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Gowdy to Strzok: Please explain why you texted “F Trump” before interviewing a single witness

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There may not have been much new substance revealed during Peter Strzok’s testimony, as Jazz predicted, but everyone got to watch a lot of score-settling. Republicans in the hearing went after Strzok, Strzok went after them, Democrats and Republicans fought with and talked over each other, and voters got another reason to either cheer or boo depending on who was talking at the moment.

How bad were the disconnects? No one seemed to agree how Strzok ended up at the table today, let alone what he could be asked. Strzok ended up facing a charge of contempt of Congress for refusing to give Rep. Trey Gowdy the number of people he interviewed before beginning his text tirades about Donald Trump:

Regardless, Gowdy already knew the answer, even if Strzok would not provide it. How, Gowdy wondered, can Strzok claim that personal animus didn’t drive the investigation when Strzok was texting “F Trump” before he’d talked to a single witness?

This pretty much encapsulates the pre-fab nature of this hearing. We already know what Strzok texted, and we pretty much know all of the context for it too, thanks to the Inspector General report that took Strzok and Lisa Page to task while referring Andrew McCabe for criminal prosecution. All of this is as choreographed as Strzok’s inevitable defense of wrapping himself up in the FBI’s flag and having Democrats cheer it:

And, for that matter, the shoe-on-the-other-foot argument from the chair right back to those Democrats:

Goodlatte also challenged Democrats to replace Trump’s name in those texts with their own.

“To my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, please replace President Trump’s name with your own name in a small sample of things Mr. Strzok has said,” Goodlatte said. “Envision how you would feel if you found out that the chief agent investigating you as a Member of Congress was making these comments: ‘F Trump,’ ‘Trump is a disaster,’ ‘Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support’ – or, perhaps most alarmingly and revealingly, ‘We’ll stop it’ – referring directly to Mr. Trump’s candidacy for President.”

Nevertheless, Gowdy still scored a few points. Strzok came across as arrogant, barely apologizing for his behavior in official and unofficial communications. In fact, he didn’t apologize at all for “we’ll stop it,” and in doing so pretty much laid out an effective case that Strzok had a significant amount of personal animus toward Trump well before the July 31 start date of the probe. How else does one understand “horrible, disgusting behavior,” and his red-faced, angry recitation of it to the committee this morning?

However, even that has limited value, as both David French and Gabriel Malor noted shortly afterward. Investigators are not required to feel neutrally about the subjects of their investigations or even refrain from expressing their feelings. When it involves electoral candidates, however, it certainly helps to have shown some personal restraint instead of emoting all over the place. Strzok proved more evasive in other questions. For instance, while Strzok maintained that he would never allow personal animus to bias an investigation, Gowdy went back to the record:

Strzok insists that Robert Mueller removed him from the special-counsel prosecution out of an abundance of caution after some of these texts were made known to him. However, he claims that they shouldn’t have caused his dismissal, including this one in which Strzok appears to suggest that Mueller’s probe will provide an impetus for impeachment before even interviewing a single witness … again.

In other words, no one covered themselves with much glory today, but Strzok may have dug his hole a little deeper regardless. His testimony is continuing, and we’ll cover any other developments in later posts.

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Report: White House aides expecting Whitaker to “rein in” Mueller’s final report on Russiagate, block any Trump subpoena

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There’s not even a pretense that he’s in this role for any reason other than protecting Trump from Mueller, is there?

In fact, this NYT story claims that the White House’s first contact with him in July 2017 was to discuss “joining the president’s team as a legal attack dog against the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.” No wonder he ended up at the top of the DOJ. From the beginning Trump seems to have conceived of the position of Attorney General as head of his de facto legal defense team. Once Sessions declared that he wouldn’t play that part by recusing himself from Russiagate, his usefulness to Trump was over.

It’s funny that the White House thinks there’s some way to muzzle Mueller at this point, though, especially with the opposition party set to take over the House in eight weeks.

People close to Mr. Trump believe that he sent Mr. Whitaker to the department in part to limit the fallout from the Mueller investigation, one presidential adviser said.

