Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hushpuppy, Apr 12, 2011.
Billy Bush says there were 8 witnesses to Trump’s ‘Access Hollywood’ comments
By Derek Hawkins, The Washington Post
Billy Bush, the former “Access Hollywood” host, has responded to recent reports that President Trump has questioned the authenticity of video in which he can be heard bragging about grabbing women by their genitalia, saying the president was “indulging in some revisionist history.” Bush said that seven people, in addition to him, heard Trump.
In a commentary Sunday for the New York Times, Bush said he was disturbed by reports from the past week that Trump has told allies and at least one senator that he may not be the voice on the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape.
“He said it,” Bush wrote, referring to Trump’s now infamous “grab them by the pussy” remark made on an “Access Hollywood” bus.
“Of course he said it,” Bush added. “And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator. Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time, and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act. He was performing. Surely we thought, none of this was real.”
“We now know better,” he added, referring to the women who came forward to accuse Trump of improper sexual advances.
The Washington Post first reported the leaked recording in October 2016. It captured audio of then-candidate Trump boasting to Bush about forcibly kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women as the two rode to a soap opera set to shoot a segment. Bush, who hosted “Access Hollywood” at the time, laughed and egged Trump on.
After the recording surfaced, Trump acknowledged it was him speaking and dismissed his words as “locker-room banter.”
“I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize,” he said.
But last week, the Times and The Post reported that Trump has sowed doubts about the recording’s authenticity, telling people close to him, including a Republican senator, that the tape may have been doctored or faked. He has suggested to senior advisers that the voice isn’t his, or that it was edited to make him look bad, and has asked others whether they think it sounds like him, as The Post has reported.
Continued at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...es-that-trumps-access-hollywood-tape-is-real/
Weekend Update on the GOP Tax Plan | Saturday Night Live
Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, including the Senate passing the Republican tax plan. British Prime Minster Theresa May (Kate McKinnon) stops by to address President Donald Trump's retweets.
Dick Champagne @DerekSheen 2 hours ago
Please stop comparing Trump to Hitler.
Hitler had a dog.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 5 hours ago
Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama. We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!
President Trump says ‘we need Roy Moore.’ A look at who ‘we’ excludes. | The Washington Post
After flirting with the idea for weeks, the country’s Leading Republican endorsed the Republican nominee in Alabama's Senate race.
“We need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” President Trump declared in an early-morning tweet.
Trump pointed to Moore’s commitment to the GOP platform as his reason for backing the former Alabama Supreme Court justice, who is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers when he was in his 30s.
The move was hardly a surprising one for Trump, who is facing more than a dozen sexual misconduct allegations himself, considering the number of times Trump defended Moore or attacked Moore's Democratic opponent, former U.S. attorney Doug Jones, in recent weeks.
But it is a reminder to some Americans that Trump’s vision of what can make this country great does not appear to include the political concerns of people outside the president’s base.
When Trump says “we” need Moore, here’s a look at who “we” appears not to include:
• The editorial board of Alabama’s three leading papers, which have reported on Moore’s political career for more than 15 years. The board wrote:
“To be clear: it's not only his record on women and children that disqualifies Moore. If we vote for Roy Moore, Alabama will also show that we don't care about you if you're gay or Muslim or Catholic. If you're an atheist or an immigrant. We'll show each other that we only care about Roy Moore's definition of Alabama. And that there's not room for the rest of us.”
• LGBT Americans, whom Moore has accused of trying to destroy American culture. Eva Kendrick, Alabama state director for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, previously said:
“Given Roy Moore’s track record of flouting laws and attacking the civil rights of LGBTQ people across our state, we already know he won’t stand up for all Alabamians when it matters most. In the run-up to December 12, we urge every fair-minded person across Alabama to say #NoMoore and reject the politics of bigotry and hate.”
• Women, who the latest Washington Post-Schar School poll shows are more likely to vote against Moore:
“Women are more likely than men to find the allegations credible and to support Jones, with 41 percent of women saying Moore made unwanted advances compared with 28 percent of men saying the same. Moore leads by 15 points among men likely to vote, while Jones leads by 18 points among likely female voters.”
