Schumer Says Trump Not Acting Like An Innocent Man, ‘Dead Wrong’ On Pardoning Himself

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said President Trump is not acting like an innocent man and is “dead wrong” when he insists he can pardon himself.

Asked by NPR’s Rachel Martin about whether a self-pardon would prompt Schumer to support moving toward impeachment, the top Senate Democrat said, “We don’t want to get to the point where there is a constitutional crisis.” But he added about Trump’s behavior, “for someone who keeps loudly proclaiming his innocence he sure doesn’t act like it if he did. Then why would he want to talk about pardoning himself?”

Schumer took issue both with the president’s legal team arguing the executive held this authority and Trump calling special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe “unconstitutional,” telling NPR that the president was “0 for 2 on the Constitution.”

“We do not have a dictatorship. The Founding Fathers did not want a king. That means no one — including the president himself — is above the law. He’s just dead wrong,” Schumer said in an interview with Martin in his Capitol office on Monday.

Schumer, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has repeatedly steered away from discussing the threat of impeachment, arguing it’s premature to discuss the possibility. He sidestepped the issue again in his conversation with NPR, but instead raised questions about why the president is even talking about a pardon.

The New York Democrat, who would be in line to be the Senate majority leader if his party takes control of the chamber in the November midterm elections, told NPR that the Senate is “definitely in play.”

He agreed with the current Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who told the Washington Post last month that Republicans are at risk of losing their narrow 51-49 majority in November because of tight contests in several battleground states.

“The conventional wisdom is very hard for Democrats to take back the Senate when you look at the geography from 10,000 feet. When you look at what’s happening in each state, McConnell’s right it’s definitely in play,” Schumer said Monday.

The math for Senate Democrats is challenging this election cycle. They are defending 26 seats, including two independents who caucus with Democrats, while Republicans are only working to retain 9 GOP seats in November.

One area where Schumer did say he agrees with Trump more than his predecessors, former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, is his focus on being tougher on China.

“I don’t think either previous president did much to show China they meant business. Trump has talked about it,” the Senate minority leader said. But Schumer said he’s still waiting to see how the president follows through on the issue, saying, “he hasn’t yet done it but let’s wait and see.”

Of all the top congressional leaders, Schumer has the longest relationship with the president, stemming from their New York ties. He told Martin that he talks with the president “every so often” and most recently weighed in with him with a half-hour conversation about trade policy with China.

“We are certainly adversaries and I think he’s doing damage to our democracy and damage to the middle class in this country.” “But,” Schumer added, “I’ll never cut off a line of communication.”

Bill Clinton Backtracks on Lewinsky Apology Remarks — ‘I Got Hot Under the Collar Because of the Way the Questions Were Asked’

Monday at an appearance at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to promote “The President is Missing,” the forthcoming novel he co-authored with James Patterson, former President Bill Clinton backtracked on his earlier comments he made to NBC’s Craig Melvin that aired on Monday’s “Today.”

In that NBC appearance, Clinton suggested that he did not owe former White House intern Monica Lewinsky an apology for the publicized affair he had with her.

Later, Clinton said that he, in fact, had apologized to Lewinsky and that’s his flippant demeanor was a result of “the way the questions were asked.”

“The truth is, the hubbub was I got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked,” Clinton said. “And I think what was lost were the two points that I made that are important to me. The suggestion was that I never apologized for what caused all the trouble for me 20 years ago. First point is, I did. I meant it then, I meant it now. I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family and to the American people before a panel of ministers in the White House, which was widely reported.”

“So I did that — I meant it then and I mean it today,” he added. “I live with it all the time. The second is that I support the Me Too movement and. Think it is long overdue, and I have always tried to support it in the decisions and policies that I advanced. Beyond that, I think it would be good if we could go on with the discussion.”

US: Retired policeman’s hunch leads to suspect in 6 killings

SCOTTSDALE: A hunch from a retired detective helped lead police to a man suspected of shooting six people to death in the Phoenix area, some of whom were connected to his divorce, authorities said after the assailant killed himself with officers closing in.

