This occurred over what the Washington Post and the New York Times suggest was President Trump’s inadvertent disclosure of highly classified intelligence from Israel in the Oval Office when Trump received Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The disclosure, the Times quoted American officials as representing, “could expose the source of the information and the manner in which it was collected.” At one moment Wednesday, the Times had on its home page something like 18 pieces on this or related scandals.
What a contrast to, say, 2006. That’s when the Gray Lady thumbed its nose for news at President George W. Bush’s pleadings that the paper refrain from disclosing how the government, in its hunt for terrorists, was mining data of the Swift banking consortium.
The Bush administration had begged the Times not to proceed. Yet it did so. Bush called it “disgraceful,” adding that the “fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror.” Treasury said it would hamper the pursuit of terrorists.
Such a hullabaloo arose from long-suffering Times readers that the paper’s executive editor, then Bill Keller, issued a 1,400-word “personal response.” In it, he suggested that if conservative bloggers were so worried, they should stop calling attention to it. Read the rest of this entry »
Obama, Trump and Surveillance
James Freeman reports: Another day brings another series of tweets from President Trump that have his opponents—and even some of his allies—expressing shock and outrage. In one particularly incendiary missive this morning Mr. Trump wrote, “ James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” It’s no surprise that Mr. Trump is once again dominating the news via Twitter, but reporters might also want to pay attention to presidential use of a much more powerful set of electronic tools.
Mr. Trump’s political skills have been repeatedly underestimated, including by your humble correspondent. But at the risk of being proven wrong again, the prediction here is that Mr. Trump will fail if he thinks he’s going to prevent the former FBI director from conducting effective media relations. This is Mr. Comey’s core competency.
Democrats expressed shock. “For a president who baselessly accused his predecessor of illegally wiretapping him, that Mr. Trump would suggest that he, himself, may have engaged in such conduct is staggering,” said Representative Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “The president should immediately provide any such recordings to Congress or admit, once again, to have made a deliberately misleading — and in this case threatening — statement.”
Mr. Schiff also took to Twitter on Friday to add: “Mr. President, if there are ‘tapes’ relevant to the Comey firing, it’s because you made them and they should be provided to Congress.”
So the ranking Democrat on the House intel committee clearly seems to be concerned about the possibility that a president would record the conversations of a subordinate in the executive branch. Rep. Schiff also spent years in Congress professing to be deeply concerned about government collection of telephone metadata, which did not even include the content of any conversations. So it would clearly follow that if the executive branch were spying on the Congress and a president’s political opposition, Mr. Schiff would be horrified.
Yet Mr. Schiff’s Twitter followers are still awaiting comment on yesterday’s report from a congressional colleague suggesting that’s exactly what happened. Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) appeared on Fox News Thursday afternoon and said that a Senate colleague “confided to me that he was surveilled by the Obama Administration, including his phone calls.” Read the rest of this entry »
The FBI spied on a Trump associate. Do they have evidence that Trump colluded with Russians, or was this a rampant abuse of power?
These latest leaks of classified information appear to be in response to Sen. Charles Grassley’s inquiry to FBI Director James Comey on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee he chairs. Grassley noted a February 28 Washington Post report, which used anonymous sources to report the FBI had made plans to pay dossier author Christopher Steele to continue investigating Trump before the election.
Paying an opposition researcher to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election “raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote.
Grassley demanded that the FBI turn over all records relating to the agreement, interviews of Steele, information on any government officials outside the FBI discussing the agreement with Steele, information on how the FBI obtained the dossier, any official reports that used Steele-collected information, any indication the FBI used the information before verifying it, and various other information, including:
9. Has the FBI relied on or otherwise referenced the memos or any information in the memos in seeking a FISA warrant, other search warrant, or any other judicial process? Did the FBI rely on or otherwise reference the memos in relation to any National Security Letters? If so, please include copies of all relevant applications and other documents.
