Thursday, May 24, 2018

Van Jones Heaps Praise on Trump After Meeting on Prison Reform


By Cortney O'Brien |Townhall


Last week President Trump announced plans to embark on prison reform. Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is leading the effort.

They find themselves with an unlikely ally in the effort - CNN's Van Jones.

Jones was the first to admit the "surreal" experience of sitting across from President Trump at the White House after "beating up" on him for so long. Still, he agreed with everything the president said at the prison reform summit, he told CNN Monday.
  
"On this issue he has been tough," Jones said of Trump.

Included in Trump's proposal are steps to improve conditions for women in prison, to offer prisoners more privileges, and to smooth the process of releasing prisoners back into society.

"Prison reform is an issue that unites people from across our political spectrum," Trump said. "It’s an amazing thing. Our whole nation benefits if former inmates are able to re-enter our society adds productive, law-abiding citizens."

Trump showed a compassion for prisoners "the most liberal Democrat would have agreed with," Jones noted.

He said this despite being teased a bit by Trump during the president's prepared remarks.

The Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 48 lawmakers, has endorsed the prison plan.

How great would it be if on this issue, they could work together to "help the least of these," Jones asked during his CNN appearance.

"Send a bill to my desk," Trump told his audience on Friday. "I will sign it."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

White House Email Blast: Here's What You Need to Know About MS-13 Animals


By Katie Pavlich|Townhall


In a span of 24-hours last week the media and Democrats falsely accused President Trump of calling illegal immigrants "animals" during a White House meeting. Some, but not all, corrected their stories after full context of his remarks were revealed. 

The president was referring to the transnational criminal street gang MS-13 as animals, which was obvious and correct at the time.




White House Press Secretary was inevitably asked about the issue during a briefing last week.

"The president was very clearly referring to MS-13 gangs members who enter the U.S. illegally and whose deportations are hamstrung by our laws," Sanders said. "This is one of the most vicious, and deadly gangs that operates by the motto of 'rape, control and kill.' If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they're more than welcome to. Frankly, I don't think the term the president used was strong enough."

"MS-13 has done heinous acts. It took an animal to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and rip his heart out. 

It took an animal to beat a woman they were sex trafficking with a bat 28 times, indenting part of her body. 

And it took an animal to kidnap, drug and rape a 14-year-old Houston girl," she continued. "Frankly, I think that the term animal doesn't go far enough and I think the President should continue to use his platform and everything he can do under the law to stop these types of horrible, horrible, disgusting people."

Now, the White House is tripling down and sent out an email blast Monday morning detailing the heinous behavior of MS-13 members. 

WHAT: The violent animals of MS-13 have committed heinous, violent attacks in communities across America.

Too many innocent Americans have fallen victim to the unthinkable violence of MS-13’s animals.

THE SAVAGE FACTS: 

At the State of the Union in January 2018, President Trump brought as his guests Elizabeth Alvarado, Robert Mickens, Evelyn Rodriguez, and Freddy Cuevas, the parents of Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas. 

Police believe these young girls were chased down and brutally murdered by MS-13 gang members on Long Island, New York, in 2016. Suffolk County Police Commissioner stated that the “murders show a level of brutality that is close to unmatched.”

In Maryland, MS-13’s animals are accused of stabbing a man more than 100 times and then decapitating him, dismembering him, and ripping his heart out of his body. Police believe MS-13 members in Maryland also savagely beat a 15-year-old human trafficking victim. The MS-13 animals used a bat and took turns beating her nearly 30 times in total.

In Houston, Texas, two MS-13 members were charged after kidnapping and sexually assaulting one girl and murdering another. The two MS-13 animals laughed, smiled, and waved for cameras in court as they faced the charges.
New York communities have suffered tremendously from the abhorrent violence of MS-13. Nearly 40 percent of all murders in Suffolk County, New York between January 2016 and June 2017 were tied to MS-13.

In January 2017, MS-13 members were charged with killing and hacking up a teenager in Nassau County. MS-13’s animals reportedly saw the murder as a way to boost their standing in the gang. In April 2017, police believe four young men were brutally murdered by MS-13 animals on Long Island. One victim was a young man in town visiting family during an Easter week vacation. Just last month, in April 2018, MS-13 reportedly called for its members on Long Island to kill a cop for the sake of making a statement.

WHY: MS-13 is a transnational gang which follows the motto of “kill, rape, control” by committing shocking acts of violence in an attempt to instill fear and gain control.

