized on unfounded allegations that Ukraine had scuttled an investigation into Hunter Biden at the behest of his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic presidential rival. Giuliani said his investigative efforts had the president's blessing, which has been confirmed by multiple witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.
But Giuliani had some help with his efforts.
LEV PARNAS and IGOR FRUMAN
Parnas, a Trump donor, told the New Yorker earlier this year that he became "good friends" with Giuliani after the 2016 election. The friendship was lucrative for Giuliani, who told Reuters that Parnas' company Fraud Guarantee paid his consulting company Giuliani Partners $500,000 for business and legal advice last year.
Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas exits following his arraignment at the United States Courthouse in New York on, Oct. 23, 2019.Shannon Stapleton / Reuters file
Parnas, who was born in Ukraine, told the New Yorker he volunteered to help Giuliani's efforts there. "Because of my Ukrainian background and my contacts there, I became like Rudy's assistant, his investigator," he told the magazine.
Parnas and Fruman, his business partner in another company called Global Energy Producers, had already been agitating against U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Federal prosecutors said they raised money for a congressman in 2018, later identified to NBC News as former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, in order to push for his help in getting rid of the ambassador.
Igor Fruman exits federal court after an arraignment hearing in New York on Oct. 23, 2019.
As NBC News reported in October, the plot against Yovanovitch was driven by Ukraine's former chief prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, who claimed without evidence that the ambassador had given him a "do not prosecute" list. Parnas and Fruman helped Lutsenko connect with Giuliani, and the two discussed a possible investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. Lutsenko later said that he didn't think Hunter Biden did anything wrong.
Parnas and Fruman also helped connect Giuliani with Lutsenko's predecessor, Viktor Shokin, who claims he was fired for investigating Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden worked. There's never been any evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden, but that hasn't stopped Trump and his allies from pushing this narrative.
In addition to their work for Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman had another side gig — doing work for two of Giuliani's longtime friends.
JOE diGENOVA and NANCY TOENSING
DiGenova is a longtime friend of Giuliani's who was the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., while Giuliani was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. DiGenova and his attorney wife, Victoria Toensing, have their own Washington-based law firm, diGenova & Toensing, and are fixtures on Fox News, where they've been staunch defenders of the president.
Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova listen to former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill Friday, March 16, 2007.
Trump announced they were joining his legal team in March of last year, but had to pull back the offer because of conflicts of interest involving the Mueller probe. "However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters," Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said at the time.
As the New York Times and Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the couple, along with Giuliani Partners, had been in negotiations to represent Lutsenko earlier this year.
The husband and wife also worked with a Ukrainian oligarch, Dmytro Firtash, who has been fighting extradition to the U.S. Firtash told The New York Times he'd hired the couple in June at the urging of Parnas and Fruman. Toensing has said she hired Parnas as "a translator" to do work on Firtash's case.
Giuliani has strong ties to the Turkish government and represented a Turkish-Iranian banker, Reza Zarrab, who was jailed in March 2016 on money laundering charges. Zarrab, who had an office in Trump Tower Istanbul, was close friends with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and had politically damaging information involving a government-run Turkish bank, Halkbank.
In February 2017, Giuliani met with Erdogan in Turkey about the case, and he later met with Trump and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about Zarrab as well. He had company at both meetings.
Mukasey, a former prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, worked with Giuliani at a New York City law firm, and the pair remained close over the years even after Mukasey became then-President George W. Bush's attorney general.
Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
Mukasey teamed with Giuliani on the Zarrab case, but their addition to Zarrab's legal team did not sit well with New York prosecutors or the judge presiding over the case. The judge, Richard Berman, accused the men of having conflicts of interest — Mukasey's law firm had represented eight of the banks that were victimized by Zarrab, as had Giuliani's firm. Giuliani's law firm had also served as an "agent" of Turkey, Berman found — but he allowed them to stay on the case because Zarrab had "voluntarily and knowingly" waived the issue.
How far they went to do so became clear recently. While NBC News first reported Mukasey and Giuliani's meeting with Erdogan in 2017, the Washington Post last month reported that Mukasey and Giuliani had also met with Trump in the Oval Office about Zarrab that same year. Trump called Tillerson in to meet with them as well. "The president says, 'Guys, give Rex your pitch,'" a source familiar with the meeting told the paper.
