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Thread: The Trump Presidency

  1. #1921
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    Several different news dumps on Friday night in the following order.


    1: Rachel Brand, a Trump appointee (May 17) to the #3 position at DoJ and next in line to oversee the Mueller investigation if Trump fires Rosenstein something being speculated on) announced she is quitting.


    2: WH announces it will not release the D memo response to the Nunes memo, until there are several edits that it is satisfied with.


    3: Another WH employee, a Trump speechwriter, quits over spousal abuse allegations.


    4: Media outlets are reporting that CoS John Kelly has said he is willing to resign if Trump wishes over the mishandling of the Rob Porter affair.


    5: New reports that between 30 and 40 WH employees, including Jarad Kushner, are like Rob Porter having difficulty getting permanent security clearance, 13 months in, and unheard of situation.


    One wag said:


    Current White House resembles nothing so much as East Berlin, more people trying to get out, than in.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  2. #1922
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    DREAM TEAM -- BOB WOODWARD and CARL BERNSTEIN in The Post: "Nixon fired the man investigating him. Will Trump?": "We're here again. A powerful and determined president is squaring off against an independent investigator operating inside the Justice Department. Robert Mueller's mission is a comprehensive look at Russian meddling in the 2016 election -- and any other crimes he uncovers in the process. President Trump insists it's all a 'witch hunt' and an unfair examination of his family's personal finances. He constantly complains about the investigation in private and reportedly asked his White House counsel to have Mueller fired. No wonder many people are making comparisons to the 'Saturday Night Massacre' of 1973, when President Richard Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned.


    "We covered that eerily similar confrontation for The Washington Post 45 years ago. Nixon didn't know it at the time, but the Saturday Night Massacre would become a pivot point in his presidency -- crucial to the charge that he'd obstructed justice. For him, the consequences were terminal. A retelling of the episode, adapted from 'The Final Days,' as we called our book on the president's last year, can illuminate the stakes." http://wapo.st/2sj7cyy




    IN THE LAST WEEK ... Two administration officials have resigned due to abuse allegations. The chief of staff told people in the White House he would resign, according to media reports. The No. 3 in the Justice Department is stepping down because she wants to "protect her career," per Eliana Johnson. And the president has started back channeling with the chief of staff he fired.


    TAKE A STEP BACK ... ANDREW RESTUCCIA: "The Trump White House has careened from one crisis to another since January, with the furor around the publication of Michael Wolff's best-selling tell-all 'Fire and Fury' -- which sparked a public break between Trump and his former top strategist Steve Bannon -- replaced by outrage sparked by Trump's description of African countries as 'shitholes,' as well as a stand-off between Trump and the FBI over the ever-present Russia investigation. In the midst of all that, the government shut down - twice." http://politi.co/2H6qdYC




    A WHITE HOUSE IN TURMOIL -- "Kelly Says He's Willing to Resign as Abuse Scandal Roils White House," by NYT's Maggie Haberman, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Mike Schmidt: "John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told officials in the West Wing on Friday that he was willing to step down over his handling of allegations of spousal abuse against Rob Porter ... The officials emphasized that they did not consider a resignation imminent, and that Mr. Kelly - a retired four-star Marine general who early in his tenure often used a threat of quitting as a way to temper President Trump's behavior - had made no formal offer. In comments to reporters at the White House on Friday, Mr. Kelly said he had not offered to resign.


    "But his suggestion in private that he would be willing to step down if the president wanted him to reflected the degree to which the scandal surrounding Mr. Porter has engulfed the White House, touching off a bitter round of recriminations that could result in a shake-up at the highest levels. Two West Wing advisers and a third person painted a picture of a White House staff rived and confused, with fingers pointed in all directions and the president privately expressing dissatisfaction with Mr. Kelly." http://nyti.ms/2G1yLOW


    -- "'Very turbulent': Trump and White House consumed with turmoil amid abuse allegations," by WaPo's Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey: "[A]mid the tumult, the man whose mission had been to enforce order in the West Wing, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, was focused instead on a more personal goal - to save his job - as Trump seriously sounded out confidants about possible replacements. Trump and Kelly have had a series of conversations in recent days that two White House officials described as 'very turbulent.' The president is upset with his top aide - as well as with White House Communications Director Hope Hicks - for not being more transparent with him about the allegations against Porter and for their botched public relations push to defend him, according to four officials." http://wapo.st/2BRZHTr



    WHERE THINGS STAND -- "John Kelly and Hope Hicks Face Scrutiny as Trump Questions Response to Abuse Allegations," by WSJ's Mike Bender and Peter Nicholas: "The president's private frustration with officials' handling of Mr. Porter's departure has put senior aides on the defensive, and contributed to an atmosphere where aides privately accused each other of trying to use the crisis to advance their own agendas. In the West Wing press office, communications officer Mercedes Schlapp told some staffers to come to her with questions because Ms. Hicks was 'dealing with a lot' and 'not able to perform the duties of communications director right now,' according to three people familiar with the meeting. Two people described Ms. Schlapp's move as a power play, while a third said Ms. Schlapp was only trying to protect the communications team. Ms. Schlapp said she didn't make the comment. 'This accusation is completely false,' Ms. Schlapp said." http://on.wsj.com/2nYi5jR



    ISAAC DOVERE -- "Trump believes the men: The president has consistently responded to the allegations of assault or abuse against women by expressing sympathy for the men being accused": "For President Donald Trump, the allegations that his now-former staff secretary was a serial domestic abuser are another #HimToo moment." http://politi.co/2soyrrs


    HOPE HICKS REPORT ...


    -- "As Other Aides Face Trump's Ire Over Rob Porter's Departure, Hope Hicks Is Praised," by NYT's Katie Rogers: "A day after the departure of Rob Porter, a White House aide who resigned amid domestic abuse accusations, the president dismissed an idea circulated by some aides and allies that he had been unhappy with Ms. Hicks' role in workshopping an initial forceful defense of Mr. Porter. Ms. Hicks had been dating Mr. Porter until recently.'Hope is absolutely fantastic,' Mr. Trump said in a statement released through a spokesman. 'She was with the campaign from the beginning, and I could not ask for anything more. Hope is smart, very talented and respected by all.'


    "Ms. Hicks did not know about the specific allegations made against Mr. Porter until Tuesday, according to a White House official. ... Rumblings began about the president's unhappiness with a haphazard situation handled without his knowledge, and Mr. Trump spent Thursday working the phones, referring to Mr. Porter in one call as 'bad garbage' and saying that he questioned Ms. Hicks's judgment ... [W]hile questions continue to swirl about whether Mr. Kelly will survive the scandal ... in Ms. Hicks' case the West Wing trotted out a host of senior officials to defend her. On Friday the lineup included Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary." http://nyti.ms/2CbAuyL


    -- WAPO's MARY JORDAN and JOSH DAWSEY: "Hope Hicks: The quiet one in Trump's White House suddenly feels the glare": "In recent days, Trump has complained about Hicks - a rare occurrence for a president who rages about others but rarely about her. Her colleagues have quietly accused her of looking out for Porter and not the White House, and she has been visibly upset in recent days as her personal life becomes a national news story. West Wing aides say she has glanced at the TV screens, seen her face and quickly looked away.


    "Until now, it was Hicks's quiet judgment that had been her most valuable currency in Trump's world. She is attracting so much unwanted attention that paparazzi are even following her. But it is a sign of her influence with Trump, and her unusual role in the West Wing, that no one is seriously talking about removing Hicks even as the turmoil is threatening Kelly's job. A White House spokesman said Friday that Trump has 'complete confidence' in her." http://wapo.st/2nXnlEJ


    DRIP DRIP -- "Second White House official departs amid abuse allegations, which he denies," by WaPo's Elise Viebeck: "A White House speechwriter resigned Friday after his former wife claimed that he was violent and emotionally abusive during their turbulent 2½ -year marriage -- allegations that he vehemently denied, saying she was the one who victimized him.


    "The abrupt departure of David Sorensen, a speechwriter who worked under senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, came as The Washington Post was reporting on a story about abuse claims by his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett. Corbett told The Post that she described his behavior to the FBI last fall as the bureau was conducting a background check of Sorensen.White House officials said they learned of the accusations by Sorensen's wife Thursday night, before The Post contacted the White House for comment.


    "'We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today,' spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement Friday evening.In a text message to The Post, Sorensen said he stepped down because he 'didn't want the White House to have to deal with this distraction.' ...


    "Corbett first contacted The Post a week before Porter's case became public. She said that during her marriage to Sorensen, he ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine's coast, an incident she said left her fearing for her life. During part of their marriage, he was a top policy adviser to Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage." http://wapo.st/2H5XS4m



    ABOUT THOSE SECURITY CLEARANCES ... -- "Dozens of Trump officials still lack full security clearance," by CNN's Jim Sciutto, Gloria Borger and Zachary Cohen: "Thirty to 40 White House officials and administration political appointees are still operating without full security clearances, including senior adviser to President Donald Trump Jared Kushner and -- until recently -- White House staffer Rob Porter, according to a US official and a source familiar with the situation. ... [S]everal sources, including intelligence officials who have served previous Democratic and GOP administrations, describe the backlog as very unusual and make clear that the process should have been completed after a year in office. ... The fact that many of these officials are very wealthy and worked in areas of finance with ties to foreign nationals and governments would also contribute to a delay in the clearance process." http://cnn.it/2H49Trp


    -- "As Jared Kushner's security clearance is delayed, White House hesitates to act on others with possible problems," by WaPo's Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett: "White House Counsel Donald McGahn and other Trump administration officials have been so vexed by Jared Kushner's months-long inability to obtain a permanent security clearance that they have hesitated to get involved in other cases with potential problems, several people familiar with the matter said. ...


