11:08 AM 1/31/2019 - Just Security: The Early Edition: January 31, 2019




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Politics: Trump cites an increase in Mexico’s murder rate as he insists a border wall will be built

In a spate of morning tweets, the president also falsely asserted once again that large sections of his wall have already been built.
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Just Security: The Early Edition: January 31, 2019
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Just Security: The Early Edition: January 31, 2019

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
U.S. INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING
President Trump yesterday launched a broadside against his intelligence chiefs for being “wrong” about their new assessment on Iran’s nuclear developments. Trump’s response comes a day after Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and C.I.A. Director Gina Haspel offered testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee seeming to contradict a number of the president’s foreign policy positions, Olivia Beavers reports at the Hill.
Trump reacted angrily to the footage of the his intelligence chiefs testifying on Capitol Hill – singling out Coats by name during his “morning rant,” two people with knowledge of the outburst have told reporters. Kaitlan Collins and Caroline Kelly report at CNN.
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran,” Trump claimed in the first of two messages sent on Twitter, adding “they are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different,” the BBC reports.
“Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” the president opined in a second message, claiming that “[Iran remains] a source of potential danger and conflict … they are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge … There [sic.] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back,” Dartunorro Clark reports at NBC.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is urging top intelligence officials to meet with Trump following the president’s furious reaction. Schumer yesterday sent a letter to Coats saying that it was “incumbent” that Coats, Haspel and F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray “insist on an immediate meeting” with Trump in the wake of his remarks. Jordain Carney reports at the Hill.
“You cannot allow the President’s ill-advised and unwarranted comments today to stand,” Schumer wrote, adding “he is putting you and your colleagues in an untenable position and hurting the national interest in the process … you must find a way to make that clear to him.” A meeting with the president is necessary “to educate him about the facts and raw intelligence underlying the Intelligence Community assessments,” Schumer wrote, Brent D. Griffiths reports at POLITICO.
The intelligence chiefs left “one serious threat off their list: that of a president mired in his own delusions who refuses to hear the truth,” the Washington Post editorial board comments.
A breakdown of the contradictions between the assessments of the national security establishment and the policies of the White House, and the remaining areas of alignment, is provided by Philip Ewing at NPR.
VENEZUELA
“The transition will require support from key military contingents … we have had clandestine meetings with members of the armed forces and the security forces,” leader of Venezuelan opposition and self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó writes in an Op-Ed published yesterday at the New York Times. Guidó adds that “the military’s withdrawal of support from [incumbent president Nicolás] Maduro is crucial to enabling a change in government, and the majority of those in service agree that the country’s recent travails are untenable.”
Thousands of opposition protesters led by Guaido yesterday called on the armed forces to abandon Maduro and allow humanitarian aid into the crisis-wracked country. People took to the streets in the capital Caracas and various other cities, equipped with banners reading: “armed forces, regain your dignity,” Maduro usurper,” “Guaido, president” and “no to the dictatorship,” AFP reports.
Maduro yesterday warned the U.S. that intervening in his country “would lead to a Vietnam worse than they can imagine.” Maduro made the comments in a video posted to his social media accounts yesterday, although he also made more conciliatory remarks in interviews with Russian media, stating “I am ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the opposition” and naming Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and Russia among possible mediators, Ana Vanessa Herrero and Austin Ramzy report at the New York Times.
President Trump reportedly congratulated Guaidó Tuesday over the phone for “his historic assumption of the presidency.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that “President Donald J. Trump spoke today with Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó to congratulate him … and to reinforce President Trump’s strong support for Venezuela’s fight to regain its democracy,” Rebecca Morin reports at POLITICO.
U.S. military intervention could provide a lifeline for Maduro, Lindsey A. O’Rourke comments at Foreign Policy, arguing that “if diplomacy fails and U.S. policymakers escalate their attempts at regime change, they may besetting themselves up for disaster. Within Venezuela, there is little domestic support for foreign intervention.”
TRUMP-RUSSIA
President Trump said yesterday that he would not intervene with the Department of Justice’s (D.O.J.) decision-making process regarding whether to release the report by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian electoral interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. “They’ll have to make their decision within the Justice Department … they will make the decision as to what they do,” Trump said in an Oval Office interview with the website The Daily Caller, adding that he had not spoken with acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker about the final period of the probe, Maggie Haberman reports at the New York Times.
