(Reuters) White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says President Donald Trump is preparing to impose new sanctions on Iran, perhaps as early as next week, to ensure it does not develop nuclear weapons.
Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(Reuters) White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says President Donald Trump is preparing to impose new sanctions on Iran, perhaps as early as next week, to ensure it does not develop nuclear weapons.
Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Washington, D.C. – Federal investigators have been reportedly monitoring the phone logs of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, according to NBC News.
NBC News on Thursday initially claimed that the FBI investigation of Cohen included wiretapping of his phones lines, but following statements from US officials disputing the claim, NBC issued a correction clarifying that Cohen’s calls had actually been logged through the use of what is known as a “pen register.”
The monitoring has reportedly been ongoing for an unknown amount of time, but included the weeks preceding the raid on Cohen’s hotel room, office and home.
The NBC News report went on to state that at least one call between Cohen and someone at the White House, possibly Trump or an intermediary, was logged by prosecutors:
The calls are logged by what is commonly referred to as a pen register, which records the number of the phone that made the call and the number that received it, but does not record the contents of any conversation.
NBC News originally reported that Cohen’s phone lines had been wiretapped, meaning a judge had given investigators approval to listen to phone calls. Three senior U.S. officials now dispute that, saying the monitoring of the calls was limited to a log of calls.
At least one phone call between a phone line associated with Cohen and the White House was logged, the person said.
Previously, federal prosecutors in New York have said in court filings that they have conducted covert searches on multiple e-mail accounts maintained by Cohen.
Following the raid on Cohen, Trump’s legal team reportedly advised him to not speak with Cohen – advice Trump is not believed to have followed. After new lead attorney Rudy Giuliani came aboard the president’s legal team and became aware of Trump’s call to Cohen he instructed him to not call Cohen out of caution that prosecutors were surveilling the communications.
In addition, sources close to Giuliani, said the former mayor of New York City and ex-federal prosecutor, reportedly told Trump that he believes that Cohen is likely to flip and become a prosecutorial witness. Trump has repeatedly stated on numerous occasions that he believes Cohen — who has represented Trump and the Trump Organization for decades prior to Trump becoming president — will not cave to pressure to cut a deal to turn on him.
NBC News reported:
It is unclear what incriminating information Cohen could give prosecutors on Trump, if he chose to cooperate. He represented Trump and the Trump Organization in its business dealings for nearly two decades before Trump became president. Special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in any information that federal investigators in New York may pick up that would be relevant to his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Cohen has previously said publicly that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights if subpoenaed to avoid incriminating himself before a grand jury and there is no indication from public filings that Cohen is cooperating in the probe.
IOWA, October 22, 2015– On Thursday, an Iowa jury acquitted longtime aide to former congressman Ron Paul and son Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Jesse Benton on charges of lying to the FBI in an Iowa campaign finance corruption case.
“God is great,” Benton told reporter Grant Rodgers of the Des Moines Register as he left the Southern District of Iowa federal courthouse. “It feels good.” Benton had no other comments.
Senator Paul’s presidential campaign released a one-sentence statement in reaction to Thursday’s decision.
“I am happy that justice has been served,” Paul said in a statement sent by his campaign.
Last week, saying that the indictment against Benton and others was nothing more than political theater, the elder Paul accused the feds of targeting son Rand’s presidential campaign when he was called to testify against Benton in court.
Prosecutors announced the indictments against Benton just one day before the first Republican debate where Rand was set to take stage. At the time, Benton was heading up a Super PAC (political action committee) working on behalf of Rand Paul’s presidential race. The indictments made headlines across the country.
“I don’t consider that a coincidence,” Paul said. “I consider that more than seeking justice.”
Benton served as Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign chairman. In 2014, Benton was managing the reelection campaign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but resigned as the Iowa case started to attract a spotlight. Most recently, he served as the head of a pro-Rand Paul Super PAC dedicated to electing the senator as the Republican nominee for president in the 2016 election cycle.
For more election coverage, click here.
WASHINGTON, October 21, 2015– From the White House rose garden, flanked by President Obama on one side and wife Jill on the other, Vice President Joe Biden announced that he will not run for the presidency ending months of speculation.
“As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along what I’ve said time and again to others, that it may very well be that the process by the time we get through it closes the window,” Biden said. “I’ve concluded it has closed. We are out of time.”
Although he has bowed out of the race, Biden took yet another jab at Hillary Clinton.
“I’m not naive. We must talk to our opponents,” said Biden. “Republicans are not our enemies.” Biden has already taken aim at Clinton for calling Republicans the enemy after she made the remarks in the first Democratic debate.
