Michael Novakhov – My Bullet Points:
- Stop this hysteria, and stop scapegoating Peter Strzok.
The political attitudes, and expressing them, on the part of the FBI agent, might or might not be ethical, depending on the circumstances (office email to a colleague and lover probably is not), but it is not a crime. Mr. Mueller’s move to remove Strzok was correct and timely, but do not read in this move more than it contains. The issue that is much more serious, and in demand of the serious and deep investigation, is:
What was the state of the U.S. Counterintelligence Service during the Obama Administration, and specifically around the Elections time? Mr. Strzok, as reported, was in the position of the Deputy Chief of the FBI Counterintelligence for the Russian Affairs, he was the main nerve center through whom the information, concepts, strategy, and tactics were flowing. Was the situation around that time assessed correctly? This is the question of the adequate competence, which is very different from all the other possibly related or unrelated issues. All these issues have to be examined and assessed, the mistakes have to be determined, studied and analyzed, to minimize their chances to be repeated again.
Stop your vicious attacks on Mrs. Clinton. My impression is (and I wrote about this in my blogs earlier, and I think, other people did mention this too) that
- Hillary Clinton “hacked emails affair” was a diversion,
designed and implemented by the same actors who engaged in the “Trump election affair”, with the purposes of diverting the focus of attention, human and other resources, etc., etc., from Trump affair. If we consider and accept this possibility (which might be a signature style of the hostile intelligence service), then many other aspects appear to fall in their places in this big picture.
The matters, issues, and the questions about Peter Strzok and his activities (or lack of them, or their misdirection) are not his choice of words describing Mrs. Clinton’s attitude, which he recommended to Mr. Comey (“extreme carelessness” instead of “gross negligence”), but his ability to be on the top of the situation, with the adequate understanding and reading of the players involved, their motivations, their rules of the game, their ultimate goals, etc., etc..
- That is why the calls for the full and urgent FBI and their services investigations on the part of the Congress are completely justified. We have to understand what went wrong in order to do it right in the future.
Politicization is a double-edged sword. It has to be recognized and avoided equally on both sides: conservative and liberal, republican and democratic. The institutions, traditions, culture are the cornerstones of stability in the face of the ongoing political onslaught of populism and the relative extremes of the “far right” or the “far left”, for the lack of the better terms. The FBI and the other institutions have to avoid these political extremes and to stay centered, as their new Director, Mr. Wray, suggested in his letter to the FBI employees. This organization has deep, severe, and the long-standing problems. In order to be corrected, the nature of these problems has to be understood and diagnosed correctly.
- Another aspect is the connection between the current “Trump affair” and 9/11,
not just as an issue of inability to see and prevent them, but as the possible single causal chain, perpetuated by the same or the simular kind of actors. The follow-up on 9/11 investigation, or the review, conducted by the FBI, cannot be considered adequate, despite the many good and valid points, dispersed in the text of this report, on which I wrote about earlier also.
Mr. Mueller, Mr. Comey, Mr. Wray, and the other relevant persons involved: Do not protect the FBI needlessly. It is counterproductive. The FBI has to be investigated to the utmost depth, to the bone, to the raw, painful, and ugly truth, and all of it. And the facts and conjectures have to be shared with the public. The FBI is deteriorating and degenerating in front of our eyes, and the signs of it abound. The in-depth reassessment is needed, if we want this organization to survive and to revitalize. It is not the exaggeration to add that this is the matter of survival of America herself, as we know it.
- Investigate the investigators! Save America! Reform the FBI now!
| 5:44 AM 12/7/2017 – Peter Strzok – News Review: On Strzok, Let’s Wait for the Evidence – National Review | A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now.
Five Things to Know About Anti-Trump FBI Agent Peter Strzok
Robert Mueller’s Russia probe is under scrutiny after it was revealed that he dismissed investigator Peter Strzok for anti-Trump texts.
Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
|Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks|
|Peter Strzok – Google Search|
National Review–12 hours ago
I’m taking a “wait and see” attitude on FBI agent Peter Strzok, who is now enmeshed in a political storm involving both the Clinton and the Trump investigations. You know why? Well . . . it’s because I can’t stand the Clintons. What difference does that make? Well, because I didn’t like them any better in 2001.