These latest leaks answer that question. And the leaks about what intelligence agencies were doing during the presidential campaign begin to answer questions about whether the U.S. government has hard evidence that the Trump campaign had foreknowledge of Russian meddling and coordinated with Russians about that meddling, or whether there was rampant abuse of power in stripping an innocent U.S. citizen of his right not to be surveilled by his own government. Read the rest of this entry »
Adam Housley and Malia Zimmerman report: Lawmakers probing the surveillance of key officials in the Trump campaign and administration say the intelligence agencies now nominally under the president’s control are stonewalling efforts to get to the bottom of who revealed names and leaked protected information to the press.
“Our requests are simply not being answered.”
– House Intelligence Committee source
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are currently investigating allegations the Obama administration spied on Trump associates – and possibly Trump himself – for as long as the year preceding his inauguration. And while former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice has been implicated as at least one of the officials who sought redacted names from surveillance transcripts, multiple lawmakers and investigators for the panel told Fox News the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency – all agencies in position to aid the probe – are not cooperating.
“Our requests are simply not being answered,” said one House Intelligence committee source about the lack of responsiveness. “The agencies are not really helping at all and there is truly a massive web for us to try and wade through.”
A Senate Intelligence Committee source said the upper chamber had the same experience.
“Any information that will help find the wide extent on the unmasking and surveillance is purposely not being provided,” said the Senate source.
An FBI spokesperson said the bureau is working in good faith. Read the rest of this entry »
Charles Krauthammer said that Trump’s tax-return reveal was only favorable for him, and went on to argue that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer hurt his own cause by stridently criticizing the president.
“I wrote a book called ‘Liberal Fascism’ about a decade ago, and even then the best working definition of a Fascist in America is ‘a conservative who’s winning an argument’. The way the Left operates, they just try to shout down anyone who disagrees with them, these campuses are little, sort of soft-Totalitarian states where disagreements is actually a heresy.”
“By all means, Milo has a right to speak, he has free speech rights, they should have let him speak, the far smarter strategy would be to ignore these things, but the clampdown on free speech that’s more troubling is when they block people like Condoleeza Rice from being able to give a speech. The whole point to protecting outrageous speech is that it keeps the zone of speech for reasonable important speech safer, the way they do this kind of stuff is so counterproductive, it feeds into the worse impulses on both the right and the left, and Berkeley, and the administration of Berkeley should be ashamed of itself.”
[NEW – Berkeley’s Shame – NR Editors]
[More – Populism Is Not Fascism]
‘I know, I know. But I’m begging you to read this till the end, and not take me out of context.’
Ashu Garg is a general partner at Foundation Capital, where he invests in B2B software across the stack. He currently serves on the boards of TubeMogul, Localytics, Conviva, ZeroStack and Yozio, among others. Reach him @ashugarg.
Ashu Garg writes: Well, it happened. I thought it was a joke when he started campaigning, and I was aghast when he was elected, but that’s all history at this point: Donald Trump is president. Rather than spend time on sour grapes, I think it’s more productive to make a clear-eyed appraisal of what his administration might mean for my industry. I know that what I say next risks being taken out of context, but from my vantage as a longtime tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I believe that there’s a real chance Trump will be — I’m begging you to read till the end and not take me out of context — good for startups.
“The most significant reason Trump might be good for early-stage companies is that he is very anti-regulation.”
First off, change in general is good for entrepreneurs, because it creates new circumstances for them to exploit or gaps for them to fill. Regulatory change, more specifically, is ripe with opportunity. Moreover, Trump has historically made a lot of pro-small-business noises, and has signaled that he will shake up the Small Business Administration.
Professional-wrestling magnate Linda McMahon is potentially taking over, and may be receptive to the type of changes that would allow emerging enterprises — in tech and outside it — to grow, including making it easier for first-time entrepreneurs to access startup grant funding.
“Trump has promised to make huge investments in infrastructure, largely to be funded by debt — for entrepreneurs, this will create enormous possibility.”
The most significant reason Trump might be good for early-stage companies is that he is very anti-regulation. The White House has already issued a freeze on new or pending regulations to all executive departments and agencies, for example. One can argue whether less regulation is good or bad for society. But it’s only good news for startups, which are always in a hurry to ship their ideas into the real world. Read the rest of this entry »
Democratic National Committee came together Monday at George Washington University for discussions of intersectionality, diversity, multiplicity, failing up, and white people needing to shut their traps. Read the rest of this entry »The candidates to become the next chairperson of the embattled
She deleted the tweet hours later, but the controversy already was swirling and did not subside over the weekend, with many demanding an apology and calling on NBC for the writer’s dismissal.
