Intelligence and law enforcement experts are stunned after President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he has just handed his Attorney General strong powers to declassify intelligence on “surveillance activities” undertaken during the 2016 presidential election. That would include actions taken by the FBI, CIA, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
Trump’s order giving Barr carte blanche came just hours after he literally called prosecutors who worked on the Mueller investigation “killers,” and accused FBI, DOJ, and possibly President Barack Obama of “treason” immediately after a reporter reminded him that the punishment for that crime is the death penalty.
Trump is insisting, as he has done for over two years, that President Barack Obama had then-candidate Trump’s “wires tapped,” an accusation the Dept. of Justice actually investigated and reported it could find no evidence to support President Trump’s claim.
Trump expanded that claim to say that the FBI spied on his campaign, despite having no evidence. Attorney General Bill Barr during an open and live-televised congressional hearing told lawmakers, “I think spying did occur.”
The deliberate use of the word “spying” rankled the intel community and many lawmakers.
This via Maddow tonight:
NEWS: David Laufman, former chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section at the DOJ calls Trump’s new directive “a grotesque abuse of the intelligence community.” pic.twitter.com/iTVpl4DnKD
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 24, 2019
Here’s how some experts are responding to the President’s order and accusations.
Former U.S. Attorney, now a law professor and MSNBC contributor:
National security takes a back seat to Trump demands that Barr gin up an investigation into public servants at DOJ & FBI. Also today, Trump called prosecutors killers & accused people by name of treason after a reminder the punishment is execution. There’s no way this ends well. https://t.co/6cGLtPzbXq
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 24, 2019
Former Chief of Counterintelligence and Export Control Section at Justice Dept.:
When the Dept. of Justice becomes a handmaiden to a political purge, it betrays both its core ideals and the countless prosecutors and agents dedicated to carrying out the rule of law without fear or favor.https://t.co/K9Vfxq0sXS
— David Laufman (@DavidLaufmanLaw) April 10, 2019
Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics:
Barr is the most dangerous member of Trump’s team in terms of the threat he poses to democracy and national security, which is really saying something when Bolton is a member of that team.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 24, 2019
Former CIA officer and former National Security Council spokesperson, currently an NBC News contributor:
Needless to say, Trump hasn’t made any effort to declassify anything related to Russia’s assault on our democracy. Everything we know, we learned from the intelligence assessment Obama ordered, the speaking indictments / report Mueller filed, and investigative reporting. https://t.co/EiVO0fDjxl
— Ned Price (@nedprice) May 24, 2019
Former Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice, and a current MSNBC Justice & Security Analyst:
Whoa. So Barr has the sole authority to declassify info related to the Trump investigation over the objections of the original classifying authority – CIA, NSA, etc. A huge accumulation of power and discretion to the AG that I believe is unprecedented. https://t.co/xDTiurMyff
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) May 24, 2019
Professor at the U.S. Naval War College and academic specialist on international affairs:
This is just crazy. https://t.co/eKtc4HSIvx
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) May 24, 2019
New York Times editorial board writer on law and justice issues (and yes, he is being sarcastic):
Totally normal thing to include in a presidential memorandum: This thing expires “upon a vacancy in the office of the Attorney General.” https://t.co/pvl3fNoClg
— Cristian Farias (@cristianafarias) May 24, 2019
Vox co-founder and editor:
Some cool things about this:
1) Selectively declassifying things can be very misleading
2) Barr likes to deliberately mislead the public to help Trump
3) Reporters are aware of (2)
4) When (1) happens then despite (3) Barr’s deceptions will generate credulous headlines. https://t.co/UDJnrpfcSs
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) May 24, 2019
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Trump Organization Given ‘Corporate Death Penalty’ and Ordered Dissolved by Judge After ‘Persistent Fraud’: Legal Experts
A New York judge has ordered Donald Trump’s business entities in the state of New York, including The Trump Organization, dissolved, and his business certificates canceled, according to legal experts, after ruling that the ex-president for years committed fraud and deceived banks and insurers by inflating the value of his assets.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron “has ordered cancellation of all [NYS] business [certificates] of ‘any entity controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr, Eric Trump, Alan Weisselberg, & Jeffrey McConney. An independent receiver will manage the dissolutions,” writes former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega.
Correct, @AndrewFeinberg. The judge has ordered cancellation of all [NYS] business certs of “any entity controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr, Eric Trump, Alan Weisselberg, & Jeffrey McConney. An independent receiver will manage the dissolutions. https://t.co/mK0vkzQXon
— Elizabeth de la Vega (@Delavegalaw) September 26, 2023
The Messenger reports Judge Engoron’s “blockbuster ruling found that the former president and his business leaders failed to correct course after warned of a ‘propensity to engage in persistent fraud,'” and ordered “a quick timeline to dissolve the Trump Organization and other corporate entities.”
MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin explains that the “New York trial court judge has found that Trump, his adult sons, and Allen Weisselberg engaged in a persistent, years-long fraud through ‘fantasy world’ valuations of core Trump assets, including his own residence and various golf courses and office buildings.”