    "Two U.S. officials said they do not expect Kushner to receive a permanent security clearance in the near future. It is not uncommon for security-clearance investigations to drag on for months, but Kushner's unique situation has cast a pall over the process in the minds of some ... The president's son-in-law and close adviser has been allowed to see materials, including the President's Daily Brief, that are among the most sensitive in government. He has been afforded that privilege even though he has only an interim clearance and is a focus in the ongoing special counsel investigation." http://wapo.st/2EeK4Hf



    MORE DEPARTURES -- "No. 3 Official at the Justice Department Is Stepping Down," by NYT's Katie Benner: "Rachel L. Brand, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, plans to step down after nine months on the job as the country's top law enforcement agency has been under attack by President Trump, according to two people briefed on her decision. Ms. Brand's profile had risen in part because she is next in the line of succession behind the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel's inquiry into Russian influence in the 2016 election.


    "Mr. Trump, who has called the investigation a witch hunt, has considered firing Mr. Rosenstein. Such a move could have put her in charge of the special counsel and, by extension, left her in the cross hairs of the president. Ms. Brand, who became the associate attorney general in May, will become the global governance director at Walmart, the company's top legal position." http://nyti.ms/2nZiDpJ

    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  3. #1923
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency





    Trump says Porter guilty, but defends him publicly



    President Trump is defending Rob Porter even though, privately, he says he’s guilty.
    Behind closed doors: The president has told multiple people that he believes the accusations about Porter, and finds him “sick.”

    • Four sources who have spoken directly with Trump tell me his private comments about ex-aide Porter — whose two ex-wives accused of violent attacks — have been brutal.

    But his public comments don’t reflect that, at all.

    • This is the strongest indicator yet that Trump will reflexively defend his male allies from any and all accusations, even when he thinks those accusations are true.
    • Trump tells friends that he deplores the #MeToo movement and believes it unfairly exposes CEOs to lawsuits from their female employees. The fact that women frequently face sexual predation in the workplace doesn’t impact his view on this.

    Behind-the-scenes: Porter appears to have crossed Trump’s red line. In the Oval Office, Trump read a print-out of the Daily Mail story with incredulity. He quickly turned on Porter. Trump said he was shocked that this clean-cut Harvard guy with the perfectly parted hair — “straight out of central casting” — could have violently attacked women.
    Over the last few days, the president has told associates he believes Porter’s ex-wives’ accusations.
    Trump has also told associates that he views men who beat their wives the same way he views child molesters: as “sick puppies.” (This sits uncomfortably beside the fact that Trump stood by accused pedophile Roy Moore.)
    “He thinks there’s something wrong with them [men who attack their wives] and they never change... He thinks they can’t be reformed.”
    — One source who has spoken with Trump about Porter.
    But — at least in Porter’s case — he’ll still publicly back them up. On Friday, Trump expressed sympathy for Porter, praised his White House work, and made no mention of the women who say he attacked them.


    The White House can't get its story straight


    Consider this: It's been five days since domestic violence allegations toward Rob Porter surfaced. Within 24 hours, Porter was out of a job. The scandal has rocked the White House and one of its most astonishing components is that Chief of Staff John Kelly and the White House press shop are still providing conflicting stories about what happened.
    This is crazy. Even in a White House that's famous for chaos, I've never seen anything like this.
    Through an outside ally, Kelly has given the following account:

    1. On Tuesday afternoon, Porter told Kelly a damaging story was coming about his messy marriages and divorces, with allegations of verbal and emotional abuse.
    2. Kelly asked if the story was about domestic violence and Porter said it wasn't.
    3. After the story broke on Tuesday evening, Kelly realized immediately that Porter had lied about what was in the story.
    4. Within 40 minutes, Kelly demanded Porter's resignation.
    5. Porter complied and Kelly told all of this to the president.

    But the White House has publicly projected the opposite versionof events. Here's what officials have told reporters on background and, in part, on the record:

    1. On Tuesday afternoon, The Daily Mail told the press shop the story was coming and asked for comment.
    2. The press shop huddled with Porter, and then told Kelly there was a story coming with horrific allegations — including domestic violence — against Porter. (This is a key break from Kelly's narrative; see item 1 above.)
    3. Together, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kelly, and other press shop officials drafted a statement defending Porter.
    4. The Daily Mail story published, including that statement.
    5. On Wednesday, around noon, the White House press team told reporters that nobody asked for Porter's resignation. They added that several senior officials encouraged Porter to "stay and fight."
    6. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said from the podium that nobody asked Porter to leave but he resigned anyway.

    One more surreal twist: Representing the Trump administration on CBS' "Face the Nation" today, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Porter was given "the benefit of the doubt" until the photos came out showing the black eye he allegedly gave his ex-wife. (This contradicts Kelly's story: The first time anybody saw these photos was at 1:53 a.m. on Wednesday when The Intercept's reporter Ryan Grim tweeted them out.)
    Bottom line: Either the White House spokespeople or the president's chief of staff is lying. It's a stunning display of incompetence that five days after the initial story broke, they still can't get their stories straight.

    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  4. #1924
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    Someone's lying
    Dishonesty is a recurring theme of the Trump presidency. That's what connects all the scandals and controversies and cringe-worthy moments. You can see it right now in the coverage of the Rob Porter scandal. Someone's lying about who knew what when. The White House supported Porter even after the black eye photos came out. As Jake Tapper said on "The Lead," it "sounded like last Wednesday they were nominating him for sainthood... And now they're talking about this as if they're activists on behalf of domestic violence victims." The W.H. still hasn't cleared up the timeline.


    At Monday's briefing, Sarah Sanders repeatedly said "the president supports victims of domestic violence" when his actual tweets and sound bites suggest differently. Anderson Cooper called it a "master class in attempted gaslighting." My view: This Porter story has had staying power -- it's almost a week old -- because there's alleged domestic abuse combined with rank dishonesty...
    Here's an example
    On "Fox & Friends," of all places, W.H. spokesman Hogan Gidley was challenged about this. Gidley said "the president has been very clear, that all forms of abuse, all forms of battery against women are horrible and disgusting." Brian Kilmeade fact-checked: "He hasn't said that." Points to Kilmeade!


    During the interview, Gidley claimed Trump has denounced abuse "multiple times in the past" and said Trump "thinks that domestic violence is grotesque, he has said that on multiple occasions." When? I searched Factba.se for tweets, quotes, statements, etc of Trump saying the terms "abuse," "battery," and "domestic violence." I found zero relevant hits. So what is Gidley talking about?
    "That doesn’t answer the question"
    On days like this, the frustration of the W.H. press corps is palpable. ABC's Cecilia Vega tried to ask Sanders, "Does he believe Rob Porter’s accusers? Or are they lying?" Sanders repeated her line that "the president supports the victims of domestic violence." Vega interjected: "That doesn’t answer the question." And Sanders said, "I'm not going to go beyond that. That's where we are right now." Yep, that's where we are...





    BACK AT THE WHITE HOUSE ... "Kelly increasingly isolated as Porter scandal rages on,"
    by Eliana Johnson: "Turbulence in this West Wing is typically generated by President Donald Trump, but for the past week, it's been chief of staff John Kelly-the man brought in to be a steadying hand-who's inspiring what one White House official described as a crisis of confidence. While the president often makes a hash of the truth, aides took Kelly's word at face value until they were confronted with zigzagging accounts of the events leading up to former staff secretary Rob Porter's resignation-and Kelly's role in them.


    "In the hours immediately after the Daily Mail published
    a photograph of Porter's first ex-wife with a black eye, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders hastily arranged an off-the-record meeting in the West Wing with Porter and four reporters: the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, Axios' Jonathan Swan, and the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender.


    "In that meeting, which hasn't previously been reported,
    Porter relayed his version of events and fielded questions from the group. Kelly told staff two days laterthat once he'd been briefed on allegations of abuse against Porter by his two ex-wives, 'he was gone 40 minutes later.'


    "The White House declined to comment
    on Porter's meeting with reporters, including whether or not Kelly was aware it took place. But two White House officials said the mixed messages are symptomatic of the extent to which the White House has left Kelly to shoulder the blame for the Porter mess." http://politi.co/2EYMYNd


    -- AN INTERESTING NUGGET
    from Eliana's story: "[I]n December, [Kelly] dismissed ... Omarosa Manigault, who had been using the White House car service - known as 'CARPET' - as an office pick-up and drop-off service, something strictly forbidden by the federal government, according to three administration officials."


    -- NYT'S PETER BAKER: "A Whirlwind Envelops the White House, and the Revolving Door Spins":
    "The doors at the White House have been swinging a lot lately. A deputy chief of staff moved on. A speechwriter resigned. The associate attorney general stepped down. The chief of staff offered to quit. And that was just Friday.


    "All of that came after the departure of Rob Porter,
    the White House staff secretary who cleared out his office last week amid accusations of spousal abuse. The White House had overlooked reported problems with his security clearance last year in part, officials said, because of a reluctance to lose yet another senior aide, particularly one seen as so professional and reliable. More than a year into his administration, President Trump is presiding over a staff in turmoil, one with a 34 percent turnover rate, higher than any White House in decades. ...


