SO META: Here Are the Mugshots of the Guys Who Allegedly Run Mugshots.com (And Why They Were Booked)Posted: May 19, 2018
The AG’s statement claims that Mugshots.com owners got $64,000 from about 175 people with billing addressed in the state. That’s over a three-year period. Of course, that falls way, way short of how much they raked nationwide: The four got over $2 million in “de-publishing” fees from 5,703 people.
Alberto Luperon reports: The alleged owners of Mugshots.com have been charged and arrested. These four men–Sahar Sarid, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, Thomas Keesee, and David Usdan–only removed a person’s mugshot from the site if this individual paid a “de-publishing” fee, according to the California Attorney General on Wednesday. That’s apparently considered extortion. On top of that, they also face charges for money laundering, and identity theft.
“This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation.”
If you read a lot of articles about crime, then you’re probably already familiar with the site (which is still up as of Friday afternoon). They take mugshots, slap the url multiple times on the image, and post it on the site alongside an excerpt from a news outlet that covered the person’s arrest.
“Those who can’t afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others. This is exploitation, plain and simple.”
— Attorney General Xavier Becerra
According to the AG’s office, the owners would only remove the mugshots if the person paid a fee, even if the charges were dismissed or if the suspect was only arrested because of “mistaken identity or law enforcement error.”
You can read the affidavit here.
According to the complaint, a man identified as Jesse T. tried to have his mugshot removed. A friend had reached out to him, concerned he might be prison. T. discovered that his arrest information from Sept. 2, 2013 was posted on the site. It had his full name, address, gender, and the charge he was arrested for. He went to the link to get rid of the mugshot–unpublisharrest.com–but they demanded a $399 fee. He got in touch with the 800 number listed on the site, and when the man on the phone told him he needed to pay the fee, T. said that was illegal.
“The man laughed and hung up,” the affidavit said. The man hung up again when T. tried calling back to say he had proof clearing him of the charges. T. tried calling again three times on July 23, 2016. It went to a recording every time. After that, he got an unlisted call on his home phone, and he turned on a recorder before answering, the affidavit said. T. played the following message for investigators [sic, as written in the affidavit; his name is alternately spelled “Jesse” and “Jessie” in the document]:
Jessie T.: Hello
Unknown Male: -this third time tell you fucking bitch we’ll never answer your calls again you’ve been permanently published faggot bitch.
Jessie T.: Hey I’d like my stuff removed.
Records cited by the affidavit showed that T. was only detained by cops, but his case was dropped due to lack of evidence. Even so, the damage was done. The incident was treated as “detention only.” Read the rest of this entry »
Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions got into a heated exchange when Mr. Wyden accused Mr. Sessions of “stonewalling” by declining to answer questions about his conversations with President Trump.
Bob Fredericks writes: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) comically mocked the allegations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions collluded with the Russians during a campaign event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington during a campaign …
“It’s just like through the looking glass. I mean, what is this? I explained how in good faith I said I had not met with Russians because they were suggesting I as a surrogate had been meeting continuously with Russians. I didn’t meet with them.”
— Attorney General Jeff Sessions
“Mr. Sessions, are you familiar with what spies call trade craft?” Cotton asked, prompting the attorney general to warily reply, “A little bit.”
“That involves things like covert communications and dead drops and brush passes, right? Do you like spy fiction? Do you like Jason Bourne or James Bond movies?” Cotton continued before slamming the probe.
“Have you ever, ever in any of these fantastical situations heard of a plot line so ridiculous that a sitting United States senator and an ambassador of a foreign government colluded at an open setting with hundreds of other people to pull off the greatest caper in the history of espionage?” he asked, prompting Sessions to laugh for the first time during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Read the rest of this entry »
Special counsel’s team includes former Clinton Foundation lawyer, contributors to Obama, Hillary, more.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sparked a mini-meltdown in the media Monday with a tweet challenging the fairness of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair,” he tweeted. “Look who he is hiring.check fec [sic] reports. Time to rethink.”
He’s not wrong about the donations. Four top lawyers hired by Mueller have contributed tens of thousands of dollars over the years to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, including former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.
