Democracy

The Weeks Ahead: Pressure, Not Panic

Hoping for something special on Monday when Robert Mueller has promised to unseal the first legal action relating to his probe of Russia’s involvement in the election? Speculation is rampant and the Republicans must be nervous or they wouldn’t be dredging up Hillary stories. My favorites are the ones that say the Democrats are the ones who colluded with Russia. That’s going to be a tough sell when it was members of the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign whose emails were hacked.

But by now we know that facts are not the GOP’s, or the White House’s, stock in trade. And this was the week that the Republicans paved the way for a tax cut bill that the rest of the country hasn’t seen and doesn’t allow for much debate because that might open it up to scrutiny. Or debate. Or criticism. Or the very real possibility that many middle class taxpayers will pay more taxes just so corporations can pay much less.

But the Democrats had better be very careful about what they wish for. President Trump will not be impeached, and by calling for such action the left is courting a very serious backlash. After all; it’s one thing to vehemently disagree with the president. It’s quite another to threaten legal action based on what he’s done so far, which is monumentally bad and retrograde and backwards and the opposite of making our country the envy of the world. In fact, the Republicans are already running their 2018 campaign on the premise that a Democratic Congress will seek to impeach the president,which most people do not support.

In short, calm down and let the legal process work itself out. Robert Mueller has the respect of most of the country. Let the news drip for a while. Oppose the policies and keep a sharp eye on what the White House does, rather than on what it says.

On the tax bill, point out where the middle and lower middle classes will lose because of this bill. Remind people that corporations will pay less, but they won’t because someone has to pay for the tax cuts. Talk about fairness, because in  the end, that’s what this bill is all about, and that’s where it ultimately will fail.

And of course, agitate, agitate, agitate.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest

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Trump – “Are You Allowed to Impeach a President for Gross Incompetence?”

Remember in 2014 when Trump questioned if it was allowed to “impeach a president for gross incompetence?” Well the rest of America is wondering that very same thing today!

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Trump Defends Giving Highly Classified and Confidential Information To Russia

Donald Trump just don’t get it. After it was revealed yesterday that he invited Russian officials to the Oval office last week and shared classified confidential information with them, Donald Trump is now defending his decision in a barrage of tweets earlier this morning.

After the Washington Post broke the news, Trump sent out one of his surrogate, his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, to deny the story. McMaster stood outside the White House and informed reporters that “the story as reported” was “false”

“At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed,” McMaster said, carefully reading from a statement. “And the President did not disclose any military operations that weren’t already publicly known. I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”

Of course the story reported in the Washington Post did not say Trump disclosed military operations or discussed “intelligence sources or methods.” The story stated that Trump shared highly classified information on U.S intelligence about ISIS. Intelligence that was shared with the U.S on the condition it should not be disclosed without the authorization to do so.

Hours after Trump violated this trust, he threw McMaster under the bus and admitted that the report in the Washington Post was in fact, correct. In a tweet storm, Trump gave this reason for giving Russia the classified information.

“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety, Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism,” he tweeted.

On CNN, former CIA officer Bob Baer, said by revealing this to the Russians, America “has lost control of this information. It’s going to go to the Syrians, It’s going to go to the Iranians — Russian allies.”

Baer continued. “The ability to protect that source whoever he is, wherever he is has been seriously undermined … If a CIA officer had revealed this information to the Russians, he would be fired instantly.”

Even former CIA Director, Leon Panetta was in awe and wondered if Donald Trump realizes that the safety of the United States is in his hands. Panetta was visibly perplexed in a CNN interview. “He is the president,” Panetta lamented, “not just a reality TV star.”

“He is President of the United States. He is not a reality TV star. He is not just another personality. He is President of the United States.”

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Report – Trump Revealed “Highly Classified” Information to Russian Officials

Donald Trump is a disaster and he is dragging this country off a cliff. I just had to get that off my chest!

In a bombshell report by The Washington Post, this week’s unbelievable Donald Trump story is about highly classified information that Donald Trump shared with Russia last week in the Oval Office.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

The revelation comes as the president faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump’s subsequent admission that his decision was driven by “this Russia thing” was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice.

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FBI Received Warrent to Monitor Trump Adviser’s Interaction with Russian Spies

Getting the FISA warrant to spy on a foreigner is easy. Getting a FISA warrant to spy on an American is not the easiest thing to get, as evidence of wrongdoing or colluding or being a secret agent of a foreign entity is required by the court. So when a FISA warrant was issued to the FBI to monitor Trump adviser, Carter Page, then we anticipate more news about the findings of that warrant to come forward soon.

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

 

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Russia and Iran Warns of War if America Attacks Syria Again

Are you ready for World War III?

A statement released by “the joint command operation center of Syrian allies,” a group that includes Russia and Iran, warned the U.S. against further military actions in the war-torn country, following a missile strike on a Syrian air base last week.

Referring to its defense of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime, the group warned that they would support Syria and its people “with all means that we have.”

“The United States crossed red lines by attacking Syria, from now on we will respond to anyone, including America if it attacks Syria and crosses the red lines,” the statement read. “America knows very well our ability and capabilities to respond well to them, [and] we will respond without taking into consideration any reaction and consequences.”

The statement did not include critical details like what kind of military operation would cross such a red line, or what kind of response would be made on the part of Syria and its allies, but noted that they would work to “liberate” Syria from occupation.

“Rest assured that we will liberate Syria from all kinds of occupying forces, it does not matter from where they came to the occupied part of Syria,” the statement warned. “Russia and Iran will not allow the United States to be the only superpower in world.”

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Republican Representative Calls for Nunes to Recuse Himself

When people from your own party starts calling for your resignation, then you know you have hit rock bottom.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) on Tuesday told The Hill that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) should “absolutely” recuse himself from his panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in last year’s election.

Jones, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who frequently bucks leadership, is the first Republican in Congress to call on Nunes to step aside.

“How can you be chairman of a major committee and do all these things behind the scenes and keep your credibility? You can’t keep your credibility,” Jones said just off the House floor.

“If anything has shown that we need a commission, this has done it by the way he has acted. That’s the only way you can bring integrity to the process. The integrity of the committee looking into this has been tainted.”

Jones is the only Republican co-sponsor on a measure from Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) that would establish an independent commission to probe Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Nunes on Tuesday brushed aside calls to recuse himself, asking why he should.