Biden said he was dedicated to spending the next 15 months as Vice President fighting for gay rights, tax-payer paid college tuition, and other liberal policies.
The President and Vice President walked away without taking questions.
The timing of Biden’s announcement is interesting. Had he wanted to help Clinton, he likely would have made the announcement tomorrow during Clinton’s Benghazi congressional committee to take the attention and heat off of her. However, the announcement was made the day before.
With Biden out, the democratic party will now rally behind Clinton or Sanders. However, Sanders has already shown that he is not willing to throw a punch at Clinton when he defended her from criticism over her email scandal during the first Democratic debate, which all but guarantees Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee.
For more election coverage, click here.
WASHINGTON, October 19, 2015– Vice President Joe Biden has been teasing a presidential bid for months. Over the weekend, he met with Harold A. Schaitberger, the president of the powerful International Association of Fire Fighters. The meeting made Biden trend across the country on the internet. According to a source familiar with the conversation, Schaitberger strongly indicated Biden was planning to run.
On Monday, Fox News’ chief White House correspondent Ed Henry said that he has confirmed with three separate sources close to Biden that a campaign launch will be announced before the end of the week.
CNN political correspondent Dana Bash weighed in regarding a Biden run:
A source familiar with the process tells me Biden associates are setting up interviews for potential campaign staff positions
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) October 19, 2015
According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, Biden currently captures 19 percent of the vote nationally. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton captures 44 percent and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) takes almost 25 percent.
In August, Biden enjoyed lunch at the White House with President Obama. The two apparently discussed a Biden run for the White House. A short while after their lunch ended, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced that President Obama had given Biden the green light and his blessing to run for President.
For more election coverage, click here.
NEW YORK, September 28, 2015– On Monday, Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump unveiled his tax plan to “Make America Great Again” at a press conference in New York City.
According to the billionaire reality TV star, too few Americans are working, too many jobs have been shipped overseas, and too many middle class families cannot make ends meet.
Trump says his tax plan directly meets these challenges with four simple goals, in Trump’s own words:
Trump’s plan is progressive, but cuts taxes for all Americans. Trump’s plan contradicts his populist campaign rhetoric of raising taxes on the rich. In fact, even the rich get a big tax cut under Trump’s plan. Trump’s top bracket includes individuals making >$150,001 and couples making >$300,001 would pay a rate of 25 percent, which is a dramatic cut from the current top rate of close to 40 percent.
Who pays what? In Trump’s own words:
Trump claims the plan is revenue neutral and will be “fully paid for” by eliminating loopholes for the very rich and corporations. However, details on those loopholes are few and far between. In fact, Trump uses the word loopholes 7 times, but only gives shallow detail on one loophole he’d potentially revise- not eliminate, but revise.
How Trump pays for the cuts? In Trump’s own words:
Trump says that his plan will simplify the code by making it to where nearly 50 percent of Americans no longer pay a penny of federal income tax. Currently, 51 percent of American households already pay no federal income tax. Trump’s plan also reduces the number of tax brackets from seven to four.
For the full plan, click HERE.
September 15, 2015– On Monday, .com billionaire Mark Cuban interviewed with CNBC where he delivered his thoughts on the White House race. Shortly after the interview, headlines popped up across the country declaring that Cuban was thinking of running for President.
USA TODAY ran the headline “Mark Cuban is Thinking of Running for President“. However, in the CNBC interview, Cuban couldn’t have been more clear- he’s not running. Yet, most potential candidates say the exact same thing before they become official candidates.
Cuban did say he gets asked to run every day and said that it’s a fun idea to toss around. As if making a practice round, Cuban went on to trade blows with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
In an email exchange, Cuban went as far as to detail how he would structure his potential campaign.
“If I ran as a Dem, I know I could beat Hillary Clinton,” Cuban told CNBC. “And if it was me vs. Trump, I would crush him. No doubt about it.”
Cuban went on to criticize the Republican Party for forcing their candidates to conform to their social issues.
Although he was relatively harsh to Trump in the CNBC interview, Cuban has praised Trump again and again.
In June, Cuban praised Trump, calling the real estate developer “probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time” via his CyberDust app.
“I don’t care what his actual positions are,” wrote Cuban, according to Business Insider (a website he partially owns). “I don’t care if he says the wrong thing. He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.”
Last night, Trump hosted a rally in the arena where the Dallas Mavericks play, which Cuban owns, where one of the largest presidential crowds so far, for either party, assembled to hear him speak.
