Showing posts with label Lies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lies. Show all posts

January 24, 2020

FACT Check: False and Misleading Claims at Impeachment Trial



 Impeachment Trial of President Clinton








White House lawyers distorted the facts on the impeachment process and other issues during the Jan. 21 Senate trial:
  • White House counsel Pat Cipollone falsely suggested Republicans were barred from the closed-door depositions conducted by the House intelligence committee. But members of three committees — both Democrats and Republicans — participated.
  • Jay Sekulow, President Donald Trump’s attorney, falsely said, “During the proceedings that took place before the Judiciary Committee, the president was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses … the right to access evidence and … the right to have counsel present at hearings.” The committee chair invited Trump and his lawyers to participate, but they declined.
  • Cipollone claimed Rep. Adam Schiff, the House intelligence committee chairman, “manufactured a false version” of the July 25 phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president and “he didn’t tell” the American people “it was a complete fake.” Schiff indicated he was giving “the essence” of Trump’s remarks and about an hour later said it was “at least partly in parody.”
  • Sekulow said the special counsel’s report on Russian interference during the 2016 election found Trump committed “no obstruction.” That’s not what the report said. While the report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” it said, citing “multiple acts by the President that was capable of exerting undue influence.” 
In addition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his resolution outlining the impeachment trial procedures “tracks closely” with the rules of trials for other presidents. How closely McConnell’s resolution tracks with the procedures used in the past may be a matter of opinion. However, there are some differences between the rules for Trump’s trial and President Bill Clinton’s.
The lawyers and McConnell made their remarks during the opening comments and debate over the rules for the trial of the president.
Republicans Weren’t Blocked from Closed-Door Interviews
White House counsel Cipollone falsely suggested that Republicans weren’t given the same access as Democrats to the closed-door depositions in the fall led by the House intelligence committee.
Cipollone, Jan. 21: The proceedings took place in a basement of the House of Representatives. … Not even [House intelligence committee chairman Adam] Schiff’s Republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF.
Cipollone was referring to the closed-door interviews conducted in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a secure room used to discuss or view classified and sensitive material. But both Democrats and Republicans on the committees leading the impeachment inquiry in the House had access to the SCIF.
Transcripts of the closed-door proceedings, which were held before public hearings beganon Nov. 13, show Republican committee members asking questions of the witnesses. For instance, the Oct. 17 closed-door testimony of Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, was later publicly released, and it shows several Republican lawmakers were present, including the ranking minority members of the intelligence, oversight and foreign affairs committees: Republican Reps. Devin NunesJim Jordan and Michael McCaul. They all asked questions of Sondland, the transcript shows. The House intelligence committee Democratic and Republican lawyers — Daniel Goldman and Steve Castor — also were present and questioned Sondland.
Similarly, the Nov. 16 deposition of Mark Sandy, the deputy associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget, shows both Democrats and Republicans from the committees were present and asked questions. 
During the Jan. 21 Senate proceedings, Schiff, who is also one of the House impeachment managers, later addressed Cipollone’s claim, saying: “He’s mistaken. Every Republican on the three investigative committees was allowed to participate in the depositions. And more than that, they got the same time we did.”
Cipollone may have been misleadingly referring to an effort by Republicans who weren’t on the intelligence, oversight or foreign affairs committees to gain entrance to the SCIF. That Oct. 23 event, led by Reps. Matt Gaetz and Steve Scalise, was held to protest the non-public aspect of the impeachment inquiry at that point, the lawmakers said.
Cipollone further complained that “the president was forbidden from attending” the closed-door depositions and that “the president was not allowed to have a lawyer present.”
The depositions weren’t hearings or trials, but rather a congressional inquiry. As we mentioned, Republican counsel — though not the president’s — did participate.
Trump Declined to Participate in Judiciary Hearings
In his opening remarks, Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal attorneys representing him at the Senate impeachment, criticized how the House Judiciary Committee conducted its impeachment hearings. But he got the facts wrong.
Sekulow’s comment came after Schiff spoke of “the trifecta of constitutional misconduct justifying impeachment.”
Sekulow, Jan. 21: Mr. Schiff also talked about a trifecta. I’ll give you a trifecta. During the proceedings that took place before the Judiciary Committee, the president was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses, the president was denied the right to access evidence, and the president was denied the right to have counsel present at hearings.
None of that is true. Trump was offered all of that, but he declined to participate in the House Judiciary Committee hearings.
In a Nov. 26, 2019, letter, Rep. Jerry Nadler — the chairman of the Judiciary Committee — invited Trump and his lawyer to attend the committee hearings and ask questions of the witnesses (subject to Nadler’s approval).
The letter also offered to provide Trump with evidence gathered during the impeachment inquiry – including transcripts of the closed depositions and appending information and materials.
“I write to ask if — pursuant to H. Res. 660 and the relating Judiciary Committee Impeachment Inquiry procedures — you and your counsel plan to attend the hearing or make a request to question the witness panel,” Nadler’s letter said.
