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Monday, April 22, 2019

Lawrence's Last Word: Robert Mueller Exposes Sarah Sanders' Lies | The L...

Opinion | Impeach Donald Trump? - The New York Times







"April 21st, 2019

Obstruction of justice is a crime. The decision is clear.   Cnarles Blow NY Times.



The Mueller report has been released, with redactions of course, and it is a damning document. Not only does it detail Russian efforts to attack our election to help the Trump campaign and the Trump campaign’s eager acceptance of that help, it paints a picture of Donald Trump as an unethical man with no regard for the rule of law.



In this report, we see a president who doesn’t deserve to be president. We see attempts over and over to obstruct justice, which in some cases succeed.



The question is: What are we going to do about it? Obstruction of justice is a crime. If Trump committed that crime, he’s a criminal. Are we simply going to allow a criminal to sit in the Oval Office and face no consequence? Are we simply going to let the next presidential election be the point at which Trump is punished or rewarded?



It is maddening to think that we are at such a pass. But, my mind is made up: I say impeach him.



I know all the arguments against.



First, even if the House voted to impeach Trump, the Senate would never vote to convict and remove him. This is the “failed impeachment” theory.



But, I say that there is no such thing as a failed impeachment. Impeachment exists separately from removal. Impeachment in the House is akin to an indictment, with the trial, which could convict and remove, taking place in the Senate. The Senate has never once voted to convict.



So, an impeachment vote in the House has, to this point, been the strongest rebuke America is willing to give a president. I can think of no president who has earned this rebuke more than the current one.



And, once a president is impeached, he is forever marked. It is a chastisement unto itself. It is the People’s House making a stand for its people.



Then there is the idea that an impeachment would be contentious and increase public support for Trump the way it did for Bill Clinton.



But I find the conflation of Clinton and Trump ill-reasoned on the issue of the public’s response in polling.



First, Clinton’s approval was subject to change in a way Trump’s is not. Clinton experienced a 40-point swing in his approval over his presidency, according to Gallup. Trump’s seems almost impervious to change, no matter the news.



People either love Trump or hate him. Impeachment will most likely not change that any more than Trump seeing fine people among Nazis or locking children in cages.



Furthermore, Clinton jumped 10 points, from 63 percent 73 percent, just after the House voted to impeach him. But, five month later, those gains had vanished and then some. His approval rating sank to 53 percent.



I’m tired of all the fear and trepidation.



Senate Republicans are worried about getting on the wrong side of the Republican base.



Mitt Romney wrote in a statement on Friday, “I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President.”



But, will that sickness give birth to action? No, if the last two years is our guide. This is the strongest statement among Republican senators, but it is as toothless as a baby’s mouth. This admonition is idle.



House Democrats, at least the leadership, are afraid of looking like they have a blood lust and inadvertently increasing Trump’s chances of re-election.



Folks, this is not the 1990s. Until 1996, CNN was the only cable news network. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist. Google wasn’t founded until 1998. Cellphones were in their infancy, and few people had them.



Furthermore, the massive — and growing — amount of campaign spending will drown out anything that happened months prior.



In 1996, Clinton raised $42 million for his re-election bid; in 2012, Obama raised a billion for his.



And finally, there was no President Trump in the 1990s producing a head-scratching number of headlines each day. Trump can’t ride a victory nor will he be crestfallen in defeat. There would likely be untold new outrages even after an impeachment.



As for me, I’m afraid of lawlessness and the horrible precedent it would set if Congress does nothing.



On Friday, Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter that “the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”



In another tweet she explained:



“To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways.”



I worry that inaction enshrines that idea that the American president is above America’s laws. I worry that silent acquiescence bends our democracy toward monarchy, or dictatorship.



As Thomas Paine wrote in 1776, “In America the law is king.” He continued: “For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”



Who will we let be king in this country, the president or the law?"



Opinion | Impeach Donald Trump? - The New York Times

Robert Mueller Report: Outline For Prosecution | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Rep. Ted Lieu: If Trump Obstructed Justice, Impeachment Should Be On The...

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Joy & Happiness

Sarah Sanders Caught Lying. So She Lies Again It's in the Mueller report.. | All In | MSNBC

Opinion | Mr. Mueller’s Indictment - The New York Times

“We determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the president committed crimes,” the report explains, because “fairness concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges can be brought.”

In other words, Mr. Mueller felt his hands were tied. Longstanding Justice Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president, and it isn’t fair to make accusations without giving the president a legal forum in which to respond.

A bit further on, the 448-page report says, “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”

So what now? Although Mr. Mueller was unable to bring criminal charges against the president himself, his report lays a foundation for investigation by Congress, which has the authority and the responsibility to check the executive branch and hold the president accountable. “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,” the report states.

It is up to Congress to decide whether the behavior described in this report meets an acceptable standard for the country’s chief executive.

In order to adequately conduct such an investigation, Congress must have access to a fully uncensored version of the report and all its underlying materials. Congressional leaders are right to subpoena the full report, as the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said he would do on Thursday.

The public also has a right to hear Mr. Mueller testify before Congress at the earliest opportunity.

Descriptions in the public version of the report of the ways in which the president used, and abused, his powers challenge the dignity of the presidency and the free and fair function of the justice system. The special counsel investigated 11 incidents in which the president may have obstructed justice, the same offense facing Richard Nixon during Watergate and Bill Clinton during his impeachment.

The report notes that the president engaged in “public attacks on the investigation, nonpublic efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation.” That the president’s norm-shattering behavior has become so flagrant and familiar doesn’t make it right.

Little wonder that Mr. Trump, when notified that a special counsel had been appointed to scrutinize his behavior, reportedly slumped in his chair and said: “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

In addition to indicting, convicting or securing guilty pleas from 34 people, the special counsel’s office made 14 referrals for further investigation of potential criminal activity outside the purview of the investigation’s mandate. Twelve of those referrals remain secret.

The report is more definitive when it comes to the extensive interference by Russian spies and hackers in the 2016 election, a campaign of disruption it calls “sweeping and systematic.”

Mr. Mueller’s investigation found that “the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.” Mr. Mueller was not able in the end to establish definitive coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

At the same time, large sections of the report, apparently regarding dealings between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign, have been blacked out. Mr. Barr said Thursday that any such coordination between the website and the campaign wouldn’t be criminal. Congress and the American people deserve to know what happened nonetheless.

If the report — and the entire saga around the Russia investigation — has one through-line, it is the dishonesty at the heart of the Trump administration. The president told Mr. McGahn to lie to reporters about Mr. Trump’s attempt to fire the special prosecutor. The press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, made up from whole cloth the notion that “rank-and-file F.B.I. agents had lost confidence” in the ousted director, James Comey. Half a dozen people connected with the Mueller investigation have been formally charged with — or pleaded guilty to — lying to investigators.

Then on Thursday, just before the report was made public, the attorney general tarnished himself and undermined the integrity of his office by dissembling about what the report said.