Tucker Carlson: “Out Of Control” FBI Considers Itself Above The Law …
RealClearPolitics–Dec 4, 2017
The FBI’s Forrest Gump: Agent fired from Mueller probe for sending …
Daily Mail–Dec 5, 2017
A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice …
Opinion–Washington Post–Dec 4, 2017
Anti-Trump bias exposed in Mueller probe
In-Depth–Fox News–15 hours ago
Cohen: Smoking gun of FBI’s bias
Opinion–Boston Herald–Dec 4, 2017
Fox News Insider–Dec 5, 2017
Greg Gutfeld discussed the FBI official who was reassigned from the Mueller investigation after sending politically-charged texts to his mistress. Gutfeld said Peter Strzok showed evidence of “bias and stupidity” when it was revealed he sent the messages critical of President Trump and supportive of Hillary …
Peter Strzok Revelations Damage Reputations of FBI, Mueller
Newsmax–16 hours ago
Russia inquiry prosecutor Robert Mueller faces claims of Trump bias
The Times–Dec 5, 2017
Stray Strzok thoughts
Power Line (blog)–20 hours ago
Trump to FBI: Losers
Opinion–Baltimore Sun–Dec 4, 2017
Washington Times–13 hours ago
Charles Grassley wrote to FBI Director Chris Wray on Wednesday to ask that the bureau address a series of questions about counterintelligence investigator Peter Strzok. The deputy assistant director in the FBI’s counterterrorism division was removed both from that position and the Mueller team over the …
Mueller investigation smells to high heaven
Opinion–Baltimore Sun–13 hours ago
The new right-wing attack on the Mueller probe, explained
In-Depth–Vox–Dec 5, 2017
Commentary: President Trump starts to rack up wins
Opinion–CBS News–Dec 6, 2017
CNN–Dec 4, 2017
Electronic records show Peter Strzok, who led the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server as the No. 2 official in the counterintelligence division, changed Comey’s earlier draft language describing Clinton’s actions as “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” the sources said. The drafting …
Why Mueller removed a top FBI agent from the Russia inquiry
Opinion–The San Diego Union-Tribune–Dec 4, 2017
Top FBI official assigned to Mueller’s Russia probe said to have …
In-Depth–Washington Post–Dec 2, 2017
Trump Says FBI Credibility Is in “Tatters,” Denies Telling Comey to …
Blog–Slate Magazine (blog)–Dec 4, 2017
|Five Things to Know About Anti-Trump FBI Agent Peter Strzok|
Here’s what you need to know about Strzok:
Strzok Was Demoted Over the Texts
Strzok, who the New York Times reported is “considered one of the most experienced and trusted F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators” and was a top investigator in Mueller’s Russia probe, was demoted to a human resources position after the discovery of the texts — which were sent to an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
Strzok Was Involved in Softening Comey’s Language on Clinton’s Email Use
CNN reported that Strzok was involved in changing the language FBI Director James Comey used in his July 2016 statement to describe Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information. The language was reportedly changed from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
The subsequent language is softer and therefore was less damaging to Clinton — who was at that time locked in a bruising presidential campaign with then-candidate Donald Trump. CNN noted that federal law carries penalties for gross negligence in the handling of classified material.
Strzok Interviewed Michael Flynn, Top Clinton Aides
Strzok was reportedly involved in the interviews of Michael Flynn in January for the probe into Russian interference, as well as Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills concerning the Clinton email scandal.
Those interviews are now being scrutinized as Flynn was charged for lying during that interview about his contacts with Russian officials, but Abedin and Mills were not charged for saying they did not know about Clinton’s private email server until 2013 — when there were emails from earlier suggesting they do.
Strzok’s roles in both interviews have stoked concerns about bias and double standards in the FBI’s probes.
Strzok Is Not the Only One
Strzok is not the only agent accused of having a left-leaning bias. Documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that the prosecutor now serving as Mueller’s top deputy sent an email in January gushing over then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ refusal to enforce President Trump’s travel ban.