    "Those who do come to work for him often do not last long,
    burning out from a volatile, sometimes cutthroat environment exacerbated by tweets and subpoenas. To visit the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the granite, slate and cast iron edifice across West Executive Avenue from the White House where most of the president's staff works, at times feels like walking through a ghost town. The hallways do not bustle as much as in past administrations. The budget director is doing double duty as the acting head of the consumer protection agency. The personnel director is doing triple duty, also overseeing the offices of political affairs and public liaison."http://nyti.ms/2EzqTr3



    MUELLER WATCH -- "Trump budget anticipates Mueller investigation will stretch into fiscal year 2019,"
    by Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn: "President Donald Trump's new budget projects that special counsel Robert Mueller's office will still be in business in fiscal year 2019 - even though White House officials have repeatedly said they expect the probe to wrap up soon. The budget projects that Mueller's team will keep spending at its current rate of about $10 million per year in the next fiscal year, which starts in October. Mueller's prosecutors have a criminal case pending against Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and deputy Rick Gates. No trial date has been set, but the judge suggested last month that a trial could start in August or September. If it does, the trial and any appeal would almost certainly extend into the next fiscal year." http://politi.co/2CgDHxi


    -- "CNN request spurs court to unseal Starr investigation docs,"
    by CNN's Katelyn Polantz: "A federal court in Washington will unseal documents that have stayed secret for two decades from independent counsel Ken Starr's investigation of then-president Bill Clinton, following a request from CNN. Some of the records from Starr's grand jury proceedings are public already -- but only reprinted in the independent counsel's 1998 report to Congress. Until now, the federal court had listed the cases as sealed. ...


    "CNN has argued that the records related to Clinton's grand jury
    could show how special counsel Robert Mueller may pursue testimony from President Donald Trump as well as other grand jury appearances and documents. For instance, court filings in the Starr report show how Clinton's and Starr's lawyers negotiated for six months before the president testified before the grand jury." http://cnn.it/2CheT84


    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  5. #1925
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    Because the WH cant get its story straight on the Rob Porter matter, its fueling speculation about what else they're trying to hide..... FBI Director testified on the Hill today that their investigation of Porter was completed in July, and the file closed in January.
    At the time of his "resignation" Porter was in discussions for a promotion to Deputy Chief of Staff with the support of John Kelly and Javanka. Particularly noteworthy given that Kelly's background is military rather than civilian, and therefore would be expected to have sharper antennae for the security implications.
    Anthony Scaramucci (remember him, Kelly's first victim) has called for Kelly's resignation.....


    NOT THE TIMELINE THE WHITE HOUSE GAVE -- @GeoffRBennett: "FBI Director Chris Wray says the FBI submitted a partial report on the Rob Porter investigation in March and a completed background investigation in late July. 'Soon thereafter we received a request for a follow-up. We did that.' Provided it in November & closed file in January". Bloomberg's report that the FBI s report in July included the domestic violence allegationshttps://bloom.bg/2BseLpJ


    JOHN KELLY, via Mike Bender of the WSJ: Asked on Monday if the White House should have handled Mr. Porter's situation any differently, Chief of Staff John Kelly said, 'No.' 'It was all done right,' Mr. Kelly said in a brief interview." http://on.wsj.com/2F4gzVT


    Another White House official to Swan: "It's deeply upsetting for a lot of people. If we can't get it right on domestic abuse — what can we get it right on? You know?”

    John Kelly faces new heat
    FBI Director Christopher Wray contradicted the White House today on the Rob Porter background check, telling the Senate that the bureau's probe was completed in July and closed in January.
    Why it matters: The White House said last week that Porter's background check was still "ongoing" when he resigned. This is a damaging timeline for the White House, which still can't get its story straight on the Porter exit amid multiple allegations of domestic violence.
    The simple question: Who knew what, and when, about the Porter story before the Daily Mail story came out?
    What we're hearing:
    "Wray’s FBI timeline makes one thing clear: the Kelly coverup is unraveling right before our eyes."
    — White House official to Axios' Jonathan Swan


    • The Trump White House has set a modern record for staff turnover at a whopping 34 percent. That includes at least 37 high-level aides and advisers who have either resigned or been fired since Donald Trump took office, including a chief of staff and multiple agency heads. [NYT / Peter Baker]
    • To put the turnover rate in perspective, just look at the numbers for the past four presidents: During Barack Obama’s first year, only 9 percent of the administration's top staffers and advisers left the White House; Bill Clinton’s administration saw an 11 percent turnover; George H.W. Bush's administration had 7 percent; and Ronald Reagan's was 17. [Salon / Nicole Karlis]
    • For comparison, only 15 people were "fired" on The Apprentice — Trump's reality TV series — each season. [Washington Post / Philip Bump]
    • As the administration struggles to explain the circumstances behind the ouster of staff secretary Rob Porter last week amid allegations of spousal abuse, more resignations could roll in, including that of Chief of Staff John Kelly, who has been under fire. [LA Times / Laura King and Michael Finnegan]
    • It's not just a staffing crisis; it's a management crisis. Working at the White House is … kind of terrible, and people don't want to do it anymore. [Vox / Ezra Klein]
    • Despite the chaos, Trump’s approval rating somehow just hit a nine-month high. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  6. #1926
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    Quote Originally Posted by Count Bobulescu View Post
    Someone's lying
    Dishonesty is a recurring theme of the Trump presidency. That's what connects all the scandals and controversies and cringe-worthy moments. You can see it right now in the coverage of the Rob Porter scandal. Someone's lying about who knew what when. The White House supported Porter even after the black eye photos came out. As Jake Tapper said on "The Lead," it "sounded like last Wednesday they were nominating him for sainthood... And now they're talking about this as if they're activists on behalf of domestic violence victims." The W.H. still hasn't cleared up the timeline.


    At Monday's briefing, Sarah Sanders repeatedly said "the president supports victims of domestic violence" when his actual tweets and sound bites suggest differently. Anderson Cooper called it a "master class in attempted gaslighting." My view: This Porter story has had staying power -- it's almost a week old -- because there's alleged domestic abuse combined with rank dishonesty...
    Here's an example
    On "Fox & Friends," of all places, W.H. spokesman Hogan Gidley was challenged about this. Gidley said "the president has been very clear, that all forms of abuse, all forms of battery against women are horrible and disgusting." Brian Kilmeade fact-checked: "He hasn't said that." Points to Kilmeade!


    During the interview, Gidley claimed Trump has denounced abuse "multiple times in the past" and said Trump "thinks that domestic violence is grotesque, he has said that on multiple occasions." When? I searched Factba.se for tweets, quotes, statements, etc of Trump saying the terms "abuse," "battery," and "domestic violence." I found zero relevant hits. So what is Gidley talking about?
    "That doesn’t answer the question"
    On days like this, the frustration of the W.H. press corps is palpable. ABC's Cecilia Vega tried to ask Sanders, "Does he believe Rob Porter’s accusers? Or are they lying?" Sanders repeated her line that "the president supports the victims of domestic violence." Vega interjected: "That doesn’t answer the question." And Sanders said, "I'm not going to go beyond that. That's where we are right now." Yep, that's where we are...





    BACK AT THE WHITE HOUSE ... "Kelly increasingly isolated as Porter scandal rages on,"
    by Eliana Johnson: "Turbulence in this West Wing is typically generated by President Donald Trump, but for the past week, it's been chief of staff John Kelly-the man brought in to be a steadying hand-who's inspiring what one White House official described as a crisis of confidence. While the president often makes a hash of the truth, aides took Kelly's word at face value until they were confronted with zigzagging accounts of the events leading up to former staff secretary Rob Porter's resignation-and Kelly's role in them.


    "In the hours immediately after the Daily Mail published
    a photograph of Porter's first ex-wife with a black eye, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders hastily arranged an off-the-record meeting in the West Wing with Porter and four reporters: the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, Axios' Jonathan Swan, and the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender.


    "In that meeting, which hasn't previously been reported,
    Porter relayed his version of events and fielded questions from the group. Kelly told staff two days laterthat once he'd been briefed on allegations of abuse against Porter by his two ex-wives, 'he was gone 40 minutes later.'


    "The White House declined to comment
    on Porter's meeting with reporters, including whether or not Kelly was aware it took place. But two White House officials said the mixed messages are symptomatic of the extent to which the White House has left Kelly to shoulder the blame for the Porter mess." http://politi.co/2EYMYNd


    -- AN INTERESTING NUGGET
    from Eliana's story: "[I]n December, [Kelly] dismissed ... Omarosa Manigault, who had been using the White House car service - known as 'CARPET' - as an office pick-up and drop-off service, something strictly forbidden by the federal government, according to three administration officials."


    -- NYT'S PETER BAKER: "A Whirlwind Envelops the White House, and the Revolving Door Spins":
    "The doors at the White House have been swinging a lot lately. A deputy chief of staff moved on. A speechwriter resigned. The associate attorney general stepped down. The chief of staff offered to quit. And that was just Friday.


