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Storm Clouds Gathering Around Trump

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“Forget talking about the Trump Administration. The question now is whether this will be a Trump Putin Administration or a Putin Trump Administration.” – Dan Rather

In an editorial published Monday China’s state-run Global Times newspaper wrote that “in the field of diplomacy” President-elect Donald Trump is “as ignorant as a child.”

China is angered by Trump’s public dismissal of decades of established diplomatic protocols and means, made readily apparent by his phone call to the president of Taiwan, showing his disdain for a mutually agreed upon “One China” policy.

The world’s most populous nation, China’s viewpoint is also shared by numerous American intelligence officials, elected officials, and diplomatic personnel, many of whom are alarmed by the President-elect’s reaction to the Washington Post article Friday that disclosed that the Central Intelligence Agency reported the government of Russia, via proxy means and hacking activity, actively worked to disrupt the American political process, sow discord, and assist in electing Trump to the the presidency.

Trump dismissed the CIA report calling the notion “ridiculous” and, “just another excuse.” 

He lashed out warning that the persons in the intelligence community releasing these reports were the same ones who claimed that Iraq had possessed weapons of mass destruction, when in fact those reports were fabrications. 

However, not all intelligence officials agree on the CIA’s assessment, which could could give Trump more ammunition to dispute the CIA assessment. In a series of interviews with Reuters, officials with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the 17 agencies in the U.S. intelligence community told the wire service, “ODNI is not arguing that the agency (CIA) is wrong, only that they can’t prove intent,” said one. “Of course they can’t, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow.” 

Reuters also noted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose evidentiary standards require it to make cases that can stand up in court, declined to accept the CIA’s analysis – a deductive assessment of the available intelligence – for the same reason.

Speaking to the foreign press corps, Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, referred to the CIA’s report as an “absolutely unfounded, unprofessional, unqualified statement and accusation which has nothing to do with reality.” 

In sharper contrast, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during his daily press briefing Monday, “You didn’t need a security clearance to figure out who benefited from malicious Russian cyber activity. The president-elect didn’t call it into question,” he said, adding, “He certainly had a pretty good sense of whose side this activity was coming down on.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xG8v5A-Ujo

On Capitol Hill, members from both Houses are dismayed and alarmed. “This is very serious stuff,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said regarding the reports of Russian hacking. “But for Donald Trump to summarily dismiss all of this makes no sense to me at all.” 

Screen_Shot_2016-12-13_at_9.09.50_PM.pngIn a joint statement, Senators Charles Shumer (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), John McCain (R-AZ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “The reports should alarm every American.”  

Of greater concern for one U.S. Senator speaking with NCRM who declined to be named, is Trump’s refusal to take in daily intelligence briefings. In an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday, the president-elect claimed that he doesn’t need daily security briefings because he’s “like, a smart person.” The Senator scoffed at Trump’s declaration, saying, “Perhaps the president-elect should accept more intelligence briefings, so he understands Russia’s extensive hacking capability, as well as the extensive surveillance capabilities of U.S. intelligence agencies.”

The Senator then outlined a long list of reported ties between Trump’s team and Russia, noting that Congress and the public knew of those connections before the election, adding that Trump naming ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his choice for Secretary of State dismissing concerns the Exxon chief is too cozy with the Russian President is the ultimate act of studied ignorance. 

“Putin gave him [Tillerson] a pretty damn prestigious award back in 2013 (video). What kind of message does this send and not only to Trump’s critics here, what about our NATO allies and other governments?” he said. ”This goes beyond theatrics and buffoonery, no, this is damaging to national security and efforts diplomatically around the globe.” 

A major consideration is the fact that even though government officials were very much aware of the hacking problem even before the election, there was not a willingness to have the issue become politicized, according to one White House source. The Senator concurred and Tuesday The New York Times noted that “a skeptical president-elect, the nation’s intelligence agencies and the two major parties have become embroiled in an extraordinary public dispute over what evidence exists that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.” 

Screen_Shot_2016-12-13_at_8.52.13_PM.pngA senior intelligence official told NCRM that the worst aspect of the Russian debacle is Trump’s apparent naiveté regarding the importance of briefings and keeping informed.

“He just doesn’t get it. Every action he takes, every tweet he sends, every public pronouncement he makes has a direct impact on more than just foreign policies and U.S. interests. He is displaying willing effort to remain ignorant about matters than change in mere hours or even minutes – that impact not just national security but global stability.”

