Wednesday, April 12, 2017

4.12.17 - Ex-MI6 chief accuses Donald Trump | Trump says he has ‘confidence’ in FBI Director Comey but it’s ‘not too late’ to fire him - WP | (UPDATED) James Comey Helped Elect Donald Trump, But Could He Now Be His Greatest Foe? | 'It's not too late' to get rid of FBI Director James Comey, Trump says - ABC News | Americans are concerned by Trump’s Russian links

Ex-MI6 chief accuses Donald Trump of secretly borrowing from Russia to keep his property empire afloat during the ... - The Sun


Trump says he has ‘confidence’ in FBI Director Comey but it’s ‘not too late’ to fire him


M.N.: If Trump replaces Comey with his own man, you can say the FBI's "Trump Investigation", with all its problems and deficiencies, "good- by", and maybe say to the potential and fledgling dictatorship, "hello', despite the many safeguards. 
I think Comey is politically smart and skillful enough to prevent this, but with Trump, you never know for sure. 
The Independent Commission and the Independent Prosecutor are the solutions and the answers. The timely, well investigated and founded FBI Report, at least preliminary, would, needless to say, aid the inquiries and facilitate the process of finding the truth. 


Trump Expresses Confidence In FBI Director

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President Trump offered up a mixed review of FBI Director James Comey in a new interview with Fox Business.
Trump told the business network’s Maria Bartiromo that he still has confidence in Comey, but he blamed the Obama administration appointee for keeping Hillary Clinton out of jail, and he said “it’s not too late” to fire him.
“No, it’s not too late [to fire Comey], but, you know, I have confidence in him. We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be interesting,” Trump told Bartiromo.
As FBI director, Comey is overseeing an investigation into whether several former Trump advisers had improper ties to members of the Russian government. On Tuesday, it was reported that the FBI and Justice Department obtained a warrant from a secret federal court last summer to conduct electronics surveillance on Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign. (RELATED: FBI Obtained Surveillance Warrant Against Former Trump Adviser)
Trump has said he did not know Page and that neither he nor his campaign had improper relations with the Kremlin.
While Trump says he has confidence in Comey, he also took several overt jabs at the FBI director over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
“When Jim Comey came out he saved Hillary Clinton, people don’t realize that. He saved her life. When he was reading those charges she was guilty of every charge, and then he said she was essentially okay,” Trump said.
He was referring to a July 5 press conference in which Comey announced that he would be recommending that the Justice Department not charge Clinton with any crimes for mishandling classified information on her private email server.
Comey has become unpopular with both parties of late. Many Republicans believe he went too easy on Clinton. They also view him as an enemy of sorts because he is overseeing the Trump-Russia probe.
Democrats are unhappy with Comey because of his decision to re-open the Clinton email investigation late in the presidential campaign after emails were found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Many Clinton campaign officials blame Comey’s late action for swaying the election to Trump.
Asked by Bartiromo why, given Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, Trump has not fired him, the Republican said: “Well, because I want to give everybody a good, fair chance.”
“Director Comey was very, very good to Hillary Clinton, that I can tell you. If he weren’t, she would be right now going to trial,” he added.
And asked if he plans to push for a case against Clinton, Trump demurred.
“I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about positive.”
Trump also doubled down on his claims last month that Obama ordered wiretaps against him.
“Perhaps I didn’t know how right I was, because nobody knew the extent of it,” Trump said.
“You look at the extent of the surveillance, me and so many other people, it’s terrible.”
WATCH:
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(UPDATED) James Comey Helped Elect Donald Trump, But Could He Now Be His Greatest Foe? – The Moderate Voice