    "All of that came after the departure of Rob Porter,
    the White House staff secretary who cleared out his office last week amid accusations of spousal abuse. The White House had overlooked reported problems with his security clearance last year in part, officials said, because of a reluctance to lose yet another senior aide, particularly one seen as so professional and reliable. More than a year into his administration, President Trump is presiding over a staff in turmoil, one with a 34 percent turnover rate, higher than any White House in decades. ...


    "Those who do come to work for him often do not last long,
    burning out from a volatile, sometimes cutthroat environment exacerbated by tweets and subpoenas. To visit the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the granite, slate and cast iron edifice across West Executive Avenue from the White House where most of the president's staff works, at times feels like walking through a ghost town. The hallways do not bustle as much as in past administrations. The budget director is doing double duty as the acting head of the consumer protection agency. The personnel director is doing triple duty, also overseeing the offices of political affairs and public liaison."http://nyti.ms/2EzqTr3



    MUELLER WATCH -- "Trump budget anticipates Mueller investigation will stretch into fiscal year 2019,"
    by Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn: "President Donald Trump's new budget projects that special counsel Robert Mueller's office will still be in business in fiscal year 2019 - even though White House officials have repeatedly said they expect the probe to wrap up soon. The budget projects that Mueller's team will keep spending at its current rate of about $10 million per year in the next fiscal year, which starts in October. Mueller's prosecutors have a criminal case pending against Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and deputy Rick Gates. No trial date has been set, but the judge suggested last month that a trial could start in August or September. If it does, the trial and any appeal would almost certainly extend into the next fiscal year." http://politi.co/2CgDHxi


    -- "CNN request spurs court to unseal Starr investigation docs,"
    by CNN's Katelyn Polantz: "A federal court in Washington will unseal documents that have stayed secret for two decades from independent counsel Ken Starr's investigation of then-president Bill Clinton, following a request from CNN. Some of the records from Starr's grand jury proceedings are public already -- but only reprinted in the independent counsel's 1998 report to Congress. Until now, the federal court had listed the cases as sealed. ...


    "CNN has argued that the records related to Clinton's grand jury
    could show how special counsel Robert Mueller may pursue testimony from President Donald Trump as well as other grand jury appearances and documents. For instance, court filings in the Starr report show how Clinton's and Starr's lawyers negotiated for six months before the president testified before the grand jury." http://cnn.it/2CheT84




    eek count
    this is so hard to read .. all these boxes an lines when a woman is just looking for few threads of info

  7. #1927
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    Quote Originally Posted by random new yorker View Post
    eek count
    this is so hard to read .. all these boxes an lines when a woman is just looking for few threads of info
    Rest assured I didn't do it deliberately. It's from CNN which works ok,........sometimes.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  8. #1928
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    DAY 8 OF ROB PORTERGATE ...


    -- ELIANA JOHNSON, BEHIND THE SCENES: "Porter blamed ex-wife's black eye on an accident in off-the-record meeting with reporters": "When now-former White House staff secretary Rob Porter sat down for an off-the-record meeting with four reporters hours after the publication of a Daily Mail story showing his first wife with a black eye, he was quick to deny the allegations of physical abuse. The reporters present for the meeting - the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, Axios' Jonathan Swan, and the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender - pressed Porter to explain the picture of his first wife with a black eye as well as his comment that he had taken the picture in question.


    "He told them what he had told his colleagues: that, on vacation in Venice, the two had quarreled over a Venetian glass vase, and that his then-wife, Colbie Holderness, had accidentally bruised her eye in the course of that altercation. Porter, who until that point had been seen as one of the most competent and trusted aides in the West Wing, also confirmed that he was resigning his post, but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and two other communications aides - Josh Raffel and Raj Shah - did not dispute that White House chief of staff John Kelly had urged Porter to stay, according to a person familiar with the exchange." http://politi.co/2F2D1yy



    -- WAPO'S ASHLEY PARKER, PHIL RUCKER and JOSH DAWSEY: "Kelly does not enjoy the confidence of an increasing number of his subordinates, some of whom said they believe that the retired four-star Marine Corps general has misled them.Kelly is 'a big fat liar,' said one White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a candid opinion. 'To put it in terms the general would understand, his handling of the Porter scandal amounts to dereliction of duty.'... The internal animus is not limited to Kelly. White House counsel Donald McGahn and deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin are also facing scrutiny over how Porter managed to work at the White House - and hold an interim security clearance - for more than a year despite the allegations of abuse during his two marriages. ...


    "Instead, these people said, Kelly seemed to shirk blame, grumbling to at least one confidant that the communications office should be held partly responsible. In internal conversations, Kelly sounded defensive and complained that the media was overhyping the story, according to a senior White House official who spoke with him." http://wapo.st/2ED75D4


    -- NYT'S JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and MIKE SHEAR: "White House Let Rob Porter Keep Job Even After Receiving Final F.B.I. Report": "[P]ressed on whether senior officials - including John F. Kelly, the chief of staff; Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel; and [Joe] Hagin - could have been unaware as far back as last summer that such a significant issue had been raised about one of the president's closest aides, she conceded she could not be certain. 'Not that I'm aware of,' Ms. Sanders said. 'I can't say with 100 percent certainty.' According to the two people briefed on the matter, the White House security office reviewed the allegations about Mr. Porter in July and saw that the F.B.I. had interviewed Mr. Porter's two former wives but not Mr. Porter himself.


    "The office asked the F.B.I. to go back and do so ... In November, the F.B.I. provided another report to the security office, the two people said, adding that at that point, a final review began to determine whether to grant Mr. Porter a security clearance. As part of that review, three officials in the personnel office, including its head, were supposed to come to their own conclusions about whether to grant the clearance." http://nyti.ms/2F4LIsc


    -- ANDREW RESTUCCIA and EMILY STEPHENSON: "White House imposed a ban on new interim security clearances last fall": "The White House quietly imposed a ban on new interim security clearances for anyone in the executive office of the president last fall, but it let existing employees with interim clearances stay on, according to an email obtained by POLITICO. The Nov. 7 internal email to senior leaders at the Office of Management and Budget said the White House personnel security office had advised that it would no longer grant interim security clearances. Pending requests for interim clearances were expected to be denied, though exceptions could be requested ... Staffers who had already been granted interim security clearances ... could continue to hold them while their background investigations were finished." http://politi.co/2o46tfq


    -- COUNTLESS REPUBLICANS have asked us why the White House doesn't simply fire someone, admit wrongdoing and move on.


    WHAT EVERYONE IS SAYING BEHIND THE SCENES -- ISAAC DOVERE: "Dems: Bill Clinton too toxic to campaign in midterms": "Democrats are looking to embrace the #MeToo moment and rally women to push back on President Donald Trump in the midterms-and they don't want Bill Clinton anywhere near it. In a year when the party is deploying all their other big guns and trying to appeal to precisely the kind of voters Clinton has consistently won over, an array of Democrats told POLITICO they're keeping him on the bench. They don't want to be seen anywhere near a man with a history of harassment allegations, as guilty as their party loyalty to him makes them feel about it.


    "'I think it's pretty tough,' said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), vice chair of the House Progressive Caucus and one of the leading voices in Congress demanding changes in Washington's approach to sexual harassment. His presence 'just brings up a lot of issues that will be very tough for Democrats. And I think we all have to be clear about what the #MeToo movement was.' ...


    "Privately, many Democratic politicians and strategists are harsher and firmer: Don't come to their states, and don't say anything about their campaigns. They are still worried about saying it out loud, but they don't want him now, or maybe ever. They know Republicans would react by calling them -- with good reason -- hypocrites." http://politi.co/2Geo8sl


    THE FIRST FAMILY -- "APNewsBreak: Shooting range tied to Trumps rattles neighbors," by AP's Jake Pearson in Wingdale, N.Y.: "A company tied to Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump owns a 171-acre hunting preserve that is being used as a private shooting range, where the sound of rifle fire from a wooden tower and exploding targets has riled nearby residents, neighbors told The Associated Press. One neighbor complained that it rattles the windows of his home; another said it ruins the serenity of the surrounding woods. A third confronted the property's representative over the summer. ... 'It's like you're in a war zone,' said Elisabetta Berghold, who lives on 42 acres down the road from the Trumps' land.


    "The Trumps appear to have acquired the property via limited liability companies that contain some version of the property's address in their names but do not reveal the Trumps' connections. LLCs are often used to buy property or conduct business in ways that obscure the people behind the transactions. ... A money manager from Connecticut, Jeffrey Ferraro,is listed as the company's organizer and in sales records as a representative for the LLC. ...


    "Neither the Trump Organization's spokeswoman nor its general counsel acknowledged requests to discuss the property. An email to Trump Jr. about the property was not returned. Berghold, an active Democrat and no fan of the president,said that after she confronted Ferraro on July 3, he apologized and said they would keep down the noise. She said when she confronted Ferraro about the shooting, he said that his 'partners have the Secret Service coming, and they shoot, too.'


    "A spokeswoman for the Secret Service said the agency had no comment. Ferraro would not discuss whether Secret Service agents shoot on the property." http://bit.ly/2Cle4Lv







    All habits, good and bad — in all organizations, big and small — flow down fast from the top.

    • Axios CEO Jim VandeHei points out that this dynamic is particularly true in the White House, and unmistakably true in this Trump White House.