One of the hires, Jeannie Rhee, also worked as a lawyer for the Clinton Foundation and helped persuade a federal judge to block a conservative activist’s attempts to force Bill and Hillary Clinton to answer questions under oath about operations of the family-run charity.
Campaign-finance reports show that Rhee gave Clinton the maximum contributions of $2,700 in 2015 and again last year to support her presidential campaign. She also donated $2,300 to Obama in 2008 and $2,500 in 2011. While still at the Justice Department, she gave $250 to the Democratic National Committee Services Corp. Read the rest of this entry »
PUNDITOCALYPSE! Alan Dershowitz: Comey Confirms that I’m Right – and All the Democratic Commentators are WrongPosted: June 8, 2017
Alan Dershowitz writes: In his testimony former FBI director James Come echoed a view that I alone have been expressing for several weeks, and that has been attacked by nearly every Democratic pundit.
Comey confirmed that under our Constitution, the president has the authority to direct the FBI to stop investigating any individual. I paraphrase, because the transcript is not yet available: the president can, in theory, decide who to investigate, who to stop investigating, who to prosecute and who not to prosecute. The president is the head of the unified executive branch of government, and the Justice Department and the FBI work under him and he may order them to do what he wishes.
As a matter of law, Comey is 100 percent correct. As I have long argued, and as Comey confirmed in his written statement, our history shows that many presidents—from Adams to Jefferson, to Lincoln, to Roosevelt, to Kennedy, to Bush 1, and to Obama – have directed the Justice Department with regard to ongoing investigations. The history is clear, the precedents are clear, the constitutional structure is clear, and common sense is clear.
Yet virtually every Democratic pundit, in their haste to “get” President Trump, has willfully ignored these realities. In doing so they have endangered our civil liberties and constitutional rights.
Now that even former Director Comey has acknowledged that the Constitution would permit the president to direct the Justice Department and the FBI in this matter, let us put the issue of obstruction of justice behind us once and for all and focus on the political, moral, and other non-criminal aspects of President Trump’s conduct.
Comey’s testimony was devastating with regard to President Trump’s credibility – at least as Comey sees it. He was also critical of President Trump’s failure to observe the recent tradition of FBI independence from presidential influence. Read the rest of this entry »
Timing of hack occurred within days of the nuclear deal overcoming opposition in Congress.
Susan Crabtree writes: State Department officials determined that Iran hacked their emails and social media accounts during a particularly sensitive week for the nuclear deal in the fall of 2015, according to multiple sources familiar with the details of the cyber attack.
The attack took place within days of the deal overcoming opposition in Congress in late September that year. That same week, Iranian officials and negotiators for the United States and other world powers were beginning the process of hashing out a series of agreements allowing Tehran to meet previously determined implementation deadlines.
Critics regard these agreements as “secret side deals” and “loopholes” initially disclosed only to Congress.
Sources familiar with the details of the attack said it sent shockwaves through the State Department and the private-contractor community working on Iran-related issues.
It is unclear whether top officials at the State Department negotiating the Iran deal knew about the hack or if their personal or professional email accounts were compromised. Sources familiar with the attack believed top officials at State were deeply concerned about the hack and that those senior leaders did not have any of their email or social media accounts compromised in this particular incident.
Wendy Sherman, who served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs for several years during the Obama administration and was the lead U.S. negotiator of the nuclear deal with Iran, could not be reached for comment.
A spokeswoman for Albright Stonebridge LLC, where Sherman now serves as a senior counselor, said Tuesday that Sherman is “unavailable at this time and cannot be reached for comment.”
Asked about the September 2015 cyber-attack, a State Department spokesman said, “For security reasons we cannot confirm whether any hacking incident took place.”
At least four State Department officials in the Bureau of Near East Affairs and a senior State Department adviser on digital media and cyber-security were involved in trying to contain the hack, according to an email dated September 24, 2015, and multiple interviews with sources familiar with the attack.
The Obama administration kept quiet about the cyber-attack and never publicly acknowledged concerns the attack created at State, related agencies, and within the private contractor community that supports their work.
