Remember, there was “a solid global health infrastructure when Obama left office in January 2017.”


When the United States is confronting a crisis, Donald Trump will almost always find a way to blame his predecessor, former President Barack Obama — even when it comes to coronavirus. But according to former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, the Obama Administration left Trump with a solid “global health infrastructure” when Obama left office in January 2017.

Trump has been widely criticized for his slow response to coronavirus, which he dismissed as less deadly than the seasonal flu for weeks before finally acknowledging the severity of what the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared to be a global pandemic. When NBC News reporter Kristen Welker asked Trump during a March 13 press conference if he “takes responsibility” for the lack of coronavirus testing in the U.S., the president responded, “No, I don’t take responsibility at all because we were given a set of circumstances — and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time.” Never mind the fact that Obama has been out of office for three years.

Rhodes, who served in the Obama Administration, didn’t hesitate to call Trump out during an appearance on MSNBC. Obama’s former deputy national security adviser told MSNBC’s David Gura, “What he said about testing is just completely false. It’s been fact-checked; it’s not the case that this, in any way, should have hampered their response. I think, importantly, that what Obama did leave Trump was a global health infrastructure that we had set up, informed by the lessons of the Ebola outbreak. And what we did is set up in the White House — in the National Security Council — a directorate, an office that was responsible for managing pandemics, managing global health threats.”

Rhodes went on to say, “That was shut down two years ago by Trump. And when you don’t have an office like that, you don’t have dedicated people inside the White House who are insuring that information is acted upon. When you see an outbreak in a place like Wuhan, China, you want people in the White House who are thinking about what needs to be done right away so that you don’t get behind the curve — which is what happened in this White House.”

Obama’s former deputy national security adviser explained that during the Ebola virus threat, his administration acted immediately.

“We deployed thousands of U.S. troops to Africa to help set up a medical infrastructure to contain the outbreak before it could get to the United States,” Rhodes recalled. “President Trump, instead of turning to experts, turned to his Twitter feed and tried to just enough to get himself through the news cycle while not preparing the nation for what is necessary here.”

raw story / MSNBC

Lying enabler Attorney General Barr needs to go


It took less than a day for Donald Trump to crap on Attorney General Bill Barr’s efforts to clean up the mess he made with his handling of the Roger Stone case. A whiny Barr on Thursday told ABC News that Trump’s tweets about the Department of Justice made his job “impossible” because they made it look like he was taking orders directly from the Trump whenever he made a decision. (and of course, he is)

Today Trump kept insisting that he had the absolute right to meddle in the Department Of Justice affairs in an early morning tweet.

“This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President Dictator, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” he wrote(lied). “Trump has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.”  the lyin’ sycophant said.

What the attorney general Barr is really saying is, ‘I know what Trump wants, I’m going to do exactly what Trump wants, I just wish he wouldn’t tweet about it because it is so embarrassing and humiliating,’.
The attorney general was facing a full-scale revolt within the Department of Justice as a result of the political interference, and over the personal influence by Donald Trump in favor of one of his friends and political cronies, Roger Stone.
The attorney general acknowledged in that interview extraordinarily that he personally had a role in overruling his line prosecutors and he offered no explanation, no justification whatsoever for this kind of interference in the prosecution.”

Barr needs to resign and if he doesn’t, he should be removed from office by Congress.


Let’s finally get rid of blowhard Rex

Ya Rex, you’ve had 8 years and you’ve FAILED!

Last Wednesday night, Rex Bohn was finally confronted directly about his bigotted comment that he made at a fundraiser last year. Bohn asked if a Mexican tamale dinner was authentic enough “to make you go out and steal hub caps,” using a tired old racist stereotype about Mexican people and crime.

Outrage has followed since Bohn’s racist slur, but he was adamant at the Wednesday night candidate forum that his “Hispanic friends” forgave him. “They know I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” he said.

Cliff Berkowitz, his opponent, was unforgiving of Rex’s half-ass apology, saying Bohn “should have apologized straight out.