    Trump’s lifelong habits — to improvise, to attack, the deny the undeniable, to leak — spread fast through the White House, metastasized in the agencies, and infected Republicans in Congress. They are Republican habits now:



    • Look at Chief of Staff John Kelly, whose hold on his job looked more precarious after yesterday's devastating testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray. He made it almost impossible to believe the West Wing's assertion that no top officials knew the full extent of the Rob Porter allegations until the Daily Mail story broke.
    • You see Kelly reflecting Trump with harsh instincts and words on immigration — and with the chief's willingness to double down and say the Porter fiasco was handled fine, defying the reality apparent to his colleagues.
    • Look at the leaks pouring out of the White House — including the president himself musing to outsiders about possible replacements for Kelly.
    • Axios' Jonathan Swan says the current level of leaking — much of it against Kelly — is almost as bad as it was when a good proportion of the White House staff was trying to kill Reince Priebus.
    • Look at the White House silence in situations that under previous presidents would have elicited shame or condemnation. And look how almost every elected Republican now sits with similar silence.
    • Look at the messy, understaffed agencies and disregard for traditional rules of the road.
    • Look at the staff-on-staff infighting, as Trump's style breeds internal factions.
    • And it spreads to the GOP ... Trump trashed the FBI, so aides freely trashed the FBI, so congressional Republicans gladly piled on. And now just 38% of the party views the agency favorably, according to our Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

    A senior administration official told me: "It's the Donald Trump culture. It's every man for himself — do what's best for me, not for the organization."



    • "Trump's habits have infected Kelly," the official said. "Trump never backs off, and Kelly continues to insist that he's right."

    Why it matters: Trump has spent his life creating his own reality inside his head. Spend enough time working with him, and it becomes hard to resist seeing the world his way. Those who refuse to do so wind up lashing and leaking.


    The malignant atmosphere was captured by the N.Y. Times' Peter Baker: "Trump is presiding over a staff in turmoil, one with a 34 percent turnover rate, higher than any White House in decades."



    • "He has struggled to fill openings, unwilling to hire Republicans he considers disloyal and unable to entice Republicans who consider him unstable."
    • "Those who do come to work for him often do not last long, burning out from a volatile, sometimes cutthroat environment exacerbated by tweets and subpoenas."

    Be smart: Staffers tell me they go through a cycle of being enamored of Trump's larger-than life persona, but then become frustrated by the environment he creates and allows, followed by anger at his self-destructive tendencies.


    Kicker ... Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, the "Wizard of Westwood," who won 10 national championships in 12 years: “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example."



    N.Y. Times' Maggie Haberman tweets: "Several White House officials are now prefacing or concluding their sentences in convos w reporters by making clear they can't swear by the information they've just given."



    • WashPost lead story, "FBI chief rebuts Porter timeline": "The Porter drama has become all-consuming, creating an atmosphere of chaos and infighting reminiscent of the 'Game of Thrones' stage early in Trump’s presidency — and distracting from the administration’s budget and infrastructure agenda."
    • White House chief of staff John Kelly “a big fat liar,” one White House official told The Post: “To put it in terms the general would understand, his handling of the Porter scandal amounts to dereliction of duty.”
    • Chaser ... Kelly, to The Wall Street Journal, when asked if the White House should have handled Rob Porter’s situation any differently: "No. ... It was all done right."
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  9. #1929
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    the most important pieces of news we have right now (according to RNY):

    1. Facebook took 6 g-d damn effing months last year to fully understand and acknowledge the role they played in the 2016 election. 6 MONTHS.

    Only in July 2017 Zuckerberg acknowledged there was "enough" evidence to convince him to change course.

    They have tried a couple of new algorithms, back to the original of promoting conversations only among friends, back to plugging in the news, etc back and forth with this and I see no difference in results yet.

    2. The investigation into Russia and Others meddling in the 2016 election:

    there was interference by the Russians, all the intel agencies agree, the WH has implemented old sanctions against Russia but not the new ones (?) which relate to the role Russia directly played in 2016 - i believe T doesn't want to get caught acknowledging his Cheeto administration (short in 3 Million votes) got a good helping hand from the other side.

    Most importantly (other than Russia's and Macedonia teenager Social Media Bots) was the fact that the Russians tried to hack into the voting counting machines in selected States.

    Although the agencies are working together to prevent the same happening in 2018 the fact that T doesn't acknowledge the problem makes their life more difficult .. I believe these agencies will take matters into their own hands and will give whatever information they gather to the States that will be targeted.

  10. #1930
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    Since Sandy Hook (just over five years ago, Dec. 2012), at least 439 people have been shot in 273 school shootings — and 112 killed, per the N.Y. Times, citing data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive:



    • "The shootings have taken place at sporting events and in parking lots, cafeterias, hallways and classrooms."
    • "Twelve of the 272 shootings ... can be classified as mass shootings, events in which four or more people are shot."
    • "On average, there have been seven school shootings each month."

    How we got here ... From a WashPost graphic:



    • "The 1999 siege by two seniors at Columbine High School in Colorado became a turning point after which school shootings could no longer be considered unthinkable aberrations."
    • "After a confused response that played out over several hours while a wounded teacher bled to death, U.S. law enforcement agencies overhauled procedures and officer training to create protocols for stopping 'active shooters.'"

    See the list ... The deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history.



    On the Florida school shooting,............telling.....



    DETAILS -- @maggieNYT: "Administration aides tell me that advisors have recommended [POTUS] say something, but he has opted not to". ...


    ROB PORTERGATE, DAY 9 ...


    -- "Trump, a Week After Porter Resigned, Says He's 'Totally Opposed' to Domestic Violence," by NYT's Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Maggie Haberman and Mike Shear: "Three people briefed on the situation said that [John] Kelly learned that the accusations would be published in The Mail last Tuesday, before leaving for a visit to Capitol Hill. In a meeting with a group of aides, including several from the press office, everyone agreed that Mr. Porter would have to resign, the people briefed on the situation said, and a statement from Mr. Kelly was drafted to provide to The Mail. But Mr. Porter continued to deny the accusations from his former wives.


    "One aide in the discussions pushed back on the belief that Mr. Porter should resign, saying that these were mere allegations, and that if Mr. Porter were forced out over them, other people could be forced from their posts any time an allegation was made. Other aides agreed, and argued for waiting for the story to play out. At that point, they reached out to Mr. Kelly, who had left for the visit to the Capitol, by phone, the people said, and he said he agreed, telling them to make his statement about Mr. Porter more supportive. Mr. Kelly dictated specific language that he wanted in the statement to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary."http://nyti.ms/2BtrCbg


    -- AP'S JONATHAN LEMIRE and ZEKE MILLER: "West Wing aides have had their faith in the chief of staff shaken, and morale has plunged to levels not seen since last spring's firing of FBI Director James Comey and the August uproar over Trump's refusal to denounce white supremacists after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia." http://bit.ly/2C0vn9c


    -- "Sanders pushes for Kelly to face the press over Porter scandal," by Darren Samuelsohn, Matt Nussbaum, Andrew Restuccia and Eliana Johnson: "Nine days into the Rob Porter scandal, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is pushing for senior officials who made the decisions surrounding the former White House staff secretary's security clearance to take over the task of explaining-and defending-those decisions to the public. Since Tuesday ... Sanders has moved to have White House counsel Don McGahn or chief of staff John Kelly brief the press directly, according to a person close to the White House. ...


    "'I think the president is going to side with her,' this person said. 'I think the president is going to want them to clear it up.' A senior administration official said later Wednesday that Kelly had been set to take the podium until the decision was made to cancel it. The White House denied there was any plan for Kelly to brief reporters Wednesday. Sanders did not respond to a request for comment." http://politi.co/2o3xHDy


    FOR AN ADMINISTRATION that has faced numerous controversies and quickly moved past issue after issue, this scandal has had impressive staying power.



    ABOUT THOSE SECURITY CLEARANCES -- "Scores of top White House officials lack permanent security clearances," by NBC News' Carol E. Lee, Mike Memoli, Kristen Welker and Rich Gardella: "More than 130 political appointees working in the Executive Office of the President did not have permanent security clearances as of November 2017, including the president's daughter, son-in-law and his top legal counsel, according to internal White House documents obtained by NBC News.Of those appointees working with interim clearances, 47 of them are in positions that report directly to President Donald Trump. About a quarter of all political appointees in the executive office are working with some form of interim security clearance. ... The documents also show that 10 months into Trump's administration, at least 85 political appointees in the White House, vice president's office and National Security Council were working without permanent security clearances.


    "About 50 appointees were operating with interim security clearances while serving in offices closely linked to the West Wing, such as the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Trade Representative and the White House executive residence. White House officials who are listed as not having permanent security clearances as recently as this past November include Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser; Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser; Dan Scavino, the president's director of social media; and Christopher Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives, according to the documents." http://nbcnews.to/2o78I1n


    DON MCGAHN'S HIGH WIRE ACT -- "White House counsel walks a fine line in serving Trump's demands," by WaPo's Josh Dawsey, Ros Helderman and Matt Zapotosky: "President Trump had a request for his lawyer: Call a senior Justice Department official and get him to persuade the FBI director to announce that Trump was not personally under investigation in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. White House counsel Donald McGahn made the call in April to acting deputy attorney general Dana Boente but failed to convince him that FBI Director James B. Comey should make the statement, according to several people familiar with the episode.


