Former FBI Director Robert Mueller
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has just announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been named as a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.Â
“Mueller will take command of the prosecutors and FBI agents who are working on the far reaching Russia investigation, which spans multiple FBI field offices on both coasts, CNBC reports. Mueller headed the FBI for 12 years under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.
â€” The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) May 17, 2017
The welcome move was unexpected. Many Democrats have been calling on Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor, technically called a special counsel, to take over the investigation.
UPDATE I: 6:20 PM EDTÂ â€“
Here’s the official order. It’s important to note it makes clear Mueller has prosecutorial powers:
DOJ order signed by Rosenstein appointing Mueller as special counsel pic.twitter.com/Ecaed6Ze17
â€” Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 17, 2017
Also, Mueller is highly respected. Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney fired by Trump, supports this choice:
Having known him for years, I believe special counsel Mueller is a very good thing. He is one of the best — independent and no-nonsense. https://t.co/nMQo6aHalM
â€” Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) May 17, 2017
Reminder: Mueller was FBI Director when he & then-DAG James Comey together intervened at Ashcroft’s bedside in 2004 & threatened to resign. https://t.co/7tlb0q9fSQ
â€” Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) May 17, 2017
UPDATE II: 6:34 PM EDTÂ â€“
CNN’s Jim Acosta gave the White House less than one hour’s notice that a special counsel would be appointed. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was not notified.
Here’s an excerpt from the DOJ announcement:
Each year, the career professionals of the U.S. Department of Justice conduct tens of thousands of criminal investigations and handle countless other matters without regard to partisan political considerations. I have great confidence in the independence and integrity of our people and our processes. Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, however, I determined that a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly. Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confidence that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result.
UPDATE III: 6:43 PM EDTÂ â€“
MSNBC’s Ari Melber:
From what we know, in other words, it appears Pres Trump created the conditions that made DOJ reverse its position to take this special step https://t.co/bF7NHF2Aj0
â€” Ari Melber (@AriMelber) May 17, 2017
Eric Holder’s statement:
Former Attorney General Eric Holder on appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel in Trump/Russia affair: pic.twitter.com/Sowez3yFyl
â€” Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) May 17, 2017
More to come. Â
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Image via Wikimedia
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.Â
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Trump, Wanting to Change News Cycle, Appears to Confess to ‘Openly and Transparently’ Taking Classified Docs
It’s been a tough month for Donald Trump.
After Republicans failed to produce the red wave he claimed he would have been responsible for if it happened, but could not be held responsible if it did not, then refused to take any responsibility, Trump has been held responsible by left and right wing pundits, and even some GOP politicians.
Trump then moved forward with his 2024 presidential campaign announcement, which was widely panned as “low energy” – so low that several guests trying to leave early appeared to be refused access to the exits.
Days later Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that because Trump announced he is running for President, a Special Counsel has been appointed to two of the DOJ’s investigations into Trump. (Some say that’s good news for Trump, some say bad.)
And then a three-judge panel basically destroyed Trump’s attorney who was arguing the former president’s appeal in his case against the U.S. Government. Trump is arguing both that he declassified all the documents but also they are all his property.
That was all before last week.
Six days ago Donald Trump sat down with his invited guest, the antisemite and racist Kanye West, embattled after losing hundreds of millions in endorsements over his antisemitic remarks. That would have been bad enough, but West brought infamous white supremacist and antisemite Nick Fuentes, along with (reportedly) Milo Yiannopoulos and Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.
Since Wednesday the media has exploded with calls for Trump to denounce white supremacism and white supremacists. He has refused.
Multiple advisers have urged Trump to denounce Fuentes, who has a long history of promoting white supremacism, but he has been “rejecting” their advice, The Guardian reports, “over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said.”
Desperate to change the media narrative, late Monday afternoon Trump appeared to confess to stealing thousands of items (some counts say 13,000) including 300 documents with “Classified” and “Top Secret” headers.
“This fully weaponized monster, Jack Smith,” Trump said of the special counsel investigating him, “shouldn’t be let anywhere near the political persecution of ‘President Donald J. Trump.’ I did nothing wrong on January 6th, and nothing wrong with the Democrats’ fix on the Document Hoax, that is, unless the six previous Presidents did something wrong also,” Trump claimed on his Truth Social platform.
That’s when – in a departure from his previous suggestions that the classified documents, which he also claims to have declassified, may have been planted – Trump appeared to confess to the crime.
“When will you invade Bill and Hillary’s home in search of the 33,000 emails she deleted AFTER receiving a subpoena from the U.S. Congress? When will you invade the other Presidents’ homes in search of documents, which are voluminous, which they took with them, but not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?”
It’s the, “not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?” that has set off many.
The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, one of the first to notice Trump’s statement, wrote: “Imagine Trump’s lawyers may not love the final line of his latest Truth Social post. ‘When will you invade the other Presidents’ homes in search of documents, which are voluminous, which they took with them, but not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?'”
Some are suggesting the part, “not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?” appears akin to a confession.
Top national security attorney Brad Moss responded to Dawsey’s tweet, writing, “He has the right to remain silent. Anything he says can and will be used against him. He has the right to an attorney. If he can’t afford one, one will be appointed for him by the courts.”
Journalist Touré commented: “In which Trump admits to taking documents, charges other former POTUSs with also taking documents (without evidence), and says he took the documents in a way that’s somehow better than the way that those other stealing POTUSs did. Same ol Trump.”