By contrast, the special prosecutor’s report illustrates again and again that, despite Mr. Trump’s constant cries of “fake news,” the responsible news media’s reporting on the investigation was overwhelmingly accurate.

Mr. Mueller may have thought he couldn’t indict a president in the legal sense of the term, but he has delivered a devastating description of Mr. Trump’s attempts to abuse his powers and corrupt his aides. This report, even in its censored format, is an important step toward putting the truth of this presidency in the public record. But there’s still a long way to go before it can be said that justice has been done."

Opinion | Mr. Mueller’s Indictment - The New York Times

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Mueller report lays out ten counts of obstruction of justice committed by Trump but some people believe in a dual system of justice. The4y believe in King Trump the First. I am not one of them.


Mueller defers to Congress on Trump obstruction judgment Was Robert Mueller’s decision not to make a judgment on obstruction his way of leaving it up to Congress to decide whether Donald Trump is guilty of this allegation? Joy Reid and her panel discuss the 10 episodes of potential obstruction of justice outlined - AM Joy on MSNBC



AM Joy on MSNBC

Opinion | The Mueller Report and the Danger Facing American Democracy - The New York Times





"A perceived victory for Russian interference poses a serious risk for the United States.





Wren McDonald

The report of the special counsel Robert Mueller leaves considerable space for partisan warfare over the role of President Trump and his political campaign in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. But one conclusion is categorical: “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”



That may sound like old news. The Justice Department’s indictment of 13 Russians and three companies in February 2018 laid bare much of the sophisticated Russian campaign to blacken the American democratic process and support the Trump campaign, including the theft of American identities and creation of phony political organizations to fan division on immigration, religion or race. The extensive hacks of Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails and a host of other dirty tricks have likewise been exhaustively chronicled.



But Russia’s interference in the campaign was the core issue that Mr. Mueller was appointed to investigate, and if he stopped short of accusing the Trump campaign of overtly cooperating with the Russians — the report mercifully rejects speaking of “collusion,” a term that has no meaning in American law — he was unequivocal on Russia’s culpability: “First, the Office determined that Russia’s two principal interference operations in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — the social media campaign and the hacking-and-dumping operations — violated U.S. criminal law.”



The first part of the report, which describes these crimes, is worthy of a close read. Despite a thick patchwork of redactions, it details serious and dangerous actions against the United States that Mr. Trump, for all his endless tweeting and grousing about the special counsel’s investigation, has never overtly confronted, acknowledged, condemned or comprehended. Culpable or not, he must be made to understand that a foreign power that interferes in American elections is, in fact, trying to distort American foreign policy and national security.



The earliest interference described in the report was a social media campaign intended to fan social rifts in the United States, carried out by an outfit funded by an oligarch known as “Putin’s chef” for the feasts he catered. Called the Internet Research Agency, the unit actually sent agents to the United States to gather information at one point. What the unit called “information warfare” evolved by 2016 into an operation targeted at favoring Mr. Trump and disparaging Mrs. Clinton. This included posing as American people or grass-roots organizations such as the Tea Party, anti-immigration groups, Black Lives Matter and others to buy political ads or organize political rallies.



At the same time, the report said, the cyberwarfare arm of the Russian army’s intelligence service opened another front, hacking the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee and releasing reams of damaging materials through the front groups DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, and later through WikiLeaks. The releases were carefully timed for impact — emails stolen from the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, for example, were released less than an hour after the “Access Hollywood” tape damaging to Mr. Trump came out.



All this activity, the report said, was accompanied by the well documented efforts to contact the Trump campaign through business connections, offers of assistance to the campaign, invitations for Mr. Trump to meet Mr. Putin and plans for improved American-Russian relations. Both sides saw potential gains, the report said — Russia in a Trump presidency, the campaign from the stolen information. The Times documented 140 contacts between Mr. Trump and his associates and Russian nationals and WikiLeaks or their intermediaries. But the Mueller investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”



That is the part Mr. Trump sees as vindication, though the activities of his chaotic campaign team that the report describes are — at best — na├»ve. It is obviously difficult for this president to acknowledge that he was aided in his election by Russia, and there is no way to gauge with any certainty how much impact the Russian activities actually had on voters.



But the real danger that the Mueller report reveals is not of a president who knowingly or unknowingly let a hostile power do dirty tricks on his behalf, but of a president who refuses to see that he has been used to damage American democracy and national security.



Since the publication of the report, Vladimir Putin and his government have been crowing that they, too, are now somehow vindicated, joining the White House in creating the illusion that the investigation was all about “collusion” rather than a condemnation of criminal Russian actions. If their hope in a Trump presidency was to restore relations between the United States and Russia, and to ease sanctions, the Russians certainly failed, especially given the added sanctions ordered by Congress over Moscow’s interference.



But if the main intent was to intensify the rifts in American society, Russia backed a winner in Mr. Trump.



A perceived victory for Russian interference poses a serious danger to the United States. Already, several American agencies are working, in partnership with the tech industry, to prevent election interference going forward. But the Kremlin is not the only hostile government mucking around in America’s cyberspace — China and North Korea are two others honing their cyber-arsenals, and they, too, could be tempted to manipulate partisan strife for their ends.



That is something neither Republicans nor Democrats should allow. The two parties may not agree on Mr. Trump’s culpability, but they have already found a measure of common ground with the sanctions they have imposed on Russia over its interference in the campaign. Now they could justify the considerable time and expense of the special counsel investigation, and at the same time demonstrate that the fissure in American politics is not terminal, by jointly making clear to Russia and other hostile forces that the democratic process, in the United States and its allies, is strictly off limits to foreign clandestine manipulation, and that anyone who tries will pay a heavy price."





Opinion | The Mueller Report and the Danger Facing American Democracy - The New York Times

Friday, April 19, 2019

Kellyanne Conway's husband calls for Trump's impeachment

We Must Impeach Trump!

Special counsel's report says investigators struggled with whether Trump committed crime of obstruction - The Washington Post

"By Devlin Barrett, www.washingtonpost.com April 18th, 2019

The report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III lays out in alarming detail abundant evidence against President Trump, finding 10 “episodes” of potential obstruction of justice but ultimately concluding it was not Mueller’s role to determine whether the commander in chief broke the law.



Submitted to Congress on Thursday, the 448-page document alternates between jarring scenes of presidential scheming and dense legal analysis, and it marks the onset of a new phase of the Trump administration in which congressional Democrats must decide what, if anything, to do with Mueller’s evidence. The report suggests — though never explicitly states — that Congress, not the Justice Department, should assume the role of prosecutor when the person who may be prosecuted is the president.



“The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,” Mueller’s team wrote.



Trump once feared Mueller could destroy his presidency, but the special counsel may instead define it. By releasing a thick catalogue of misconduct and mendacity that, if not criminal, is deeply unflattering, Mueller’s report may mean long-term political problems for a president seeking reelection next year.



Still, Trump’s electoral base has not been swayed by such stories in the past, and he has already claimed victory on the investigation’s bottom line: no conspiracy with Russia, no obstruction of justice.