    "The refusal further frustrated a president who had already twice appealed directly to Comey, who told him he should have McGahn call instead. The previously unreported episode underscores McGahn's precarious position in the Russia probe as he seeks to both mollify and protect his client, the commander in chief." http://wapo.st/2F5KQ6B



    KUSHNER INC. -- "Kushner Investors Said to Be Subpoenaed by U.S. Tax Authorities," by Bloomberg's David Voreacos: "U.S. tax authorities have requested documents from lenders and investors in real estate projects managed by Jared Kushner's family, according to a person familiar with the matter. They have gathered information from people who lent money and assembled investors for Kushner Cos. real estate projects in New York and New Jersey, the person said. Those projects involve deals dating back to 2010. The Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department issued the subpoenas within the past year, according to the person. The tax inquiry appears unrelated to other investigations that have since burst into public view."https://bloom.bg/2Geakhm





    SPEAKING OF BANNON -- "House panel weighs contempt if Bannon fails to show forThursday hearing," by CNN's Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb and Kara Scannell: "The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a Thursday meeting to hear testimony from Steve Bannon -- but it's an open question whether President Donald Trump's former chief strategist will even show up.The White House sent a letter to Capitol Hill late Wednesday laying out its explanation for why Trump's transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege, a move intended to shield Bannon from answering questions about that time period, according to a person familiar with the discussions.


    "But House members from both parties have so far rejected that broad interpretation of executive privilege, raising the stakes for Bannon's standoff with Congress.Lawmakers from both parties say Bannon should be held in contempt if he fails to appear for the scheduled interview Thursday morning, a date that has already been pushed back three times as the committee has fought with Bannon's lawyer and the White House over the scope of the lawmakers' questions." http://cnn.it/2o8szgW


    THE HIGHEST BIDDER IS ... "Trump Lawyer's Payment to Porn Star Raises New Questions,"by NYT's Maggie Haberman and Charlie Savage: "Keith Davidson, a Los Angeles lawyer who represented Ms. Clifford in the 2016 transaction, issued a statement Wednesday declaring that Mr. Cohen had told him at the time that the $130,000 payment was coming from his own funds. 'I represented Stephanie Clifford in the Michael Cohen/Stephanie Clifford transaction,' Mr. Davidson's statement said. 'I read today that Michael Cohen reports that the source of the $130,000 paid to Ms. Clifford was from his own personal funds. That assertion is in complete harmony with what he informed me of at the time of the transaction.'


    "Ms. Clifford believes that Mr. Cohen, in making his statement, has breached a nondisclosure agreement she signed in connection with the payment, releasing her from the confidentiality commitment, according to Gina Rodriguez, her manager. Ms. Clifford, she said, is now offering to sell her story to media outlets so that she can tell her version of events." http://nyti.ms/2EGVh2B


    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  11. #1931
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    Get this: In Florida the 18 y.o. school shooter was too young to buy a beer or a handgun, but was legal to buy the much more powerful assault weapon.
    Go Figya......




    -- "In Florida, an AR-15 Is Easier to Buy Than a Handgun," by NYT's Richard A. Oppel Jr.: "[T]here is still one more reason the weapons are so popular in states like Florida: They are very easy to buy - and for a 19-year-old like Nikolas Cruz, the shooting suspect, far easier to obtain than a handgun. Florida has a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases. But anyone without a felony record, domestic abuse conviction, or a handful of other exceptions - such as a commitment to a mental institution - can walk into a gun store, wait a few minutes to clear a background check, and walk out with an AR-15 -style rifle, magazines and ammunition. Under federal law, you also must be 21 to buy a handgun from a firearms dealer. But 18-year-olds can buy semiautomatic rifles." http://nyti.ms/2o5Wkzu








    MUELLER WATCH ...

    -- FLIPPING! "A top Trump campaign adviser close to plea deal with Mueller,"
    by CNN's Katelyn Polantz and Sara Murray: "Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a 'Queen for a Day' interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed. Gates' cooperation could be another building block for Mueller in a possible case against President Donald Trump or key members of his team." http://cnn.it/2o8htbu


    -- "Steve Bannon met with Mueller multiple times over the past week," by NBC News' Hallie Jackson: "Steve Bannon, who served as President Donald Trump's chief strategist, was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller over multiple days this week, NBC News has learned from two sources familiar with the proceedings. Bannon spent a total of some 20 hours in conversations with the team led by Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as other issues that have arisen around the probe. ...


    "After a more than four-week stalemate, Bannon also returned to Capitol Hill Thursday to resume his interview with the House Intelligence Committee, which was halted when he earlier refused to answer key questions in the Russia probe. He left today after four hours, answering little more than the two dozen questions that the White House had negotiated with the House's lead counsel." http://nbcnews.to/2Cq37sm



    What’s the immigration status of Melania Trump’s parents?


    Several readers asked us about the immigration status of Melania Trump’s parents after photos of them popped up in social media posts. Keep in mind the First Lady is an immigrant. And President Trump has favored bills that would severely restrict so-called chain migration, including the granting of immigration visas to the parents of U.S. citizens. With congressional debate beginning on overhauling immigration laws, is the president is being hypocritical?


    According to various news reports, the First Lady’s parents have been living in the United States at least a year and probably much longer — possibly since the mid-2000s. Knowing that, there are essentially four possibilities: legal permanent residence, an extended tourist visa, a visa through parole, and a student visa.


    The most logical possibility is that they have received legal permanent residence because they are parents of a U.S. citizen. But given the president’s policy preferences, that’s also the most problematic option. The White House refuses to answer what should be a simple question. The question is why.




    Just breaking........a detailed 37 page indictment. Not sure what if anything happens next.........but it undercuts Trump's claim that Russian meddling was a hoax.

    Special counsel indicts Russian ***** factory and 13 who allegedly worked there for interfering in the 2016 presidential election
    The Justice Department’s special counsel announced the indictment of the Internet Research Agency — charging 13 individuals who allegedly were involved in a scheme to criminally interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
    The suspects are accused of posing as Americans to support then-candidate Donald Trump and attack his political opponent, Hillary Clinton. The indictment says some suspects came to the United States to gather information for the effort while others promoted campaign events to sow division.
    Read more »

    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  12. #1932
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    ANOTHER STRIKE AGAINST THE TRAVEL BAN -- "Second appeals court rules against Trump travel ban 3.0," by Josh Gerstein: "A second federal appeals court has ruled against President Donald Trump's latest travel ban executive order, but the decision has already been overtaken by action at the Supreme Court. The Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, 9-4, that the Trump directive limiting visitors from six majority-Muslim countries and two other nations is likely unconstitutional because it was driven by anti-Muslim animus." http://politi.co/2EKEWKo






    -- MUELLER MOVES AGAINST RUSSIANS... -- "DOJ charges 13 Russian nationals with interfering in 2016 election": "The Justice Department on Friday announced indictments on 13 Russian nationals and a trio of Russian entities on charges related to the Kremlin's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Charges in the indictment include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and aggravated identity theft." http://politi.co/2szAB7V ... The indictment http://bit.ly/2suK7Ji


    KEY LINES ... "Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities."


    -- "They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump."


    -- SEE PAGE 20 for a list of advertisements the group ran... THE INDICTMENT ALLEGES that the defendants used Twitter and Facebook to organize pro-Trump and anti-Clinton rallies in New York and Florida in the summer of 2016. The indictment also alleges that the Russians "used false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies in support of then president-elect Trump, while simultaneously using other false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election."


    -- DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROD ROSENSTEIN called the Russians' actions "information warfare." ... "There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge altered the outcome of the election."


    NEWS ... FBI STATEMENT ON THE PARKLAND SHOOTING: "On January 5, 2018, a person close to Nikolas Cruz contacted the FBI's Public Access Line (PAL) tipline to report concerns about him. The caller provided information about Cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.


    "Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. The information then should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken.


    "We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time."


    -- FROM FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY: "We are still investigating the facts. I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public. It's up to all Americans to be vigilant, and when members of the public contact us with concerns, we must act properly and quickly.


    "We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy. All of the men and women of the FBI are dedicated to keeping the American people safe, and are relentlessly committed to improving all that we do and how we do it."


    -- IF YOU'RE A TRUMP ALLY looking for something to hold against the FBI, you've got it.



    BIG GET -- "ABC's George Stephanopoulos Has Landed The Big Comey Interview," by BuzzFeed's Steven Perlberg: "Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump in May, will sit down with ABC's George Stephanopoulos in mid-April ahead of the release of his forthcoming book, according to people familiar with the matter." http://bzfd.it/2sxtxIV
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  13. #1933
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    The Russia Imbroglio: 5 Takeaways From Friday'sIndictmentJustice Department special counsel Robert Mueller prefers to let his work do the talking for him. On Friday, he delivered a stemwinder. Thirteen Russians and three Russian entities were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the attack on the 2016 election.


    Much of what Mueller's office charges — that influence-mongers used Facebook and Twitter to turn up the volume and pit American against American — was already public. But the 37-page indictment also includes a number of fascinating new insights.




    1. The scheme began earlier than previously known.
    2. Russians didn't just post from afar. They traveled to the U.S.
    3. Operatives dealt directly with Americans, including some Trump campaign workers.
    4. Trump now acknowledges Russian active measures.
    5. Mueller and the feds have a huge wealth of information at their disposal.

    Read the full imbroglio update on NPR.org.


    Briefly:



    — Philip Ewing, NPR national security editor

    Russia probe hits Russians
    The latest round of Russia probe indictments charged 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities with breaking the law in attempting to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.


