The New Abwehr Hypothesis of The Operation Trump: A Study In Political Psychology, Political Criminology, and Psychohistory, and as the aid for the General, Criminal and the Counterintelligence Investigations of Donald Trump - by Michael Novakhov, M.D. (Mike Nova): Web Research, Analysis, Hypotheses, and Opinions | Current News | Reviews of media reports | Selected reading lists | Site: http://trumpinvestigations.org/
Nato celebrates on Thursday its 70-year anniversary. On 4. April 1949 had closed twelve of the countries of Europe and North America in the U.S. ... Trump had not even excluded the possibility of an exit of the USA from the Alliance, should ...
Iran, the EU, and the USA: The European Search for (Some Degree of) Autonomy ... to Iran have increased by 70%, and several large European companies have .... trade tariffs, NATO, Europeandefense, the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear ...
Sputnik talked about Europe's defence spending with Dr Alessandro Politi, the director of ... taking a step to cut its military budget notwithstanding US calls to meet NATO's quota? ... And here, of course, things are not easy, but they can't be easy after 70 years of an ... spending, budget, military, NATO, Germany, UnitedStates.
2015: Belgium: 3.44, Germany: 11.93, USA: 25.41 ... And in her neglect of allies, Merkel has betrayed other European NATO powers such as Britain and France. ... percent of total NATO GDP and 70percent of total NATO defense spending.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday evening that seeks to bar President Donald Trump from withdrawing from NATO amid renewed concerns over his commitment to the 29-nation military pact.
In a bipartisan 357-22 vote, the Democrat-led lower chamber sent the Senate the NATO Support Act, which would prohibit the use of federal funds to withdraw from the 70-year-old alliance. Twenty-two Republicans voted no, while 28 Republicans and 26 Democrats did not vote.
Beyond asserting Congress’ power of the purse, the bill affirms support for NATO and its mutual defense clause, for Montenegro’s accession, for “robust” U.S. funding for the European Deterrence Initiative and for the goal that each member nation spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense by 2024.
The action comes as trans-Atlantic ties have been frayed by disputes over defense spending, trade and America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. After reports Trump floated the idea of a withdrawal last summer, Trump said last week, "We will be with NATO 100 percent, but as I told the countries, you have to step up,” defense spending.
Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., sponsored the bill with backing from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. At a press conference Tuesday, the lawmakers praised the alliance for its role in ending the Cold War and in supporting U.S.-led operations in Iraq and Afghanistan today.
“What we have to realize is that NATO is not just a transactional relationship.” Panetta said. “Our sole focus can’t just be on who pays what and who gets what. Being a member of NATO is not like being a member of a country club.”
Engel called splintering the NATO alliance one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top goals.
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“That’s why its so disturbing, so troubling to see the United States sending mixed signals about the alliance or treating it as a burden,” Engel said.
“This bill reiterates Congress' commitment to NATO and would prohibit withdrawal from NATO. It sends a clear message to the administration that this branch of government supports the alliance,” Engel said in a floor speech ahead of the vote.
Trump has bashed the alliance over burden sharing, made overtures to Putin and said he believes he has the authority to pull out of NATO if he chooses — even as his administration has worked to support the alliance.
The bill had four Republican cosponsors, including Texas Rep. Will Hurd, who tweeted after the vote, “These recent votes show that there is overwhelming bipartisan support from Congress, a coequal branch of government, to value our allies and stand up to our enemies.”
The vote followed news the top U.S. diplomat for Europe is resigning after only 16 months on the job. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell will leave his post in mid-February.
One of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., called Congress “the only check we have” after the departure of former generals Jim Mattis as defense secretary, H.R. McMaster as national security adviser and John Kelly as chief of staff — and Nikki Haley as United Nations ambassador.
