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Tag: New York Times

NYT: Behind the Desperate Propaganda to Discredit Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia Probe

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Editorial Board
New York Times

And then they came for Robert Mueller.

If there were any remaining hope that Republicans would accept the precise, methodical work of this veteran, highly respected, Republican-appointed law enforcement official — the man Newt Gingrich once called a “superb choice to be special counsel” — it has evaporated in a fog of propaganda and delirious conspiracy theories.

In the real world, Mr. Mueller, appointed as special counsel after President Trump fired the F.B.I. director, James Comey, in May, is doing the job he was hired to do — smoke out any and all links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government officials who assaulted American sovereignty in 2016 in an effort to get Mr. Trump elected. These days, the most serious attacks on American governance are coming not from abroad, but from Mr. Trump’s aides and his allies in the right-wing media and Congress. As ludicrous as these attacks seem, they could yet lead to a constitutional crisis.

Reading the increasingly outlandish theories cooked up by Mr. Trump’s defenders and apologists is like entering an alternate, upside-down universe where Hillary Clinton remains Public Enemy No. 1.

In these irrelevant tales, Mrs. Clinton (or, as Sean Hannity called her on Monday, “President Clinton”) is the real colluder, working stealthily with the Russians to — stay with us here — destroy her own candidacy. Also, she and Bill Clinton once sold American uranium to the Russians. Also, Robert Mueller failed to fully investigate that sale when he led the F.B.I., so he’s complicit in it, too, not to mention he has ties to Mr. Comey, who also led the F.B.I. Also, some of his investigators donated to Democratic candidates.

These efforts at obfuscation and misdirection would be laughable, but they are linked to a very real and dangerous move by Trump allies throughout right-wing media and the government to shut down the Russia investigation for good.

To read more click here.

NYT: Internet Users Should Be Alarmed by DOJ’s Pursuit of DreamHost Information

computer-photoBy Editorial Board
New York Times

Do you use the internet? Are you interested in politics? Do you value your privacy? If you answered yes, you should be alarmed by the shockingly broad search warrant sought by the Justice Department, and approved by a judge in Washington, D.C., last month, targeting DreamHost, an internet hosting company based in Los Angeles.

As DreamHost explained in a blog post on Monday, it hosts disruptj20.org, a website that helped organize anti-Trump protests on Inauguration Day, and posted pictures of those protests in the days after. There were large-scale protests across Washington on Jan. 20, most of which involved peaceful marches or sit-ins. But some people turned to violence, breaking store windows, setting fires, throwing rocks at police officers and, in one case, assaulting Richard Spencer, the white nationalist, during a television interview. More than 200 people have been charged with felony rioting.

As part of its continuing investigation, the Justice Department demanded that DreamHost turn over “all records or other information” relating to the site, which received more than 1.3 million requests to view its pages in six days after the inauguration. Those records include personal information like I.P. addresses, which identify a specific computer; data about which of the site’s pages a user viewed, and when; and the type of operating software on that person’s computer. Federal prosecutors are also seeking all emails, photos and other content sent to and from the site.

“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost wrote in its blog post.

It doesn’t matter whether the visitor is suspected of participating in a crime, or is even known to have attended the protests. If someone clicked anywhere on the site from anywhere in the world, the government wants to know.

To read more click here. 

Trump Reinvents History by Saying FBI Director Should Report Directly to President

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Showing a disdain or ignorance of the FBI’s independence, President Trump suggested the bureau’s next director should report directly to him during a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times

Trump cited some alternative history by suggesting that the FBI director began reporting to the Justice Department while Richard Nixon was president.

“The FBI person really reports to the president of the United States,” Trump said in what clearly is an untrue statement.

The FBI’s website states, “Within the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI is responsible to the attorney general, and it reports its findings to U.S. Attorneys across the country. The FBI’s intelligence activities are overseen by the Director of National Intelligence.”

Trump suggested “there was nothing official, there was nothing from Congress” that requires the director to report to the Justice Department.

“There was nothing — anything. But the FBI person really reports directly to the president of the United States, which is interesting. You know, which is interesting. And I think we’re going to have a great new FBI director.”

Trump’s comments raise questions about his expectation of his nominee for FBI director, Christopher Wray.

Trump Transition Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before Trump Appointed Him National Security Advisor

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a pretty good reason why President Donald Trump should have known better than to appoint Michael T. Flynn national security adviser under the circumstances.

The New York Times reports that Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. The paper cites “two people familiar with the case.”

Despite that Trump proceeded to appoint him to the important position.

Flynn first made the disclosure about the investigation on Jan. 4 to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, the Times reports.

NYT: Trump’s Firing of Comey Jeopardizes Investigation of Russia

Former FBI Director James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Editorial Board
New York Times

The American people — not to mention the credibility of the world’s oldest democracy — require a thorough, impartial investigation into the extent of Russia’s meddling with the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump and, crucially, whether high-ranking members of Mr. Trump’s campaign colluded in that effort.

By firing the F.B.I. director, James Comey, late Tuesday afternoon, President Trump has cast grave doubt on the viability of any further investigation into what could be one of the biggest political scandals in the country’s history.