“I’ve chosen to stay out of it,” Trump stated, although he claimed that “I had the right to, as you know, I had the right if I wanted to to end everything … I could’ve just said, ‘That’s enough’ … many people thought that’s what I should do.” Reutersreports.
Suspected hackers obtained and leaked confidential information about Mueller’s investigation as part of a pro-Russian disinformation campaign apparently aimed at discrediting the inquiry, Mueller’s office disclosed yesterday. Mueller’s office had turned over the documents to a Russian firm fighting federal charges – Concord Management & Consulting LLC – as part of the disclosure process ahead of trial; the leaked documents were not sensitive but “demonstrate the risks” involved in the case, prosecutors claimed in a court filing, Aruna Viswanatha reports at the Wall Street Journal.
The Mueller filing alleges that the Twitter handle @HackingRedstone posted a message in late October 2018 claiming access to the special counsel investigation’s database, with the message reading “as we hacked Russian server with info from the Russian troll case Concord LLC v. Mueller … you can view all the files Mueller had about the I.R.A. [Internet Research Agency] and Russian collusion … enjoy the reading!” Mueller’s office claims that an unidentified reporter contacted the special counsel on the same day as the message was sent, who explained the receipt of a direct message via Twitter from an individual “who stated that they had received discovery material by hacking into a Russian legal company that had obtained discovery material from [Concord’s legal representatives] Reed Smith,” Darren Samuelsohn reports at POLITICO.
Mueller’s office claims that with the assistance of the F.B.I. it determined that more than 1,000 of the 300,000 files on the website linked from the @HackingRedstone tweet included markings unique to materials that it had shared with Concord during earlier rounds of discovery. The F.B.I. also ascertained that the website was registered roughly a week before the tweet in question, with an I.P. address in Russia, Jon Swaine reports at the Guardian.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wants the F.B.I. to explain why Trump’s longtime associate Roger Stone was arrested in an early morning raid last week. Marianne Levine reports at POLITICO.
AFGHANISTAN
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sent a letter to President Trump Tuesday offering him reduced costs for keeping U.S. troops in his country. The letter, confirmed by three officials and described by one who had seen its contents, is among the most explicit signs to date that Ghani is concerned about the consequences of an abrupt U.S. pullout from the “intractable” Afghan conflict that has lasted nearly two decades. Mujib Mashal reports at the New York Times.
The Afghan security forces continue to lose grip over parts of the country while the Taliban are holding their ground,despite an increase in the U.S. air attacks against the insurgents, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (S.I.G.A.R.) has found in a quarterly report published today. The latest report shows 53.8% of the country’s 407 districts are government-held, covering 63.5 %of the population by October 2018, with the rest of the country controlled or contested by the Taliban, Al Jazeera reports.
The U.S.’ desire to withdraw from Afghanistan may in fact be stronger than the Taliban’s desire for peace, Sami Yousafzai comments at The Daily Beast.
YEMEN
Congress is set for a second showdown with President Trump over his administration’s policy toward Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemeni civil war. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.,) Mike Lee (R-Utah,) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) along with Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna (Calif.,) and Mark Pocan (Wis.) yesterday introduced updated versions of their Yemen war powers resolutions, with Sanders telling a press conference: “today we are coming together to address one of the great humanitarian crises facing the planet and also in a historical way to make certain that that U.S. Congress reasserts its constitutional responsibilities in terms of war making … the U.S. should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despotic Saudi regime with a dangerous and irresponsible military policy,” Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.
The kingdom yesterday released seven prisoners from Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who were flown to the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa by the Red Cross – a day following the return of a Saudi prisoner freed by the Houthis to Riyadh. The apparent swap comes as Yemen’s warring parties are still finalizing out details of a larger prisoner exchange agreed last month as a confidence-building gesture at the first major peace talks of the nearly four-year-old war; U.N. special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths welcomed the release and said he hoped it would encourage the rapid implementation of the larger swap, Reuters reports.
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Russian and U.S. officials reportedly held “last-ditch” talks over the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (I.N.F.) in Beijing—but the discussions have apparently ended without any agreement being reached. The U.S. is now expected to begin pulling out of the accord this weekend unless Moscow agrees to destroy a missile Washington says is in violation of the agreement; “unfortunately, there is no progress,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Russian media, The Daily Beast reports.
“Huawei’s governance is a mixture of obfuscation and opacity,” The Economist comments, in an Op-Ed on the Chinese tech giant that has become embroiled in controversy.