MS-13 is a transnational gang that has brought violence, fear, and suffering to American communities. MS-13, short for Mara Salvatrucha, commits shocking acts of violence to instill fear, including machete attacks, executions, gang rape, human trafficking, and more. In their motto, the animals of MS-13 make clear their goal is to “kill, rape, control.” The gang has more than 10,000 members in the United States spreading violence and suffering.

Recent investigations have revealed MS-13 gang leaders based in El Salvador have been sending representatives into the United States illegally to connect the leaders with local gang members. These foreign-based gang leaders direct local members to become even more violent in an effort to control more territory.

President Trump’s entire Administration is working tirelessly to bring these violent animals to justice.

Animals, indeed.

As a reminder, Democrat and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is defending them.
------


Unbelievable... Pelosi straight up defending MS-13.


"Does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person? Calling people animals is not a good thing."
-----

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How Democracies End: A Bureaucratic Whimper


By Victor Davis Hanson| American Greatness


 This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
         ― T.S. Eliot


One strange trait of the die hard NeverTrump Republicans and progressives is their charge that Donald Trump poses an existential threat to democracy. Trump, as is his wont, says a lot of outrageous and weird things. But it is hard in his 16 months of rule to find any proof that Trump has subverted the rule of law.

Most of the furor is over what we are told what Trump might do, or what Trump has said, or which unsavory character in Europe likes Trump. These could be legitimate worries if they were followed by Trump’s anti-democratic concrete subversions. But so far, we have not seen them. And there has certainly been nothing yet in this administration comparable to the Obama-era efforts to curb civil liberties.

While we understand those on the left refuse to believe that a constitutional “legal scholar” like Obama would even think of allowing the executive branch to go rogue, it is indeed strange that in almost every NeverTrump attack on Trump’s conduct, there is almost no recognition or indeed worry that we have been living through one of the great challenges to constitutional government in our history.

Does anyone remember that the Obama Administration allowed Lois Lerner (“Not a smidgen of corruption”) more or less to weaponize the IRS to help the Obama 2012 reelection effort? Does anyone remember Eric Holder’s surveillance of the Associated Press journalists and Fox News’s James Rosen?

Why have conservative constitutionalists focused on what Trump has said rather than the strange treatment accorded to investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson by U.S. intelligence and investigatory agencies? Do we even remember the Benghazi pseudo-video narrative and the strange jailing of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula?

Is there even curiosity about why and how the departing Obama Administration suddenly and vastly expanded the number of agencies that could have access to classified surveillance in its aftermath? 

Do we remember the more than 20 times Obama warned before reelection that he was not a “king” and, as a constitutional scholar, could not by fiat offer blanket amnesties? 

Do the authorities in California realize that they are resorting to the extralegal states-rights arguments that South Carolina on the eve of the Civil War and Alabama in the early 1960s used to nullify federal laws?

But stranger still is what we already know of the 2016 election, and the lack of outrage from constitutionalists, who daily warn us of what Trump might do—when we already know what the U.S. government has done in violation of civil rights, constitutional principles, and likely federal laws. 

So far there is no information that Stephen Bannon ordered taps on reporters, or that Nigel Farage was hired by Trump to find Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton, or that Stephen Miller requested the unmasking of surveilled names associated with the Clinton campaign and then leaked them to the press.

But we do know that U.S. officials, including the head of the FBI and chief deputies in the Justice Department, misled a FISA court to obtain intelligence surveillance on U.S. citizens, by providing information that they knew at the time, but did not disclose to the court.

That information, by their own private admission, was unverified, compiled by a foreign national whom they had used and fired as an unreliable informant.

They also admitted that the unverified information was paid for by the Clinton campaign, and served as the basis for news accounts that were used in circular fashion to verify to the court the dossier’s contents.

We do know that members of the Obama intelligence and national security teams—Susan Rice and Samantha Power among others—requested the names of American citizens surveilled (likely obtained through improperly obtained FISA warrants) to be unmasked. 

Then someone illegally leaked their names to the press to damage the Trump campaign and his presidential transition.

We do know that FBI Director James Comey, in succession, has admitted that he in singular fashion took notes of a confidential one-on-one meeting with the president.

Comey then briefed him on the existence of a campaign dossier on him and did not disclose that it was purchased by the Clinton campaign.

Comey also assured him that he was not the subject of a FBI investigation at a time either he or his subordinates were leaking the opposite to the media.

Then, after being fired, Comey leaked those memos (at least one of which was classified) to the media to ensure the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the president, who turned out to be a friend of Comey’s, Robert Mueller. 

Comey by his own admission has also stated that he calibrated the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton to the likelihood of her election to the presidency. FBI directors in a lawful society are not supposed to do such things.