A round-the-clock investigation that began late last week led police Monday to an extended-stay hotel in suburban Scottsdale where 56-year-old Dwight Lamon Jones was staying. As officers approached, they heard gunfire and found his body.

Jones’ victims included a well-known forensic psychiatrist who testified against him in court in 2010, two paralegals who worked for the law office that represented the suspect’s wife, a marriage-and-divorce counselor who was apparently targeted in a case of mistaken identity and another man and woman who have not been identified, authorities said.

In an unexpected twist, the suspect’s ex-wife, Connie Jones, said her current husband, a retired police detective, made the connection between her divorce and the crime scenes and notified police of his suspicion Saturday night.

Connie Jones said in a statement that her ex-husband was a “very emotionally disturbed person.”

Jones was arrested in May 2009 at his family’s Scottsdale home on a domestic violence charge after his wife said he backed her against a wall, hit her in the face and threatened to kill her, according to court records. The arrest was cited by his then-wife when she filed for divorce.

“Personally, I have feared for my safety for the past nine years. I cannot express the emotions I feel for the innocent families touched by this senseless violence,” Connie Jones said.

“We started to see that Mr. Jones was visiting them in an effort to right some wrong based on what we could see,” said Rich Slavin, assistant police chief in Scottsdale.

The slayings began Thursday with the fatal shooting of Dr. Steven Pitt, who, according to court records, had evaluated Jones and testified in 2010 that he had anxiety and mood disorders and symptoms of a paranoid personality.

Pitt said Jones did not conform to social norms and acted impulsively and aggressively. He lacked remorse and close friends and required excessive admiration, the records said.

The testimony was cited in the couple’s November 2010 divorce, which granted Jones’ wife sole custody of their now 21-year-old son.

“This is not a success story, but it’s a story that has closure,” Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said.

The 59-year-old psychiatrist was well known in his field and assisted in high-profile murder cases, including the JonBenet Ramsey mystery in Colorado and a notorious Phoenix serial killer investigation.

Paralegals Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, worked at the law office that represented Jones’ wife. Police believe Jones may have been targeting the attorney, but she was not present Friday when Jones went to the office in downtown Scottsdale.

Sharp was shot in the head but ran out of the office to get help before collapsing on the street, police said. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Counselor Marshall Levine, 72, appears to have been mistaken for someone else who once occupied the same office. At one time, the space was used by a counselor who saw Jones’ son as part of the divorce. Levine, who took over the space, was not involved in the divorce case.

Police would not speculate why Jones tracked down people connected to his divorce so long after it happened. They say he had been living in extended-stay hotels for the past nine years.

Analysis of shell casings found at Pitts’ office, the law firm and Levin’s office confirmed that the victims were killed with the same gun, police said.

Jones’ DNA was found on one of spent casings. And traffic cameras showed a vehicle fitting the description of Jones’ gold Mercedes near the law firm 30 minutes before the double killing on Friday, police said.

The suspect has also been linked to two additional killings in Fountain Hills, an affluent suburb in the northeastern corner of metro Phoenix. The man and woman found dead inside the home have not been named publicly.

Jones, who was seen driving around Fountain Hills, was later seen dumping a .22-caliber gun stolen from the Fountain Hills home.

Some neighbors who were home on Monday afternoon stepped out to observe the police presence that remained on the street, which is usually a serene area.

“It’s quiet around here,” said landscaper Saul Ramirez, who stopped to take cellphone videos of the scene.
As police shared new details of the case, several hundred people crowded into a chapel at a mortuary in Scottsdale to honor Pitt with music, humorous stories and a Hebrew prayer of mourning.
He was remembered as a perfectionist in his work on major cases and a loving man who doted on his fiancee and family members. Phoenix police Lt. Bryan Chapman, who had become a close friend during their work on criminal cases, said Pitt volunteered countless hours to help investigate many lesser known crimes.
“He was the hardest working person I ever met,” Chapman said.
Source link:

Deep in the Pentagon, a secret AI program to find hidden nuclear missiles

WASHINGTON: The US military is increasing spending on a secret research effort to use artificial intelligence to help anticipate the launch of a nuclear-capable missile, as well as track and target mobile launchers in North Korea and elsewhere.