 Just Security
US: Mueller evidence used in disinformation campaign - WNCT

US: Mueller evidence used in disinformation campaign  WNCTFederal prosecutors say confidential material from the Russia investigation was altered and released online as part of a disinformation campaign to discredit ...
"trump and republican party" - Google News: Dems gain in statehouses as some GOP lawmakers defect - The Detroit News

Dems gain in statehouses as some GOP lawmakers defect  The Detroit NewsRepublicans in California, Kansas and New Jersey switched their party affiliations.


 "trump and republican party" - Google News
"Comey" - Google News: Bharara: Comey Should Have Kept Quiet About Hillary Clinton - Newsmax

Bharara: Comey Should Have Kept Quiet About Hillary Clinton  NewsmaxFormer U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is slamming fired FBI Director James Comey for his comments about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.


 "Comey" - Google News
Politics: Trump cites an increase in Mexico’s murder rate as he insists a border wall will be built

In a spate of morning tweets, the president also falsely asserted once again that large sections of his wall have already been built.







 Politics
Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices: What an Old Watergate Document Can Teach the House Judiciary Committee

The chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary faced a vexing problem: Pressure for impeachment was building, but while lots of evidence against the president was public, key pieces of it were not. They were, rather, in the hands of a special prosecutor, who didn’t work for Congress. The prosecutor’s job was to prosecute crimes, not to evaluate the president’s fitness for office. That latter job lay with the chairman and his committee, who didn’t have access to the prosecutor’s evidence. So the House judiciary committee chairman wrote a letter requesting that the evidence be turned over.
“The House and the Judiciary Committee are under a controlling constitutional obligation and commitment to act expeditiously in carrying out their solemn constitutional duty,” wrote Chairman Peter Rodino in a letter dated Mar. 8, 1974 to John Sirica, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It was, Rodino said, the “Committee’s view that in constitutional terms it would be unthinkable if this material were kept from the House of Representatives in the course of the discharge of its most awesome constitutional responsibility.”
I have a suggestion for Jerry Nadler, the current occupant of Rodino’s old office: He should consider taking a page from his predecessor’s book and formally requesting a referral of possible impeachment material.
Nadler’s circumstances are admittedly a bit different from Rodino’s. But the similarities are striking too. And Rodino’s course suggests a way forward for Nadler that is worth serious consideration. It boils down to this: If Nadler and his committee want the evidence in the hands of Special Counsel Robert Mueller that is relevant to their performance of their own constitutional function, they should start by formally asking Mueller to refer it to them.
I ran across Rodino’s letter in a passing reference in my recent research on the Watergate “Road Map”—the grand jury report that Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski referred to the House judiciary committee in 1974.
Specifically, Sirica mentioned the letter in his opinion approving the transmission of Jaworski’s impeachment referral: “The House Judiciary Committee through its Chairman has made a formal request for delivery of the Report materials,” the opinion says. A footnote in support of this point (footnote number four) cites the Rodino letter specifically, along with a hearing transcript. The National Archive has made both of these documents public.
Here’s Rodino’s Letter:


Ltr to Judge Sirica 03 08 1974 (PDF)

Ltr to Judge Sirica 03 08 1974 (Text)

And here’s the hearing transcript:


In Re Matter of the Findings Transcript 03 06 1974 (PDF)