Since Mueller ended his investigation last month, a central question facing the Justice Department has been why Mueller’s team did not reach a conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice. The issue was complicated, the report said, by two key factors — the fact that, under department practice, a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, and that a president has a great deal of constitutional authority to give orders to other government employees.



Trump submitted written answers to investigators. The special counsel’s office considered them “inadequate” but did not press for an interview with him because doing so would cause a “substantial delay,” the report says.



The report said investigators felt they had “sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President’s testimony.”



Trump’s legal team declared Mueller’s report “a total victory” for the president. It “underscores what we have argued from the very beginning — there was no collusion — there was no obstruction,” they said.



In their statement, Trump’s lawyers also attacked former leaders at the FBI for opening “a biased, political attack against the President — turning one of our foundational legal standards on its head.”



Trump said little publicly about the report’s release. At an event Thursday, he indicated he was having a “good day,” and adding that “this should never happen to another president again, this hoax.” Ahead of the report’s release, the president lobbed a familiar attack on the investigation. “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” he tweeted. “The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats.”



If Mueller’s report was a victory for the president, it was an ugly one. Investigators paint a portrait of a president who believes the Justice Department and the FBI should answer to his orders, even when it comes to criminal investigations.



During a meeting in which the president complained about then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, Trump insisted that past attorneys general had been more obedient to their presidents, referring to President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert, as well as the Obama administration.



“You’re telling me that Bobby and Jack didn’t talk about investigations? Or Obama didn’t tell Eric Holder who to investigate?” Trump told senior White House staffers Stephen K. Bannon and Donald McGahn, according to the report.



“Bannon recalled that the President was as mad as Bannon had ever seen him and that he screamed at McGahn about how weak Sessions was,” the report said.



Repeatedly, it appears Trump may have been saved from more serious legal jeopardy because his own staffers refused to carry out orders they thought were problematic or potentially illegal.



For instance, in the early days of the administration, when the president was facing growing questions concerning then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations about sanctions with a Russian ambassador, the president ordered another aide, K.T. McFarland, to write an email saying the president did not direct those conversations. She decided not to do so, unsure if that was true and fearing it might be improper.



“Some evidence suggests that the President knew about the existence and content of Flynn’s calls when they occurred, but the evidence is inconclusive and could not be relied upon to establish the President’s knowledge,’ ” the report said.



The report also recounts a remarkable moment in May 2017 when Sessions told Trump that Mueller had just been appointed special counsel. Trump slumped back in his chair, according to notes from Jody Hunt, Sessions’s then-chief of staff. “Oh my God, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked,” Trump said. The president further laid into Sessions for his recusal, saying Sessions had let him down.



“Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency,” Trump said, according to Hunt’s notes. “It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”



The special counsel’s report on possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russians to interfere in the 2016 election is extremely detailed with only modest redactions — painting a starkly different picture for Trump than Attorney General William P. Barr has offered, and revealing new details about interactions between Russians and Trump associates.



Mueller’s team wrote that though their investigation “did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” that assertion was informed by the fact that coordination requires more than two parties “taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests.”



And Mueller made it clear: Russia wanted to help the Trump campaign, and the Trump campaign was willing to take it.



“Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller’s team wrote.



The report detailed a timeline of contacts between the Trump campaign and those with Russian ties — much of it already known, but some of it new.



For example, Mueller’s team asserted that in August 2016, Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the FBI has assessed as having ties to Russian intelligence, met with Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, “to deliver in person a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged to the Special Counsel’s Office was a ‘backdoor’ way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine.”



The special counsel wrote that both men believed the plan would require candidate Trump’s “assent to succeed (were he elected President).”



“They also discussed the status of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states,” the special counsel wrote. “Months before that meeting, Manafort had caused internal polling data to be shared with Kilimnik, and the sharing continued for some period of time after their August meeting.”



Mueller’s report suggests his obstruction of justice investigation was heavily informed by an opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that says a sitting president cannot be indicted — a conclusion Mueller’s team accepted.



“And apart from OLC’s constitutional view, we recognized that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct,” Mueller’s team wrote.



That decision, though, seemed to leave investigators in a strange spot. Mueller’s team wrote that they “determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes.” They seemed to shy from producing even an internal document that alleged the president had done something wrong — deciding, essentially, that they wouldn’t decide.



“Although a prosecutor’s internal report would not represent a formal public accusation akin to an indictment, the possibility of the report’s public disclosure and the absence of a neutral adjudicatory forum to review its findings counseled against determining ‘that the person’s conduct constitutes a federal offense.’ ”



Barr said during a news conference Thursday that Justice Department officials asked Mueller “about the OLC opinion and whether or not he was taking the position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the OLC opinion.”



“He made it very clear, several times, that he was not taking a position — he was not saying but for the OLC opinion he would have found a crime,” Barr said.



Mueller did not attend the news conference.



Barr addressed the media before releasing the report. He made repeated references to “collusion,” echoing language the president has stressed even though it is not a relevant legal term.



Barr also described how the nation’s top law enforcement officials wrestled with investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice. He and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law” but that they accepted the special counsel’s “legal framework” as they analyzed the case, Barr said.



It was the first official acknowledgment of differing views inside the Justice Department about how to investigate the president.



Barr also spoke about the president’s state of mind as Trump responded to the unfolding investigation. “As the Special Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks,” he said.



The Mueller report is considered so politically explosive that even the Justice Department’s rollout plan sparked a firestorm, with Democrats suggesting that the attorney general was trying to improperly color Mueller’s findings before the public could read them.



Prompted by a reporter, Barr responded to a call earlier Thursday from the top two Democrats in Congress to have Mueller appear before House and Senate committees. “I have no objection to Bob Mueller personally testifying,” the attorney general said.



In a letter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said they wanted testimony “as soon as possible” from Mueller. And after Barr’s news conference, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) released a letter to the special counsel seeking an appearance before his panel “no later than May 23.”



Congressional Democrats have vowed to fight to get the entire report, without redactions, as well as the underlying investigative documents Mueller gathered.



The report has been the subject of heated debate since Barr notified Congress last month that Mueller had completed his work.



Barr told lawmakers he needed time to redact sensitive information before it could be made public, including any grand jury material as well as details whose public release could harm ongoing investigations.



Barr also said he would review the document to redact information that would “potentially compromise sources and methods” in intelligence collection and anything that would “unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”



That language suggests Barr wants to keep secret any derogatory information gathered by investigators about figures who ended up not being central to Mueller’s investigation.



Barr notified Congress after the report’s release that senior members of each party would get a chance to review a less-redacted version next week. The invitation was extended to the leaders of congressional committees and one staffer each. Democrats immediately panned the offer, though, calling it a “non-starter.”



Greg Miller, Spencer S. Hsu, Karoun Demirjian, Ellen Nakashima, Philip Rucker, John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report."