• Black voters, who overwhelmingly support Jones, who successfully prosecuted two members of the Ku Klux Klan for the notorious 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four black girls. Polls show Jones receiving more than 90 percent of the black vote.
Continued at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...-we-need-roy-moore-a-look-at-who-we-excludes/
Trump lawyer: 'The president cannot obstruct justice' | NBC News
President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, John Dowd, revealed Monday a potential legal defense in the ongoing Russia probe, claiming that a president cannot obstruct justice.
"The president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under (the Constitution's Article II) and has every right to express his view of any case," Dowd told NBC News Monday.
Dowd added that the president's weekend tweet — which many have argued strengthened a potential obstruction of justice case for special counsel Robert Mueller — "did not admit obstruction."
"That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion," Dowd said.
His comments were first reported by Axios and came two days after Trump tweeted, "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI."
Continued at https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-lawyer-president-cannot-obstruct-justice-n826231
Michael Steele @MichaelSteele 3 hours ago
Michael Steele Retweeted Donald J. Trump
Your refusal to acknowledge you’ve just endorsed an alleged pedophile for the sake of “a vote” tells me Roy Moore will be a Trump Puppet and America no longer has a moral compass under your “leadership”.
Manafort breaks conditions of his bail. He was to not engage in public relations because that would make it harder to get a unbiased jury. He was caught ghost writing an editorial with a Russian intelligence
His bail conditions:
"Prosecutors s agreed with Manafort that his home detention and GPS monitoring be terminated and that he be permitted to travel on 24 hours’ notice between the District and the three states where he has homes and does business, and — with approval from the court — elsewhere in the United States."
"Paul Manafort reaches bail deal with Mueller probe prosecutors for judge’s approval"
This is what he did
"Special counsel backs out of bail deal with Paul Manafort, saying he tried to hide a public relations effort"
Prosecutors say longtime Manafort colleague has ‘ties’ to Russian intelligence | The Washington Post
Federal prosecutors asserted Monday that a longtime associate of Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Trump’s campaign, has been “assessed to have ties” to Russian intelligence — the first time the special counsel has alleged a Trump official had such contacts.
The statement came as prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III withdrew their support for a joint bail deal filed last week that would have released Manafort from home detention and GPS monitoring while he awaits trial on charges including money laundering and fraud.
Manafort, 68, and his longtime deputy, Rick Gates, 45, have both pleaded not guilty to charges filed Oct. 30.
In the four-page filing Monday, prosecutor Andrew Weissman urged the judge to reject the bail deal, arguing that Manafort and a Russian colleague have been secretly ghostwriting an English-language editorial that appeared to defend Manafort’s work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.
They said Manafort worked on the draft as recently as last week with “a long-time Russian colleague . . . who is currently based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.” They indicated they would file further supporting evidence under seal.
Continued at https://www.washingtonpost.com/poli...1ae098-d93e-11e7-b1a8-62589434a581_story.html
Donald Trump's personal banking information handed over to Robert Mueller
Deutsche Bank, Trump’s biggest lender, is forced to submit documents after special prosecutor issues subpoena
The revelation makes clear that Mueller is investigating Trump’s financial transactions. Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images
Tuesday 5 December 2017 11.23 GMTFirst published on Tuesday 5 December 2017 11.16 GMT
Donald Trump’s personal banking information has formally been turned over to Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating whether the president’s campaign conspired with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election.
Bloomberg reported early on Tuesday that Deutsche Bank, the German bank that serves as Trump’s biggest lender, had been forced to submit documents about its client relationship with the president after Mueller issued the bank with a subpoena for information.
The new revelation makes it clear that Mueller and his team are investigating the president’s financial transactions. It is not clear whether Mueller is interested in the bank accounts because they are connected to the Russia probe or if he is investigating another matter.
Deutsche Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The bank told Bloomberg in a statement that it always cooperated with investigating authorities.
The news could also elicit a strong reaction from the president, who has previously said that any attempt to investigate his personal business dealings would go beyond Mueller’s investigative mandate and would represent a “violation”.
Trump has consistently denied any collusion between his campaign and Russia and has stated that he did not have any business dealings in Russia. Since then, news has emerged that the Trump Organization sold a significant number of its properties to Russian clients and explored opening a hotel in Moscow, though the plan never came to fruition.