“His decision not only eliminates the need for trial on that claim, but also orders fairly dramatic relief: the cancellation of New York business certificates for all of the entities named as defendants, ‘as well as any other entity controlled or beneficially owned by the individual defendants found liable,'” she adds.
“In addition to finding that Trump committed fraud, the judge canceled the certificates of various Trump businesses, appointed a former judge as an independent monitor of the Trump Organization, and will appoint receivers to manage the canceled LLCs,” writes former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.
“This is a pretty big deal,” he adds.
Professor of law Ryan Goodman, the former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel says Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordered the “corporate death penalty” for the Trump organization. Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance also used the term “corporate death penalty.”
“The leading Republican candidate has been found liable for sexual assault and fraud, his companies found guilty of fraud, and he’s charged with 91 OTHER felony counts. That he is not dismissed politically out of hand says much more about us, than about him,” observes MSNBC’s Andrew Weissmann, the well-known former lead prosecutor in Robert S. Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office and former FBI General Counsel.
Attorney, retired U.S. Air Force colonel, and former administrative law judge Moe Davis responding to the news, writes: “Trump is the eponymous fraudster. The name Trump is to fraud what Campell’s is to soup, Kleenex is to tissue, and ping is to pong.”
Trump Committed Fraud and Deceived Banks While Growing His Real Estate Empire, Judge Says: Report
Donald Trump committed fraud, deceived banks, and inflated the value of his real estate holdings a judge said Tuesday, granting New York Attorney General Letitia James partial summary judgment in her civil case against the ex-president.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron “has ruled that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House,” The Associated Press reports. Judge Engoron “found that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.”
“The decision, days before the start of a non-jury trial in Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit, is the strongest repudiation yet of Trump’s carefully coiffed image as a wealthy and shrewd real estate mogul turned political powerhouse,” The AP adds.
Attorney General James “is seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York, his home state. The trial could last into December, Engoron has said.”
READ MORE: McCarthy Now Blaming Likely Shutdown on Fentanyl, President Biden, and His Own House Republicans
Image via Shutterstock
McCarthy Now Blaming Likely Shutdown on Fentanyl, President Biden, and His Own House Republicans
Speaker Kevin McCarthy during a raucous gaggle with reporters Tuesday afternoon blamed the increasingly likely shutdown of the federal government on fentanyl, President Joe Biden, and his own House Republicans.
Political experts have said the Republican Speaker could avoid a government shutdown, which will happen at midnight on Friday if legislation is not passed, by making a deal with Democrats and a small number of House Republicans. Doing so would likely cost him his job.
Asked on Tuesday by CNN’s Manu Raju, “Are you ruling out a clean CR without any border security?” McCarthy immediately launched in to a diatribe.
“You know what’s so concerning here? What do you tell to the families that tomorrow morning are gonna wake up and their child’s dead? Because fentanyl came across?” he asked the CNN reporter (video below). “What do you tell to that border agent that you saw the other day? Now his network doesn’t believe it but he’s all in blood. Or the cartels, the billions of dollars that they’re making. Or to the young girls that get raped?”
Another reporter, seemingly frustrated, interjected and asked, “But what do you tell the workers who are concerned they’re gonna get furloughed next week because there is no agreement in your chamber, sir?”
“Well, I know. It’s easy,” McCarthy claimed. “All the President has to do is say, ‘You know what, as one of my fundamental jobs as the President of the United States is to secure our border.'”
Another reporter, ignoring the Speaker’s apparent obfuscation, loudly asked, “Speaker McCarthy if we see the rule votes fail later today, is it possible to even move on to a CR [continuing resolution] for you?”
“Oh, yeah, I never give up,” McCarthy said smiling.
“I know that,” she replied, “but do you think you have the votes?”
Again, not delivering a straight answer, McCarthy smiled and replied, “Oh, I’ve got a lot of things I can try.”
CNN’s Raju reported that McCarthy, when asked about the “math,” meaning if he has the votes to keep the government open, said: “What’s concerning to me is that there are people in the Republican Party who will take the position of President Biden against what the rest of Americans want.”
That could suggest some Republicans have indicated they would vote with Democrats on a bill to keep the government from shutting down.
Raju also reported he asked “Speaker McCarthy if he believes he could survive a vote to oust him from the speakership, as [Rep. Matt] Gaetz has threatened, and he said: ‘I don’t count that vote.'”
NPR’s Joel Rose has reported, “Close to 90% of … fentanyl is seized at ports of entry. Immigration authorities say it is smuggled mostly by U.S. citizens, as well as other travelers who are legally authorized to cross. Virtually none is seized from migrants who are seeking asylum.”
On Monday The Washington Post Editorial Board wrote: “The U.S. government will almost certainly shut down on Oct. 1, the work of ultraconservative holdouts who want to ‘burn the whole place down,’ as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) put it. Yet, for now, Mr. McCarthy does not appear willing to take away the matches. He could sideline the objectors by calling House Democrats and agreeing to pass bipartisan legislation to fund the government.”
Watch McCarthy below or at this link.
When asked if he has the votes for a continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown if the House rules vote fails, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) says, “I’ve got a lot of things I can try.” pic.twitter.com/byzQP5XUCc
— The Recount (@therecount) September 26, 2023
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