Special counsel's report says investigators struggled with whether Trump committed crime of obstruction - The Washington Post

Opinion | Mr. Mueller’s Indictment - The New York Times





"By The Editorial Board, www.nytimes.com April 18th, 2019

The special counsel’s report reveals a pattern of deceit and dysfunction. What comes next is up to Congress.
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.
So much for “complete and total exoneration.”
To the contrary, it turns out that Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors and investigators found “substantial evidence” that President Trump broke federal law on numerous occasions by attempting to shut down or interfere with the nearly-two-year Russia investigation.
In addition to pointing to possible criminality, the report revealed a White House riddled with dysfunction and distrust, one in which Mr. Trump and his aides lie with contempt for one another and the public. Some of the president’s efforts to interfere with the investigation failed, the report concluded, only because “the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
Put another way, Mr. Trump may survive, thanks to advisers who chose to refuse or simply ignore his demands to do what the former White House counsel Donald McGahn at one point referred to as “crazy shit.”
Mr. Trump — referred to repeatedly by aides as “the boss” — is shown as so attentive to covering his tracks that at one point he scolds Mr. McGahn for taking notes during a meeting. “I never had a lawyer who took notes,” Mr. Trump is quoted as saying. Mr. McGahn responded that he was a “real lawyer.”
With the public release of a redacted version of the special counsel’s report on Thursday, Americans also at last got a clear answer for a central question raised by the terse — and now clearly misleading — summary offered four weeks ago by Attorney General William Barr: Why did Mr. Mueller decide not to make a finding about whether President Trump obstructed justice?
“We determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the president committed crimes,” the report explains, because “fairness concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges can be brought.”
In other words, Mr. Mueller felt his hands were tied. Longstanding Justice Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president, and it isn’t fair to make accusations without giving the president a legal forum in which to respond.
A bit further on, the 448-page report says, “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
So what now? Although Mr. Mueller was unable to bring criminal charges against the president himself, his report lays a foundation for investigation by Congress, which has the authority and the responsibility to check the executive branch and hold the president accountable. “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,” the report states.
It is up to Congress to decide whether the behavior described in this report meets an acceptable standard for the country’s chief executive.
In order to adequately conduct such an investigation, Congress must have access to a fully uncensored version of the report and all its underlying materials. Congressional leaders are right to subpoena the full report, as the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said he would do on Thursday.
The public also has a right to hear Mr. Mueller testify before Congress at the earliest opportunity.
Descriptions in the public version of the report of the ways in which the president used, and abused, his powers challenge the dignity of the presidency and the free and fair function of the justice system. The special counsel investigated 11 incidents in which the president may have obstructed justice, the same offense facing Richard Nixon during Watergate and Bill Clinton during his impeachment.
The report notes that the president engaged in “public attacks on the investigation, nonpublic efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation.” That the president’s norm-shattering behavior has become so flagrant and familiar doesn’t make it right.
Little wonder that Mr. Trump, when notified that a special counsel had been appointed to scrutinize his behavior, reportedly slumped in his chair and said: “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”
In addition to indicting, convicting or securing guilty pleas from 34 people, the special counsel’s office made 14 referrals for further investigation of potential criminal activity outside the purview of the investigation’s mandate. Twelve of those referrals remain secret.
The report is more definitive when it comes to the extensive interference by Russian spies and hackers in the 2016 election, a campaign of disruption it calls “sweeping and systematic.”
Mr. Mueller’s investigation found that “the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.” Mr. Mueller was not able in the end to establish definitive coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
At the same time, large sections of the report, apparently regarding dealings between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign, have been blacked out. Mr. Barr said Thursday that any such coordination between the website and the campaign wouldn’t be criminal. Congress and the American people deserve to know what happened nonetheless.
If the report — and the entire saga around the Russia investigation — has one through-line, it is the dishonesty at the heart of the Trump administration. The president told Mr. McGahn to lie to reporters about Mr. Trump’s attempt to fire the special prosecutor. The press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, made up from whole cloth the notion that “rank-and-file F.B.I. agents had lost confidence” in the ousted director, James Comey. Half a dozen people connected with the Mueller investigation have been formally charged with — or pleaded guilty to — lying to investigators.
Then on Thursday, just before the report was made public, the attorney general tarnished himself and undermined the integrity of his office by dissembling about what the report said.
By contrast, the special prosecutor’s report illustrates again and again that, despite Mr. Trump’s constant cries of “fake news,” the responsible news media’s reporting on the investigation was overwhelmingly accurate.
Mr. Mueller may have thought he couldn’t indict a president in the legal sense of the term, but he has delivered a devastating description of Mr. Trump’s attempts to abuse his powers and corrupt his aides. This report, even in its censored format, is an important step toward putting the truth of this presidency in the public record. But there’s still a long way to go before it can be said that justice has been done."


Opinion | Mr. Mueller’s Indictment - The New York Times

Thursday, April 18, 2019

#ImpeachTrump Nancy Pelosi get behind Impeachment proceedings or step aside so we can get a real leader in the House of Representatives who is willing to do their Constitution mandated job.


Ocasio-Cortez says she'll sign on to impeachment proceedings - CNNPolitics

Here are 11 key lines from the Mueller report



"Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday that she would support impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump after reading special counsel Robert Mueller's report.



Ocasio-Cortez's comments differ from Democratic leadership opting not to encourage impeachment. The report indicated that Mueller was unable to conclude that 'no criminal conduct occurred' on the issue of obstruction -- and deemed Congress capable of determining that Trump obstructed justice.



"Mueller's report is clear in pointing to Congress' responsibility in investigating obstruction of justice by the President. It is our job as outlined in Article 1, Sec 2, Clause 5 of the US Constitution," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, promising to sign on to impeachment proceedings led by fellow freshman Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.



Ocasio-Cortez added, "While I understand the political reality of the Senate + election considerations, upon reading this DoJ report, which explicitly names Congress in determining obstruction, I cannot see a reason for us to abdicate from our constitutionally mandated responsibility to investigate."



Ocasio-Cortez says she'll sign on to impeachment proceedings - CNNPolitics

James Clapper: Mueller report is devastating

Trump on Mueller's appointment: I'm F***ed

What the Mueller report says about that 'compromising tape'

Trump did conspire with Russians. Mueller expects Congress to impeach Trump. Attorney General Barr lied in his letter.


Mueller report examines '10 episodes' of potential obstruction by Trump | US news | The Guardian

Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, listens as William Barr the attorney general, speaks during a press conference at the Department of Justice in Washington DC on 18 April.



Mueller report examines '10 episodes' of potential obstruction by Trump | US news | The Guardian

Mueller report shows President Trump tried to remove Special Counsel



Mueller report shows President Trump tried to remove Special Counsel

Mueller Report Is Released: Live Updates - The New York Times





The Justice Department has released a redacted version of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who investigated Russian election interference, any ties to the Trump campaign and possible presidential obstruction.




