Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How Did Trump Earn an Unprecedented Progressive Backlash?

Commentary

By Frances Rice 
With the blaring headline “Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign” The New York Times published yet another story based on anonymous sources designed to drive President Donald Trump out of office.
Donald Trump, Jr. released the Email stream via Twitter as shown below.

If the Trump Campaign and the Russians were colluding, evidence would have been uncovered long before now and Donald Trump, Jr.'s stream of Emails would not be news.

Notably, no opposition research on Hillary Clinton was made available to Donald Trump, Jr. before, during or after the June 2016 meeting set up by Mr. Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter.

Exposed in the following article by Victor David Hanson, is just how deranged and relentless is the media-driven attack on the Trump Presidency.
 
Ignored by the liberal press, is how Hillary Clinton actually received opposition research on Donald Trump from the Ukrainian government.

Further below is an article by James Freeman that addresses what Hillary Clinton knew about Russian interference in the 2016 election, a subject that is of no interest to the liberal media.
___________________


How Did Trump Earn an Unprecedented Progressive Backlash?


By Victor Davis Hanson
Celebrities, academics, and journalists have publicly threatened or imagined decapitating Donald Trump, blowing him up in the White House, shooting him, hanging him, clubbing him, and battering his face. They have compared him to Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. And some have variously accused him of incestuous relations with his daughter and committing sex acts with Vladimir Putin, while engaging in some sort urination-sex in a hotel in Moscow.
[---]
Trump may be a Manhattan billionaire, but he connects with the lower middle-classes in a far more natural fashion than did either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton—or any of the presumed future Democratic candidates. Trump can be vicious to elites, but it is difficult to imagine him writing off millions of Americans as hopelessly irredeemable and deplorable or pathetic clingers to their guns and religion.


___________________
 
Donald Trump Jr. releases 'entire email chain' regarding Russian meeting

Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday released what he said was the “entire email chain” of his conversations setting up a disputed meeting with a Russian attorney, showing what appeared to be an offer to provide information that would “incriminate” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

The email chain -- alleged to be between Trump Jr. and publicist Rob Goldstone -- occurred in June 2016. Goldstone went on to set up the controversial June 9 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. 


"The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father," an email identified as being from Goldstone said. It was the first email in the chain released by Trump.

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump -- helped along by Aras and Emin."

Trump Jr. said in a statement on Tuesday he knew "Emin" from helping to organize the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.

Trump replied in the email chain: "Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

Veselnitskaya has since denied in an interview with NBC having "any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton."

"It was never my intention to have that," she said.

Donald Trump Jr. also has denied any wrongdoing occurred in the meeting, which also included then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior aide. 

"The information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was Political Opposition Research," Trump Jr. said in the Tuesday statement. "I first wanted to just have a phone call but when they didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet. I decided to take the meeting...As Rob Goldstone said just today in the press, the entire meeting was 'the most insane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.'"

President Trump, via his outside legal representation, has denied knowing about or attending the meeting.

In the initial June 3 email, Goldstone wrote that he could "also send this info to your father via [his assistant] but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first."

Most of the rest of the email chain is scheduling minutiae, with Trump trying to arrange a phone call and then working out a suitable meeting time with Goldstone's contact.


___________________ 
What Did Hillary Know about Russian Interference?
By James Freeman
 
In 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin meets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/Associated Press
As the search for evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government enters its second year, a senior congressional Republican sees mounting evidence that Russia has been engaged in a long-term campaign to disrupt the energy agenda now promoted by Donald Trump. Today the House Science Committee sent this column the following statement from Chairman Lamar Smith:
If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking. They have established an elaborate scheme that funnels money through shell companies in Bermuda. This scheme may violate federal law and certainly distorts the U.S. energy market. The American people deserve to know the truth and I am confident Secretary Mnuchin will investigate the allegations.
He’s referring to Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. On Friday Mr. Smith released a letter that he and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber sent to Mr. Mnuchin asking for an investigation of “what appears to be a concerted effort by foreign entities to funnel millions of dollars through various non-profit entities to influence the U.S. energy market.” The two Texas Republicans added:
According to the former Secretary General of NATO, “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.” Other officials have indicated the same scheme is unfolding in the U.S.
The letter from Messrs. Smith and Weber also says that according to public sources, including a 2014 report from Republican staff on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, “entities connected to the Russian government are using a shell company registered in Bermuda, Klein Ltd. (Klein), to funnel tens of millions of dollars to a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) private foundation,” which supports various environmental groups.
In response to an inquiry from this column, Roderick M. Forrest of Bermuda’s Wakefield Quin Limited says in an emailed statement:
The allegations are completely false and irresponsible. Our firm has represented Klein since its inception, and we can state categorically that at no point did this philanthropic organization receive or expend funds from Russian sources or Russian-connected sources and Klein has no Russian connection whatsoever.
Leaving aside the specific question of which vehicles Putin’s government uses to conduct influence campaigns, the two Texas Republicans aren’t the only ones who have made the more general accusation that Russia has been funding green front groups to disrupt energy supplies that would compete with Russian oil and gas. If a document posted last year on WikiLeaks is to be believed, Clinton campaign staff summarized in an email attachment Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the subject during a private speech:
Clinton Talked About “Phony Environmental Groups” Funded By The Russians To Stand Against Pipelines And Fracking. “We were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you, and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.” [Remarks at tinePublic, 6/18/14]
Reading further into the speech summaries in the WikiLeaks document, this column is struck by how much more sensible Mrs. Clinton’s private remarks were compared to her public positions:
Clinton Discussed Promoting Oil Pipelines and Fracking In Eastern Europe. “So how far this aggressiveness goes I think is really up to us. I would like to see us accelerating the development of pipelines from Azerbaijan up into Europe. I would like to see us looking for ways to accelerate the internal domestic production. Poland recently signed a big contract to explore hydraulic fracturing to see what it could produce. Apparently, there is thought to be some good reserves there. And just really go at this in a self interested, smart way. The Russians can only intimidate you if you are dependent upon them.” [International Leaders’ Series, Palais des Congrès de Montréal, 3/18/14]
Hillary Clinton obviously knows the terrain and perhaps Mr. Mnuchin (whose department holds expertise in tracking international financial flows) should start his inquiry by interviewing the former secretary of State. He might also gain some insights into Russia’s strategy to handicap competing sources of fossil fuels by talking to former Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta.
Mr. Podesta has been back in the news lately after President Trump oddly tweeted from Germany to report that “everyone” at the G20 was talking about the former Clinton and Obama aide’s response to last year’s theft and disclosure of Democrats’ emails.
More relevant to the issue of Russian efforts to undermine U.S. oil and gas, Mr. Podesta served on the board of a solar energy start-up where he invested alongside a fund backed by the Russian government.
Last year a Clinton campaign spokesman said that when Mr. Podesta returned to the White House in 2014, he “transferred the entirety of his holdings” in the solar company “to his adult children.”
Last month he didn’t seem any more eager to discuss the details with Fox Business Network ’s Maria Bartiromo than Mr. Podesta’s adult daughter was when your humble correspondent called her last year.
Perhaps Mr. Mnuchin can get the full story as he seeks Mr. Podesta’s insights on Russia’s energy investment strategy.
___________________ 
 