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There is little doubt that American intelligence agencies have long believed that Donald Trump’s inner circle and perhaps the man himself aided and abetted Russian efforts to throw the 2016 presidential election. How long they have believed that is germane because it helps explain why the Russia scandal that now engulfs the White House has taken so long to come to a boil.
The conduct of the FBI is hugely relevant in this regard because it is the lead investigative agency on domestic intelligence concerns, not the Justice Department or CIA, let alone congressional intelligence committees, and the deportment of its director, James Comey, raises troubling questions.
Let’s be clear from the jump that I’m not suggesting Comey is a Russian agent or is in the bag for Trump. He’s not, but he doesn’t have to be because his actions — and inactions — behind the scenes and publicly arguably were the coup de grâce that enabled the least qualified man in modern presidential history to improbably beat an unpopular but eminently qualified opponent. At this point, it matters not that Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by nearly three million popular votes. There will be no redo.
The consequences of Trump’s Electoral College victory have been disastrous, and he’s only been in office less than three months, while getting to the bottom of the Russia scandal may go far toward determining how long we have to live under the Trump kleptocracy.
§
As early as 2013, U.S. intelligence agencies were aware of contacts by Trump’s inner circle with Russians with ties to the Kremlin’s intelligence services, as well as Trump’s own dealings with Russians, including mobster Felix Sater, and his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A timeline of the FBI’s involvement in the Russia scandal — that is, the information we have on which to judge Comey and the bureau — has slowly come into focus. This timeline is by no means complete, and there are outlier accounts, notably one in Newsweek magazine, but there is a consensus of a sort as detailed in a recent New York Times story, among several others, that this is what has happened over the last 10 months:
* In early June of 2016, the CIA concludes in an internal report that Russia is actively engaged in meddling in the presidential election, and that includes the goal of getting Trump into the White House, not merely disrupting the U.S. political system.
* On July 5, Comey rebukes Clinton for being “extremely careless” but recommends no criminal charges in connection with her handling of classified information, including emails on a private server, as secretary of state, lifting a cloud from her presidential campaign.
* On July 19, Trump is nominated for president at the Republican National Convention after he and surrogates declare, in what becomes an oft-repeated campaign theme in the coming weeks, that Clinton should be “in jail” for her use of the private email server.
* By late July, the FBI has opened a counterintelligence investigation to examine possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but its existence is kept secret even from high ranking members of Congress colloquially known as the Gang of Eight.
* In the course of that investigation, the FBI obtains and then renews a FISA Court warrant allowing it to monitor Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, whom it believes is in touch with Russian agents and had been used in previous years by spies for Moscow to obtain information.
* By August, the CIA concludes that unnamed Trump campaign advisers might be working with the Russians to interfere in the election by sabotaging the Clinton campaign through a multi-pronged attack approved by Putin that includes email hacking, disinformation and false news stories.
* By late August, CIA Director John Brennan is so concerned about Trump-Russia links that he initiates urgent, one-on-one briefings with the Gang of Eight — four Democrats and four Republicans — who by law are to be briefed on important intelligence matters.
* On August 25, Brennan briefs Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, then the highest ranking Democrat. With Congress in recess, Brennan explains to Reid over a secure phone link that the FBI and not the CIA would have to take the lead in what is a domestic intelligence matter.
* In late August, Reid writes to Comey without mentioning the CIA briefing. He expresses great concern over what he calls mounting evidence “of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.”
* By September, intelligence shows that although Republican sites also are being hacked by Russian hackers, only Democratic emails are being publicized by Putin ally Wikileaks, but the FBI apparently still has not found conclusive evidence of Trump-Russia connections.
* On September 22, two other Gang of Eight members — Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the ranking Senate and House intelligence committee Democrats — release a statement stating that Russian intelligence agencies are “making a serious and concerted effort” to influence the election.
* In late September, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, at the behind-the-scenes urging of the Obama administration, is asked to warn state election officials of possible attempts to penetrate their computer systems by Russian hackers. McConnell resists, questioning the veracity of the intelligence.
* On September 25, McConnell writes to state election officials. He does not mention the Russian connection, but warns of unnamed “malefactors” who might seek to disrupt elections through online intrusions. Reid and Gang of Eight Democrat Nancy Pelosi and Republican Paul Ryan also sign the letter.