The president has repeatedly criticised the Mueller investigation and, this weekend, alleged that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters”. The attack followed the guilty plea of Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who is now cooperating with federal investigators.
Mueller’s investigators have, according to previous media reports, examined Russian purchases of Trump-owned apartments, the president’s involvement with Russian associates in SoHo, and the president’s 2008 sale of his Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev.
News of the subpoena was not unexpected. The Guardian reported in July that executives at the bank were anticipating they would receive a formal demand for banking records about the president and had already established informal contacts with Mueller’s investigators.
But the development nevertheless represents a significant blow to the president personally and indicates that Mueller is not limiting his probe to Trump campaign officials.
Deutsche Bank has for months been the subject of intense scrutiny – especially by Democrats on Capitol Hill – because of its dealings with the president and his family, who are also clients. Trump owes the bank about $300m in loans that were extended to him before he became president.
The Guardian reported in February that the bank had launched a review of Trump’s account earlier this year in order to gauge whether there were any connections to Russia and had not discovered anything suspicious.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser in the White House; her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a presidential adviser; and Kushner’s mother, Seryl Stadtmauer, are all clients of Deutsche Bank.
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer — with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal — to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials and others familiar with the proposals. The sources say the plans have been pitched to the White House as a means of countering “deep state” enemies in the intelligence community seeking to undermine Trump’s presidency.
The creation of such a program raises the possibility that the effort would be used to create an intelligence apparatus to justify the Trump administration’s political agenda.
“Pompeo can’t trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the proposals, in describing White House discussions. “It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books,” this person said, meaning the intelligence collected would not be shared with the rest of the CIA or the larger intelligence community. “The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly.”
Oliver North, who appears frequently on Trump’s favorite TV network, Fox News, was enlisted to help sell the effort to the administration. He was the “ideological leader” brought in to lend credibility, said the former senior intelligence official.
Some of the individuals involved with the proposals secretly met with major Trump donors asking them to help finance operations before any official contracts were signed.
The proposals would utilize an army of spies with no official cover in several countries deemed “denied areas” for current American intelligence personnel, including North Korea and Iran. The White House has also considered creating a new global rendition unit meant to capture terrorist suspects around the world, as well as a propaganda campaign in the Middle East and Europe to combat Islamic extremism and Iran.
“I can find no evidence that this ever came to the attention of anyone at the NSC or [White House] at all,” wrote Michael N. Anton, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, in an email. “The White House does not and would not support such a proposal.” But a current U.S. intelligence official appeared to contradict that assertion, stating that the various proposals were first pitched at the White House before being delivered to the CIA. The Intercept reached out to several senior officials that sources said had been briefed on the plans by Prince, including Vice President Mike Pence. His spokesperson wrote there was “no record of [Prince] ever having met with or briefed the VP.” Oliver North did not respond to a request for comment.
According to two former senior intelligence officials, Pompeo has embraced the plan and has lobbied the White House to approve the contract. Asked for comment, a CIA spokesperson said, “You have been provided wildly inaccurate information by people peddling an agenda.”
At the heart of the scheme being considered by the White House are Blackwater founder Erik Prince and his longtime associate, CIA veteran John R. Maguire, who currently works for the intelligence contractor Amyntor Group. Maguire also served on Trump’s transition team. Amyntor’s role was first reported by Buzzfeed News.
Michael Barry, who was recently named the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, worked closely with Erik Prince on a CIA assassination program during the Bush administration.
Prince and Maguire deny they are working together. Those assertions, however, are challenged by current and former U.S. officials and by Trump donors who say the two men were collaborating.
As with many arrangements in the world of CIA contracting and clandestine operations, details of who is in charge of various proposals are murky by design and change depending on which players are speaking. An Amyntor official said Prince was not “formally linked to any contract proposal by Amyntor.” In an email, Prince rejected the suggestion that he was involved with the proposals. When asked if he has knowledge of this project, Prince replied: “I was/am not part of any of those alleged efforts.”
The former senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the efforts scoffed at Prince’s denials. “Erik’s proposal had no company names on the slides,” this person said, “but there is no doubt that Prince and Maguire were working together.”