The resolution itself, which was included in the letter, said: “The House authorizes the Committee on the Judiciary to conduct proceedings relating to the impeachment inquiry referenced in the first section of this resolution pursuant to the procedures submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the chair of the Committee on Rules, including such procedures as to allow for the participation of the President and his counsel.”
In a section of the letter that bears the headline “Impeachment Inquiry Procedures in the Committee on the Judiciary,” Nadler laid out the procedures – including this offer to the president and his legal team:
Nadler letter to Trump, Nov. 26, 2019: The President’s counsel shall be furnished a copy of the report(s), record(s) or other materials referenced in section 2(5) and (6) or section 3 of H. Res. 660, and any material furnished to the Committee pursuant to this section. The President and his counsel shall be invited to attend and observe the initial presentations, and the President’s counsel may ask questions, subject to instructions from the chair or presiding member respecting the time, scope and duration of the examination.
Section 2 of H. Res. 660 refers to these records:
(5) The chair is authorized to make publicly available in electronic form the transcripts of depositions conducted by the Permanent Select Committee in furtherance of the investigation described in the first section of this resolution, with appropriate redactions for classified and other sensitive information.
(6) The Permanent Select Committee is directed to issue a report setting forth its findings and any recommendations and appending any information and materials the Permanent Select Committee may deem appropriate with respect to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution. The chair shall transmit such report and appendices, along with any supplemental, minority, additional, or dissenting views filed pursuant to clause 2(l) of rule XI, to the Committee on the Judiciary and make such report publicly available in electronic form, with appropriate redactions to protect classified and other sensitive information. The report required by this paragraph shall be prepared in consultation with the chairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The records referenced in section 3 described “additional materials” that may be transferred from the House intelligence committee to the Judiciary Committee.
Nadler gave the president until Dec. 1 to respond — three days before the first hearing, which was scheduled for Dec. 4.
Cipollone, the White House counsel, replied by the Dec. 1 deadline with a letter that said the president and his legal team would not participate in the Dec. 4 hearing, but reserved the right to decide if he will attend future hearings. Cipollone criticized the hearing format, which he described as “an academic discussion” that would not “provide the president with any semblance of a fair process.”
The Dec. 4 hearing was limited to testimony from four constitutional scholars on the constitutional grounds for impeachment.
“[A]n invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process,” Cipollone wrote. “Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”
On Dec. 6, Cipollone wrote a second letter to Nadler called the impeachment inquiry “completely baseless” and a “waste” of time. He didn’t say whether the White House would participate in any future hearings, but that same day an unnamed White House official toldCNN: “The letter communicates that we will not participate in this process.”
The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Dec. 9 that was limited to testimony from the majority and minority committee lawyers for the House intelligence and judiciary committees.
On Dec. 13, the committee voted along party lines, 23-17, to approve two articles of impeachment against Trump.
In a 658-page report, “Impeachment of Donald J. Trump President of the United States,” the committee said, “Consistent with House precedent after the evidence arrived at the Judiciary Committee, the Committee invited President Trump and his counsel to participate in the process. Notably, and unlike past Presidents, President Trump declined to attend any hearings, question any witnesses, or recommend that the Committee call additional witnesses in his defense.”
Schiff’s Dramatic Reading, Misrepresented
Cipollone repeated a false talking point about a dramatic interpretation Schiff once gave of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Cipollone, Jan. 21: Let’s remember how we all got here: They made false allegations about a telephone call. The president of the United States declassified that telephone call and released it to the public. How’s that for transparency? When Mr. Schiff found out that there was nothing to his allegations, he focused on the second telephone call. … When Mr. Schiff saw that his allegations were false, and he knew it anyway, what did he do? He went to the House and he manufactured a fraudulent version of that call. He manufactured a false version of that call; he read it to the American people, and he didn’t tell them it was a complete fake.
On Sept. 25, Trump did release a White House memo of his July 25 phone call, which was at the heart of an anonymous whistleblower complaint that prompted the impeachment inquiry. That memo backed up the main points the whistleblower made about the phone call. In fact, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified that the complaint “is in alignment with” the memo. 
There was a second, previous phone call on April 21, for which Trump released a memo in mid-November, but that call wasn’t the focus of the complaint.
Schiff did give an embellished rendition of the White House memo of the July phone call at the start of a Sept. 26 House intelligence committee hearing. As we’ve explained before, Schiff said he was recounting “the essence of what the president communicates” and “in not so many words.”
We leave it for readers to judge whether or not it was immediately clear that Schiff was giving his own take on the call. Some of what he said was similar to the memo, and some of it wasn’t. But it was clear to at least one Republican member in the hearing, who called outSchiff for the embellishments about an hour after the chairman’s dramatized remarks.