* On October 28, Comey tells Congress that the FBI is reopening its Clinton investigation because of emails found on a computer belonging to former Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose estranged wife is a top Clinton aide, throwing the Clinton campaign into crisis only 10 days before the election.
* On October 30, Reid writes an angry letter to Comey accusing him of a “double standard” in renewing the Clinton investigation so close to the election while sitting on “explosive information” on ties between Trump and Russia. Comey’s response, if any, is not known.
* On November 6, Comey announces that after a intensive review of the “new” emails, they were found to be either personal or duplicates of those previously examined, and that the FBI had not changed the conclusions it reached in July in exonerating Clinton.
* On November 8, Trump defeats Clinton decisively in the Election College but loses the popular vote in a close race that pundits widely agree was decided by voters who were influenced by Trump’s repeated characterization of Clinton as being a criminal and Comey’s October 28 announcement.
* By early January, the CIA and FBI have “high confidence” that Russia was trying to help Trump through a hacking campaign, while the NSA has only “moderate confidence.” The agencies also believe that Russia gained election board computer access in a number of states.
* On January 5, President Obama’s national security director releases a report stating that the CIA, FBI and NSA believe that Russians hacked Democratic email accounts and then passed the emails on to WikiLeaks to try to tip the election to Trump because he would be friendlier to Russian interests.
* On January 20, Trump becomes president. He insists that the Russia scandal is “false news” while naming several people to key positions who had secret contacts with Russians involved in the election meddling effort, including his national security director, who is soon cashiered and later threatens to tell what he knows.
* On March 20, Comey in effect calls Trump a liar in publicly acknowledging for the first time in testimony before Congress that the FBI’s investigation into Russian election meddling includes Trump associates’ contacts with Russians who were working to sabotage Clinton.
Meanwhile, on April 7, Spanish authorities arrested Pyotr Levashov at the request of U.S. authorities, who believe he is one of the Russian election meddlers who distributed pro-Trump “fake news” to try to influence voters. Levashov, who was vacationing in Barcelona with his family, has been identified by private cyber-crime analysts as possibly the man behind the moniker Peter Severa (Peter of the North in Russian), who under that name has specialized in employing spambot engines that can infect tens of thousands of computers with billions of spam messages.
If a Spanish court agrees to the U.S. request to extradite Levashov, he would become the first person charged in connection with the election meddling.
§
Why did Americans go to the polls on November 8 without knowing what was really going on? And why did Comey remain silent until over four months after the election?
The short answer to these questions is that while intelligence agencies raced in the final weeks of the campaign to understand the scope of the Russian meddling, the Democrats and Republicans who were privy to classified intelligence briefings saw the intelligence through an acutely political lens — and consequently missed the elephant in the room — while sparring endlessly over whether the intelligence showed that the Russians were helping Trump.
President Obama feared that a public statement about Russia’s pro-Trump efforts would look like a “partisan” attempt to help Clinton, while Comey separately had a similar concern. In Obama’s case, this was an enormous failure of leadership, while in Comey’s case it doesn’t add up because the FBI director exhibited no such restraint in telling Congress 10 days before the election that an investigation into Clinton’s emails had been reopened.
The least worst rationale for Comey’s actions is this: The FBI director was still smarting from attacks from the Republican leadership and relentless criticism from candidate Trump for closing the initial Clinton investigation without drawing blood and believed he had no choice but to let Congress know of developments that he was unable to walk back eight days later when they turned out to not be new at all but almost certainly gave Trump an 11th hour bump.
These answers and explanations are deeply unsatisfactory because of that elephant in the room:
The Russian effort to elect Trump was an unprecedented assault from the U.S.’s greatest foe on the bedrock of American democracy and is the most explosive scandal since Soviet spies stole atomic bomb secrets over 70 years ago.
That should have overridden the partisan nattering, but did not. The consequent failure of leadership in the White House, FBI and Congress was immense, and something insightful historians will be dining out on for years to come.
Yet it may turn out that Comey, who would seem to be the good guy turned villain in this drama, could become its hero.
This is because Republicans have build a protective wall around Trump that not even the supposedly nonpartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee may be able to surmount in investigating the Russia scandal. The House intel committee, of course, has been deeply compromised because of its now recused chairman’s efforts to not just protect Trump, but to be a willing pawn in the White House’s ham-handed efforts to push back against the scandal and try to change the subject, which certainly was a factor in the April 6 cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base...


