In Re Matter of the Findings Transcript 03 06 1974 (Text)
Let’s acknowledge up front the differences between Rodino’s circumstances and Nadler’s. Rodino’s committee already had an open impeachment inquiry, authorized by a nearly unanimous 410-to-4 vote in the House of Representatives. Nadler’s committee, by contrast, has no open impeachment inquiry; indeed, Democratic leaders insist that they have no plans to impeach President Trump and are waiting on the evidence from Mueller before making any decisions about how to proceed. As Nadler himself recently put it, "We have to see what the Mueller report says." He added, “We have to get the facts. We will see where the facts lead. Maybe that will lead to impeachment. Maybe it won't. It is much too early."
Perhaps more importantly, Jaworski—unlike Mueller—was ready to provide material to the House. The Watergate grand jury had specifically prepared the report for purposes of transmitting it to the House Judiciary Committee in support of the impeachment inquiry. By contrast, Mueller is keeping things very quiet. He presumably doesn’t want congressional activity to interfere with his investigation. And he’s evidently not looking to jumpstart congressional investigations that will want to talk to his witnesses. Indeed, it’s not even clear if Mueller believes he has information that he would want the House Judiciary Committee to examine pursuant to its obligations under the impeachment clauses.
Suffice it, in short, to say that at the present time, neither the supply side nor the demand side of this equation is as mature as it was in 1974.
And yet, as I say, the similarities between the situations strike me as ultimately more substantial than the differences. For one thing, the structural arrangement is very similar. Once again, the judiciary committee has the impeachment authority but not the evidence, while the prosecutor has the evidence but not the authority to think beyond the narrowly criminal. In critical respects, the current iteration of this problem is actually worse than it was in Watergate. Back then, after all, the Senate Watergate committee had done its own extensive investigation, key witnesses had testified publicly, and the broad parameters of the story were thus known. The House was already proceeding with an impeachment without hearing from Jaworski. By contrast, in the current environment, Congress has almost entirely subcontracted its investigative authority to a prosecutor who has not told the legislature what he is doing. It has done so both because under Republican leadership, oversight has been—to put it mildly—lackluster, and because where it has taken place, it has generally happened behind closed doors.
As investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, who has been crusading of late for Congress to hold open hearings, put it to me in a text message Wednesday evening, Congress has “completely punted—outsourcing fact gathering to an executive branch official.” He writes, “Getting the facts and airing them to the public are core to [Congress’s] duty”; failing to hold public hearings makes “it impossible [for the House] to act—while everybody waits for an executive branch report that they may may not see anytime soon.” Whether one agrees or disagrees with Isikoff’s critique—and I very much agree—it indisputably means that the House is far more dependant today on Mueller than Congress was in 1974 for the factual basis of whatever action it might contemplate.
One solution to this problem is, as Isikoff suggests, to hold public investigative hearings. But another, concurrent approach is to formally request a referral of information the judiciary committee might need to do its job. That’s what Rodino did in 1974.
The committee’s request came in response to Jaworski’s filing of the Road Map with the court and the grand jury’s request to transmit to the committee. In response, Judge Sirica held a hearing on March 6, 1974, at which the committee’s chief counsel, John Doar, appeared before the judge, along with a lawyer named Albert Jennings. Doar informed Sirica that the committee had authorized him “to request the Court to deliver the material which the Grand Jury delivered to the Court last Friday to the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives.” In the hearing, Sirica asked whether it might be possible to defer the impeachment inquiry until after the trial was completed.
Rodino sent the letter two days later. In it, he informed the court that the committee had “agreed unanimously to authorize and direct me to respectfully request that you provide the Committee the materials delivered to you last Friday by the Grand Jury.” He argued that, “Were the House to act in this impeachment inquiry without having had the opportunity to take this grand jury material into account, I fear that each House member, and, in fact, the entire country, would experience an enormous lack of confidence in our constitutional system of government.” In response to the judge’s question, Rodino wrote that “it is in no respect possible for the Committee and the House of Representatives now to suspend for any period of time their present pursuit of their constitutional responsibility. The House and the Judiciary Committee are under a controlling constitutional obligation and commitment to act expeditiously in carrying out their solemn constitutional duty.”
Ten days later, Sirica approved the transmission of the Road Map.
But the story, and the lesson for Nadler, does not quite end there. Because Congress a few years later wrote the Road Map procedure into law. The now-defunct independent counsel law required that “An independent counsel shall advise the House of Representatives of any substantial and credible information which such independent counsel receives . . . that may constitute grounds for an impeachment.” It was under this law that Kenneth Starr issued the so-called “Starr Report,” which was actually a referral of information that, in Starr’s judgment, the Judiciary Committee might consider grounds for impeaching Bill Clinton. The result is that we have something of a precedential tradition in which special prosecutors investigating presidents have referred material to the House judiciary committee that they regard as possible grounds for impeachment.
The trouble is that the particular statute under which Starr operated has lapsed, and the regulations that replaced it have no provision for an impeachment referral. To the contrary, they require that Mueller file a confidential report to the attorney general, who then decides what to do with it. They conspicuously do not require that information that might be essential to Congress’s performance of its duty actually reach Congress. So if Mueller actually has access to evidence that Congress would want to examine under the impeachment clauses, tapping into the incipient tradition of referring such material would require a decision on his part. And it would actually require as well as decision on the part of incoming Attorney General William Barr.
A letter from Nadler would be designed publicly and formally to remind both Mueller and Barr of the tradition and of Congress’s expectation that they act in accord with it.
Nadler has declared that he will get the Mueller report. "If necessary, our committee will subpoena the report. If necessary, we'll get Mueller to testify," he said recently. But this actually skips an important step. It assumes that Mueller’s report will be a fully developed narrative that answers all of Congress’s questions on impeachment matters. But what if the Mueller report is not factually rich? What if it is not designed to deliver to Congress information to help Congress do its job? What if it is designed, in accord with the text of the reporting requirement, merely to explain “the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel”?
If Nadler wants a referral from Mueller of information that, in the language of the old statute, may be grounds for impeachment, he should ask for it. He should write both Mueller and Barr a letter explaining—as Rodino explained—that it would be unthinkable if material relevant to the House of Representatives in the discharge of its most awesome constitutional responsibility were not made available to the Judiciary Committee. He should express the unacceptability of the House either acting in impeachment or failing to act in impeachment without having had the opportunity to take material in the hands of the special counsel into account. And he should request, notwithstanding the lapse in the independent counsel law, that Mueller—at the appropriate time and if such material exists—refers to the House judiciary committee “any substantial and credible information which [he] receive[d] . . . that may constitute grounds for an impeachment.”
There is, to be sure, nothing to compel Mueller’s compliance with such a request. Indeed, in the short term, he almost surely will not comply with it. And given the regulations, which do not explicitly authorize the transmission of such a report, the decision to send one would be a delicate dance. That said, Jaworski—who also served under regulatory, not statutory, authority—was actually in the same position, which is why the matter ended up in front of Sirica in the first place. So if Mueller and Barr decided that a referral were appropriate, the story of the Road Map shows that there are mechanisms available for them to send one. Clarifying congressional expectations would be a useful means of encouraging them to remember in making their decisions the equities of a coequal branch of government with an explicit constitutional obligation of its own.
Indeed, for a committee chairman committed to making sure that Mueller’s findings see the light of day, waiting until the special counsel writes a report of unspecified character and assuming he will craft it in a fashion that delivers the information required by a different institutional actor seems overly passive and overly risky. The right course is to put down on the public record to both Mueller and to Barr precisely what the committee expects of the prosecutor: specifically, that it expects of Mueller what the committee has received from special prosecutors in the past, both regulatory special prosecutors and independent counsels under the statute. That is, it should expect referral of impeachment material if such material exist. That would allow Mueller to craft his report in such fashion as to ensure that it could serve that purpose when Barr permits its release to Congress, and it would make clear to Barr that under no circumstances can he block the transmission to Congress of a report that contains evidence relevant to a reasonable impeachment inquiry. It would also create a framework in which Mueller and Barr, if they chose to act as Jaworski acted and affirmatively refer material, were responding to a request from Congress, not simply dumping material on their own initiative.
According to the acting attorney general, Mueller’s investigation is nearly done. As things stand now, there is no requirement that impeachment material find its way to Nadler. There isn’t even a request for such material.