At his Dallas speech, Trump had nothing but praise for Cuban and encouraged him to join the race. “Another great guy is Mark Cuban,” Trump said to a roar of applause. “And I think, you know, he’s been talking about maybe doing this himself. And I think he’d do a great job. We don’t have the exact same feelings about where we’re going, but that’s okay.”
TEXAS, September 12, 2015– Former Texas Governor Rick Perry announced on Friday, September 11, that he has ended his campaign to become the 2016 Republican nominee for the White House. This marks Perry’s second failed attempt at a presidential bid after being Governor of Texas for 14 years.
In a lengthy speech delivered to the Texas Eagle Forum, many Perry supporters were caught off guard when, at the end of his speech, Perry announced he was calling it quits.
Perry’s remarks are below:
[quote_box_center]”Thank you. It is such an honor to speak to the patriots of Eagle Forum. In case you didn’t know, we have a pretty vibrant chapter in Texas. They have long lived up to the standard set by your outstanding founder, whom I am proud to recognize today, Phyllis Schlafly…[/quote_box_center]
“I also want to say a word about the gentleman who is taking over for Phyllis. Ed Martin is a good man – a great leader – a movement conservative who leads by conviction. I am glad to be in his home state of Missouri.
46 years ago I spent a summer in Festus, Missouri. I went door to door, selling Bibles. It was then that I learned what it was like to remain optimistic in the face of rejection, especially when I knew the power of the message I was selling.
It was good preparation for life in politics.
For me, this life has been a dream.
I came from a place called Paint Creek. Too small to be called a town, too remote to be found on a map, it was the center of my universe.
We had an outhouse, and mom bathed us in a number two washtub on the porch. We farmed vast fields of cotton, and attended the Paint Creek Rural School. I was a six-man football player, a proud member of Boy Scout Troop 48, and an Eagle Scout.
I experienced the bonds of family, the power of community, the meaning of faith. And I learned the high calling we have as Americans to protect freedom.
It was for freedom that I wore the uniform of the United States Air Force. I flew C-130 aircraft all across the globe. I lived in places like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. I learned how special it is to be an American.
Later I would become a state representative, ag commissioner, lieutenant governor, and eventually governor of the world’s 12th largest economy.
I would truly live the motto of the Paint Creek Rural School: “no dream to tall for a school so small.”
I continue to draw inspiration from a trip I took with my father fifteen years ago.
Dad and I went back to his old air base in England for his first visit in 55 years. Then we crossed the channel and visited the American cemetery that overlooks the bluffs at Omaha beach. That flight across the channel he had taken 35 times previously, as a tailgunner on a B-17.
On that peaceful, wind-swept setting, there lie 9,000 graves, including 45 pairs of brothers, 33 of whom are buried side by side, a father and a son, two sons of a president. They all traded their future for ours in a final act of loving sacrifice.
In that American Cemetery, it is no accident each headstone faces west: west over the Atlantic, towards the nation they defended, the nation they loved, the nation they would never come home to.
It struck me as I stood in the midst of those heroes that they look upon us in silent judgment. And that we must ask ourselves: are we worthy of their sacrifice?
The truth is we are at the end of an era of failed leadership.
We have been led by a divider who has sliced and diced the electorate, pitting American against American for political purposes. We are a country more divided by race, income, religion and party than when he entered office.
His lofty words were no match for the reality of the world.
How long ago it seems now the speeches before fawning millions in Europe, in front of Roman columns in Denver. We were told America needed to improve its reputation abroad. Now we are neither liked nor respected.
That’s what happens when a president governs based on popular acclamation, instead of based on enduring American values.
We have isolated our allies, and emboldened our adversaries.
ISIS has ripped a swath through the Middle East as large as Great Britain. It could have been prevented. But a naïve campaign promise took priority over stability, and even the blood shed by American heroes. Today, the president remains in denial about the weakness that led to their emergence, and even the nature of the threat. With political correctness expected of a Harvard professor, he refuses to admit we are at war with radical Islam. Mr. President, we are at war with radical Islam.
Naïve policies gave us the Iranian nuclear deal – an agreement that fuels Iran’s nuclear ambitions rather than prohibiting them. A president who boldly claimed it was his goal to rid the world of nuclear weapons will have a legacy of nuclear proliferation. All because he places his trust in a regime that is the leading sponsor of state terrorism, in the word of radicals, in inspections that can be easily manipulated.
My friends, this is not the America I know.
Neither is a domestic economy that settles for two percent growth, and neither is a president who ignores the Constitution and issues executive orders to make law.
