M.N.: Who is blackmailing whom, Mr. Schroeder? | "Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed "outrage", according to media reports," accusing the US envoy of "brazen blackmail." | US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell receives threats | The neo-Nazi plot against America is much bigger than we realize - 5:30 AM 3/15/2019

M.N.: Who is blackmailing whom, Mr. Schroeder?

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"Grenell most recently sent a letter to the German government last week threatening to curtail its access to US intelligence if Berlin decides to issue contracts to Chinese telecom giant Huawei for its 5G network, according to a US official familiar with the matter.
    Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed outrage, according to media reports, accusing the US envoy of "brazen blackmail."
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    ______________________________________________

    US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell receives threats

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    A photo of one letter seen by CNN which was sent directly to Richard Grenell in January told him to leave Germany or he would be killed. Signed by the "Society for the New Truth," it was one of several threats that have been sent to the embassy, according to a source familiar and two State Department officials.
    Grenell's spokesperson, Joseph Giordono-Scholz told CNN that "we do not publicly discuss security issues and procedures."
    Grenell is a controversial figure in his host country -- warning the German government against pursuing a gas pipeline to Russia, using Chinese technology and business contracts with Iran.
    A former Republican political operative and spokesman to the United Nations, Grenell has carved an incendiary path since presenting his diplomatic credentials to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May 2018, clashing with officials, businesses and the media.
    Trump's 52-year-old envoy has become such a polarizing figure that a large protest against him had been planned for early 2019 in Berlin.

    'The big Grenell payback'

    The February 3 event was supposed to be called "The Big Grenell Payback," but a State Department security alert viewed by CNN said police had prevented it from happening and that the organizer had been upset about US government policy related to Germany's natural gas pipeline with Russia, among other issues.
    The alert said it was unclear what "payback" was intended to mean.
    Fred Burton, a former Diplomatic Security special agent and deputy chief of State's counterterror division, said that death threats are "an unusual occurrence. It's more probable to get threats directed at the Secretary of State, unless of course that ambassador is a very prominent official."
    "His situation is beyond the normal, a bit," another former US senior government official said of Grenell. "He's a very different character than some past ambassadors, there's no doubt about it."
    Grenell's style reflects President Donald Trump's combative approach to Berlin, a jarring contrast to previous decades of close and cordial US-German relations. In the wake of World War II, the US helped rebuild West Germany through the Marshall Plan and the two nations since been closely aligned through trade, anti-communist efforts and the promotion of democratic ideals.

    Strained ties

    Under Trump, the relationship has been strained by US threats of tariffs and sanctions, the President's criticism of Merkel's policies and his repeated complaints about German defense spending.
    At least two of the missives sent to the embassy included an unidentified white powder and came in suspicious envelopes with no return address, according to one source familiar with the incidents.
    The former senior US government official said an incident involving an envelope with white powder "happens a few dozen times a year around the world, but it really changes year to year because it tends to be tied to US policy."
    Burton agreed, saying "We didn't see a lot of it," but the occurrence of white powder envelopes "ebbs and flows, based on current events."
    "These things happen more after a US action that people don't like. It's very often tied to policy," the former official said. "Normally, you get threats more against an embassy in general, 'we're going to bomb you' or something. But I've seen direct death threats against an ambassador before, in Senegal, over a trade issue, in Tunisia, tied to the Gulf War, as well as in Israel."
    "It happens often enough in different parts of the world -- from extremists, nutjobs, people displeased with US policy -- that we have procedures in place to handle these kinds of things very efficiently," the former official said.
    All mail is screened off-site, so this did not cause disruption or evacuation of the embassy, according to officials.
    "Security folks take them all seriously and work well with the Germans, who provide things like the Ambassador's security detail," the source familiar said.
    "The letters are mostly now treated as a nuisance," the source told CNN. "German police visit a suspect after each one and basically tell them to knock it off, but as far as I know no one has been charged with anything."
    The State Department's internal alert about the threats said the Berlin police were investigating. Neither the Berlin police nor Germany's federal police could confirm any investigations into threats against Grenell, but Germany's strict privacy laws often prevent them from commenting on ongoing investigations.
    One State Department source said the FBI is also looking into the spate of threats. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment.

    'Butt out'

    Another US official told CNN at least some of the threats are believed to have been the work of an elderly person who local police don't view as a real danger and have not arrested.
    When threats against ambassadors do occur, "diplomatic security might ramp up," Burton said, a decision he'd support. "In our post-Benghazi world, my recommendation to my assistant secretary would be to increase security after a spate of threats like this."
    Grenell's tempestuous 10-month tenure provides a backdrop to the letters. The political appointee was confirmed in April 2018, got to Berlin in May and by all accounts, immediately began making waves.
    Shortly after his arrival in Germany, Grenell tweeted that "as @realdonaldtrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately."
    The responses, according to Handelsblatt, Germany's premier financial newspaper, came "fast and furious," with "many of them from angry Germans basically telling the ambassador, a longtime critic of the Iran deal, to butt out."
    US envoy's remarks to Breitbart provoke backlash
    US envoy's remarks to Breitbart provoke backlash

