Connect with us


Josh Hawley Loves To Accuse Others Of Doing What He Actually Did

Josh Hawley Loves To Accuse Others Of Doing What He Actually Did
Josh Hawley Loves To Accuse Others Of Doing What He Actually Did

A Democratic proposal to add seats to the Supreme Court is nothing more than an attempt to “overturn the results of past elections,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told HuffPost on Thursday.

That’s a weirdly provocative way to describe increasing the number of Supreme Court justices, but it’s just the latest example of Hawley, who helped former President Donald Trump try to overturn the results of the 2020 election, accusing someone else of doing something that Hawley himself actually did.

Trump used the same sort of rhetorical appropriation to twist the term “fake news” from a description of wholly made-up viral articles into a derisive catchall for any story that reflected poorly on him. Hawley seems to be trying to pull this trick with anything anyone says about him.

After a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, observers of every political persuasion noted that Hawley had helped incite said mob. Some donors disowned him, and his publisher called off his forthcoming book. But Hawley said that actually, he, Josh Hawley, was the victim of a “woke mob at Simon & Schuster” ― one of many imaginary mobs Hawley would eventually say were out to get him.

The next day, President Joe Biden likened election fraud propaganda from Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to “the big lie” as told by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. “They’re part of the big lie, the big lie,” Biden said.

The senators were offended. Hawley called Biden’s comments “undignified, immature, and intemperate,” not to mention “utterly shameful” and “sick.”

But guess what? As of this month, Hawley has apparently changed his mind about the propriety of a “big lie” accusation. On Twitter, he accused Biden of “telling his Big Lie about election integrity legislation in Georgia.”

Hawley told HuffPost the key difference between what he said and what Biden said is that Biden specifically “compared me to the Nazi propaganda minister” because he named Goebbels in his rambling remarks. Hawley rejected the idea that the term “big lie,” by itself, has a Nazi connotation. 

It’s true that the “big lie” propaganda technique is not exclusive to Nazis, though Adolf Hitler pioneered it. 

“He basically says [in his book ′Mein Kampf] that the little people will believe you if you tell them a lie that is bigger than their imagination of how much someone could lie,” Timothy Snyder, Yale University’s Levin professor of history, said in an email. “He ascribes this to the Jews, but it is of course what he does himself. For this reason, the idea of a big lie is associated with Hitler.”

Snyder, an expert on the history of eastern and central Europe, has argued for months that Trump’s false claims of election fraud are a big lie that threaten American democracy. In November, he predicted that the lie would lead to violence, which, of course, it did. Now, he says, Republicans are institutionalizing the lie through election law changes inspired by Trump’s bogus fraud claims, such as the new law in Georgia.   

“Once we build political order around a big lie, it cannot be a democratic political order,” Snyder said. “Democracy can handle lots of little lies, but it cannot handle a fiction which accords some people the right to vote and denies it to others.”

Plenty of Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have sought to water down the concept of the “big lie,” using the term to describe Biden’s inaccurate description of Georgia’s new voting law, which requires ID numbers on mail-in ballots and sets limits on drop boxes, among many other provisions. But Biden’s incorrect characterization of a state election law is a far cry from Trump’s reality-warping campaign to convince his voters the election was systematically stolen from them. 

Hawley, for his part, has trivialized not only the idea of a “big lie” but also the dire warnings that others have sounded in recent years about threats to democracy, overriding “the voice of the people” and undoing elections.

He called a long-shot Democratic proposal to expand the Supreme Court “a deliberate attempt to fundamentally change a core institution of American government and to overturn ― effectively overturn the results of past elections, in the sense that they’re quite openly and deliberately trying to undo the results of President Trump’s election in 2016, in terms of his ability to appoint three justices and to dilute that.”

Hawley denied that he’s projecting his own actions onto his political opponents.

“I’m just calling it as I see it,” he said.

Igor Bobic contributed reporting.