    Why it matters: It's the fifth indictment from the Russia probe, but it "represents the first charges by [Robert Mueller] for meddling in the 2016 presidential election — the fundamental crime that he was assigned to investigate." [NYT]


    Details from the 37-page indictment:



    • In July 2016 more than 80 Russian agents were assigned to travel to the U.S. to gather information on Americans.
    • The Russians made fake Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts that were made to appear as if they were controlled by politically and socially active Americans.
    • They purchased political ads and paid Americans to engage in political rallies, protests, activities and campaigns paid for with stolen identities and bank accounts.
    • The initial goal of the defendants, per the indictment, was to "sow discord in the US. political system."
    • "They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump."
    • "On or about November 3, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the ORGANIZATION-controlled Instagram account "Blacktivist" that read in part: 'Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it's not a wasted vote.'"

    The big picture:



    • While the defendants were in touch with Americans, including members of the Trump campaign, “the Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein explained.
    • Rosenstein added that the indictment does not state that their suspected interference changed the outcome of the election.

    Trump reacts on Twitter: "Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong - no collusion!"


    Be smart, from Axios' Jonathan Swan: The White House is right that the indictments show no evidence of collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian influence operatives. But Trump is wrong to claim this conclusively proves there was no collusion. That question remains open until Mueller closes the investigations.

    THE AMERICANS ... INSIDE RUSSIA'S ATTEMPTS TO SWAY U.S. ELECTIONS


    -- NYT'S SCOTT SHANE and MARK MAZZETTI: "A 37-page indictment, handed up on Friday by a Washington grand jury and charging [Irina] Kaverzina and 12 other people with an elaborate conspiracy, showed that she and her colleagues did not, in fact, hide their tracks so well from United States investigators. The charges, brought by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, introduced hard facts to a polarized political debate over Russia's intervention in American democracy, while not yet implicating President Trump or his associates.


    "The indictment presented in astonishing detail a carefully planned, three-year Russian scheme to incite political discord in the United States, damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and later bolster the candidacy of Donald J. Trump, along with those of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. The precise description of the operation suggested that F.B.I. investigators had intercepted communications, found a cooperating insider or both.


    "The Russians overseeing the operation, which they named the Translator Project, had a goal to 'spread distrust toward the candidates and the political system in general.' They used a cluster of companies linked to one called the Internet Research Agency, and called their campaign 'information warfare.'" http://nyti.ms/2F9bStI


    -- WAPO'S MARWA ELTAGOURI: "Among the 13 Russians charged is Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, an oligarch and financial backer of the ***** farm known as the Internet Research Agency, according to Russian media. He is a caterer who has been nicknamed 'Putin's chef' because of his proximity to the Russian president. According to The Washington Post's Devlin Barrett, Sari Horwitz and Rosalind S. Helderman, Prigozhin is linked to two of the three Russian businesses also named in the indictment, Concord Consulting and Concord Catering." http://wapo.st/2EN2ONr


    -- "How Russia turned the internet against America: Some who value the online world's freedoms are 'at a loss' after Friday's indictment offered new details about how trolls exploited its weaknesses," by Nancy Scola: http://politi.co/2Ho4prr


    -- "The ***** Farm: What We Know About 13 Russians Indicted by the U.S.," by NYT's Ivan Nechepurenko and Michael Schwirtz: http://nyti.ms/2ocFC0T


    -- FLASHBACK - Adrian Chen in NYT Magazine, June 2, 2015, "The Agency: From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid 'trolls' has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet - and in real-life American communities." http://nyti.ms/2o6kBpo


    ON MUELLER -- "Mueller shifts focus back to Russian 'information warfare',"
    by Darren Samuelsohn: "Special counsel Robert Mueller had spent nine months on the job with little evidence that he was focusing on his original mandate: to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. On Friday, a stunning new court document from Mueller changed that. ...



    "The May 17 order
    from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointing Mueller as special counsel to lead the FBI's Russia probe called the move part of the Justice Department's effort 'to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.'



    "And that was the core question Mueller returned to Friday,
    with an indictment that detailed a Russian 'information warfare' operation that sewed dissent and confusion among American voters to the benefit of Trump and the detriment of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. 'What's described in this indictment is the heart of the matter,' said William Jeffress, a Washington-based white-collar attorney who represented Richard Nixon after he left the White House." http://politi.co/2Gm2Zwe



    BUT, BUT, BUT -- "Mueller Still Investigating Possible Collusion, Source Says,"
    by Bloomberg's Chris Strohm: "Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his prosecutors haven't concluded their investigation into whether President Donald Trump or any of his associates helped Russia interfere in the 2016 election, according to a person with knowledge of the probe. Friday'sindictment of a St. Petersburg-based '***** farm' and 13 Russian nationals should be seen as a limited slice of a comprehensive investigation, the person said. Mueller's work is expected to continue for months and also includes examining potential obstruction of justice by Trump." https://bloom.bg/2Hql0eg



    -- MORE ON MANAFORT:
    "Mueller levels new claim of bank fraud against Manafort," by Josh Gerstein: "Special counsel Robert Mueller's office has told a federal judge it has found evidence that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, committed bank fraud not addressed by the indictment last October in which he was charged with money laundering and failure to register as a foreign agent. ...


    "
    The filing by Mueller's office says Manafort
    obtained a mortgage using 'doctored profit and loss statements' overstating 'by millions of dollars' the income for his consulting company, DMP International. Prosecutors appear to be referring to a $9.5 million mortgage that Federal Savings Bank of Chicago extended in late 2016 to a Manafort-linked firm, Summerbreeze LLC. Prosecutors' references to 'conspiracies' suggest that someone beyond Manafort was involved in the alleged fraud, but no further details were given." http://politi.co/2CtJGis


    MATT DIXON and MARC CAPUTO -- "'Something was weird': Inside the Russian effort to bamboozle Florida: The operation in the nation's largest swing state was in a class by itself": "The interactions were part of planning events that were collectively called 'Florida Goes Trump' rallies, and held throughout the state. Russians also helped organize some of the most recognizable anti-Hillary Clinton displays of the election cycle in Florida. 'For example, defendants and their co-conspirators asked one U.S. person to build a cage on a flatbed truck ... and another U.S. person to wear a costume portraying Clinton in a prison uniform,' the indictment read. 'Defendants and their co-conspirators paid these individuals to complete the requests,' it continued. ...


    "[F]ormer Republican Party of Florida Executive Director David Johnson detected something amiss as well. 'It was all the social media stuff, that's where you could see something was weird,' said Johnson, who consulted for Jeb Bush's super PAC in 2016. 'It was syntax errors and odd ways of saying things that were apparent.' The Florida Goes Trump rallies were held in more than 20 cities across the state on Aug. 20, 2016. News releases touting the event were rife with grammatical errors and used language ripped from a traditional Trump stump speech."http://politi.co/2FaW3mf



    Robert Mueller's meaty indictment, accusing 13 Russians (including an oligarch known as "Putin's cook") of "information warfare against the United States of America," shows the special counsel has been doing deep, serious investigative work — totally under the radar, and with zero leaks.

    • Amazing that there was no hint of this in the media.
    • The gist: "The alleged scheme was run by the Internet Research Agency, a ***** farm based in St. Petersburg, Russia, which used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to try to influence the White House race."


    A powerful thought bubble from Axios' Jonathan Swan:


    • We’ve only been reading about [Mueller's] interviews with Trump associates and White House officials — because these are the folks that Washington reporters talk to.
    • But Mueller has been picking apart complicated, secretive and well-funded Russian networks that could only have originated from the Kremlin.
    • Mueller’s indictments are not the work product of some frivolous fishing expedition to indict Trump, as some of Trump’s conservative allies have claimed.
    • This shows that Trump was wrong when he said during a debate that the DNC hacker "could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” It’s not fake news.
    • This shows Mueller has been doing consequential work, not just sniffing around the White House looking for an excuse to indict Trump.
    • President Trump is either woefully ignorant, or deliberately lying, about the scope of Kremlin influence. This was a major Kremlin operation.


    Why it matters:


    • It will now be even harder for Trump to fire Mueller. Capitol Hill already would have gone crazy if Trump tried that. But after Mueller has done such substantive work — even earning the lavish praise of Trump lawyer John Dowd — it’s impossible to imagine Trump getting away with firing him.
    • The fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave a press conference is significant. It was a major vote of confidence in the Mueller probe: This is Rosenstein saying he’s proud of this work, and fully supports it.
    • It's also a notable show of independence by Rosenstein — a Heisman to the White House.




    Social manipulation — at scale
    Tech was a big loser in Mueller's stunning narrative, which showed how easily the big platforms were gamed. Instagram, owned by Facebook, was a key tool:

    • The indictment "underscores how thoroughly social-media companies like Facebook and Twitter were played by Russian propagandists, AP Tech Writers Matt O'Brien and Mae Anderson write:
    • Why it matters: "t's not clear if the companies have taken sufficient action to prevent something similar from happening again."
    • "The indictment ... underscores that the problem wasn't just 'bots' — i.e., automated social-media accounts — but human conspirators who fine-tuned propaganda and built online relationships with American activists."
    • "[P]rosecutors allege that Russian criminals used PayPal as a primary conduit to transfer money for general expenses and to buy Facebook ads aimed at influencing voters."
    • From the N.Y. Times: "In mid-October [2016], Woke Blacks, an Instagram account run by the Internet Research Agency, carried the message 'hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.'"
    • Statement from Joel Kaplan, Facebook's vice president of global public policy: "We know we have more to do to prevent against future attacks ... We're making significant investments, including increasing the number of people working on security from 10,000 to 20,000 this year."