“They’re all gone now, we’re all that’s left, and its urgent and essential, therefore, that Congress play its constitutional role and take this action,” said Malinowski, a former U.S. diplomat and now a freshman congressman on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
This measure and a similar one in the Senate, which would require Trump get two-thirds consent from the Senate to pull America out of NATO, have raised questions about the constitutional separation of powers. The bipartisan Senate bill, led by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is cosponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and others.
The sponsors of the House bill expressed optimism the two bills would be reconciled, suggesting that Congress’s power of the purse is solid enough footing to proceed.
“It’s often been said the Constitution is an invitation to struggle, and what we are saying here is we are not leaving NATO without a struggle,” Malinowski said.
Nato celebrates on Thursday its 70-year anniversary. On 4. April 1949 had closed twelve of the countries of Europe and North America in the ... even excluded the possibility of an exit of the USAfrom the Alliance, should not ...
U.S. Is at Odds With European Allies, Munich Meeting Shows ... Another initiative by two former U.S. represenatatives to NATO, Nicholas Burns and Douglas Lute, produced a report –- NATO at 70: An Alliance ... In reality, NATO was always a military alliance first, and one that was .... 2019 TIME USA, LLC.
De øvrige Nato-lande har givet udtryk for deres 'støtte til generalsekretærens ... kommer ugen inden, at Nato markerer sin 70-årsdag i Washington. .... briterne sig pludselig ud af EU, og Donald Trump blev præsident i USA.
“The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. ... complained about Europe's trade surplus with the United States. ... By current standards, Washington funds about 70percent of NATO spending.
Born after World War II, NATO linked America and Europe not just in a mutual ... More than 70 (NATOand non-NATO) countries are part of the U.S.-led ... Mr. Trump is burning up all the credit the United States has accrued with ...
... would prohibit the use of federal funds to withdraw from the 70-year-old alliance. .... “That's why its so disturbing, so troubling to see the United States sending ... The vote followed news the top U.S. diplomat for Europe is ...
A few more clicks on YouTube and I found myself in the midst of videos covering ... with the candidate ultimately serving their interests after being elected. ... Given comedic reporting's immense reach and power to shape the ...
Yet the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign is shaping up very differently. ... sowing division that Trump would surely exploit in the general election. ..... the broadcast and cable channels, and clicks for the rest of the media.
Negative reports on Trump were good for clicks and shares. ... That he won theelection only seemed to make them double down on the bashing. Then .... boost to what is shaping up to be a tough bid for re-election in 2020.
Nation states run covert operations on the same platforms we use to post cat videos .... that became famous during the 2016 US presidential election. ... where algorithms shape attention, tiny clicksmeasure participation, and ...
Most people think the internet operates as a kind of global public square. .... campaigns that became famous during the 2016 US presidential election. ... where algorithms shape attention, tiny clicksmeasure participation, and ...
04.02.2019By Art Jahnke Illustration by Carlos Soler
How Our Clicks Are Shaping Elections
If you think data science played a huge role in the 2016 presidential election, wait until 2020
A generation ago, the internet changed everything. Today, data science is proving just as revolutionary. Fueled by the abundance of personal information on the internet—yours, ours, everyone’s—data science is making business smarter, healthcare more efficient, technology easier, and sports more fun to watch (and play). But it’s also made all of us more vulnerable. This article, the second in a five-story series, comes as Boston University is investing aggressively into the world of big data, and is poised to build a 17-story Data Sciences Center on Commonwealth Avenue that will house its mathematics and statistics and computer science departments. As BU President Robert A. Brown said: “This is the science that’s going to change the way we behave, driving our behavior for the next 50 or 100 years.”
n countries around the world, political events—from local town council votes all the way up to presidential elections—are being influenced, analyzed, and charted with help from data science, and specifically, machine learning. To understand just how quickly, and dramatically, data can upend the universe, look no further than the 2016 US presidential election. The data science firm Cambridge Analytica, hired by the Trump campaign, got its hands on data from 50 million Facebook users without their permission—including where they live, what types of advertisements would most likely appeal to them, and other personal preferences—then used big data and machine learning to micro-target voters who were deemed persuadable.
