Would that this were not true.
Check out Charles Schumer's comments and statements on NPR. :)
But their actions should be fully investigated nonetheless. It’s a sign of our hyper-polarized times that we can’t seem to sort through the simplest of controversies. Yes, the debate over whether Russia used WikiLeaks (and other means) to attempt to influence the 2016 election is important, but that doesn’t make it remotely complex. Factually and conceptually there is ample ground for consensus.
Let’s start with four key truths.
First, WikiLeaks is not our friend. As Jonah Goldberg relates in his piece today, it’s been astonishing to watch attitudes shift on Julian Assange & Co. When it was busy engineering and facilitating the largest intelligence leaks in American military history, WikiLeaks was praised by fringe figures on the left and universally reviled on the right. Now it’s reviled on the left and praised on the right. This is unconscionable. WikiLeaks is not suddenly under new management, and Assange has not had a change of heart. He has targeted the American government time and again. He’s placed American allies in mortal danger. He opposes the U.S. and is sympathetic to its enemies. It’s obvious every time he opens his mouth, and every time he dumps reams of damaging information into the public square even as he spares authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China the same embarrassment. If you dance with WikiLeaks, you dance with the devil.
Second, Americans should unite in opposition to foreign attempts to influence election outcomes. It’s fair to ask whether Russia did in fact attempt to influence American public opinion through illegitimate means. It’s one thing for foreign leaders to publicly criticize candidates. It’s another thing entirely to steal information, plant fake stories in the media, and otherwise use deception and subterfuge to influence our Democratic process. We can’t be afraid of the truth. There has to be a complete and (to the extent possible without disclosing vital intelligence assets) transparent public investigation of Russian intelligence activities in 2016. We have to examine actions and intentions.
We have to examine the extent of the damage, if any, and gauge as much as possible the impact on our politics. This is a matter of national defense. It’s vital that we protect our constitutional structure from foreign enemies. In the weeks since our intelligence agencies accused the Russians of meddling in the election, however, it seems like parts of the GOP have been transplanted to the Berkeley quad circa 1971. There’s anti-government paranoia (“This is all a conspiracy against Trump!”) and moral equivalence (“So what? America interferes with foreign governments all the time”). That’s the power of polarization. The quest for victory transforms you into the very thing you once claimed to hate.
Third, politicians, including the president-elect, shouldn’t publicly attack intelligence agencies simply because those agencies reach disagreeable conclusions. No, the U.S. intelligence community isn’t perfect. Yes, there have been times when intelligence was not just flawed, but politicized. But it is unprecedented for the president-elect of the United States to cast aspersions on intelligence conclusions before he’s seen the evidence. It’s the time to investigate — not hyperventilate. No good can come of this development. It places pressure on eager-to-please bureaucrats to tell the incoming president what he wants to hear. It antagonizes hostile bureaucrats, incentivizing conflict between the Oval Office and our intelligence agencies.
And in so doing, it makes the already-difficult job of obtaining and evaluating intelligence that much harder at a time when the stakes are extraordinarily high.
Fourth, there is still no evidence that the Russians changed the outcome of the election. It is true that Julian Assange is anti-American. It’s likely true that the Russians worked to disrupt and influence American public debate, and it’s possibly true that they did so to elect Donald Trump. But it’s still wildly speculative to claim that Russian actions were decisive. More Cyber Security The Post-Cyber-Security Era Russia Didn’t Make Hillary Lose. Nor Is It Trump’s Friend. The Ongoing Saga of Yahoo’s Stolen Data The Russians didn’t hack voting machines. They didn’t change vote tallies. Any “fake” news stories were lost like tears in the rain of news. The WikiLeaks revelations were but one small part of an election cycle that sometimes seemed to feature not just a scandal per day, but a scandal per hour. One of America’s most well-known celebrities ran against one of America’s most well-known politicians. After billions of dollars worth of earned and purchased media, after millions of words of coverage, both candidates ended up where they began —disliked by a majority of Americans. Indeed, Trump won despite being more disliked than Hillary. His unfavorability rating was a stunning 60 percent. Hers was “only” 55 percent. In a world where both Clinton and Trump were controversial figures for decades, are we really to believe that John Podesta’s e-mails tipped the balance? It’s implausible, at best. As with so many pre-inauguration controversies, the hype is worse than the substance, and the hype causes even good people to say and do foolish things. Now is not the time to reevaluate clear truths about WikiLeaks and Russia simply because you may like the consequences of their improper actions. Nor is it the time to cast election results into doubt absent compelling evidence. It’s the time to investigate — not hyperventilate.
— David French is a staff writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443629/russia-wikileaks-2016-...
Thanks. I'm tired of Julian Assange and his self-importance. He is not a brave, bold teller of truth to power. He picks the truths that benefit himself and ignores the rest. That is not brave; that is craven and self-serving. Clinton had criticized him in the past. It hurt his feelings. He chose the other team; the knife was out.