Critics of the nuclear deal said the Obama administration did not publicly disclose the cyber-attack’s impact out of fear it could undermine support right after the pact had overcome political opposition and cleared a critical Congressional hurdle.
The hacking of email addresses belonging to the State Department officials and outside contractors began three days after the congressional review period for the deal ended Sept. 17, according to sources familiar with the details of the attack and the internal State Department email.
In the week leading up to that deadline, Senate Democrats blocked several attempts to pass a GOP-led resolution to disapprove of the nuclear deal. The resolution of disapproval needed 60 votes to pass but the most it garnered was 58.
President Trump, during his trip to the Middle East in late May, talked tough against Iran and its illicit ballistic missile program but has so far left the nuclear deal in place. A Trump State Department review of the deal is nearing completion, the Free Beaconrecently reported, and some senior Trump administration officials are pushing for the public release of the so-called “secret side deals.”
State Department alerts outside contractors of cyber-attack
State Department officials in the Office of Iranian Affairs on Sept. 24, 2015 sent an email to dozens of outside contractors. The email alerted the contractors that a cyber-attack had occurred and urged them not to open any email from a group of five State Department officials that did not come directly from their official state.gov accounts. Read the rest of this entry »
The Private Jim Comey.
The media are pitching James Comey’s Thursday testimony as the biggest since Watergate, and the former FBI director may provide high Trump ian drama. Let’s hope Congress also challenges Mr. Comey on matters he’d rather not talk about.
The politically savvy Mr. Comey has a knack for speaking in congenial forums such as the clubby Senate Intelligence Committee he’ll address Thursday. By contrast he is refusing to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee—where he came under a grilling in May, days before he was fired—though there is no bar to him testifying more than once.
Circa News is also reporting (and we have confirmed) that Mr. Comey is refusing to answer seven questions sent to him in a letter from Judiciary on May 26. The bipartisan request is from Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, as well as the chairman and ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
The questions are aimed at discovering how the contents of Mr. Comey’s famous “memo” to himself came to be splashed across the press. This still private memo reportedly says President Trump asked Mr. Comey to back off an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and its contents surfaced in the New York Times not long after Mr. Comey was fired—courtesy of an unidentified Comey “associate.”
The Judiciary letter asks if Mr. Comey created other memos about interactions with Justice Department officials or Mr. Trump; if he shared the contents of his memos with people inside or outside the Justice Department; if he retained copies of the memos, and if so to turn them over to the committee.
We’re told Mr. Comey replied via email that he didn’t have to answer the questions because he is now a “private citizen.” But that same private citizen will be opining in front of a national TV audience before a committee investigating serious questions of law and intelligence … (read more)
…but probably won’t.
David Harsanyi writes: Almost a month after President Donald Trump fired him, former FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
Comey will reportedly claim that the president asked for his “loyalty” but that he “demurred.” A keeper of meticulous notes, Comey will also likely testify that the president asked him to drop the Michael Flynn investigation only days after the national security advisor was fired. “I hope you can let this go,” the president purportedly told Comey. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”
One imagines that special counsel Robert Mueller would not have agreed to allow Comey to testify publicly in the middle of ongoing investigation if the content of his testimony implicated the president in a criminal offense. Comey also won’t be able to shed light on the ongoing investigations. Still, there’s lots of anticipation out there. And there are a slew of questions Comey should answer.
For instance: As the former head of the FBI, do you believe your private conversation with the president rose to the level of obstruction of justice? Was it your impression that the president was speaking extemporaneously about an investigation, offering an opinion about its prospects and your actions, or do you believe he was demanding or insisting that the FBI drop the investigation into Michael Flynn?
Do you believe the president exhibited criminal intent?
Were there any other occasions in which the president brought up Flynn, or any other ongoing investigation of his campaign or administration officials? If so, what was the substance and tone of those conversations? Read the rest of this entry »
Assange has not returned a series of recent emails from Fox News about Rich. MacFadyen, who was considered a mentor by Assange, died of lung cancer on Oct. 22 at age 76.