During that time, the New York Times reports, pro-Trump bots—autonomous software applications—that automatically sent targeted messages through social media generated one-quarter of all Twitter traffic about the election, and in days leading up to the election they outnumbered Clinton bots five to one.
Across the pond, Cambridge Analytica worked its magic on the Brexit campaign, with advice from Steve Bannon, who also worked for the Trump campaign. And in 2018, the company aided the reelection of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. BU’s Steven Rosenzweig, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of political science, whose research has focused on African politics, says the company’s work in Kenya’s last two elections, both on behalf of President Kenyatta’s campaign, worried many people.
“Cambridge Analytica’s involvement—allegedly involving party branding, writing campaign speeches, and running a social media campaign—was a source of great controversy,” says Rosenzweig. “This was particularly true among the influential group of public intellectuals and activists known as Kenyans on Twitter or KOT. Particularly problematic were potential violations of privacy and the spread of inflammatory messages in a volatile political context with a history of violence.”
How is Cambridge Analytica doing today after influencing so many elections worldwide? After filing for bankruptcy, it shut down in 2018, amid so many political controversies and scandals.
The impact the company had may be felt for decades. However, in a larger political context, Rosenzweig thinks big data sometimes gets more attention than it deserves, at least for the moment. “So far,” he says, “I think the evidence that big data is having a substantial influence on politics is fairly limited and its impact sometimes overstated. But psychological motivations are key to people’s political decision-making, and data-driven strategies that are able to tap into those are quite likely to have a real impact.”
Data analytics played a lesser-known role in President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, which assigned potential voters scores based on the likelihood that they would vote, and then, if they would vote for Obama, guided by surveys taken in battleground states. And the next presidential campaign, in 2020, is already giving data science a leadership role. In February, President Trump named Brad Parscale, his former digital advisor, manager for his reelection bid.
Dino Christenson, a CAS associate professor of political science, worked with Mark Crovella, a CAS professor of computer science, to analyze web-browsing patterns of more than 100,000 Americans. Their analysis predicted how people would vote, as well as when their political preferences changed directions. Photo by Cydney Scott
Data science is also used as a purely observational tool, one that can reveal the workings, or failings, of some long-standing political processes. In 2018, three BU political scientists used big data to study local political participation in housing and development policy. Katherine Levine Einstein, Maxwell Palmer, and David Glick compiled a data set by coding thousands of instances of people who chose to speak about housing development at planning and zoning board meetings in 97 cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts, then matched the participants with voter and property tax data. The researchers found that speakers tended to be male, older, whiter, and more likely to be homeowners than most residents of their towns, and they overwhelmingly opposed new housing developments. In fact, two thirds of speakers opposed housing, and only 14 percent were in favor of building.
To learn more about how closely these meeting speakers represented the views of community residents, the researchers juxtaposed the opinions of meeting attendees with the vote on a statewide housing ballot referendum. Again, the views of speakers were not aligned with those of their broader communities.
That matters, the researchers say, because the dynamic contributes to the failure of towns to produce a sufficient housing supply. If local politicians hear predominantly from people opposed to a certain issue, it’s logical that they may be persuaded to vote against it, based on what they think their community wants. “Our study shows how political inequalities contribute to rising housing prices,” says Einstein, a CAS assistant professor of political science. “An unrepresentative group of white homeowners are able to take advantage of land use institutions to stop and delay the construction of new housing. Their actions help to block newcomers from accessing desirable communities.”
It also matters in theoretical terms, because the research shows that some supposedly democratic institutions that we have depended on for hundreds of years are, in fact, fundamentally undemocratic. “More broadly,” the researchers write, the study “reveals that institutions designed to enhance democratic responsiveness may have perverse consequences on participation, the views that policymakers hear, and/or outcomes.” Their study, “Who Participates in Local Government? Evidence from Meeting Minutes,” was published October 2018 inPerspectives on Politics.