Here are three great letters from the Times-Standard:

It is time to get rid of the 1st District incumbent

A county supervisor’s No. 1 job is to make decisions. Unfortunately, the 1st District incumbent has a long history of bad decisions. He supported such money pits as an untenable east-west Railroad, a potentially hazardous liquefied natural gas terminal, and an environmentally disastrous onshore wind farm. He appointed a climate denier to the planning department. When confronted on the incompetency

of a public defender, his response was to have lunch with the man and declare him a good guy. (He may be a good guy, but he was the wrong guy and letting him go cost the county $50,000. Other bad personnel decisions have cost us many thousands more.) He supports a plan that encourages large cannabis grows at the expense of mom-and-pop operations, which hurts our local economy (and benefits his son). He has failed to insist that the Humboldt County fair board comply with the Brown Act, which means the fair loses much-needed state funds. His motto of “Humboldt is open for business” risks turning our unique home into a sprawling mass of tract homes and chain stores.

I could go on. These are just a few of the reasons it is time to get rid of the incumbent and elect someone with integrity, someone who is fair, transparent, and has given 25 years of service to Humboldt County.

Please visit, then vote for Cliff Berkowitz on March 3. Debra Kaufman, Bayside

Vote Cliff Berkowitz for 1st District supervisor

I’ve heard it said many times that Rex is such a nice guy that he’d give you the shirt off his back — I cannot disagree with that. That very statement may be the reason for many of his decisions — he’s a pleaser and hates to disappoint.

I recall before a full municipal auditorium that he was touting the benefits of a Cal Pine liquefied natural gas plant on the bay — never mind the health effects of off-gassing or the fact that, if there were an accident, or in this day and age a terrorist attack, that most everything in a 5-mile radius would be incinerated. I believe that Cliff uses the “wisdom” of the people and not so much the promises of fast-talking out-of the- area lobbyists who have no skin in the game.

Eight years has been long enough to see we are getting nowhere; time to try a different perspective and approach.

First District voters — here’s your chance on March 3 to keep your eye on the ball, aim for the fence and hit it out of the park.

VOTE FOR CLIFF — more consensus, less drama. W.R. Engles, Eureka

Berkowitz has been champ for many local causes

I want to thank Cliff Berkowitz for running for first district supervisor. I first became acquainted with Cliff through his work with KHUM radio. He has been involved in our community and has been a champion for many local causes for more than 25 years.

During the power outages, he was a lifeline to my family and the community. The announcements that he made on KHUM helped us to stay connected to what was happening. We heard updates on where we could buy gas, get a generator, which grocery stores were open, etc.

I know that Cliff is concerned with climate change and are rising sea levels. He cares about our land, water and preserving the resources that may Humboldt County desirable. Cliff is a strong proponent of our trail systems. And Cliff will work hard for us to create jobs and housing.

This is his website: Thank you, Cliff!

Carrie Foster, Kneeland


Trumpies have a festival of hate, and it is spreading nationwide

‘Nothing Less Than a Civil War’: These White Voters on the Far-Right See Doom Without Trump

“Trumpstock,” is a small festival celebrating Trump in Golden Valley, Arizona. The speakers at Trumpstock included the local Republican congressman, Paul Gosar, and lesser-known conservative personalities. There was a fringe 2020 Senate candidate in Arizona who ran a website that published sexually explicit photos of women without their consent; a pro-Trump rapper whose lyrics include a racist slur aimed at Barack Obama; and a North Carolina activist who once said of Muslims, “I will kill every one of them before they get to me.”

All were welcome, everybody well, except the hated liberals.

“They label us white nationalists, or white supremacists,” volunteered Guy Taiho Decker, who drove from California to attend the event. A right-wing protester, he has previously been arrested on charges of making terrorist threats. “There’s no such thing as a white supremacist, just like there’s no such thing as a unicorn,” Mr. Decker said. “We’re patriots.”

As Mr. Trump’s bid for re-election shifts into higher gear, his campaign hopes to recapture voters who drifted away from the party in 2018 and 2019: independents who embraced moderate Democratic candidates, suburban women tired of Mr. Trump’s personal conduct and working-class voters who haven’t benefited from his economic policies.

But if any group remains singularly loyal to Mr. Trump, it is the small but impassioned number of white voters on the far right, often in rural communities like Golden Valley, who extol him as a cultural champion reclaiming the country from undeserving outsiders.