D.C. police have announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s killer. Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman has offered a separate $130,000 reward.
Rich had been at Lou’s City Bar a couple of miles from his home until about 1:15 a.m. He walked home, calling several people along the way. He called his father, Joel Rich, who he missed because he had gone to sleep. He talked with a fraternity brother and his girlfriend, Kelsey Mulka.
Around 4:17 a.m., Rich was about a block from his home when Mulka, still on the phone with him, heard voices in the background. Rich reassured her that he was steps away from being at his front door and hung up.
Two minutes later, Rich was shot twice. Police were on the scene within three minutes. Rich sustained bruising on his hands and face. He remained conscious, but died at a nearby hospital less than two hours later. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
(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 »
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 »
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stopped accepting Freedom of Information Act requests by email. The agency wants requesters to use fax, standard mail, or the agency’s online portal to make things on their end more efficient. But, FOIA advocates say this puts a lot of burden on the requester.
Hey millennial FOIA nuts: Time to familiarize yourselves with the concept of a paper jam.
“The goal seems to be ‘creating a lot of extra burden. Everyone is used to emails. It creates a permanent record. It has a time-stamp on it. Everyone knows how to use it’.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has stopped accepting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by email. The agency wants requesters to use fax, standard mail, or the agency’s online portal, FBI eFOIPA.
The goal seems to be “creating a lot of extra burden,” says Adam Marshall, an attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Everyone is used to emails. It creates a permanent record. It has a time-stamp on it. Everyone knows how to use it.”
The FBI says the move will help the agency expedite its backlog, which was estimated at 2,614 requests in 2015. Agency spokesperson Jillian Stickels told the Daily Caller that using an online portal will automate the processing of requests and “increase efficiency.”
But does the FBI really want to make the process more efficient? And its decision to continue accepting faxes and standard mail seems to only create headaches for requesters, who might run out of toner or have their transmission signal interrupted when someone picks up the line.
“Most mail that goes to a federal agency has to go through a screening process,” says Marshall. “Sometimes they irradiate it to make sure that there isn’t anthrax or other things in it […] So, it can take a long time for your mail to get from you to the FOIA officer who’s going to open it up and read it.” Yet the law says that the agency is required to provide a response to a FOIA request within 20 business days.
A beta version of the online portal required users to provide personal information about themselves and limited requests to one per day. The FBI backed away from these rules in response to public pressure from Muckrock and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), but the system still imposes a 3,000-character restriction. Also, the FBI says that not all types of requests can be fulfilled through the portal, though which types the agency won’t say.
There are other bureaucratic hurdles: The FBI has multiple computerized filing systems for documents. Typically, if a requester doesn’t specify which records system to search, the Bureau only queries its Central Records System (CRS) and then might fail to locate a document that it actually has on file. Marshall finds these multiple record systems “incredibly confusing” even though understanding them, he says, is part of his job. Read the rest of this entry »
The Obama administration has been the most lawless in U.S. history. Here are just a few examples to prove it. And these are doozies…. (read more)
“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.”
[VIDEO] Dershowitz: Acting AG ‘Made a Political Decision, Rather Than a Legal One’ on Trump EO, ‘Serious Mistake’Posted: January 30, 2017
On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “OutFront,” Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz reacted to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ announcement that the DOJ will not present arguments in defense of President Trump’s immigration order by saying Yates made a “serious mistake” and has “made a political decision, rather than a legal one.”
Dershowitz said, “Yates is a terrific public servant, but I think she’s made a serious mistake here. This is a holdover heroism. It’s so easy to be a heroine when you’re not appointed by this president and when you’re on the other side. She made a serious mistake. I think what she should have done is done a nuanced analysis of what parts of the order are constitutional, what parts are in violation of the statute, what parts are perfectly lawful. There’s an enormous distinction between green card holders on the one hand, people who are in the country and have to be thrown out on the second hand, and people who are simply applying to get visas. There is also a distinction between what’s constitutional, what’s statutorily prohibited, what’s bad policy. This is very bad policy, but what’s lawful. And I think by lumping all of them together, she has made a political decision, rather than a legal one.”