Elsewhere at BU, Mark Crovella, a CAS professor of computer science, and Dino Christenson, a CAS associate professor of political science, working with researchers at other schools, used big data to predict which 2016 presidential candidate the public preferred, as well as how those preferences changed throughout the campaign and what the influencing events might have been. Crovella and Christenson analyzed the web-browsing histories of more than 100,000 Americans over the two months immediately prior to the election to pinpoint likely voter choice. Using data that was provided by comScore, a kind of Nielsen rating of the internet, the researchers analyzed two terabytes of data, which included 70 million websites. They then correlated browsing patterns with public opinion polls.
Crovella says their methodology requires two things: web-browsing records, and an initial poll to calibrate their machine-learning component, so the machine knows what it’s looking for.
Katherine Levine Einstein, a CAS assistant professor of political science, working with Maxwell Palmer and David Glick, both CAS associate professors of political science, used data analytics to demonstrate that people who speak about housing issues at town meetings rarely represent the views of the broader community. Photo by Cydney Scott
That, says Crovella, was the hard part, because while some websites are obviously biased, many are more nuanced. Also, he says, a visit to a particular site may not indicate the visitor’s political leanings. The researchers had to work backward, starting with traditional opinion polls to describe a particular leaning. “Let’s say you have a poll that shows that on a particular day 60 percent of people in a particular state were leaning Democratic,” Crovella says. “You use that to train an algorithm to look at everyone in the data set. You can get an idea of what a Democratic voter looks like in terms of website visits and you carry that forward, looking at subsequent visits and asking how the data is changing.”
The researchers’ say their new data-driven methodology is faster, and much less expensive than traditional polling, and it can zero in on small areas, like towns, and on specific political events that might influence opinions. The research, “Assessing Candidate Preference through Web Browsing,” is published in Proceedings of ACM KDD 2018, London, UK.
Crovella and Christenson’s original work turned up some interesting findings. Their study suggests, for example, that a last-minute dip in support for Hillary Clinton was not precipitated by a letter to Congress that reported that the FBI had found another batch of emails on Clinton’s email server. Instead, the research indicates that support for Clinton had already begun to decline three days before that event.
“This flies in the face of conventional wisdom,” says Christenson. “One of the things that makes social science so difficult is measurement. While polling can be pretty good at this, many polls have a hard time picking up fine-grained movements in particular locales and at particular times. With our approach, we were able to detect the shift in public opinion in close to real time.”
The two researchers, who are developing a method to accomplish the same goals with encrypted data that would improve the privacy of browsers, hope to build a web function that will make their technology available to social scientists and public opinion researchers.
“Ultimately,” says Crovella, “we’d like to provide a new kind of high-resolution microscope for use by the community, and we’d like to be able to open our system to researchers studying opinion dynamics on a wide range of topics.”
“I see this project as having the potential to provide a reliable and valid measure of public opinion that is not limited by time, money, or location, and therefore can provide unique insights into a number of substantive questions across a host of fields,” Christenson says. “The potential applications are virtually endless.”
INTERNATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT COLLABORATION BUSTS SMUGGLERS
Twelve people, including two UK citizens and a Dutch national living in London, have been arrested in Madeira as part of an investigation into drug smuggling on a cruise ship. (National Crime Agency image)
MADEIRA, PORTUGAL – Twelve people, including two UK citizens and a Dutch national living in London, have been arrested in Madeira as part of an investigation into drug smuggling on a cruise ship.
The arrests, which took place on March 24, follow a joint operation involving the National Crime Agency and Judicial Police of Portugal.
The 12, six men and six women all aged between 20 and 52, were detained after the cruise ship MSC Opera arrived into Funchal from the Caribbean.
Approximately 18 kilos of cocaine were recovered by Portuguese officers, contained in bowls and crisp packets.
The haul, if adulterated and sold in the UK, could have had a potential street value in excess of £2 million. Cash and phones were also seized.