The effort has gone largely unreported, and the few publicly available details about it are buried under a layer of near impenetrable jargon in the latest Pentagonbudget. But US officials familiar with the research told Reuters there are multiple classified programmes now under way to explore how to develop AI-driven systems to better protect the United States against a potential nuclear missile strike.

If the research is successful, such computer systems would be able to think for themselves, scouring huge amounts of data, including satellite imagery, with a speed and accuracy beyond the capability of humans, to look for signs of preparations for a missile launch, according to more than half a dozen sources. The sources included US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the research is classified.

Forewarned, the US government would be able to pursue diplomatic options or, in the case of an imminent attack, the military would have more time to try to destroy the missiles before they were launched, or try to intercept them.

“We should be doing everything in our power to find that missile before they launch it and make it increasingly harder to get it off (the ground),” one of the officials said.

The Trump administration has proposed more than tripling funding in next year’s budget to $83 million for just one of the AI-driven missile programmes, according to several US officials and budget documents. The boost in funding has not been previously reported.

While the amount is still relatively small, it is one indicator of the growing importance of the research on AI-powered anti-missile systems at a time when the United States faces a more militarily assertive Russia and a significant nuclear weapons threat from long-time foe North Korea.

“What AI and machine learning allows you to do is find the needle in the haystack,” said Bob Work, a champion of AI technology who was deputy defense secretary until last July, without referring to any individual projects.

One person familiar with the programmes said it includes a pilot project focused on North Korea. Washington is increasingly concerned about Pyongyang’s development of mobile missiles that can be hidden in tunnels, forests and caves. The existence of a North Korea-focused project has not been previously reported.

While that project has been kept secret, the military has been clear about its interest in AI. The Pentagon, for example, has disclosed it is using AI to identify objects from video gathered in its drone program, as part of a publicly touted effort launched last year called “Project Maven.”

Still, some US officials say AI spending overall on military programmes remains woefully inadequate.


The Pentagon is in a race against China and Russia to infuse more AI into its war machine, to create more sophisticated autonomous systems that are able to learn by themselves to carry out specific tasks. The Pentagon research on using AI to identify potential missile threats and track mobile launchers is in its infancy and is just one part of that overall effort.

There are scant details on the AI missile research, but one US official told Reuters that an early prototype of a system to track mobile missile launchers was already being tested within the US military.

This project involves military and private researchers in the Washington D.C. area. It is pivoting off technological advances developed by commercial firms financed by In-Q-Tel, the intelligence community’s venture capital fund, officials said.

In order to carry out the research, the project is tapping into the intelligence community’s commercial cloud service, searching for patterns and anomalies in data, including from sophisticated radar that can see through storms and penetrate foliage.

Budget documents reviewed by Reuters noted plans to expand the focus of the mobile missile launcher program to “the remainder of the (Pentagon) 4+1 problem sets.” The Pentagon typically uses the 4+1 terminology to refer to China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and terrorist groups.


Both supporters and critics of using AI to hunt missiles agree that it carries major risks. It could accelerate decision-making in a nuclear crisis. It could increase the chances of computer-generated errors. It might also provoke an AI arms race with Russia and China that could upset the global nuclear balance.

US Air Force General John Hyten, the top commander of US nuclear forces, said once AI-driven systems become fully operational, the Pentagon will need to think about creating safeguards to ensure humans – not machines – control the pace of nuclear decision-making, the “escalation ladder” in Pentagon speak.

“(Artificial intelligence) could force you onto that ladder if you don’t put the safeguards in,” Hyten, head of the US Strategic Command, said in an interview. “Once you’re on it, then everything starts moving.”

Experts at the Rand Corporation, a public policy research body, and elsewhere say there is a high probability that countries like China and Russia could try to trick an AI missile-hunting system, learning to hide their missiles from identification.

There is some evidence to suggest they could be successful.

An experiment by MIT students showed how easy it was to dupe an advanced Google image classifier, in which a computer identifies objects. In that case, students fooled the system into concluding a plastic turtle was actually a rifle.