    MUST WATCH

    00:42
    Grenell then appalled Germans with what appeared to be an intrusion into domestic European politics -- a diplomatic no-no. In an interview with the right-wing website Breitbart in June, Grenell said that he'd work to boost Europe's conservative parties -- comments seen as an allegiance to far-right, populist nationalistic anti-European Union parties.
    In December, he repeatedly attacked the flagship German magazine Der Spiegel after it discovered a star reporter had fabricated sources, quotes and stories for years. Grenell alleged on Twitter that the fraud must have involved more than just one reporter. He also sent a letter accusing the magazine of anti-American bias and pushing for an outside investigation of the fabrication.
    In January, Grenell warned German companies involved in construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would bring natural gas from Russia, that they face "a significant risk of sanctions."
    Grenell most recently sent a letter to the German government last week threatening to curtail its access to US intelligence if Berlin decides to issue contracts to Chinese telecom giant Huawei for its 5G network, according to a US official familiar with the matter.
    Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed outrage, according to media reports, accusing the US envoy of "brazen blackmail."
    This article has been updated.
    Read the whole story

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    The neo-Nazi plot against America is much bigger than we realize

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    According to prosecutors, Christopher Hasson had a spreadsheet of alleged ... This is The Guardian'smodel for open, independent journalism.
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    Coast Guard Officer Pleads Not Guilty To Gun, Drug Charges In ...

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    Pro-Trump Right Winger Who Wanted to Kill is "Not a Terrorist" - YouTube

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    Pro-Trump Right Winger Who Wanted to Kill is "Not a Terrorist"

    AG probing possible link between Netanyahu, German sub-maker: report

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    A possible link between Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a German defense contractor, which is at the center of a corruption case in Israel, is being investigated by the State Attorney’s office, according to a report by Channel 13 on Wednesday.
    Police is currently investigating whether bribes were solicited during negotiations between ThyssenKrupp, the German defense contractor, and the Israeli government over the purchase of new submarines for Israel's navy.
    The report from Channel 13 on Wednesday suggested that the state Comptroller’s Office had discovered that Netanyahu and his cousin, Nathan Milikowsky, had shares in GrafTech International, a steel manufacturing company that has supplied Thyssenkrupp for a long time.
    Netanyahu allegedly did not disclose his shares in GrafTech International which he bought before his second term as prime minister. The number of shares Netanyahu held before he sold them to Milikowsky was withheld by the comptroller.
    “It’s all fake news. In 2010, after being elected prime minister, he sold his shares in his cousin’s company with full approval of authorities, and for the last 10 years the prime minister has no connection to the company, and does not know its connection to Thyssenkrupp,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement following the report.
    There have been several reports that Netanyahu will be questioned in this case, but as of yet, police have not named him as a suspect. However several intimate associates of Netanyahu’s, including former personal lawyer David Shimron, have been arrested. Yitzhak Molcho, a personal envoy for the premier, was also questioned.

    Mueller Wrapping Up Russia Probe, Signals Alleged Departure Of Top Prosecutor

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    One of the key members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is stepping down soon, in yet another sign that the Russia probe is coming to an end, NPR reports.
    Leaving his post is Andrew Weissmann, described as the architect of Mueller’s case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Manafort has been sentenced to nearly eight years in prison, although none of the cases pertains to alleged collusion with the Kremlin, as NPR notes.
    According to individuals briefed on the matter, Weissmann’s imminent departure is the strongest sign thus far that Mueller is wrapping up the investigation.
    “Weissmann’s move offers a potent signal that the special counsel investigation is all but done,” a source said.
    “The departure is the strongest sign yet that Mueller and his team have all but concluded their work.”
    Weissmann is leaving Mueller’s team to study and teach at New York University as well as work on a number of public service projects.
    The prosecutor has frequently been targeted by prominent right-wing media figures for attending former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s election night party in 2016, and for praising former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for pushing back against President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.
    But Weissman is not the first prominent Mueller team figure to step down. Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack stepped down earlier this month, as did senior FBI agent David Archey, fueling speculation that the special counsel is indeed close to wrapping up its investigation into Russian election interference and related matters.
    Democratic politicians have sent mixed signals regarding Donald Trump’s alleged relationship with the Kremlin. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, many have gone as far as comparing Russian election interference to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Yet, no concrete action has been taken to impeach or remove Donald Trump, who — they frequently claim — supposedly works for Vladimir Putin.
    Andrew Weissmann is only the latest signal of many to indicate that Mueller, having found no collusion, is close to wrapping up his investigation. This has not stopped Congress Democrats from alleging a conspiracy, despite the lack of evidence.
    House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said on March 11 that “graphic evidence” is needed to impeach Donald Trump, as per reporting from The Washington Examiner.
    “My feeling is let’s see what Bob Mueller produces. But the evidence would have to be pretty overwhelming,” Schiff said.
    “Robert Mueller has yet to allege collusion, and Democrats who accuse Trump of being a Kremlin conspirator are silent when his policies escalate tensions with Russia,” The Nation’s Aaron Maté observed in his latest column.
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    NY Attorney General James Issues Subpoena to Trump Organization

