Mike Carter reports: Veteran Seattle police Officer Alex Chapackdee is accused of helping his brother-in-law and others smuggle at least 100 kilograms of marijuana to the East Coast. In return, Chapackdee was paid $10,000 a month, charges allege.
Federal prosecutors will ask that a suspended Seattle police officer charged with being part of a large-scale East Coast marijuana smuggling ring be held in jail pending trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida set a detention hearing Friday for Alex Chapackdee, who faces a mandatory-minimum five-year federal prison sentence — and perhaps up to 40 years — for his role in allegedly transporting hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Washington to Baltimore then driving back with boxes of cash. The court also could impose a fine of up to $5 million if he’s found guilty.
Chapackdee, a veteran Seattle police officer, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday afternoon along with three co-defendants named in a 15-page complaint unsealed Monday. He was arrested last Friday and suspended from duty without pay.
More than two dozens shocked friends and family members crowded Tsuchida’s courtroom during the brief hearing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Vince Lombardi said the serious allegations and significant penalty prompted him to seek detention for all four defendants. 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.
(Washington DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the United States Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury regarding records related to the investigation of retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michel Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency et al. (No.1:17-cv-00397)). (The National Security Agency refused to confirm or deny the existence of intelligence records about communications between Gen. Flynn and Amb Kislyak.)
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the agencies failed to respond to a January 25, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the investigation of retired Gen. Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak between October 1, 2016 and the present.
This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all related warrants, affidavits, declarations, or similar records regarding the aforementioned investigation.
For purposes of clarification, please find enclosed a CNN report regarding the investigation, which cites information that was provided to CNN by members of the Intelligence Community.
The officials all stressed that so far there has been no determination of any wrongdoing.
FBI and intelligence officials briefed members of the Obama White House team before President Barack Obama left office about the Flynn calls to the Russian ambassador, sources said.
“President Trump is on to something. The Obama-connected wiretapping and illegal leaks of classified material concerning President Trump and General Flynn are a scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch aims to get to the truth about these crimes and we hope the Trump administration stands with us in the fight for transparency.”
The officials all stressed that so far there has been no determination of any wrongdoing.
FBI and intelligence officials briefed members of the Obama White House team before President Barack Obama left office about the Flynn calls to the Russian ambassador, sources said. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Former Attorney General Eric Holder Recommends Obama Administration Playbook to New AG Jeff SessionsPosted: March 2, 2017
Kevin Daley reports: Journalists and Democrats in Congress were far too quick to speculate that Attorney General Jeff Sessions perjured himself during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, after The Washington Post revealed he had failed to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
“There are three elements here: a statement must be false, the false statement must be material (relevant) to the question/s asked, and the false statement must be made with an intent to deceive.”
Perjury is the crime of willfully telling an untruth while under oath before a court or tribunal. Read the rest of this entry »
“She will have her 15 minutes as the new star for liberal America. It’s not going to last that much longer. This is exactly the same as the Schumer stunts, walking out on the nomination hearings and the delaying of the cabinet appointments. It’s a way to play to the base. Ask anyone who is defending her and saying how principled was Sally Yates’s action, ask her, “What was illegal about the executive order?” I’ve heard a lot of constitutional lawyers from Alan Dershowitz on down who vehemently oppose the Trump policy but say that she was absolutely wrong in what she did. She has no leg to stand on. Her only option, if she really thought it was either unconstitutional or unlawful, would have been to resign. Trump was entirely within his rights to fire an insubordinate cabinet member.”
“It’s a very simple story, and this is the Democrats playing to the base. They had this huge demonstration. They feel they have to satisfy the anger of their supporters. They have to show zeal. They have no chance of stopping these nominations, no chance of overturning the order, so they have to pretend. It’s Kabuki.”
YOU’RE FIRED: Obama Holdover Sally Yates, AG Who Ordered Justice Deptartment Not to Defend President’s Travel Ban, FiredPosted: January 30, 2017
‘It’s sad that our politics have become so politicized that you have people refusing to enforce our laws’
Matt Zapotosky, Sari Horwitz and Mark Berman reports: President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Monday night, after Yates ordered Justice Department lawyers Monday not to defend his immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.In a press release, the White House said Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) January 31, 2017
The White House has named Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as acting attorney general. Boente told The Washington Post that he will agree to enforce the immigration order.
Earlier on Monday, Yates ordered Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world, declaring in a memo that she is not convinced the order is lawful.
