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Rosenstein: In the future, let’s discuss the Mueller probe “patriotically as Americans”

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Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein offered this worthy and impassioned plea as part of the pronouncement of the new grand-jury indictment agains 12 Russians in the special-counsel probe of the 2016 election. It’s not likely to have a great deal of impact, but it’s not just whistling in the wind, either. The indictment today shows that Robert Mueller has made a significant case that Russia conducted an extensive intelligence operation to impact the election through hacking and information disruption, a circumstance that Rosenstein argues should call us to hearken to our better angels:

In my remarks, I have not identified the victims. When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans. Our response must not depend on who was victimized.

The Internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways. Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious. There will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide, and conquer us. So long as we are united in our commitment to the values enshrined in the Constitution, they will not succeed.

The partisan warfare fueled by modern technology does not fairly reflect the grace and dignity of the American people.

The blame for election interference belongs to the criminals who committed election interference. We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable, and keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference, and defend America.

That would certainly be a nice change of pace across the entire political spectrum, from those who insist that the entire issue of Russian interference is a witch hunt to those who think Donald Trump personally gamed it out with Vladimir Putin. It also applies to the news media, which has at times hyped mostly substance-free developments as major changes in the case, published “facts” from dubious sources without any verification, and at other times simply flat-out amplified false information. With many now heavily invested in these hyperbolic debates and positions, Rosenstein’s plea will mainly fall on deaf ears, but that doesn’t make it without value.

With that standard in mind, though, let’s parse through the information provided today. The indictment does a lot more than just charge people who will never show up in court, although that’s pretty obviously the case. It lays out an extensive and detailed look at the mechanisms behind the thefts of data that later were published by Wikileaks and laundered through front identities like DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. It makes a very strong case that Russia did indeed conduct a major operation against America’s elections, and succeeded in penetrating some institutions. That should put an end to denials over the nature of the Russian regime and the need to harden our electoral and political infrastructure against further attacks.

However, Rosenstein also took care to note that even while they believe they have seen the breadth and depth of this operation, it did not impact the results of the vote:

In a second, related conspiracy, Russian GRU officers hacked the website of a state election board and stole information about 500,000 voters. They also hacked into computers of a company that supplied software used to verify voter registration information; targeted state and local offices responsible for administering the elections; and sent spearphishing emails to people involved in administering elections, with malware attached. …

There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.

With the Russian hacking operations exposed in these indictments, that appears to be an overall conclusion from the special counsel. The fact that Mueller is now transferring the indictment back to the Department of Justice for prosecution further and more strongly suggests that there isn’t anything else left to dig up. It indicates that they have found no reason to believe that the DoJ and its current leadership are in any way conflicted and unable to pursue effective prosecution of this case. If they’re still expecting further developments to tie this back to Trump, his family, or the campaign, Mueller would almost certainly prosecute this case himself.

The indictment itself supports that conclusion in another way. The lack of allegations against any US persons in the indictment for the Russian intelligence operations suggests that the original theory of collusion has been discarded. The original theory was that the Trump campaign or members thereof coordinated with Russian intelligence on the dissemination of stolen e-mails in an attempt to throw the election. Rosenstein’s statement declares that they found no allegation of a crime by an American “in this indictment,” but since the indictment speaks to what appears to be the entire Russian interference operation, it’s tough to see how that collusion theory survives.

In fact, the indictment lays out a detailed explanation of how the information got distributed, both through the “DCLeaks” website they created and through “Organization 1,” clearly a reference to Wikileaks. The only reference to a Trump campaign connection comes in paragraph 44, with a rather nondescript response from an indirect connection, likely Roger Stone as Allahpundit wrote earlier:

That’s not coordination, let alone collusion; it’s barely a response at all. (It is, however, another lesson in not feeding the trolls.) That’s not to say that the Russians didn’t succeed in getting any political campaign interested. The indictment does disclose a very interesting connection to a congressional candidate:

With that inclusion, we can see that Mueller’s team had no problem including this kind of direct contact with candidates or campaigns in their indictment. Even in this case, the Mueller team apparently considered the congressional candidate who made direct contact with Russian intel a victim of the conspiracy, not a participant, as Rosenstein emphasized:

In my remarks, I have not identified the victims. When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans. Our response must not depend on who was victimized.

Given that, the lack of any such contacts listed in this indictment certainly leads one to believe that there were no such contacts between the actual Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officers running the hacking-influencing campaign in 2016. The indictment would be even stronger if they could cite that kind of penetration, and could have used generic identifiers to detail those allegations. With this fairly complete look at the Russian operation and its efforts, and with the transfer of this prosecution back to the DoJ proper, there simply isn’t anything here to support the collusion theory.

That might change, of course, and there may be other crimes that Mueller uncovers. But this indictment vindicates the results of the election and certainly seems to close off the idea of collusion.

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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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