A few minutes later, Schiff responded: “My summary of the president’s call was meant to be at least part in parody.”
Mueller Report on Collusion, Obstruction
Sekulow also made a misleading claim about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The Mueller report concluded that “[t]he Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” in a successful attempt to help elect Trump.
Russia did this through two operations: “a social media campaign that favored … Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,” and “computer-intrusion operations” that allowed Russia to steal and then release emails and documents that were damaging to the Clinton campaign.
The special counsel’s office also investigated whether Trump or his campaign associates and allies coordinated with Russia on any of this illegal activity. Sekulow said that part of the investigation came up “empty.”
Sekulow, Jan. 21: And then we had the invocation of the ghost of the Mueller report. I know something about that report. It came up empty on the issue of collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction. In fact, the Mueller report — to the contrary of what these managers say today — came to the exact opposite conclusions of what they say.
It’s true that the Mueller report did not conclude that Trump committed a crime by either coordinating with the Russians or obstructing justice, but the investigation did not come up “empty” on either obstruction of justice or collusion.
On obstruction of justice, the Mueller report documented 11 “key events” where the president attempted to influence the investigation.
“Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that was capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations,” the report said. “The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony.”
The report, however, said there were “difficult [legal] issues that would need to be resolved,” in order to reach a conclusion on Trump’s conduct.
Factoring into his decision not to weigh in on prosecution, Mueller wrote, was an opinion issued by the Office of Legal Counsel finding that “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions” in violation of “the constitutional separation of powers.”
Mueller reportBecause we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
The special counsel’s investigation also “did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities.” But it presented evidence of “multiple contacts … between Trump Campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government.” 
Those contacts included Donald Trump Jr.’s eagerness to accept “very high level and sensitive information” that promised to “incriminate Hillary” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” as laid out in an email Trump Jr. received from a Russian acquaintance. “[I]f it’s what you say I love it,” responded Trump Jr., who days later attended a meeting expecting to obtain the material from a Russian lawyer who “had previously worked for the Russian government and maintained a relationship with that government throughout this period of time,” the Mueller report said. 
Among other incidents, Trump Jr. also made direct contact with WikiLeaks’ Twitter account and Trump confidant Roger Stone exchanged Twitter messages with Guccifer 2.0, which the Mueller report describes as one of two “online personas” used by Russian military intelligence to release hacked Clinton campaign emails to media outlets and WikiLeaks.
“In sum, the investigation established multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government. Those links included Russia offers of assistance to the Campaign. In some instances, the Campaign was receptive to the offer, while in other instances the Campaign officials shied away,” the report said. “Ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities.”
Differences Between Trump and Clinton Trial Rules
Senate Majority Leader McConnell claimed that his resolution outlining the Senate impeachment trial procedures “tracks closely” with the rules in trials of former presidents.
McConnell, Jan. 21: The organizing resolution we’ll put forward already has the support of a majority of the Senate. That’s because it sets up a structure that is fair, evenhanded, and tracks closely with past presidents that were established unanimously.
But the proposed Senate impeachment trial procedures that McConnell released on Jan. 20 — and the amended ones the Senate later adopted in a party-line vote the next day — differ from the unanimously approved Clinton trial rules in a few ways.
For example, McConnell’s original resolution does not automatically admit into evidence records from the House impeachment inquiry, which is what happened during the Clinton impeachment trial. Instead, McConnell was pressured by Democrats and some Republicans into amending his resolution to state that materials from the House inquiry “will be admitted into evidence,” rather than “maybe" admitted into evidence” based on a vote. Still, McConnell added language stipulating that the admission of such evidence was subject to an objection from Trump’s defense team.
McConnell’s original proposal also called for members of the House and the president’s defense team to make their respective opening cases for or against impeachment in 24 hours, over no more than two days. But during the Clinton trial, House managers and the president’s lawyers were given 24 hours to do the same, with no restriction on the number of days it could take.
McConnell ended up changing his resolution to permit both sides up to three days to make their arguments.
And while the Clinton trial rules called for senators to vote on a motion to dismiss the impeachment, that same language was not included in the rules for the Trump trial. It’s possible, though, that Trump’s defense could still propose such a motion.
During Trump’s trial, after both sides make their opening case, senators will be given 16 hours to ask questions. That is to be followed by an additional four hours of arguments, split equally between the House managers and the team representing the president. This will occur before the senators' debate and then vote on whether to subpoena new witnesses or documents not already admitted into the record.
Those additional rules are much like those for Clinton’s trial in 1999.