Dr. Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency(DARPA), a pioneer in AI that initially funded what became the Internet, said the Pentagon still needs humans to review AI systems’ conclusions.

“Because these systems can be fooled,” Walker said in an interview.

DARPA is working on a project to make AI-driven systems capable of better explaining themselves to human analysts, something the agency believes will be critical for high stakes national security programmes.


Among those working to improve the effectiveness of AI is William “Buzz” Roberts, director for automation, AI and augmentation at the National Geospatial Agency. Roberts works on the front lines of the US government’s efforts to develop AI to help analyze satellite imagery, a crucial source of data for missile hunters.

Last year, NGA said it used AI to scan and analyze 12 million images. So far, Roberts said, NGA researchers have made progress in getting AI to help identify the presence or absence of a target of interest, although h

In trying to assess potential national security threats, the NGA researchers work under a different kind of pressure from their counterparts in the private sector.

“We can’t be wrong … A lot of the commercial advancements in AI, machine learning, computer vision – If they’re half right, they’re good,” said Roberts.

Although some officials believe elements of the AI missile program could become viable in the early 2020s, others in the US government and the US Congress fear research efforts are too limited.

“The Russians and the Chinese are definitely pursuing these sorts of things,” Representative Mac Thornberry, the House Armed Services Committee’s chairman, told Reuters. “Probably with greater effort in some ways than we have.”





Source link:

Donald Trump rips NFL’s anthem policy in tweets: ‘NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!’

President Donald Trump continued to attack the NFL on Twitter on Tuesday morning, roughly 12 hours after rescinding the Philadelphia Eagles’ invitation to the White House.

In one of two tweets about the matter early Tuesday, the president criticized the league’s revised national-anthem policy, which requires that players stand if they choose to be on the field during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner but also allows them to remain in the locker room.

“NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!” Trump wrote.

The president’s Tuesday tweets also previewed the revised ceremony that was scheduled to take place at the White House in lieu of the Eagles’ visit. The White House announced Monday night that the ceremony would instead feature the playing of the national anthem and what Trump described Tuesday morning as “other wonderful music celebrating our country.”

“We have had many Championship teams recently at the White House including the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots, Alabama and Clemson National Champions, and many others,” Trump wrote in one tweet. “National Anthem & more great music today at 3:00 P.M.”

Donald J. Trump


We have had many Championship teams recently at the White House including the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots, Alabama and Clemson National Champions, and many others. National Anthem & more great music today at 3:00 P.M.

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Fewer than 10 Eagles players had planned to attend Tuesday’s ceremony, according to multiple media reports. While Trump has framed his decision to rescind their invitation as a matter related to protests during the national anthem, The Washington Post reported that he “deemed the smaller crowd unsatisfactory,” which led to the change. CNN also reported Tuesday that Trump was “infuriated” that only a few Eagles had planned to attend.

No Eagles players kneeled during the national anthem in 2017, though some have been supportive of the protests, which players involved have generally described as a means of protesting racial inequality and police brutality.



Source link:

Trump says he has ‘absolute right’ to pardon himself, calls special counsel ‘unconstitutional’

President Donald Trump on Monday declared that he has the authority to pardon himself in any Russia investigation.

This question of pardoning has come up over the past few months as special counsel Robert Mueller and his team continue to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

“As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!” he wrote on Twitter.

Donald J. Trump


As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!

At Monday’s White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders, when asked repeatedly asked to explain, answered repeatedly by saying, “thankfully, the president hasn’t done anything wrong.”

“Certainly, no one is above the law,” Sanders later added after being asked multiple times if the president himself above the law.

Rudy Giuliani told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that the president “probably does” have the ability to pardon himself.

“He has no intention of pardoning himself,” said Giuliani, a former mayor of New York City and Trump’s lead attorney in negotiating an end to Mueller’s ongoing investigation. “[It is a] really interesting constitutional argument: ‘Can the president pardon himself?'”

Giuliani added, “I think the political ramifications of that would be tough. Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another. Other presidents have pardoned people in circumstances like this, both in their administration and sometimes the next president even of a different party will come along and pardon.”