“I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects,” said Andrew Weissman in the email, one of a number of supportive emails Yates received from DOJ colleagues.
Congress Wants Answers
Strzok’s potential bias has caught the attention of Republicans in Congress. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) toldthe New York Post Tuesday that he and fellow members of the House Intelligence Committee want to review Strzok’s “text messages, e-mails and contacts.”
They also want to know his impact on the findings of the investigation into Clinton’s email use and why he was questioning Michael Flynn. He also said the FBI and Justice Department have been “stonewalling” them.
“I think we should definitely question him. In fact, he’s one of the people we’ve been trying to get information on for the last several months,” King said.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.
|Mueller Removed Top Agent in Russia Inquiry Over Possible Anti-Trump Texts|
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|Trump, Russia And Beyond: 3 Tough Questions As FBI Director Heads To Congress – NPR|
|Government Documents Show FBI Cleared Filmmaker Laura Poitras After Six-Year Fishing Expedition – EFF|
|Republicans hammer Mueller, FBI as Russia investigation intensifies – Washington Post|
|Whistleblower: Flynn Signaled End to Russia Sanctions Minutes Into Trump Presidency – Voice of America|
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|It is time for Trump to vacate the presidency – National Catholic Reporter|
|Investigators are finally using the word treason in the Trump-Russia scandal|
As Donald Trump’s Russia scandal has turned into arguably the most complex criminal conspiracy in history, one of the key questions has been how to classify the series of unprecedented crimes that have been committed. Four of Trump’s people have already been arrested on various crimes including the ominous sounding “conspiracy against the United States.” But now, for the first time, those investigating the scandal are finally using the word “treason” in relation to the scandal.
Donald Trump and his underlings conspired with a foreign enemy to rig the United States Presidential election in his favor, and once Special Counsel Robert Mueller is finished proving it beyond any doubt, a lot of people are going to conclude that this was straight up treason. However, that word carries a lot of baggage with it. For one thing, it has a narrow yet vaguely defined legal meaning. It’s also considered by many to be the most severe crime of all. So even those who see it as treason have had to be careful about using that word. However, that appears to be rapidly changing.
Congressman Eric Swalwell is a prominent member of the House Intelligence Committee, which makes him a key investigator in the Trump-Russia scandal. After the news broke this week that Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort continued to conspire with the Russians after he was placed under house arrest, Swalwell didn’t mince words. He tweeted “At this point, lets just call this what it is, treason.”
To be clear, Swalwell is accusing Paul Manafort of treason, and not Donald Trump. But the first step in proving Trump guilty of treason would be to set a baseline by convicting Manafort for treason. And the first step to nailing Manafort for treason is officially using that word in reference to him. Treason charges do not a require a declaration of war (no matter how many Twitter pundits claim otherwise), but rather simply an act of war. If Russian election hacking can be legally defined as an act of war, then Manafort can be convicted of conspiring to commit treason and so can Trump.
The post Investigators are finally using the word “treason” in the Trump-Russia scandal appeared first on Palmer Report.
|Diplomats And World Leaders Hate Trumps Jerusalem Move — But His Base Loves It|
White evangelical Christians overwhelmingly support Trump. They also overwhelmingly believe God gave Israel to the Jews.
|Trumps Potential Justice Obstructions|
How many times might President Donald Trump obstructed justice? Turns out, lots.
|House conservatives to press FBI on ‘bias’ against Trump|
The news of the agent’s reassignment was first reported in August, but details were unclear. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
Christopher Wray, Trump’s nominee for FBI director.(Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP)
WASHINGTON — House conservatives plan to press FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday about revelations that a top agent was demoted for anti-Trump text messages — an incident the lawmakers charge proves bias against the president in the Russia investigation.
But while that will make for a confrontational hearing between Wray and the House Judiciary Committee, legal experts say Congress is unlikely to take action to derail special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a member of the Judiciary Committee, said at a news conference with five other GOP lawmakers Wednesday that President Trump has been subjected to “the unprecedented bias against (him) that exists when we allow people who hate the president to participate in the investigations against him.”
“People who actively dislike the president were assigned to work against him,” said Gaetz, adding later in an interview that he believes FBI agent Peter Strzok should have been fired rather than being moved from Mueller’s team to the bureau’s human resources department.
Strzok — a top counter-intelligence agent who also helped run the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State — was abruptly reassigned this summerafter the inspector general for the Department of Justice discovered text messages between him and another FBI official that allegedly contained anti-Trump statements.
The existence of the messages were revealed Saturday in news reports, but the full text of the messages has not been disclosed.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., a member of the committee, said he will press Wray on what he sees as the FBI’s bias in favor of Clinton and against Trump. Conservatives believe the FBI let Clinton off easy last year when former director James Comey concluded that she was “extremely careless” in her handling of classified emails but did not commit any crime, language that Strzok was reportedly involved in drafting.
Wray took over as FBI director in late September after Trump fired Comey in May.
“One of the questions that needs to be answered is why are the same people that have mishandled and provided bias to the Hillary Clinton investigation over time, why are they still in this administration?” Biggs said at Wednesday’s news conference.
Conservatives also renewed their call Wednesday for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the FBI’s handling of the Clinton case. Sessions, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last month, said he has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate Republican members’ requests for a special counsel.
The Department of Justice’s inspector general is already conducting an investigation of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week, and will undoubtedly be asked about that probe.
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has threatened to have his committee vote on a contempt of Congress resolution against Wray and Rosenstein in the wake of the news about Strzok. He said the FBI and the Department of Justice hid the information from Congress for months “in a willful attempt to thwart Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility.”
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, standing with Reps. Peter King and Ron DeSantis, listens to a reporter’s question as he speaks on Capitol Hill on Oct. 24, 2017. (Photo: Susan Walsh, AP)
The Department of Justice has denied that and said officials are cooperating with the committee’s investigation and will continue to do so.
Democrats say Republicans are just trying to divert attention away from Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
Mueller’s probe recently resulted in two indictments and two guilty pleas from Trump associates — including a guilty plea from former national security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about his communications with the Russian ambassador.
As of Wednesday, Nunes had not yet announced whether he planned to bring the contempt resolution to a vote in his committee.
The problem for lawmakers in pointing to the Strzok case as evidence of bias in the overall Russia investigation is that Mueller demoted the agent as soon as he was informed about the questionable text messages, legal experts said.
“I think that Mueller bent over backwards to be ‘purer than Caesar’s wife’ in letting him (Strzok) go,” said Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and the special deputy chief counsel for the House Iran-Contra Committee’s investigation of the Reagan administration.
Nunes may be angry that the Department of Justice didn’t clear Strzok until a few days ago to testify before his committee, but that’s not a basis for contempt of Congress, Tiefer said.
Congress can only hold people in contempt if they are currently withholding testimony or documents, Tiefer said. They can’t go after them for a slow response, he said.
“If you could charge every official who was behind schedule in responding to Congress with contempt, you would have to line them all up at the D.C. stadium,” the professor said.
It’s also unlikely that House leaders would bring a contempt of Congress resolution to a vote of the full House even if it passed the committee, he said.
“The stance of congressional leaders so far has been ‘let justice be done,’ ” Tiefer said. “There are more indictments ahead. Congressional leadership is not going to want to look like they are fighting those.”
Andrew Wright, an associate professor at Savannah Law School in Georgia and former staff director of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Congress has the power to withhold funds from Mueller’s investigation.
Mueller’s investigation has cost taxpayers at least $3.2 million so far, according to Justice Department records released Tuesday.
But Wright said any effort by Republicans to cut off funding to the investigation would never pass the Senate, where Democrats have the power to block such a move. Besides, the Mueller investigation allows GOP leaders to focus on tax policy, health care and other issues instead of having to answer endless questions about the Russia investigation, he said.
“(House Speaker) Paul Ryan is benefiting from the fact that the Mueller investigation gives him an out from talking about Russia at every press conference,” Wright said. “He can say ‘the special counsel is handling that’ and move on to the next question.”