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    And so, it begins.  During her campaign, Letitia James had said, “the president of the United States has to worry about three things: Mueller, Cohen, and Tish James.” And now as Attorney General, James has issued a subpoena to Deutche Bank regarding, as the NY Times reports, “The request to Deutsche Bank sought loan applications, mortgages, lines of credit and other financing transactions in connection with the Trump International Hotel in Washington; the Trump National Doral outside Miami; and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago,” as well as the attempt to purchase the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 2014.
    It was the gripping and revealing congressional testimony of Michael Cohen his former lawyer and fixer, that fraudulent documents were processed by a unit of Deutche Bank that handled “ultra-high-income individuals,” that triggered the State investigation.
    The bank had given Trump hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and AG James will be asking, “Why,
    when other banks shied away, did Deutche give so liberally to the Trump Organization?” And now that James and the legislature have agreed to amend the State’s double jeopardy laws, presidential pardons will be of no help in New York. Stay tuned for this one. (DG)

    Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (11 sites): FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Live: Trump reacts to Senate’s vote against national emergency 

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    From: FoxNewsChannel Duration: 00:00 FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as political and business news. The number one network in cable, FNC has been the most watched television news channel for more than 16 years and according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll, is … Continue reading "Trump News TV from Michael_Novakhov (11 sites): FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Live: Trump reacts to Senate’s vote against national emergency"

    Senate rejects Trump border emergency as Republicans defect

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    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-run Senate firmly rejected President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwest border on Thursday, setting up a veto fight and dealing him a conspicuous rebuke as he tested how boldly he could ignore Congress in pursuit of his highest-profile goal.
    The Senate voted 59-41 to cancel Trump’s February proclamation of a border emergency, which he invoked to spend $3.6 billion more for border barriers than Congress had approved. Twelve Republicans joined Democrats in defying Trump in a showdown many GOP senators had hoped to avoid because he commands die-hard loyalty from millions of conservative voters who could punish defecting lawmakers in next year’s elections.
    With the Democratic-controlled House’s approval of the same resolution last month, Senate passage sends it to Trump. He has shown no reluctance to casting his first veto to advance his campaign exhortation, “Build the Wall,” which has prompted roars at countless Trump rallies. Approval votes in both the Senate and House fell short of the two-thirds majorities that would be needed for an override to succeed.
    “VETO!” Trump tweeted minutes after the vote.
    Trump has long been comfortable vetoing the measure because he thinks it will endear him to his political base, said a White House official, commenting anonymously because the official wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
    The Republican-run Senate rejected President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the southwest border on Thursday, setting up a veto fight and dealing him a conspicuous rebuke. (March 14)
    Vice President Mike Pence toured a Customs and Border Protection training facility in West Virginia Wednesday. He thanked border agents for protecting the country and called on Congress to approve President Trump's border emergency declaration. (March 13)
    Though Trump seems sure to prevail in that battle, it remains noteworthy that lawmakers of both parties resisted him in a fight directly tied to his cherished campaign theme of erecting a border wall. The roll call came just a day after the Senate took a step toward a veto fight with Trump on another issue, voting to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition’s war in Yemen.
    In a measure of how remarkable the confrontation was, Thursday was the first time Congress has voted to block a presidential emergency since the National Emergency Act became law in 1976.
    Even before Thursday’s vote, there were warnings that GOP senators resisting Trump could face political consequences. A White House official said Trump won’t forget when senators who oppose him want him to attend fundraisers or provide other help. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on internal deliberations.
    At the White House, Trump did not answer when reporters asked if there would be consequences for Republicans who voted against him.
    “I’m sure he will not be happy with my vote,” said moderate Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a GOP defector who faces re-election next year in a state that reveres independent streaks in its politicians. “But I’m a United State senator and feel my job to stand up for the Constitution. So let the chips fall where they may.”
    Underscoring the political pressures in play, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., one of the first Republicans to say he’d oppose Trump’s border emergency, voted Thursday to support it.
    Tillis, who faces a potentially difficult re-election race next year, cited talks with the White House that suggest Trump could be open to restricting presidential emergency powers in the future. Tillis wrote in a Washington Post opinion column last month that there’d be “no intellectual honesty” in backing Trump after his repeated objections about executive overreach by President Barack Obama.
    Still, the breadth of opposition among Republicans suggested how concern about his declaration had spread to all corners of the GOP. Republican senators voting for the resolution blocking Trump included Mitt Romney of Utah, the party’s 2012 presidential candidate; Mike Lee of Utah, a solid conservative; Trump 2016 presidential rivals Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a respected centrist.
    Republicans control the Senate 53-47. Democrats solidly opposed Trump’s declaration.
    Presidents have declared 58 national emergencies since the 1976 law, but this was the first aimed at accessing money that Congress had explicitly denied, according to Elizabeth Goitein, co-director for national security at New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice.
    Trump and Republicans backing him said there is a legitimate security and humanitarian crisis at the border with Mexico. They also said Trump was merely exercising his powers under the law, which largely leaves it to presidents to decide what a national emergency is.
    “The president is operating within existing law, and the crisis on our border is all too real,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
    Opponents said Trump’s assertion of an emergency was overblown. They said he issued his declaration only because Congress agreed to provide less than $1.4 billion for barriers and he was desperate to fulfill his campaign promise on the wall. They said the Constitution gives Congress, not presidents, control over spending and said Trump’s stretching of emergency powers would invite future presidents to do the same for their own concerns.
    “He’s obsessed with showing strength, and he couldn’t just abandon his pursuit of the border wall, so he had to trample on the Constitution to continue his fight,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
    Republicans had hoped that Trump would endorse a separate bill by Utah’s Sen. Lee constraining emergency declarations in the future and that would win over enough GOP senators to reject Thursday’s resolution.
    But Trump told Lee on Wednesday that he opposed Lee’s legislation, prompting Lee himself to say he would back the resolution.
    The strongest chance of blocking Trump remains several lawsuits filed by Democratic state attorneys general, environmental groups and others. Those cases could effectively block Trump from diverting extra money to barrier construction for months or longer.
    On Twitter, Trump called on Republicans to oppose the resolution, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., helped drive through the House last month.
    “Today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!” he tweeted, invoking the name of a Democrat who boatloads of GOP ads have villainized in recent campaign cycles.
    Other Republicans voting against Trump’s border emergency were Roy Blunt of Missouri, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
    The National Emergency Act gives presidents wide leeway in declaring an emergency. Congress can vote to block a declaration, but the two-thirds majorities required to overcome presidential vetoes make it hard for lawmakers to prevail.
    Lee had proposed letting a presidential emergency declaration last 30 days unless Congress voted to extend it. That would have applied to future emergencies but not Trump’s current order unless he sought to renew it next year.
    ___
    Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Padmananda Rama and Andrew Taylor in Washington and Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, contributed.
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    Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch - Google Search