Right Now
The report has been released publicly. Our reporters are reading it and will post major findings and analysis soon.
President Trump is attending a White House event for wounded warriors and is speaking after Attorney General William P. Barr’s news conference about the Mueller report.Erin Schaff/The New York Times
  • Attorney General William P. Barr offered a strong defense of President Trump before releasing Mr. Mueller’s report, saying that investigators “found no evidence” that any member of the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in its effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. But he left no doubt that Russia interfered in the election, a fact Mr. Trump has not acknowledged.
  • Mr. Barr said during a news conference that he gave Mr. Trump’s lawyers access to Mr. Mueller’s report “earlier this week,” before it was to be sent to Congress and made public. Mr. Trump’s lawyers did not ask for any redactions.
  • Investigators examined 10 episodes in which the president may have obstructed justice but the attorney general said he concluded they did not add up to a crime.
  • Even if the Trump campaign colluded with WikiLeaks, that was not a crime, Mr. Barr said.
  • Mr. Trump did not even wait for the report to begin responding aggressively, lashing out with a barrage of tweets denouncing the investigation, while Democrats lashed out at Mr. Barr, accusing him of acting as a spokesman for the president.


Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr. Last month, Mr. Mueller delivered a report on his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to Mr. Barr.The New York Times and EPA, via Shutterstock

Barr said Mueller ‘found no collusion.’

In his news conference on Thursday morning, Mr. Barr at times sounded like a defense lawyer, making no criticism of the president and instead offering an understanding interpretation of actions that Mr. Trump’s critics have said amounted to obstruction of justice.
In addressing obstruction, Mr. Barr said the president had no corrupt intent and that his actions seen as impeding the investigation were a result of being understandably “frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.”
Mr. Barr said the White House made no claims of executive privilege over any information in the report and that none of the redactions in the report to be sent to Congress were made at the request of the White House.

Trump’s lawyers read the report in advance.

Mr. Barr said he gave access to the report to Mr. Trump’s lawyers, which gave them an opportunity to prepare their public defense in advance.
“Earlier this week, the president’s personal counsel requested and were given the opportunity to read a final version of the redacted report before it was publicly released,” Mr. Barr said. “The president’s personal lawyers were not permitted to make, and did not request, any redactions.” 
Mr. Barr said he did so in accordance with the “practice followed under the Ethics in Government Act,” permitting those named in a report to read it before publication. However, that has not always been the practice. In 1998, the independent counsel Ken Starr declined to let President Bill Clinton or his lawyers read his report on the Monica Lewinsky case before he sent it to Congress.
At the news conference, Mr. Barr made sure to include Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who first appointed Mr. Mueller.

Mueller examined 10 episodes for possible obstruction.

Mr. Barr said investigators examined 10 episodes in which the president may have obstructed justice. Among the incidents that Mr. Mueller examined was a June 2017 effort by Mr. Trump to have his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, fire Mr. Mueller.
“After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report, and in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other department lawyers, the deputy attorney general and I concluded that the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense,” Mr. Barr said.
Mr. Barr would not explain why Mr. Mueller did not reach that conclusion, saying he would let the report speak for itself. The attorney general said that he “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories” regarding obstruction but even accepting them found no basis for a criminal charge.
Mr. Barr said he would not stand in the way of Mr. Mueller testifying on Capitol Hill about his findings. “I have no objection to Bob Mueller testifying,” Mr. Barr said. 

Barr says that even if the Trump campaign colluded with WikiLeaks, that is not a crime.

Mr. Barr provided an important qualifier to the determination that Mr. Trump and the Trump campaign did not engage in illegal collusion — not with the Russian government that stole the Democratic emails, but with WikiLeaks, which published them.
“The special counsel also investigated whether any member or affiliate of the Trump campaign encouraged or otherwise played a role in these dissemination efforts,” he said. “Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy. Here too, the special counsel’s report did not find that any person associated with the Trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of the materials.”
In other words, since WikiLeaks did not participate in Russia’s underlying hacking of the emails, its actions were no crime. Thus, any Trump campaign collusion with WikiLeaks could not be an illegal conspiracy.

Trump frames the report as exoneration.

Mr. Trump tweeted a photo resembling a “Game of Thrones” poster that depicted him staring into a cloud, saying “No Collusion. No Obstruction. For the haters and radical left Democrats: Game Over.”
The tweet was the latest of a barrage that the president posted starting early Thursday morning, long before the report was released. He has an event with wounded warriors at 10:30 a.m. where he will likely speak with reporters.
The report may for the first time provide Mr. Trump’s official responses to Mr. Mueller’s specific questions, which have remained secret since he responded in writing in November. With his lawyers worried that he would make a false statement and expose himself to criminal charges, the president refused to be interviewed in person, and Mr. Mueller did not try to force the issue with a subpoena.
By drafting the answers in writing in consultation with his legal team, Mr. Trump may have sidestepped what his lawyers feared would be a “perjury trap.” 

Waiting for report, Democrats lash out at Barr.

Democrats quickly assailed Mr. Barr for trying to frame the results of the report before lawmakers or the public had a chance to read it for themselves.
“It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings,” Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter. “We are now requesting Mueller to appear before @HouseJudiciary as soon as possible.”
Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, said Mr. Barr’s performance demonstrated fealty to Mr. Trump. “Attorney General Barr is supposed to be the nation’s top impartial lawyer, not a White House spokesman,” he said. “His press conference was just an attempt to spin a report nobody has read yet, and that’s really disappointing.”
Democratic presidential candidates quickly pounced on Mr. Barr as well. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, in a tweet, labeled the attorney general’s remarks as “spin.” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said it was “ a disgrace to see an Attorney General acting as if he’s the personal attorney and publicist for the president of the United States.” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York called Mr. Barr’s news conference “a complete farce and an embarrassing display of propaganda on behalf of President Trump.”

Katie Benner, Michael S. Schmidt, Eileen Sullivan, Michael Tackett and Noah Weiland contributed reporting.
Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent and has covered the last four presidents for The Times and The Washington Post. He also is the author of five books, most recently “Impeachment: An American History.” @peterbakernyt Facebook



Mueller Report Is Released: Live Updates - The New York Times

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Donald Trump Isn’t Playing Games With Ilhan Omar—He’s Inciting Violence

Donald Trump a rally



"The most fair reading of President Donald Trump’s persistent attacks on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is that the President has entered the Henry II phase of his tyranny. During one of his disputes with Archbishop Thomas Beckett, Henry II is said to have exclaimed, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” (he didn’t really say it that way)—and, later, four knights assassinated Thomas Beckett, believing they were acting on the King’s orders. One assumes that our barely literate, intellectually incurious, spiritually bankrupt President has never heard the story, but one imagines he’d like it if Stephen Miller read it to him at bedtime.



Trump’s incitement against Omar is the latest eruption of Trump’s established pattern of exhorting his followers to violence. During the campaign, he told supporters at a rally that if they saw someone about to throw a tomato, they should “knock the crap out of them,” adding that he would “pay for [the] legal fees.” In fact, Trump did say that he was thinking of paying the legal fees of a supporter who sucker-punched a man at a rally in North Carolina (Trump didn’t, of course, because Trump is a cheap liar). Trump also warned that the “Second Amendment people” might do something about Hillary Clinton, if she won. Just recently he suggested that there might be violence if he was impeached.