Nadler can’t change the former problem, but he can change the latter one. All he has to do is write a letter.


 Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices
Facebook's Political Ad Transparency Tool Is Anything But - The Daily Dot

Facebook's Political Ad Transparency Tool Is Anything But  The Daily DotFacebook's new efforts at political ad transparency are extremely lacking. And they just cracked down on a major tool people used.


Trump's bankruptcies - Google Search

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Those Trump bankruptcies are starting to make sense

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January 30, 2019

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5 takeaways from Chris Christie’s epic takedown of Jared Kushner - American Politics

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The broad contours of the enmity between Chris Christie, New Jersey’s former Republican governor, and Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, are well known.
As a US attorney, Christie in 2005 sent Kushner’s father, Charles, to jail for fraud, tax evasion and witness tampering. In 2016, as his father-in-law’s closest adviser,
 Kushner put the kibbosh on Christie’s prospects as vice president.
In his book released Tuesday, the voluble Christie adds lots of flesh to the story — and it isn’t pretty. “Let Me Finish” is the print version of the professional wrestling spectacles Trump is said to enjoy: sucker punches and macho posturing.
It’s one part love letter to Trump, nine parts score-settling, with nary a female in site. Even Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, appears only now and then to nod in long-suffering assent.
The most riveting scenes describe three masculine egos, Trump, Kushner and Christie, squeezing the air out of a room. It is Trump who understands that in a different universe Kushner and Christie, prone to ignoring political niceties and with an aptitude for hardball, might get along. When Kushner tries to talk Trump out of hiring Christie as transition chief, Trump instead proposes they hash it out over dinner, with Kushner’s father invited. To Christie’s relief, Kushner declines.
How true is the book? It corresponds with news accounts, but unless Christie had a recorder running, the dialogue is reconstructed and there’s no way to confirm it. The White House did not reply to a request for comment.
So it will have to wait until the tight-lipped Kushner writes his own tell-all (“Let Me Start”?) to go full “Rashomon” on this tale of two pit bulls.
Meantime, here are five takeaways from a book about a three-way bromance that never had a chance.