Washington needs to return to doing its constitutional duty: standing up a strong military, implementing foreign policy from a policy of strength, not weakness, and securing the border with Mexico. And they need to get out of the education business, get out of the healthcare business, and stop utilizing EPA zealots to shut down small business.
Washington is not the fount of all wisdom. The best ideas come from the states.
Liberal Justice Lewis Brandeis once said, “that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”
Each state should chart its own course, whether it is Governor Haley fighting the unions to bring Boeing and Michelin to South Carolina, or Bobby Jindal standing up for school choice. I support the right of states to be wrong, like Colorado legalizing pot. I would rather one state get it wrong than the whole country.
Today Washington has discarded the Tenth Amendment, centralizing power while failing to meet the test of leadership.
Our present-day leaders would have us settle for low expectations, low growth, record numbers out of the workforce. To them, two percent growth is the new norm. They want us to embrace their vision of mediocrity. I, for one, will not.
As Americans we have the power to make the world new again.
But let me issue a couple warnings. First, the answer to a president nominated for soaring rhetoric and no record is not to nominate a candidate whose rhetoric speaks louder than his record. It is not to replicate the Democrat model of selecting a president, falling for the cult of personality over durable life qualities.
Only in Washington do they define fighting as filibustering, leading as debating.
Where I come from, talk is cheap. And leadership is not what you say, but what you do.
Missouri is the “show me state”, and this must be a “show me, don’t tell me” election, where we get beyond the rhetoric to the record to see who has been tested, who has led and who can be expected to stand in the face of fire.
And for the record, if a candidate can’t take tough questions from a reporter, how will they deal with the president of Russia, the leaders of China or the fanatics in Iran?
My second warning is this: we cannot indulge nativist appeals that divide the nation further. The answer to our current divider-in-chief is not to elect a Republican divider-in-chief.
Conservatism is inherently optimistic. It celebrates the power of the individual, it believes in free markets over state-controlled solutions. It knows free individuals can govern their own lives better than centralized government.
Progressives think we need to protect the people from themselves. Conservatives think we need to protect the people from government.
We have had too much government – too many government answers, too much government meddling – all at the expense of individual freedom.
We need to get back to the central constitutional principle that, in America it is the content of your character that matters, not the color of your skin – that it doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you are going. In an America blind to color, that champions the individual, that recognizes merit, there is no room for debate that denigrates certain people based on their heritage or origin.
We can secure the border and reform our immigration system without inflammatory rhetoric, without base appeals that divide us based on race, culture and creed.
Let me be crystal clear: for those of us in Christ, our citizenship is first and foremost in God’s kingdom, our brothers and sisters are those made in the image of God, and our obligation – after loving God with all our heart, mind and soul – is to love our neighbors as ourselves, regardless of where they come from.
Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant, it betrays the example of Christ. We can enforce our laws and our borders, and we can love all who live within our borders, without betraying our values.
It is time to elevate our debate from divisive name-calling, from soundbites without solutions, and start discussing how we will make the country better for all if a conservative is elected president.
And let me say, I know something about enacting conservative principles. We have done it in Texas.
During my 14 years as governor, Texas created nearly one-third of all new American jobs. We passed balanced budgets, cut taxes, set aside billions of dollars for a rainy day, and elevated our graduation rates to second highest in the nation.
We did this based on conservative principles: Don’t tax too much, don’t spend all the money, invest in an educated workforce, and stop frivolous lawsuits at the courthouse.
It can be done, all across America, with the right leadership.
2016 is the most important election of our lifetime. I know we say this every election, but this time it is actually true. It is true because we have had six and a half years of an expanding welfare state, and a contracting freedom state.
There are two visions for America: the government-run welfare state of Washington, New York and California, and the limited government freedom state pioneered in places like Texas.
The centralized state offers more regulations, and less freedom. A world where everything costs more, from college tuition, to the cost of housing, to the price of government.
Their answer to our current economic mess is more government solutions, more tax dollars placed in the hands of bureaucrats, more redistribution schemes, and a shrinking pie for the middle class.
As Margaret Thatcher once said, ‘the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.’
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right nominee, we can cut taxes on corporations and individuals, unleash growth, create jobs, and lift wages. We can create opportunity by drilling for American energy and selling it around the world.
We can restore our reputation abroad by reasserting our moral authority, by standing with allies like Israel, and standing up to adversaries like Iran.
We can be the America we know in our hearts we are meant to be – a nation of ideas and innovations, a place where freedom flourishes, that special land that the heroes of Normandy died to defend.
Conservative principles applied consistently will make life better for all, but especially minority Americans. More African-Americans are living in poverty since President Obama took office. That’s because he offers them government programs, instead of creating new incentives for people to work.