These voters don’t passively tolerate Mr. Trump’s “build a wall” message or his ban on travel from predominantly Muslim countries — they’re what motivates them. They see themselves in his fear-based identity politics, bolstered by conspiratorial rhetoric about caravans of immigrants and Democratic “coups.”

Speaking engagements featuring far-right supporters of Trump, have become part of the political landscape during the Trump era. Islamophobic taunts can be heard at his rallies. Hate speech and conspiracy theories are staples of some far-right websites. If Trumpstock was modest in size, it stood out as a sign of extremist public support for Trump and his cult.

These supporters have electoral muscle in key areas: Mr. Trump outperformed Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, in rural parts of Arizona like Mohave County, where Golden Valley is located. Mr. Trump won 58,282 votes in the county, compared to 47,901 for Mr. Romney, though Mr. Romney carried the state by a much bigger vote margin.

Arizona will be a key battleground state in 2020: Democrats already flipped a Senate seat and a Tucson-based congressional district from red to blue in 2018. For Mr. Trump, big turnout from white voters in areas like Mohave County — and in rural parts of other battlegrounds like Florida, Michigan, Minnesota and Georgia — could be a lifeline in a tight election.

“We like to call this the ‘Red Wall of Arizona,’” said Laurence Schiff, a psychiatrist and Republican campaign official in Mohave County who organizes in support of Mr. Trump’s campaign. “Winning the state starts here, with us.”

In interviews, people in the crowd described a white America under threat as racial minorities typified by Mr. Obama, the country’s first black president. They described Mr. Trump as an inspirational figure who is undoing Mr. Obama’s legacy and beating back the perceived threat of Muslim and Latino immigrants, whom they denounced in prejudiced terms.

“I don’t have a problem with Muslims,” said Angus Smith, an Arizona resident who attended the festival, “but can they take the rag off their head out of respect for our country?”

At Mr. Trump’s official rallies, including a recent one in Florida, Trump has referred to Mr. Obama by stressing his middle name, Hussein, and said Democrats were “trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you.”

The Trumpstock speakers pushed even further, tying Mr. Obama’s middle name to a false belief that he is a foreign-born Muslim.

And Democrats were portrayed as not just political opponents, but avatars of doom for Mr. Trump’s predominantly white voter base and for the country.

“There is no difference between the democratic socialists and the National Socialists,” said Evan Sayet, a conservative writer who spoke at the event, referencing Nazi Germany. Democrats, he said, “are the heirs to Adolf Hitler.”

Speakers at Trumpstock said their cultural fears had been exacerbated by their state’s own changing nature: Arizona is on the front lines of undocumented border crossings from Mexico and racial minorities are expected to outnumber white people in the state in the next decade.

They point to regions like Northern Arizona as places to find, as Mr. Trump wrote in a recent tweet, “the Angry Majority.”  “We have the greatest base in the history of politics,” he said at a recent rally in Florida.

In Arizona, the most prominent pro-Trump, anti-immigrant groups are AZ Patriots and Patriot Movement AZ, which have held tight to the themes of white nationalism. In September, after repeated clashes, some members of the groups agreed to a court order to stop harassing migrants and church volunteers who help them.

Earlier this year, the groups and their allies organized a “Patriotism over Socialism” event in Gilbert, Ariz., near Phoenix, that included speeches from Representative Andy Biggs, the area’s congressman, and Kelli Ward, the state’s Republican Party chair. They appeared alongside more fringe figures: Sharon Slater of Family Watch International, which has promoted figures associated with anti-L.G.B.T. conversion therapy, and Laura Loomer, the far-right activist and Arizona native who was banned by Twitter and some other platforms after making anti-Muslim comments.

This blend of insider and outsider, of mainstream and conspiracy, is a feature of how Mr. Trump has reshaped the Republican Party in his image, and the core of his origin story. Before Mr. Trump announced any firm plans to seek office, he was the national face of the “birther” conspiracy, which thrived in the Tea Party movement and had a significant amount of support from the Republican base, polls showed.

Stacey Goodman, a former police officer from New York who retired to Arizona and attended Trumpstock, said her distrust of Mr. Obama’s birth certificate had led her to Mr. Trump.

“If you’re Muslim, just tell us you’re Muslim,” she said of Mr. Obama. “It’s not that I didn’t believe him, I’m just not qualified to answer that question. I’ve seen information on both sides that’s compelling.”