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    Story image for Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch from Fast Company

    The Making of the Fox News White House

    The New Yorker-Mar 4, 2019
    The same can be said of Fox's chairman, Rupert Murdoch. .... she is now working on Trump's reëlection campaign and dating Donald Trump, ...
    Fox News' Love Affair with The Donald
    Observer Online-Mar 4, 2019
    Story image for Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch from Business Insider

    Ex-Fox News reporter asks Rupert Murdoch to end her silence on her ...

    Billings Gazette-Mar 10, 2019
    Ex-Fox News reporter asks Rupert Murdoch to end her silence on her Trump-Stormy Daniels ... “But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just ...
    Story image for Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch from Rolling Stone

    Will the Masses Finally See Fox News for What It Is?

    Rolling Stone-Mar 9, 2019
    Bill Shine, President Trump's communications chief and his deputy chief of staff ... of Fox: the late network president Roger Ailes allegedly fed Donald Trump ... Rupert Murdoch, wanted Trump to win; and during his presidency, ...
    Read the whole story

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    Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch: inside the billionaire bromance | US news

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    The alliance between Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch has never been stronger. In April, the Australian-born media mogul topped the New York Times’ list of Trump’s key advisers outside the White House, identified as someone the president speaks to “on the phone every week”. Last month the paper revised that upward to “almost every day”, although the White House denies this.
    At a recent speech in New York to mark a second world war battle in which the US fought alongside Australia, Trump was welcomed on stage by the News Corp chief.
    “The man I’m about to introduce believes, as I do, in challenging conventional wisdom, because conventional wisdom is often not wise at all,” Murdoch said, concluding with a hug for “my friend, Donald J Trump”.
    “Thank you to my very good friend Rupert Murdoch – there’s only one Rupert that we know,” said Trump in turn as he took the podium.
    Now, with a reported criminal investigation in connection with sexual harassment allegations into Fox News, the stakes are higher than ever for the two friends.
    During the 2016 election, Fox News played a crucial role for Trump. In the lead-up to the Republican primary, Murdoch openly favored Jeb Bush, and early reports highlighted tensions between Murdoch and Trump. Trump’s closest ties were to Fox News’s then-boss Roger Ailes and its then-star host Bill O’Reilly rather than to Murdoch, and the mogul’s main conduit to the Trump campaign was said to be Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump had a well-publicized tiff with Fox News after one of the network’s top hosts, Megyn Kelly, challenged him during the first Republican debate.
    But as far back as the summer of 2015, Trump was already getting significantly more Fox News airtime than any other presidential candidate, and by spring of last year he and Murdoch were having private meetings. In March 2016, Murdoch tweeted that Republicans would “be mad not to unify” behind Trump “if he becomes inevitable”. Murdoch’s New York Post endorsed him for the primary in April 2016 (although the paper did not endorse in the general election).
    As Trump’s “inevitability” grew and it became clear he was going to win the Republican nomination, the two men grew closer still, uniting around what is perhaps the biggest thing they have in common: both men love to win, and suddenly they were in a position to use one another to do just that. Fox was a crucial platform for Trump – and Trump was great for Murdoch’s ratings.
    By the time Trump had been elected, relations were close enough that the president-elect gave his first foreign newspaper interview to Murdoch’s UK paper the Times – with Murdoch himself in the room.
    For many, Murdoch’s embrace of Trump was itself inevitable.
    “His entire empire’s at stake – that’s why Murdoch is talking to him every day,” said Sid Blumenthal, a former aide to Bill Clinton and longtime observer of New York politics. “It’s not because he enjoys the sparkling conversation of Donald Trump.”