When pressed by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders about Trump declaring his power to pardon, Sanders would only say “thankfully, the president hasn’t done anything wrong.”

“Certainly, no one is above the law,” Sanders later added.

Trump also tweeted about the special counsel investigation, saying that it was “unconstitutional.”

“The appointment of the Special Councel [sic] is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!” he posted.

The argument that Mueller’s appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is unconstitutional has found some traction within conservative media circles. Radio host Mark Levin reasoned late last month that because attorneys on Mueller’s team recently identified themselves in Virginia federal court as “Special Assistant US Attorneys” then Mueller should in turn be classified as a “roving U.S. attorney.”

“Rosenstein usurped the authority of the president of the United States to nominate whoever he wants as a prosecutor,” Levin said.

Levin said the status of Mueller’s team violates the Appointments Clause under the Constitution and publicly urged defendants called on to testify by the special counsel to challenge his authority in court.

Giuliani has previously argued that the special counsel’s investigation is “illegitimate.” But the president’s accusation is the newest escalation in the Trump legal team’s effort to discredit Mueller’s probe.

Trump’s tweet prompted a backlash from Capitol Hill from Republicans and Democrats concerned about the potential use of the pardon power.

“President Trump has asserted that he has the ‘absolute’ right to pardon himself, and that the appointment of the Special Counsel is ‘unconstitutional.’ He thinks that, because he is the President, his actions cannot be an obstruction of justice,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “His lawyers think that he can ignore a subpoena from a federal grand jury, and threaten the Special Counsel accordingly.”

“But President Trump is wrong,” Nadler said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN, “If I were POTUS and I had a lawyer tell me I could pardon myself, I think I’d hire a new lawyer.”





Source link:

Trump’s FBI attacks divide bureau’s longtime critics

President Donald Trump’s attacks on the FBI are forcing civil libertarians to make painful choices between their distaste for Trump and their distrust of federal law enforcement.

As Democrats and Republicans feud over Trump’s unfounded claim that the FBI planted a spy in his campaign, a parallel debate is underway amid activists, lawyers and experts who battle government encroachment on individual rights.

To longtime critics of the FBI’s most intrusive investigative tactics, Trump’s attacks on the bureau are self-serving, uninformed and transparently intended to deflect from his own conduct.

But the president’s claim that his campaign was infiltrated by an FBI informant also echoes longtime complaints by left-wing political activists, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and Muslim-American groups, that the bureau often relies on flimsy evidence to justify spying on U.S. citizens.

“What’s wrong for the goose is wrong for the gander,” said Fordham University Law School’s Karen Greenberg, who tracks the FBI’s use of informants in terrorism sting operations that she argues often concoct crimes rather than uncovering them. “This is the FBI’s way of doing business — and not just in terrorism cases.”

“I’ve actually been thinking obsessively about it,” said Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense attorney and famed civil liberties advocate. “It’s very difficult for me because I loathe and distrust completely the FBI. I loathe and distrust completely the president of the United States, and I loathe and distrust completely Hillary Clinton. I am in a real bind.”

The search warrants the FBI carried out recently at the home, office and hotel room of Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen have also been a flashpoint among civil liberties activists, exposing simmering tensions about whether organizations like the ACLU should be targeting Trump or hewing to more traditional concerns about due process for those caught up in criminal investigations.

Some longtime ACLU supporters were disturbed by the organization’s initial response to the Cohen raids: a blog post that seemed to celebrate them as a triumph of the American justice system.

“Prosecutors had to overcome high hurdles to obtain the search warrant,” ACLU legal director David Cole wrote on the group’s website on April 10. “That the warrant was issued is not a sign that the attorney-client privilege is dead. It is, on the contrary, a sign that the rule of law is alive.”

Former New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Norman Siegel said that was the wrong tack for the ACLU to take.

“I respectfully disagree with the way the ACLU handled that particular statement,” Siegel said in an interview. “I was troubled by it. Anytime the FBI is raiding anyone’s home, let alone a lawyer’s office … that raises potential abuse of power and civil liberties concerns. … When we were at the ACLU, we were eternally vigilant about the government’s taking of people’s information.”