Mona Fishman, a singer from the Las Vegas area who performed at the event, has written Trump-themed songs with titles like “Fake News” and “Smells like Soros,” which accuses liberal megadonor George Soros of running a shadow government, a trope widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

In the White House, Mr. Trump has relied on similar unfounded conspiracy theories and promoted people who have perpetuated them. He pardoned Joseph M. Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, a hero of Arizona’s right wing and a leader of the “birther” movement, who was convicted of criminal contempt related to his aggressive efforts to detain undocumented immigrants.

On Mr. Trump’s Twitter account, likely the most-watched in the world, he has promoted white nationalists, anti-Muslim bigots, and believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims that top Democrats are worshiping the Devil and engaging in child sex trafficking.

Even mainstream conservative media figures have embraced QAnon as a way to dismiss Mr. Trump’s political enemies. The Fox News host Jesse Watters, during a recent segment dedicated to the conspiracy, linked it to Mr. Trump’s Washington enemies. “Isn’t it also about the Trump fight with the deep state in terms of the illegal surveillance of the campaign, the inside hit jobs that he’s sustained?” he asked.

They love his over the top tweets “Please never stop tweeting,” Ms. Fishman sings in one of her songs, titled “Thank You President Trump.” “I can hardly wait to see what I’ll be reading.”

 ‘I don’t believe in violence, but…’

Events like Trumpstock are not limited to Arizona. Its organizer, Laurie Bezick, recruited speakers from around the country through social media, tapping into a network of pro-Trump voices only a click away.

Long-shot congressional candidates touting an “America First” agenda came from places like Iowa and Maryland. Leaders of fledgling political groups with names like JEXIT: Jews Exit The Democratic Party, Latinos for Trump and Deplorable Pride, a right-wing L.G.B.T. organization, told the overwhelmingly white audience they were not anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, homophobic or racist. In fact, the speakers insisted, people who used those terms were more guilty of bigotry than the people they accused.

To applause, the co-founder of Latinos for Trump, Marco Gutierrez, read the pledge he took when he became a naturalized citizen and renounced his Mexican homeland. Nitemare, a pro-Trump rapper who refused to give his legal name, invoked QAnon and called Mr. Obama a racist slur in his set.

Brian Talbert, the founder of Deplorable Pride, was contacted by the White House after he was barred from the L.G.B.T. pride parade in Charlotte, N.C. At Trumpstock, Mr. Talbert, who has a history of expressing anti-Muslim beliefs on social media, gave voice to hatred of Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and Mr. Trump’s 2016 opponent.

“I think she should be hanging at the end of a rope for treason,” he said of Mrs. Clinton.

Members of groups like these at once make up a critical portion of Arizona’s conservative base, and espouse derogatory rhetoric that must repeatedly be repudiated, creating political difficulties for the state’s Republican lawmakers. After a photograph emerged last April of members of Patriot Movement AZ posing with Gov. Doug Ducey, he said he had never heard of the group. “I absolutely denounce their behavior,” he added.

Trumpstock attendees say they are used to being denounced, another quality they feel they share with Trump It’s part of why they are protective of him, to the point that they refuse to acknowledge the possibility of a Trump loss in 2020.

Mark Villalta said he had been stockpiling firearms, in case Mr. Trump’s re-election is not successful.

“Nothing less than a civil war would happen,” Mr. Villalta said, his right hand reaching for a holstered handgun. “I don’t believe in violence, but I’ll do what I got to do.”


This post was edited from New York Times story by Astead W. Herndon 


A preview of things to come as Trump and his cult fail

Armed right-wing militias are organizing a dangerous rally in Richmond, Virginia, an extremism researcher warned on Friday.

Emily Gorcenski was pepper-sprayed by Christopher Cantwell — known as the “Crying Nazi” — at the fatal 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since then, she’s used her internet research skills to identify far-right extremism.

“I’m not letting up on the Matt Shea domestic terror situation, because it is directly relevant to something about to happen in Virginia, next month, on January 20,” Gorcenski posted on Twitter.

Shea, a Republican state representative in Washington, was exposed for supporting domestic terrorism in a report compiled by the legislature.