They suggested swapping Zarrab for an American pastor who was in Turkish custody. Tillerson considered the request inappropriate, and later complained to Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, who told him to ignore it, the Post reported.
Zarrab wound up pleading guilty and giving testimony in a related case that was devastating to Erdogan and Halkbank. Federal prosecutors in New York charged Halkbank last month in a multibillion-dollar scheme to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran, and Zarrab is expected to be the star witness at trial.
NAVY SEAL CASE
Two other Giuliani associates have been center stage in a case involving Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in the death of a wounded ISIS prisoner.
His cause had been championed by Fox News personalities and was taken up by another Giuliani friend.
Kerik, an Army veteran, is a former New York City police officer who once worked on Giuliani's security detail when he was mayor. Giuliani gave Kerik the top job in the city jail system, and in 2000 named him police commissioner. The pair worked side-by-side on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Washington Post Live editor Lois Romano interviews Bernard B. Kerik Founder, ACCJR.org at an event on Feb. 10, 2016 in Washington, DC.
In 2010, Kerik would be sentenced to four years in prison for offenses including failure to pay taxes and lying to the White House during his scuttled nomination to be Homeland Security chief.
Since his release, he's become an advocate for prison reform. Like diGenova and Toensing, he's also a frequent presence and Trump advocate on Fox News.
Kerik started acting as an adviser in the Gallagher case earlier this year. He helped set up a legal team that included Timothy Parlatore, who's worked for Kerik in the past, and another Giuliani friend: Marc Mukasey.
Mukasey, the son of Michael Mukasey, is a former federal prosecutor who worked with Giuliani at two law firms. Mukasey left the firm Greenberg Traurig earlier this year to start his own firm and quickly landed high-powered clients, representing members of the Trump family and the Trump Foundation in a civil case that had been brought by the New York State Attorney General's office. That case officially settled in early November.
Marc Mukasey, defense lawyer for Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, arrives to military court on Naval Base San Diego on July 2, 2019, in San Diego.
Kerik, Parlatore and Mukasey scored a huge victory over the summer when Gallagher was acquitted of the most serious charges against him. Gallagher was convicted of posing for a picture with the corpse, and the court ordered him to be dropped in rank from chief to petty officer first class. The legal team vowed to fight the rank reduction, too.
Trump became a vocal advocate for Gallagher, both restoring his rank and ordering the Pentagon to drop a planned disciplinary hearing against him that could have resulted in his expulsion from the elite unit.
Kerik celebrated the developments with a picture of him, Mukasey and Gallagher. His "prayers have been answered," Kerik wrote.
Giuliani weighed in on Twitter as well, saying Trump's actions in the case "shows his courage and integrity."
"Not many Presidents would put their neck out on the line," Giuliani said. "It shows how much he values those who protect us!"
Six more countries join Trump-busting Iran barter group
Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden sign up to Instex mechanism that sidesteps US sanctions
30 Nov 2019
Paris, London and Berlin on Saturday welcomed six new European countries to the Instex barter mechanism, which is designed to circumvent US sanctions against trade with Iran by avoiding use of the dollar.
“As founding shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex), France, Germany and the United Kingdom warmly welcome the decision taken by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, to join Instex as shareholders,” the three said in a joint statement.
The Paris-based Instex functions as a clearing house that allows Iran to continue to sell oil and import other products or services in exchange.
The system has not yet enabled any transactions.
Washington in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from the international agreement governing Iran’s nuclear programme and reinstated heavy sanctions against Tehran.
The addition of the six new members “further strengthens Instex and demonstrates European efforts to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran,” the joint statement said.
It represents “a clear expression of our continuing commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” – the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal – the trio added.
They insisted Iran must return to full compliance with its commitments under the deal “without delay”.
“We remain fully committed to pursuing our efforts towards a diplomatic resolution within the framework of the JCPoA.”
The 2015 deal set out the terms under which Iran would restrict its nuclear programme to civilian use in exchange for the lifting of Western sanctions.
Since the US pullout, Iran has taken four steps back from the accord.
The latest was on 4 November, when its engineers began feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into mothballed enrichment centrifuges at the underground Fordow plant south of Tehran.