Jared holds a grudge.
Yes, we know that Kushner the older and the younger have long memories when it comes to perceived enemies. But with lawyerly skill, Christie slowly builds up to a climactic scene that casts Jared Kushner as infantile and delusional in his anger.
Christie depicts himself as a reluctant player in the 2004-05 prosecution of Charles Kushner, a developer, one-time big Democratic donor and a macher in Orthodox Jewish and federation fundraising circles. Charles Kushner’s sister, Esther, and brother-in-law, Bill Schulder, came to Christie’s office with an almost unbelievable story: They said that Charles Kushner set up his brother-in-law with an attractive hooker who laid the trap at Schulder’s regular breakfast joint, Time to Eat in Bridgewater, New Jersey. She lured him to her hotel room, the Red Bull Inn, and secretly filmed the encounter. Charles Kushner, incensed that his brother-in-law was testifying against him in a tax evasion case and convinced that his sister had married a nogoodnik, mailed the videotape anonymously. (It arrives as the Schulders are getting ready for their son’s engagement party.)
Christie is wary for a couple of reasons. One is the lurid details of the tale (“Time to Eat? Red Bull? You can’t make these names up!”). Also, the couple has no evidence that Charles Kushner is behind the setup other than Esther’s unshakable hunch that her brother is sending a signal not to testify against him in the tax evasion case. Christie proposes sending the Schulders over to a colleague in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, but a Christie staffer is eager to look into the videotape as a separate issue. Christie gives him a reluctant nod.
The staffer quickly delivers, finding phone records showing Kushner’s deep involvement in the setup and associates — including the seductress — expounding to investigators. It’s open and shut, according to this telling, and Kushner pleads guilty. Christie negotiates a relatively short and comfortable sentence — 14 months at a minimum security prison camp and 10 months at a halfway house in New Jersey.
Cut to 11 years — April 2016 — and 150 pages later. Given Christie’s reluctance and Charles Kushner’s plea, the younger Kushner’s protestations come off as irrational and childish.
As Jared Kushner delivered his objections to Trump’s naming Christie as transition chief, Christie writes, “His voice began to crack. ‘It wasn’t fair,'” he said.
Kushner’s tirade is, in Christie’s telling, short on facts and long on feelings.
“‘You don’t know what it was like for me,’ Jared said to Trump. ‘Almost every weekend, I flew to Alabama to visit [his father in jail]. He didn’t deserve to be there.'”
Trump isn’t having it.
“‘Jared,’ he said. ‘Listen to me. Chris was just doing his job. What do you expect?'”
Kushner conceded in the April meeting but maneuvers later in the summer to scuttle Trump’s preference for Christie as running mate. Two days after Trump wins the general election, Kushner has Christie removed as the transition chief of staff. Kushner consigns Christie’s exhaustive transition plan to the dumpster.

Jared has interesting ideas about rabbinical authority.
In their April meeting, Kushner attempts to persuade Trump that Christie did have alternatives to sending his dad to federal summer camp.
“This was a family matter,” Christie quotes Jared Kushner as saying, “a matter to be handled by the family or the rabbis.”
What mechanism in American law would allow a U.S. attorney to kick a tax evasion and witness tampering case to a rabbinical court is left unexplained.
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Trump seems cool with Ivanka’s conversion.
Trump and Christie, at least before the presidency, were friends and met and dined frequently with their wives. Christie describes one such dinner around 2009 at New York’s 21 Club, where Trump announces that his daughter is engaged to Kushner.
Trump makes a point of telling Christie that one of Kushner’s conditions is that she convert to Judaism. Trump “was greeting the news, especially Ivanka’s religious conversion, with what I would describe as acceptance.” He quotes Trump as saying, “You never know what your kids will do next!”
Trump probes Christie for details about his prosecution of the elder Kushner.
“Remind me, there was some sleazy stuff, right?” Trump presses. Christie obliges and Trump’s reaction is “Oh, that’s not good.”

Jared and Trump don’t get scandal.
Christie and his wife lunched with Trump and Kushner at the White House on Feb. 14, 2017 — just after Trump fired Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, for lying about his contacts with Russian officials. Christie again depicts Kushner as naive and offering invective instead of argument.
Trump tells Christie that the firing would put an end to the emerging Russia scandal. Christie bursts out laughing.
“Sir, this Russia thing is far from over,” Christie tells Trump.
“What do you mean?” Trump answers. “Flynn met with the Russians. That was the problem. I fired Flynn. It’s over.”
“‘That’s right,’ Jared piped in,'” Christie recounts, “firing Flynn ends the whole Russia thing.'”
“Guys, my guess is that we’re going to be sitting here at Valentine’s Day of 2018, maybe longer, and we’re still going to be talking about this.”
“You’re crazy” is Kushner’s rejoinder.