The explanation for this shocking move — that Mr. Comey’s bungling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server violated longstanding Justice Department policy and profoundly damaged public trust in the agency — is impossible to take at face value. Certainly Mr. Comey deserves all the criticism heaped upon him for his repeated misstepsin that case, but just as certainly, that’s not the reason Mr. Trump fired him.

Mr. Trump had nothing but praise for Mr. Comey when, in the final days of the presidential campaign, he informed Congress that the bureau was reopening the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails. “He brought back his reputation,” Mr. Trump said at the time. “It took a lot of guts.”

With congressional Republicans continuing to resist any serious investigation, Mr. Comey’s inquiry was the only aggressive effort to get to the bottom of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign. So far, the scandal has engulfed Paul Manafort, one of Mr. Trump’s campaign managers; Roger Stone, a longtime confidant; Carter Page, one of the campaign’s early foreign-policy advisers; Michael Flynn, who was forced out as national security adviser; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself in March from the Russia inquiry after failing to disclose during his confirmation hearings that he had met twice during the campaign with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

To read more click here. 

Comey May Have Wanted to Stay Out of Politics, But He Shaped the Election — N.Y. Times

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A New York Times examination of the 2016 election concludes that while FBI Director James Comey insisted on avoiding politics, he ended up shaping the election.

Reporters Matt Apuzzo, Michael Schmidt, Adam Goldman and Eric Lichblau of the New York Times write about the Hillary Clinton email probe:

But with polls showing Mrs. Clinton holding a comfortable lead, Mr. Comey ended up plunging the F.B.I. into the molten center of a bitter election. Fearing the backlash that would come if it were revealed after the election that the F.B.I. had been investigating the next president and had kept it a secret, Mr. Comey sent a letter informing Congress that the case was reopened.

What he did not say was that the F.B.I. was also investigating the campaign of Donald J. Trump. Just weeks before, Mr. Comey had declined to answer a question from Congress about whether there was such an investigation. Only in March, long after the election, did Mr. Comey confirm that there was one.

The paper goes on to write:

An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 30 current and former law enforcement, congressional and other government officials, found that while partisanship was not a factor in Mr. Comey’s approach to the two investigations, he handled them in starkly different ways. In the case of Mrs. Clinton, he rewrote the script, partly based on the F.B.I.’s expectation that she would win and fearing the bureau would be accused of helping her. In the case of Mr. Trump, he conducted the investigation by the book, with the F.B.I.’s traditional secrecy. Many of the officials discussed the investigations on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

 

New York Times: Be Careful to Read Too Much into FBI Crime Report

police lightsBy Editorial Board
New York Times

Over the last several decades, whenever there has been a reported increase in violent crime numbers, there have been people eager to seize on the statistics and argue, as the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has, that crime is “out of control.”

The opportunity arose again on Monday, when the F.B.I. released its annual snapshot of crime nationwide in 2015, showing that there was a 10.8 percent increase in the number of murders and nonnegligent manslaughter cases over 2014. The number of violent crimes — which the report defines as murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and assault — was up almost 4 percent, while the number of property crimes, such as burglary and larceny, was down 2.6 percent.

These are troubling figures, and they demand a level-headed, targeted response. But any single data point must be considered against the broader trend of declining crime rates: In fact, 2015 was the thirdsafest year in more than four decades. And the number of violent crimes was 16.5 percent below the 2006 level.

The surge in killings was fueled by street violence in a handful of major cities. While murder rates rose significantly in 25 of the 100 largest cities in 2015, an analysis by The Timesfound that half of the increase in killings in big cities came from just seven — Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville and Washington — where most of the victims were young African-American males. Guns were used in nearly three-quarters of the 15,696 homicides in 2015.

Unfortunately, the debate over how best to fight crime is always a combustible one, so even relatively small changes in crime rates can lead to big and often destructive changes in law and policy, like mandatory-minimum prison sentences or stop-and-frisk policing. In the name of greater public safety, policies like these have done immense damage to minority communities around the country, and particularly to the young black and Latino men who have borne their brunt, even as evidence shows that they do little if anything to reduce crime.

To read more click here. 

Ex-Secret Service Agent Not Humored by NYT Columnist’s Assassination Joke about Trump

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

At least one former Secret Service agent was not humored when a New York Times columnist joked that an assassination attempt would end Donald Trump’s presidential run.

Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino told WND that the joke was “irresponsible, grotesque, despicable and ignorant.”

Columnist Ross Douthat tweeted Wednesday afternoon, “Good news guys I’ve figured out how the Trump campaign ends,” linking to a YouTube clip from the 1983 movie “Dead Zone” in which a political candidate holds up a baby as a human shield to prevent an assassination attempt.

Douthat removed the tweet and apologized, tweeting, “A lot readers were offended by my Trump/’Dead Zone’ joke from yesterday. I can see why, and I’ve deleted the tweet. Apologies.”

Bongino, who is an outspoken President Obama critic, was not impressed.

“The people are angry at Washington, D.C., and more importantly, the insider class, which includes people like this joker,” Bongino said. “People are angry at them because they feel like morally and ethically that these people live by a different code, and this guy’s code is clearly, ‘I’m gonna say or do whatever I want to anyone who doesn’t live by this connected insider set of rules,’ even if it means tweeting a tweet that suggests someone should kill the guy!

“I mean, how out of touch, ethically challenged and disgusting can this group of people get?”