Six of those arrested, including the two UK citizens and the Dutch national living in London, had recently arrived on the island from the UK and were due to travel on from Madeira to various locations in Europe, including the UK. Four had been passengers on the cruise.
All 12 have been detained pending prosecution in the Portuguese courts.
Approximately 18 kilos of cocaine were recovered by Portuguese officers, contained in bowls and crisp packets. (National Crime Agency image)
Allan Round, NCA operations manager at the Joint Border Intelligence Unit, said:
“We believe this operation will have seriously disrupted an organized crime group looking to traffick cocaine into the UK and Europe.
“Working with our Portuguese colleagues we have been able to act on intelligence at speed and prevent this quantity of drugs from reaching its final destination.
“Once in the UK we know cocaine generates huge profits for criminal networks who are also involved in street violence and exploitation, so stopping it will help reduce the harm caused by them.”
The Joint Border Intelligence Unit combines staff from the NCA, Border Force and other law enforcement to share intelligence and pursue and disrupt those who attempt to evade UK border controls for criminal purposes.
Trump son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner defended himself Monday, following news that a whistleblower had come forward to talk with a congressional committee about 25 individuals who had been granted White House security clearances, although their applications had been rejected by career officials for "serious disqualifying issues."
"Over the last few years that I've been here, I've been accused of all different types of things, and all of those things have turned out to be false," Kushner said on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle" Monday night. "We've had a lot of crazy accusations, like, that we colluded with Russia. I complied with all the different investigations, whether it be the Senate, the House, the special counsel. I've sat for nearly 20 hours of interviews with them."
And on Monday evening, he implied that his business dealings had contributed to the lengthiness of the vetting process.
"When I came to Washington, I had a very successful business career," he told host Laura Ingraham. "I had extensive holdings. I disclosed all of my holdings for the Office of Government Ethics, and what I did with them is they told me what to divest, what to keep, what rules to follow. We followed all that."
Kushner did not directly answer Ingraham when she referred to the grave concerns expressed by the whistleblower Tricia Newbold, who adjudicated security clearances for the Personnel Security Office.
Asked whether he posed a "grave national security concern to the country," he replied, "Look, I can say that in the White House, I worked with some phenomenal people and I think over the last few years, the president's done a phenomenal job of identifying what are our national security priorities."
And he added, "I hope I've played a good part in pushing those objectives forward. And I think, because of the president's leadership, the world is safer today."
Ingraham also asked Kushner about President Trump's thinking on closing the border with Mexico, noting the tweets he's issued lately, and whether the threat was "to pressure Mexico."
"No, I think it's to pressure everybody," he replied. "This is something that needs a solution."
More Accurate than The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC for Two Years and Counting!
Monday, April 1, 2019
On Monday former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went on with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to discuss the Mueller Report after its release on Sunday.
After two years of investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of angry Democrats did not find any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller also did not find any evidence of conspiracy after President Trump fired crooked leaker FBI Director James Comey.
Clapper defended the Obama administration’s spying on their political opposition during the election.
And then Clapper appeared to put blame on Barack Obama for spying on his opponent during the 2016 presidential election.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The 2017 assessment that the President says he now agrees with, that was done while you and then NCI Director John Brennan were still in office. So, how can we reconcile the President attacking you, but apparently after a very long time finally, allegedly saying — or saying he allegedly agrees with the product of the intelligence community that you, yourself oversaw?
JAMES CLAPPER: Yes, well, this is — yes, as we’ve come to know the President, he is not a stalwart for a consistency or coherence. So it’s very hard to explain that. One point I’d like to make, Anderson, that I don’t think has come up very much before, and I’m alluding now to the President’s criticism of President Obama for all that he did or didn’t do before he left office with respect to the Russian meddling. If it weren’t for President Obama, we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set off a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today, notably, special counsel Mueller’s investigation.
President Obama is responsible for that, and it was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place. I think it’s an important point when it comes to critiquing President Obama.