Investor's Business Daily

EDITORIAL

Mystery Solved: Now We Know Why Comey Did Nothing About Hillary

Russia Scandal: No wonder former FBI Director James Comey refused to press charges last summer against Hillary Clinton for her egregious security breaches: It turns out, he may have been guilty of the same thing.
As the inside-the-beltway political publication The Hill reported, more than half of the memos FBI Director James Comey wrote after having spoken to President Trump about the Russia investigation contained classified information. The Hill cites as its sources "officials familiar with the documents."

Not surprisingly, perhaps, Trump on Monday morning tweeted out an angry response: "James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!"
He may be onto something there.

All told, Comey wrote seven memos based on nine meetings with Trump. In testimony to Congress, he asserted that he had made sure the memos in question didn't have classified material. But a subsequent investigation found markings on four of the memos indicating secret information, the kind that is not allowed to be routinely released to the public.

Comey has long maintained that the memos were his personal property, but virtually no legal authority agrees with that. Nor does the FBI, for that matter. The memos were created on government time and related directly to his work, so they were the property of government.

In short, it sounds like a game of cover-your-hindquarters he's been playing. Because Comey later let outsiders see those memos, and made sure they were leaked to the Trump-hating press, in this case the New York Times, so any protestations of innocence on his part sound more than a little weak.

Let's be very clear here: What Comey did is against FBI rules, and it's a violation of federal secrecy laws, on a par with the violation that Hillary Clinton committed when she decided to run the Secretary of State's office from a private, home-brew email server that was clearly illegal.

The agreement signed by all FBI employees says that "all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America."

It goes on to add that agents "will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI."

Hillary signed a similar agreement at the State Department. Yet, she routinely put classified information onto public servers, where it could be grabbed by unscrupulous actors, such as the Chinese and the Russians.

How does that compare to Comey, who asked a lawyer-friend at Columbia University, Prof. Daniel Richman, to leak his memos containing classified information to the news media?

The goal of the handoff was to generate stories so that a special prosecutor would be named to investigate Russian meddling in the U.S. election and, more to the point, Democratic rumors that Trump had colluded with the Russians to beat Hillary.

In short, Comey appears to have delivered classified information to the New York Times and other media for the sole political purpose of bringing down President Trump.

Comey's actions help explain a lot of things that people have puzzled over since last year. During last summer's campaign and the growing scandal over Hillary's cavalier treatment of U.S. secrets on her email server, Comey came to her rescue.

Yes, he said in July, Clinton's actions were "extremely careless." But stung by the criticism he received from the left, he later in the month said that Clinton's violations didn't rise to the level of a prosecutable crime.

On Oct. 28, he revealed that more emails had been found on an unsecured laptop belonging to former Rep. Anthony Wiener, estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. On Nov. 6, just two days before the election, Comey announced Clinton wouldn't be prosecuted. Case closed.

Comey's later actions suggest, if anything, he learned from Hillary's chutzpah. You can flout U.S. law, and as long as you have friends and political clout, get away with it — even use your illegality as a bludgeon against your political foes.

Moreover, a June piece by Fox News noted at least 14 stories written by the New York Times going back to Jan. 10 containing "confidential information related to Trump and the FBI, mostly sourced anonymously from senior officials in the FBI and DOJ." Comey, it seems, has been working overtime to sabotage Trump.

This calls into serious question the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into the rumors of election meddling by Russia. Comey and Mueller are close friends.

At minimum, Mueller must recuse himself on the Trump matters now before him. His friendship with Comey makes impartiality impossible, and it's a clear conflict.

More importantly, Comey got Hillary off the hook last year from what appeared to be a slam-dunk prosecution. And please remember, no one thought at the time that Trump had any chance at all of beating Hillary.

Now, we find out Comey played a double game with the public and the newly elected president. A case of a deep-state operative, Comey, trying to sabotage Washington-outsider Trump? Or just someone with a fast-and-loose idea about following the law?