He added, “I think it’s — some of it’s constitutional, some of it’s not constitutional. For example, there is a statute that limits the president’s power, and says that visas may not be denied on the basis of religion. Read the rest of this entry »
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
Even a prominent Trump adviser accepts the false premise that there has been no ‘ethical shadiness.’
Even Trump adviser Peter Thiel seems to agree. When the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd observed during an interview that Mr. Obama’s administration was “without any ethical shadiness,” Mr. Thiel accepted the premise, saying: “But there’s a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring.”
In reality, Mr. Obama has presided over some of the worst scandals of any president in recent decades. Here’s a partial list:
• State Department email. In an effort to evade federal open-records laws, Mr. Obama’s first secretary of state set up a private server, which she used exclusively to conduct official business, including communications with the president and the transmission of classified material. A federal criminal investigation produced no charges, but FBI Director James Comey reported that the secretary and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling national secrets.
• Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it had allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in the hope of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the guns was used in the fatal 2010 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt when he refused to turn over documents about the operation.
• IRS abuses. Mr. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service did something Richard Nixononly dreamed of doing: It successfully targeted political opponents. The Justice Department then refused to enforce Congress’s contempt citation against the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct. Read the rest of this entry »
Don’t Kid Yourself — Liberals Are Just As Susceptible To Fake News. Their brand may be more sophisticated, but it’s no less harmful.
Among the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ duties is to determine the national security impact that the foreign takeover of an American industry could have on the U.S. Congress has expressed concern and has asked its investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, to probe the national security issues associated with the Chinese acquisitions of American entertainment companies.
A one-time commander in China’s Communist Red Army has launched information warfare with an aggressive plan to invest billions in all six major Hollywood studios, a show business trade publication reports, describing the foreign deal as an unprecedented push into the U.S. entertainment sector. The former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regimental commander, Wang Jianlin, is China’s richest man and he’s aggressively pursuing a big chunk of one of the world’s most influential industries.
“The former People’s Liberation Army regimental commander, Wang Jianlin, is China’s richest man and he’s aggressively pursuing a big chunk of one of the world’s most influential industries.”
A few years ago, Wang doled out $2.6 billion to buy the nation’s largest theater chain, AMC Entertainment, and now he’s taking it a huge step further with the studio deals that will have a huge impact on production. Chinese money has been shaping the movie industry for years, mainstream news reports have revealed, and one major newspaper reported earlier this year that China is expected to become the world’s biggest box office by the end of 2017.
“This may cause Americans to wonder what the U.S. government is doing to counter the information warfare. Specifically, a division of the U.S. Treasury, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, is responsible for reviewing transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by foreigners.”
“This has changed how Hollywood behaves in big ways—like the flood of money coming in to co-finance blockbusters, or sequels that get the green light simply because they performed well in China,” the article states.
An industry expert cited in the article says that very few foreign companies have ever successfully cracked the Hollywood code in a big way, but Chinese buyers are getting closer to that goal.
“Wang doled out $2.6 billion to buy the nation’s largest theater chain, AMC Entertainment, and now he’s taking it a huge step further with the studio deals that will have a huge impact on production.”
This may cause Americans to wonder what the U.S. government is doing to counter the information warfare. Specifically, a division of the U.S. Treasury, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), is responsible for reviewing transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by foreigners.
“This has changed how Hollywood behaves in big ways—like the flood of money coming in to co-finance blockbusters, or sequels that get the green light simply because they performed well in China.”
Judicial Watch is investigating what this agency is doing to scrutinize the Chinese Communist takeover and is drafting public records requests for the CFIUS and other pertinent agencies.
After all, among the CFIUS’s duties is to determine the national security impact that the foreign takeover of an American industry could have on the U.S. Congress has expressed concern and has asked its investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), to probe the national security issues associated with the Chinese acquisitions of American entertainment companies.
“Judicial Watch is investigating what this agency is doing to scrutinize the Chinese Communist takeover and is drafting public records requests for the CFIUS and other pertinent agencies.”
