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Archive for February 19th, 2018

Ex-Border Patrol Agent Paints Unflattering Portrait of Agency’s Treatment of Migrants

Francisco Cantú’s memoir, “The Line Becomes a River.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Francisco Cantú’s memoir, “The Line Becomes a River,” chronicles the four years he spent as a Border Patrol agent in the deserts of the American southwest.

The memoir, which Mother Jones called “the best book on immigration you will read this year,” provides a rare, unflattering glimpse into an agency with enormous power. 

Cantú, whose father was born in Mexico, became incensed over the inhumane treatment of migrants, prompting him to flee the agency and help support a family facing deportation.

“It’s true that we slash their bottles and drain their water into the dry earth, that we dump their backpacks and pile their food and clothes to be crushed and pissed on and stepped over, strewn across the desert and set ablaze,” Cantú wrote.

Cantú’s book is a ““a must-read for anyone who thinks ‘build a wall’ is the answer to anything,’” Esquire

Read: 37-Page Indictment of Russians Interfering with U.S. Elections

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

The Justice Department on Friday announced the indictments of 13 Russians and three Russian groups accused of waging a sophisticated, covert propaganda campaign to help get Donald Trump elected.

Special counsel Robert Mueller unveiled the 37-page indictment, which you can read here. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller

The indictment alleges the Russians stole the identities of Americans, spread falsehoods on social media, staged political rallies and exploited flashpoint issues, such as race, immigration and religion, to sow divisions.

“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” Rod  Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the investigation, said in a brief news conference announcing the charges. “We must not allow them to succeed.”

The indictment amounted to a detailed rebuttal of President Trump’s claims that Russian interference was a “hoax” peddled by the “fake news.”

Trump’s Tweetstorm about Russian Probe Draws Heavy Criticism from Democrats, GOP

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s weekend tweetstorm in which he slammed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election caught heavy criticism from prominent Democrats and Republicans and former nation who are concerned about the president’s unwillingness to hold Russia accountable.

The tweets, many of which were misleading and false, attacked the FBI, Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, congressional Democrats, the media and his own national security adviser. The president also suggested the Russian investigation distracted the FBI from tips about the Florida shooter, a claim that incensed friends and family members of the victims.

Rep. Adam Schiff, whom Trump called “the leakin’ monster of no control,” took aim at Trump’s assertion that the indictments vindicated him because there was no mention of collusion.

“This is a president who claims vindication anytime someone sneezes,”  the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What this indictment sets out is information about only one element of the Russian active measures campaign — that involving their use of social media to influence attitudes, to motivate people to protest, to essentially infiltrate our political system through the cyber sphere.”

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, also speaking to CNN, criticized Trump for failing to condemn Russia.

“What are we going to do about the threat posed by Russia? He never talks about that,” Clapper said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, echoed those sentiments, saying Trump’s opposition to the Russian investigation is “one of the weirdest things in modern American history.”

“That we don’t have a president speaking out on this issue is a horror show,” Sanders said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “We got to bring Democrats and Republicans together — despite the president — to go forward and protect the integrity of American democracy.”

Also on “Meet the Press,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., expressed concerns about Trump’s dismissive remarks about Russian interference.

“Russia has clearly tried to advance their agenda into the United States,” Lankford said. “The president has been very adamant to say that he didn’t collude. He’s very frustrated that people seem to accuse the fact that the only reason he’s president is because of some sort of Russian collusion. But I would say the clear message here is Russia did mean to interfere in our election.”

Former Trump Aide Gates to Testify Against Manafort in Forthcoming Plea Deal

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates will plead guilty to charges related to fraud in exchange for testifying against his longtime business partner, Paul Manafort, in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Gates and Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign manager, were indicted in October on 12 counts involving money laundering, conspiracy against the U.S. and tax fraud. They pleaded not guilty.

Gates is expected to change his plea to guilty and will likely serve 18 months in prison in exchange for his cooperation, the Los Angeles Times reports

The special counsel probe so far has turned two defendants – former national security adviser Michael Flynn and foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos – into cooperating witnesses.

The charges against Gates and Manafort stem from work they did with Ukrainian politicians who are allies with Russia. They are accused of laundering tens of millions of dollars from the work through U.S. and foreign companies and bank accounts.

Manafort, who is under house arrest and faces up to 15 years in prison, has pledged to fight the charges and even sued Mueller and the Justice Department, claiming the special counsel probe overreached its authority.

It’s not yet clear what information Gates is offering to prosecutors.

Trump Criticizes National Security Adviser for Saying Evidence Against Russia Is ‘Incontrovertible’

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump criticized his national security adviser’s assertion that it is now “incontrovertible” that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

H.R. McCaster “forgot today that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians,” Trump tweeted Sunday.

On Saturday, McCaster addressed the indictments against Russians accused of mounting a disinformation campaign to help Trump win the election.   

“As you can see with the F.B.I. indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain, whereas in the past it was difficult to attribute,” McCaster said to an international audience at the Munich Security Conference.

The comments contradicted Trump’s repeated assertion that Russian interference was “ a hoax” perpetuated by the “fake media.”

But McCaster didn’t back down, using forceful language to describe the sweeping, 37-page indictment.

“The United States will expose and act against those who use cyberspace, social media and other means to advance campaigns of disinformation, subversion and espionage,” McMaster said.

Moments before McCaster took the stage, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the indictments as “just blabber.”

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