Source link

Click to comment


Biden Shutters Trump-Era Office For Crimes Allegedly Committed By Immigrants

Biden Shutters Trump-Era Office For Crimes Allegedly Committed By Immigrants
Biden Shutters Trump-Era Office For Crimes Allegedly Committed By Immigrants

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Biden administration said Friday it has dismantled a Trump-era government office to help victims of crimes committed by immigrants, a move that symbolizes President Joe Biden’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s repeated efforts to link immigrants to crime.

Trump created the Victim Of Immigration Crime Engagement Office, known by its acronym VOICE, by executive order during his first week in office in January 2017.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it was replacing VOICE with a “more comprehensive and inclusive victim support system.”

VOICE will be replaced by The Victims Engagement and Services Line, which will combine longstanding existing services, such as methods for people to report abuse and mistreatment in immigration detention centers and a notification system for lawyers and others with a vested interest in immigration cases.

The new office will add a service for potential recipients of visas designated for victims of human trafficking or violent crimes in the United States.

“Providing assistance to society’s most vulnerable is a core American value. All people, regardless of their immigration status, should be able to access victim services without fear,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Stephen Miller, a key architect of Trump’s immigration policies, called the decision to close VOICE a “moral stain on the conscience of our nation.”

He likened the new office to the Drug Enforcement Administration opening “a call center to help drug dealers get lawyers and amnesty for their crimes.”

The Department of Homeland Security “is a law enforcement agency, not a legal help center for criminals and lawbreakers,” Miller said.

Jon Feere, an ICE official during the Trump administration, said he referred a man to VOICE whose sister was killed by an intoxicated driver and that the office helped families understand the status of immigration cases.

The change of tone regarding immigration has been striking between the two administrations.

While studies suggest immigrants are less likely to commit crime than native-born, Trump relentlessly sought to establish a link. He launched his 2016 presidential campaign by portraying Mexicans in the country illegally as violent criminals and frequently highlighted the MS-13 gang, which was started by Salvadoran immigrants.

To advance his immigration agenda, Trump invited “angel families” — people whose loved ones had been victims of crimes by immigrants — to campaign rallies and high-profile speeches.

Trump’s office for victims of violent crimes appears to have had little impact.

Its most recent quarterly report posted online for the last three months of 2018 said it fielded 781 calls during the three-month period — and that just 256 of the calls pertained to services it offered. About half were requests on the status of immigration cases, and many of the rest were referrals for assistance, such as social services to help cope with impacts of domestic violence or assault.

The office was used as a platform by the Trump administration to promote a link between immigrants and crime.

“I’ve had to hold the hand of too many mothers who lost a child to a DUI or somebody else who’s been raped by an illegal alien or someone with a nexus to immigration,” Barbara Gonzalez, the then-director of VOICE, told reporters in October 2019. “It is a problem we cannot ignore as a country.

In April, the Biden administration ordered U.S. officials to avoid using terms like “illegal alien” and instead use the phrase “undocumented noncitizen.”

Vice President Kamala Harris drew strong criticism from some of the administration’s pro-immigration allies for telling would-be migrants during a visit to Guatemala on Monday, “Do not come … Do not come,” and that they would be denied entry at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Associated Press writer Julie Watson contributed to this report.

Source link

Continue Reading


Progressives Ponder Their Least-Worst Option In NYC Mayoral Race

Progressives Ponder Their Least-Worst Option In NYC Mayoral Race
Progressives Ponder Their Least-Worst Option In NYC Mayoral Race

The New York City mayor’s race has been a nightmare for left-leaning voters. 

The campaigns of city Comptroller Scott Stringer and former nonprofit executive Dianne Morales ― respectively, the most seasoned and most ideologically pure progressive candidates ― have lost steam in varied but embarrassing ways, depriving the left of two its favored contenders.

Of course, no one can predict how ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to list their top five picks, will complicate the outcome. 

There’s still a chance that either former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia ― a moderate tolerated by the left ― or Maya Wiley, a former counselor to Mayor Bill de Blasio ― a progressive behind whom the left is coalescing at the last minute ― will prevail in the June 22 Democratic primary.

The most likely scenario, though, remains a showdown between the two moderate lightning rods who have dominated the polls for months ― former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. 