These disturbing revelations come on the heels of an equally alarming Hollywood story Judicial Watch reported illustrating the Obama administration’s hands off policy when it comes to illegal activities in the powerful entertainment industry. It involves a big-screen movie about traitor Edward Snowden, who has been criminally charged by the U.S. government under the Espionage Act. Read the rest of this entry »
State Dept. has up to 31,000 Pages of New Clinton Records from the FBI’s Investigation; Wants Five Years to Process ThemPosted: November 7, 2016
(Washington DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding developments during today’s court hearing concerning Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking emails sent or received by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her official capacity during her tenure as secretary of state:
The Obama State Department is doing a political favor for Hillary Clinton for suggesting to a federal court today that Judicial Watch wait as long as five years to see up to 31,000 new Clinton documents found by the FBI. We learned in this lawsuit that the State Department is slow-walking the release of Hillary Clinton’s deleted and hidden emails. Ironically, this Clinton/Obama State Department stonewalling has guaranteed that the Clinton email scandal won’t be resolved for years.
The court has set the next hearing in this case for November 29 to discuss the status of 650,000 emails reportedly found on the computing devices of Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner. Read the rest of this entry »
— Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) November 6, 2016
Read more here….
[VIDEO] Huma Abedin Emerges Out of Seclusion for First Time Since New Email Uproar, Says Only One WordPosted: November 5, 2016
Until now…(read more)
The arrival of The Big Short in 2015 – available on streaming services now – and its subsequent nominations at the 88th Academy Awards, has reignited interest in the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.
The film would have you think that private greed on Wall Street and a lack of regulation caused the economic crash. While stories like this might make for a fun movie, The Big Short fails to align with the facts.
Learn more about the 2008 financial crisis in Peter’s book “Hidden in Plain Site: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again“
The new emails, which prompted the FBI’s announcement last week, came from former congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
These emails, CBS News’ Andres Triay reports, are not duplicates of emails found on Secretary Clinton’s private server. At this point, however, it remains to be seen whether these emails are significant to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton. It is also not known how many relevant emails there are.
In a letter to Congress last Friday, FBI Director James Comey indicated that the agency was taking steps to review newly discovered emails relating to Clinton’s private email server. Those emails came from the laptop of Weiner, a former New York congressman. Read the rest of this entry »
Payton mentioned a conversation she had on Monday with a Californian who had been planning to vote for Hillary Clinton, but changed his mind after news broke that the FBI is re-opening its investigation into her use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of State.
“Early voting is bad for democracy,” she said. “I could see a lot of people who did cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, [who are now] seeing all this kind of stuff, become really frustrated with the political system and the way that powerful people are able to skirt the law.” Read the rest of this entry »
Clinton aide said to be unsure how emails ended up in her husband’s laptop, and what their significance could be.
“The newly found emails number in the tens of thousands or more, with at least some pertaining to the period when Abedin worked for the State Department from 2009 to 2013, first as a deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Clinton and later as a consultant, a law enforcement source said. Some of the messages could already be among the large set of messages the FBI pieced together from a variety of different devices and sources during the yearlong inquiry into Clinton’s private email server”
Word that Abedin claims to be unaware of the cache of messages came as a U.S. official revealed that the FBI obtained a warrant to examine the emails in greater detail.
The disclosure of an additional trove of emails that FBI Director James Comey says may be relevant to the Clinton email investigation has rocked the final days of the presidential campaign, with Comey coming under withering criticism for disclosing to Congress last week that new work was underway in the Clinton probe as a result of the discovery of the new set of messages.
“Sources familiar with the investigation said the laptop was seized early in October as part of an FBI probe into allegations that Weiner, a former congressman, traded sexually explicit messages with an underage girl.”
Late Sunday, already intense heat on Comey from the Clinton campaign and its allies grew even more searing. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Comey “may have broken the law” by engaging in partisan political activity. And former Attorney General Eric Holder became the most prominent figure to join a long list of former prosecutors condemning the FBI director’s decision to disclose the new politically sensitive discovery just 11 days before the presidential election.