First Read's Morning Clips: The Latest in the Russia Investigation - NBCNews.com
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 08:52:00 -0400

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First Read's Morning Clips: The Latest in the Russia Investigation
NBCNews.com
The latest in the Russia saga, from the Washington Post: "The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia ...
FBI monitored former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page onRussiaCNN
Russia investigation is back in the spotlightThe Boston Globe
FBI obtained warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page over RussialinksThe Independent
The Guardian -Newsweek
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'It's not too late' to get rid of FBI Director James Comey, Trump says
ABC News
"No, it's not too late," Trump said. "But you know I have confidence in him. We'll see what happens. It is going to be interesting." Trump went on to hit Comey for his actions in the Clinton email investigation, saying he was "very, very good to her ...
President Trump says Hillary Clinton would be going to trial if not for FBIDirector James ComeyRare.us
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Donald Trump sounds sick of Steve Bannon
CNN
One of the most important truisms of the Trump presidency is that no one gets bigger than the boss. It's Donald Trump and the Trumpettes, notDonald Trump with Steve Bannon. Donald Trump shares top billing with absolutely no one. You can hear Trump's ...
Is Trump backing away from Steve Bannon?USA TODAY
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Putin: US-Russia relations getting worse under Trump
Raw Story
Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the level of trust between his country and the U.S. has dropped further since the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump. When asked by a journalist from Russian TV channel Mir about the state of Russian-U.S. ...