Officially, progressive organizations eager not to prematurely give up on a Wiley upset have written off side-by-side assessments of Adams and Yang as a false choice ― or worse, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Instead, groups like Our City PAC are instructing progressive voters to omit both men from their ranked-choice ballot.

Progressives are asking which brand of rope they want to be hanged with.
Sean McElwee, Data for Progress

“Neither Yang nor Adams should get any support from anyone who shares our values,” said Gabe Tobias, a former campaign staffer for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who is running Our City PAC. “Both of them present really clear dangers to what we want to achieve in the city.”

But given the criticism that Wiley elicited from civil rights advocates during her tenure atop the New York Police Department’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, even her victory would be bittersweet for progressive stalwarts and socialists. 

“The potential for real, transformational change is very limited, no matter who wins,” said Matt Thomas, a Sunnyside, Queens, resident active in the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Privately, many progressive New York City voters have accepted the likelihood that either Yang, a former test prep entrepreneur who has never voted in a city election, or Adams, a former NYPD captain who was a registered Republican in the late 1990s, is going to be the next mayor.

With no guidance from progressive institutions like the Working Families Party, these voters are now deliberating over whether Yang or Adams is less objectionable, and thus which one is the lesser evil to rank fourth or fifth on their ballots, rather than omit altogether.

“Progressives are asking which brand of rope they want to be hanged with,” said Sean McElwee, a Harlem resident and co-founder of the think tank Data for Progress, who has not decided whom he prefers between Yang and Adams.

Progressives are suspicious of Yang's ties to venture capitalist and political consultant Bradley Tusk.

Progressives are suspicious of Yang’s ties to venture capitalist and political consultant Bradley Tusk.

The Beast You Know Vs. A Fresh Start

Asked about what makes Yang more progressive than Adams, Yang’s campaign emphasized his plans to provide $2,000 in cash relief to the 500,000 poorest New Yorkers, create a “people’s bank” for unbanked New Yorkers, and decriminalize sex work. They also highlighted Yang’s support for a state-level, single-payer health care bill over which he would have no direct say as mayor. 

Sasha Ahuja, a social worker and former head of the city’s equal employment commission, told HuffPost that she took the job as co-manager of Yang’s campaign precisely because she was disappointed in de Blasio’s failure to live up to his progressive potential as mayor.

“In this moment, New York really needs a champion, really needs a big thinker who is going to move big ideas forward and is not going to say, ‘Oh, I can’t, because of such-and-such,’” Ahuja said.

Both Yang and Adams are cozy with real estate developers and have benefited from the support of super PACs funded by a handful of conservative-leaning, super-rich individuals eager to elect a business-friendly mayor. 

And both men are relatively supportive of traditional policing. They decry calls to reduce police funding, want more cops in subways stations, and want to reconstitute the NYPD’s controversial plainclothes anti-crime unit.

But there are subtle differences. While Adams declined to state how many affordable housing units a year he would commit to creating as mayor, Yang has promised to create 30,000 new units annually.

Eric’s not an unknown entity to us. He’s been a friend to working people.
Kyle Bragg, president, SEIU 32BJ

On the other hand, unlike Yang, Adams supports a modest, temporary increase in income taxes for city residents earning more than $5 million a year, and has come out in support of repealing NYPD officers’ “qualified immunity” from civil lawsuits. A survivor of police brutality and a voice against racism within police ranks during his 22 years on the force, Adams has said he wants to make it easier to sue individual cops for misconduct, while making sure “we do not go after officers who are carrying out lawful actions.”

Adams also has his own version of “cash assistance”: He wants to match 60% of the federal earned income tax credit for families making $50,000 a year or less.  

“Eric Adams is one of the most progressive candidates in the race,” Adams campaign spokeswoman Madia Coleman said in a statement. “Eric has been fighting for civil rights, racial justice, and police reform for decades — issues which many candidates seem to have just been introduced to.”

More often though, the debate about the two candidates is less about policy than about their personal affect, background, and respective political coalitions.