Florida prison guards to be deputized as ICE agents in crackdown on undocumented immigrants
NOV 25, 2019
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/os-ne-florida-corrections-ice-agents-20191125-lvchvglutjaytmqf23htbgcr5i-story.html#nt=oft-Double Chain~Feed-Driven Flex Feature~politics-feed-section~politics-lead-story-1~~1~yes-art~automated~curatedpage
Florida is poised to deputize state correctional officers as federal immigration agents at a state-run prison as part of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement program.
The move by Florida has been “reviewed and approved” by a federal advisory board, and the state is now “awaiting official notification of the Memorandum of Agreement from ICE,” the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed to The News Service of Florida on Friday.
“(Corrections) Secretary Mark Inch has made great progress in his collaborative relationship with ICE and we are moving forward with this program,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement.
The push to participate in the program – known as 287(g) – was first made in April.
Inch asked a top federal immigration official to approve a pilot program at the Northwest Florida Reception Center in Washington County, saying it would allow the agency to “identify and process criminal aliens who may pose a risk to public safety in Florida.”
As part of the program, Inch said about five correctional officers would be trained by federal immigration authorities and designated to identify undocumented immigrants who are booked into the prison.
Inch told federal officials the state would “use its best efforts” to run the program.
The state’s preliminary approval to participate is the latest effort by the DeSantis administration to crack down on illegal immigration in the state.
DeSantis, who received crucial backing from President Donald Trump last year in his successful bid for governor, has embraced the president’s hardline immigration policies, including a ban on so-called sanctuary cities.
“I believe public safety is important to maintain the best quality of life in our communities which is why I am extremely pleased that the Legislature gave me a sanctuary city bill I signed into law,” DeSantis said in the statement Friday.
Under the state’s sanctuary-city prohibition, local law enforcement agencies have to hold undocumented immigrants in custody for up to 48 hours if a federal immigration agency sends a detainer request.
The governor pointed to public safety as the reason he directed Inch to have the state prison system take part in the federal immigration program.
But Democrats and immigrant-rights groups have largely opposed DeSantis’ tough immigration policies.
“Turning our state employees into ICE agents at Florida taxpayer expense will not make our state safer,” said Casey Bruce-White, director of communications for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
The ACLU and other opponents argue, in part, that policies such as the sanctuary-city ban will force local governments to spend resources to do the job of federal immigration agents. Also, they say the policies could lead to racial profiling across the state.
When it gets final approval from ICE, Florida would become the fourth state to have its corrections department enter into an agreement with the federal agency. Arizona, Massachusetts and Georgia are the only other states with such contracts.
Under those agreements, the states are responsible for covering all travel, housing and per-diem costs associated with correctional officers’ training.
States also are required to cover the costs of a four-week basic training program in Charleston, S.C., and a “one-week refresher” training program, which is done every two years.
While Florida’s corrections department is poised to join the program, 14 county jails in the state already participate, according to the most-updated list provided by ICE.
Participation by Florida sheriff’s offices soared in May, roughly two months after DeSantis started to push local law enforcement agencies to work with the federal government to ensure “accountability and justice are being upheld throughout the state.”
Lev Parnas' lawyer publicly shames Devin Nunes for not recusing himself from impeachment hearing
Some of the most damning calls in the impeachment investigation were coming from inside the House.
On Tuesday, and after weeks of impeachment hearings, the House Intelligence Committee released its report on President Trump's dealings with Ukraine. It revealed Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani made calls back and forth between Ukrainian operatives and the White House, and even that one of the committee's top members engaged with one of the Ukrainians Giuliani had tasked with digging up damaging information on Democrats.
Call records obtained by the committee show Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) talked multiple times with Lev Parnas, one of the two indicted operatives Giuliani sent to Ukraine to research about the Bidens. Parnas' lawyer responded to this revelation by condemning Nunes for not recusing himself from the impeachment investigation.
Nunes' Democratic counterpart House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also had some harsh words after debuting the report.