That’s just off the top of my head. There are many, many more comments Trump makes that suggest an affinity for violence. There are many more violent people he supports. Trump uses language, both what he says and what he doesn’t say, to encourage his supporters to commit acts of violence. His aides that go on TV argue that, essentially, Trump is too stupid and glib to know what he’s saying. But, given the pattern, a reasonable observer would be forced to conclude that Trump actively wants violence to be done against his perceived enemies.



Most likely, Trump has already gotten people killed. The Christchurch, New Zealand mass murderer is the most obvious and deadly doppelganger for the four knights who killed Thomas Beckett. The killer directly cited Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” But there are more subtle clues that the very worst people hear President Trump loud and clear. Hate crimes are up 17 percent since 2016. And there was the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville—the one Trump would retroactively describe as including “good people on both sides”—which led to the death of Heather Heyer.



We should call Trump’s statements and tweets “incitement” to criminal behavior, but the standard for such a charge, as interpreted by the Supreme Court under the First Amendment, is that the speech must encourage “imminent” lawless action, or the speech must be likely to produce such imminent crime. Saying “snitches get stitches” in the middle of the street would not be “incitement.” Saying “snitches get stitches” in the middle of the street outside the snitch’s house, while pointing at it, to a crowd of people all armed with stitch inducing paraphernalia—well, now you might be outside the bounds of “protected speech.”



Our current standard here comes from a case called Brandenburg v. Ohio, which was a case where a Klansman, the aforementioned Brandenburg, was convicted under an Ohio law that made it a crime to advocate “crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism.” The Supreme Court threw out that conviction and gave us the current standard of “imminent” criminal action.



How do you think the current, conservative Supreme Court would rule on a case where it was a Muslim, not a white supremacist, who was arrested and convicted for advocating “unlawful methods of terrorism”? Do you think we’d hear a lot from conservatives about how the offensive speech was protected because it didn’t immediately result in a crime? These days, Muslims can barely advocate for a set of fashion statements without conservative scholars buying pearls so they have something to clutch.



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We don’t have to imagine the double standard, because we’re seeing it play out in real time. Ilhan Omar has said nothing as offensive or dangerous to anybody as what Trump says about Muslims in general and Omar specifically. Omar hasn’t authored or promised to author legislation to ban people entry to this country based on their religion. Omar hasn’t referred to other people’s countries as “s**tholes.” She hasn’t offered to pay legal fees as a bounty for any of her supporters who commit violence. Her statement, the one she is being punished for—that all Muslims are blamed for the conduct of a few—was not controversial; it’s an obvious fact to most people who achieve non-whiteness through methods that don’t involve shoe polish.



But she’s the one under attack. Trump is literally putting her life in danger, yet the law does nothing to stop him. His threats and attacks are being amplified through inaccurate reporting by the Rupert Murdoch empire, both through The New York Post and Fox News, and yet they hide behind the freedom of the press. Trump is riling up his supporters on Twitter, a platform that is not even subject to the rigorous standards of the First Amendment, and yet people throw up their hands and say “well, freedom of speech.”



What is it going to take before the law does something to stop this growing lynch mob? If I talked about the stupid subway the way Trump talks about Muslims, I’d get a visit from the Department of Homeland Security. If I tweeted about Trump Tower the way Trump tweets about Omar, I’d get a visit from DHS and the Secret Service. Law enforcement, Twitter, and every media organization, big and small, take threats to public officials very seriously—unless those threats are made against brown public officials and come from the White House, apparently. Then it’s just all how some Klan jerkface established the right of white people to threaten whoever they want as long as they’re not physically in the room where it happens.



Just like Henry II, Trump has the good sense not to give the order. Trump is no student of history, but he has intuited that he can accomplish as many of his nefarious goals through the ambition of his sycophants as through the allegiance of his henchmen. He supposes—correctly—that the law is set up to protect his style of white supremacy, as opposed to rooting it out. If you pick four sentences from Donald Trump at random, one of them is bound to be dangerously racist, but he is the one who is protected from threats, not the people he threatens.



Which is why he’s not going to stop until more violence is committed in his name. He’s got a taste for it now. He knows what he’s doing. He’s growing more confident. It’s the power trip that we’ve read about in every good biography of any tyrant throughout history. He says something here and somebody he thinks is “bad” is hurt or dies there. If you want to understand this part of the Trump presidency, you don’t need to read Shakespeare, you need to watch Dexter.



Donald Trump is no longer playing politics. He’s playing God. I’m afraid for Omar. I’m afraid for all of us."



Donald Trump Isn’t Playing Games With Ilhan Omar—He’s Inciting Violence

Democrats Are Failing To Defend Ilhan Omar!

Booker says Ilhan Omar "does not deserve these ... hate-filled attacks"

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams New York Post Cover Attacking Rep. Ilhan ...

Ramy Youssef: I Wish Muslims Prayed On Sundays

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Dangerous Bullying of Ilhan Omar | The New Yorker





"You know how bullying works. The victim is marked long before the bullying begins: it’s the kid no one really likes, the weirdo who is barely tolerated by the larger group. The defenseless, isolated kid. And when the bullying starts to happen, the rest of the children look the other way. Even the ones the victim thought were his friends go silent. Especially the ones he thought were his friends.



Political violence can work the same way. In modern states ruled by autocrats, or aspiring autocrats, political violence is dispersed and delegated. Its first weapons are ridicule and ostracism. Once a person has been marginalized and discredited among allies, physical violence becomes a likely option. In Russia, I witnessed this several times among people I knew, who stood alone and embattled before they were killed. The Parliament member Galina Starovoitova, who had once been a prominent member of Boris Yeltsin’s Cabinet, was, by the late nineteen-nineties, portrayed by the Russian media as someone whose ideas were outdated and irrelevant. She was shot dead in the stairwell of her apartment building, in November of 1998. The journalist Anna Politkovskaya was an often short-tempered person whose reporting was viewed as partisan and unreliable by many of her more mainstream colleagues. She was shot dead in the elevator of her apartment building, in October of 2006. The politician Boris Nemtsov, once viewed as Yeltsin’s most likely successor, was by the twenty-tens seen as an old-timer who, even as he protested the regime, didn’t quite grasp the new language of protest. He was shot dead on a bridge in central Moscow, in February of 2015. In all three cases, the people convicted or accused of the murder did not have a direct relationship to the Kremlin but were seemingly moved by a desire to act on their loyalty to it.



After their deaths, all three victims were idealized. Most Americans who have heard of them probably imagine that they were widely revered. They certainly deserved to be widely revered, but in fact they had been abandoned, late in life, even by many of those who should have been their political allies. They were difficult people with uncomfortable views; standing by their sides in an increasingly hostile political environment was hard work. But, by omitting this part of the story, we elide a key fact about contemporary political violence: bullies don’t go after the strong. In Russia, the anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny is walking around, not only alive but also mostly free, solely because the government knows that he has the support of hundreds of thousands of people who will protest if he is jailed and may revolt if he is killed. His life depends on this support.