As Yang is fond of noting, Adams has been the subject of corruption investigations by federal, state and local governments. And while none resulted in an indictment, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that he has used his career in elected office since 2006 ― first as a state senator, and now as borough president ― to fatten the profits of donors and friends, before recycling their money back into his campaign or an adjacent nonprofit not subject to campaign contribution limits.

And unlike Yang, who claims to have voted for Cynthia Nixon over New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the 2018 Democratic primary, Adams has fought in the trenches against the city’s nascent progressive community. In 2018, he backed then-state Sen. Jesse Hamilton, a member of the rogue Independent Democratic Conference that helped keep the state Senate in Republican hands, against his successful challenger, current central Brooklyn state Sen. Zellnor Myrie. 

“He’s the epitome of establishment politics,” said state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D), a progressive supporting Yang. “I don’t think anything would change under Adams.”

Some progressives see Adams' ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio, right, as a selling point. Others see it as a sign that he would h

Some progressives see Adams’ ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio, right, as a selling point. Others see it as a sign that he would have more of de Blasio’s flaws than Yang would.

A ‘Blue-Collar Mayor’ With Ties To Big Money

Even assuming that Adams is more of an old-school horse trader, to some progressives, the prospect of a classic, machine politician is less frightening than the unknowns posed by a Yang mayoralty. 

It even reminds these liberals of de Blasio, an ethically challenged mayor whose clumsy brand of progressivism is getting a second look as primary day approaches. De Blasio, who has not endorsed anyone in the race, is reportedly campaigning for Adams behind the scenes.

“De Blasio’s the best damn mayor we’ve ever had and if he likes Adams, I take that seriously,” said McElwee, before noting that he is still unsure whether Adams is more palatable than Yang.

Major labor unions representing hundreds of thousands of workers are a pillar of Adams’ “establishment” support, indicating that while real estate developers and other wealthy interests would have a seat at Adams’ table, workers would too. It’s part of why Adams is so insistent that he would be a “blue-collar mayor.” (Yang is endorsed by two smaller unions, compared with more than a dozen backing Adams.)

“Eric was a blue-collar worker,” said Kyle Bragg, president of SEIU 32BJ, which has endorsed Adams and represents 85,000 janitors, security guards and other property workers in New York City. “Anyone trying to say a police officer is not a blue-collar worker, well, then I don’t know. They’re as blue-collar as anyone else.”

Notwithstanding Adams’ relationships with real-estate tycoons, Adams has had 32BJ’s back during difficult contract fights, according to Bragg.

“Eric’s not an unknown entity to us,” he said. “He’s been a friend to working people.”

Just because you have the progressive label doesn’t mean you’re doing everything you can to stand by worker rights.
New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D)

Whether they are in a union or not, city residents without a college degree prefer Adams by a significant margin. Adams has the support of 29.7% of registered Democrats without a college degree, compared with Yang’s 16.7%, according to an Emerson College/WPIX poll released on June 6.

To Duncan Bryer, a former policy adviser to democratic socialist state Sen. Julia Salazar (D), progressives’ conflation of Adams with Yang reflects a betrayal of their professed commitment to champion working-class voters.

“While both candidates are receiving support from objectionable interests, Adams’s base is working class New Yorkers and low income communities,” Bryer said. “On crime — where Adams and progressives are most at odds — perhaps some introspection is in order on the part of progressives in how they think about crime, how New Yorkers who live in neighborhoods with the highest crime rates feel, and basing their political judgements and policy solutions on that.”

Bryer is one of many progressives concerned about Yang’s ties to Bradley Tusk, a venture capitalist, political consultant and former consigliere to then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Tusk, a centrist power broker, has blurred the lines between business and politics by, for example, lobbying against government regulations for Uber and benefiting personally as an Uber equity holder.

While Tusk is not officially affiliated with the campaign and Yang has insisted on his independence, Yang’s co-campaign managers — Ahuja and Chris Coffey — as well as many other top staffers hail from Tusk’s firm. Tusk’s comment to a New York Times columnist that Yang is an “empty vessel” only added to fears that Yang is a Trojan horse for the same “special interests” he rails against on the stump ― especially the disruptive machinations of Big Tech. 