“Many of the same militant organizations are planning an armed gathering in Richmond, VA to protest, with the threat of civil war, proposed gun control bills in the Virginia Legislature,” she explained. “Many of these groups are chapters of the same nationwide patriot militia movement: the Three Percenters, the Oathkeepers, and others. Several of these groups who plan to attend were also part of the armed contingent that attended Unite the Right in Charlottesville in 2017.”

Gorcenski issued the warning despite agreeing with militia organizers on the policy of many of the bills.

“I’m not gonna lie: many of the proposed gun control bills are very, very bad. And I myself would protest them, for many reasons. But the appropriate form of protest is not threatening a civil-war and showing up armed en masse,” she noted.

“These organizations are linked to multiple acts of terrorism and are once again threatening to use lethal force to intimidate an American city and a state government to serve political motivations,” Gorcenski warned. “Many of these militant groups are sharing, manipulating, and amplifying deliberately false rhetoric about what is happening. This is a coordinated reaction to Virginia falling to Democratic control.”

“We cannot talk about fake news and politics without also talking about political violence and hate. They are two sides of the same coin,” she explained. “We can, however, eradicate white supremacist and far-right domestic terror. And we must.”

“Right-wing militias are an existential threat to free society,” Gorcenski warned.


raw story


Bill Barr should be impeached too!

Trump lackey (Attorney General) Bill Barr has become a lightning rod for the Trump administration, standing out front and taking public hits as he does Donald Trump’s dirty work at the Justice Department.

Far from being the so-called institutionalist, even many critics of Trump hoped Barr would be, the attorney general showed his true colors when he spun Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the conclusions of the Russia investigation. Mueller and his team so objected to that presentation that they sent Barr a letter arguing that the report had been distorted to the public. Barr later said that the letter was “snitty.” Since the end of the Mueller investigation, Barr has repeatedly and consistently proven himself to be a fierce defender of Trump’s interests, regardless of the consequences to U.S. institutions. Why is the attorney general acting like the personal attorney of the president? In a new interview this week, Barr finally gave a clear reason why, from his perspective, he acts the way he does.

NBC News asked Barr about why he is so aggressively pursuing Trump’s “investigation of the investigators” — now a criminal probe of the Russia investigation run by U.S. Attorney John Durham — even after the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a lengthy report on the subject. The answer was revealing.

“I think our nation was turned on its head for three years I think based on a completely bogus narrative, that was largely fanned and hyped by an irresponsible press,” Barr said, referencing the Mueller probe and the resulting press coverage. “And I think that there were gross abuses of FISA and inexplicable behavior that was intolerable in the FBI. And the attorney general’s primary responsibility is to protect against the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus and make sure that it doesn’t play an improper role in our political life. That’s my responsibility, and I’m going to carry it out.”

In this answer, Barr revealed that the animating force behind his crusade is the media coverage of Trump, not the law. He was particularly incensed about the media coverage of the Russia investigation. He’s clearly angry, that it dominated so much of Trump’s first term in office. He is, seeking to get retribution and to set things right. At other points in the interview, he made clear that he is preoccupied with the media. Asked why Durham put out statements contradicting Horowitz’s finding that the Russia investigation was properly predicated, he said:

“It was sort of being reported by the press that the issue of predication was sort of done and over, even though it was a very limited look at that issue by the IG given the narrowness of the evidence available to him. And I think it was important for people to understand that Durham’s work was not being pre-empted and that Durham was doing something different… I think it was perfectly appropriate so the public understood the relationship between the two exercises.” [emphasis added]

Again, Barr made it clear that what’s he’s concerned with is public perception and press reporting, not law and procedure.
After Durham’s statement, which referenced his ongoing investigation, many legal experts were shocked. U.S. attorneys carrying out grand jury investigations do not talk about their ongoing investigations except in extraordinary circumstances. Former FBI Director James Comey, for one, was baffled by Durham’s actions, saying, “I can’t make any sense of it.” It seemed Barr may have put him up to it — and even if he didn’t, he now defends the move despite no substantial justification.

And despite Barr’s claim that he’s supposed to “protect against the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus and make sure that it doesn’t play an improper role in our political life,” that’s not actually what his official duties are as attorney general. Much of the intelligence apparatus — the CIA, the NSA — falls outside his department, though federal investigators can, of course, probe their activities and prosecute their crimes. But Barr has made clear that he seems to think the CIA was somehow nefariously involved in the origins of the Russia investigation. He seems to think this part of Durham’s probe will be key to defending the president and fighting back against what he sees as an unfair press.

