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The assault on Mueller: Six ways Russia investigation is under attack

Alexander Panetta

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As its trail of arrests gets closer to U.S. President Donald Trump, the Russia investigation is facing a multi-front assault. The attacks have ramped up following news that Trump’s close confidant Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty and become an informant.

The president’s defenders are now seeking to poke holes in, and undermine, the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. Here are six avenues of attack:

1. Mueller is biased: “It’s so disturbing and troubling,” Trump aide Kellyanne Conway told Fox News on Monday. She was speaking about weekend news that the Mueller probe removed a top investigator over the summer, after the discovery of texts to a lover blasting the president. This is atop reports that the same FBI investigator, Peter Strzok, was a key figure in the emails investigation that yielded no charges against Hillary Clinton. And there’s more: a paper trail of political donations shows several senior probe employees have a history of donating to Democrats. Another report said Strzok was involved in interviewing Flynn. Said Republican lawmaker Ron DeSantis: “It was almost as if they bent over backwards not to make the case on Hillary. With the Mueller probe, they’re just scorching the earth finding whatever little ticky-tack charge they can find on anyone… (Strzok’s role) undercuts the legitimacy of both those investigations.”

2. Presidents can’t be charged for obstructing justice: This is potentially a key question. There’s evidence Trump tried thwarting an investigation into Flynn. The argument here is he’s allowed to. Trump lawyer John Dowd expressed it via the Axios website: “The president cannot obstruct justice.” Harvard scholar Alan Dershowitz says Trump has constitutional power — to pardon Flynn himself, to fire the FBI director, and to issue instructions to the Justice Department. So what’s the legal problem if he orders the FBI to lay off Flynn, Dershowitz asks: “We’d have a constitutional crisis (if Trump is charged with obstruction),” he told Fox News. “You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power.” He says presidents can only be charged with obstruction that involves innately illegal acts — like the Nixon White House destroying evidence and paying hush money. Other legal scholars call this a laughable, quasi-regal, anti-democratic argument. One headline on the Vox website said, “Trump’s lawyer: the president can’t obstruct justice. 13 legal experts (say): yes, he can.” A list of law professors cited legal precedents, and the fact that the president’s power comes from the Constitution — the same Constitution that says he must faithfully execute the law. Peter Shane of Ohio State University called the Dershowitz-Dowd argument “nonsense.”

3. It’s a nothing-burger: They say this investigation is built on a flawed foundation. Mueller’s probe was struck to examine collusion with Russia — during the election. His critics note that four people are now charged — two for financial crimes predating the election, two for lying to the FBI after the election. This view is articulated in a Washington Examiner piece, “Was it all about the Logan Act?” In this narrative, the root of the probe is a dust-gathering, never-used law from 1799, the Logan Act, which forbids people from undermining U.S. foreign policy: Flynn spoke with Russians during the presidential transition; the FBI then questioned him about it; Flynn lied; he and Comey were forced out; Flynn was charged; now he’s a co-operating witness against Trump. A closely related argument involves the notorious Steele dossier — a document filled with jaw-dropping allegations that the Russians spent years recruiting Trump as an asset, and collecting blackmail material on him. The document was gathered by a former British spy and handed to the FBI. But his original customers were Trump campaign opponents. Critics now argue that any evidence stemming from this dossier is illegitimate. Others say this entire line of attack is wishful thinking — there are already several documented communications during the campaign with Russians, or suspected Russian intermediaries like Wikileaks, and some other investigation targets, like Paul Manafort, had reportedly been under surveillance for years.

4. Cut off funding: This is reportedly the route suggested by Steve Bannon. Trump’s ex-staffer, and still-ally, doesn’t want him to fire Mueller. He’s publicly said so. What he’s urging, reports say, is that Congress slash Mueller’s funding. That view is articulated by pro-Trump senator Steve King, who told Politico: “For them to say to us, ‘Vote for an open-ended appropriation into a Mueller witch hunt,’ I think you’ll see significant objection.”

5. Fire Mueller: Canadian friend of Trump Conrad Black suggests how to make this happen. Deriding the investigation as a “never-ending fishing expedition,” Black proposed a chain-reaction of moves, starting with Rex Tillerson’s removed as secretary of state — shift the CIA director to the State Department; appoint to the CIA Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from Russia-related matters; have Dershowitz replace Sessions; have Dershowitz kill the probe.

6. Rally the base: Ultimately, politics could decide all of this. Trump’s fate could eventually rest with Congress, given the legal realities — the president’s power to pardon; doubts about whether a sitting president can be charged; and the aforementioned debate about obstruction of justice. Impeachment, the ultimate political punishment, requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress. That’s 290 in the House, 67 in the Senate. It means more than 100 Republicans would have to turn on their president. And the full-throated assault on Mueller — from Trump’s Twitter feed, Fox News, and conservative news outlets — provides a daily rallying cry for the ranks to remain united.