New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D), one of Albany's more outspoken progressives, believes that Yang is receptive to left-leanin

New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D), one of Albany’s more outspoken progressives, believes that Yang is receptive to left-leaning arguments.

An ‘Empty Vessel’ Or An Open Mind?

Yang’s boosters have implicitly tried to co-opt the characterization of him as a blank slate, arguing that Yang possesses a unique openness to new ideas, including progressive ones. 

If Yang is indeed an “empty vessel,” they suggest, progressives should seize the chance to fill that vessel on their terms.

Kim believes that he already has had success in this regard. He secured Yang’s support for a pledge to back hundreds of older Asian American home health aides locked in a legal fight with a nonprofit health care provider over wages for 24-hour shifts that the workers say were stolen from them.

By contrast, many of his colleagues in city and state politics with more progressive reputations than Yang have fallen short in that fight, Kim noted.

“Just because you have the progressive label doesn’t mean you’re doing everything you can to stand by worker rights,” Kim said. “Whereas Andrew, because of his independence and his detachment from any established order, he can make the right call that this is wrong.”

Ahuja envisions Yang combining some of liberal mayors’ compassion with more efficient management of the city government ― a prerequisite, Ahuja and others maintain, for more lasting, transformative change than de Blasio was able to achieve.

“It’s hard to navigate a big, complex bureaucracy, but also have a champion at the very top who’s going to say, ‘We’re going to get it done,’” Ahuja said. “The freedom and the liberty that Andrew has to govern and do the right thing for everyday people ― that is a breath of fresh air.”

Source link

Continue Reading


YouTube Suspends GOP Sen. Ron Johnson For COVID-19 ‘Misinformation’

YouTube Suspends GOP Sen. Ron Johnson For COVID-19 ‘Misinformation’
YouTube Suspends GOP Sen. Ron Johnson For COVID-19 ‘Misinformation’

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Sen. Ron Johnson was suspended Friday from uploading videos to YouTube for one week, after the company said he violated its COVID-19 “medical misinformation policies.”

The Wisconsin Republican’s removal stems from statements he made during a June 3 Milwaukee Press Club event, which were posted to YouTube. He criticized the Trump and Biden administrations for “not only ignoring but working against robust research (on) the use of cheap, generic drugs to be repurposed for early treatment of COVID,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

A YouTube spokesperson said: “We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don’t allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus.”

The company’s policy says it doesn’t allow content that spreads medical misinformation contradicting local health authorities or the World Health Organization’s information about COVID-19.

Johnson blasted the website.

“YouTube’s ongoing COVID censorship proves they have accumulated too much unaccountable power,” he said in a statement. “Big Tech and mainstream media believe they are smarter than medical doctors who have devoted their lives to science and use their skills to save lives. They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies.”

Video of Johnson’s full speech was still on the Milwaukee Press Club’s YouTube channel as of Friday afternoon.

Corri Hess, Milwaukee Press Club President tweeted: “This on the record event with journalists will remain on the Press Club’s YouTube site.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus

Source link

Continue Reading


Watergate’s John Dean: New Donald Trump Scandal Is ‘Nixon On Stilts And Steroids’

Watergate’s John Dean: New Donald Trump Scandal Is ‘Nixon On Stilts And Steroids’
Watergate’s John Dean: New Donald Trump Scandal Is ‘Nixon On Stilts And Steroids’

The Trump Justice Department’s secret seizure of the smartphone data of Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee is “Nixon on stilts and steroids,” so-called Watergate “master manipulator” John Dean said Friday.

Dean, who served as White House counsel to Richard Nixon before flipping on the then-president over the Watergate scandal, told CNN’s Erin Burnett that the actions of the Trump DOJ went far beyond what his former boss ever did.

He said comparisons with Nixon were wide of the mark.

“Nixon didn’t have that kind of Department of Justice,” said Dean.

He then recalled how the Nixon administration responded to the leak of the classified Pentagon Papers detailing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

I got a call from the Oval Office the day after he learned that, and could the Department of Justice bring a criminal action for this? Called over, found out the short answer was they could, but they won’t. So Nixon couldn’t use the department as he wanted to.