SNL has not commented on the issue, but a person familiar the situation tells Deadline that Rich was suspended from the show immediately after her tweet and the suspension is indefinite. She was not listed in the credits for the episode that aired on Saturday. Meanwhile, Read the rest of this entry »
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 2, 2016
“It was like a f–ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.
“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down,” the source added.
A second source confirmed the fireworks.
“The meeting took place in a big board room and there were about 30 or 40 people, including the big news anchors from all the networks,” the other source said.
“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars,” the source said.
“Trump didn’t say [NBC reporter] Katy Tur by name, but talked about an NBC female correspondent who got it wrong, then he referred to a horrible network correspondent who cried when Hillary lost who hosted a debate – which was Martha Raddatz who was also in the room.” Read the rest of this entry »
The Media Needs To Wake Up And Get Its Credibility Back
‘The really alarming thing is that a lot of people in the media aren’t listening…the media need to wake up because it’s actually a very important time to get our credibility back…’
“They’re deciding to quadruple down on everything they got wrong, disparaging people who they don’t understand, don’t even seek to understand, and continuing to avoid dealing with the fundamentals of this race.”
Mollie Hemingway Basically Sets CNN on Fire
…A little background: Brian Stelter, who is supposedly CNN’s “media critic,” does nothing but criticize those who criticize the media, suggesting they’re dangerously undermining a key part of democracy….(read more)
…CNN should just officially change his title to Official Establishment Media Defender. I’ve never seen him say anything about the media except it’s awesome and anyone who disagrees is a liar….But he did have on Mollie Hemingway, who told him, essentially, “I refuse.”
“Maybe what you need to realize is that for a lot of people who don’t share your political opinions, that’s what it feels like. What you’re going through right now is what it felt like for the last eight years.”
Nick Romano reports: Sam Wang, a Princeton professor and poll expert, wagered he would eat a bug if Donald Trump won 240 electoral votes in the election. As we all learned earlier this week, the now President-elect ended up with a surprising 290 votes. So, Wang went on CNN and fulfilled his promise.
Before eating a spoonful of honey-covered gourmet crickets from a can, he prefaced, “I think that the eating bug thing is itself sensationalist and it keeps us off of important policy issues such as Supreme Court appointments.” Read the rest of this entry »
I ran Obama’s 2008 campaign. Should I have known better this time?
David Plouffe writes: Like many people around the world, I expected a comfortable Hillary Clinton victory on Tuesday. But I’m not a random pundit when it comes to understanding presidential races and the electorate — I managed one Obama presidential campaign and oversaw another from the White House. So of all the forecasts that got it wrong, my prediction that Mrs. Clinton was a 100 percent favorite was a glaring miss.
“It’s a reminder that presidential campaigns are driven in large part by personality, not party. Ronald Reagan, President Obama and now Mr. Trump all were able to create electoral coalitions unique to them.”
My confidence was not partisan spin. It was based on public data, voting history and some sense of the Clinton campaign’s own models. I played with various state scenarios, and even in the most generous outcomes, could not get Donald J. Trump to 270 electoral votes.
“It really was a change election. The voters were serious about that. And there was only one change candidate.”
But he ended up winning 306 electoral votes and, most important, did it by breaking into the Upper Midwest, leaving the blue Big Ten firewall in ruins.
What happened? We will know much more when all the data is in and we can see exactly who voted. But based on what we know, it was a combination of several factors that led to this stunning upset.
DEMOCRATIC TURNOUT WAS VERY WEAK Overall turnout was as well, as Donald J. Trump received fewer votes in winning than Mitt Romney did when he lost decisively in 2012.
“What happened? We will know much more when all the data is in and we can see exactly who voted. But based on what we know, it was a combination of several factors that led to this stunning upset.”
Still, the nagging worry about a lack of broad-based enthusiasm for Mrs. Clinton, which I noted often as someone familiar with the Obama coalition, proved to be justified. She had passionate supporters and volunteers, for sure. But for sporadic and potential first-time voters, the spark was not there.