Prince and Maguire have a long professional relationship. Maguire recently completed a stint as a consultant with Prince’s company, Frontier Services Group, a Hong Kong-based security and logistics company partially owned by the Chinese government. FSG has no known connections to the private spy plan.
Prince has strong ties to the Trump administration: His sister Betsy DeVos is secretary of education, he was a major donor to the Trump election campaign, and he advised the transition team on intelligence and defense appointments, as The Intercept has previously reported. Prince has also contributed to Vice President Mike Pence’s campaigns.
Maguire spent more than two decades as a paramilitary officer at the CIA, including tours in Central America working with the Contras. He has extensive experience in the Middle East, where he helped plan the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Maguire and Prince met together in September with a senior CIA official at a Virginia restaurant to discuss privatizing the war in Afghanistan.
Prince told a top fundraiser that Maguire was working on part of his Afghanistan plan, characterizing it as the first part of a multi-pronged program. The fundraiser added that Prince never directly asked him for money. But sources close to the project say Maguire did seek private funding for Amyntor’s efforts until a CIA contract materialized. “They’ve been going around asking for a bridge loan to float their operations until the CIA says yes,” said a person who has been briefed on the fundraising efforts.
Beginning last spring and into the summer, Maguire and a group of Amyntor representatives began asking Trump donors to support their intelligence efforts in Afghanistan, the initial piece of what they hoped would be a broader program. Some Trump fundraisers were asked to provide introductions to companies and wealthy clients who would then hire Amyntor for economic intelligence contracts. Maguire explained that some of the profit from those business deals would fund their foreign intelligence collection. Others were asked to give money outright.
“[Maguire] said there were people inside the CIA who joined in the previous eight years [under Obama] and inside the government and they were failing to give the president the intelligence he needed,” said a person who was pitched by Maguire and other Amyntor personnel. To support his claim, Maguire told at least two people that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, in coordination with a top official at the National Security Agency, authorized surveillance of Steven Bannon and Trump family members, including Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. Adding to these unsubstantiated claims, Maguire told the potential donors he also had evidence H.R. McMaster used a burner phone to send information gathered through the surveillance to a facility in Cyprus owned by George Soros.
Amyntor employees took potential donors to a suite in the Trump Hotel in Washington, which they claimed was set up to conduct “secure communications.” Some White House staff and Trump campaign supporters came to refer to the suite as “the tinfoil room,” according to one person who visited the suite. This account was confirmed by another source to whom the room was described. “John [Maguire] was certain that the deep state was going to kick the president out of office within a year,” said a person who discussed it with Maguire. “These guys said they were protecting the president.”
Maguire and others at Amyntor have boasted that they have already sent intelligence reports to Pompeo.
PRINCE, MAGUIRE, AND OLIVER NORTH have long shared a common frustration over the failure of the U.S. government to bring two suspects from a high-profile terrorist event in the 1980s to justice. Last summer, Maguire discussed rendering the suspects with White House officials after learning the men had been located in the Middle East. Despite having no U.S. government approval, associates of Maguire began working on a snatch operation earlier this year, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Prince colleague.
Maguire, concerned that the FBI would not take action, made an offer to senior White House officials. The message, according to a person with direct knowledge of the rendition plan, was: “We’re going to go get these guys and bring them to the U.S. Who should we hand them over to?”
The rendition plan was meant to be a demonstration that Maguire and his associates had an active intelligence network and the capability to grab suspects around the world. Prince maintains he has nothing to do with that plan. But according to a source with extensive knowledge of Prince’s networks, Prince was working in parallel to assemble a team to help apprehend the men.
According to two people who have worked extensively with Prince in recent years, Prince has been contacting former Blackwater personnel who worked on a post-9/11 era CIA assassination program targeting Al Qaeda operatives. That program, which the Bush White House prohibited the CIA from disclosing to congressional intelligence committees, was revealed to Congress in 2009 by CIA Director Leon Panetta. The CIA says the program did not result in any assassinations.
Among the capabilities Erik Prince offers is a network of deniable assets — spies, fixers, foreign intelligence agents — spread across the globe that could be used by the White House. “You pick any country in the world Erik’s been in, and it’s there,” said a longtime Prince associate. “They’re a network of very dark individuals.” The associate, who has worked extensively with Prince, then began rattling off places where the private spies and paramilitaries already operate — Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, “all across North Africa.”