Burnett asked Dean if the Trump DOJ’s actions went “beyond what Nixon did.”

“It is beyond Nixon, yes,” Dean responded. “It’s Nixon on stilts and steroids.”

Watch the interview here:

Source link

Continue Reading


Seized House Records Show Just How Far Trump Admin Would Go

Seized House Records Show Just How Far Trump Admin Would Go
Seized House Records Show Just How Far Trump Admin Would Go

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump has made no secret of his long list of political enemies. It just wasn’t clear until now how far he would go to try to punish them.

Two House Democrats disclosed this week that their smartphone data was secretly obtained by the Trump Justice Department as part of an effort to uncover the source of leaks related to the investigation of Russian-related election interference.

It was a stunning revelation that one branch of government was using its power to gather private information on another, a move that carried echoes of President Richard Nixon during Watergate.

On Friday, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog announced that it was investigating the records seizure. And Democratic leaders in Congress are demanding that former top Justice officials testify before a Senate committee to explain why the iPhone records of Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both Democrats, and their family members were secretly subpoenaed in 2018. The records of at least 12 people were eventually shared by Apple.

The dispute showed that the rancorous partisan fights that coursed through the Trump presidency continue to play out in new and potentially damaging ways even as the Biden administration has worked to put those turbulent four years in the past.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates said the conduct of Trump’s Justice Department was a shocking misuse of authority.

“Attorneys general’s only loyalty should be to the rule of law — never to politics,” he said.

The disclosure that the records had been seized raised a number of troubling questions. Who else may have been targeted? What was the legal justification to target members of Congress? Why did Apple, a company that prides itself on user privacy, hand over the records? And what end was the Trump Justice Department pursuing?

The revelations also are forcing the Biden Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland to wade back into a fight with their predecessors.

“The question here is just how did Trump use his political power to go after his enemies — how did he use the government for his political benefit,” said Kathleen Clark, legal ethics scholar at Washington University in St. Louis.

The effort to obtain the data came as Trump was publicly and privately fuming over investigations by Congress and then-special counsel Robert Mueller into his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia.

Trump inveighed against leaks throughout his time in office, accusing a “deep state” of working to undermine him by sharing unflattering information. He repeatedly called on his Justice Department and attorneys general to “go after the leakers,” including singling out former FBI Director James Comey and Schiff, now chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Schiff and Swalwell were two of the most visible Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, then led by Republicans, during the Russia inquiry. Both California lawmakers made frequent appearances on cable news shows. Trump watched those channels closely and seethed over the coverage.

There’s no indication that the Justice Department used the records to prosecute anyone. After some of the leaked information was declassified and made public during the later years of the Trump administration, there was concern among some of the prosecutors that even if they could bring a leak case, trying it would be difficult and a conviction would be unlikely, one person told The Associated Press. That person, a committee official and a third person with knowledge of the data seizures were granted anonymity to discuss them.

Federal agents questioned at least one former committee staff member in 2020, the person said, and ultimately, prosecutors weren’t able to substantiate a case.

For decades, the Justice Department had worked to maintain strict barriers with the White House to avoid being used as a political tool to address a president’s personal grievance.

For some, the Trump administration’s effort is more disturbing than Nixon’s actions during Watergate that forced his resignation. Nixon’s were done in secret out of the White House, while the Trump administration moves to take the congressmen’s records were approved by top Justice Department officials and worked on by prosecutors, who obtained secret subpoenas from a federal judge and then gag orders to keep them quiet.

“The fate of Richard Nixon had a restraining effect on political corruption in America,” said Timothy Naftali, a Nixon scholar and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. “It didn’t last forever, but the Republican Party wanted to cleanse itself of Nixon’s bad apples and bad actors.”

The Republican Party is far too aligned with Trump to do that now, but it doesn’t mean Biden should let it go, Naftali said.

“The reason to do this is not revenge,” Naftali said. “It’s to send a signal to future American lawyers they will be held accountable.”