In Detroit, Mrs. Clinton received roughly 70,000 votes fewer than Mr. Obama did in 2012; she lost Michigan by just 12,000 votes. In Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, she received roughly 40,000 votes fewer than Mr. Obama did, and she lost the state by just 27,000. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, turnout in majority African-American precincts was down 11 percent from four years ago.
It’s a reminder that presidential campaigns are driven in large part by personality, not party. Ronald Reagan, President Obama and now Mr. Trump all were able to create electoral coalitions unique to them. Read the rest of this entry »
From our Japan Bureau comes this exclusive series of commemorative noodle-cup Trump portraits. Created at the Cup of Noodle Museum in Yokohama (yes, it’s a real thing) these hand-decorated cups were then sent through a robotic shrink-wrap machine, ready for delivery to our USA Headquarters, for tasting.
MAGA stands for “Make America Great Again“. Another cup, I’m told, is emblazoned with MJGA, or “Make Japan Great Again”. When you travel to see our allies in Japan don’t forget to visit the Cupnoodles Museum – not to be confused with Yokohama’s famous Ramen Museum – but visit there too, you’ll be glad you did! In the meantime, enjoy the Japanese Donald Trump Commercialトランプ2016.
It was the only major public survey that consistently showed Donald Trump winning.
“When you look at pundits and their predictions, the correlation is zero. You have to trust the numbers. Don’t get distracted by all the things you think about plausibility.”
“It was an odd experience,” Arie Kapteyn said Wednesday morning.
The same might be said of the furor that surrounded the Daybreak poll during the campaign. It was the only major public survey that consistently showed Donald Trump winning. As a result, it drew frequent and loud denunciations from many Democrats, especially as election day neared and passions rose.
“What you think personally doesn’t matter. I thought Clinton would win. But that shouldn’t change the numbers.”
But on Wednesday, as many other pollsters struggled to explain why their surveys seemed blind to Trump’s support, Kapteyn and his colleagues were among the few who could say their work got the basic issue right.
“To be honest, I was surprised.”
“To be honest, I was surprised,” said Kapteyn, a USC economist and expert on public opinion. Read the rest of this entry »
‘But he asks his staff to respect the result’
In a letter to staff on Wednesday, Schultz said he was gobsmacked by the president-elect’s victory but said Americans had to respect the results.
“Like so many of our fellow Americans—both Democrats and Republicans—I am stunned,” Schultz wrote. “We cannot know what the precise impact will be on our country and the rest of the world. I am hopeful that we will overcome the vitriol and division of this unprecedented election season.”
Echoing the conciliatory tone of Trump’s opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama in speeches Wednesday afternoon, Schultz said people needed to give Trump a chance to govern well.
In September, the politically outspoken Schultz endorsed Clinton for president, saying he remained optimistic about the country’s future, despite what he saw as an effort by politicians and the media to paint the nation with “cloudiness and despair.” Read the rest of this entry »
Donald Trump scored a stunning and historic upset victory in the presidential election Wednesday morning, once again defying predictions and winning key battleground states to capture the White House.
Giddy supporters at the New York Hilton — who were sullen just hours earlier — erupted in cheers as the GOP nominee closed in on victory, chanting, “President Trump,” “Drain the Swamp,” and “Lock her up!” about Hillary Clinton.
Ed Rollins, who ran Trump’s Great America Super PAC, basked in the victory.
“We won the presidency, the Senate and House. When’s the last time that happened?” Rollins told The Post. “The polls were bad! Trump is going to be president. He’s won this thing. He caught the wave of public discontent and rode it. Washington has to be stunned.”
“I’m feeling great,” Trump ally Rudy Giuliani told The Post as he strode into the party.
“If I can think of an analogous election, it would have to be Andrew Jackson. This is the people revolting against the Republican establishment,” he said.
Still, Clinton’s campaign announced early Wednesday that it would not concede.
But in a tweet to supporters, the former secretary of state seemed resigned to what had to be a heartbreaking upset after working for the former first lady — who had worked for years to become the first female president in the nation’s 240-year history.
“Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything,” she wrote. Read the rest of this entry »