White House aides and other people close to Mr. Trump anticipate that Mr. Whitaker will rein in any report summarizing Mr. Mueller’s investigation and will not allow the president to be subpoenaed.

He knew exactly how to appeal to the president: “By October of last year, Mr. Whitaker was telling people that he was working as a political commentator on CNN in order to get the attention of Mr. Trump, said John Q. Barrett, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law who met Mr. Whitaker during a television appearance last June.” His cable-news gig was a job tryout in the administration, chock full of soundbites that were skeptical of Mueller, not coincidentally. It worked like a charm.

That being so, it’s impossible to take the report floating around today that Whitaker won’t try to cut the special counsel’s budget as a sign that he plans a hands-off approach to the investigation. He came to Trump’s attention for his willingness to criticize Mueller, ultimately landing a role as Jeff Sessions’s chief of staff and now as acting Attorney General. After all that, how does this wild journey end with Whitaker standing aside and letting Russiagate proceed to the end unimpeded? It would be an even bigger betrayal of Trump’s expectations than Sessions’s recusal was.

But if the plan is for him to bottle up Mueller’s final report — which is submitted to the Attorney General, remember, and remains within the Attorney General’s discretion to releas — that’s not going to work. My pal Karl knows why:

On Earth 2, where Republicans retained control of the House, *maybe* Mueller would have maintained a sphinx-like silence after submitting his final report to acting AG Whitaker. The media would have begged for interviews but Mueller and his deputies have been a vault to this point (publicly, at least). On Earth, however, Mueller will be called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee, both in open and closed sessions. His core findings will leak. The actual report itself might leak, whether from anti-Trumpers at the DOJ or from House Democrats who’ve finagled a copy somehow. Having Whitaker try to formally suppress the release when the public is an uproar about seeing the contents would achieve nothing except underlining how deeply shady the Trump-Whitaker arrangement appears. It’d be smarter to have him release the report and then set Trump’s spin doctors to work making the case that, if anything, the contents largely/partially/somewhat vindicate the president. Why would they want to suppress something that makes him look good?

Whitaker blocking a subpoena of Trump from Mueller would backfire for all the same reasons. It would reek of cronyism; Democrats would expose it; it would inflame the public more than the subpoena itself would; and thus there are more politically astute ways to deal with it. Trump could go to court and try to have the subpoena defeated there, or he could state upfront that he’d assert his Fifth Amendment privilege if called to testify and therefore Mueller needn’t bother. “How could I submit to questioning in a witch hunt?” he’d say. “I’d be validating this garbage process!” All of his fans will side with him and any political hit he’d take among non-fans will fade by 2020, especially if Mueller’s final report doesn’t directly accuse him of anything.

I don’t think Whitaker will do anything to Mueller while in office. Even if he wants to, the bad headlines he’s generating for Trump likely mean they’ll push him out and propose a permanent nominee sooner rather than later. One more tidbit on Whitaker and his relationship with Sessions, this time from CNN:

In recent months, with his relationship with the President at a new low, Sessions skipped several so-called principals meetings that he was slated to attend as a key member of the Cabinet. A source close to Sessions says that neither the attorney general nor Trump thought it was a good idea for Sessions to be at the White House, so he sent surrogates. Whitaker was one of them.

But Sessions did not realize Whitaker was having conversations with the White House about his future until the news broke in late September about Rosenstein

Whitaker and Sessions didn’t have a prior relationship before Sessions — at the urging of the White House — accepted Whitaker as his chief of staff. Sessions interviewed him and the two grew to have a good working relationship. Sessions liked him, but even if he didn’t, the plan was already hatched for him to take the role, according to one source familiar with the matter.

Let me get this straight. Whitaker spends months on CNN in 2017 criticizing Mueller; then, coincidentally, the White House pushes him on Sessions as his new right-hand man; and not until September did Sessions have an inkling that maybe Whitaker had been working against him? Trump probably wanted him as Sessions’s chief of staff to begin with so that he could serve as the White House’s eyes and ears on Russiagate inside the DOJ. Plus, having Whitaker as a DOJ employee made it easy to satisfy the Vacancies Reform Act in the event of a vacancy at the top of the Department. Remember, under the statute the only way to bypass Senate confirmation for a temporary appointee to a position like AG is to choose someone within the upper ranks of the same agency where the vacancy opened up. That is, if Trump wanted a handpicked (temporary) successor to Sessions and didn’t want to worry about the Senate, he needed that person installed in a top job at the DOJ first. And whaddaya know? Whitaker was appointed chief of staff to Sessions last year. Trump’s probably quietly been eyeing him for this moment for many months. You would think he’d have asked to someone to research Whitaker for any political vulnerabilities during that time, but oh well.