The newly found emails number in the tens of thousands or more, with at least some pertaining to the period when Abedin worked for the State Department from 2009 to 2013, first as a deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Clinton and later as a consultant, a law enforcement source said. Some of the messages could already be among the large set of messages the FBI pieced together from a variety of different devices and sources during the yearlong inquiry into Clinton’s private email server, officials said.
“Despite sharp disagreement with Comey’s decision to publicize the discovery of the new set of emails just days before the presidential election, Justice Department officials pressed quickly for the warrant once they learned of the messages and are trying to organize a quick review of the emails.”
Abedin had an account on that server, but there were conflicting news reports about whether the newly found set of messages was from her clintonemail.com account and whether it contained messages exchanged with Clinton. Until the warrant was issued Sunday, legal concerns limited the analysis the FBI could do of the messages.
Sources familiar with the investigation said the laptop was seized early in October as part of an FBI probe into allegations that Weiner, a former congressman, traded sexually explicit messages with an underage girl.
Despite sharp disagreement with Comey’s decision to publicize the discovery of the new set of emails just days before the presidential election, Justice Department officials pressed quickly for the warrant once they learned of the messages and are trying to organize a quick review of the emails, a U.S. official told POLITICO.
However, it seems impossible that a full analysis will be completed by Election Day on Nov. 8 because if potentially classified messages that haven’t been found before are located, they will have to be farmed out to various intelligence agencies for classification review. That interagency process often takes months.
“As painful as this is for people, this was not a close call.”
— FBI Director James Comey
While Comey’s extensive public comments on the Clinton email investigation have angered many of his current and former Justice Department colleagues, legal experts said they also created awkwardness for prosecutors seeking to draft arguments that would justify a search or seizure warrant for the new batch of Abedin emails.
For months, Comey has been public about his agency’s conclusion that the evidence obtained in an almost-yearlong investigation into Clinton’s private server setup was not remotely close to what would justify filing criminal charges against the former secretary of state or her advisers.
“As painful as this is for people, this was not a close call,” the FBI chief told skeptical Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee last month.
However, to get the warrant, Justice Department lawyers appear to have mounted nearly the opposite argument: that the newly discovered messages were likely to contain evidence of a crime. Read the rest of this entry »
New Clinton emails found during Anthony Weiner sexting probe
The devices were seized after it was revealed that Weiner, a former member of Congress and mayoral candidate, had been sexting with an underage girl.
The feds began to investigate Weiner, 52, after he sent a slew of sexual messages and shirtless selfies to a 15-year-old North Carolina girl.
Weiner allegedly shared his “rape fantasies” with the teen and even sent her pornographic videos.
He also is alleged to have asked the teen to get on Skype to undress and masturbate.
The former politician engaged in his possibly criminal activity using the handle “T Dog.”
[VIDEO] Krauthammer: ‘Hard to Deny That There Is a Quid Pro Quo’ between the FBI and State DepartmentPosted: October 17, 2016
Charles Krauthammer said that newly released documents show that the FBI’s coordination with the State Department on the Hillary Clinton case indicates corruption.
“There are so many ironies here. The first is that this is probably normal procedure inside any administration, inside a bureaucracy: trading off favors, trading off probably shady maneuvers. But the problem is this — the charge that Republicans, Trump in particular, are making against Hillary Clinton is precisely that she represents business as usual. You can defend Clinton and say saying ‘Oh, this goes on all the time,’ but that’s the point. They are trying to wipe away this sort of culture of corruption. It is hard to deny that there is a quid pro quo, or at least one was proposed, when the phrase ‘quid pro quo’ is used to describe the transaction in the documents.”
“This is the ‘camera and sausage’ factor. I don’t think that we should be shocked that this happens in any bureaucracy, but once you see it in black in white, and you hear the charge that Clinton represents business as usual — and corrupt business as usual — that, I think, accentuates the charge, and makes it a very serious one.”
BREAKING: Disgraced FBI Director James Comey Gets Defensive About Timing of Clinton Investigation Labor Day Document DumpPosted: September 7, 2016
FBI Director James Comey is defending the bureau’s Friday afternoon release of documents from the Hillary Clinton email investigation, saying “we don’t play games” and that the documents were put out when ready.