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Americans are concerned by Trump’s Russian links

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Ian Penny, World & Nation Editor • April 7, 2017 •
The Trump administration is suspected of having ties to Russian politicians and business leaders. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Hollywood has a knack for the outlandish.
In the 1962 film “The Manchurian Candidate,” Frank Sinatra’s character Maj. Bennett Marco uncovers a chilling Soviet plot to install a Communist president in the White House via brainwashing and assassination.
Fifty-five years later, many American citizens and policymakers fear an equally bizarre plot has unfolded involving President Donald Trump and Russian government and business leaders.
“The evidence that has come out in the open source media so far strongly suggests that there could possibly have been some collusion between the Russians and the Trump administration in the run up to the election,” said Assistant Professor of Political Science Robert Duncan. “We know that the Russians were involved in hacking databases, releasing classified information that they stole from various databases (and) working through WikiLeaks and Julian Assange to give it a patina of legitimacy.”
There is also a list of connections between the Trump administration and Russia, independently mapped out by reporters Bonnie Berkowitz and Denise Lu of The Washington Post and by senior foreign affairs correspondent Michael Crowley in Politico Magazine, which raises questions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn each met with Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the U.S., during the 2016 presidential campaign. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil Corp., had dealings with Russian state-owned energy firm Gazprom and majority state-owned oil company Rosneft.
Three Trump campaign advisers, Carter Page, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, have ties to Russia through political, diplomatic and business channels. Even Trump’s real estate company, the Trump Organization, and his children have concrete and alleged Russian connections.
The American public has taken notice.
According to a March 24 Quinnipiac University poll, 41 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned” about Trump’s relationship with Russia and 22 percent said they were “somewhat concerned.” When it comes to Russia’s election interference, 46 percent of respondents said the issue was “very important.”
At the moment, though, Trump’s relationship with Russia is all smoke and no fire. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, one of Congress’ Gang of Eight privy to classified intelligence briefings, has said there is currently no direct evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia.
“I don’t think we can say anything definitively at this point,” said Schiff to CNN. “We are still at the very early stages of the investigation. The only thing I can say is that it would be irresponsible for us not to get to the bottom of this.”
Duncan, who served as an Air Force intelligence officer in the 1960s and worked at the CIA for 26 years, believes the actions of the Trump administration are revealing.
“Based upon what I know about the intelligence business and how agents are recruited, how they’re manipulated, how the intelligence services work — both ours as well as the Russians — I think Trump is behaving in a manner that would suggest the Russians have something on him,” said Duncan. “I don’t know what that is, and I don’t know for sure that’s the case.”
With the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency and the results of the 2016 election in question, how the investigation is handled is crucial.
“Let the American people know what the heck is going on,” said Duncan. “Until that’s done, there will be a cloud over this administration. If it does come to light that indeed there have been infractions, (Trump) may be forced to resign, he may be impeached. I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball. But it’s not looking very good right now for him.”
Currently, according to USA Today, five congressional committees are investigating Russia’s election interference and Flynn’s ties to Russia as national security adviser. Doubts exist, however, whether a Republican Congress will investigate these issues in an impartial manner.
Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, was a member of Trump’s transition team. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was an adviser to his campaign.
According to the Quinnipiac University Poll, 66 percent of respondents support establishing an independent commission to investigate Trump’s links to Russia, a move that Duncan supports.
“We need to take (the investigation) out of the hands of partisan politics,” said Duncan.
The allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. political process may be part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy to sow discord in the Western democracies and boost Russia’s geopolitical status.
“Understanding the Russian mindset, understanding what Putin is trying to do … his dream has been to destroy the West and Western alliances,” said Duncan. “We see it with Brexit, with the breakup of the European Union. We see it with the Russian involvement in the French election, the German election, the U.S. election, creating disharmony and cracking the resolve of the West, his enemy.
“He’s doing a damn good job of it in my book, and that’s scary. I don’t think the American people realize the danger we are in right now.”
Read the whole story

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Sessions Is Wrong to Take Science Out of Forensic Science

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Is Stephen Bannon getting pushed out? The latest signs point to Yes.