Barr disputes key inspector general finding about FBI’s Russia investigation
Attorney General William P. Barr has told associates he disagrees with the Justice Department’s inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report — that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to justify launching an investigation into members of the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, is due to release his long-awaited findings in a week, but behind the scenes at the Justice Department, disagreement has surfaced about one of Horowitz’s central conclusions on the origins of the Russia investigation. The discord could be the prelude to a major fissure within federal law enforcement on the controversial question of investigating a presidential campaign.
Barr has not been swayed by Horowitz’s rationale for concluding that the FBI had sufficient basis to open an investigation on July 31, 2016, these people said.
Barr’s public defenses of President Trump, including his assertion that intelligence agents spied on the Trump campaign, have led Democrats to accuse him of acting like the president’s personal attorney and eroding the independence of the Justice Department. But Trump and his Republican allies have cheered Barr’s skepticism of the Russia investigation.
It’s not yet clear how Barr plans to make his objection to Horowitz’s conclusion known. The inspector general report, currently in draft form, is being finalized after input from various witnesses and offices that were scrutinized by the inspector general. Barr or a senior Justice Department official could submit a formal letter as part of that process, which would then be included in the final report. It is standard practice for every inspector general report to include a written response from the department. Barr could forgo a written rebuttal on that specific point and just publicly state his concerns.
Spokespeople for the inspector general and the FBI declined to comment.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement that the inspector general investigation “is a credit to the Department of Justice. His excellent work has uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters.”
The Russia investigation was opened after the FBI was told of statements made by a then Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, that the Russians possessed hacked Hillary Clinton emails. Papadopoulos’s alleged comments were key because they were made well before any public allegation that Russian intelligence operatives had hacked the Democratic National Committee.
The attorney general has privately contended that Horowitz does not have enough information to reach the conclusion the FBI had enough details in hand at the time to justify opening such a probe. He argues that other U.S. agencies, such as the CIA, may hold significant information that could alter Horowitz’s conclusion on that point, according to the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Barr has also praised the inspector general’s overall work on the matter, according to one person familiar with the matter. The inspector general operates independently of Justice Department leadership, so Barr cannot order Horowitz to change his findings.
But the prospect of the nation’s top law enforcement official suggesting the FBI may have wrongly opened an investigation into a presidential campaign, even after the inspector general announces the agency was justified in doing so, will probably generate more partisan battles over how the Justice Department and the FBI operate.
It is not unusual for an attorney general or the Justice Department to disagree with some of an inspector general’s findings. However, typically those disagreements occur because senior leaders at the department believe the inspector general has been too critical. In this case, Barr has conveyed to others his belief that Horowitz has not been critical enough, or is at least reaching a conclusion prematurely.
People familiar with the draft language of Horowitz’s report said that while it is critical of some FBI employees, and found some systemic problems in surveillance procedures, it overall does not agree with Trump’s charge that the investigation was a “witch hunt” or a politically motivated attack on him first as a candidate and then as president.
Instead, the draft report found that the investigation was opened on a solid legal and factual footing, these people said.
Part of Barr’s reluctance to accept that finding is related to another investigation, one being conducted by the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, John Durham, into how intelligence agencies pursued allegations of Russian election tampering in 2016. Barr has traveled abroad to personally ask foreign officials to assist Durham in that work. Even as the inspector general’s review is ending, Durham’s investigation continues.
Barr’s disagreement with Horowitz will probably spark further criticism from Democrats, who have already accused Barr of using his position to protect the president and undermine federal law enforcement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged in September that Barr had “gone rogue.”
In recent weeks, Democrats have charged that Barr’s Justice Department was too quick to decide not to investigate Trump over his efforts to persuade Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to announce an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The Ukraine controversy has led to an impeachment inquiry.
Criticism of Barr previously centered on his handling of the Russia investigation. The case that began in 2016 was taken over in May 2017 by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. After a nearly two-year investigation, Mueller filed a lengthy report of his findings to Barr, by which point he had charged 34 people with crimes, including 26 Russian nationals. Those charged and convicted included Trump’s former campaign chairman, former personal attorney, former deputy campaign chairman and former national security adviser.
After receiving the Mueller report, Barr released a short letter summing up its main points, including that there was insufficient evidence to accuse any Trump associates of conspiring with the Russians. Barr also said Mueller had made no determination about whether Trump had sought to obstruct the investigation, but Barr and his then deputy concluded he had not.