    Trump and Murdoch: the early years

    Rupert Murdoch was born in Melbourne in 1931 and enjoyed a seemingly idyllic childhood, riding horses through the countryside and reading the great literature his mother insisted her children be surrounded by. The son of a distinguished journalist and an Australian publishing executive, he was educated at Oxford but returned home following his father’s death to take over the family business, News Limited. His early editorial emphasis on crime and scandal coverage drew criticism, but it was entertaining – and entertainment, he found, was good business. Soon his publications had proliferated in number, circulation and reach.
    After expanding into London with the acquisition of the News of the World and the Sun, in the early 1970s he moved to New York City to pursue media properties in the US. Perhaps more than anything it was his 1976 acquisition of the New York Post, a highly esteemed liberal paper at the time, that brought him into the orbit of Trump. The 30-year-old son of a wealthy real estate developer had recently graduated from Wharton business school and was trying to establish himself in Manhattan – and like Murdoch, he found in the Post the ideal vehicle to do just that.
    It was the Post’s gossip section, Page Six, which Murdoch launched shortly after taking over the paper, that helped transform Trump from New York realtor to celebrity. For Murdoch, too, it was transformational: a chance to reach the city’s most influential people.
    Writing about Trump was inescapable, said Susan Mulcahy, one of Page Six’s earliest reporters and editors, and it was also difficult.
    “You had to double- and triple-check everything,” she told the Guardian. “When it was a good story it was worth doing the extra work, but much of the time it would turn out to be a lie.”
    The woes of fact-checking Trump are now well known, but they weren’t then, or even when Mulcahy first wrote about them publicly: her 1988 book about her time at Page Six devotes an entire half a chapter to Trump’s fondness for falsehoods. “He’s a pathological liar,” she said. “I’ve said that repeatedly and I’ve been saying it since the 80s.”
    That never seemed to concern Murdoch too much. Then as now, he and Trump had a symbiotic relationship: Trump provided entertaining coverage for Murdoch, and Murdoch provided good visibility for Trump. “Both of these guys are extremely transactional,” said Lloyd Grove, who wrote a gossip column for the New York Daily News, the Post’s rival publication, in the early to mid-aughts. “They have no permanent bonds, they just have permanent interests.”
    At times over the years, those interests put them at odds. In 1982, when the Daily News went up for sale, both moguls put in rival bids for the paper (neither was accepted). Six years later, Trump would try to buy the Post out from under Murdoch after regulatory rules forced him to put it up for sale. Murdoch rebuffed Trump’s offer, sold it elsewhere and was able to buy it back again in 1993.
    Trump was glad to see Murdoch return. Though the future president’s affair with Marla Maples would, largely by his own design, be chronicled exhaustively under the Post’s new owner, Peter Kalikow, Trump apparently still preferred Murdoch’s rule. “He’s killing me,” Trump said of Kalikow in 1988. “Rupert, come back.”
    Five years later, Rupert did. But only after expanding his newspaper business and building the foundations of the cable television empire he enjoys today, the empire which would one day make Trump’s path to the presidency possible.