We can improve life for minority Americans. The formula is simple: stop politically correct regulation policies that make housing so expensive for single moms, let low and middle-income Americans keep more of what they make, challenge all kids to exceed in school.
We did that in Texas, and now we have the highest graduation rate for minority students.
For me, the message has always been greater than the man. The conservative movement has always been about principles, not personalities. Our nominee should embody those principles. He – or she – must make the case for the cause of conservatism more than the cause of their own celebrity.
I still believe in the power of that message – a message that offers hope, redemption and solace in the midst of storms.
When I gave my life to Christ, I said, “your ways are greater than my ways. Your will superior to mine.”
Today I submit that His will remains a mystery, but some things have become clear.
[quote_center]That is why today I am suspending my campaign for the presidency of the United States.[/quote_center]
We have a tremendous field – the best in a generation – so I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, and as long as we listen to the grassroots, the cause of conservatism will be too.
I share this news with no regrets. It has been a privilege and an honor to travel this country, to speak with the American people about their hopes and dreams, to see a sense of optimism prevalent despite a season of cynical politics.
And as I approach the next chapter in life, I do so with the love of my life by my side, Anita Perry. We have our house in the country, we have two beautiful children and two adorable grandchildren, four dogs, and the best sunset from our front porch that you could ever imagine.
Life is good. And I am a blessed man.
I remain as convinced as ever: there is nothing wrong with America today that cannot be fixed with new leadership. Leadership that champions conservative ideas.
As great as our greatest Republican presidents were – from Lincoln to Reagan – it is their ideas that remain greatest.
Those ideas live on through the spirit, idealism and optimism of this generation of Americans.
We must return to great ideas, to our belief in the power of free individuals, free markets, and free Americans standing watch for liberty wherever it is threated.
This is up to us. It is up to you. And to me. Let’s roll up our sleeves. Let’s get to work. Let’s make America, America again.
[quote_center]Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”[/quote_center]
For more election coverage, click here.
WASHINGTON, September 1, 2015– Reality TV star and billionaire Donald Trump has been taking shots at former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on the social media app Instagram. Now, as he suffers in the polls, the embattled establishment pick is firing back.
On Monday, Trump posted the below clip which was intended to display Bush’s weak stance on illegal immigration:
No less than 24 hours later, the Bush campaign slammed Trump with a video ad released this morning.
The Bush ad, titled “The Real Donald Trump”, called Trump out on every issue he has flip-flopped on since deciding to run for the White House as a Republican. Leaving no stone left unturned, Bush hit Trump on his support of abortion, socialized healthcare, Hillary Clinton, more taxes, etc.
For more election coverage, click here.
WASHINGTON, August 25, 2015– On Monday, Vice President Biden enjoyed lunch at the White House with President Obama. The two apparently discussed a Biden run for the White House. A short while after their lunch ended, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced that President Obama has given Biden the green light and his blessing to run for President.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: So you have the development over the weekend that the vice president came back and met with Elizabeth Warren. How does the president deal with this if Biden actually decides to run? You have his current vice president versus the former Secretary of State.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Well, that’s not an insignificant if in that question. And I think that’s what everybody is pretty interested in finding out is what decision the vice president is going to make. The president has indicated that his view that the decision that he made, I guess 7 years ago now, to add Joe Biden to the ticket as his running mate was the smartest decision that he has ever made in politics. And I think that should give you some sense into the president’s view into Vice President’s aptitude for the top job.
KARL: So, I’d assume that means the president would support Vice President Biden if were to run? And this is obviously, you know, a better decision than the secretary of state he choose. So, uh — well you said it was the best decision he ever made.
EARNEST: Yeah, it was…
EARNEST: The president has spoke at quite some length about the appreciation and respect and admiration he has for the service of Secretary Clinton, particularly in her four years as Secretary of State.
KARL: Just not his best decision.
EARNEST: Well, he, again, I think all of you and your coverage of some of the president’s comments about Secretary Clinton have noted how warm those comments were. I’ll just say that the vice president is somebody who has already run for president twice. He’s been on a national ticket through two election cycles now, both in 2008 and the reelection of 2012. So, I think you could probably make the case that there is no one in American politics today who has a better understanding of exactly what is required to mount a successful national presidential campaign. That means he’s going to collect all the information that he needs to make a decision.
As Hillary Clinton continues to decline in the polls, even losing to billionaire reality TV star Donald Trump in a key swing state, Democrats seem to be scrambling to find a palatable alternative to a Clinton nomination.