May 16, 2019

Jerry Fallwell Jr. Anti Gay Crusader Like (His Daddy) But Jr. Likes Young Gay Poor Boy(s) Section }1{



Image result for jerry falwell jr poor boy






So Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen has reported beginning his three-year prison sentence for a series of offenses, some of them done in service to Trump.

In a press conference, apologized for his wrongs, and suggested that he had more to tell and that he looked forward to the day when he could reveal all he knows.

Yes, we can look forward to another tell-all book on just how horrendous and corrupt Donald Trump is.

In the meantime, he’s talking, and some of those tales told paint a vivid picture about the 2016 election. In one particular instance revealed on Tuesday, he’s talking about one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, Jerry Falwell, Jr, dean of Liberty University.

Reuters dropped an exclusive on Tuesday, regarding an account given by Cohen to actor Tom Arnold as to how he helped “fix” a particularly sticky problem for Falwell and his wife, just months before the son of televangelist Jerry Falwell threw his public support behind then-candidate Trump.

It wouldn’t be the first time Cohen has stepped in to help Falwell with a problem.

Back in 2012, Falwell and his wife befriended a 21 year old pool boy at a luxury hotel in Miami, by the name of Giancarlo Granda.

For some mystifying reason, the Falwells decided to loan this otherwise inexperienced young man $1.8 million to invest in a youth hostel, where he would serve as manager.

He had no known business experience. He has no background in the hospitality industry, other than working as a pool attendant, but they were prepared to invest heavily, in order to help him in this venture.

Not only that, but they were flying him around on private jets, bringing him out to be with them on the Liberty University campus.

The odd story came to light because of a lawsuit, brought by two other investors in the Alton Hostel, Jesus Fernandez Sr. and Jesus Fernandez Jr.

The Fernandez family feel they were pushed out of the deal, as the hostel is listed as owned by Granada (the pool boy), Falwell’s wife, Cindy Falwell, and their son, Jerry (Trey) Falwell, III.

Granada was with the couple at a Liberty University convocation in 2012, and met Donald Trump and Michael Cohen at that event.

Just what kind of help Cohen provided in that incident is not immediately clear, but there was some discussion.

Tuesday’s news, however, is another level of “hhmmmm…”

According to Reuters, several months before Jerry Falwell, Jr became the first major evangelical voice to throw his support behind Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, Cohen was asked to bring his particularly greasy, mob lawyer tactics into play, on Falwell’s behalf.

In a recorded conversation, reviewed by Reuters, Cohen revealed how he stepped in to stop something deeply embarrassing and personal from seeing the light of day.

Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.

According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.

Yikes!
Why do I get the feeling that we’re not just talking simply boudoir photos?

So this is where I recall some of the lessons learned from the sex counseling classes that were part of my Psychology major.

Sex between a married, devoted couple is not a bad thing. It’s not to be treated as dirty or wrong. There should be no shame in enjoying each other, as a married couple, because that is what God intended for us.

Touching, exploring, loving, and appreciating everything about our mates. Sex was not simply formed for the sake of procreation. Were that the case, it would be an instinctual process, just as it is for other animals. No one would derive pleasure from it.

In fact, humans are the only living creatures that have sex for pleasure.

As I have often said, however, sex was meant as a wedding gift, not a party favor.

So if Jerry Falwell, Jr and his wife felt like taking some spicy images, during the course of their marital playtime, is it wrong?

My first inclination is to say, no, not entirely.

With that in mind, however, if it’s a case of images that somehow disrespect the marriage bed, or show some otherwise unhealthy appetites, it could be troubling.

The husband is tasked with loving his wife as Christ loved the church, and part of that is protecting her from incidents like this.

The next question should be: Who had those images and how did they gain access to them?

That much we don’t know.

The Falwells enlisted Cohen’s help in 2015, according to the source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the year Trump announced his presidential candidacy. At the time, Cohen was Trump’s confidant and personal lawyer, and he worked for the Trump Organization.

The Falwells wanted to keep “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” from becoming public, Cohen told Arnold. “I actually have one of the photos,” he said, without going into specifics. “It’s terrible.”
So the individual who had the images destroyed them, but Cohen is saying he’s retained one of them?

And while there is no proof that this is the catalyst for Falwell’s subsequent endorsement of Trump, and his steadfast approval of Trump’s every move, it doesn’t seem particularly on the up-and-up.

During the campaign, Cohen worked closely with Liberty University to help promote Trump’s candidacy. It was around that time that Cohen heard from the Falwells about the photographs, said the source familiar with Cohen’s thinking.

The Falwells told Cohen that someone had obtained photographs that were embarrassing to them, and was demanding money, the source said. Reuters was unable to determine who made the demand. The source said Cohen flew to Florida and soon met with an attorney for the person with the photographs. Cohen spoke with the attorney, telling the lawyer that his client was committing a crime, and that law enforcement authorities would be called if the demands didn’t stop, the source said.
That part is actually correct, so kudos to Cohen for managing some legit lawyering.

With Cohen now behind bars for the next couple of years, we may not immediately get a follow-up to this story, but it’s unlikely to just go away.

And he still has one of the images, so there’s that

February 18, 2019

“I doubted Jussie Smollett, breaks my heart I might be right” Doubts About Jussie’s Account




By Nana Efua Mumford
Washington Post


Nana Efua Mumford is the executive assistant to The Post’s editorial board. She lives in Virginia with her family but will always call Chicago home.

“Empire,” Fox’s drama about a family-run hip-hop label, has always been defined by its bizarre plot twists. The show has featured a ghost who haunts her loving husband, a child whose stepfather is also his grandfather and an amnesia-inducing car bomb. But the latest real-world twist involving a member of its cast is the strangest — and saddest — yet.

On Jan. 29, Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon, the openly gay heir to the show’s hip-hop record label throne, was allegedly attacked in a baroque hate crime. He told police that his attackers immediately identified him as a gay actor from “Empire,” then proceeded to yell racial and homophobic slurs, shout “this is MAGA country,” pour an unknown chemical on him and place a noose around his neck. The story has since become even more complicated: The Chicago police questioned two Nigerian brothers, one of whom said that he played a small part on “Empire,” about their possible role in the attack. As of this writing, the department is seeking to interview Smollett again; he has hired a criminal defense attorney.

Actor and singer Jussie Smollett in Los Angeles in 2016. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
                   


But even before these latest details emerged, when I first heard of the attack on Smollett, I had to pause. On “Empire,” Jamal Lyon came out as gay in front of his homophobic, abusive father; took a bullet for that same father and overcame an addiction to pain pills. Was I reading last week’s episode recap, or did this actually happen in my hometown of Chicago? Almost immediately, I had a terrible feeling that I was victim blaming, or worse, that I am so brainwashed that I no longer can hear cries of hurt and outrage from my own black community. It was a horrifying feeling that I am still trying to work through almost three weeks later.