    The Cohn connection

    Trump and Murdoch had something else in common: a deep and abiding connection to Roy Cohn, one of America’s most reviled but most successful defense attorneys, who rose to political prominence in the 1950s as a legal adviser to Senator Joseph McCarthy. As the writer Ken Auletta put it in a 1978 Esquire profile: “Prospective clients who want to kill their husband, torture a business partner, break the government’s legs, hire Roy Cohn. He is a legal executioner – the toughest, meanest, loyalest, vilest, and one of the most brilliant lawyers in America.”
    Both Murdoch and Trump were clients of Cohn, as Trump biographer Harry Hurt III noted in a 1993 book, but over the years the lawyer also became something of a mentor to them. After Murdoch’s arrival from Australia in 1976, Cohn offered entree into the world of America’s powered elite. And for Trump, a political neophyte from Queens looking to get on Manhattan’s “fast track” (in the words of Trump ally Roger Stone), the relationship was transformational. For a while, Cohn once told Vanity Fair, he and Trump spoke “15 or 20 times a day”.
    “Murdoch came in from the outside,” said Blumenthal. “Cohn was his Virgil who guided him through the netherworlds of New York influence,” he added, “which led to Trump, among others, who was not much of a power broker at the time.”
    Stone, in an interview with the Washington Post, put it in even starker terms: “I think, to a certain extent, Donald learned how the world worked from Roy, who was not only a brilliant lawyer, but a brilliant strategist who understood the political system and how to play it like a violin.”
    Murdoch and Trump were still coming up in the world, but Cohn was approaching the height of his power. He would host lavish parties with politicians, journalists and celebrities, and it was through such salons and attendant parties at exclusive clubs such as Studio 54 (the owners were also clients of Cohn’s) that Murdoch and Trump came to know one another socially. “They were taking their tips from Roy,” Hurt said in an interview. “I’m not saying they were swallowing the whole glass of Kool-Aid but they definitely took a few good gulps, and you can see that reflected, especially in the subsequent behaviour of Donald Trump,” he said. “Rupert maybe only took one gulp of the Kool-Aid and then spat it out.”
    Chief among those tips was how to play the media. At the Post, where their mutual apprenticeship in the dark arts of media manipulation started, Cohn was, at least in the early years, the go-between for Trump and the paper’s editorial side. Cohn was an important source for Page Six’s Mulcahy, and he certainly knew how to make himself valuable to a reporter. When Mulcahy had to cover Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural on 24 hours’ notice, Cohn got her security clearance and into all the evening’s exclusive parties at the drop of the hat. But Cohn also had some unsavory qualities as a source. “Roy seemed to think because he gave me stories, I would do his bidding,” Mulcahy recalled.
    Such presumptions seem to have rubbed off on Trump in later years. Linda Stasi, who covered Trump’s tumultuous relationship with Maples in the 1990s, recently told the New York Times that Trump wouldn’t just plant stories – he actively sought to direct them. “It never occurred to him that he couldn’t control everything,” she said, adding that even now, “he is shocked that he is not in control of the press.”
    In what is perhaps the most striking example of such habits, 1991 audio obtained by the Washington Post seemed to reveal Trump masquerading as his own publicist to brag about his sexual conquests. Though Trump has denied or evaded questions about posing as his own spokesman, the recording corroborates the accounts of numerous reporters and editors who covered him throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Such misogynistic boasting by Trump’s alter ego was very much the pattern, as when he boasted that in addition to living with Maples, he had “three other girlfriends”.
    Trump and Murdoch have scratched each other’s backs over the years, starting at the New York Post, but more recently their connections have taken on an almost familial air. When Jared Kushner took over the New York Observer in mid-2006 (around the time he met Ivanka Trump, whom he would marry in 2009) he turned to Murdoch for counsel. Murdoch is thought to have influenced Kushner’s rightward shift politically, passing on books by Charles Murray and Niall Ferguson.
    Jared and Ivanka were known to double-date with Murdoch and his ex-wife Wendi Deng, and even after Murdoch’s split with Deng, the two women and the two men remained close. Until December, Ivanka was a trustee for a $300m fortune set aside for Murdoch’s daughters with Deng. That means that throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, while Trump frequently appeared on Fox News, his daughter was directly implicated in the financial wellbeing of the network’s owner’s daughter.
    Such developments show the continuity of the Trump-Murdoch bond beyond political convenience. “They’re mutual users who’ve become one family,” Blumenthal said. “She [was] a trustee of their money. That’s as intimate as you can get.”
    Trump biographer Gwenda Blair agrees the bonds between the Trumps and Murdoch are deep. “They both speak the language of cable news – cabalese,” she said.

    Political back-scratching

    Now, for the first time in their decades-long relationship, Murdoch really needs Trump: a reported federal probe into Fox News stemming from serial sexual harassment allegations threatens the model of his flagship network, which has already paid $45m in sexual harassment claims and continued making settlements into this year.
    In April, Trump proved he was quite willing to publicly downplay such allegations, asserting: “I don’t think Bill [O’Reilly] did anything wrong” after it emerged that the high-profile Fox host had settled claims of sexual harassment.
    Trump also, of course, presides over the Department of Justice tasked with overseeing such investigations.
    Murdoch may well have welcomed his firings of Preet Bharara, the US attorney reportedly tasked with overseeing Murdoch’s investigation, as well as that of James Comey, the director of the FBI. Hecertainly welcomed the relaxing of regulations for TV station owners earlier this year under the Federal Communication Commission’s new Republican chairman Ajit Pai – something 21st Century Fox has previously fought for in court. 
    Murdoch has not been coy about his attitude toward such FCC protections. In 2014, he hit out at being barred from making a bid for several media properties he wished to acquire, tweeting: “Sorry can’t buy Trib group or LA Times – cross-ownership laws from another age still in place.”
    But under President Trump such concerns are a thing of the past for Murdoch.
    The new relaxed rules allow for a level of media consolidation many believe will prove harmful to consumers and hinder the free and democratic flow of information.
    But the crucial aspect of the Fox News controversy for Murdoch is how it might affect his proposed takeover of Sky, the British satellite broadcasting company, which he has been fixated on since at least 2010, when the deal was scrapped following the phone-hacking scandal plaguing his UK newspapers.
    Wendy Walsh, a former radio host who recently went public with her sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly, wants to make sure Murdoch’s bid fails this time, too.
    Walsh was among the accusers to travel to the UK in May to urge regulators to reject the Murdoch takeover in light of Fox’s toxic culture regarding women. “Everyone’s focusing on Russia, Russia, Russia,” she told the Guardian. “Fox News played a large role in Donald Trump’s election too, and they’re both under investigation right now.”
    UK media regulator Ofcom will make a determination by 20 June whether Murdoch can be considered a “fit and proper” owner given Fox’s culture of sexual harassment and whether his expansion through Sky – of which he already owns 39% – would give him too much control of the UK media market, something the outgoing head of Ofcom warned about back in 2014 when he accused British government officials of unduly favoring Murdoch’s companies and called their relationship “too cozy”.
    “I contend that a company that has harassed, discriminated against and retaliated against dozens of women and people of color since 2004 is not fit and proper,” said Walsh’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom. “The UK has long stood as a world leader for women’s equality. We appeal to that moral standing now.”
    Trump “will be loyal to Murdoch”, Bloom predicted, “and Murdoch will be loyal to Trump. These men value only power.”
    In his deep dive for the Atlantic, James Fallows found “many examples of Murdoch’s using political connections to advance his business ends”, and that his actions, generally, “are consistent with the use of political influence for corporate advantage”. Specifics reported by the New York Times more than a decade ago further support the observation and will sound familiar to any recent observers of Trump’s FCC. After Murdoch’s papers, comprising roughly 35% of Britain’s media market, endorsed New Labor’s Tony Blair in 2001, for instance, Blair backed “a communications bill in the British Parliament that would loosen restrictions on foreign media ownership and allow a major newspaper publisher to own a broadcast television station as well as a provision its critics call the ‘Murdoch clause’ because it seems to apply mainly to News Corp”, as the New York Times put it.
    Such backscratching happened in America too.