For the past three months, Americans have observed the process of drawing a target on a politician’s back. The politician is Representative Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota. Two of her fundamental positions—that the United States government and many of its elected officials support an apartheid regime in Israel-Palestine, and that the civil rights of Muslims in the U.S. are routinely trampled by entities that include the government—are as uncomfortable for many Americans as they are indisputable. Her way of expressing those positions—unabashed, and at times seemingly unaware of context—makes her the kind of disagreeable person who is easy for presumptive allies to shun. This, in turn, makes her vulnerable to attack.



The first Omar controversy, in February, did not, contrary to popular perception, begin with an Omar tweet. (A piece by Matthew Yglesias, on Vox, did a handy job of untangling the whole story.) In the beginning was the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, who, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (J.T.A.) news service reported, planned to take action against the freshman representatives Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the first two Muslim women in Congress. It wasn’t immediately clear what he wanted them reprimanded for, but it seemed that the cause was the two representatives’ support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, known as B.D.S. In the discussion that stemmed from the J.T.A. report, Omar issued her infamous tweet, which she has since deleted: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” She followed up to clarify that the tweet referred to political donations from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, a body that exerts powerful—and well-financed—pressure on elected officials.



In substance, the only disputable word in the tweet is “all,” as congressional supporters of Israel are not motivated solely by campaign contributions. But the tweet was widely interpreted as tapping into the anti-Semitic trope of linking Jews with money. Democratic public figures, including Chelsea Clinton, condemned the tweet; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the House Democratic leadership issued a “Statement on Anti-Semitic Comments of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.” It was a wildly disproportionate reaction, seemingly designed to show that Omar was on her own. Omar deleted the tweet and apologized. (She has also deleted a tweet that she sent in 2012: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”)



Less than a month later, speaking at a bookstore event in Washington, D.C., Omar said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is O.K. for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country”—meaning Israel. In Washington and in the media, across the political spectrum, her comments were once again condemned as anti-Semitic. (A rare exception was Jordan Weissmann in Slate, who called Omar “tone-deaf” but suggested that she had a point.) Amid much media outrage, the Democrats spent two days debating a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and “the myth of dual loyalty,” then ultimately broadened it to include other oppressed groups.



The third Omar controversy in as many months concerns remarks that the congresswoman made during an event of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” she said, among many other things. A right-wing activist Web site in Australia pulled the quote, making it look like Omar was diminishing the scale of the events of 9/11. Then President Trump tweeted a video that combined repetitions of that quote from Omar’s speech and footage of devastation that occurred on 9/11, suggesting that “some people did something” was an attempt to dismiss the memory of the terrorist attack. “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!!!” the President’s tweet said.



It doesn’t take much imagination to see Trump’s tweet as an invitation to aggression. Speaker Pelosi responded with a tweet of her own, demanding that Trump take down his and also noting that she had spoken to the congressional sergeant-at-arms to insure that necessary protection is provided to Omar. She seemed to see the threat of violence against Omar as real and immediate."



The Dangerous Bullying of Ilhan Omar | The New Yorker

Trump: No regrets about Rep. Ilhan Omar death threats. This is outrageous and the lack of support for representative Omar shows how bigoted America remains. It is sickening .


Trump: No regrets about Rep. Ilhan Omar death threats

Trump: No regrets about Rep. Ilhan Omar death threats. This is outrageous and the lack of support for representative Omar shows how bigoted America remains. It is sickening .



Trump: No regrets about Rep. Ilhan Omar death threats

Anderson Cooper: If Trump's not worried, why is he tweeting?

A France in Turmoil Weeps for a Symbol of Paris’s Enduring Identity - The New York Times





A France in Turmoil Weeps for a Symbol of Paris’s Enduring Identity - The New York Times

Monday, April 15, 2019

Opinion | Demonizing Minority Women - The New York Times





"By Charles M. Blow   April 14th, 2019

Representative Ilhan Omar is the latest target in a trend of conservatives attacking women of color.



Representative Ilhan Omar. White supremacy has routinely painted minority women as pathological and reprobate.



Last month at an event hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, delivered a speech in which she correctly derided Islamophobia, a real and persistent problem in this country and others.



In that speech, Representative Omar invoked the attacks of Sept. 11, saying the council was created “because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”



(As The New York Times pointed out, “The Council on American-Islamic Relations was actually founded in 1994.)



The congresswoman could have used different, more severe language to describe the attacks, but she didn’t. Maybe we could judge her use of language as inartful, but we all succumb to that occasionally, me included. Error is inevitable among the loquacious. But, the Omar of the speech stands. I saw nowhere in it a thread of terror apologia.



And yet, conservative media has pounced on four of Omar’s words — “some people did something” — as just that. Brian Kilmeade, one of the dull and delusional on “Fox & Friends,” questioned her patriotism, saying, “You have to wonder if she’s an American first.”



Donald Trump upped the ante, retweeting a video of Omar saying, “Some people did something,” interspersed with the still-chilling video of the 9/11 attacks. Some things should be too sacred to exploit for political gain, but Trump is an amoralist. Nothing is beyond the pale.



While the unrelenting attacks on Omar are newsworthy unto themselves as a conservative peculiarity, I believe that the attacks should be viewed through a wider and longer lens. Omar is only the most recent minority woman onto whom conservatives have trained their fire.



While white supremacy has historically tried to paint minority men as physically dangerous, it has routinely painted minority women, particularly those strong and vocal, as pathological and reprobate.



There is a pattern here. It is expressed not only in the attacks on, and in elevation of, Omar, but also on Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.



Before them, Trump and his cohorts demonized Representative Maxine Waters, who Trump dubbed “Low I.Q.,” and Representative Frederica Wilson of Florida.



And before they tried to make Omar and Ocasio-Cortez the face of the Democratic Party, they did the same to Wilson and Waters. In October 2017, Trump tweeted about Wilson:



“Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems. You watch her in action & vote R!”



In June, Trump said, “The face of the Democrats is now Maxine Waters.”



The strategy is simple: While sexism and racism are potent individually, they are devastating in combination, particularly when appealing to a party dominated by white men and which exalts white supremacy and white patriarchy.



The only women they truly honor are white women who obsequiously condone or actively participate in the oppression.



All manner of inhumanity and barbarism have been conducted under the guise of protecting the honor and purity of these white women. There are untold rope-burned necks and fully burned bodies in American history to attest to this.



There is a reason that Trump launching his campaign by calling Mexicans murderers and rapists had such resonance among the people who came to support him.



One of the most memorable scenes in “The Birth of a Nation” was a white woman throwing herself off a cliff to keep from being raped by a black man.



There is a reason that many white people viewed slavery as the guard against the vulnerability of women, and black freedom as the gateway to white woman victimization.