Famed journalist Dan Rather took the President-elect to task too, saying, “Forget talking about the Trump Administration. The question now is whether this will be a Trump Putin Administration or a Putin Trump Administration.”

“Trump can publicly diss the findings of the CIA all he wants – itself a worrying development for a President-elect seemingly allergic to intelligence briefings. But the reality is that America’s intelligence community has found solid evidence that Russia favored electing a President Trump. Tweeting in a post-fact world doesn’t change that.”

 

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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BREAKING NEWS

Watch: Merrick Garland Calls Trump’s Bluff, Strikes Back at MAGA World’s False Claims in Mar-a-Lago Raid

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Attorney General Merrick Garland in an exceptionally rare public statement told the American people Thursday afternoon that he personally approved the search warrant used to enter Mar-a-Lago and confiscate the 10 to 12 cartons of federal government property, which reportedly included classified documents. He also called Donald Trump’s bluff, announcing he has asked a federal court to unseal the search warrant, which will allow the public to know what laws DOJ believes he has violated.

Noting that Donald Trump made public the raid on Mar-a-Lago and the Dept. of Justice did not, Garland cited “the substantial public interest in this matter,” in announcing his move to have the documents unsealed.

“The department did not make any public statements on the day of the search,” Garland stated. “The former president publicly confirmed the search that evening, as is his right. Copies of both the warrant and the FBI property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former president’s counsel, who was on site during the search.”

READ MORE: Nearly Half the Country Supports FBI Mar-a-Lago Search – Only Republicans Are Opposed, New Poll Shows

That statement refutes the false claims made by many on the right that FBI agents refused to hand over the search warrant or inventory list.

“The search warrant was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause, the property receipt is a document that federal law requires law enforcement agents to leave with the property owner,” he added, making clear that a federal judge did agree there was probably cause to execute a search.

“Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favor, under my watch that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing. All Americans are entitled to the even handed application of the law, to due process of the law and to the presumption of innocence.”

“I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter,” Garland announced, which was largely assumed.

Garland also responded to the growing chorus of far right wing extremists, pundits, and even and GOP lawmakers who are attacking DOJ.

“Let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors. I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants every day. They protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety, while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them. This is all I can say right now.”

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BREAKING NEWS

Watch Live: Attorney General Merrick Garland to Make a Statement This Afternoon

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Attorney General Merrick Garland will deliver a statement Thursday afternoon at 2;30 PM ET, the Dept. of Justice has announced.

The subject of his address was not included. A gunman threatened and attacked an FBI Field Office in Ohio earlier Thursday, and the far right and Republicans have been outraged over the execution of a search warrant by the FBI Monday at Mar-a-Lago, which resulted in the confiscation of classified materials and federal government property.

Watch live below.

DOJ website feed:

PBS News feed:


 

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BREAKING NEWS

Nearly Half the Country Supports FBI Mar-a-Lago Search – Only Republicans Are Opposed, New Poll Shows

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Americans on the right are so outraged the FBI, having probable cause and a federal judge’s signature on a legal and valid search warrant, showed up at Mar-a-Lago Monday to confiscate what we now know were between ten and 12 cartons of federal government property, including classified documents.

Trump supporters upon hearing the news almost immediately began calling for civil war, with right wing media including Fox News and other far right outlets reinforcing those attacks.

But a brand new poll just released finds that, as with most issues, Republicans stand alone in their opposition and outrage.

READ MORE: DOJ Served Trump With Grand Jury Subpoena for Classified Documents Months Before FBI Raid: Report

“Just about half of registered voters approve of the FBI search of Trump’s Florida compound,” reveals Politico’s Morning Consult polling, published Thursday afternoon.

Specifically, 49 percent of registered voters support the raid. 37 percent, slightly more than one-third, oppose it, and 13% don’t know.

But the political breakdown reveals what many would expect.

84% of Democrats support the FBI’s execution of the search warrant on the former president’s home.

READ MORE: Federal Appeals Court Rules House Can Have Trump’s Tax Returns – Committee Expects Them ‘Immediately’

47% of independents also support the raid, with just 33% opposed.

But a whopping 72% of Republicans are opposed to the FBI’s actions, and just 15% are in support.

The Morning Consult poll also finds that a “majority of voters believe Trump either ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ broke the law while he was president.”

That includes 90% of Democrats, 59% of independents, and 24% of Republicans.

 

 

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