The Libertarian Alt left’s Jill Stein seems to still be a “useful idiot” for Putin

On CNN’s New Day, former Green Party candidate Jill Stein refused to condemn Russian meddling in the 2016 election, while telling host Chris Cuomo that she is refusing to turn over some campaign communications to Senate investigators because she is “protecting Americans’ civil liberties.”

According to reports, Stein’s campaign has provided some documents related to communications with officials tied to Russian media organizations and the Kremlin, as well as information related to her 2015 trip to Moscow to attend a dinner where she sat a table with President Vladimir Putin and former Trump administration aide Michael Flynn

Beginning the interview, host Cuomo pointed out to the 2-time presidential candidate that she is giving the appearance of hiding something by not fully cooperating.

‘If you don’t fully comply that means you’re hiding something,” Cuomo suggested. “If you’re hiding something, that makes people suspicious that maybe you had something to do with the Russian interference?”

“Let’s get the facts straight,” Stein replied. “We complied with everything relevant to the question of Russian interference. we turned over all of our communications with Russian media, government, business, although there was no communications to turn over, like-wise anything having to do with Wikileaks or with opposition research or Fusion GPS.”

“What we didn’t turn over was material that basically protects the civil liberties of all Americans. at a time when our civil liberties are really being seriously eroded,” she added.

“What did you not turn over in the name of civil liberties?” the baffled CNN host pressed.

“What we did not turn over –,” she began before switching gears. “I should add, we also turned over our policy positions which were the same as what we said publicly throughout the campaign, so there was nothing hidden there. We did not turn over our internal discussions about policy which were really no great shakes because there was not really — not much difference between the policies that the Green Party has held for a long time and the policies of the campaign.”

“It’s not like there’s some, you know, a special golden goose that we’re protecting here or some vulnerable conversation,” she continued. “But rather we’re standing up on a principle and that is the principle that’s part of the first amendment, our right to basically freedom of association and that — that needs to be protected and the courts have always upheld that .”

“Do you still have reservations about whether or not Russia interfered in election and did so with obvious negative intent?” Cuomo asked.

“So let me say I think it would be naive to think that Russia did not try to interfere,” she began. “Certainly that’s what the United States does and that’s not to justify it. Interference is wrong and it’s an assault against democracy, and it should be pursued. But we should pursue it knowing that we do it too, as James Woolsey, the former CIA head recently said publicly, I believe it was on Fox, yes! We’re doing that and we always do it and the records show we do it about twice as much as the Russians over the course of the past.”

“That would be the case for Russia to make, not from the American perspective,” Cuomo shot back. “Let Russia say the United States did it to us so this is fair play from the American perspective and you running for president, more than once of this country, shouldn’t your position have been this was bad what they did?  They’re trying to do it right now and we have to stop it?”

“You know, I think that kind of position which says that we’re in a totally different category from the rest of the world is not working,” Stein shot back, before rambling about tax dollars going to the Pentagon and praising the Trump administration for making headway into the problems with North Korea — and never addressing ongoing efforts by Russia to hack U.S. elections.


Republican Russian Election Interference Report is misleading and unsupported by the facts

“Misleading and Unsupported By the Facts”: House Intelligence Democrats Slam Republican Russia Report

“The Majority subverted this investigation.”

On Friday, Democrats on the House intelligence committee released a fiery, 98-page rejoinder to the report on Russian election interference issued by their Republican colleagues that “found no evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Accusing the Republicans of “sophistry” and subverting the committee’s investigation for political reasons, the Democrats’ report excoriates their GOP colleagues for prematurely ending the Russia probe, failing to follow investigative leads, and distorting the facts.

“A majority of the report’s findings are misleading and unsupported by the facts and the investigative record,” the minority’s report states. “They have been crafted to advance a political narrative that exonerates the Trump, downplays Russia’s preference and support for then-candidate Trump, explains away repeated contacts by Trump associates with Russia-aligned actors, and seeks to shift suspicion towards President Trump’s political opponents and the prior administration.”

