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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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Secret Service Agents Confirm Details Hutchinson Shared About Trump Demanding to Be Taken to US Capitol Jan. 6

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Secret Service agents are coming forward to say for months after the January 6 insurrection they heard stories very similar to the account former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said she was told by a Trump loyalist and White House aide. The right-wing pro-Trump propaganda machine latched on to parts of her story in which she said she was told the outgoing president lunged at an agent, and “grabbed at” the steering wheel of the presidential limo, which on January 6 was an SUV.

Trump “angrily demanded to go to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and berated his protective detail when he didn’t get his way,” CNN reports, citing “two Secret Service sources who say they heard about the incident from multiple agents, including the driver of the presidential SUV where it occurred.”

That directly supports Hutchinson’s remarks before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack in her surprise bombshell testimony Tuesday. “The sources tell CNN that stories circulated about the incident,” CNN adds, “in the months immediately afterward the US Capitol attack and before she testified this week.”

CNN also reports that “one source, a longtime Secret Service employee, told CNN that the agents relaying the story described Trump as ‘demanding’ and that the former President said something similar to: ‘I’m the f**king President of the United States, you can’t tell me what to do.’ The source said he originally heard that kind of language was used shortly after the incident.”

Hutchinson had told the Committee a Trump aide, Anthony Ornato, had told her Trump got into the presidential limo, which was not “The Beast,” as right-wing propagandists are claiming, but an SUV, and said: “I’m the f-ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now!”

That closely echoes what agents told CNN.

RELATED: Trump Declares Hutchinson ‘Totally Discredited’ as Former Aide Says Someone in His Orbit Tried to Influence Her Testimony

“The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel,” Hutchinson also told the Committee, citing Ornato as her source. “Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going the Capitol.’”

“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson then added. “When Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicle.”

Watch CNN’s report from Friday below or at this link:

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Biden Blasts ‘Extremist’ Supreme Court and Promises to Protect Women Traveling Across State Lines to Obtain an Abortion

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Calling the U.S. Supreme Court “extremist,” President Joe Biden held a virtual roundtable with nine Democratic governors Friday afternoon to discuss options in the wake of six conservative justices stripping the civil right of abortion from Americans. Biden promised he will protect women traveling across state lines to obtain an abortion and will protect women’s rights to FDA-approved abortion drugs.

The President, fresh off his NATO trip, called the Court overturning Roe v. Wade a “terrible extreme decision in my view, upending lives and impacting on the health and safety of millions of women.”

“I share the public outrage that this extremist court has committed to moving America backwards with fewer rights, less autonomy, and politicians invading the most personal decisions,” he added, echoing remarks he made in Madrid about the Court. The President warned that “if they expand on this decision” it will impact “men as well.”

RELATED: Biden Blasts ‘Outrageous’ US Supreme Court – Calls to Change Filibuster to Codify Roe and Privacy Into Law

“As I’ve said last week, this is not over. Last week, I announced two specific actions. First, if extremist governors try to block a woman from traveling from her state that prohibits her from seeking medical help she needs to a state that provides that care the federal government will act to protect her bedrock rights through the Attorney General’s Office. Second, if states try to block a woman from getting medication the FDA has already approved and has been available for more than 20 years, my administration will act and protect that woman’s right to that medication.”

The President warned that “ultimately, Congress is going to have to act to codify Roe into federal law. But as I said yesterday, the filibuster should not stand in the way of us being able to do that. But right now, we don’t have the votes from the Senate to change the filibuster on them at the moment. That means we need two more votes.”

“The choice is clear: either elect federal senators and representatives who will codify Roe or Republicans who will elect the House and Senate will try to ban abortions nationwide. Nationwide. This is going to go one way or the other after November. So let’s remember, the reasoning of this decision has an impact much beyond Roe and to the right to privacy more generally. Justice Thomas himself said that under the reasoning of this decision that the court should reconsider marriage equality and contraception and there’s a lot at stake here.”

RELATED: ‘We Are the Christian Taliban’: White Nationalist Declares Far Right’s Goal Is Turning US Into ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Watch the president below or at this link:

 

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‘No Question’: Former Top FBI Official Says Trump World Statements Are ‘An Attempt to Intimidate a Witness’

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Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi says the messages shared by Vice-Chair Liz Cheney during Tuesday’s bombshell hearing of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack are “witness tampering.”

“There is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it,” Figliuzzi said on MSNBC Friday afternoon about statements now reportedly sent or said to Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide and advisor to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Parts of those statements read: “He wants me to let you know he’s thinking about you,” “As long as you stay on the team and do the right thing, you’ll stay in good graces,” and, “He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing.”

Figliuzzi said “there’s little doubt here” that those are examples of witness tampering.

“This is law school first year 101 Criminal Procedure. At the very least, DOJ now has enough to open a witness tampering investigation. We can talk about whether they would win or not, who did it or not, reasonable doubt or not, but there is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it. When you then add that to the fact that it appears that they provided, her initial attorney to her, Cassidy Hutchinson, you now have a without a doubt, predication to open a federal witness tampering investigation.”

RELATED: Trump Declares Hutchinson ‘Totally Discredited’ as Former Aide Says Someone in His Orbit Tried to Influence Her Testimony

The Committee did not reveal who made those statements, but later reporting indicates Hutchinson conveyed both those messages to the Committee, suggesting she was the recipient.

On Thursday Politico reported that “Hutchinson told the committee she was contacted by an intermediary for Mark Meadows, according to a person familiar with her final deposition.” Meadows has since denied the allegation.

Pointing to that Politico article on Twitter, Figliuzzi on Thursday wrote: “This is witness tampering. Cassidy Hutchinson was the target. They picked the wrong young woman.”

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