While the Justice Department routinely conducts investigations of leaked information, including classified intelligence, opening such an investigation into members of Congress is extraordinarily rare.

A less rare but still uncommon tool is to secretly seize reporters’ phone records, something the Trump Justice Department also did. Following an outcry from press freedom organizations, Garland announced last week that it would cease the practice of going after journalists’ sourcing information.

The subpoenas were issued in 2018, when Jeff Sessions was attorney general, though he had recused himself in the Russia investigation, putting his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, in charge of Russia-related matters. The investigation later picked up momentum again under Attorney General William Barr.

Apple informed the committee last month that the records had been shared and that the investigation had been closed, but did not give extensive detail. Also seized were the records of aides, former aides and family members, one of them a minor, according to the committee official.

The Justice Department obtained metadata — probably records of calls, texts and locations — but not other content from the devices, like photos, messages or emails, according to one of the people. Another said that Apple complied with the subpoena, providing the information to the Justice Department, and did not immediately notify the members of Congress or the committee about the disclosure.

And the people whose records were seized were unable to challenge the Justice Department because the subpoenas went to Apple directly. The gag order was renewed three times before it lapsed and the company informed its customers May 5 what had happened.

Apple said in a statement that it couldn’t even challenge the warrants because it had so little information available and “it would have been virtually impossible for Apple to understand the intent of the desired information without digging through users’ accounts.”

Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the seizure of congressional records was part of a series of Trump-era investigations that “raise profound civil liberties concerns and involve spying powers that have no place in our democracy.”

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Mary Clare Jalonick, Nomaan Merchant and Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.

Source link

Continue Reading


Vladimir Putin Dismisses Joe Biden’s Assertion That He Is A ‘Killer’

Vladimir Putin Dismisses Joe Biden’s Assertion That He Is A ‘Killer’
Vladimir Putin Dismisses Joe Biden’s Assertion That He Is A ‘Killer’

Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed off Joe Biden’s assertion that he is a “killer” days before an expected meeting with the U.S. president. 

In an interview with NBC News, excerpts of which the outlet posted Friday, journalist Keir Simmons noted that Biden was asked earlier this year whether he thought Putin was a “killer” and Biden said, “I do.” 

Simmons then asked Putin directly if this is true, to which Putin laughed and said: “Over my tenure, I’ve gotten used to attacks from all kinds of angles and from all kinds of areas, under all kinds of pretext and reasons, and of different caliber and fierceness, and none of it surprises me.” 

Simmons pressed further, naming political opponents of Putin’s who’ve been killed, and Putin responded: “Look, you know, I don’t want to come across as being rude, but this looks like some kind of indigestion except that it’s verbal indigestion. You’ve mentioned many individuals who indeed suffered and perished at different points in time for various reasons, at the hands of different individuals.”  

Over the years, a number of Putin critics have been killed or sickened or have died in mysterious ways. British intelligence linked Russia to the 2018 poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in a bold attack on foreign soil. 

In the interview with NBC, Simmons asked Putin to compare Biden to former President Donald Trump — whom critics accused of being soft on Russia — and Putin replied by calling Trump “talented” and “a colorful individual.”

Biden is “radically different from Trump,” Putin said, because he is a “career man” who “spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics.” 

“It is my great hope that yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting U.S. president,” Putin said.

Biden and Putin are expected to meet in person at a summit in Geneva on June 16 amid heightened tensions between the two countries. 

The Biden administration has sanctioned Russia in response to the Russian government’s interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, as well as its alleged role in the SolarWinds cyberattack, in which hackers accessed the data of several U.S. agencies and dozens of private companies. The Biden administration has also criticized Russia over its alleged poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is now imprisoned.

Just weeks after taking office earlier this year, Biden said that he’d communicated to the Russian president in a call that the U.S. would not be “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions, interfering with our elections, cyber-attacks, poisoning citizens.” 

Trump was often called out for being too friendly with Putin, even as U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in an effort to aid Trump’s win.  

Biden is currently in Britain for a meeting with the Group of Seven leaders, including U.S. allies Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Source link

Continue Reading

Recent Posts