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Stephen K. Bannon. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
THE MORNING PLUM:
Washington is abuzz with chatter about President Trump’s latest comments concerning his chief ideologist, Stephen K. Bannon, which suggest he may be on his way out. Trump said this:
“I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late,” Trump said. “I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve. I’m my own strategist and it wasn’t like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary.”
He ended by saying, “Steve is a good guy, but I told them to straighten it out or I will.”
Bannon only got involved in his campaign “very late,” Trump says. But as Aaron Blake points out: “Bannon joined the campaign in August for the lion’s share of the general election, taking on the role of campaign CEO.” Indeed, Bannon reportedly co-wrote Trump’s dystopian convention speech, which he described as “an unvarnished declaration of the basic principles of his populist and nationalist movement.” Bannon’s blueprint currently remains the touchstone for Trumpist governance, if you can call it that.
Which raises a question: If Bannon is indeed seeing his influence wane, is there any evidence that the stench of Bannonism itself is any less prevalent in this White House? Perhaps Bannon is getting pushed out, but will that change the fact that the Trump agenda continues to reflect the ugliest aspects of Bannon’s nativist nationalism in as pronounced a fashion as ever?
White House advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon are in the midst of a feud — one that's being waged in the media. The Fix's Callum Borchers explains how it's typical of the inner turmoil that's plagued the Trump administration from the start. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)
White House advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon are in the midst of a feud — one that's being waged in the media. The Fix's Callum Borchers explains how it's typical of the inner turmoil that's plagued the Trump administration from the start. How the Bannon-Kushner feud sums up the Trump administration's inner turmoil (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)
The Trump administration is still fighting in court to try to rescue his ban on refugees (including from Syria) and migrants from Muslim-majority countries — even after Trump bombed Syria out of professed concern for Syrian civilians victimized by the government. The shift to mass deportations is underway: Anecdotal tales are coming in about parents who are yanking kids from day care out of fear of removal and about longtime residents with no other offenses who are getting deported. People who previously were low priorities for deportation now fear that routine check-ins with immigration officials will result in their removal. Trump’s vast expansion of the pool of targets for deportation is creating precisely the climate of fear — and, perhaps, the self-deportations — that it is designed to create.
Meanwhile, Politico reports that the administration is demanding that both funding for the Mexican wall and language restricting funding to sanctuary cities — thus punishing localities that don’t enforce the federal immigration crackdown — must be included in the upcoming spending bill, which could cause a government shutdown. CNN reports that immigration hard-liners are in the process of getting installed in key immigration posts. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions just announced that prosecutors must try to charge border crossers with a felony (even though the move’s impact on deportation efforts remains unclear), while declaring: “this is the Trump era.” Reminder: If Bannon does get pushed out, Sessions remains in the perfect position to carry out Trumpism’s worst impulses in the areas of immigration and criminal justice.
It is sometimes argued that Bannon’s decline can be seen in the fact that his “economic nationalism” is losing influence inside the White House. But this misses the fact that there has never been any evidence that his “economic” nationalism has led him to try to get Trump to adopt any particular policies. Bannon allies made a great show of leaking his disdain for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s health-care plan (when it collapsed), but the fact remains that the White House threw its lot in with Ryanism at a critical moment, backing a health plan that would roll back the coverage of millions, including untold numbers of lower-income Trump voters. Bannon pushed that plan among congressional Republicans, and if he has any populist health-care alternative to the Ryanism he supposedly disdains, we haven’t seen it.
We are supposed to believe that Trumpist economic nationalism — as shaped by Bannon — embraces a heterodox combination of hard-line immigration restrictionism and pro-worker trade policies and a decisive ideological break with Ryanism when it comes to spending and social insurance for the elderly. But the ambition of Trump’s actual trade agenda is withering, and we don’t even know whether it will help workers. And while Bannon early on talked a good game about infrastructure spending, there’s no indication of any actual plan beyond a tax break and privatization scheme. Meanwhile, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney declined to say in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood whether Trump would veto a bill that contained the sort of cuts to Medicare that Ryan has long championed (and Trump opposed).
Perhaps Bannon objects to that posture on Medicare, and maybe future reporting will establish this. But the point is that there’s no particular reason to believe he has any problem with it. The strains of Bannon’s nationalism that have turned up in actual policy are mainly the nativist ones. And whatever happens to Bannon, there’s no indication that those strains won’t continue to shape Trump’s agenda.
*****************************************************
Their private assessment contradicts … Trump’s allegations that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice broke the law by requesting the “unmasking” of US individuals’ identities. Trump had claimed the matter was a “massive story.” … One congressional intelligence source described the requests made by Rice as “normal and appropriate” for officials who serve in that role to the president.
As always, the White House and (some) Republicans will continue going to extraordinary lengths to prop up Trump’s original absurdities (that Obama wiretapped his phones), no matter how much more ridiculous those efforts get.
* FBI OBTAINED WARRANT TO MONITOR TRUMP ADVISER: The Post scoops that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page last summer:
The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials. This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents.
National security analyst Susan Hennessey tweeted out the legal provision dictating what investigators needed to show in order to demonstrate “probable cause to believe Page was acting an agent of a foreign power.” It’s eye-opening stuff, though Page strongly maintains his innocence.
* KANSAS RACE SIGNALS TROUBLE FOR GOP: Republican Ron Estes beat Democrat James Thompson by only seven points last night in a deep red Kansas district that Trump won by 27 points. Nate Cohn summarizes:
The small and imperfect lesson of Tuesday’s special election in Kansas is that the Republicans might be in quite a bit of trouble. Mr. Estes’s seven-point victory is extremely poor for this district. … These are the circumstances that often end in a so-called wave election, like the ones that swept Democrats into power in 2006 and out of the House in 2010. We might well be heading for another. At a minimum, the Kansas result is fully consistent with that possibility.
As Cohn notes, it is easy to over-interpret the meaning of special elections. But there are other upcoming ones — notably in Georgia next week — that will begin to tell us how real this is.
* CLOSE KANSAS OUTCOME COULD BOOST DEM RECRUITMENT: The New York Times’ overview of last night’s results in Kansas makes an important point: The unexpectedly strong Democratic showing last night “will galvanize Democrats’ candidate-recruitment efforts for next year’s campaign.”
Democratic recruitment will also likely get a boost if Trump’s approval numbers remain in the toilet, and it may start showing itself if candidates begin entering races in districts that might seem relatively safe for Republicans — another dynamic worth watching.
* REPUBLICANS WORRY ABOUT 2018: McClatchy’s Alex Roarty talks to GOP strategists about last night’s results and the signs they are seeing in other special elections:
Two Republicans strategists familiar with polling data in two of the special election races say the main problem is … the Democratic base is so energized that even voters who rarely pay attention to politics are suddenly engaged. … Another House Republican strategist said the Democratic base is so motivated, it doesn’t make sense to run attack ads because it will further incite those voters.
As another GOP strategist puts it: “At the end of the day, the national environment has to get better for us not to lose the House.”
* GOP POLLSTER WHACKS TRUMP ON SYRIA: Republican pollster David Winston points out to the Washington Examiner that the polling has shown only bare majority support for Trump’s missile strikes on Syria, and blames this on Trump’s failure to explain the rationale:
“They are not good numbers. … He needs to realize that there is a level of explanation that he needs to do, particularly when you’re about to put American lives potentially at risk … when they hear something he has done, 60 percent of the country starts off with the viewpoint of, ‘That guy I don’t like.'”
Trump’s abysmal approval numbers make it doubly necessary for him to explain his policies. Of course, the idea that Trump has actual policy rationales at all is questionable to begin with.