As the Binghamton University historian Diane Miller Sommerville put it in her book, “Rape & Race in the Nineteenth-Century South”: “Black-on-white rape figured prominently in these historical treatments of Reconstruction. Portraying Freedmen as intoxicated with new political power, historians like Claude Bowers described how ‘an awful fear rested upon the [white] women of the communities.’ ”



Sommerville would quote Bowers saying, “Rape is the foul daughter of Reconstruction.”



To advance their oppression, these white men treated white women as victims, and many white women reciprocated by playing the role of victim. In that way, barbarity could be passed off as chivalry.



But for the women who fall outside this constraint — minority women, lesbian and transgender women, liberal women, “nasty” women — the rebuke is brutal. They didn’t need protection, but rather, suppression.



These women herald calamity — both the dislodging of white supremacy and the subversion of male supremacy. Conservatives attack these women because the threat they pose is existential.



We can fuss over the language any of these women have used, and whether some remarks crossed lines of propriety, but to have them as the only arena of discussion about why conservatives are so offended is to be intentionally blind.



These people hate women like Omar because they see them as omens."



Opinion | Demonizing Minority Women - The New York Times

In Attacking Ilhan Omar, Trump Revives His Familiar Refrain Against Muslims - The New York Times





"Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, has emerged as a foil for President Trump before the 2020 election.Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock



Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, has emerged as a foil for President Trump before the 2020 election.



As long as President Trump has focused on what he said was the danger lurking at the southwestern border, he has also talked about the supposed threat from one specific group already in the country: Muslims.



During the 2016 campaign, he would not rule out creating a registry of Muslims in the United States. He claimed to have seen “thousands” of Muslims cheering on rooftops in New Jersey after Sept. 11, a statement that was widely debunked. After deadly attacks in Paris and California, Mr. Trump called for a moratorium on Muslims traveling to the United States.



“I think Islam hates us,” Mr. Trump told Anderson Cooper, the CNN host, in March 2016.



Now, with 19 months until the 2020 election, Mr. Trump is seeking to rally his base by sounding that theme once again. And this time, he has a specific target: Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.



Mr. Trump and his team are trying to make Ms. Omar, one of a group of progressive women Democratic House members who is relatively unknown in national politics, a household name, to be seen as the most prominent voice of the Democratic Party, regardless of her actual position. And they are gambling that there will be limited downside in doing so.



On Monday, Mr. Trump will visit Minnesota — a state that some of the president’s aides speak of as a place to expand his electoral map — and will hold an economic round table. The event is outside Ms. Omar’s congressional district, but the president’s decision to appear there is a calculated choice.



His Minnesota appearance comes after his tweet of a video interspersed with Ms. Omar speaking and the burning World Trade Center towers. Ms. Omar’s critics have claimed a portion of the remarks, in which she highlighted Islamophobia faced by Muslims after Sept. 11, were dismissive of the terrorist attacks.



Mr. Trump is banking on painting the entire Democratic Party as extreme. And Ms. Omar has become a point of contention for some members of her own party, after remarks she made about the Israel lobby were condemned as anti-Semitic by some long-serving Democrats, as well as by Republicans and Mr. Trump.



But Mr. Trump’s electoral success in 2016 was based partly on culture wars and fears among an older, white voting base that the country it knew was slipping away. Like his hard line on immigration, his plays on fears of Muslims — including inaccurately conflating them with terrorists — proved polarizing among the wider electorate, but helped him keep a tight grip on his most enthusiastic voters. In the South Carolina Republican primary in February 2016, for instance, exit polls showed that 75 percent of voters favored his proposed Muslim ban.



Now, as he looks toward 2020, he is betting that electoral play can deliver for him again. It is a strategy that risks summoning dark forces in American society, a point Ms. Omar made in a statement Sunday evening.



“Since the president’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life — many directly referencing or replying to the president’s video,” Ms. Omar said. “This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”



Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that she had requested a review of Ms. Omar’s security, while Trump aides insisted that the president meant no harm.



Mr. Trump, who once said, “Islam hates us,” tweeted a video on Friday that interspersed remarks made by Ms. Omar with graphic images of Sept. 11.Tom Brenner for The New York Times





Mr. Trump, who once said, “Islam hates us,” tweeted a video on Friday that interspersed remarks made by Ms. Omar with graphic images of Sept. 11.



“Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said on Sunday’s broadcast of ABC News’ “This Week.”



Privately, Mr. Trump’s advisers describe Ms. Omar as his ideal foil. Her remarks about the power of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, combined with her role in a progressive contingent of freshman House Democrats who have sparked intraparty battles, have been treated as a gift by Republicans.



Trump aides and allies say they are pleased that some of the Democratic hopefuls for the 2020 presidential nomination are defending her against the president’s attacks, claiming they think it will be damaging for them in the general election.



Ms. Omar “is the perfect embodiment of the sharp contrast President Trump wants to paint for 2020,” said Sam Nunberg, a 2016 campaign aide to Mr. Trump. He added that Mr. Trump is tethering Ms. Omar to more visible Democrats, like her closest ally in Congress, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, whom Republicans have sought to make a boogeyman.



“This contrast gives the president a chance to expand his support closer to 50 percent,” Mr. Nunberg insisted.



But on Sunday, Democrats said Mr. Trump was diving into an issue on which he has a shaky standing.



“He has no moral authority to be talking about 9/11 at all,” Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. Mr. Nadler noted that Mr. Trump’s real estate company applied for and received grants after the attacks that were intended for small businesses affected by the devastation.



Mr. Nadler said he thought Ms. Omar’s comments about the Sept. 11 attacks were being taken out of context.



“I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not with that one,” Mr. Nadler said.



The controversy arose from Ms. Omar’s remarks at an event last month sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy organization, where she focused on attacks against Muslims after Sept. 11. She said she had “lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.”



“CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” she said. (The organization was actually founded in 1994.)



Critics of Ms. Omar contended that the words “some people did something” were dismissive of the terrorist attacks, but her defenders said her words were taken out of context.



The attack was not Mr. Trump’s first on Ms. Omar. Despite repeatedly being denounced for not making forceful condemnations of white nationalists who traffic in anti-Semitism, the president pounced when Ms. Omar unleashed a firestorm in February with her comments on Israel, rejecting her subsequent apology and calling for her to resign.



“Congressman Omar is terrible, what she said,” Mr. Trump told reporters.



Geoff Garin, a veteran Democratic strategist, said the Democratic presidential candidates who had responded to Mr. Trump’s latest attacks on Ms. Omar were keeping the focus on his tactics. And he predicted that the use of such graphic images from one of the nation’s darkest days would backfire for the president.



“Voters are turned off by the use of 9/11 for political purposes, and my guess is that moderate voters are going to see Trump’s use of that as both ugly and extreme,” Mr. Garin said. “I think his over-the-top exploitation of 9/11 is going to turn more voters off than he wins over by attacking the Democrats on this.”



In Attacking Ilhan Omar, Trump Revives His Familiar Refrain Against Muslims - The New York Times