When the full report was released, Democrats protested that Barr had improperly skewed the findings to be more favorable to Trump.
Barr has dismissed such criticism, and charged it is Democrats who are abusing legal procedures and standards in their quest to drive Trump out of the White House.
“In waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in shredding norms and undermining the rule of law,” Barr said in a speech last month.
In his first months on the job this year, Barr made clear he had serious concerns about how the FBI had conducted the investigation into possible collusion between Trump associates and Russia.
The attorney general declared in April that the Trump campaign was spied on, though aides later said he used that term not in a pejorative sense but in the more general meaning of surveillance.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr told lawmakers. “I think spying did occur, but the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.” He also criticized former leaders of the FBI, saying, “I think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there in the upper echelon.”
Current and former law enforcement officials have said that, when presented with information about a possible plot to undermine the U.S. election, they had a duty to investigate, and that it would have been wrong not to have launched an investigation.
In the months since, Barr, through Durham, has pursued information related to a onetime associate of Papadopoulos, a European academic named Joseph Mifsud.
Mifsud was publicly linked to Russian interference efforts in late 2017, when Mueller revealed Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the details of his interactions with Mifsud.
Shortly after his name surfaced publicly, Mifsud told Italian media he did not work for Russia. “I never got any money from the Russians: my conscience is clear,” Mifsud told La Repubblica. “I am not a secret agent.”
Since then, the professor has disappeared from public life, leading to a host of theories about him and his whereabouts. While court papers filed in Mueller’s investigation suggested Mifsud operated in Russia’s interests, Papadopoulos, conservatives and conspiracy theorists have suggested he was working for Western intelligence agencies.
right up until the god part, and why kabala lol
Quietly recruiting megadonors, Pompeo eyes a massive Senate campaign war chest
DECEMBER 03, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reached out to Sheldon Adelson, the Republican Party’s largest donor, in recent weeks to “gauge interest” in his potential run for an open Senate seat in Kansas next year, three sources familiar with the matter told McClatchy.
It is the latest evidence of Pompeo’s outreach campaign to rally donor support around a potential Senate bid, following similar conversations with Charles Koch, a Kansas resident, as well as donors affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Pompeo has flirted with the race for months, and President Donald Trump said on Tuesday in London that he would encourage his secretary of state to leave office and run if he believed Republicans were at risk of losing the seat.
Sources close to Adelson and Koch told McClatchy that both megadonors were receptive to Pompeo’s overtures, but that no concrete commitments have been made.
The level of donor support sought by Pompeo far exceeds what would be necessary to secure a Senate seat in deep red Kansas, where he is expected to cruise to victory should he enter the race.
Pompeo’s relationship with Koch, a Wichita billionaire, extends back to his days in the House of Representatives, where he represented the city and surrounding region. But his outreach to staunch Israel advocates expands his existing donor pool and offers him the opportunity to bank major funds not only for a Senate run, but also for a potential presidential campaign in 2024.
“Successful politicians are always running scared – they’re always making sure they’d be well-funded before making such a leap,” said one source who was briefed on the communications with Adelson.
The timing of Pompeo’s exchange with Adelson coincided with the secretary’s on-camera announcement on November 18 that the Trump administration would revoke its longstanding legal determination on the legitimacy of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Adelson supports the settler enterprise.
The billionaire casino magnate was the largest donor to Republican causes in the 2016 election cycle, and is expected to donate considerably to Trump’s reelection bid in late 2020.
Pompeo’s quiet outreach effort has been facilitated by a tight inner circle around the secretary, two sources said.
“I know that that’s true,” a second source familiar with the Adelson discussion said. “I know that he has spoken with substantial people with the means to help him in the last few months. He’s been openly considering it.”
Pompeo discussed the race with Koch, a longtime supporter, during an October visit to Kansas.
During his four successful congressional runs from 2010 to 2016, Pompeo was the top recipient nationally among federal candidates of contributions from Koch Industries, with more than $335,000 in donations from individual employees and $65,000 from the company’s corporate PAC. Americans For Prosperity and other Koch-backed groups also spent heavily on his behalf during his congressional career.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, whose pending retirement has left a Kansas seat open next year, told McClatchy on Tuesday that a Senate candidate should be able to raise between $10 million and $12 million to run in the coming election cycle.