Siegel said criminal defense attorneys and ACLU veterans have shared concerns that the organization seemed to be blessing a raid on an attorney’s office and had not immediately called for a court-appointed arbiter to ensure prosecutors did not obtain attorney-client privileged materials.

On April 17, the ACLU posted another statement on the Cohen searches that struck a different tone.

“The risks of wrongful privacy invasions are too great to leave to the prosecutors when the government seizes digital data,” ACLU attorney Brett Max Kaufman wrote. “How the court decides this issue is not just of interest to Trump and Cohen, but to everyone,” and “how to manage searches of digital information, like any other evidence, is not a matter of expediency or any party’s good faith — it’s a matter of ensuring that the government complies with the Constitution.”

Despite the shift, the ACLU still finds itself accused of abandoning its principles in a bid to take down Trump.

“One of the biggest contributions that Donald Trump has made is to expose the extreme hypocrisy of the left — of the ACLU and other civil rights organizations who believe in civil rights for me but not for thee,” said Alan Dershowitz, a prominent but unofficial legal defender of the president. “It’s so hypocritical, and it’s so rampant.”

The debate comes at a complicated moment for the ACLU. Some see the 98-year-old group as morphing too much into an anti-Trump organization and away from its stated mission “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

The group saw a massive outpouring of financial support after Trump’s election, with revenues and contributions surging to nearly $300 million in the fiscal year spanning Trump’s win, up from $138 million a year earlier. Membership also mushroomed from about 400,000 to 1.75 million. That support was fueled in part by the group’s vigorous fight against Trump’s executive order imposing strict new limits on travel from several Muslim-majority nations.

But the group also suffered a furious backlash after it went to court to defend the right of white nationalists to protest in a public park in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer. In a shift, the ACLU later said it would refrain from defending those planning armed protests.

Asked about the criticism of the group’s position on issues related to the Trump-Russia probe, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said it’s too soon to say whether the tactics used by special counsel Robert Mueller or other prosecutors have been too aggressive.

“No one can know whether the Mueller investigation is violating President Trump’s rights without knowing the underlying facts,” Romero told POLITICO. “There is nothing unlawful per se about using an informant where there’s evidence of Russian interference — or seizing documents from an attorney’s office where there may be probable cause that he ran criminal business enterprises.”

Civil libertarians were already arguing about the Cohen raids when word emerged last month that the FBI had used Stefan Halper, an American academic teaching at a British University, to explore potential Russian influence on the 2016 Trump campaign. Reportedly at the FBI’s urging, Halper reached out to foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos and campaign aide Sam Clovis.

“When the FBI infiltrated antiwar activists in the Vietnam War, the ACLU went nuts. … If the FBI sent in spies and informants to go after left-wingers, the sky is falling, but if they do it to get Trump, they give them a pass,” Dershowitz said. “It’s appalling.”

Dershowitz “seems more concerned about potential civil liberties violations against Trump than about real civil liberties violations suffered by ordinary folks,” the ACLU’s Romero retorted.

But Trump insists he has been the victim of scandalous FBI actions, branding them as “Spygate” and asserting that agents were gathering intelligence for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

A prominent House Republican, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, deflated those claims this week by saying he thinks the FBI acted appropriately.

Democrats argued that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was wrong to refer the matter to Justice’s internal watchdog for investigation, in response to a Trump demand for action.

“Trump demand for DOJ investigation is dangerous/democracy threatening,” former Attorney General Eric Holder wrote on Twitter last week. “DOJ response is disappointing. There is no basis/no predicate for an inquiry. It’s time to stand for time honored DOJ independence. That separation from White House is a critical part of our system.”

The ACLU’s Cole said in a statement to POLITICO that the FBI’s actions may have been justified but deserve to be examined by Justice’s inspector general.

“If the FBI had reason to believe that Russians may have been interfering with the election, that would warrant an investigation and quite possibly an informant. At the same time, the use of an informant to meet with officials of a presidential campaign is a significant enough matter, even when lawful, that an inspector general investigation is warranted if requested by the affected campaign. The deputy attorney general’s referral of the matter to the inspector general was appropriate.”