We do know that the FBI placed some sort of an informant in the camp of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in association with gathering information about data used by a foreign national and a paid operative of the Clinton campaign, Christopher Steele, in his effort to collude with Russians against the campaign efforts of Donald Trump.

We do know that the deputy director of the FBI is currently under investigation for lying to federal investigators, on at least four occasions, about his own conduct in investigating candidate Hillary Clinton—at a time not long after Clinton-related political action committees gave several hundred thousand dollars to the political campaign of his wife.

We do know now that both James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, head of the CIA, knowingly gave false testimony under oath to Congress. 

Clapper has previously lied about the surveillance of American citizens.

Clapper has lied about his knowledge of the Steele dossier.

Clapper likely also lied about leaking its contents. 

Brennan also had lied under oath to Congress about the U.S. drone assassination program.

Brennan lied about CIA surveillance of computers used by U.S. Senate staff.

Brennan lied about leaking the existence and promulgation of the Steele dossier.

Brennan lied yet again to Congress that the dossier was not used to prompt a CIA investigation into so-called collusion.

Again, the government’s two highest intelligence officials did not tell the full truth about their knowledge of the Steele dossier or their own roles in promulgating its contents. 

In a constitutional republic both such reprehensible officials who betrayed the public trust would be subject to criminal investigations for knowingly lying under oath to Congress and undermining the sinews of constitutional government.

We do know that senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr met with the architects of the Steele dossier and that at the time his wife was working on the Clinton-purchased Fusion/GPS Steele dossier, information not disclosed as required by the law on a federal form.

Mueller’s special investigatory team, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the media have not yet found any credible evidence of Trump-Russian collusion. 

Indeed, it is more likely that the indictments and confessions of some Trump campaign officials and Michael Flynn, on counts having nothing to do with collusion, either will be dropped, retracted, or will not lead to convictions.

Why?

Because much of the information used against them was obtained by misleading a FISA court judge and through improper conduct at the highest level of the FBI.

There is a reason why over a half-dozen top FBI officials either have been fired, reassigned, resigned, or retired. 

We have not yet seen the inspector general’s full report, but its publication may lead to more departures from both the FBI and the Justice Department, if not to criminal prosecutions.

If the present constitutional crisis really involves high federal officials and former federal officials who were colluding with foreign governments, then we have ample evidence that:

1) Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation received large sums of money from Russian-related interests in association with ongoing requests to buy into companies that might control North American uranium stocks; 

2) John Kerry has met clandestinely with members and former members of the Iranian government to craft joint strategies to save the so-called Iran Deal, from which the president of the United States just withdrew; and 

3) Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired a foreign national to use sources from other foreign nationals to help subvert the campaign of her 2016 opponent.

We are all worried, on occasion, by nationalist and anti-democratic movements abroad in former democratic countries.

.... 

[T]he current and chief threats to Western constitutional government are not originating from loud right-wing populists in Eastern Europe, or from Trump wailing like Ajax about the rigged deep state.

Rather, the threat to our civil liberties is coming from supposedly sanctimonious and allegedly judicious career FBI, Justice Department, and intelligence agency officials. It's coming from progressive and self-described idealistic former members of the Obama national security team, and anti-Trump fervent campaign operatives, all of whom felt that they could break the law.

The democracy killing  lawbreaking by this cabal included illegally monitoring American citizens, and seeking to warp federal courts and even the presidential election because such unsavory and anti-constitutional means were felt necessary and justified to prevent and then subvert the presidency of Donald J. Trump.
   
It is willful blindness for progressives and NeverTrump Republicans to overlook what has happened only to damn what has not happened. 

The dangers in America are not from transparent right-wing authoritarians (who are easily spotted in their clumsiness), but from mellifluous self-styled constitutionalists, whose facades and professions of legality mask their rank efforts to use any anti-constitutional means necessary to achieve their supposedly noble egalitarian ends.

This is the way democracies end—not with a loud boisterous bang, but with insidious and self-righteous whimpers. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

What Obama and his political Choom Gang did is far worse than Watergate



Which is the greatest 'witch hunt' in American history?

By Charles Hurt |The Washington Times

At the end of all the scandal and drama, all of the breathlessly reported lies and false accusations, at the end of all the money wasted on some zany kabuki swamp dance choreographed to the thrumming of giant bullfrogs and yipping of excited coyotes — at the end of all of this — it comes down to precisely what we said it was a year and a half ago.