The Democrats’ report seeks to show where their Republican colleagues’ investigation fell short, with a significant focus on the process of how the committee’s investigation was carried out. One allegation is that the Republicans hobbled the investigation by limiting its the committee’s document requests.

“Despite repeated entreaties, the Majority refused follow-up document requests informed by new information and leads,” the report explains. “For instance, the Committee has not received from the Trump campaign and transition all correspondence to and from George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and other key persons of interest, thereby making it impossible to determine whether the Committee has reviewed the complete universe of relevant correspondence.”

Another area of contention on the committee is over the impact of the Russians’ social media-based propaganda campaign. The Republicans’ report acknowledges the Russian disinformation campaign, but Democrats allege that the GOP report downplays the effect of Russian propaganda in helping the Trump campaign.

In a final effort to obscure Russia’s social media operation in support of Trump, the Majority report argues that “Russian malign influence activities on Facebook were significant but they were not well-funded or large-scale operations relative to the overall scope of election-related activity on these platforms.”30 In its February 16, 2018 indictment, the Special Counsel revealed that the IRA’s operation was, in fact, well-funded and organized. The Committee, moreover, was unable to fully investigate and determine the financial backing, scope, and reach of Russia’s covert effort.


Finally; the Democrats take the gloves off…..’bout damn time

The Democratic National Committee has filed a lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Wikileaks, and the Russian government, alleging a conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 election.

The far-reaching suit also names Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, and Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov as defendants, among others.

The suit alleges that the Trump campaign was a “willing and active partner” in the Russian effort to attack American democracy.

The lawsuit asserts that the Trump campaign “maintained secret communications with individuals tied to the Russian government, including one of the intelligence agencies responsible for hacking the DNC.”

The DNC accuses the Trump campaign of “unimaginable treachery.”

The lawsuit seeks damages for computer fraud, conspiracy, trespass, and other statutory violations.

The lawsuit largely recounts publicly known facts about the Trump campaign’s activities but provides new details about the precise timing of the Russian hack of DNC servers. It notes that just four days after Russian intelligence started siphoning data off of DNC servers, a professor with links to the Russian government information a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopolous that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary.

The Washington Post notes there is some precedent for the DNC’s tactic. The DNC filed a lawsuit in 1972 “against then President Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.”

The defendants

There are some 25 total people and entities named in Friday’s lawsuit, ranging from the Russian government and WikiLeaks to Stone and Julian Assange. All of the people and entities, over the past two years, have played their own, interconnected roles in the unfurling revelations about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian hacking, and communiques with both WikiLeaks and Russian operatives.

For those following the saga, many of the names are unsurprising. For instance, the lawsuit identifies both Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch, and his son, Emin, each of whom were instrumental in setting up a June 2016 meeting with Trump, Jr., Kushner, and Manafort, the latter of whom was then Trump’s campaign chief. That meeting, which Trump Jr. believed would provide information on Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign — an idea Trump Jr. memorably said he “loved” — ended up primarily discussing Russia’s ban on allowing Americans to adopt Russian children, a ban put in place following the implementation of the U.S.’s Magnitsky Act.

Both Agalarovs were also instrumental in partnering with the Trump Organization to bring the 2013 Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. The Trump Organization has previously passed along documents to the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the Agalarovs, according to CNN.

One of the new pieces of information in the lawsuit, which describes in detail the alleged conspiracy between the defendants, deals with the timeline involving the DNC hack and Joseph Mifsud, the professor who informed Papadopoulos — then one of Trump’s foreign policy advisors — that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton. Per the lawsuit, Russian hackers exfiltrated emails from the DNC on April 22, 2016 — only four days before Mifsud spoke with Papadopoulos about Russian “dirt” on Clinton. Both Mifsud and Papadopoulos are named in the lawsuit.

Many of those named in the lawsuit have also been charged by Mueller’s office, including Manafort and Rick Gates, Manafort’s erstwhile partner. In February, Gates pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, but a few weeks ago Mueller’s office also accused Gates of “directly communicating” with a “former Russian Intelligence Officer.”