In 2014, Roberts and his independent challenger Greg Orman combined to spend nearly $14 million. Outside groups spent more than $17 million on the race.
Pompeo’s dormant U.S. House campaign account currently has nearly $1 million, which could go toward a Senate run. This total would give Pompeo a cash advantage on every current candidate for the seat except Republican Rep. Roger Marshall.
Pompeo rejected speculation about a Senate run during an appearance on Fox News Monday, but the following day Trump floated Pompeo’s potential candidacy for the second time in less than a month.
“If we thought we were going to lose that, I would have a talk to Mike. If you look at polling, Mike would walk away with that seat,” Trump said at a NATO meeting.
Roberts said the possibility that the Kansas seat could flip to Democratic hands for the first time in generations came up when Trump hosted GOP senators at the White House last month.
Based on that conversation, Roberts said he’s not surprised by Trump’s comments regarding Pompeo’s possible entry in the race.
“I think it means, to Mike, that the door’s open – you can make a choice,” Roberts said. “And Mike has always said before he’s not trying to open the door, so we’ll just have to see.”
‘Lev Remembers’: Parnas’ Attorney Trolls Nunes For ‘Do Not Recall’ Defense
December 7, 2019
The attorney for Lev Parnas — a Rudy Giuliani associate who aided in the Ukraine pressure campaign and was also recently indicted for campaign finance violations — called out Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Twitter this week for his flimsy defense of damning call records of his contacts with Parnas.
“Lev remembers what you spoke about. You don’t remember?” attorney Joseph Bondy tweeted, with the hashtag “#letlevspeak” likely referencing his client’s interest in testifying before the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.
Starting to want big Trump to win another 4
Clinton Torches Sanders Over Loss to Trump: 'Hope He Doesn't Do It Again'
Clinton was interviewed by Howard Stern who mocked Sanders for his policy proposals, saying it was 'like running for fifth grade call [president], I will give you free everything'
Dec 08, 2019
Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lit into top-tier 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders on the "Howard Stern Show" last week. When Stern asked Clinton if she hated or was "upset" with Sanders, Clinton said "No, disappointed.”
She then offered a stark warning to the Democratic Party, “And I hope he doesn't do it again to whoever gets the nomination."
"Once is enough," Clinton added. "We have to join forces."
"Bernie could've endorsed you quicker," Howard Stern said to Clinton.
"He could've. He hurt me. There's no doubt about it, he hurt me."
Sanders waited over a month to formally endorse Clinton in 2016 after losing the nomination to her in a highly contested fight that surprised many political observers. Sanders later joined Clinton on the campaign trail and became one of her top surrogates, she later wrote him a letter thanking him for his efforts.
Stern mocked Sanders for his policy proposals, saying it was “like running for fifth grade class [president], I will give you free everything.” Clinton jumped in saying, yes, “free chocolate milk.”
Stern was a 2016 Clinton supporter despite frequently having Trump on as a guest on his show.
Stern later asked Clinton, "Do you ever just want to lay in bed and say f--- this? I'm going to go into full seclusion and they'll never hear from me again.”
"First of all that would only delight my adversaries, so I would never do that," Clinton replied. "But secondly I have this unique perspective. I have a particular understanding of the Russian threat."
Clinton continued, "If I had lost to a normal Republican I would've been unhappy, but I wouldn't have had that pit in my stomach, like, 'What the heck? What's going to happen? What's he going to do next?' His impulsiveness, his vindictiveness. Where does this lead?"
Starting to want big Trump to win another 4
Bloomberg on His Democratic Rivals: 'Trump Will Eat 'Em Up'
Recent opinion polls show him earning around 4% support among Democratic voters, although that is still way behind the leading contenders, including Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg
Dec 08, 2019
Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg said on Friday that Donald Trump would easily defeat any of his Democratic White House rivals in next year's election, bluntly declaring: "Donald Trump would eat 'em up."
Bloomberg, 77, a billionaire media mogul and former New York mayor, was a late entry into the race last month. He has been privately disparaging of his Democratic presidential rivals but this was the first time he had been so critical of them in public.