Longtime FBI critics like Greenberg agree that virtually any added scrutiny of the FBI is welcome. But they fear Trump is simply trying to divert attention — and even to confound liberals.

“People who are on the civil liberties side of things are caught up in a kind of no-man’s land, and that’s intentional,” Greenberg said. “I wonder: Is there a kind of brilliance to what he’s done to try to divide us?”

Former FBI agent Mike German, a fellow at NYU’s Brennan Center who earlier worked for the ACLU, said he sees some merit in Trump’s concerns as well as Clinton’s complaints about the FBI’s handling of the investigation into her email practices.

“I have long criticized the FBI for how it has used its expanded authorities since 9/11,” German said. “My concern has been how they were used against the most vulnerable communities in America. There also should have been some recognition that such broad power could be used inappropriately against the most powerful as well.”

“Just the matter of fact that the FBI was investigating both presidential candidates during the election raises a lot of questions about how much power we’ve given this agency,” German added.

FBI policies require special approvals for many activities involving churches, political organizations and public officials. That’s a product of decades of documented abuses in investigations of left-wing groups, civil rights activists, and groups opposing wars in Vietnam, Latin America and Iraq, as well as animal rights and environmental activists. The ACLU is also still pressing litigation over the FBI’s use of informants to infiltrate mosques in Southern California after 9/11.

Some say what happened to Trump’s campaign is different.

Jeanne Baker, a criminal defense attorney and civil liberties activist, said there is “a world of difference” between the FBI’s sleuthing to uncover a possible connection between the Trump campaign and Moscow and “embedding a bearded hippy in my antiwar group.”

But German noted that even limited use of an informant in connection with a political campaign could affect the campaign in ways that might be difficult to discern, particularly because informants often lack close FBI oversight.

Siegel warns that the ACLU’s recent surge in support could dissipate if the group isn’t faithful to its core issues.

“Are people giving money or joining the ACLU because they are civil libertarians or are they doing it for political purposes?” Siegel said. “When we were involved with the campaign to impeach Nixon, our membership shot up, but shortly after Nixon wasn’t there, the membership shrunk. Maybe that’s happening today? … It has to be neutral principles. Once we deviate from the neutral principles, we’re in trouble.”



Source link:

Bill Clinton says he does not owe Monica Lewinsky an apology in light of #MeToo movement

During an interview Monday, former president Bill Clinton said he does not owe an apology to Monica Lewinsky, the woman with whom he had an infamous affair when she was a 22-year-old White House intern.

Clinton made the remark on NBC’s Today in response to a question from host Craig Melvin about a recent op-ed from Lewinsky in which she reevaluates the question of consent in her relationship with the former president in light of the #MeToo movement.

“Looking back on what happened then, through the lens of #MeToo now, do you think differently or feel more responsibility?” Melvin asked Clinton.

“No. I felt terrible then, and I came to grips with it,” Clinton replied.

Melvin then asked Clinton if he had ever apologized to Lewinsky.

“I apologized to everybody in the world,” Clinton said.

“But you didn’t apologize to her,” Melvin said.

“I have not talked to her,” Clinton said.

“Do you feel like you owe her an apology,” Melvin asked.

“No, I do — I do not,” Clinton responded. “I’ve never talked to her. But I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”

Clinton also told Melvin, “Nobody believes that I got out of that for free,” in reference to the scandal, which resulted in Clinton’s impeachment and a pile of legal bills.

“I left the White House $16 million in debt. But you typically have ignored gaping facts in describing this, and I bet you don’t even know them,” Clinton told Melvin. Clinton cited his record on women’s issues when he was governor of Arkansas in response to Melvin, whom he accused of one presenting “one side” and “omitting facts.”

Clinton said he “did the right thing” by refusing to resign because of the Lewinsky scandal. “I defended the Constitution,” he said.

Clinton also asked Melvin if he would have called for former presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to resign, presumably because of alleged extra-marital affairs while in office.

“I dealt with it 20 years ago plus,” Clinton said. “And the American people, two-thirds of them stayed with me. And I’ve tried to do a good job since then with my life and with my work. That’s all I have to say to you.”