The Obama administration — with or without the knowledge and direction of President Obama himself — perverted one of the most powerful, clandestine spying operations in the world and used it at the very height of a presidential campaign to spy on political opponents, punish them and, ultimately, silence them through extortion.

If this was orchestrated without the express knowledge of Mr. Obama, then it reveals just how blatantly he instructed by example the weaponizing of the entire federal government to carry out his low, dishonest and unjust ideology. By any means necessary, one might say. Only instead of being driving by visions of justice, these people were driven by visions of undying power.

If this conspiracy was carried out at the express direction of Mr. Obama or other high officials in his administration, then they belong in jail. 

From unmasking of political opponents, to leaking their names to the press, to killing legitimate investigations, to launching politically motivated witch hunts, a racket of this scale could not have been carried out without some major juice and cover at the top levels of the Department of Justice, FBI and the White House.

The rogue henchmen carrying out the dirty work, as always, presented as perfect, decent and most honest little Boy Scouts like former FBI Director James B. Comey.

Most of the FBI today must be horrified by the degree to which Mr. Comey and his goon squad handed over the entire mission of the FBI to political hacks inside the Obama administration

Still, there were far too many inside the bureau willing to junk their oath in the name of some kind of higher “justice.” Which is just another way of saying “selling their soul for partisan gain.”

What the Obama administration did to infiltrate the Trump campaign, spy on political opponents and then launch a wicked vendetta against them is worse than anything J. Edgar Hoover ever did — at least that we know about.

It is worse than any of the domestic abuses by the CIA during the Cold War.

It is worse even than what the federal government did to undermine civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr.

As bad and corrupt as it is to harass innocent citizens under any circumstances, it is so much worse to weaponize the government to pursue and punish and eliminate domestic political opponents. That is the sort of thing that destroys a Republic.

And yes, it is even much worse than Watergate. At the end of the day, Watergate was a bungled break-in by low-level political hacks. And then it was about the political cover-up and how high it went.

What happened under Mr. Obama is the stuff of Third-World dictators.

When Donald Trump was running for president, establishment Republicans and Democrats alike ran around thumping their chests feigning outrage that Mr. Trump would not be capable of respecting the Constitution.

At that time, the Obama administration was spying on Mr. Trump and his campaign and carrying out the most extensive and brazen undercover espionage-war campaign against political opponents that we have ever seen.

All the while nary a peep from these same smarmy swamp creatures as Mr. Obama rolled the constitution into joints so he and his political Choom Gang could smoke bales of weed.

Contact Charles Hurt at churt@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter at @charleshurt.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

BREAKING: DOJ asks watchdog to look into possible 'impropriety' after Trump demands probe on alleged campaign 'infiltration'




The Justice Department asked its watchdog to look into any alleged "impropriety or political motivation" in the FBI's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the DOJ said Sunday night -- hours after President Trump ordered a review looking into whether federal agents infiltrated or surveilled his campaign for political purposes.
"I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes -- and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!" the president tweeted.
----------

 I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!

-----

"The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election. As always, the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct," DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told Fox News.
She also released a response from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: "If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action."
Trump, late last week, began accusing the Justice Department of trying to frame him by planting a spy in his campaign -- an allegation his own lawyer said might not be true.
Promoting a theory that is circulating, Trump quoted Fox Business anchor David Asman and tweeted Friday: "Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn't commit."
...
On whether there was an "informant" in the 2016 presidential campaign, Giuliani told CNN, "I don't know for sure, nor does the president, if there really was one," though he said they have long been told there was "some kind of infiltration."
Earlier this month, the National Review raised the question of a possible FBI spy in Trump's campaign. The article cites work by California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter and head of the House Intelligence Committee, who has demanded information on an FBI source in the Russia investigation.
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee as its vice chairman, objected Friday to such demands, emphasizing "the critical importance of protecting sources and methods."
"It would be at best irresponsible, and at worst potentially illegal, for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our election," Warner wrote in a statement. "Anyone who is entrusted with our nation's highest secrets should act with the gravity and seriousness of purpose that knowledge deserves."
The New York Times reported separately this past week that at least one government informant met several times with Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, both former foreign policy advisers for Trump's Republican campaign.
The Times reported Friday that the informant talked to Page and Papadopoulos because they had suspicious contacts linked to Russia. The newspaper attributed the information to current and former FBI officials.
...
Fox News' Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SHOCK: Cambridge professor outed as FBI informant inside Trump campaign


By Mary Kay Linge | New York Post
  


A Cambridge professor with deep ties to American and British intelligence has been outed as an agent who snooped on the Trump presidential campaign for the FBI.