Yates wrote that, as the leader of the Justice Department, she must ensure that the department’s position is “legally defensible” and “consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful,” Yates wrote. She wrote that “for as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”
Yates is a holdover from the Obama administration, but the move nonetheless marks a stunning dissent to the president’s directive from someone who would be on the front lines of implementing it.
Also Monday, State Department diplomats circulated various drafts of a memo objecting to Trump’s order, which was issued Friday. The document is destined for what’s known as the department’s Dissent Channel, which was set up during the Vietnam War as a way for diplomats to signal to senior leadership their disagreement on foreign policy decisions. More than 100 diplomats have signed the memo, which argues that the immigration ban will not deter attacks on American soil but will generate ill will toward U.S. citizens.
What will happen next is unclear. A Justice Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said those who would normally defend the order under Yates’s authority can no longer do so. Yates will probably be replaced soon by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s attorney general nominee, who could be confirmed as early as Thursday or Friday. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider his nomination Tuesday, and the entire Senate must wait one day before voting. Read the rest of this entry »
John Fund & Hans von Spakovsky: Why Trump’s Probe of Voter Fraud Long Overdue: Obama Has Hid the Data for 8 YearsPosted: January 25, 2017
[VIDEO] REWIND: Cory ‘Arc Bender’ Booker in 2016: ‘Blessed, Honored’ to Work With Senator Jeff Sessions on Civil RightsPosted: January 11, 2017
“I am humbled to be able to to participate here in paying tribute to some of the extraordinary Americans, whose footsteps paved the way for me and my generation. I feel blessed and honored to have partnered with Sen. Sessions in being the Senate sponsors of this important award.”
— Booker at the Capitol Visitor Center last year
Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) thanked his colleague Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) last year at the Capitol for his help celebrating the 1965 “Foot Soldiers,” those who marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to promote civil rights for African Americans.
The NTK Network found the video from February, which shows Booker striking a much different tone toward Sessions than his current position on the Alabama senator, whose confirmation hearing to be Donald Trump’s attorney general began on Tuesday.
Russia Says ‘Нет, у нас нет никаких компрометирующих материалов на Трампа’
Russia has denied such accusations and described them as unsubstantiated and an attempt by U.S. politicians to distract attention from domestic issues.
Laura Mills writes: Russia on Wednesday denied it has compromising material on Donald Trump, calling a dossier of unverified allegations an “absolute fabrication” and an attempt to damage U.S.-Russian relations.
“Among the allegations, contained in a set of confidential memos written by the former official, are that Mr. Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, met with Kremlin officials and discussed how to arrange cash payments to hackers working under Moscow’s direction against the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the report, which claimed that Russia has material that could be used to blackmail Mr. Trump, as “pulp fiction,” according to Russian news agencies.
“The FBI has found no evidence that he traveled to the Czech Republic, where the meeting allegedly took place in August of last year, officials said.”
“This is a clear attempt to damage our bilateral relations,” he said. “Truly, there are those who whip up this hysteria, who will break their necks to support this ‘witch hunt’”
Mr. Peskov said that the Kremlin wasn’t involved in collecting compromising information on anyone, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
His comments come a day after it emerged that U.S. intelligence agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have spent months trying to substantiate explosive claims, compiled by a former Western intelligence official, that Russian government operatives engaged in an extensive conspiracy with advisers to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and employees of his company, according to people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. intelligence community and top officials have repeatedly accused Russia of trying to influence the 2016 presidential election, releasing a report last week that leveled broad accusations against Moscow, including cyberattacks meant to undermine the election and skewed coverage by state-funded Russian media.
Russia has denied such accusations and described them as unsubstantiated and an attempt by U.S. politicians to distract attention from domestic issues.
The latest claims were deemed sufficiently significant by senior intelligence officials to summarize them in a two-page addendum to the classified briefing President-elect Trump received last Friday about Russian efforts to influence the U.S. presidential campaign, the people said.
“FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” Mr. Trump tweeted after the allegations surfaced publicly Tuesday evening.
U.S. officials confirmed that a summary of the information had been given to Mr. Trump. They said sharing of such unverified information was taken out of an abundance of caution that the incoming president should be aware of allegations being made against him that could become public—a decision intelligence experts backed. President Barack Obama received the same information, officials said. Read the rest of this entry »
Responding to Donald Trump’s statement in support of Jeff Sessions, Charles Krauthammer said that it’s hard to tell what the president-elect is thinking, and that the media is foolish to criticize him this early.
Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg, and Professor of Political Science John Marini discuss presidential candidate Donald J. Trump‘s role in conservatism in America.
Hillsdale College’s annual Constitution Day event celebrates the signing of the United States Constitution with lectures and panel discussions about the history of the Constitution and constitutional issues facing the nation today.
Evidently the harder path was just too hard
Michael Gerson writes: There are any number of marvelous things one might do as president, if Congress were not such a checked and balanced mess. But future presidents now have a new method at their disposal: Declare a long-running debate to be a national emergency. Challenge Congress, under threat of unilateral executive action, to legislate on the topic before your term runs out. And when lawmakers refuse, act with the most expansive definition of presidential power.
The supporting arguments for this approach come down to the claim that the American political system is broken — incapable of action on urgent matters because of obstructionism, bad faith and the abuse of legislative procedure. It is the political philosophy of “something must be done.”
“By crossing this particular Rubicon, Obama has given up on politics, which is, from one perspective, understandable. He doesn’t do it well.”
The arguments against this approach often come down to institutionalism. Major policy shifts, in this view, deserve legislative hearings and an open amendment process. The White House should make its views known and issue veto threats. There should be a negotiation between the House and Senate to reconcile a bill. There should be a presidential signature, or a veto and an override debate. The machinery is admittedly creaky, but it manufactures democratic legitimacy. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy times are here again! Republicans have won the Senate, and they surely won’t screw it up this time. Right?Posted: November 9, 2014
The GOP Senate: A New Utopia Dawns
P.J. O’Rourke writes: Like all good Republicans, I’m so happy I could frack the moon. I could drone strike the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, I’m flying that high. I’m feeling good enough to lay 1,179 miles of pipe with my honey-bunny Keystone XL. And now that the GOP has bedded the House andthe Senate, she is, ahem, about to come – delivering crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast and all the wetlands, wilderness areas, and sensitive eco-systems in between.
“Extraordinary things occurred the last time Republicans took legislative power away from a liberal quack…”
And that’s just the beginning of the wonderful events that are about to transpire. This is more exciting than the Newt Gingrich congressional triumph of 1994. Obama is a bigger sitting duck than Clinton. And Obama is a lame duck too. No Democratic Senate or House candidate was sitting in the voter blind with Hope and Change decoys on the electoral pond calling, “Barack! Barack! Barack!” Even the Dems ducked Obama.
“To sum those things up in just two words, which still stir the heart of every right-thinking member of the Grand Old Party: Monica Lewinsky. Was that fun or what?”
And there was the Contract with America, with its balanced budget and term limits Constitutional Amendments and its Personal Responsibility Act to discourage having children out of wedlock.
In 1993, 27 percent of American children were illegitimate. Now it’s, um, about 40 percent. But, come on, what kind of self-respecting Republican writes a contract that he can’t wiggle out of with the help of lawyers? And practically everyone in Congress is one. Read the rest of this entry »
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) blasted pro-amnesty billionaires whose fondness for open borders ends at the doors of their “gated compounds and fenced-off communities,” noting how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bought other four houses surrounding his own just because he wanted “a little privacy.”
“Well, the ‘masters of the universe’ are very fond of open borders as long as these open borders don’t extend to their gated compounds and fenced-off estates.”
Sessions began by rebuking Zuckerberg – one of the billionaire elites he has dubbed “Masters of the Universe” – for going to Mexico City and giving a speech claiming that America’s immigration policy is “strange” and “unfit for today’s world.”
“Well, the ‘masters of the universe’ are very fond of open borders as long as these open borders don’t extend to their gated compounds and fenced-off estates,” Sessions said.
As an example of the hypocrisy of these “Masters,” Sessions then recalled how Zuckerberg bought four houses surrounding his own to keep people from crossing his borders and secure “a little privacy”: Read the rest of this entry »
“The preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that immigration enforcement in America has collapsed…”
— Senator Jeff Sessions
The report, provided to Breitbart News ahead of its late Sunday evening release, reviews internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) metrics to conclude that the Obama administration released 35 percent—or 68,000—convicted criminal aliens back into the U.S. general population when they could have been deported. “The criminal alien releases typically occur without formal notice to local law enforcement agencies and victims,” CIS’s Jessica Vaughan, the report’s author, added.