Only three weeks ago, Earnest refused to answer when asked by reporters on whether or not President Obama would support Vice President Biden if he ran for the presidency. Earnest did expound on Obama’s admiration for Biden, and added that Biden would make a decision by the end of the Summer.
Biden is said to be reaching out to top Democrat donors across the country.
For more election coverage, click here.
August 17, 2015– Democratic primary voters now prefer an alternative to Hillary Clinton for the first time since pollsters set their sights on the 2016 race for the White House.
At 49 percent, the latest Democratic primary poll shows Clinton capturing less than 50 percent of the vote while Socialist United States Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) continues his surge with 30 percent of the vote.
According to Real Clear Politics, which aggregates all major primary polls, this is the lowest level of support Clinton has received in a major poll.
Last week, former Vice President Al Gore trended across the internet as insiders claimed Gore was looking into a run. Gore spokesmen went on to deny the claims.
Vice President Joe Biden, currently polling at 10 percent, is also said to be considering a run against Clinton.
The Fox News Poll was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The poll was conducted by telephone with live interviewers August 11-13, 2015 among a random national sample of 1,008 registered voters. 401 likely Democratic primary voters are used in the poll.
“The media is protecting the Obama Administration and the CIA brass in regard to the integrity of their account” says investigative journalist Gareth Porter while taking about a story that is creating a lot of controversy. That story by journalist Seymour Hersh is scathing report which aims to debunk the entire official story of how the Obama Administration killed Osama bin Laden.
Remember this famous image from the White House Situation Room as high level members of the Obama Administration watched in “real time” the killing of bin Laden? Of course, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta later admitted that the feed being watched here wasn’t actually a live feed at all. That there were no live images actually fed from inside the bin Laden compound.
Now, the Hersh report, provided by anonymous sources claims that more than just that photo was embellished. The main takeaways from Hersh’s story which ran in the London Review of Books:
1. US officials say they found bin Laden by tracking his trusted courier, Hersh says they discovered his whereabouts from a former Pakistani intelligence officer who wanted the $25 million reward the US was offering.
2. The U.S. government claimed bin Laden was hiding out, but Hersh says the Pakistani intelligence agency had actually been holding him captive since 2006 to use him as leverage against Taliban and Al Qaeda activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
3. While the White House has said it would have taken bin Laden alive if it could have and that he was killed in a firefight, Hersh says that wasn’t the case. “There was no firefight as they moved into the compound; the ISI guards had gone,”
4. As for the claim that bin Laden was secretly buried at sea, Hersh claims “The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during a helicopter flight some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains.”
To see RT America’s full interview with Seymour Hersh, watch here:
Of course the biggest problem with Hersh’s story is that there is no smoking gun. No direct evidence that his claims provided by several sources are true. As for the White House, they are as you would expect calling the report “baseless and inaccurate”.
White House national security spokesman Ned Price said that Hersh’s report contained “too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions” to fact check. It is worth mentioning that he doesn’t bother to fact check ANY of them.
VOX’S Max Fisher critiques Hersh’s report, commenting on the “tissue-thin sourcing, its leaps of logic, and its internal contradictions.”
CNN’S Peter Bergen reports on how the account is easily contradicted by “a multitude of eyewitness accounts, inconvenient facts and simple common sense.”
Jack Shafer also criticizes Hersh’s piece, noting that it offers “little of substance” for those who may wish to corroborate the claims.
Of course, for media to attack a reporter like Hersh is nothing new and that may be the biggest problem. In contrast to these criticisms, The Intercept reports that “R.J. Hillhouse, a former professor, Fulbright fellow and novelist whose writing on intelligence and military outsourcing has appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times, made the same main assertions in 2011 about the death of Osama bin Laden as Seymour Hersh’s new story in the London Review of Books — apparently based on different sources than those used by Hersh.”
But as investigative journalist Gareth Porter tells Ben Swann that he believes the Hersh story is correct on some points but incorrect on others. Porter has himself investigated the killing of bin Laden says that while some of the details of the Hersh report may be incorrect “the essential point that (the Obama Administration) told a massive lie about how they arrived at the Abbottabad compound and focused on it, that is absolutely true that that was a lie” says Porter.
You can view the full interview with Gareth Porter here:
On Tuesday, the White House published a notice in the Federal Register, deleting the regulation that required the Office of Administration to be subject to public information requests, which would have required a response under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The Office of Administration is made up of seven offices that are in charge of overseeing the general administration of the entire Executive Office.
The notice published in the Federal Register said that the White House is “removing regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations related to the status of records created and maintained by the Executive Office of the President.”