Image: Shirley Preston / Shutterstock
Franklin Graham’s Ugly Lie Ahead of Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will put the Respect for Marriage Act on the Senate floor late Monday afternoon. It is expected to pass, thanks to about a dozen Republicans who are expected to vote to protect, at least at the federal level, the marriages of same-sex and interracial couples.
The Respect for Marriage Act merely states the federal government is required to recognize any marriage that was legal in any state it was entered into. An amendment to the bill goes a long way in codifying the right to anti-LGBTQ discrimination by faith-based organizations, but LGBTQ activists see it as a win to protect marriages after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called for cases that would help him overturn several laws, including the right to intimate contact and the right to marriage for same-sex couples.
The bill also ensures states, even if they ban marriage equality, will recognize any legal marriage that happened before any possible ban or that happened in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.
“It is very disappointing that these 12 Republican senators would side with the Democrats and ultra-liberal Senator Chuck Schumer to put the vast majority of Americans who believe in and support marriage between a man and a woman in jeopardy,” Graham wrote in an obvious and ugly lie on Facebook over the weekend.
He then listed the Senators’ names, and add links to their contact information on their government websites.
Graham’s false claim that somehow anyone who believes in or supports marriage between a man and a woman would be put “in jeopardy” by this bill is a dangerous falsehood.
Graham didn’t stop there.
“The deceptively-named Respect for Marriage Act that Senator Schumer is trying to push through is just a smokescreen to give more protections to same-sex marriage—and it doesn’t protect the religious liberties of those who support traditional marriage. In fact, it would make individuals, churches, academic institutions, and organizations who stand with marriage between a man and a woman in danger of persecution and legal attacks because of their convictions,” Graham added, which, again is false.
As NCRM has previously reported, all the religious protections that people of faith currently enjoy would be unchanged – if not strengthened – contrary to numerous false claims of far right extremists and religious extremists, like Graham.
The bill and its accompanying amendment do such a good job of protecting religious liberties that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, has issued a statement supporting it.
Despite decades of demonization by the right, same-sex marriage has become extremely popular, and not one of the false claims Graham and the religious right made before Obergefell has come true.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is the original sponsor of the bill, and Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, an original co-sponsor, is taking the lead for the Democrats.
A joint press release that also includes Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), states an amendment to the bill, which Republicans fought for, ensures no religious rights will be impacted.
The amendment, their statement says, “Protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution or Federal law, including but not limited to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevents this bill from being used to diminish or repeal any such protection.”
Why Graham is telling his flock something greatly different is par for the course.
“The bill strikes a blow at religious freedom for individuals and ministries and is really the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act,’” Graham said two weeks ago in an egregiously false statement.
“Its sponsors remarkably claim it protects religious freedom. It does not. This disastrous bill sends a message to America that if you don’t agree with the left’s definition of marriage, you are a bigot,” Graham added, again, falsely.
Should the Respect for Marriage Act pass it heads back to the House for a final vote, as the House’s version is slightly different. President Biden has promised to sign it into law.
Republican Senator Denounces Trump’s Dinner With ‘Racist Antisemites’ – Critics Say His Claim ‘This Is Not the GOP’ Is False
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has become the first sitting Senator to denounce Donald Trump‘s dinner last week with, among other extremists, antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes and Kanye West. But while some are relieved an elected Republican has finally denounced what they say should have been done lone ago, critics are informing the Louisiana Republican that he’s wrong to say, “This is not the Republican Party.”
“President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites. These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party,” Senator Cassidy wrote on Twitter Monday afternoon.
Shortly thereafter U.S. Senator Susan Collins also denounced Trump’s dinner with Fuentes, as Axios reports. Fuentes was a guest of antisemite Kanye West, who has also made racist remarks going back nearly a decade.
“I condemn white supremacy and anti-semitism. The president should never have had a meal or even a meeting with Nick Fuentes,” Collins told NBC News’ Frank Thorp V and Sahil Kapur.
“Spokespeople for nearly two dozen House and Senate Republicans,” Axios adds, “including party leaders, co-chairs of caucuses and task forces focused on Judaism or antisemitism and sponsors of legislation to combat antisemitic hate crimes — did not respond to requests for comment.”
Nearly all House and Senate Republicans are not the only ones refusing to denounce the dinner or Trump’s antisemitic, racist, or white supremacist guests. Despite his advisors’ urgings, Donald Trump has spoken several times to defend himself and paint himself as a victim — not once to denounce his guests’ extremist and vile beliefs.
Some on the left are thanking Sen. Cassidy for speaking up, while many critics are correcting his proposition that the GOP is not the embodiment of today’s far right, including antisemites and white supremacists.
“Notable and praiseworthy to see an actually elected Republican lawmaker condemn Trump by name for meeting with antisemites. Of course, whenever someone says ‘there is no place for X in our party,’ it generally means there is! But naming and condemning the thing obviously matters,” wrote The Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg.
“Actually embracing ‘racist antisemites for dinner’ is 100% percent today’s GOP. But still good to see a Republican denounce it–although Sen Cassidy has long been a Trump critic,” wrote SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah.
The Dispatch’s senior editor David French, a former Republican who used to write for the right wing National Review, called Cassidy’s statement “Exactly right,” and added: “Thank you.”
“Took almost a week for ONE lone Republican Senator to openly say this,” pollster Natalie Jackson noted. “This is why I continue to say Trump has a chokehold on the party, even if some indicators wane.”
Brianna Wu, the co-founder the progressive political action committee Rebellion PAC, tweeted: “Spoiler. This is definitely the Republican Party.”
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