In an interview on CBS's "This Morning," Bloomberg said: "I looked at our national government getting worse, the way we're behaving overseas and domestically, led by our president. I said back in 2016, 'He is the wrong person for the job. He doesn't have the temperament or the ethics or the intellect to do the job.'"
Bloomberg added: "And I said, 'We just can't have another four years of this.' And then I watched all the candidates. And I just thought to myself: 'Donald Trump would eat 'em up'."
Bloomberg, a former Republican and independent, fears that liberal candidates such as U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and their proposed costly expansion of government programs, will alienate voters in battleground states.
At the same time, some Democrats have been unnerved by an uneven campaign performance from former Vice President Joe Biden, 77, while another leading candidate, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, is seen in some quarters as too young and inexperienced.
Bloomberg and 14 other Democrats are vying to become the party's nominee to take on Republican President Trump in next November's election. The nominating contest begins in Iowa on Feb. 3.
Warren has accused Bloomberg, who is funding his own campaign, of trying to buy his way to the nomination. He launched his presidential bid with a $37 million advertising blitz.
His entry into the race has had some impact. Recent opinion polls show him earning around 4% support among Democratic voters, although that is still way behind the leading contenders, including Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg.
Starting to want big Trump to win another 4
Biden: Netanyahu Is Drifting to the 'Extreme Right' to Stay in Power
The former VP, who called Netanyahu a 'friend' during the Obama era, shifts his tone on the prime minister but reiterates support for U.S. military aid to Israel
Dec 08, 2019
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for president, said over the weekend that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drifted to the "extreme right" in order to survive politically.
While Biden called Netanyahu’s political direction “a serious mistake," he reiterated his opposition to cutting or limiting U.S. military aid to Israel.
Biden spoke at an event in Iowa, and was asked about calls by other Democratic presidential hopefuls, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, to withhold or condition military aid to Israel. Biden said it was a “bizarre” idea and compared it to “telling France we disagree with you so we’re kicking you out of NATO.”
The former vice president's criticism of Netanyahu marked a departure from past statements by Biden, who had formerly described himself as a "friend" of the prime minister's. During the Obama administration, Biden was often used as an emissary to Israel at times of tension between the two countries. During the 2012 presidential election, Biden rejected Republican attacks on Obama’s Israel policy, claiming that he and Netanyahu had been friends for decades, ever since he was a young senator and Netanyahu an Israeli diplomat in the United States.
On Saturday, Biden said that Israel is a democracy, but one that is “on the wrong trajectory.” Regarding Netanyahu, he said: “I know him well, and we disagree significantly.” Netanyahu, Biden explained, has “gone in a direction that is counterproductive. He wants to stay in power and has gone to the extreme right in his party and in the country. I think it’s a serious mistake.”
During the early years of the Obama administration, Netanyahu publicly supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During the 2015 Israeli election, Netanyahu reversed his position, saying he would never support such a solution. Ever since President Donald Trump entered the White House, Netanyahu has adopted increasingly right-wing positions.
After failing to form a government after the April election, Netanyahu began to promise to annex parts of the West Bank in the lead-up to September's do-over election if he succeeded in forming another government. Biden said that unilateral annexation, which Netanyahu is promising to do, would be a “fundamental mistake."
“You cannot have a democratic Israel in a country where the majority is Arab and they have no rights,” Biden stated. He promised to promote a two-state solution to the conflict if elected president, and while criticizing Netanyahu for adopting these positions, leveled criticism at the Palestinian side as well.
“When we were in office, the Palestinians had at least four occasions to reach a peace agreement,” Biden said, referring to several failed attempts at negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority between 2009 and 2016. “This is a two way street,” he added. “I’m tired of everyone giving the Palestinian Authority a pass.”
Biden also mocked the Trump administration’s handling of the peace deal. Trump has appointed his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, to lead the work on this issue. Kushner and his team have written a peace plan, but its publication has been delayed several times due to the ongoing political crisis in Israel. “I would not have my son-in-law handling the Middle East peace process,” Biden said, earning laughter and applause from the crowd.
Biden’s line on Israel – criticizing Netanyahu, who was recently indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases – while still expressing support for Israel as a country, is representative of public opinion among the majority of Democratic voters, according to public opinion polls. Most Democrats have a positive view of Israel, but a negative view of Netanyahu.
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