Opaque contracting arrangements are typical for Prince, who became a lightning rod in his Blackwater days and now prefers to minimize controversy by operating in the shadows, disguising his involvement in sensitive operations with layers of subcontractors and elaborately crafted legal structures. “That’s his exact MO,” said the longtime Prince associate, adding that Prince consistently attempts to ensure plausible deniability of his role in U.S. and foreign government contracts.
“I have zero to do with any such effort and saying that I did/do would be categorically false,” Prince said in his email to The Intercept. “Knowingly publishing false information exposes you to civil legal action. The only effort I’ve quite publicly pitched is an alternative to Afghanistan.”
THE INTELLIGENCE AND COVERT action program would mark an unorthodox return to government service for Prince, the onetime CIA contractor, who built a mercenary force that became notorious during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would also raise new questions about Prince’s foreign entanglements since he sold Blackwater.
In addition to Prince’s former assassination network, the hidden cadre of spies with no official cover — NOCs in CIA jargon — includes the assets of another key player in the Iran-Contra affair, CIA officer Duane Clarridge, who died in 2016. Maguire, who worked under Clarridge as a young CIA paramilitary in Central America during the mid 1980s, took over the network of contract spies, who operate mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Last summer, as Prince pushed his public proposal to privatize the war in Afghanistan, he and Maguire had broader ambitions, according to a person involved in the discussions. “The goal was to eventually get their network of NOCs worldwide, but they initially started with Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
“Prince seems to be firing on a lot of cylinders and pitching overt and covert plans,” said a current intelligence officer who has closely monitored Prince’s career and has been briefed on several of Prince’s recent efforts, including the proposal to Pompeo. The official declined to discuss details of the plans, but pointed to Prince’s much-discussed pitch to privatize the war in Afghanistan as a smokescreen for offering other more controversial programs and operations.
Prince’s Afghanistan plan, which received substantial media attention and got a hearing at the highest levels of the Trump administration, “was brilliant because it changed the narrative and made him relevant,” the officer said, referring to Prince’s scandal- and investigation-plagued career at Blackwater. The officer also added that the very public Afghanistan pitch, replete with cable news interviews and op-eds, provided a legitimate reason “to justify meeting with people” at the White House, CIA, or other government agencies.
“Erik has no hobbies,” said the longtime Prince associate. “Counterterrorism is his hobby.”
In some ways, these plans mirror operations Prince led during the Bush-Cheney administration. When Prince was running Blackwater, he and a former CIA paramilitary officer, Enrique Prado, set up a global network of foreign operatives, offering their “deniability” as a “big plus” for potential Blackwater customers, according to internal company communications obtained by The Intercept.
In a 2007 email, with the subject “Possible Opportunity in DEA—READ AND DELETE,” Prado sought to pitch the network to the Drug Enforcement Administration, bragging that Blackwater had developed “a rapidly growing, worldwide network of folks that can do everything from surveillance to ground truth to disruption operations.” He added, “These are all foreign nationals (except for a few cases where US persons are the conduit but no longer ‘play’ on the street), so deniability is built in and should be a big plus.”
The longtime associate of Prince said that the nexus of deniable assets has never gone away. “The NOC network is already there. It already exists for the better part of 15 years now,” he said.
Prince has long admired Oliver North and viewed his role in Iran-Contra as heroic, said the Prince associate. In 2007, Prince testified defiantly before Congress following the Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad, in which Blackwater operatives gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians, including women and children. Shortly after his testimony, Prince’s longtime friend, the conservative California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, praised the Blackwater chief. “Prince,” Rohrabacher said, “is on his way to being an American hero just like Ollie North was.”
North, a Marine lieutenant colonel on the Reagan National Security Council, oversaw a scheme to divert proceeds from illicit arms sales to Iran to Contra death squads in Nicaragua. The resulting scandal became known as the Iran-Contra affair, and North was convicted of three felonies, though these convictions were later thrown out.