Special counsel Robert Mueller had become something of a messiah figure to the Trump haters. Like a god, he was remote, white-haired and reputed to work miracles. But Mueller ultimately disappointed his worshipers, establishing none of the Russian collusion they had been banking on to bolster their efforts to overturn the 2016 election.
The Russian collusion story had been an article of faith for the Resistance and the press. But why were so many people so deeply convinced of something that was not true? Who was behind not only concocting this fantastic tale but also embedding it in the highest levels of the Justice Department, the intelligence community and the news media?
This question had been on hold during the Mueller investigation. Government officials could not dig into it because anything they might do publicly would have been denounced as interference or “obstruction.” But with the Mueller phase concluded, the gates have opened.
President Donald Trump (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
President Trump retweeted a link about a Wall Street Journal op-ed saying the Obama administration must account for “abuse of surveillance powers.” “Time to investigate the Obama officials who concocted and spread the Russian conspiracy hoax!” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called for the appointment of a new special counsel. And former George W. Bush administration spokesman Ari Fleischer asked what could be the ultimate question, “What did Barack Obama know and what and when did he authorize it?”
How Obama's team targeted Trump
The Russia investigation did not come from nothing, of course. Moscow did try to influence the 2016 election, part of a long history of attempted involvement in American politics going back to the days of the Comintern. This Russian activity prompted President Obama to tell Vladimir Putin personally to “cut it out” or face “serious consequences.” And the FBI gave the Trump campaign a standard counterintelligence briefing on the possibility of foreign interference in the summer of 2016, multiple government sources told NBC News and CNN.
Yet Obama officials also treated Trump campaign staffers as targets themselves. They used cooperative foreign intelligence services to chat them up overseas, both to put a layer of deniability between them and this questionable behavior, and to get around prohibitions against spying on American citizens. The recently released transcript of the House Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Government Reform and Oversight interview with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos goes into great detail how this targeting was conducted. Papadopoulos claims that foreign governments are now cooperating to reveal more about these activities.
There are also numerous classified documents related to the collusion illusion that have been either hidden or released in severely redacted form. Last September, President Trump instructed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice immediately to declassify materials related to the Russia investigation, including “all text messages … without redaction” of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr, as well as documents concerning the warrant application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for Trump adviser Carter Page.
Democrats objected that declassifying text messages regarding the Russia investigation will compromise FBI “sources and methods,” and the move was delayed after "key allies" objected.
Sources and methods must be known
However, sources and methods are the central question when it comes to investigating the investigators. So far as methods are concerned, what we know about them already are hardly worth being classified. They involve a basic counterintelligence technique, getting people to talk. In the Carter Page case, the target was a marginal character on the periphery of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. This is not exactly on the level of the previously classified methods revealed by Edward Snowden.
But if there were some highly technical, super secret surveillance methods being used against others, including Trump himself, it is imperative that they be revealed. The notion that the U.S. government was ordered to use such advanced tools against a major party presidential campaign or a president himself is to say the least troubling, and potentially a criminal abuse of power.
Yet former National Intelligence Director James Clapper claims that the sketchy dossier was not the main source. OK then, what was? Settling this question publicly is more important than protecting any alleged source. The country was on the verge of a grave constitutional crisis that far outweighed this narrow, and perhaps nonexistent, protection rationale. It’s time to have cards on the table.
Many revelations from this investigation to date have given dramatic weight to the idea that the FBI and intelligence community were engaged in an effort to derail the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and later to use an “insurance policy” to subvert the Trump presidency. It is pointless to continue to argue about this in the dark. If there is evidence that supports the Democrats’ charges in these redacted documents, why not let the public know? Hiding behind “sources and methods” won’t cut it.
Trump should declassify these secrets
Last August, former CIA Director John Brennan on Meet the Press called President Trump’s behavior “treasonous, which is to betray one’s trust and to aiding and abet the enemy, and I stand very much by that claim.” Now he contritely admits that he might have relied on “bad information.” But Brennan was at the center of the collusion myth from the beginning. He had received “bad information” regarding Russian efforts to penetrate the Trump campaign from foreign intelligence sources dating back to 2015.