Actor and singer Jussie Smollett in Los Angeles in 2016. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
I wanted to believe Smollett. I really did. I know that there is a deep, dark racist history in Chicago and, if proved true, this would be just one more point on the list. I wanted to believe him with every fiber of my being, most of all because the consequences if he were lying, were almost too awful to contemplate.

And yet I struggled with Smollett’s story.


I tried telling myself that it is possible that two assailants were walking around downtown Chicago at 2 a.m. in January in 10-degree weather, waiting for a black victim. In addition to that, they were stalking around with a bottle of bleach and a rope. And ultimately, the prey they selected was an actor on a show that they must’ve been somewhat familiar with because they were able to not only name the show but also know that he played a gay character. Never mind the fact that he was likely bundled up because again: Chicago, January, 10 degrees. Also, after he fought to get away, he left the rope around his neck until he got to the hospital.

Perhaps I don’t want to believe him because this is a stark and scary reminder of the poor condition of the country (and city) that I call home. Maybe this story makes the boogeyman in my nightmares all too real, too close and too calculating. Maybe it’s because while I consider myself an ally to the LGBTQ community, I still don’t understand and appreciate the daily harassment that they endure. Or maybe even though I am a black woman, I still don’t know what it’s like to be a black man in America.

Over the past few hours, there have been speculations that have confirmed my worst fears. Unnamed “police sources” have claimed that Smollett orchestrated the entire thing.

Surveillance images show alleged attackers in an assault of ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett

Chicago police released images Jan. 30 of two “people of interest” in the assault against actor Jussie Smollett. (Reuters)
If Smollett’s story is found to be untrue, it will cause irreparable damage to the communities most affected. Smollett would be the first example skeptics cite when they say we should be dubious of victims who step forward to share their experiences of racist hate crimes or sexual violence. The incident would be touted as proof that there is a leftist conspiracy to cast Trump supporters as violent, murderous racists. It would be the very embodiment of “fake news.”

And that reason, more than any other, is why I need this story to be true, despite its ugliness and despite what it would say about the danger of the world I live in. The damage done would be too deep and long-lasting. This could be one tragedy that the Lyon family — and more importantly, the ordinary people who loved the show and invested in Smollett and his character — could never overcome.

January 17, 2019

"The Little Jerk” (Named by McCain) S.C. Linsey Graham Fell From Grace With His “Kook” President



                                           






If loyalty goes only so far, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham’s goes every which way — depending on the day, week, month — or proximity to Election Day.

One day, the South Carolina Republican may think Donald Trump is a “kook.” That was Graham’s description of then-candidate Trump in 2016, shortly after he’d ended his own campaign for president. Or, he may think Trump is “presidential,” as he said recently in appraising President Trump’s speech from the Oval Office on border security.

What did they do with Graham, one might reasonably ask? If you posted this question to random people on Capitol Hill, you might hear them say, Aw, that’s just Lindsey. He’s in a cycle.

If this sounds vaguely endocrinal, well, suit yourself. What it means, of course, is that Graham is up for reelection in 2020. When you’re in one of the redder states in the union, you’d best cheer for the Man from MAGA or risk fading into local history.

It isn’t unusual for politicians to tweak their language or style, to soften or toughen rhetoric as one’s audience pleases. Still, there’s something almost comical about Graham’s toughening stances and head-snapping reversals. It’s as though his body has been occupied by someone else, his inner Terminator liberated at last — in part, perhaps, because he’s no longer John McCain’s wingman. He’s Maverick now.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Whatever else he intends, Graham has always known how to play the media and keep himself in the headlines. This may explain his and Trump’s recent comity, which can be traced to lunch in March 2017 when the two found common ground in, among other things, an affection for playing golf. They are also both showmen and may share some mutual respect. Both love to be center stage, and both seem to have a similar knack for giving people what they want. The president and the apprentice.