    Leveraging the presidency

    To understand Murdoch’s relationship with Trump, it helps to understand his relationship with one of the president’s predecessors in the White House, Ronald Reagan, with whom Murdoch enjoyed surprisingly close ties, facilitated and fostered by the same man who links him to Trump: Roy Cohn.
    Joe Conason, who covered Murdoch at the Village Voice throughout much of the 70s and 80s, called Cohn “the lynchpin” of Murdoch’s cozy relationship with Reagan. Cohn was very close to Reagan going back to the “red scare” in Hollywood, said Conason, adding: “Reagan did lots of favors for Murdoch when he was president at the behest of Cohn.”
    Reagan presidential library documents obtained by investigative journalist Robert Parry show Cohn was instrumental in facilitating Murdoch’s face-to-face meetings with Reagan, the first of which took place in January 1983, two years into the president’s first term. Parry, the founder of Consortium News and author of America’s Stolen Narrative, told the Guardian that he came across a photo of Cohn in the Oval office alongside Murdoch and Reagan by chance, while investigating another story. His subsequent request for documents mentioning Cohn revealed a series of letters in which Cohn demanded better treatment of Murdoch and his media properties by the president.
    In one such missive to the White House dated 27 January 1983, Cohn appears to suggest Murdoch’s papers had granted Reagan favorable coverage in hopes of receiving political favors. He writes: “I had one interest when … I first brought Rupert Murdoch and Governor Reagan together and that was that at least one major publisher in this country would become and remain pro-Reagan. Mr Murdoch has performed to the limit up through and including today.”
    In another letter, Cohn complained that though “the Post and other Murdoch’s papers gave their blood on a daily basis”, the president had, in a recent media appearance, failed to grant a Post reporter a question and even encouraged his audience to read the Post’s competition, the New York Daily News. “Without the Post, Reagan could not have carried New York,” Cohn complained.
    When the president failed to make time for one of Murdoch’s papers while on a trip through Boston, the threats were all but explicit: “To say that all the good you tried to do, and I tried to do, and the President did in his meeting with Rupert has been severely damaged by this second insult, is an understatement,” Cohn wrote in a note shortly after Murdoch’s first face-to-face at the White House. “As of now, tempers are so hot that I would wait for things to cool off.”
    In the years that followed, with the help of the Reagan administration’s relaxed policies, Murdoch’s media empire in the US burgeoned: within two years he had become a naturalized citizen of the US, allowing him to meet a regulatory requirement that television stations be owned by Americans; and by 1986 he had founded the Fox Broadcasting Company. Among the biggest gifts to Murdoch from the Reagan administration was the elimination of the “fairness doctrine”, which required political balance in broadcasting, allowing Murdoch a free pass in driving home his network’s brand of fierce conservatism. But other smaller relaxations of regulations were helpful, too.
    Practically every utterance of Reagan’s initial FCC chairman, Mark Fowler, was music to Murdoch’s ears. Fowler famously said a TV was nothing more than a “toaster with pictures” (read: a frivolous commodity requiring only the bare minimum in safety regulations), removed controls on what radio stations could air and indicated the same logic should apply to television. The rule change allowed stations to follow market incentives in programming, a move that allowed for the transformation of dutiful public affairs programs into just the sort of entertainment Murdoch made a fortune promoting.
    It was Fowler’s FCC that in approving his acquisition of local TV stations allowed Murdoch to form his fourth major network: Fox. Though Murdoch wouldn’t enter the cable news market with the Fox News Channel until the following decade –1996, to be precise – through Reagan, Fowler and Cohn the groundwork had been laid.