And it’s clear he’s not actually worried about the Justice Department’s influence on media coverage in general. He’s specifically worried about how it affects Trump. He continued, again discussing the beginnings of the Russia probe during the 2016 election:

“From a civil liberties perspective, the greatest danger to our free system is that the incumbent use the apparatus of the state, principally the law enforcement agencies and the intelligence agencies, both to spy on political opponents but also to use them in a way that could affect the outcome the election. As far as I’m aware, this is the first time in history that this has been done to a presidential campaign. The use of these counter-intelligence techniques against a presidential campaign.”

But what he doesn’t mention is that there’s actually very little evidence that the Russia probe had much of an effect on the 2016 election. The Carter Page surveillance, which Barr and other Republicans are outraged about, and in which the FBI did make significant errors, could not conceivably have impacted the election. Page wasn’t even a part of the Trump campaign when the surveillance was finally ordered, and even when he was working with the campaign, he was an extremely minor figure. It’s not even clear how it could have been used against the Trump campaign, and there’s certainly no reason to think it was. Barr also suggested in his interview that he finds something suspicious about the fact that the Page surveillance continued after the election, suggesting that it was somehow an affront to Trump, but not acknowledging that Page had no contact with Trump after that point.

The FBI’s actions during the 2016 election that likely did have an impact on the election, though, were bad for Hillary Clinton, not Trump. First, an investigation into the Clinton Foundation — which never led to any indictments — was confirmed to the media. Most significantly, though, Comey announced that he was reopening the Clinton email investigation less than two weeks before Election Day. The evidence suggests that may have cost her the election, and there’s also reason to believe that Comey’s choice was influenced in part by anti-Clinton bias within the bureau.

Not only does Barr not seem at all concerned about those events, he defended them at the time in a Washington Post op-ed:

“If the FBI remained silent about the newly discovered incompleteness of its earlier investigation, it would be deliberately leaving uncorrected a misleading statement being used by the Clinton campaign to its political advantage. Thus, failure to correct the record would have been deceitful and would have represented a political decision to influence the election by leaving in place a misleading statement. At this point, the right choice was honesty — explaining that new emails had been found and would have to be reviewed. To the extent this step might affect the election, its effect arises from correcting a previous erroneous statement — in other words, from truthfulness.”

“The claim that Comey’s actions violated a Justice Department policy is just wrong. There is no policy — and never has been — that the department avoids any action that could affect an election. Rather, the policy has been twofold. First, prosecutors should not take any action for partisan reasons, i.e., for the purpose of affecting an election. Second, where the timing of an otherwise bona fide investigative or prosecutive step could affect the outcome of an election, those actions should be deferred absent a strong public interest that justifies taking the action before the election. Sometimes this requires difficult judgments. Here, it did not. Indeed, if anything would have “violated” Justice Department policy, it would have been to remain mute and fail to correct the record.”

He cheered Comey’s decision as the right one — even though former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would letter cite Comey’s decision to justify Trump’s decision to fire the director.

It’s quite clear how Barr operates. When the Justice Department does something that could hurt a Democrat’s chances in an election, that’s good. When it does something that could conceivably hurt a Republican, that’s bad.

And while Barr’s very concerned about improper political motivations affecting the opening of investigations of associates of Trump, he has shown no concern about the president’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden or the DNC — investigations that would clearly be motivated by politics.

“Fortunately, I haven’t gotten into the Ukraine thing yet,” he told Williams.

When Williams asked about the Justice Department’s decision not to investigate Trump’s Ukraine scandal, despite getting receiving referrals for the case from others, he was pretty tight-lipped.

“The criminal division made that decision, and in the process consulted with the senior-most career employees who are the experts on campaign finance laws,” he said. “And that process was supervised by the deputy. But I’m not going to go beyond what we’ve already said about that process.”

Williams asked: “Were you satisfied that everything that should have been done was done?”

“Absolutely, absolutely,” Barr said. He has never said publicly that he wasn’t involved in the decision — a question he seems to be studiously avoiding.