1:46 PM 4/12/2017 - Trump News Review


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former FBI agents power influence - Google News: The Russia story just keeps getting worse for President Trump - CNN


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The Russia story just keeps getting worse for President Trump
CNN
"The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page's communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in ...

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former FBI agents power influence - Google News
Russia influence in Eastern Europe - Google News: Putin and the MSM just learned a painful lesson ... Trump played them like a fiddle - Conservative Review




Putin and the MSM just learned a painful lesson ... Trump played them like a fiddle
Conservative Review
From the American missile strikes against the Assad regime in Syria to the inclusion of Montenegro to NATO, Putin massively miscalculated in his strategy to use his state-media and other influence and intelligence operations to support President Trump ...

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Russia influence in Eastern Europe - Google News
Emails Investigation Reopening - Google News: GOP wants Trump to reopen criminal probe into ex-IRS exec Lerner - Washington Times


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GOP wants Trump to reopen criminal probe into ex-IRS exec Lerner
Washington Times
Ms. Lerner was a central figure in the investigation, though her exact role remains in dispute. Republicans say she helped orchestrate the targeting, and released emails showing animus toward conservative groups and the GOP. But the Obama ...



Emails Investigation Reopening - Google News
trump criminal investigation - Google News: GOP wants Trump to reopen criminal probe into ex-IRS exec Lerner - Washington Times


Washington Times



GOP wants Trump to reopen criminal probe into ex-IRS exec Lerner
Washington Times
After the May 2013 revelation of the targeting, President Obama called for an investigation. The Ways and Means Committee issued its official referral of Ms. Lerner to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation nearly a year later 2014. Along ...

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trump criminal investigation - Google News
organized crime and terrorism - Google News: Sessions Directs U.S. Attorneys to Focus on Immigration - The Crime Report




Sessions Directs U.S. Attorneys to Focus on Immigration
The Crime Report
A U.S. Attorney who served in the Obama administration asks, Which prosecutors and agents does he want to divert from the growing threats liketerrorism, cybercrime, the opioid and heroin trade, organized crime and cartel activity? Subscribe or log ...



organized crime and terrorism - Google News
Russian Intelligence, organized crime and political interference - Google News: FISA Warrant Proves Deep State Surveillance of Trump Campaign - The New American




FISA Warrant Proves Deep State Surveillance of Trump Campaign
The New American
In the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the recent presidential election, much of the focus has been on the alleged connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. ... His crime? He had informed the president of the fact that in ...

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Russian Intelligence, organized crime and political interference - Google News
calls for Comey's resignation - Google News: Alarming new evidence of Team Trump's ties with Russia | Moran - NJ.com


NJ.com



Alarming new evidence of Team Trump's ties with Russia | Moran
NJ.com
He has not lifted a finger to prevent Russia from meddling in future elections, despite warnings from FBI Director James Comey that Putin intends to do just that. Page yesterday responded to the Post's ... -Michael Flynn was forced to resign as ...

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calls for Comey's resignation - Google News
trump electorate - Google News: Trump: We're not going further on Syria - Hot Air


The Daily Dot



Trump: We're not going further on Syria
Hot Air
Trump is not an interventionist by nature, and he's not going to transform into one overnight because (and this is more to the point) the electorateisn't interventionist either. Even if interventionism is the correct policy from a moral standpoint ...
Trump says U.S. won't go into Syria, talks 'beautiful chocolate cake' in new interviewThe Daily Dot

all 58 news articles »


trump electorate - Google News
Russia influence in Eastern Europe - Google News: Hungary 'Most Vulnerable' in Central Europe to Russian - Foreign Policy (blog)


Foreign Policy (blog)



Hungary 'Most Vulnerable' in Central Europe to Russian 
Foreign Policy (blog)
... detail just how vulnerable each country is to outside forces (namely,Russia) that seek to drag Central Eastern Europe away from the EU-NATO framework. Hungary, the report found, is the most vulnerable to hostile foreign influence, followed by ...



Russia influence in Eastern Europe - Google News
former FBI agents power influence - Google News: Former Tryon fire chief, council member charged with fraud - BlueRidgeNow.com




Former Tryon fire chief, council member charged with fraud
BlueRidgeNow.com
ASHEVILLE A federal indictment was unsealed in U.S. District Court today, charging Leroy Miller Jr., 51, and Joseph Samuel Davis, 42, both of Tryon, with federal program fraud conspiracy. The indictment also charges Miller with three additional ...



former FBI agents power influence - Google News
trump is politically immature - Google News: Dems Ask Trump if He Wants Assad Removed From Power - Newsmax




Dems Ask Trump if He Wants Assad Removed From Power
Newsmax
Two Democratic congressmen want to know if President Donald Trump's goal is to remove the Assad regime in Syria, The Hill is reporting. In a letter toTrump, Reps. Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania asked about his long-term ...

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trump is politically immature - Google News
trump is politically immature - Google News: Dems Ask Trump if He Wants Assad Removed From Power - Newsmax




Dems Ask Trump if He Wants Assad Removed From Power
Newsmax
Two Democratic congressmen want to know if President Donald Trump's goal is to remove the Assad regime in Syria, The Hill is reporting. In a letter toTrump, Reps. Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania asked about his long-term ...