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MUSLIMS Storm Jewish Kristallnacht Remembrance Vigil in London – Start Screaming About Killing Jews (VIDEO)

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On November 7th a vigil was held by pro-Israel activists in London on Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. A few dozen activists with Israel Advocacy Movement gathered there ahead of the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom in Germany and Austria.

But the vigil was shut down when angry Muslims stormed in screaming about killing Jews.

The Muslims were screaming about the Khaybar, a historic event mentioned in the Koran when Muslims slaughtered hundreds of Jews in the seventh century.

The Jewish group decided at that point to call off their vigil.
They appeared to be outnumbered about 4 to 1 by the Muslims.

JTA reported:

A vigil held by pro-Israel activists in London for Jews murdered in Arab countries was dispersed after men shouted in Arabic about killing Jews.

The event by the Israel Advocacy Movement was held Wednesday on Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, which is known for its culture of free speech and passionate street preachers championing various causes.

A few dozen people holding Israeli flags and candles gathered there ahead of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom in Germany and Austria, to highlight the suffering and slaying around the same time of many hundreds of Jews who were killed and wounded in pogroms across the Arab world.

Joseph Cohen, an Israel Advocacy Movement activist, filmed the event as about 20 men drowned his talk shouting “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.”

The cry relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, located in modern-day Saudi Arabia. Some of the men shouted about “Palestine,” surrounding the pro-Jewish activists and shoving them.

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Ignored ICE detainer causes release of illegal alien who goes on to murder 3

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Each one of these stories is tragic and they crop up all too often. Sadly, we have to keep on highlighting them because you generally won’t hear much about it from the mainstream media. This one was flagged by our colleague Timothy Meads at Townhall. Last December, Luis Rodrigo Perez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was arrested in Middlesex County, NJ on domestic violence charges. ICE issued a detainer for him, which the local officials refused to honor and Rodrigo Perez was released.

Now, as all too often happens, the story has taken a tragic turn several states away.

An illegal alien previously detained by a sanctuary city in New Jersey has been accused of killing three individuals in Missouri, but federal authorities argue that these crimes could have been prevented if better cooperation existed between immigration officials and local enforcement.

According to Fox News, “Luis Rodrigo Perez, 23, a native of Mexico, is charged with fatally shooting two men and wounding two others on Nov. 1 and fatally shooting a woman the next day.”…

“Yet again, an ICE detainer was ignored and a dangerous criminal alien was released to the streets and is now charged with killing three people,” Corey Price, the agency’s active executive director, said. “Had ICE’s detainer request in December 2017 been honored by Middlesex County Jail, Luis Rodrigo Perez would have been placed in deportation proceedings and likely sent home to his country – and three innocent people might be alive today.”

For their part, the authorities in Middlesex County are trying to blame this on ICE. They’re saying that ICE failed to issue an order which would have “authorized Middlesex County to turn over custody of Mr. Perez.” But that’s the upshot of what a detainer does. They asked Middlesex to hold him so they could pick him up. Instead, he was released and now two men and a woman are dead in Missouri.

Why is this so difficult? We’ve allowed politics to poison the system to the point where authorities in these sanctuary cities, counties and states can’t even cooperate with federal immigration authorities over someone charged with domestic violence? I thought that was one of the triggers which would qualify anyone for detention and deportation. If you’re part of the far left, you can at least make the argument that illegal aliens with zero other crimes on their rap sheet should perhaps be given a break. But that’s not the case with Perez. This isn’t the sort of person we’re supposed to be putting on a smooth pass to amnesty.

Now, instead of sending him back to Mexico, he’ll be tied up in U.S. courts (and probably prison) for decades to come. Small comfort to the families of his victims.

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