“This action is being taken in order to align Office of Administration policy with well-settled legal interpretations of the Office of Administration’s status under Federal law and Executive Orders, including the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and Executive Order 13526,” stated the notice.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed that even with the change in rules, the Obama administration is the “most transparent administration in history.” He referred to the repeal as an “administrative change,” and said that it has “no impact on our compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.”
“This change in the regulations is merely an effort to comply with a court ruling that was issued almost six years ago,” said Earnest, referencing an appeals court ruling from 2009 that made the Office of Administration exempt from FOIA. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed against the Bush administration by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
Anne Weismann, a member of CREW, told USA Today that the repeal is “completely out of step with the president’s supposed commitment to transparency.”
“You have a president who comes in and says, ‘I’m committed to transparency and agencies should make discretionary disclosures whenever possible,’ but he’s not applying that to his own White House,” Weismann said.
According to The Hill, the Obama administration has “censored or denied access to records more frequently than ever in 2013” and has “cited more legal reasons than ever for exempting them.”
USA Today noted that the timing of the repeal has “raised eyebrows among transparency advocates,” due to the fact that it was made on National Freedom of Information Day, in the midst of a debate over the preservation of Obama administration records, and during Sunshine Week, which is devoted to news organizations and watchdog groups highlighting issues of government transparency.
While visiting Stanford University on Friday, President Obama announced he was signing an executive order meant to encourage the sharing of information, regarding cyberthreats, between private sector companies and the government.
The order was signed at the first summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, which focused on consumer protection and private-public partnerships against cyberthreats.
While at the summit, the president likened the internet to the “Wild West,” and said the public are looking to the government for protection against cyber attacks. President Obama also called these cyber attacks one of the greatest threats to national security, safety, and economic issues.
“Everybody is online, and everybody is vulnerable,” said President Obama, according to NBC News. “The business leaders here want their privacy and their children protected, just like the consumer and privacy advocates here want America to keep leading the world in technology and be safe from attacks.”
However, groups in Silicon Valley are not jumping on board with the president’s push for new digital securities.
Ben Desjardins, the director of security solutions with the cyber-security firm Radware, said, “The new proposals face significant headwinds, both legislatively from Congress and cooperatively from heavyweights in the tech sector.” Desjardins also said many companies in Silicon Valley already feel “burned” by the government after the companies learned of the various government surveillance programs through the Snowden leaks.
Scott Algeier, the executive director of the nonprofit organization Information Sharing and Analysis Center, also said this new executive order sounds like a federal takeover of information sharing among people and companies in the private-sector.
The White House has said the executive order is only a framework, and with it the White House aims to allow private companies access to otherwise classified cyber-threat information and ensure information sharing is strongly secure, all while protecting the civil liberties of citizens.
The text of the executive order can be found here for more details.
Many people, when in the market for broadband subscriptions, can only pick from telephone or cable providers, but President Obama wants local governments to be able to provide broadband services to citizens too.
A report released by the White House says the president wants to “end laws that harm broadband service competition,” and this would seemingly start in 19 states which restrict their governments from offering broadband to citizens.
“Laws in 19 states—some specifically written by special interests trying to stifle new competitors—have held back broadband access and, with it, economic opportunity,” the report reads. “Today President Obama is announcing a new effort to support local choice in broadband, formally opposing measures that limit the range of options to available to communities to spur expanded local broadband infrastructure… the Administration is filing a letter with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it to join this effort…”
While big tech companies, such as Comcast, will surely fight this as they have in the past, this new push by the president is lawful. According to the New York Times, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia stated the FCC had the power to strike down state laws which could hinder the ability to invest in the state’s infrastructure, which includes Internet infrastructure.
Two states have already filed complaints to the FCC on similar grounds.
Tennessee and North Carolina have petitioned the FCC to preempt state laws which forbid those state’s local governments the ability to construct their own broadband networks and provide their citizens with the Internet. According to Recode, Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the FCC, is expected to make a ruling on these two cases soon.
The new push from the president does not stop at allowing local governments to provide their own broadband services to the community.
The report also says the president wants to establish a “Broadband Opportunity Council” which will have the “singular goal of speeding up broadband deployment and promoting adoptions,” for all citizens. The public will also be able to bring grievances related to “unnecessary regulatory barriers” with concern to their broadband, before the council, which will address the issues.
According to ARS Techinca, President Obama believes the community-based broadband services could boost the competition and ultimately help Internet users. “In markets where private competition is anemic,” said the president, “towns and cities can build their own middle-mile networks and offer competitive access to the private sector… municipalities are creating more choices for consumers, fostering competition and creating opportunities for economic growth.”