Christie hearts Donald, to a fault.
Christie’s early pullout from the presidential primaries and his endorsement of Trump consolidated the reality TV star’s status as front-runner. He gratefully describes what appear to be standard well-wishing calls from Trump after the pullout and is almost boyish in his praise for Trump’s in-your-face style.
“He is rewriting the playbook,” Christie said of Trump at his endorsement appearance.
It gets weird at times, with Christie giddily describing how Trump orders his meals for Christie when they dine.
In one cringe-worthy scene, Christie describes his disappointment in the intelligence community when they don’t get how funny the nominee is at his first intelligence briefing.
“The briefing began with a history of ISIS, how the terror network was founded and grew so rapidly. ‘Wait a second,’ Trump said, trying to lighten the mood with some humor at his own expense. ‘You mean Barack Obama didn’t create ISIS?’
“That claim had become a perennial at Trump campaign rallies. His critics decried it as a crazed falsehood. He saw it as vivid but truthful hyperbole, and the crowds always ate it up.
“I don’t believe anyone at the table cracked a smile.
“‘Fellas,’ Trump piped up, ‘I’m kidding.'”
Spies, wouldn’t you know, take national security threats seriously.
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Other View: Can the FBI Investigate the President? - Twin Falls Times-News

Other View: Can the FBI Investigate the President?  Twin Falls Times-NewsLast weekend, The New York Times reported that senior FBI officials were so concerned about whatever President Donald Trump's true motivation for firing FBI ...
Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices: Document: Concord Management Used Discovery for Disinformation Campaign, Mueller Says

The special counsel's office has filed a memorandum in U.S. v. Concord Management and Consulting, LLC in opposition to Concord's motion to disclose documents identified as "sensitive" by the Special Counsel to certain Concord officiers and employees. The memo alleges that subsequent investigations into Concord have "revealed that certain non-sensitive discovery materials in the defense’s possession appear to have been altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign" apparently aimed at discrediting the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. The memo can be read below:


Concord Discovery Opposition (PDF)

Concord Discovery Opposition (Text)


 Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices
Donald Trump: Going To School Is A Struggle When Your Family Is Hiding From ICE

“At my age I’m supposed to make friends and have a good high school life. Not being able to do that really hurts.”



 Donald Trump
Palmer Report: Robert Mueller just caught the Russians in the act


Special Counsel Robert Mueller has had a busy few days. He arrested Roger Stone on Friday. Then he initiated further grand jury action which strongly suggests he’s about to nail Donald Trump Jr. Now Mueller is revealing in a new filing that he’s caught the Russians in the act of trying to sabotage him.



Robert Mueller long ago brought criminal charges against a Kremlin-controlled company called Concord Management. In preparation for trial, Mueller has turned over evidence to Concord’s defense attorneys. It turns out Concord took that evidence, doctored it, released it, and tried to make it appear that it was compromising information about Mueller that had been obtained via hacking. The timing here may be key.



Just this morning, Donald Trump launched an all out assault on the reputation of the United States intel community, accusing them of being “naive” and needing to “go back to school.” At the time, this appeared to be purely in response to yesterday’s public testimony before Congress from the leaders of the FBI, CIA and other intel agencies.

But now it turns out Donald Trump was waging war this morning against the U.S. intel community this morning even as Robert Mueller was catching the Kremlin in the act of pretending its intel community had hacked the United States. We also just learned that Trump had a secret meeting with Putin in Argentina, a reminder that we have no idea how often the two of them are communicating, and what kind of orders Putin is giving Trump on any given day. Is it possible that Trump was doing Putin’s bidding with his meltdown this morning? Is anything a coincidence anymore?
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 Palmer Report
Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices: Today's Headlines and Commentary

Following Tuesday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in which U.S. intelligence leaders contradicted some foreign policy statements made by President Trump, Trump rejected their assessments, calling intelligence officials “passive and naive” and saying “Intelligence should go back to school!,” the New York Times reports.
Amid political uncertainty in Venezuela, Vice President Mike Pence hosted the new Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S.-recognized Venezuelan opposition government, reaffirming White House support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s claim to the presidency, according to McClatchey.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed an amendment to Middle East policy legislation that would explicitly recognize the continuing threat of terrorist groups remaining in Syria, contradicting President Trump’s rationale behind his planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, CNN details.
Two subunits of Chinese telecom giant Huawei are set to be arraigned in Seattle on Feb. 28, stemming from charges related to conspiring to steal trade secrets; these charges are separate from the Eastern District of New York’s Monday indictment of the conglomerate and its CFO, Reuters reports.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) claimed that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s financial ties to businessman Len Blavatnik—who stands to benefit from the Treasury Department’s removal of sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska—could be a conflict of interest, according to the Times.
ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare
Matthew Waxman reflected on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1955 authorization of force to defend Taiwan from Communist China.
Matthew Kahn shared the livestream of intelligence leaders’ testimony on global threats in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday.
Stewart Baker shared a new episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast featuring a discussion on the right to be forgotten, an interview with author John Carlin on his book about Chinese cyber espionage and other topics.
Daphne Keller explored the murky realities of First Amendment rights on digital platforms for the most recent edition of the Aegis Paper series from the Hoover Institution.
Jen Patja Howell shared a new edition of the Lawfare Podcast featuring a discussion between Molly Reynolds and former House of Representatives general counsel Stan Brand on subpoena enforcement and congressional contempt.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.


 Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices
Non-public materials from special counsel case used in pro-Russian effort to discredit Russia probe - CNN

Non-public materials from special counsel case used in pro-Russian effort to discredit Russia probe  CNNWashington (CNN) A pro-Russian Twitter account used information from a criminal case that Robert Mueller's team brought against a Russian social media ...
"Russia influence in Eastern Europe" - Google News: Brexit and the future of US-Britain relations - KRCRTV.COM

Brexit and the future of US-Britain relations  KRCRTV.COMThe following is an editorial by Armstrong Williams. The future of Brexit, England's historic divorce from the European Union, hangs in a precarious balance as, ...




 "Russia influence in Eastern Europe" - Google News
Politics: The Cybersecurity 202: U.S. adversaries are raising their cyber game, intel officials warn

They are "threatening both minds and machines," DNI Coats says.







 Politics
Bob Mueller for President! - Google Search

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

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"trump authoritarianism" - Google News: Trump must stay with a capitalist message: Kennedy - Fox Business

Trump must stay with a capitalist message: Kennedy  Fox BusinessFBN's Kennedy gives her libertarian State of the Union address.




 "trump authoritarianism" - Google News
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The Operation Trump and The New Abwehr: A Study In Psychohistory by Michael Novakhov – Google Search


German Intelligence Chief Wilhelm Franz Canaris – The Operation Trump and The New Abwehr: A Study In Psychohistory by Michael Novakhov – Google Search

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Trump Investigations.

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The Operation Trump and The New Abwehr: A Study In Psychohistory by Michael Novakhov – Google Search

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .
>> Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Review In Brief 
» German Intelligence Chief Wilhelm Franz Canaris
24/01/19 06:17 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Warfare History Network. Adolf Hitler’s spymaster, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, was actually a dedicated anti-Nazi who did everything he could to frustrate the Führer’s plans. by David…
» Canaris and Heydrich – Axis History Forum
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Michael_Novakhov shared this story . Canaris and Heydrich #1 Post by Ezboard » 29 Sep 2002, 21:37 GFM2001 Member Posts: 55 (8/20/01 12:32:55 pm) Reply Canaris and Heydrich ————————————————————…
» Canaris – Heydrich Gay Love Affair – Google Search
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Michael_Novakhov shared this story .
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Michael_Novakhov shared this story .
» Canaris – Heydrich Gay Love Affair – Google Search
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Michael_Novakhov shared this story . SS- service record cover of Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei Reinhard Heydrich The service record of Reinhard Heydrich was a collection of official SS documents maintained at the SS Pers…
» RUSSIA and THE WEST – РОССИЯ и ЗАПАД: – Командир, ручка от жопы отваливается! | – Ништяк, а мы её стразами укрепим! – 6:10 AM 1/7/2019
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» 1:55 PM 9/5/2018 – Canaris’ love affair with Reinhard Heydrich, both of whom were at least in part Jewish and Gay… | The Global Security News
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Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Global Security News. Upon the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany, gay men and, to a lesser extent, lesbians, were two of the numerous groups targeted by the Nazis and were ulti…
» Heydrich’s homosexuality? – Axis History Forum
24/01/19 04:52 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story . Heydrich’s homosexuality? #1 Post by Ezboard » 29 Sep 2002, 19:03 HannahR New Member Posts: 1 (5/26/01 5:43:01 pm) Reply Heydrich’s homosexuality? ————————————————…
» Canaris – Heydrich Gay Love Affair as the source and the engine of German Fascism of 1930-1940-s – Psychohistorical Hypothesis by Michael Novakhov
24/01/19 04:15 from Mike Nova’s Shared Newslinks
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Trump Investigations. Canaris – Heydrich Gay Love Affair as the source and the engine of the German Fascism of 1930-1940-s  Psychohistorical Hypothesis by Michael Novakhov 9:19 AM 9/21/20…
» 9:19 AM 9/21/2018 – (Abwehr? Drag?) Queens (Are?) Flushing (With Rage? Shame? Anger? Angst? All of the above? None of the above?) | The Global Security News
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Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Global Security News. Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Drag Bang Drag, Gala de Eleccion Drag Queen 2015 LPGC – YouTube   mikenova  shared this story  . Drag Bang Drag, Ga…




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Photo: Ernst Urhlau, former chief of BND and later the "consultant on geopolitical risks" for the Deutsche Bank, and the political ally of Gerhard Schroeder. Uhrlau was the chief of the Hamburg police when the core group of 9/11 hijackers, the so called Hamburg Cell, lived and received training there. He was uncooperative and hostile towards 9/11 Investigation inquiries.

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