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GOP

Pompeo Betrays Kurdish Allies for Return of Terrorist Minister

Polipace Staff

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A Turkish court has freed convicted terrorist  pastor Andrew Brunson two years after he was arrested in exchange for betraying the Kurds in Iraq and Syria. Brunson had been arrested as part of coup against the leader of Turkey, and despite being a terrorist was a right wing cause celebrity because he was Christian. What did they have to do in return? Refuse to arm our allies, the Kurds.

Worse, Pompeo is actually working with Islamist Militias to hurt the Kurds.

The Kurds have a proverb: “We have no friends but the mountains”. In the city of Afrin, however, even the mountains could not protect them from the Turkish warplanes and the Islamist militias allied with Ankara. Although the videos of terrifying executions are certainly not new in the tragic war of Syria, in this instance the video was shot by a terror group operating under the command of a NATO country, Turkey.

“Shame: the West is turning a blind eye to the fate of the Kurds” wrote Ivan Rioufol in France’s Le Figaro. “They fought alongside us in the war against ISIS. Erdogan labels as ‘terrorist’ this small people arming women, who have their hair in the wind and leave religion in the private sphere”.

The Western media have ignored the fate of the Kurds, the people who defeated ISIS for us.

“My sister, Barin, had fought alongside the coalition in Raqqa against the Islamic State and in many other places too”, Omar’s brother told The Times from the city of Kobane. “How can there be justice or trust between allies when the coalition put their own benefit above morality and allowed Turkey to attack us, and with Nato weapons?”

Worse, as an appeal published by the New York Review of Books reminds us:

“the Turkish attack on Afrin was entirely unprovoked. In fact, Afrin was so peaceful for most of the Syrian war that it became a safe havenfor tens of thousands of refugees — some of whom are now refugees for a second time. In the cantons they controlled, the Kurdish-led forces had established an oasis, unique in Syria, of local self-governmentwomen’s rights, and secular rule”

The battle of Afrin was a horrendous defeat for the Kurds in Syria, one with appalling consequences. At least 820 Kurdish fighters were killed in action. Many other deaths have yet to be confirmed. By comparison, 660 Kurds were killed fighting under the insignia of Syrian democratic forces, supported by the United States, in the battle to free Raqqa, the de facto Syrian capital of the ISIS Caliphate.

Robert Ellis has compared Afrin to the Sudetenland in the 1930s:

“Two days before ceding the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany in Munich in September 1938, British prime minister Neville Chamberlain dismissed the issue as ‘a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing’. Pretty much the same can be said of the attitude of the West towards Turkey’s attack on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria”.

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Kanye Kardashian Claims Hillary Clinton Emasculated Him

Polipace Staff

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Kanye West went on a lengthy rant in the Oval Office on Thursday where he was meeting with President Trump for lunch to discuss prison reform.

At one point, in between effusive praise for the president, West said that wearing Trump’s red Make America Great Again hat made him feel like Superman.

“When I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman,” said West. “You made a superman cape for me.”

What did he think of Hillary? “I love Hillary. I love everyone, but the campaign ‘I’m with her’ just didn’t make me feel — as a guy who didn’t get to see his dad all the time — like a guy who could play catch with his son.”

“What black and African Americans — we really get caught up in the idea of racism instead of the idea of industry,” said West. “A liberal would try to control a black people through racism because black people are proud emotional people.”

“I love this guy,” Kanye declared in the Oval Office.

The rapper had been invited to lunch to discuss prison reform but turned what was would ordinarily have been a staid White House photo-op into what must have been one of the most unusual encounters in the Oval Office’s storied history.

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Tom Arnold Files Charges Against Mark Burnett

Polipace Staff

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Actor/comedian Tom Arnold and television producer Mark Burnett, known for reality TV shows like The Apprentice and The Voice, reportedly got into a physical altercation at a pre-Emmys party on Sunday night. Both the LAPD and Arnold’s lawyer, Marty Singer, confirmed the incident to The Hollywood Reporter.

Arnold tweeted about the incident around Midnight EST, alleging that “Burnett just went apeshit & choked me at this huge Emmy party then he ran away with his torn Pink shirt & missing gold chain.” He also stated that he’d called the police.

Around 9:45 am EST, Tom Arnold reported that he had filed charges against Mark Burnet “in West LAPD.”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Sitting in West LAPD filing charges against your best bud Apprentice Outtakes Mark Burnett who lost his mind, attacted &amp; chocked me last nite at Katzenberg’s Night Before The Emmy’s Party. Last fight I got into there was with Harvey Weinstein. Mark Burnett is scared:) <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/TrumpTapes?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#TrumpTapes</a></p>&mdash; Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) <a href=”https://twitter.com/TomArnold/status/1041729746361475072?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>September 17, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

In response, Burnett’s wife, Roma Downey (of Touched by an Angel fame) tweeted an image of her bruised hand, claiming it was injured during the confrontation. “Got this bruise tonight when Tom Arnold tried to ambush my husband Mark and me at a charity event,” she wrote. “Is your TV show worth it Tom? Please stop.”

Downey was referring to Arnold’s new show, “The Hunt For The Trump Tapes,” which premieres Tuesday on Viceland. The show follows Arnold’s attempts to find tapes that show Donald Trump expressing bigoted views on the set of “The Apprentice,” which Burnett produces.

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