    An illuminating take on the indictment came from Michael McFaul of Stanford, who was ambassador to Russia under President Obama, talking to Nicolle Wallace from Munich on MSNBC:

    • "The Internet Research Agency is run by a close, personal friend of Vladimir Putin. They would have never undertaken ... this audacious operation without the blessing of the Kremlin. And nothing in Russia happens without Vladimir Putin being involved."
    • "[T]he indictment was careful. But, from my point of view, ... this was an operation orchestrated by Vladimir Putin."
    • The Justice Department clearly concluded that whatever sources and methods might have been exposed in the startlingly detailed indictment, it was worth it.
    • "[T]he first thing we should say is three cheers to the FBI and to ... Robert Mueller and to everybody that was involved in this — and probably more than just the FBI. This was an incredible achievement, and that will get people's attention ... That's an instance of deterrence."
    • "We were attacked. Our sovereignty was violated. Spies came into our country."



    I wouldn't want to be this guy
    [S]tarting in or around June 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, posing online as U.S. persons, communicated with a real U.S. person affiliated with a Texas-based grassroots organization. During the exchange, Defendants and their co-conspirators learned from the real U.S. person that they should focus their activities on 'purple states like Colorado, Virginia & Florida.' After that exchange, Defendants and their co-conspirators commonly referred to targeting 'purple states' in directing their efforts.
    — From Mueller's Russian indictment

    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  14. #1934
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    NYT'S PETER BAKER: "In 13 months in office, Mr. Trump has made little if any public effort to rally the nation to confront Moscow for its intrusion or to defend democratic institutions against continued disruption. His administration has at times called out Russia or taken action, and even Mr. Trump's national security adviser, speaking in Germany on Saturday, called evidence of Russian meddling 'incontrovertible.' But the administration has been left to respond without the president's leadership.


    "'It is astonishing to me that a president of the United States would take this so lightly or see it purely through the prism of domestic partisanship,' said Daniel Fried, a career diplomat under presidents of both parties who is now at the Atlantic Council. He said it invariably raised questions about whether Mr. Trump had something to hide. 'I have no evidence that he's deliberately pulling his punches because he has to, but I can't dismiss it. No president has raised those kinds of questions.'" http://nyti.ms/2EQXclh

    REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CALIF.)
    talking about the Russia indictment with DANA BASH on CNN'S "STATE OF THE UNION" via Cristiano Lima: "It ought to put to rest for anyone, including the president who continues to call this a witch hunt, that the evidence is now overwhelming and unequivocal and we need to move to protect ourselves from Russian interference in elections that are coming up,' Schiff said."


    -- ON RUSSIA SANCTIONS:
    "'It is inexplicable that the president of the United States continues to sit on sanctions that Congress passed, that Congress wants enforce against Russia over this interference,' Schiff said. 'They can't point the finger back when they're sitting on sanctions that the Congress on a very bipartisan basis said need to be imposed." http://politi.co/2CtKSSA



    THE RUSSIA REPORT -- "The 21st-century Russian sleeper agent is a ***** with an American accent,"
    by WaPo's Anton Troianovski, Ros Helderman, Ellen Nakashima and Craig Timberg: "Not long after Marat Mindiyarov started working at the Internet Research Agency, the Russian ***** factory indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on Friday, he began hearing about the coveted 'Facebook Department.' There, workers could earn more money and work alongside a younger, hipper crowd. But to gain entry, job candidates had to prove they could seamlessly insinuate themselves into the American political conversation.The English-language test, which Mindiyarov said he took in December 2014, included a question about vegetarianism and another about Hillary Clinton and the prospect that the Democratic front-runner would win the U.S. presidential election.


    "Mindiyarov, 43 and a teacher by training, wrote that Clinton
    had a good chance of winning, and that it would be a remarkable feat, making her the country's first female president. 'You didn't pass the test,' the woman who administered the exam told him later that day, he said, although it wasn't clear if his shortcoming was imperfect English or failing to bash Clinton. Either way, Mindiyarov remained stuck with the less-glamorous job of commenting on articles posted to Russian websites and quit three months later from a job he compared to something from '1984,' the dystopian novel by George Orwell. 'Your first feeling, when you ended up there, was that you were in some kind of factory that turned lying, telling untruths, into an industrial assembly line,' Mindiyarov said." http://wapo.st/2o5ndUr




    Flummoxed Facebook helped Mueller



    Facebook cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller, quietly supplying Russian-placed material that was cited in Friday's blockbuster indictment.

    • A Facebook source tells me: "[T]he level of detail in the indictment wouldn’t have been possible without the close cooperation of Facebook, particularly the details about the communication between IRA [Russians' Internet Research Agency] pages and unwitting Trump campaign staffers and volunteers about rallies in Florida.”



    But Mueller's revelations have made Facebook an even bigger target:


    • Gizmodo Media Group CEO Raju Narisetti, an online favorite of media types, tweeted that Facebook and its photo-sharing service Instagram are "Unindicted, Facilitating and Abetting Co-Conspirators."
    • A front-page N.Y. Times story today ("To Create Rifts, Russians Liked Facebook Most") points out that in Mueller's indictment, "Facebook and Instagram were mentioned 41 times ... Twitter was referred to nine times, YouTube once and the electronic payments company PayPal 11 times."
    • Facebook V.P. of ads Rob Goldman went rogue on Twitter andclaimed (but later walked back): "I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal."
    • Goldman also tweeted: "The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election. We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump [sic] and the election."
    • President Trump applauded: "The Fake News Media never fails. Hard to ignore this fact from the Vice President of Facebook Ads, Rob Goldman!"


    Facebook executives privately express frustration about the scrutiny: They know media companies have incentive to whack them.


    • Facebook has felt unfairly singled out. But now its subsidiary Instagram is being pulled in, too.
    • A Facebook official told me: "What we can do is work overtime to address the issues with our platform. And we’re doing it. You saw it’s what Mark’s 2018 resolution is — fix what’s broken."


    What’s next: This isn’t an ephemeral story.


    • Facebook has too many forces incentivized to intensify scrutiny: media companies, who feel duped by its takeover of the ad market and readers’ time; liberal activists, who blame it for Trump winning; Mueller, who knows it played a role in Trump’s election; and politicians, who will respond to the aforementioned trends.


    Hard truth: You are to blame, too. One of the Russians named in Mueller's indictment emailed a family member: "I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people.”


    • We live in era of blaming others. But the Mueller indictment makes it clear that many 2016 voters didn't pay attention to what they read, shared or reacted to. So they were easy prey. Still are. Nothing has really changed.



    Facebook has traditionally been a reactive company. But it’s trying to become more proactive, Axios media maestro Sara Fischer writes:


    • It’s learning that it needs to focus on communicating its strengths and weaknesses in preparation for a crisis.


    Facebook was the first to respond to Mueller’s indictment. It’s taken a proactive stance on Russia, specifically, while its competitors have been more silent.


    • Facebook said for the first time in reaction to Mueller’s indictment that it’s working with the FBI’s task force to get to the bottom of the Russian manipulation saga.
    • It also reiterated commitments to doubling its security staff.


    Facebook recently took proactive messaging positions by admitting that its platform may not be beneficial to consumers’ health in some cases.


    • It also conceded to Wall Street that it may lose money in the short-term by tweaking its algorithm to reduce time spent on its platform to create more “meaningful” engagements, instead of being a time-guzzling machine.


    It’s not surprising that Russian actors took advantage of Facebook’s platform:


    • Facebook is an easier target. According to Parse.ly, a digital measurement company that monitors platform referrals to news sites, Facebook was much more likely to drive traffic to national news stories as of last year than Google, because its algorithm favored content that was highly-engaging, which is typically emotionally-driven.
    • Because of this, Facebook plays a more communal role in the internet ecosystem than Google, and thus would make it easier for Russian bad actors to identify and target groups of people with different viewpoints.
    • Google has been managing nefarious content on its platform for a while. For years, it’s been publishing “Bad Ads” reports that detail the actions it takes on bad actors trying to monetize on its site. It's had practice communicating about the way it deals with bad ads and bad actors.
    • The bulk of Facebook’s revenue comes from display adverting that is centered around content shared by friends, family and brands. The majority of Google’s revenue come from search advertising, which is mostly coming from recommendations from businesses.


    Bottom line: Most — but not all — top Facebook officials know they have real issues, not just P.R. issues. But after a decade of people drooling over them, change is hard.


    Ads were expressly pro-Trump, anti-Clinton
    From Mueller's indictment, here are examples of Russians' political
    "advertisements on U.S. social media and other online sites expressly advocating for the election of then-candidate Trump or expressly opposing Clinton":



    Justice Department Special Counsel's Office

    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  15. #1935
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    Default Re: The Trump Presidency

    A plea deal for the former Trump deputy campaign manager, and agreement to testify against Manafort, will likely result in a reduction in sentence, (if he were found guilty), of 10 years + to about 18 months.


    Report: Rick Gates to Plead Guilty, Testify Against Manafort



    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-polit...y-plea-mueller
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

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