Multiple media outlets have named Stefan Halper, 73, as the secret informant who met with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos starting in the summer of 2016. The American-born academic previously served in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations.

The revelation, stemming from recent reports in which FBI sources admitted sending an agent to snoop on the Trump camp, heightens suspicions that the FBI was seeking to entrap Trump campaign aides. Papodopoulous has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, while Page was the subject of a federal surveillance warrant.

“If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal,” President Trump tweeted Saturday, calling for the FBI to release additional documents to Congress.

The Halper revelation also shows the Obama administration’s FBI began prying into the opposing party’s presidential nominee earlier than it previously admitted.

Halper’s sit-downs with Page reportedly started in early July 2016, undermining fired FBI Director James Comey’s previous claim that the bureau’s investigation into the Trump campaign began at the end of that month.

Halper made his first overture when he met with Page at a British symposium. The two remained in regular contact for more than a year, meeting at Halper’s Virginia farm and in Washington, DC, as well as exchanging emails.

The professor met with Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis in late August, offering his services as a foreign-policy adviser, The Washington Post reported Friday, without naming the academic.

Clovis did not see the conversation as suspicious, his attorney told the paper — but is now “unsettled” that “the professor” never mentioned he’d struck up a relationship with Page.

Days later, Halper contacted Papadopoulos by e-mail. The professor offered the young and inexperienced campaign aide $3,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to London, ostensibly to write a paper about energy in the eastern Mediterranean region.

“George, you know about hacking the e-mails from Russia, right?” the professor pressed Papadopoulos when they met, according to reports — a reference to Trump’s campaign-trail riffs about Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server.

Sources close to Papadopoulos told NBC News that he now believes Halper was working for an intelligence agency.

Highly detailed descriptions of the FBI informant in Friday reports in The New York Times and Washington Post pegged Halper in all but name. 

Outlets including NBC and Fox News subsequently connected the dots. The revelation confirms a March report in the Daily Caller that outlined Halper’s repeated meetings with Papadopoulos and Page.

It is not clear if the professor was paid to speak with Trump campaign figures, but public records show that he has received large payments from the federal government in the last two years.

The Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment — a shadowy think tank that reports directly to the secretary of defense — paid Halper $282,000 in 2016 and $129,000 in 2017.
Halper has close personal and professional ties to the CIA reaching back decades

He is the son-in-law of a former deputy director of the agency and worked on the 1980 presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush, who had served as CIA director.

When Bush became Ronald Reagan’s running mate, Halper was implicated in a spying scandal in which CIA officials gave inside information on the Carter administration to the GOP campaign.
Meanwhile, reports emerged Saturday that Donald Trump Jr. met in August 2016 with a representative of Saudi crown princes, who offered pre-election help to his father’s campaign.

An Israeli political strategist who attended the meeting told the New York Times that their plan to carry out a pro-Trump social media campaign did not go forward.


___________________


POWERLINE


Jazzing up the FBI spying-on-Trump scandal


The FBI and its friends in the mainstream media want to make the Bureau’s spying on the Trump campaign seem as dry, innocuous, and non-cloak-and-dagger as possible under the circumstances. An elderly professor contacted three Trump advisers — Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Sam Clovis.

He met with Page at least several times and maintained an email correspondence with him. He met with Clovis once for coffee. He met several times for dinner with Papadopoulos. He was looking for indications of Russian influence in the campaign. Apparently, he found none.

As dry as this story sounds, it still constitutes the federal government spying on the campaign of the candidate of the party out of power. It’s still a scandal.

It could a use a little spice, though. This report by Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller supplies it.

According to Ross:

Papadopoulos made the trip to (London) and had dinner multiple times with [the spying professor] and a Turkish woman described as his assistant. Sources familiar with Papadopoulos’s version of their meetings said Halper randomly asked Papadopoulos whether he knew about Democratic National Committee emails that had been hacked and leaked by Russians.

Papadopoulos strongly denied the allegation, sources familiar with his version of the exchange have told The DCNF [Daily Caller News Foundation]. Halper grew agitated and pressed Papadopoulos on the topic. Papadopoulos believes that Halper was recording him during some of their interactions, sources said.

[The professor’s] assistant. . .brought up Russians and emails over drinks with Papadopoulos. [She] also flirted heavily with Papadopoulos and attempted to meet him in Chicago, where he lives, a source told TheDCNF.

If true, the FBI didn’t just use an elderly professor to spy. It also used a temptress.

This isn’t as juicy as parts of the anti-Trump dossier, but it may have the virtue (so to speak) of being true.