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|FBI and DOJ have Been Under Investigation Since January American Lens|
FBI and DOJ. These two agencies are making the rounds today on social media like wildfire is a press release that went largely unnoticed in January.
Who or what is being investigated? According to the release, “the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review of allegations regarding certain actions by the Department of Justice (Department) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in advance of the 2016 election.”
Here’s the press release from January:
Now that you’ve read that document, consider these recent tweets, one from Eric ‘Contempt of Congress’ Holder, responding to President Trump’s remarks about the “FBI being in tatters.” How well will these age?
Also under review – How Mueller’s secret firing of Peter Strzok, who is apparently very anti-Trump and had involvement in both the Clinton email scandal and the Fusion GPS dossier.
Yesterday, a bombshell dropped about Strzok – he interviewed Flynn:
But there was more. Now the interview itself is being called into question due to Strzok’s involvement:
The hits keep coming with Strzok as the Daily Caller reported: Embattled FBI supervisor Peter Strzok also conducted the interviews with Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, in which they falsely claimed they didn’t know about Hillary’s email server when she was Secretary of State.
And there’s the allegations by former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough about the Clinton email scandal.
McCullough told FOX news’ Tucker Carlson that that the Clinton email probe was politicized and that his office was systematically attacked and marginalized by Democrats.
Let that sink in, the information in Clinton’s emails would have brought,”…harm to National Security.”
Remember, Clinton has maintained nothing in her emails was classified. That is, the emails remaining on her private server which she used ‘bleachbit‘ on to destroy evidence.
Judicial Watch has already produced proof that Clinton did have classified material on her servers and that material was forwarded to Clinton Foundation employees.
Judicial Watch found even more classified emails recently in a cache of Clinton emails (72,000) that the FBI collected during the email scandal and finally turned over to the watchdog group.
Stay tuned. Things are likely going to get very interesting, likely in January since the IG has said they are ‘close’ to making their report.
|Peter Strzok Photo: See First Image of the FBI Agent|
Fox NewsThe photo of Peter Strzok obtained by Fox News.
A photo of Peter Strzok, the top FBI agent who was removed from the Robert Mueller investigation, has finally been revealed. For days, the lack of any images or pictures of Strzok, 47, led to rampant speculation online.
Fox News was the first media outlet to obtain a picture of Strzok, in what looks like an official FBI photo. It shows Strzok in suit-and-tie positioned in front of an American flag. Here’s the photo:
You can read the original Fox News article that revealed the photo of Strzok here. The article alleges that “Strzok, a former deputy to the assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, oversaw the bureau’s interviews with ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, changed former FBI Director James Comey’s early draft language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her private email server from ‘grossly negligent’ to ‘extremely careless’ and reportedly helped push the largely unverified dossier on Trump that was initially prepared by Fusion GPS for the Clinton campaign’s opposition research.”
The picture obtained by Fox News is the only image to emerge of Strzok, who doesn’t appear to have a social media presence.
The claims of political bias exploded after it was revealed that Mueller had quietly reassigned Strzok because of text messages that Strzok is accused of sending to an FBI lawyer disparaging Donald Trump and showing support for Hillary Clinton. The specific wording of the messages has not been revealed. Strzok is married to a top SEC lawyer named Melissa Hodgman.
“Bosses discovered he and another member of Mueller’s team had exchanged politically charged texts disparaging President Trump and supporting Hillary Clinton,” The Washington Post reported. According to The Washington Post, during the Clinton investigation, “Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.” McCabe himself has been criticized because his wife received money from groups with alliances to Clinton.
According to Newsweek, “It’s true that for her campaign, Jill McCabe received a total of $675,288 from two entities associated with McAuliffe: a political action committee and the Virginia Democratic Party.” She was running for Virginia’s senate at the time. “McAuliffe is a longtime friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton,” reported Newsweek.
Strzok exchanged messages with Page that helped lead to his ouster from the Mueller team, the Post reported. “Of greater concern among senior law enforcement officials were text messages the two exchanged during the Clinton investigation and campaign season in which they expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton,” according to the newspaper.