Has nothing else to do...in his Ecuadorian prison.
You tell it, sister!
Your assignment today is to read and thoroughly understand the following material. Be prepared to discuss what you've learned in detail.
It will be important in the coming months/years.
And no copying, Westerly. Better yet, you and Carol separate...now.
Aha. A lot of information there. What I remember from before was that in 2008 the unemployment was 11% and now it's 4.5. and the cost of gas was over $4/gallon. Oddly, many people who voted this year were under the impression the unemployment went up under this administration.
That's what happens when you get all your information from Faux News.
Trump D.C. Hotel Contractors Say They're Owed Millions
January 11, 20174:54 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition (NPR)
In late October, just weeks ahead of the election, President-elect Donald Trump made a quick detour to Washington for the official opening of his new five-star hotel, just a few blocks from the White House.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Trump told the crowd that the two-year, roughly $200 million renovation project at the historic Old Post Office Building was done ahead of schedule and under budget, thanks to what he called an incredible team of people — "including hundreds of construction workers, electricians, maintenance workers and so many others who helped make this project a reality. They're really the important ones."
Now some of those companies would like final payment for their work. Documents obtained by NPR show three Washington-area companies have filed liens against Trump International Hotel totaling more than $5 million.
One company, Joseph J. Magnolia Inc., filed a $2.98 million mechanic's lien in December. According to the filing, the firm worked on the hotel from September 2014 to December 2016 and "completed all plumbing, mechanical and HVAC work, along with site sewer, water, storm and water services."
AES Electrical Inc., based in Laurel, Md., says it's owed $2.075 million for its work on the hotel for the same period of time as Magnolia.
Sterling, Va.,-based A&D Construction filed a lien in November saying it was owed $79,700. The firm's lawyer, Richard Sissman, says A&D is a small, Hispanic-owned company that was subcontracting on the Trump hotel project.
"The nature of the work was ... trim and casework and architectural millwork, wall base, crown molding; this is all fine carpentry," he says.
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Sissman says A&D's lien is relatively small compared to the other two, but it's a lot of money to his client.
"On these big jobs these should be paid. It's ridiculous that a small-time operator has to beg for its money," he says. "It's put him in a very bad situation right now."
Trump has faced many liens — and lawsuits — for alleged nonpayment for work in the past.
Steven Schooner, a contracts specialist with the George Washington University law school, says resolving the liens in this case could ultimately involve the federal government because it holds the lease on the building where the Trump hotel is located.
"The way the lease is structured, it said they may step in and discharge the lien but they're not actually required to," he says.
Still, Schooner says as a rule, the government wants its tenants — like Trump International Hotel — to solve its own problems.
Requests for comment from Trump's communication team about the liens were not returned.
These allegations were initially reported by the New York Times months ago. The Times’ was hampered in its investigation by the precedent-elect’s refusal to release his tax return information – information that they claimed was critical and could provide proof to the allegations.
What is particularly disturbing in this article is the comment “The special report prepared for Trump even noted that no evidence was included and that 'such documents are so top secret they must remain confidential.”
Trump Denies Allegations Of Secret Ties, Collusion Between Campaign And Russia
January 10, 20178:41 PM ET
Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET on Wednesday
Top U.S. intelligence officials have briefed leaders in Washington about an explosive — but unverified — document that alleges collusion between Russia and President-elect Donald Trump, NPR has learned.
The brief, which NPR has seen but not independently verified, was given by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain to FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9. Details from it have been part of presentations by Comey and other intelligence leaders to Trump, President Obama and key leaders in Congress.
On Tuesday night, Trump and his attorney named in the report separately characterized the document as untrue. Without mentioning the report directly, Trump tweeted, "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!"
Wednesday, a Kremlin spokesman said the document was an "absolute fabrication." Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had no compromising material on President-elect Donald Trump and that the document was a hoax intended to further damage U.S.-Russian relations.
Trump has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday — his first since one in July in which he quipped that Russia should hack materials related to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The alleged intelligence document appears likely to dominate the upcoming session.
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NPR is not detailing the contents of the brief because it remains unverified, but it describes a concerted effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin to cultivate a relationship with Trump and his camp. The document, which describes information provided by Russian government and other sources, details behavior by Trump that could leave him open to blackmail, as well as alleged secret meetings between Trump aides and Russian officials called to discuss the campaign against Clinton and potential new business relationships.
The U.S. intelligence services declined to comment on Tuesday evening. Members of Congress on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees also declined to comment.
Obama told NBC News on Tuesday in an interview ahead of his farewell address that he hadn't seen the news reports and wouldn't comment on classified information. He reminded Lester Holt that he ordered the investigation released Friday of Russia's meddling in the presidential election and that the U.S. needed to continue strengthening its cyber-defenses.