In the March edition of Vanity Fair, Lewinsky revealed that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the media firestorm sparked by the revelation of the affair in 1998. She said she had always considered the relationship consensual, but the #MeToo movement shifted her thinking on the subject.

“Now, at 44, I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern,” she wrote. “I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot. Although power imbalances—and the ability to abuse them—do exist even when the sex has been consensual.”

“I like the MeToo movement,” Clinton said. “It’s way overdue.” But “that doesn’t mean I agree with everything,” he added.

Clinton appeared on the Today show with novelist James Patterson, his co-author on a new thriller titled, The President is Missing. Clinton and Patterson are currently on a book tour to promote the novel.



Source link:

The Classiest First Lady In History Has The Best Reply To The Classless Samantha Bee

In recent years, liberals have proven themselves to be vicious, hostile, and downright disgusting.

The immaturity and general nasty nature of the Left have increased exponentially since Donald Trump was elected President. It’s really just one giant temper tantrum, and it’s embarrassing.

But liberals don’t know when or where to stop.

And when TBS comedian Samantha Bee stepped way over the line, it wasn’t surprising to see Hollywood leap to her defense, despite the horrid vulgarity of the comment.

Furthermore, even after Bee went on a profane tirade against presidential adviser Ivanka Trump, culminating in calling her a “feckless cu**,” this despicable woman still has a job.

But as classless as she was, First Lady Melania Trump is the epitome of class. And she proved it in her official reply to Bee’s vulgar slur.

The First Lady’s official spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, delivered this message to Bee and all of America:

The double standard is truly astounding.

Time and again the Trump family and members of this Administration are subjected to false reporting, hateful rhetoric and outrageous lies all in the name of freedom of speech or comedy, yet the mainstream media stays silent.

Absolutely true.

The Trumps have had to suffer a constant barrage; the mainstream media attacks the entire family just about every day of the week.

And yet, all they’re really doing now is telling us which Hollywood celebrity is coming out in favor of the woman who went on TV and said those hideous words.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders added her two cents as well:

The language used by Samantha Bee last night is vile and vicious.

The collective silence by the left and its media allies is appalling.

Ivanka’s brother also asked if anyone would get away with sending such a nasty slur toward Barack Obama or his family:

The answer to that, of course, is a giant resounding “No.” If anyone tried it, they might be arrested.

But as usual, the hypocrisy of the left knows no bounds. They can do and say whatever they please because they’re in the right.

Well, the reason they lost control of this country is that most of us are sick and tired of these double standards, and even more exasperated with the disgusting nature of the liberal.

And it just keeps getting worse. Thankfully, we have classy people like Melania Trump in the White House to remind everyone what it means to have some civility and decorum.


Rick Santorum Blames Obama For Increased Racial Tensions In The U.S.

Obama did “more to exacerbate racism in this country,” Santorum claims.

Rick Santorum on Sunday blamed former President Barack Obama for increasing racial tensions in the nation.

The former Republican senator from Pennsylvania and two-time presidential candidate made the comments during a panel discussion on CNN which included former Obama aide Karine Jean-Pierre.

Jean-Pierre said there was an “uproar” after Obama’s 2008 election as the nation’s first black president.

“And what Donald Trump did is he tapped into it because let’s not forget he started his political career talking about birtherism, being the spokesperson of birtherism,” she said, referring to the debunked conspiracy theory that claimed Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

“He saw something as well and tapped into that, tapped into that racism,” she said.

Santorum disagreed.

“What’s being ignored here is the role that Barack Obama played in all this,” he said. “I mean you just can’t go from well, we elected our first black president to all of a sudden we get Donald Trump. There was something in between those two things.”

Jean-Pierre interrupted to clarify that Obama’s election “tapped into something in this country.”

Santorum replied: “The thing it tapped into was that many, many, many people saw Barack Obama being just that, doing more to exacerbate racism in this country.”

“How?” asked Jean-Pierre. “What did he do?”

“Every time there was a controversy where someone in color was involved, he took the side of, many times, against the police ― he did it over and over and over again,” he said.