The allegations of political bias engulfing Strzok are not the only such claims to hit the Mueller team. t least nine of the lawyers on special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team of 16 attorneys donated to Democrats, with most giving money to either the campaigns of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, a review of Federal Election Commission records shows.
Seven other lawyers on the team do not have previous federal campaign donations, a review of FEC records shows, and Mueller himself has served in the administrations of both Republican and Democratic presidents (and was a registered Republican in the past). None of the 16 lawyers on his team is listed as donating money to President Donald Trump’s campaign or to the presidential campaigns of any past Republicans, although one donated to two Republicans in non-presidential races in addition to giving more money to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and a string of Democrats.
You can read more about the Mueller team’s campaign donations here:
You can read more about Melissa Hodgman, Peter Strzok’s wife, here:
|fbi criticism – Google Search|
<a href=”http://FactCheck.org” rel=”nofollow”>FactCheck.org</a>–Dec 4, 2017
President Donald Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton “lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened to her.” In fact, the FBI director told Congress that there was “no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.” Trump also left the false impression that the FBI deviated from its standard practice by not putting …
Russia-Trump: President criticised for attacking FBI
BBC News–Dec 4, 2017
How Nonpartisan and Independent Was the FBI’s Leadership in 2016?
National Review–Dec 4, 2017
Comey And Holder Blast Trump Over FBI Criticism
The Daily Caller–Dec 3, 2017
Trump complains about ‘unfair’ treatment of Michael Flynn
In-Depth–Chicago Tribune–Dec 4, 2017
Trump’s tweets lash out at FBI and Russia investigators
In-Depth–Christian Science Monitor–Dec 4, 2017
|How Nonpartisan and Independent Was the FBI’s Leadership in 2016?|
Yes, President Trump doesn’t help himself when he Tweets, “After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History!”
But criticism of a particular FBI decision, or a series of decisions by the bureau’s leadership, does not mean one is attacking the entire institution as a whole. (Otherwise, every critic of J. Edgar Hoover is “attacking the FBI.”) But while the FBI’s reputation might be overall in good shape, the public faith in the decision-making of former director James Comey during the 2016 campaign isn’t in good shape. Many Hillary Clinton fans thought the investigation into her e-mails was a witch hunt; many Republicans thought Comey’s press conference lamenting her “extremely careless” handling of classified information amounted to a slap on the wrist. Hillary herself blames Comey for her defeat; that’s obviously overwrought, but there’s no getting around the fact that the FBI ended up making enormously consequential decisions that no doubt helped shape the outcome of the presidential election.
And now there’s some evidence that some voices at the top of the FBI weren’t so nonpartisan and independent after all:
Is Peter Strzok a partisan hack? His friends and colleagues will probably say “no,” and the Trump administration will say “yes.” But the fact that he was sending around ”politically charged texts disparaging President Trump and supporting Hillary Clinton” is not encouraging. By doing that, he’s given Trump and his defenders all the ammunition they need to argue that Clinton’s non-criminal consequences amounted to a whitewash, and that the Bureau’s continuing investigation into the administration is, at least in part, driven by a partisan vendetta.
And just how good is this guy’s judgment if he’s sending pro-Hillary text messages while he’s investigating her?
|DANA MILBANK: Latest fallback: Who cares if Trump colluded with Russia? – Meridian Star|
|Yesterday The Supreme Court Jolted LGBTQ People With A Frightening Reality|
Many thought the 2015 marriage ruling brought full equally. But everything could quickly slide back.
|Today’s Headlines and Commentary|
President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israels capital and pledged to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the New York Times reported. In televised remarks from the White House, Trump reversed nearly seven decades of U.S. policy. He also promised to eventually move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, but signed a waiver under the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act that allows the State Department to avoid penalties for keeping the mission in Tel Aviv. The European Unions top diplomat, Chinas foreign ministry, Pope Francis and other world leaders condemned the move.