Perhaps the most surprising defendant in the lawsuit is the Russian Federation itself, in that lawsuits against foreign countries rarely succeed on account of other countries’ immunity from most U.S. lawsuits. The DNC, however, alleges that Russia is “not entitled to sovereign immunity because the DNC’s claims arise out of Russia’s trespass onto the DNC’s private servers.” According to the DNC, Russia also “committed the trespass in order to steal trade secrets and commit economic espionage.”

Likewise, the lawsuit targets 10 unidentified Russian intelligence “officers or agencies,” identified as John Doe 1-10. The lawsuit claims that these ten “participated in the conspiracy” to hack the emails and servers, as well as circulate the stolen emails.

Interestingly, the lawsuit does not name all of the key players within the convoluted ties between Trump, his campaign, and Russian officials and cut-outs. Not only is the president not named, but neither is his daughter, Ivanka. Nor is Rob Goldstone or Natalia Veselnitskaya, both of whom were instrumental in organizing the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner. And curiously, Felix Sater, who is mentioned in the lawsuit, is not listed as a defendant — despite the fact that Sater once wrote to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that he would get “Putin on this programme and we will get Donald elected.”


Trump completely wimps out again and throws US Ambassador Nikki Haley under the bus

Thanks sir, I’ll have another!

On Sunday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced that the Treasury Department would be rolling out tough new sanctions against Russia on Monday as punishment for its continued support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

But not 24 hours later, the White House threw Haley under the bus with a clear, contradictory message: Not so fast.

“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Sources familiar with the sanctions rollout process described a chaotic back-and-forth as lawmakers and staffers were struggling to figure out what Haley was exactly referring to. It was unlikely that Haley, who has been lauded by lawmakers from both parties for her tough anti-Kremlin positions, would have misspoken so egregiously if a sanctions regime was not already in the works.

Trump on Monday has now reneged on the preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as “international economic raiding.”

Preparations to punish Russia anew for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria caused consternation at the White House. Haley had said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions on Russian companies behind the equipment related to Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

After this announcement, Trump conferred with his national security advisers later Sunday and told them he was upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them, according to several people familiar with the plan.

Administration officials said Monday it was highly unlikely Trump would approve any additional sanctions without at least another triggering event by Russia.

Sometime after Haley’s comments on CBS, the Trump administration notified the Russian Embassy in Washington that the sanctions were not in fact coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Monday.

The Trump team decided to publicly characterize Haley’s announcement as a misstatement but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Monday: “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.”

An official at White House tried to spin the news as Haley got ahead of herself and made “an error that needs to be mopped up.”

But other administration officials expressed serious skepticism that Haley had merely misspoken. They said Haley is one of the most disciplined and cautious members of the Cabinet, especially when it comes to her public appearances. She regularly checks in with Trump personally to go over her planned statements before she sits for television interviews.

Haley issued no clarifying statement on Sunday after news organizations, including The Washington Post, reported prominently that the new sanctions would be announced Monday based on her comments to CBS.

Asked Monday morning why it had taken 24 hours for the administration to walk back Haley’s comments, one White House official said only that there had been confusion internally about what the plan was.

White House officials said Trump has been impressed with Haley lately, particularly her remarks about Syria over the past week, and stressed Monday that the president holds her in high regard.

In the absence of a permanent secretary of state, Haley has been the face of American diplomacy, playing an especially prominent role over the past week as the Trump administration responded to the attack in Syria.

Haley said Sunday on CBS: “You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already. And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used. And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message, and our hope is that they listen to it.”

The Russians were listening. After Haley’s comments, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that the sanctions were a U.S. ploy to oust Russia from international markets and constituted “undisguised attempts of unfair competition.”

Sources: Daily Beast and Washington Post

Tyrant Trump is on a rampage, time to get ready to take to the streets!


Twice before Trump has tried to fire Mueller and stop the investigations

This time Trump is really pissed off and is blatantly considering firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the person leading the Department of Justice investigation of possible criminal actions by Donald Trump, his family and members of his presidential campaign, as well as the efforts to cover up those activities.