Both North and Maguire attended a small reception in 2014 celebrating Prince’s third marriage — to his former spokesperson Stacey DeLuke. “It was an intimate affair,” said the Prince associate. “Only Erik’s closest friends were invited to that reception.” On election night 2016, DeLuke posted photos on social media from inside Trump headquarters.
On November 30, Prince testified behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee about his January trip to the Seychelles to meet with Mohammad bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, and a Russian fund manager close to Vladimir Putin. According to the Washington Post, Prince presented himself as an unofficial envoy of President-elect Trump. The Intercept reported last week that the fund manager was Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Prince repeatedly said that he did not remember the identity of the Russian, but on Thursday, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Prince admitted that he did in fact meet with Dmitriev.
Prince may have revealed part of his strategy in a July 2016 radio interview with Steve Bannon, when he proposed recreating the CIA’s Phoenix Program, an assassination ring used in the Vietnam War, to battle ISIS. Prince said in the interview that the program would be used to kill or capture “the funders of Islamic terror, the wealthy radical Islamist billionaires funding it from the Middle East.”
Trump too busy and important to face defamation lawsuit, president's lawyers claim | The Guardian
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, is suing Trump for defamation after he accused her of lying about sexual harassment in 2007
Trump lawyers say judge lacks jurisdiction for defamation lawsuit | Reuters
Trump's personal banking information handed over to Robert Mueller | The Guardian
Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump’s biggest lender, is forced to submit documents after special prosecutor issues subpoena
Why Robert Mueller May Be Interested in Trump's Deutsche Bank Records | Rolling Stone
'Collusion' author Luke Harding discusses the saga that appears to be at the center of the special counsel's latest move
Trump lawyer denies Deutsche Bank got subpoena on Trump accounts | Reuters
Mueller Subpoenas Deutsche Bank Records Related to Trump | Wall Street Journal
The subpoena concerns documents and data related to people or entities affiliated with the President
These corporations are helping elect an alleged child sex abuser to the U.S. Senate | ThinkProgress
Follow the money.
Last month, after several women came forward and accused Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore of child sexual abuse and other sexual misconduct, the Republican National Committee (RNC) said it had cut ties with the candidate and terminated a joint fundraising program aimed at helping his campaign. In the time since, more women have come forward with similar stories and evidence of their relationships. Yesterday, after Donald Trump offered his full support to Moore anyway, the RNC reversed course and reportedly will resume its efforts to elect Moore in next Tuesday’s special election and will devote party resources to the effort.
A ThinkProgress review of contributions to the Republican National Committee so far in this 2017 to 2018 campaign cycle, at least 15 companies have donated $15,000 or more each from their corporate political action committees (PACs) to the party, and are thus contributing to the pro-Moore efforts. The totals include donations through the end of September. According to Federal Election Commission data from the subscription online Political MoneyLine, these include:
Comcast Corporation & NBCUniversal with at least $100,000.
AT&T Inc with at least $60,000.
Leo A Daly Company with at least $30,000.
Amerisourcebergen Corporation with at least $15,000.
Lockheed Martin Corporation with at least $15,000.
Honeywell International with at least $15,000.
Pricewaterhousecoopers with at least $15,000.
AFLAC with at least $15,000.
Pfizer Inc. with at least $15,000.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company with at least $15,000.
Textron Inc with at least $15,000.
Exelon Corporation with at least $15,000.
The Boeing Company with at least $15,000.
Microsoft Corporation with at least $15,000.
BNSF Railway Company with at least $15,000.
While federal campaign finance law prohibits corporations from donating directly to national parties and federal candidates out of their company treasuries, corporations have long influenced politics by establishing political action committees and pooling donations from executives and other employees.
Continued at https://thinkprogress.org/corporate-contributions-rnc-roy-moore-cc9f837209e2/
Native American tribes, conservation groups sue Trump over monument changes | CNN
A group of Native American tribes filed suit against President Donald Trump and a host of administration officials on Monday, alleging that Trump's decision to significantly shrink Bears Ears National Monument is "in violation of the United States Constitution and the Antiquities Act of 1906."
Representatives from the Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, the Navajo Nation and the Ute Indian tribes accused Trump of exceeding "the limited authority delegated to his office," violating "the Antiquities Act and the separation of powers established in the Constitution" and circumventing the law by "attempting to evade that strict limitation" of his power.