We don’t play games. So we released it Friday. We are continuing to process more material and will release batches of documents as they are ready, no matter the day of the week,” Comey said.
He concluded the memo by writing, “Those suggesting that we are ‘political’ or part of some ‘fix’ either don’t know us, or they are full of baloney (and maybe some of both).
Andrew C. McCarthy writes:
…Among the most eye-popping claims Clinton made to the FBI was that she was unfamiliar with the markings on classified documents. Yes, you read that correctly: one of the highest ranking national security officials in the United States government – an official whose day-to-day responsibilities extensively involved classified information; who had secure facilities installed in her two homes (in addition to her office) so she could review classified information in them; and who acknowledged to the FBI that, as secretary of state, she was designated by the president as “an Original Classification Authority,” meaning she had the power to determine what information should be classified and at what level – had the audacity to tell the interviewing agents that she did not know what the different classification symbols in classified documents signified…
“I nearly fell out of my chair upon reading the very first paragraph of the notes of Clinton’s interview, which identifies the lawyers for Clinton who were permitted to be present for the interview. Among them is Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s longtime confidant and chief-of-staff at the State Department.”
…Clinton also claimed that she “did not pay attention to the ‘level’ of classified information.” The interview notes do not explain how the FBI squared this with, for example, (a) Clinton’s acknowledgement that top-secret “special access program” (SAP) information was delivered to her by paper in her office and she knew it was supposed to be handled with extraordinary care; and (b) Clinton’s admission that she made use of her Original Classification Authority at times (though she couldn’t say how often). That means she had to have assigned to some information the very classification levels with which she portrays herself as scarcely familiar.
We also learn in the FBI documents not only that Mrs. Clinton frequently lost her Blackberry devices, but that the FBI failed to account for some thirteen of them, most if not all of which she used while transmitting the over 2,000 classified emails the FBI identified.
“As Clinton’s chief-of-staff, Mills was intimately involved in issues related to Clinton’s private email set up, the discussions about getting her a secure BlackBerry similar to President Obama’s, and questions that were raised (including in FOIA requests) about Clinton’s communications.That is to say, Mills was an actor in the facts that were under criminal investigation by the FBI.”
Clinton aides told the FBI that her devices – loaded with stored emails – would at times disappear and their whereabouts would become unknown. Interestingly, in the notes of Mrs. Clinton’s interview, the FBI says she told them that her BlackBerry devices would occasionally “malfunction”; when this happened, “[h]er aides would assist in obtaining a new BlackBerry.” I have not yet found indications that the FBI asked her about lost rather than malfunctioning devices.
We do learn, though, that on February 9, 2016, the Justice Department asked Clinton’s lawyers to turn over all 13 mobile devices that the FBI identified as having potentially transmitted emails. Almost two weeks later, on February 22, the lawyers told the FBI “they were unable to locate any of these devices.” As a result, the notes recount, “the FBI was unable to acquire or forensically examine any of these 13 mobile devices.” Read the rest of this entry »
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey uses his legal expertise to tackle the FBI’s verdict on the Hillary Clinton email scandal, the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies, the objectivity of judges, and more in this Viewpoint interview.
The State Department admitted Thursday that the US would not hand over $400 million in cash to Iran until it released four American hostages — two weeks after President Obama insisted the payment was not a “ransom.”
State Department spokesman John Kirby was asked at Thursday’s press briefing: “In basic English, you’re saying you wouldn’t give them $400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?”
“That’s correct,” Kirby replied.
In an Aug. 4 press conference, President Obama said the opposite.
“We do not pay ransom. We didn’t here, and we won’t in the future,” the president told reporters, speaking of the Jan. 17 payment and hostage release.
Families “know we have a policy that we don’t pay ransom. And the notion that we would somehow start now, in this high-profile way, and announce it to the world, even as we’re looking in the faces of other hostage families whose loved ones are being held hostage, and saying to them ‘We don’t pay ransom,’ defies logic,” Obama added at the time. Read the rest of this entry »