Early 2016, Brennan convened an interagency task force at Langley that included representatives from the CIA, the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, the Justice Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency. Obama administration officials compiled a list of the key classified documents from this investigation after the 2016 election out of fear that the incoming Trump team would destroy them, according to The New York Times. So where is this list and where are the documents? Who was involved in Brennan’s working group, and were any of them coordinating with the Clinton campaign?
President Trump already has the authority to declassify much of this hidden information. In the spring of 2017, when the president charged that former national security adviser Susan Rice’s “unmasking” of U.S. persons in intelligence products was potentially criminal, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said, “If he’s going to make accusations of criminality against anyone, he needs to show evidence to support that kind of a charge.” Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., added that “if the president wants to say that Susan Rice committed a crime, he has the power to declassify. No one else does.”
Couldn’t agree more.
It is probable that the full Mueller report goes into some of these issues, but it is likely that more investigation will need to be done. Democrats calling for transparency should be careful what they wish for. We are looking at what might be an unprecedented level of government interference in the 2016 election that makes Watergate look like a third-rate burglary.
James S. Robbins, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors and author of "Erasing America: Losing Our Future by Destroying Our Past," has taught at the National Defense University and the Marine Corps University and served as a special assistant in the office of the secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration. Follow him on Twitter: @James_Robbins
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A network of hundreds of social media accounts has been working to boost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election campaign and smear his opponents ahead of next week's election, the New York Times and Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Monday, citing a report by a watchdog group.
The report by the Big Bots Project was written with assistance by the Israeli Alliance, a liberal-leaning organization, the New York Times said. While it found no direct links between the network and Netanyahu or his Likud party, it said the accounts appeared to work in tandem with one another and in coordination with Likud's election campaign.
The network included 154 accounts using fake names, with another 400 accounts suspected of being fake, with all of them apparently being operated by real people and with the posts receiving over 2.5 million hits, the report said. The network has posted about 130,000 tweets since the election was announced, the report said.
The network's activity has increased nearly fivefold since the election was called in December, and it is particularly active at "climactic moments for Netanyahu," the newspaper quoted the report as saying. Its messages were reposted by high-profile people linked to the Likud campaign, including Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister's son, who is an unofficial adviser to the campaign and retweeted members of the network 154 times, according to the report.
All the accounts are linked to one person, Yitzhak Haddad of Ashdod, according to the report, which cited a YouTube channel to which he is in active subscriber that features a message offering money for "responding on Facebook and on the internet with political messages. You just get political messages and you post them."
Haddad admitted to a private investigator that he created videos and posted them online. Asked whether the activity was paid for, he replied, "Yes. [I] post them to Twitter, post it all kinds of places." He also gave an idea of the scale of the operation: "I don't want to say tens of millions," he said, "but loads of money is being invested here. It takes money, there's no volunteering here." He added that he was connected to "very senior people" in Likud. Haddad's attorney said he denied "what was attributed to him" and threatened a million-dollar libel lawsuit against anyone publishing otherwise.
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A Likud spokesman denied the party ran a network of fake accounts and said it had no connection to Haddad.
The network has devoted much of its activity to smearing Netanyahu's primary rival in the election, Benny Gantz, the report said. The evening before the attorney general announced that Netanyahu would be indicted, the network amplified a Facebook post by a woman saying Gantz sexually harassed her when they were in high school, a claim Gantz denied and for which no additional evidence has emerged. Last week, many of the accounts began, almost at the same time, posting messages alleging that Gantz was mentally ill – a claim made in a Likud video clip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yair Lapid. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The international community is sick of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wants the Blue and White Party to form the next government, the party’s No. 2 candidate, Yair Lapid, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview in Tel Aviv on Sunday. Lapid has traveled the world and built up strong ties with a variety of world leaders. If Blue and White wins the April 9 general election, he would be foreign minister under Benny Gantz for the first two-and-a-half years and prime minister for the following year and a half as part of the power-sharing agreement they reached when they formed the party.