"My expectation and my hope is that this work will continue after I leave; that Congress, in possession of both the classified and unclassified reports, that the president-elect and his administration — in possession of both the classified and unclassified reports — will take it seriously and now get to work reinforcing those mechanisms that we can use to protect our democracy."
Members of Trump's camp issued their own denials separately from Trump.
"Once again these reports have no documentation," Trump confidant Roger Stone told NPR. "So far we have 'assessments' and 'briefings.' The special report prepared for Trump even noted that no evidence was included and that 'such documents are so top secret they must remain confidential.' "
Attorney Michael Cohen, who is a key figure in the allegations detailed in the report, denied to The Atlantic on Tuesday evening that he had made a trip to the Czech Republic that it describes.
"I'm telling you emphatically that I've not been to Prague, I've never been to Czech, I've not been to Russia," as reporter Rosie Gray quoted him on Twitter. Cohen posted a photo of his passport on his own Twitter account with the hashtag "#FakeNews."
The timing of the appearance of the dossier is significant — following a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday about Russia's campaign to disrupt the 2016 presidential election and ahead of Trump's planned news conference. Democrats on Tuesday urged the FBI to reveal whether it is conducting any investigation into the Trump camp's connections to Russia, but Comey rebuffed them.
Separately, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., pressed Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's nominee to become attorney general, about what he knew of Trump's dealings with Russia. Sessions said he wasn't aware of any activities and couldn't respond.
The dossier, which originated with a former British intelligence officer, does not contain the standard caveats or guidance about levels of "confidence" that are common in U.S. intelligence community documents. It brought another twist in the sometimes surreal story about Trump's historic political success. And it followed a hearing in which senators and intelligence leaders described the dangers of foreign mischief in the political systems of the U.S. and its allies. The Trump-Kremlin dossier could be a quintessential example.
If it's genuine, it tops what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and other top intelligence bosses called an unprecedented spike in Russian meddling inside the U.S. If it's phony, or parts of it are fabricated, it's yet another turn in the hall of mirrors in which American voters have found themselves since Trump exploded onto the political scene, and debunking it could vindicate repeated denials by Trump and his aides that they have had improper relationships with Moscow.
Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was forced to resign after information became public about his ties to pro-Kremlin leaders in Ukraine, which Putin invaded in 2014. Russian Foreign Ministry officials boasted in the press about their contacts with Trump's camp.
Manafort, for his part, denied the allegations.
"I have never had any ties to Russia or Putin," Manafort told NPR in a text message. "The references to me regarding speaking to [former Trump foreign policy adviser] Carter Page and Michael Cohen are totally wrong and not true."
Putin sent Trump a telegram after his election congratulating him on his win and reciprocating the overtures he had made about healing the relationship between the two nations.
NPR correspondents Mary Louise Kelly, Carrie Johnson, Sarah McCammon and Tamara Keith contributed to this report.
Jennifer Holliday Won't Be Performing At Trump Inauguration Event After All
January 14, 20173:54 PM ET
Just one day after Jennifer Holliday told the media she planned to sing at a welcome concert for President-elect Donald Trump, the Tony Award-winning singer says she has reconsidered. Holliday will not be performing at the inauguration-related event.
She announced the turnabout in a letter provided to The Wrap. She wrote, in part:
"Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
"In light of the information pointed out to me via the Daily Beast article on yesterday, my only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!"
Holliday, a Broadway actress best known for her Tony-winning turn in Dreamgirls, in the early 1980s has sung for U.S. presidents on both sides of the aisle — including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and both presidents Bush.
She says it was this role as a "bi-partisan songbird" that ultimately persuaded her to accept an invitation to sing at a Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration on Jan. 19, the day before Trump's inauguration.
"I'm singing on the mall for the people. I don't have a dog in this fight — I'm just a singer, and it's a welcome concert for the people on the mall," she told The New York Times on Friday, adding that she had voted for Hillary Clinton in the election.
But "if someone wants me to sing a national anthem or something," Holliday told the Times, "we think about America, and we go."
The announcement Friday drew a swift backlash on social media that astonished Holliday.
"I'm not singing for Donald Trump; I'm singing to welcome the people of America," she told Billboard, in an interview Friday defending the decision. "He cannot be the only face that's gonna represent us. And just to have all white people up there singing is not going to be a fair representation either. So you're just saying don't go? Really? I'm just very disheartened by it that it would be so much hate."
In her letter, which was addressed to "MY BELOVED LGBT COMMUNITY," Holliday says that calculus changed for her after reading a Daily Beast article that called attention to her lofty status as an icon in the LGBT community.
The decision to perform in support of the incoming Trump administration represented "an act that seems to defy everything her most passionate supporters stand for, and even issues she herself has supported throughout her career," the Daily Beast argued.
So, Holliday says, she reexamined her choice. And Saturday, she made that change of heart official.
In her letter, she apologized for what she called a "lapse of judgement," and "for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans."