Looks like the Steele Dossier pissed off Putin even more than the Republicans?

Was This Russian General Murdered Over the Steele Dossier?

The notorious dossier on Trump that Republicans want to discredit may well have been credible enough in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eyes to get at least one person killed

Gen. Oleg Erovinkin of Russia’s State Security Service (FSB)

The dossier on Donald Trump compiled by former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele—which made headlines for its salacious, unconfirmed passage about Trump and hookers performing for him in a Moscow hotel room—has been denounced by the president’s people as fake news, of course.

But the document was a mixed collection of information and allegations far more precise than the rumors about compromising sexual activities, and some of what’s in it may have unnerved not only Trump, but the Kremlin, where hunting down leaks can take a fatal turn.

During his recently released August 2017 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Glenn Simpson was asked about sources for the sensational dossier, which Simpson’s firm, Fusion GPS, commissioned. Responding for him, Simpson’s lawyer, Joshua Levy, blurted out a surprising warning: “Somebody’s already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier.”

In his subsequent November testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, which was made available last Thursday, Simpson denied knowing specific cases of people being killed because of the dossier, but he then noted cryptically that “people literally risked their lives to tell us some of this stuff.”

In fact, there is evidence that at least one Russian was murdered because of Steele’s revelations: Gen. Oleg Erovinkin of Russia’s State Security Service (FSB). On the morning of Dec. 26, 2016, Erovinkin, age 61, was found dead in his car in central Moscow. Life News, known to be a Kremlin mouthpiece, first claimed on its website that Erovinkin had been “killed,” but then quickly changed its story, saying simply that Erovinkin had “died.” FSB investigators were called immediately to the death scene, and news outlets soon reported that Erovinkin had succumbed to a heart attack. There was no more official Russian mention of him.

Erovinkin, who joined the KGB (the FSB’s predecessor) in 1976, had in the mid-1990s worked in the Russian Presidential Administration, where his job was to monitor compliance with security procedures. (He was known as “the keeper of the Kremlin’s secrets.”) He then served under Igor Sechin when the latter was deputy premier and subsequently followed Sechin to Rosneft in 2012, after Sechin became CEO of the state oil giant.

Of all the officials who serve under Putin, Sechin is the most powerful. Erovinkin, as chief administrator at Rosneft, was Sechin’s right-hand man and must have known everything about Sechin’s contacts with Americans. Those included the former head of ExxonMobile, now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (Sechin once said he felt thwarted by U.S. imposed sanctions that kept him from riding motorcycles in America with his friend Tillerson.)

https://www.thedailybeast.com/was-this-russian-general-murdered-over-the-steele-dossier?ref=home

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“Why do people think he has surrounded himself with a lawyer goon squad….?” “consistent scumbag”

During an AM Joy panel discussion on both the Steele Dossier and President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer paying off an adult film star to keep quiet about their affair, guests on the show said that the president has always put himself in the position to be blackmailed so he employs a “lawyer goon squad” to protect him and to blackmail back.

“Donald Trump, was, reportedly, willing to pay $130,000 to squash the [Stormy Daniels] story. Thus, maybe making him susceptible to blackmail. What do you make about it,” host Joy Reid asked the panel.

“Of course Trump is susceptible to blackmail,” authoritarian expert Sarah Kendzior explained. “It kind of blows my mind that a lot of people are just now realizing this. It’s like just realizing that he’s a racist. Why do people think he has surrounded himself with a lawyer goon squad for 40 years? Whether it’s Roy Cohn or Michael Cohen? The company he keeps include the American mafia, Russian mafia, arms traders, pedophiles, money launderers and other people involved in white collar crime.”

“When you surround yourself with those sorts of people, engagements in those kinds of actions, your lawyers will be very aggressive. They put out an NDA [nondisclosure agreement] for anybody that Trump comes in contact with,” she continued as her fellow panelists smiled.

“They know he is a consistent scumbag. This is just one more example of a pattern of behavior that has been going on for Trump’s entire life.”

Alexander Torshin from Russia’s central bank bankrolled the NRA’s campaign to elect Trump?

FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump

Paid for by Russians through the NRA?

WASHINGTON – The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.

It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.

It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.

All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity because Mueller’s investigation is confidential and mostly involves classified information.

A spokesman for Mueller’s office declined comment.

Disclosure of the Torshin investigation signals a new dimension in the 18-month-old FBI probe of Russia’s interference. McClatchy reported a year ago that a multi-agency U.S. law enforcement and counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s intervention, begun even before the start of the 2016 general election campaign, initially included a focus on whether the Kremlin secretly helped fund efforts to boost Trump, but little has been said about that possibility in recent months.

The extent to which the FBI has evidence of money flowing from Torshin to the NRA, or of the NRA’s participation in the transfer of funds, could not be learned.

However, the NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump – triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.

Two people with close connections to the powerful gun lobby said its total election spending actually approached or exceeded $70 million. The reporting gap could be explained by the fact that independent groups are not required to reveal how much they spend on Internet ads or field operations, including get-out-the-vote efforts.

During the campaign, Trump was an outspoken advocate of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, at one point drawing a hail of criticism by suggesting that, if Clinton were elected, gun rights advocates could stop her from winning confirmation of liberal Supreme Court justices who support gun control laws.

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” Trump said at a rally in August 2016. “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Spanish authorities tag Torshin for money laundering

Torshin, a leading figure in Putin’s party, has been implicated in money laundering by judicial authorities in Spain, as Bloomberg News first revealed in 2016. Spanish investigators alleged in an almost 500-page internal report that Torshin, who was then a senator, capitalized on his government role to assist mobsters laundering funds through Spanish properties and banks, Bloomberg reported

A summary obtained by McClatchy of the still-secret report links Torshin to Russian money laundering and describes him as a godfather in a major Russian criminal organization called Taganskaya.

Investigators for three congressional committees probing Russia’s 2016 operations also have shown interest in Torshin, a lifetime NRA member who has attended several of its annual conventions. At the group’s meeting in Kentucky in May 2016, Torshin spoke to Donald Trump Jr. during a gala event at the group’s national gathering in Kentucky in May 2016, when his father won an earlier-than-usual NRA presidential endorsement.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the investigation.

The NRA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Torshin could not be reached for comment, and emails to the Russian central bank seeking comment from Torshin and the bank elicited no response.

Mueller’s investigation has been edging closer to Trump’s inner circle. This week, The New York Times reported that Mueller had negotiated an agreement under which Steve Bannon, who was recently ousted from his post as a senior White House adviser, would fully respond to questions about the Trump campaign. Bannon headed the campaign over its final weeks.

Since taking over the investigation last May, Mueller has secured guilty pleas from two former Trump aides, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, both of whom agreed to cooperate with prosecutors; and criminal charges against two other top campaign figures, former campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates.

$30 million dollars:      The amount of money the National Rifle Association spent backing Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign – triple what the group spent on Republican Mitt Romney four years earlier

A year ago, three U.S. intelligence agencies signed off on a joint assessment that was the basis for the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and other sanctions against the Kremlin. The intelligence agencies concluded that what began as a sophisticated Russian operation to undermine Americans’ faith in democracy morphed into a drive to help Trump win.

Torshin is among a phalanx of Putin proxies to draw the close attention of U.S. investigators, who also have tracked the activities of several Russian billionaires and pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs that have come in contact with Trump or his surrogates.

Torshin was a senior member of the Russian Senate and in recent years helped set up a Moscow gun rights group called Right to Bear Arms. He not only spoke with Trump Jr. at the NRA convention, but he also tried unsuccessfully to broker a meeting between Putin and the presidential candidate in 2016, according to the Times. He further sought to meet privately with the candidate himself near the 2016 NRA convention.

Torshin’s ties with the NRA have flourished in recent years. In late 2015, he hosted two dinners for a high-level NRA delegation during its week-long visit to Moscow that included meetings with influential Russian government and business figures.

In their internal report, Spanish prosecutors revealed a web of covert financial and money-laundering dealings between Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a Russian who pleaded guilty to money-laundering charges in 2016 and was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

The prosecutors’ evidence included 33 audio recordings of phone conversations from mid-2012 to mid-2013 between Torshin and Romanov, who allegedly laundered funds to buy a hotel on the ritzy island of Mallorca. Torshin had an 80 percent stake in the venture, the Spanish report said.

In the phone conversations, Romanov referred to Torshin as the “godfather” or “boss.” Torshin has denied any links to organized crime and said his dealings with Romanov were purely “social.”

The Madrid-based newspaper El Pais last year reported that Spanish police were on the verge of arresting Torshin in the summer of 2013, when he had planned to attend a birthday party for Romanov, but a Russian prosecutor tipped the banker to plans to nab him if he set foot in Spain, and Torshin canceled his trip.

Congress looking at Torshin, too

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee also have taken an interest in Torshin as part of their parallel inquiries into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.

In questioning Donald Trump Jr. at a closed-door hearing in mid-December, investigators for the Senate Intelligence Committee asked about his encounter with Torshin at the NRA convention, according to a source familiar with the hearing.

Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for Trump Jr., said his client and Torshin talked only briefly when they were introduced during a meal.

“It was all gun-related small talk,” Futerfas told McClatchy.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent letters in November to two senior Trump foreign policy aides, J.D. Gordon and Sam Clovis, seeking copies of any communications they had with or related to Torshin; the NRA; veteran conservative operative Paul Erickson; Maria Butina, a Torshin protege who ran the Russian pro-gun group he helped launch, and others linked to Torshin.

Erickson has raised funds for the NRA and is a friend of Butina’s. Shortly before the NRA’s May 2016 convention, he emailed Trump campaign aide Rick Dearborn about the possibility of setting up a meeting between Putin and Trump during the campaign, according to the Times.

Erickson’s email to Dearborn bore the subject line “Kremlin Connection.” In it, Erickson solicited advice from Dearborn and his boss, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a top foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, about the best way to connect Putin and Trump.

Both Dearborn and Butina, who has been enrolled as a graduate student at American University since mid 2016, have been asked to appear before the Judiciary Committee, but so far Erickson has not, sources familiar with the matter said.

Bridges LLC, a company that Erickson and Butina established in February 2016 in Erickson’s home state of South Dakota, also is expected to draw scrutiny. Public records don’t reveal any financial transactions involving Bridges. In a phone interview last year, Erickson said the firm was established in case Butina needed any monetary assistance for her graduate studies — an unusual way to use an LLC.

Erickson said he met Butina and Torshin when he and David Keene, a former NRA president, attended a meeting of Right to Bear Arms a few years ago in Moscow. Erickson described the links between Right to Bear Arms and the NRA as a “moral support operation both ways.”

Torshin’s contacts with the NRA and the Trump campaign last year also came to the attention of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and key adviser. When Torshin tried to arrange a personal meeting with Trump near the NRA convention site last May, Kushner scotched the idea, according to emails forwarded to Kushner.

On top of Torshin’s efforts to cozy up to the Trump campaign, the Moscow banker has forged ties with powerful conservatives, including Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the Californian whom some have deemed Putin’s best friend in Washington. In a phone interview in 2016, Rohrabacher recalled meeting Torshin in Moscow a few years earlier and described him as “a mover and shaker.”

Last February when Torshin visited Washington, Rockefeller heir and conservative patron George O’Neill Jr. hosted a fancy four-hour dinner for the banker on Capitol Hill, an event that drew Rohrabacher, Erickson and other big names on the right. Rohrabacher has labeled Torshin as “conservatives’ favorite Russian,” Torshin was in Washington at the time to lead his country’s delegation to the National Prayer Breakfast, where Trump spoke. The banker also was slated to see the presidentat a meet-and-greet event prior to a White House breakfast, but Torshin’s invitation was canceled after the White House learned of his alleged mob connections, Yahoo News reported.

Torshin’s involvement with the NRA may have begun in 2013 when he attended the group’s convention in Houston. Keene, the ex-NRA leader and an avid hunter, was instrumental in building a relationship with the Russian, according to multiple conservative sources.

Keene also helped lead a high-level NRA delegation to Moscow in December 2015 for a week of lavish meals and meetings with Russian business and political leaders. The week’s festivities included a visit to a Russian gun company and a meeting with a senior Kremlin official and wealthy Russians, according to a member of the delegation, Arnold Goldschlager, a California doctor who has been active in NRA programs to raise large donations.

Others on the trip included Joe Gregory, who runs the NRA’s Ring of Freedom program for elite donors who chip in checks of $1 million and upwards, Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke and Pete Brownell, a chief executive of a gun company and longtime NRA board member.

In a phone interview, Goldschlager described the trip as a “people-to-people mission,” and said he was impressed with Torshin — who, he noted, hosted both a “welcoming” dinner for the NRA contingent and another one.

“They were killing us with vodka and the best Russian food,” Goldschlager said. “The trip exceeded my expectations by logarithmic levels.”

McClatchy News Service BY PETER STONE AND GREG GORDON January 18, 2018

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article195231139.html

 

Will the “blue tsunami” be negated by terrorist attacks?

Trump says privately that a terror attack could save him and GOP from 2018 election bloodbath:

Faced with the likelihood of a “blue tsunami” in the 2018 midterm elections, Donald Trump is holding out hope that terrorists will attack the country, reported the Washington Post on Wednesday.

“In private conversations,” said the Post, “Trump has told advisers that he doesn’t think the 2018 election has to be as bad as others are predicting. He has referenced the 2002 midterms when George W. Bush and Republicans fared better after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, these people said.”

Matthew Yglesias at Vox.com wrote, “This is a frightening line of thought for an incumbent president and his team to be entertaining.”

“If the president and his top staff are not so concerned with democracy but purely political power, that’s a terrifying proposition,” said Yglesias.

If Trump believes that a terror attack will be a boon to his political fortunes, asked Vox, “How hard is he really working to keep the country safe?”

http://www.rawstory.com/2018/01/trump-says-privately-that-a-terror-attack-could-save-him-and-gop-from-2018-election-bloodbath-report/

This strategy is similar in some ways to his public call for Russia’s help to defeat Hilary Clinton in the 2016 campaign we hope no terrorist or FSB agents decide to help Trump out this time.

Steele: “FBI had someone inside Trump’s network providing agents with information”

Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele

 

The ex-British spy who authored a dossier of allegations against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was told the FBI had someone inside Trump’s network providing agents with information, according to a newly-released transcript of a congressional interview.

Glenn R. Simpson, founder of research firm Fusion GPS, spoke to investigators with the Senate Judiciary Committee for 10 hours in August. As the partisan fight over Russian interference in the 2016 election has intensified, Simpson has urged that his testimony be released, and a copy of the transcript was made public Tuesday.

It was released by the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. That decision marks the most serious break yet in the once-cooperative relationship she has had with the Republican chairman of the committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

Fusion GPS was hired in mid-2016 by a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee to dig into the background of candidate Trump. Earlier that year, the firm had been probing Trump for a conservative website funded by a GOP donor, but that client stopped paying for the work after it became clear Trump would win the GOP nomination, according to people familiar with the matter.

Glenn R. Simpson, former Wall Street Journal journalist and co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, during his arrival for a scheduled appearance in November before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

After Democrats began paying for the research, Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to gather intelligence about any ties between the Kremlin and then-candidate Trump and his associates. Steele’s reports were eventually compiled into a dossier alleging the Trump campaign did coordinate with the Kremlin — a claim the president has repeatedly denied.

Steele first reached out to the FBI with his concerns in early July, according to people familiar with the matter. When they re-interviewed him in early October, agents made it clear, according to Simpson’s testimony released Tuesday, that they believed some of what Steele had told them.

“My understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization,” Simpson said. Using the parlance of spies and law enforcement officials, Simpson said the FBI had a “walk-in’’ whistleblower from someone in Trump’s organization.

In recent weeks, as the political fights about the Russia investigation and the dossier have intensified, Simpson has urged the committee to release the full transcript of his interview, arguing that Republicans are trying to obscure, rather than reveal, what happened in 2016.

Through much of 2017, Feinstein and Grassley made joint requests for information about Russia and the FBI’s investigation of election interference. In the fall, however, tensions between Grassley and Feinstein spilled out into the open as Grassley requested information from the FBI and other sources without Feinstein’s support.

Increasingly, the Democrats and Republicans on the committee are going in different directions — with Grassley moving to investigate matters involving Clinton when she was secretary of state, and Feinstein concentrating on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Simpson, the Fusion GPS founder, was interviewed by the Judiciary Committee for 10 hours in August.

While Simpson has accused conservative lawmakers of acting in bad faith, Republicans have accused Steele, while working for Fusion GPS, of misleading the FBI. Last week, Grassley made a criminal referral to the Justice Department, suggesting Steele may have lied to the FBI. While details of the referral are classified, it appears to be related to Mr. Steele’s contacts with reporters during the election campaign.

Republicans have attacked the credibility of Steele’s dossier, which Democrats say is an effort to discredit the ongoing probe by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian agents to interfere in the presidential election.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/feinstein-releases-testimony-of-glenn-simpson-whose-research-firm-fusion-gps-was-behind-trump-dossier/2018/01/09

Delusional bully Trump thinks he is a dictator and the ultimate cop

Jeff Sessions comes off as a sane man of principle compared to Trump

Donald Trump — who blabbed classified intelligence to top Russian officials — reacted to a Fox News report by calling to jail a Hillary Clinton aide for allegedly emailing sensitive government information.

The conservative network highlighted a story Monday morning from the right-wing Daily Caller website, which reported that Clinton aide Huma Abedin “forwarded sensitive State Department emails, including passwords to government systems, to her personal Yahoo email account.”

That email service provider was later hacked, and The Daily Caller reported that “guarantees” that Abedin and Clinton exposed sensitive government data to a “state-sponsored actor.”

Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump
Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others
4:48 AM – Jan 2, 2018

The president urged the Justice Department, which he slurred as a “deep state” conspiracy against his presidency, to prosecute and jail Abedin.

Trump also suggested that former FBI director James Comey, whom he fired in May after failing to receive an assurance of loyalty, should also be prosecuted along with unspecified “others.”

The day after Trump fired Comey, he met in the Oval Office with the Russian foreign minister and U.S. ambassador at the center of the Justice Department’s investigation of the president’s campaign ties to the Kremlin.

Trump told the Russian officials about how ISIS terrorists were working to develop a laptop bomb that could pass undetected through airport security — which he boasted had come from Israeli intelligence officials.

The information was highly classified and had not been shared with close U.S. allies, and experts believe the disclosure put the Israeli spy operation at risk.

Last week, Trump gave a rambling interview to the New York Times, which asked whether he intended to reopen the Justice Department’s investigation of Clinton’s email activity as Secretary of State.

“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” Trump told the newspaper.

 

More dangerous lunacy  

This past August, Trump floated the idea of using military force against Venezuela’s government.

This idea didn’t sit well at all with other leaders in the region, and a new report from Politico claims that the leaders of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Panama all told Trump that they opposed invading Venezuela during a meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

“[Secretary of State Rex Tillerson] tells me you don’t want me to use the military option in Venezuela,” Trump told the leaders during their meeting, according to Politico.

When the leaders all responded that they were opposed using military force against Venezuela, Trump seemed shocked.

“Is that right?” he asked them. “Are you sure?”

A former U.S. official who was briefed on the meeting tells Politico that the leaders of the countries “just had wide eyes about the entire engagement” and walked away from it fearing Trump’s mental state could spark major wars in South America.

“The word they all used was: ‘This guy is insane,’” the source said.

These South American leaders aren’t alone either, as Politico writes that diplomats from across the world have described Trump’s first year in office as “catastrophic,” “terrifying,” “incompetent” and “dangerous.”

https://www.rawstory.com/

Trump Republicans believe colleges and universities have a negative effect on our country

Besides giving more of your money to the rich the Trumpanistas don’t want your kids educated either

I’m very certain Trump is concerned about minorities. We rich are are a minority you know

More than ever, higher education has become critical to snagging a stable job, moving up the income ladder and succeeding in the global economy.