It’s also possible that, rather than firing Mueller, Trump will obstruct Mueller’s investigation by issuing blanket pardons of key figures being investigated, firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (the person overseeing Mueller), or taking other actions to prevent the investigation from being conducted freely.

Any of these actions would create a constitutional and political crisis for our country. It would demand an immediate and unequivocal response to show that we will not tolerate abuse of power from the wannabe tyrant Donald Trump.

Our response in the hours following a power grab will dictate what happens next and whether Congress—the only body with the constitutional power and obligation to rein Trump in from his rampage—will do anything to stand up to him.

That’s why people around the country preparing to hold emergency “Nobody is Above the Law” rallies around the country, in the event they are needed.

This is the moment to stand up to protect our democracy

Let’s mobilize to show that we won’t let Donald Trump become the authoritarian that he aspires to be. The law applies to all of us, and it’s essential that it also applies to the most powerful people in our country.

Use the search tool to find an event near you, or create one if none exists:

Note: If you choose to attend an event, you agree to engage in nonviolent, peaceful action, to act lawfully, and to strive to de-escalate any potential confrontations with those who may disagree with our values.


Trump’s house of lies, lies and more lies

Blackwater founder Erik Prince got caught lying

Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained evidence that suggests Blackwater founder Erik Prince lied to Congress about his meeting in Seychelles with a Russian financier close to Vladimir Putin.

Prince, a campaign adviser to Donald Trump and brother of education secretary Betsy DeVos, told lawmakers that he ran into Russian sovereign wealth fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev by chance at a bar, but Mueller now has evidence that calls that into question, reported ABC News.

According to his congressional testimony, Prince says he was introduced to Dmitriev by a brother of United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed al-Nayhan, who said the Russian financier was also involved in oil, gas and mineral exploration.

“So, as I recall, I met him, this same guy I talked about, Kirill Dmitriev,” Prince testified. “Met him down in the bar after dinner, and we talked for 30 minutes over a beer, and that was it.”

However, Lebanese-American businessman George Nader told Mueller a different story after the special counsel granted him limited immunity.

Nader, who has been arrested twice in the U.S. and convicted once for possession of child pornography, has been interviewed seven times by prosecutors in the Russia probe on a wide variety of subjects, ABC reported.

The naturalized U.S. citizen told investigators he set up the Seychelles meeting between Prince and Dmitriev, and he told the Trump associate that the Russian financier had been appointed by president Vladimir Putin to oversee the state-run sovereign wealth fund.

Nader, who worked at the time for the UAE leader, said he personally facilitated and attended the meeting between Prince and Dmitriev at a resort owned by the crown prince.

He told Mueller that one of the primary goals of the meeting was to set up a line of communication between the Kremlin and the incoming Trump administration, sources told ABC News.

Prince did not mention Nader, who once represented Blackwater in Iraq, to congressional investigators — even after he was asked to list anyone present at his meeting with the Russian financier.

He told lawmakers no one had been present but him, Dmitriev and Dmitriev’s wife, who he said left after a few minutes while they discussed terrorism and oil prices.

Trump is a subject of Mueller’s ongoing criminal investigation

Mueller’s assurances that Trump is not a ‘target’ don’t mean much

Some in the administration are worried this is a trick to lure Trump into doing an interview with the Mueller team.

Headed for an orange jumpsuit?

The office of special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be trying to entice Trump into an interview by assuring him last month that he is not a “target” of its investigation and is only a “subject” of the probe, at least for now, a source familiar with the discussions told POLITICO.

The recent assurance that Trump is not officially a target — first reported by The Washington Post — may not be worth much, since offering what prosecutors consider to be a false statement can easily tip someone over into the target category after an interview, lawyers said.

More significant, some said, is Mueller’s intention to write a report on his findings about Trump’s potential obstruction of justice in the probe, according to the Post. Mueller has no obligation to submit a written report on any of his findings, and it had not previously been known that he intends to write one. There is no assurance that such a report would be provided to Congress or become public.

When it comes to an interview, some formal and informal advisers to Trump have been urging him not to sit for an interview because of the legal peril it could create. Several of the guilty pleas Mueller has already netted in his investigation are for false statements made in interviews with FBI agents working for his office.