    Now Murdoch’s White House meetings are reportedly happening again, and if Murdoch needs Trump, Trump needs Murdoch, too. The president’s disastrous performance his first months in office has been accompanied by a historic slump in ratings, and with so many Americans relying on cable and Fox in particular for their national news, Murdoch is uniquely valuable to Trump right now.
    So far Fox’s fawning coverage of Trump, and in some cases total avoidance of certain topics unflattering to the president, hasn’t been enough to lift him out of his presidential doldrums. Being skeptical about the significance of the regular government leaks regarding Trump’s presidency has not necessarily played well with Fox’s viewers.
    The proof is in the place that hurts Murdoch and Trump the most: the ratings. Recently, MSNBC won all five weekdays in primetime over Fox News, according to Nielsen data, with NBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show topping the week’s list of most watched programs. And MSNBC finished last month as the No 1 cable news network on weeknights that month, beating out Fox and CNN for the first time since 2000.
    We can’t know what that will mean for the Trump-Murdoch axis, just as we can’t know what these men are discussing on the phone, or what, precisely, the Trump presidential library will reveal some 30 years from now. We do, however, know that the last time this happened with the same media mogul and a president he had far fewer connections to, the media mogul got a hell of a lot out of it.

    We made a choice…

    … and we want to tell you about it. We made a choice which means our journalism now reaches record numbers around the world and more than a million people have supported our reporting. We continue to face financial challenges but, unlike many news organisations, we have chosen not to put up a paywall. We want our journalism to remain accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.
    This is The Guardian’s model for open, independent journalism: available for everyone, funded by our readers. We depend on contributions from our readers. Will you support our choice?
    Readers’ support powers our work, safeguarding our essential editorial independence. This means the responsibility of protecting independent journalism is shared, enabling us all to feel empowered to bring about real change in the world. Your support gives Guardian journalists the time, space and freedom to report with tenacity and rigour, to shed light where others won’t. It emboldens us to challenge authority and question the status quo. And by keeping all of our journalism free and open to all, we can foster inclusivity, diversity, make space for debate, inspire conversation – so more people have access to accurate information with integrity at its heart.
    Guardian journalism is rooted in facts with a progressive perspective on the world. We are editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one steers our opinion. At a time when there are so few sources of information you can really trust, this is vital as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. Your support means we can keep investigating and exploring the critical issues of our time.
    Our model allows people to support us in a way that works for them. Every time a reader like you makes a contribution to The Guardian, no matter how big or small, it goes directly into funding our journalism. But we need to build on this support for the years ahead. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.
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    Donald Trump just made his clearest threat of violence against the American people yet

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    What on earth is Donald Trump even talking about? That’s a daily challenge for anyone who has the misfortune to encounter his increasingly incoherent words. But now, in addition to being incomprehensible, Trump is also throwing violent threats into the mix, or at least we think they’re violent threats.

    Here’s what Donald Trump said to white supremacist propaganda site Breitbart: “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough, until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.” Okay, wait a minute here, because this just doesn’t sound good.

    If you wanted to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, you could argue that he’s merely threatening to have the police enforce the law against anyone who breaks it. But then you get to the part about the military, which isn’t allowed to do domestic law enforcement, so what is he even talking about? Once he throws in the part about the bikers being on our side, it seems he’s talking about having bikers beat us all up if we don’t vote for him, or something. And if he’s saying that about bikers, is he also saying he’s going to sic the police and military on us if we don’t vote for him?

    Donald Trump just made the argument for why he absolutely must be ousted for his crimes, and his violent mental instability, before the end of his current term. He can’t be in a position to even try to order the police and the military to carry out whatever violent fantasies he’s imagining for the transition period if he loses the 2020 election. There aren’t the votes to impeach Trump today, but he must be impeached and removed before the end of the current term.
    Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report
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    Trump again nods toward violence by his supporters — and maybe something bigger

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    GOP Sen. Kennedy on DOJ, FBI: "We've Got To Lance This Boil" | Video

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    FOX NEWS: Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said Wednesday on 'America's Newsroom' that it would be "disgusting" if top officials at the Justice Department "acted on their political beliefs" when it came to crucial decisions on whether to pursue charges against Hillary Clinton in 2016 over her use of a private email server.
    Kennedy said "a small group" at the FBI believe ordinary Americans aren't smart enough to elect a president so they "had to put their thumb on the scale and guide the American people to make the correct choice."

    "We've got to lance this boil," Kennedy said. "It's OK to have political beliefs. This is America, but if you work for the FBI or Justice Department, you cannot act on them."
    "And at the root of this problem you have a select group of people over there who think they are smarter and more virtuous than ordinary Americans and that ordinary Americans aren't smart enough to choose for themselves. So these people over at the FBI, the small group, had to put their thumb on the scale and guide the American people to make the correct choice.
    "He acts like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth," Kennedy said of former FBI deputy Andrew McCabe. "This guy is trying to sell a book. Everybody forgets he was fired for lying to the FBI and getting involved in politics... These people have hurt, badly, the premier law enforcement agency in all of human history."

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