Yet more than ever, higher education has also become a political football and object of derision.

In Arizona, Republican politicians clearly view beating up on colleges as a way to prove their conservative bona fides. Attorney General Mark Brnovich recently sued the board of regents of Arizona’s public universities, which under state law is technically his client. Brnovich complains that tuition is too high to meet the state’s constitutional requirement that colleges be “as nearly free as possible.”

The suit, unfortunately, leaves out the fact that Arizona has cut state funding per student by 41 percent since 2008, second only to Louisiana in higher-ed disinvestment. Which suggests that if anyone is violating the constitution, it’s state lawmakers, not schools.

“It’s a political distraction motivated by something other than an actual interest in tuition-paying students,” Arizona State University President Michael Crow said. “It’s motivated by the political aspirations of the person that filed the suit.”

Arizona colleges are hardly the only institutions in the culture-war crosshairs.

At a dinner in New York last month with about a dozen college presidents, other officials described similar showdowns with peacocking, publicity-stunting politicians.

A group of Louisiana legislators recently threatened to further slash public higher-ed appropriations — already down 43 percent per student since 2008 — if any student football players took a knee during the national anthem, according to Louisiana State University President F. King Alexander. (The threat was withdrawn after Alexander reminded lawmakers that LSU players traditionally remain in the locker room during the anthem.)

In Iowa, a state senator introduced a bill requiring ideological litmus tests for faculty hiring. In Nebraska, state senators waged a media campaign against the state’s flagship university after an ugly confrontation between a conservative undergrad and a liberal grad student went viral.

When asked whether they believed provisions of the Trump tax bill targeting colleges were punitive, nearly every president at the dinner answered yes.

Ambitious Republican politicians are not wrong to see college-bashing as politically useful. Several recent surveys find huge partisan divides in views of higher education.

A June Pew Research Center survey found that a majority of Republicans believe colleges and universities have a “negative effect on the way things are going in the country.” Democrats overwhelmingly said the opposite.

In an August Gallup survey, two-thirds of Republicans likewise said they have just some or very little confidence in colleges. The chief complaints: Schools are too liberal, they don’t allow students to think for themselves and students are learning the wrong things.

Or as Donald Trump Jr. put it in a campus speech last fall: “We’ll take $200,000 of your money; in exchange, we’ll train your children to hate our country.”

Most troubling — at least from an economic perspective — Americans are losing faith in the payoff of a college degree.

In an August Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey, most Republicans, rural residents and people who consider themselves poor or working class said college isn’t worth the cost. This is even though higher education averages a much bigger return than any other major investments; the occupations requiring at least some postsecondary education are projected to have the fastest job growth and highest earnings in the coming decade; and for those born at the bottom of the income distribution, a college diploma is key to achieving upward social mobility.

So how did college become a scapegoat for the nation’s ills?

To hear Crow tell it, the primary problem is the long-brewing perception that college is inaccessible, catering only to the self-dealing elite. As a result, he says, ASU has worked hard to lower costs and make its student body more representative of the state’s socioeconomic and ethnic makeup. In fact, contrary to Brnovich’s lawsuit, net tuition (i.e., not the sticker price, but what students actually pay after grants and other financial aid) for in-state students is lower today than it was 30 years ago, Crow says. That’s thanks to new funding sources (donations, grants, international students) and changes in how the school is organized.

What about that Republican perception that colleges are socialist brainwashing factories?

He smiles. Then he acknowledges that even his prized university has not always had “intellectual balance,” and notes that it has recently developed conservative-leaning programs.

Such initiatives have been partly funded by the otherwise-stingy state legislature, and partly by private donors, such as the Charles Koch Foundation.

Which may provide a worrisome preview into where public higher education is heading elsewhere, too: replacing dwindling public dollars with private ones, especially those that will appease suspicious conservatives.

 

Edited from: A column in the Washington Post By Catherine Rampell Opinion writer
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-do-so-many-republicans-hate-college/2017/12/28