“As a practical matter, federal prosecutors typically don’t decide until late in an investigation whether they will charge a person who is under investigation,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote Tuesday on Twitter. “Usually prosecutors don’t make that judgement [sic] until they’ve interviewed witnesses and reviewed the relevant documents. … All today’s news tells us is that Mueller hasn’t decided to indict Trump at this time. If Trump’s lawyers know what they’re doing, they’ll tell him he’s still under great risk.”

In Trump’s case, Mueller’s reported concession that Trump isn’t a target of the investigation may mean even less than in a more typical probe. That’s because Justice Department legal opinions issued in 1973 and 2000 say a sitting president cannot be indicted criminally while in office.

Mueller appears to have little option but to follow that legal guidance since he is generally bound to obey Justice Department policies.

A more intriguing possibility mentioned by the Post is that Mueller has indicated he plans to draft a report on his investigation and wants Trump’s account for that purpose.

“The key isn’t that Trump is not (yet) a ‘target’ but that he IS a SUBJECT of Mueller’s investigation & that Mueller will write a REPORT on what Trump did, why, and what it adds up to. That is HUGE,” Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe wrote on Twitter.

Such a report could be significant because it could serve as a trigger to impeachment proceedings, particularly if the House falls into Democratic control in November.

A private lawyer for Trump, Jay Sekulow, declined to say Tuesday whether Mueller’s office has raised the possibility of a report or offered an assurance about Trump’s status in the ongoing probe.

“We do not discuss real or alleged conversations between our legal team and the Office of Special Counsel,” Sekulow said. White House attorney Ty Cobb also declined to comment.

However, a source informed about the discussions said Mueller’s office had offered the assurance that Trump is not a target of the probe and solely a subject. The source could not immediately confirm that prosecutors had revealed plans for a report that could be made public.

A spokesman for Mueller’s office declined to comment on the reports of discussions with Trump’s legal team.

Legal experts have been divided in recent months over the feasibility of Mueller issuing a report on his findings about alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. While the laws used to appoint independent counsels in the 1980s and 1990s allowed for release of a report with the approval of a judicial panel, the statute expired in 1999.

Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last May under little-used Justice Department regulations that seem to limit the possibility of a far-ranging report on the special counsel’s findings. The rules do require reporting to Congress in the event that Rosenstein were to block a proposed prosecution by Mueller, but without such a disagreement it’s unclear that lawmakers would be automatically notified.

Congress might try to subpoena whatever written summary Mueller’s team gives to Rosenstein, but the regulations suggest that would only come at the end of the special counsel’s probe, which seems certain to continue until the end of this year and perhaps well into 2019. Indeed, the rules Mueller was appointed under appear to have been animated by the criticism of lengthy reports drafted by Whitewater independent counsel Ken Starr and others appointed under the old law.

“We think that the best reading of the special counsel regulations in their historical context rules out a Starr-like report to Congress that lays out hundreds of pages of factual allegations as well as legal analysis and conclusions,” Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith and student Maddie McMahon wrote on Lawfare last month. “The drafters of the regulations criticized that approach and took steps to preclude it, and on the whole, the regulations achieve that goal.”

However, a former Justice Department attorney who drafted the regulations, Neal Katyal, said the rules do allow for more detailed reports. Whether and how they could be made public is a more complicated question.

“The regs only discuss the mandatory final report, and yes, it is contemplated to be brief due to privacy and other interests. But interim reports to the AG could be very detailed (and in order for them to be effective), likely would be,” Katyal told POLITICO on Tuesday night.

One of the biggest obstacles to the Justice Department making public findings about the investigation is that Rosenstein has repeatedly said publicly that prosecutors should not discuss their reasons for not filing charges in a specific case, particularly when individuals are involved.

Indeed, the memo Rosenstein prepared last year that the White House initially seized upon to justify the firing of FBI Director James Comey sharply faulted him for publicly revealing and assessing the evidence found in the course of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account while secretary of state.

“Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously,” Rosenstein wrote. “The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”