At a NATO foreign ministers summit, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended President Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capital, the Post reported. Diplomats meeting with Tillerson condemned the move, saying it harmed chances for peace in the Middle East. Germanys foreign minister warned that the Trump administration is undermining the transatlantic relationship between the U.S. and Europe, according to the Post. On Wednesday, Tillerson said he is hopeful that Russia and the U.S. could reach a deal on a peacekeeping force to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported. The U.S. and Russia have disagreed about whether the proposed peacekeeping force could operate along Ukraines Russian border.
A whistleblower said that Michael Flynn sent messages to business partners during the presidential inauguration saying that their U.S.-Russia project to build nuclear reactors in across the Middle East was, good to go, Politico reported. Congressional democrats said the whistleblower approached them last summer with the information that Flynn sent messages to Alex Copson, Flynns partner on the previously reported power plant scheme, during Trumps inaugural address. Copson said Flynn stated that Russia sanctions that might hamper the project would be removed under the new administration. Rep. Elijah Cummings said special counsel Robert Muellers team requested that congressional democrats hold off on releasing the information until the special counsels investigation completed certain investigative steps.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from participating in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the Times reported. The ban is an unprecedented punishment for Russias extensive state-backed doping program. Russian government officials are barred from attending the games and its national symbols will not be part of any official Olympic ceremony. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would not bar Russian athletes from competing as neutral individuals, the Washington Post reported. Putin denied the IOCs claims about the Russian doping operation during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
British intelligence and police forces stopped a plot by extremist militants to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May, Sky News reported. Police arrested two men last week who planned to use an improvised explosive device to attack 10 Downing Street, which serves as the official residence of the prime minister. The men appeared in court on Wednesday to face charges of terrorism related to the plot to use explosives, including a suicide vest, to kill the prime minister, according to Reuters.
Secretary Tillerson said that Cuba bears responsibility for not stopping the attacks against U.S. diplomatic personnel at the U.S. embassy in Havana, the Times reported. The State Department discovered the attacks against 24 of its staff in Cuba in January. Doctors treating the victims found brain abnormalities in their investigation into hearing, vision, and mental damage, the AP reported. U.S. officials said the medical finding laid out more evidence against the previously discussed possibility of sonic attacks and instead implied that something else must have caused the damage.
A joint U.S.-Afghan military operation killed the top al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported. A series of air and ground operations in several Afghan provinces led to the death of Omar bin Khatab and over 80 other al-Qaeda operatives. U.S. officials said the operations showed the progress that Afghan security forces are making in the fight against terrorism.
China denied that it attempts to influence Australian domestic politics as the Australian prime minister proposed a new law designed to limit foreign influence, the Times reported. The Chinese embassy in Australia said media reports about its attempts to exercise soft power in the country were misleading. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposed bills banning foreign campaign donations and requiring registration of foreign agents. Australian media has reported extensively on political pressure put on Chinese students at Australian universities to support the Chinese Communist Party.
The Senate confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen as Secretary of Homeland Security in a 62-37 vote, the Post reported. Nielsen, an attorney and cybersecurity expert who was the deputy to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, will take over from Acting Secretary Elaine Duke.
ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare
Jesse Lempel explained how Tier III terrorist designations work and the dispute between the courts and the administration on the designations proper scope.
J. Dana Stuster updated the Middle East Ticker, covering the death of the ex-Yemeni president, the Jerusalem embassy announcement, and the trial of Reza Zarrab.
Stewart Baker shared the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with Susan Hennessey and Andrew McCarthy on unmasking and FISA Section 702.
James Pfander reviewed Amanda Tylers new book on the history of habeas corpus in war.
Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring audio from an event with Bruce Riedel on his new book about the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
Josh Blackman analyzed the claim that the president cannot obstruct justice.
Benjamin Wittes argued that the president can obstruct justice in the context of carrying out his constitutional duties.
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|FBI and DOJ have Been Under Investigation Since January – American Lens|
|Subpoena For Deutsche Bank May Put Mueller On Collision Course With Trump – NPR|
|Gingrich: The swamp is more corrupt than we thought it was – Fox News|
|The quest for collusion is over as the desperate shriek for impeachment begins – Washington Post|