Confession: I love Graham — for all the right reasons. He’s a mensch who’d give you the shirt off his back, whether you needed it or not. He’s a good guy, brought up hard, who transcended tragedy (both parents died while he was in college, leaving him to care for his then-13-year-old sister). He’s a true patriot who served in the Air Force judge advocate general’s corps and then the Air Force Reserve as he was rising from lawyer to congressman to the U.S. Senate.


He is also very funny, as debate viewers will recall from his 2015 performances. His best lines from those debates were spontaneous, quick-witted and true. We delighted in his unfiltered answers to questions, such as: “You know how to make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.” Or, if Trump were to win, the Islamic State “would be dancing in the streets; they just don’t believe in dancing.”

Funny then, but no more. Graham has become a lead gladiator for a wall along the southern border, even recently advising Trump to invoke national-emergency powers to fund it. From “Little Jerk,” McCain’s affectionate nickname for Graham, to Maximus in a few short months. No longer is Trump a “kook.” In 2017, Graham repeated the word but that time in taking issue with the media for “this endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook not fit to be president.”

But then Monday happened. The president turned on Maximus, rejecting Graham’s suggestion to temporarily reopen the government while the wall debate continues. The mind meld lost its connection. Do we sense a split after all Graham has done, not least his fiery attack against Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Brett M. Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, which Graham called an “unethical sham”?


Instantly, Graham became a meme sensation on the right. On the left, you’d have thought he had called Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, “bat---- crazy,” a term he previously had used to describe the GOP for its support of Trump.

As we enter 2019, the Grahamster is full of brio and bluster, ready to rush Texas with his own posthole digger. His speechwriter must surely be busy preparing text for the senator’s remarks upon the groundbreaking, perchance to include: “President Trump, build this wall!” In the meantime, as Judiciary Committee chairman, Graham has vowed that the next Supreme Court justice will be a conservative, as though anyone doubted it.

One can hardly wait, but not for long. The night is young, the news breaks 24/7, and we’ve nearly two more years to wonder what Graham will say, growl, hiss, spit, growl, whisper or sing, hallelujah! May his cycle be unbroken.

December 27, 2018

Trumps' Lies Upon Lies is Disgraceful For the Legacies of Washington, Lincoln



It is hard to imagine that there is a line from George Washington to Donald Trump, that we could have so squandered the legacies of past generations.

By David Rothkopf
A corrupt and fraudulent family foundation. Hush money to mistresses to help swing an election — felony violations of campaign finance laws. Seeking and embracing the help of an enemy to win an election. Repeatedly obstructing justice to cover up those crimes.
Selling out American interests to patrons overseas. Profiting from the presidency. Helping foreign murderers cover up the murder of an American permanent resident. Attacking our allies. Destroying the international architecture that has been the foundation of our strength.
Lying to or misleading the American people on average 10 times a day. Celebrating Nazis as very fine people. Building detention camps for children on our borders. Racist policies that turn away good people from our shores. Serial misogyny. Upwards of 20 allegations of sexual harassment.
At least one accusation of rape from an underage minor. A massive, decades-long record of income tax fraudSeventeen investigations into his activities. Virtually every major organization he has run for two decades under investigation. 
An international record of celebrating despots and autocrats and kleptocrats and brutal totalitarians and enemies. Unprecedented isolation from America's friends and a repeated record of insults of them and international rejection of him as a trusted leader.
Attacking America's law enforcement institutions. Attacking America's intelligence institutions. Collaborating with fellow travelers in Congress to circumvent the laws and to undermine decades and decades of regulation. Irreversible damage was done to the environment.
A campaign to take health care away from the neediest Americans. A systematic effort to deport productive contributors to our society who have lived and worked here for decades. Hypocrisy. Vulgarity. Deceit. Mounting evidence of criminal behavior. Serial violation of his oath of office. Serial betrayal of his country.
This is our president. This is the heir to Washington and Lincoln. He stole the office with the aid of our enemies, and he has done grievous damage to this country ever since.
Sometimes I walk through Alexandria, Virginia, where I live, past the places Washington walked, and I have to admit it, it makes me physically ill. It is hard to imagine that there is a line from George Washington to Donald Trump, that we could have so squandered the legacies of past generations.

What would Washington and Lincoln say about Trump?  