The lawsuit, the first against Trump's decision to shrink the monument, comes at the same time that a group of environmental and conservation organizations sued Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for dramatically shrinking Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
That lawsuit, which comprises The Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and seven other groups as plaintiffs, argues that Trump's decision to reduce the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante was "unlawful" and "exceeds his authority under the US Constitution and the Antiquities Act."
Continued at http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/04/politics/monument-trump-utah-shrink-conservation-tribes-sue/
Patagonia Is Suing the Trump Administration | GQ
After the President dramatically rolled back protections on national monuments, the outdoor brand goes on the offensive.
Visit Patagonia’s website on just about any day, and you’re greeted by surfers shredding sparkling blue waves, climbers hanging off cliffs, and skiers slashing in front of a melting creamsicle sunset. It’s Branding 101: the type of imagery that makes you want to buy Patagonia. But on Monday, around 4pm EST, the website went black, but for the words: “The President Stole Your Land.”
The new landing page is a shot across the bow at the Trump administration. On Monday, the President announced he was rolling back protections on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah; combined, two million acres of land will lose federal protection. It represents the largest reduction of protected land in America’s history, and one that 98 percent of the people who commented on the public review of the monuments are against, according to a study by the Center for Western Priorities. In response, Patagonia has announced its intention to file a lawsuit against the administration to protect Bears Ears national monument from losing federal protection, leaving lands of historical importance to Native American tribes vulnerable to mining, logging, and oil extraction. It’s a case that could define future presidents’ ability to strip monument status like this.
This isn’t the outdoors brand’s first showdown against Trump, having criticized him for leaving the Paris climate change agreement. And the brand has a storied history of environmental activism — Patagonia donates 1 percent of its annual sales, a figure that will approach $10 million in 2017 — and consistently launches projects to encourage recycling and reusing clothing. But this is a step further for any company — even Patagonia. “We feel that we have to pull out all the stops at this point,” Hans Cole, Patagonia’s director of environmental activism tells me. “This is not a time to sit back and let any tool available to us go unused.” The brand’s founder Yvon Chouinard was more direct, telling CNN: "I'm going to sue him."
Patagonia and Cole call the administration’s actions “unprecedented” and also illegal. The legal argument Patagonia plans to make against Trump relies on the idea that the Antiquities Act, which gives presidents the power to establish national landmarks, does not mention anything about the ability to later strip that protective status. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt sliced protections in the past, but the legality of those actions was never challenged in court. “It's something that hasn't had to be challenged and we don't think that authority is something [Trump] possesses,” Cole says.
The lawsuit could be a landmark: If Patagonia wins, it sets a precedent that the Antiquities Act is strictly for giving, not clawing back, monument status. Of course, the opposite result could be disastrous for parties like Patagonia that want to preserve these lands. Losing means setting a precedent that presidents have unlimited power to make these protected lands vanish in the future. “If this stands, and we certainly are going to be challenging it in whatever way we can, but if it stands we could see similar attacks on national monuments,” Cole says.
Continued at https://www.gq.com/story/patagonia-trump-lawsuit
A lawyer for President Donald Trump says it’s not true that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed financial records relating to the president."
US to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital in world first
1 hour ago
From the section Middle East
Why the city of Jerusalem matters
US President Donald Trump will recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, senior administration officials have said.
He is due to announce the controversial decision in a speech later.
Mr Trump is also expected to approve moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but not for several years.
Israel welcomes the changes but the Palestinians and Arab leaders have warned they will jeopardise any Middle East peace process.
Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, called the changes "a flagrant provocation to Muslims".
Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital city, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
In recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the US becomes the first country to do so since the foundation of the state in 1948.
What is so contentious about Jerusalem's status?
The issue goes to the heart of Israel's conflict with the Palestinians, who are backed by the Arab and wider Islamic world.
The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.
Map of Jerusalem
Israel annexed the sector from Jordan after the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.
The alternatives to a two-state solution
Why settlement issue is so difficult
According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of talks.
Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally and all countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.
Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. These are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.
In recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the US could reinforce Israel's position that settlements in the east are valid Israeli communities.
What is the US proposing?