He refused to discuss the matter further, even though he’s happy to pontificate and speculate publicly on whether Obama officials were improperly biased against Trump — long before Durham’s investigation is completed.

And as for Durham’s investigation — which Barr says will likely wrap up in the spring or summer of the coming year — should we expect a public report? Again, Barr wouldn’t say directly. But he indicated that he has an opinion on how public it should be.

“I’m going to largely leave that to him,” Barr said, “but I’m also interested in discussing that with him as he gets further along.”


Raw Story


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Donald Trump is a US Security Threat

A recently retired CIA agent reveals in a disturbing new column that Donald Trump was a “wild card” that prevented a full-scale effort to combat Russian aggression against the U.S. and its allies.

Marc Polymeropoulos, who recently retired from the CIA in June, said in a column posted at Just Security that the CIA issued an informal “call to arms” in the wake of Kremlin interference in the 2016 election, but those efforts were hampered by Trump’s relationship with Russia’s Tyrant Dictator Vladimir Putin.

“The Call to Arms required a whole-of-agency effort to counter the Kremlin,” Polymeropoulos wrote. “It involved moving resources and personnel inside CIA. Most importantly, it required a change in mindset, similar to what occurred within the Intelligence Community after 9/11, that an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach was required.”

Intelligence officials and senior leadership in law enforcement, the Pentagon and State Department agreed, but their efforts never had the full support of a skeptical president, Polymeropoulos wrote.

 “The wild card was sitting in the Oval Office,” he wrote. “With Donald Trump’s puzzling admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was not clear that he had accepted and internalized the Intelligence Community’s conclusions of Kremlin malfeasance and incessant desire to harm the United States. If anything, Trump repeatedly questioned the findings of the IC, preferring instead to accept Putin’s denials.”

Trump’s national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton agreed with the intelligence assessments on Putin’s threat as an “outlaw regime,” and helped coordinate the U.S. response to Russian aggression.

“This remains one of the great paradoxes of the Trump administration,” Polymeropoulos wrote, “that Trump could have such a clear affinity for Putin and was publicly unwilling to fully accept the results of the ICA, yet his national security team, acting under his authority, was united in countering Russian malfeasance around the world.”

But Polymeropoulos sees a reason to doubt those efforts will continue since his retirement six months ago.

“My fear stems primarily from Donald Trump, who has, in a matter of several months, quite overtly set back the overall U.S. government effort with his unfortunate meddling in Ukraine, as well as the pullback of U.S. troops from Syria,” he wrote. “Trump has provided Putin a massive gift on both fronts.”

Polymeropoulos warned that Trump’s affinity for Putin undermined the dedicated intelligence, diplomatic and military efforts to constrain Russia — and that disconnect posed an unchecked threat to democracy and national security.

We need to acknowledge the disconnect between this clear national security threat and Trump whose affinity for Putin has never been so clear as it is now, especially as it has been translated into two damaging foreign policy mishaps that have hurt our country,” he wrote. “Our national security institutions cannot fight with an arm tied behind their backs.”

Congress — both Democrats and Republicans alike — must hold Trump accountable and ensure we counter the Kremlin on a global scale, not ceding an inch,” Polymeropoulos added. “After all, the 2020 presidential election — with the Russian security services poised to act once again — is just around the corner.”

Meanwhile more treasonous criminal behavior in Ukraine

Trump attorney and bagman Rudy Giuliani this week has been in Ukraine colluding with a wide variety of shady characters with the intent of digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, despite their continued failures.

Among other people, Giuliani has been talking to are Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat who is also suspected of working for Russian intelligence operations, and Andriy Derkach, who attended the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in Moscow and whose father was a former KGB officer.

CNN’s David Gergen said that Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt using sources with ties to Russian intelligence has already rendered whatever purported “findings” about Biden he discovers deeply tainted.

“I think what he is doing, working with the person he’s working with over there, is so tainted that it poisons the whole effect of what he’s trying to do,” Gergen said. “I mean, to think the main point that’s been reported, the main person he’s been talking to, his father was head of intelligence for the KGB in Ukraine! The man himself graduated from a KGB school in Moscow! And the man himself was a member of… a pro-Russian party. Are we now going to have impeachment turn on the word of a KGB agent? Come on! Give me a break!”