“…American citizens have a legal and moral right to the protections our immigration laws afford – at the border, the interior and the workplace…”
By “criminal,” ICE means people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony that is not a traffic violation. For instance, traffic violations like Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or even vehicular manslaughter do not count toward this description of “criminal alien.” As for the definition of “alien,” ICE mostly means illegal aliens, though some are legal aliens when they are considered deportable legal aliens—which is possible for legal immigrants who have committed a serious crime, like a felony.
“…The administration has stripped these protections and adopted a government policy that encourages new arrivals to enter illegally or overstay visas by advertising immunity from future enforcement. “
The documents also show ICE only deported a small fraction of the aliens they encountered overall.
The findings stand in stark contrast to liberal calls on Obama to reduce deportations.
Matthew Boyle reports: Fully 98 percent of individuals deported from the United States in 2013 were either criminals, apprehended while illegally crossing the border, or had been previously deported, according to a new analysis from Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
“This is part of a repeated pattern of overreach on the part of the Administration and shows their unwillingness to follow the law as it is written…It’s impossible for Congress to have an open and honest debate on border security when we can’t trust the President to do his job.”
— Rep. John Culberson
The three-page document, labeled a “Critical Alert” by the senator’s office, found three executive actions by President Barack Obama providing amnesty to groups of illegal aliens meant that virtually no one who did not meet other criteria beyond simply being in the country illegal was deported.
“The evidence reveals that the Administration has carried out a dramatic nullification of federal law,” Sessions said in a statement to Breitbart News. “Under the guise of setting ‘priorities’, the Administration has determined that almost anyone in the world who can enter the United States is free to illegally live, work and claim benefits here as long as they are not caught committing a felony or other serious crime.
“This is another clear warning to anyone who thinks immigration reform is possible under President Obama.”
— John Fleming (R-LA)
Obama’s well-known executive action granted virtual amnesty to so-called DREAMers – individuals who claim to have entered the country as minors under their parents’ guidance.
Senate Democrats will not write a budget for 2015
One year after writing and passing the first Senate Democratic budget resolution in four years, Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said her conference will not make an effort in the 2014 midterm election year.
In a statement, Murray said there was no reason to do a fiscal 2015 budget after the two-year deal struck in December with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
That deal set budget ceilings for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. The 2015 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.
“Fiscal Year 2015 is settled, the Appropriations Committees are already working with their bipartisan spending levels, and now we should work together to build on our two-year bipartisan budget, not create more uncertainty for families and businesses by immediately relitigating it,” Murray said.
“I went into my negotiations with Chairman Ryan hoping we could give the American people some much needed certainty after years of lurching to crisis to crisis, and I was very glad that our two-year budget deal accomplished that,” she added.
House Republicans are planning to do a budget, however. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday he “expects” it to be done.
That will set up a contrast with the Senate, where Republicans for years criticized Democrats for not doing a budget. Read the rest of this entry »
Matthew Boyle reports: The price tag for Congress suspending the debt ceiling until March, 2015 may give some Americans sticker shock.
According to an analysis by the Senate Budget Committee Republican staff, the national debt when the debt ceiling comes back into effect will be $18.2 trillion, about $1 trillion more than the current, $17.2 trillion debt.
Crowding Out U.S. Workers
The GOP needs to oppose the White House’s immigration plan and expose its flaws
Jeff Sessions writes: Several prominent amnesty advocates, including Mark Zuckerberg and top Obama administration officials, have argued that amnesty is a civil right. The claim is, of course, preposterous on its face. Under this reasoning, every immigrant currently living in the U.S. on a temporary visa has the right to refuse to leave when that visa expires. And every household in a foreign country has the right to enter the U.S. illegally tomorrow and demand the Obama administration’s amnesty for “DREAMers” and their relatives.
To say that amnesty is a civil right is to effectively declare to the world the right to enter the United States without permission, to bring one’s family, and to receive all of the financial benefits our nation provides. To say that one has a right to freely violate our immigration laws is to deny the very idea that a nation can establish enforceable borders.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s motivation is not elusive. He heads a lobbying group representing many of his industry’s wealthiest CEOs, and their companies wish to extract generous guest-worker programs from Congress. Similar efforts are underway from other CEOs seeking new workers for everything from manufacturing to construction to restaurant jobs. Presumably, Mr. Zuckerberg believes it is more advantageous to frame the group’s lobbying as a civil-rights crusade than as a corporate crusade for lower-cost foreign labor.