Trump administration officials said recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital was seen as "a recognition of reality" by the US government.
However, specific boundaries of the city would remain subject to a final status agreement, the official said. The status of holy sites would not be affected.
What makes Jerusalem so holy?
Mr Trump would also direct the state department to begin the process of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem - but this could take several years as it still has to be designed and built and security concerns would need to be addressed.
He originally promised the move to pro-Israel voters during his campaign for the presidency.
The US officials added that the president would still sign a regular waiver blocking the embassy's move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until the new building was completed.
Successive presidents have signed waivers to get round the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandates moving the embassy. They have done this so that the US can be seen as neutral in Middle East peace negotiations.
Mr Trump has vowed to pursue a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, led by his son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner.
An administration official said the new US policy on Jerusalem was not designed to favour Israel in that process.
What has world reaction been?
Palestinian protesters burn pictures of US President Donald Trump at the manger square in Bethlehem on December 5,
Palestinian protesters burned pictures of Donald Trump on Tuesday
Ahead of his formal announcement, Mr Trump phoned several regional leaders to inform them of the embassy move.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud told Mr Trump the relocation of the embassy or recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "would constitute a flagrant provocation of Muslims, all over the world"
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas warned of "the dangerous consequences such a decision would have to the peace process and to the peace, security and stability of the region and of the world"
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for a "day of rage" this Friday and said "Palestinian people everywhere [would] not allow this conspiracy to pass"
Jordan's King Abdullah said the decision would "undermine efforts to resume the peace process"
Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi urged Mr Trump "not to complicate the situation in the region"
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country could sever ties with Israel
US government employees and their families have been barred from personal travel in Jerusalem's Old City and the West Bank for security reasons ahead of expected protests.
Israel's intelligence minister Israel Katz told Army Radio that Israel was "preparing for every option", including an outbreak of violence.
France, the European Union and the Arab League have also expressed concern.
No sign it's a bargaining chip
Analysis by Barbara Plett-Usher, state department correspondent, BBC News
By recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital President Trump is fulfilling a campaign promise. There is no other obvious reason he is doing this now.
Administration officials said he would simply be acknowledging reality - that Jerusalem functions as Israel's capital. They said the decision would not determine final status issues such as boundaries and sovereignty - that is still left to negotiations.
On other core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Arab and Muslim leaders may be able to work with changes in the US approach but Jerusalem is also holy land, not just a disputed capital.
Jordan and Saudi Arabia are custodians of Islam's holy sites and have issued strong warnings that this move could inflame the Muslim world.
There is also no indication that this is a bargaining chip to advance the peace process: according to the officials, President Trump is not expected to publicly endorse a two-state solution.
It sounds like the Palestinians will get nothing. Perhaps there is a wider strategy at work but it looks like a workaround so the president can satisfy his pro-Israel voters.
Palestinian protesters burned pictures of Donald Trump on Tuesday
Time’s Person of the Year isn’t Trump. It’s basically the opposite of Trump. | The Washington Post
President Trump claimed in a tweet last month that Time magazine told him he would likely be named Person of the Year. But the magazine's selection turned out to be, essentially, the opposite of Trump: The women and men speaking out about sexual misconduct.
Time dubbed these people “silence breakers” on a cover unveiled Wednesday, and some attributed their silence breaking to the president.
“I have real doubts about whether we'd be going through this if Hillary Clinton had won, because I think that President Trump's election, in many ways, was a setback for women,” said NBC's Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News host who last year accused former Fox chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment in a book. She added that “the overall message” of Trump's victory “was that we don't really matter.”
Trump, of course, won the presidency last fall, despite having been accused of groping and kissing women without consent — and bragging about getting away with such behavior on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape published by The Washington Post.
Continued at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...nt-trump-its-basically-the-opposite-of-trump/
TIME Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers | TIME
How The World Is Reacting To Trump Recognizing Jerusalem As Israel's Capital | NPR
Trump's plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and begin the process to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — has prompted warnings of violence and concern that the move will scuttle any chance at advancing peace efforts.
Trump's meddling in the Middle East beggars belief.
It will bring more terror attacks to the US and Trump can use that as evidence for his Muslim ban. He is so fucking twisted he thinks that's a win.
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