Read this list of wrongs and crimes and missteps and compound it with the ignorance and the incompetence and the absence of principles and the deficiency of character of this man. Think how each and any of them might have disqualified past leaders.
Think how you wouldn't allow such a man into your home or contact with your children and then of the power and prestige he has been given, the precious gifts of heritage that have been placed in his hands.
It is easy to grow numb to this. It is possible to become distracted by rage. But remember what is at stake, we must focus on undoing this great wrong that took place in 2016 and seeking justice for the crimes that contributed to that and have unfolded since.
Imagine what Washington or Lincoln would say were they to see this. Worse still, imagine what our grandchildren and generations to come will say. This is the history we bequeath to them. Let it, in the end, be an affirmation of our institutions and our ability to repel the danger.
Let it, in the end, be worthy of the best of the legacy that came before. We're an imperfect society, but we should not elevate the worst among us as we have done with this man Trump and the corrupt crowd of enablers surrounding him.
David Rothkopf is CEO of the Rothkopf Group and host of Deep State Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @djrothkopf. This column was adapted from a Twitter thread.  

November 1, 2018

A Low Down With a Kids Face Addicted to Conspiracy Stories Wanted to Pay a Woman to Say Mueller Abused Her

Image result for Jacob Wohl.
 This is the scummy Jacob wOhL



It seems his company is own or run by two people: him and mom.






After he was implicated in a conspiracy to concoct false sexual-assault allegations against special counsel Robert Mueller, Jacob Wohl, a prominent young supporter of President Donald Trump on social media, was ruthlessly mocked on Twitter for a hack job at covering his tracks.
Wohl, 20, who has been accused of defrauding investors in his financial firms, is known for peddling conspiracy theories, far-right talking points and boosting Trump on his social media accounts.
It looks as if Wohl is behind a pretend company called Surefire Intelligence named Tuesday on documents published by The Gateway Pundit, a far-right fake-news website for which he writes, alleging Mueller was accused of raping a woman.
The Gateway Pundit quickly took down the article and the documents. “Earlier today we were given information on accusations against former FBI Director Robert Mueller,” Jim Hoft, the editor, wrote in their place.
“We took the documents down and we are currently investigating these accusations. There are also very serious allegations against Jacob Wohl. We are also looking into this.”
Journalists from The New Yorker, The Daily Beast, Bellingcat, NBC News and other publications quickly got to work, establishing that the LinkedIn profile pictures of supposed Surefire Intelligence employees were either models or actors, such as the Hollywood star Christoph Waltz.
Other sleuthing revealed that Surefire’s website was registered by someone using Wohl’s email address, that Wohl was actually the man in a shaded anonymous image purporting to be company managing partner “Matthew Cohen” and that the firm’s phone number redirected to Wohl’s mother’s voice mail.   
On Tuesday, Wohl tweeted: “Several media sources tell me that a scandalous story about Mueller is breaking tomorrow. Should be interesting. Stay tuned!”
The conservative D.C. lobbyist Jack Burkman, known for pushing conspiracy theories, particularly around the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, claims to have several women willing to make allegations of sexual assault against Mueller.
Burkman promised a press conference on Thursday, during which one of the women would identify herself.
A couple of weeks ago, multiple journalists, including two reporters at Newsweek, received an email claiming women were being offered money to accuse Mueller, a former FBI director, of sexual misconduct.
A woman purportedly named Lorraine Parsons claimed that an associate of Burkman’s had offered to pay off her late husband’s credit card debt and give her a check for $20,000 if she falsely accused the special counsel of sexual assault. She would not speak further to reporters.
Burkman denied paying any women to come forward. Wohl, whose own apparent efforts to discredit Mueller were connected to Burkman, had also denied this.
In an interview with Hill Reporter, Burkman acknowledged working with Surefire and that Wohl was behind it. 
“Surefire is a real company, an intel operation in Los Angeles," Burkman said. "We have known them for a long time. The guy’s name is Jacob Wohl. They do a lot of intel work. They do a lot of good research.”
Wohl later tweeted: "Very credible allegations are set to be made against Robert Mueller—The MSM is scrambling! They're accusing me of offering to pay accusers with ZERO PROOF and ZERO EVIDENCE!"
The special counsel’s office said it referred to the FBI the allegations that women were offered money to make false claims against Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump 2016 campaign.

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