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trump is politically immature - Google News
putin won US 2016 election - Google News: Amid doubts and recriminations, Putin meets with Tillerson - Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles Times



Amid doubts and recriminations, Putin meets with Tillerson
Los Angeles Times
Putin earlier said U.S.-Russian relations had badly deteriorated, despite Trump's friendly words for Putin during the election campaign, and suspicions among U.S. officials that Moscow helped Trump get elected. .... The payments detailed in the ledger ...
What Do Paul Manafort's Ties To Ukraine Mean? He Allegedly Received Off-The-Books PayoutsRomper

all 29 news articles »


putin won US 2016 election - Google News
trump as danger to National Security - Google News: Congress expands 'unmasking' probe amid questions over Rice role - Fox News


Fox News



Congress expands 'unmasking' probe amid questions over Rice role
Fox News
The House and Senate intelligence committees are expanding their investigation into the so-called unmasking controversy, Fox News has learned, to examine whether other candidates or lawmakers beyond President Trump's associates were affected ...

and more »


trump as danger to National Security - Google News
Donald Trump - Google News: Donald Trump is coming for your Social Security: How the GOP plans a bait and switch to cut taxes and pensions - Salon


Salon



Donald Trump is coming for your Social Security: How the GOP plans a bait and switch to cut taxes and pensions
Salon
It seems like a lifetime ago that Republican National Committee chief Reince Priebus brokered a meeting between the unexpected presidential nominee Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan to try iron out their differences. But it was just a little ...

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Donald Trump - Google News
Russian Intelligence services and international organized crime - Google News: Analysis: Winning the battle against the Gulf's dirty laundry - ArabianBusiness.com


ArabianBusiness.com



Analysis: Winning the battle against the Gulf's dirty laundry
ArabianBusiness.com
And the Dubai branch of Dutch Bank ABN Amro was fined $640,000 by Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), regulator of DubaiInternational Financial Centre (DIFC), in 2015 for perceived deficiencies in its anti-money laundering systems. .... A ...



Russian Intelligence services and international organized crime - Google News
former FBI agents power influence - Google News: Feds say a council member extorted NC town manager to help him pay bills - Charlotte Observer


Charlotte Observer



Feds say a council member extorted NC town manager to help him pay bills
Charlotte Observer
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, former Town Manager Joseph Davis conspired with council member Leroy Miller to funnel money to Miller via a town credit card. Both now face the ... Miller would solicit payments in person, or by phone, text or ...

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former FBI agents power influence - Google News
Putin Trump - Google News: Putin says trust erodes under Trump, Moscow icily receives Tillerson - Reuters


Reuters



Putin says trust erodes under Trump, Moscow icily receives Tillerson
Reuters
MOSCOW Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday trust had eroded between the United States and Russia under President Donald Trump, as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria. Any hope in ...
Trump Says Putin Is Partly to Blame for Syrian CrisisNew York Times
Putin: Trust between Russia and US is worse under TrumpPolitico
Trump warns Putin and clears up his administration's message on SyriaBusiness Insider
BBC News -CNBC -CBS News
all 4,849 news articles »


Putin Trump - Google News
Putin Trump - Google News: Putin says trust erodes under Trump, Moscow icily receives Tillerson - Reuters


Reuters



Putin says trust erodes under Trump, Moscow icily receives Tillerson
Reuters
MOSCOW Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday trust had eroded between the United States and Russia under President Donald Trump, as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria. Any hope in ...
Trump Says Putin Is Partly to Blame for Syrian CrisisNew York Times
Putin: Trust between Russia and US is worse under TrumpPolitico
Trump warns Putin and clears up his administration's message on SyriaBusiness Insider
BBC News -CNBC -CBS News
all 4,842 news articles »


Putin Trump - Google News
Russian Intelligence, organized crime and political interference - Google News: Full Interview: Julian Assange on Trump, DNC Emails, Russia, the CIA, Vault 7 & More - Democracy Now!


Democracy Now!



Full Interview: Julian Assange on Trump, DNC Emails, Russia, the CIA, Vault 7 & More
Democracy Now!
The leading private cybersecurity firms, including CrowdStrike, Mandiant and ThreatConnect, reviewed the evidence of the hack and conclude, with high certainty, that it was the work of APT 28 and APT 29, who are known to be Russian intelligence ...



Russian Intelligence, organized crime and political interference - Google News
Russian Intelligence services and organized crime - Google News: Full Interview: Julian Assange on Trump, DNC Emails, Russia, the CIA, Vault 7 & More - Democracy Now!


Democracy Now!



Full Interview: Julian Assange on Trump, DNC Emails, Russia, the CIA, Vault 7 & More
Democracy Now!
The leading private cybersecurity firms, including CrowdStrike, Mandiant and ThreatConnect, reviewed the evidence of the hack and conclude, with high certainty, that it was the work of APT 28 and APT 29, who are known to be Russian intelligence services.

and more »


Russian Intelligence services and organized crime - Google News

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