“Many of the world leaders I am in touch with desperately want Netanyahu to go,” Lapid said. “Bibi has a problem with the Democratic Party, the more moderate Republicans, the majority of US Jews and the European Union – except [for] some Eastern European countries, especially Poland to whom he shamelessly surrendered the memory of the Jews who died there in WWII. He is doing well in some parts of Africa, Latin America and [with] the American president.”
Lapid said that as foreign minister and then prime minister, he would restore Israel’s bipartisan stature and recognize the Reform and Conservative movements. He said Israel has been insulting the majority of North American Jews for too long. He would also try to repair Israel’s ties with the European Union, which is the Jewish state’s largest trading partner.
“We will apply the Kotel [Western Wall] deal in the shortest possible amount of time – but the thing with politics is that it has to do with the amount of power you have,” he said. “Within three months, there will be a Kotel framework and recognition of all streams of Judaism in this country. This is why I keep telling people they have to make a decision.”
Regarding Lapid’s vow to restore dialogue with both sides of the aisle in Washington, he said that includes the Democratic Party’s controversial new congresswomen.
“The same way we expect the IDF to show up to every battle, I expect the Foreign Ministry to show up to every battle,” he said. “[New York Congresswoman] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is someone we need to talk to, in order to make sure she has the real facts about Israel. Otherwise, she only hears the other side.”
Lapid said that while Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has used unacceptable language, he would not rule out engaging with her as well.
“We have to sit with everyone,” he said. “Anyone who would hear the real facts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would sympathize with us. “What those two Congresswomen don’t know is that the Palestinians are suffering not because of Israel but because of the Palestinian leaders.”
Lapid said that if Blue and White loses the election, his alliance with Gantz would stay together, because Netanyahu’s government would last less than a year and then fall apart, after an indictment expected to be issued by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit. He said he expected Gantz to keep his word and not join Netanyahu’s government.
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He rejected speculation that President Reuven Rivlin would ask Netanyahu to form the government if the Center-Right wins a majority on April 9, even if Blue and White wins more seats than Netanyahu’s Likud.
“In an election, someone loses and someone wins,” he said. “If we win by four or five seats, no force on Earth can stop us from forming the government.”
He also said that he doesn’t think Gantz will try to enter Netanyahu’s government if the Likud leader receives the presidential mandate to form the next government. If Blue and White wins the elections, he said the first phone calls would be to a “post-Netanyahu” Likud and the Labor Party, as part of an effort to form a national unity government.
“I think [it] will be part of the healing process that the Israeli people need,” he said.
Blue and White’s message, he said, is that it is possible to lead a party, bring change to the country, not be corrupt and put the Israeli people first.
“Bibi is not going to do anything different now that he hasn’t done in 13 years,” Lapid said. “He has been there too long, and it is time for change… Having a government that works for you is going to be a refreshing change for the country – one that works for you, is not corrupt and has new ideas.”
Regarding Gaza, Lapid said that Netanyahu’s mistake was not using the quiet during the three years after Operation Protective Edge in 2014 to bring real change to the Gaza Strip. His party, he said, would advance humanitarian projects and work to change the reality in Gaza to create a price for Hamas if it decides to engage in terrorism against Israel.
Lapid said that the current election campaign was the “ugliest, filthiest and [most] shameful campaign” in Israeli history, and that it has made him angry and disgusted. He said that there was always negativity that came from the “margins,” but that now, it is coming from the “primary candidates” like Netanyahu.
“The worst language and the lowest standards – verbal and behavioral – are those of Bibi, and he is desperate. I never saw anything like it: that an Israeli prime minister is going out there, spreading the worst false rumors in a way you don’t see among the worst European populists.”
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And Vladimir Putin has a message for Adam Levine, too.
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