WASHINGTON, January 14, 2015– Last week, failed 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney publicly told major donors that he was ready for another shot at the White House in 2016.
United States Senator Ted Cruz (R- Texas) has been flirting with the idea of mounting a 2016 run for the White House. On Monday, Cruz responded to reporters regarding the idea of Romney 2016.
“There are some who believe that a path to Republican victory is to run to the mushy middle, is to blur distinctions,” Cruz said. “I think recent history has shown us, that’s not a path to success. It doesn’t work. It’s a failed electoral strategy. I very much agree with President Ronald Reagan that the way we win is by painting with bold colors and not pale pastels and I think that’s gonna be a debate Republicans are gonna have over the next two years.”
“It is certainly a debate that I intend to participate in vigorously,” Cruz added.
WASHINGTON, January 13, 2015– Last week, failed 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney publicly told major donors that he was ready for another shot at the White House in 2016. Promising to endorse the GOP nominee, in 2012, United States Senator Rand Paul (R- Ky.) endorsed Romney for the White House as promised. However, 4 years has passed and many believe Paul has White House plans of his own.
Strategists and pundits are suggesting that Romney’s 2016 strategy is to “run to the right of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.”
On Sunday, Paul was questioned about Romney’s 2016 aspirations and “running to the right” strategy on Fox News’ John Gibson’s podcast. “If Mitt runs to the right of Jeb Bush he will still be to the left of the party, and that would a difficult spot to be in,” responded Paul.
NEW YORK, January 9, 2014- On Friday, after years of repudiating the idea of running for President in 2016, Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican presidential nominee, says he is now actively exploring running for President again.
According to sources cited by Politico, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, held a meeting on Friday with more than 30 major donors to his previous campaigns at a Manhattan office. One donor asked Romney to clear the air with regard to whether or not he was considering running. “Everybody in here can go tell your friends that I’m considering a run,” responded Romney.
“What he has said to me before is, ‘I am preserving my options.’ What he is now saying is, ‘I am seriously considering a run,’” notes Bobbie Kilberg, a major Republican fundraiser who bundled millions for Romney’s 2012 race. “And he said that in a room with 30 people. That is a different degree of intensity.”
Earlier in the week, Romney also met privately with his 2012 election campaign staff.
While the origins of the Sony hack is still a point of contention, with some people claiming it was a company insider named Linda and many claiming it was North Korea, President Obama has put up new sanctions against three North Korean organizations as well as 10 individuals.
These sanctions, according to the BBC, are believed to be the first time the U.S. has punished a country over cyber-attacks against a company based in the U.S.
While all the new sanctions are believed to not be against those directly involved with the Sony hack, White House officials are saying the sanctions are meant to isolate North Korea’s defense industry to prevent future cyber-attacks.
“This is really an example of where you’ve had a country really cross a threshold in terms of its attack due to its destructive and coercive nature,” said an official according to Politico.
The sanctions are mostly centered on North Korea’s military intelligence agencies, while the 10 individuals who are affected by the sanctions are, according to Reuters, involved in the sale and proliferation of weapons.
In a letter written by President Obama to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the president wrote, according to ABC News, “The order is not targeted at the people of North Korea, but rather is aimed at the Government of North Korea and its activities that threaten the United States and others.”
Whether or not these sanctions will have the desired results the White House hopes for is still unknown. However, given the U.S. placed sanctions on North Korea’s nuclear program in 2008, 2010, and 2011, all of which North Korea ignored, one can assume these sanctions will not be taken seriously by the government of North Korea.
The Secret Service has faced a lot of scrutiny recently after allowing multiple people to breach the perimeter of the White House and approach the president unhindered. Now, a review panel released a report of the agency responsible for protecting the president, and is calling for a major overhaul of the agency.
“The panel heard one common critique from those inside and outside the Service: The Service is too insular,” reads the summary of the report. The report also says the Secret Service is “starved for leadership that rewards innovation and excellence.”
The report outlined a few recommendations for ways to help the Secret Service, the first of which, according to Reuters, is to simply build a higher fence around the White House. The new fence would be “4 to 5 feet higher” than the current fence and the top of which would curve outwards.
Another recommendation was also hiring more agents. “The Secret Service is stretched to and, in many cases, beyond its limits,” said the report. The addition of close to 300 new agents, the report found, would shorten the long hours the agents currently work and allow more needed rest for agents.
Finally, the report suggests the need for a non-Secret Service person to be selected for the position of leader within the agency. This goes against the long-standing practice of choosing a Secret Service member as the leader, but it would also bring a fresh view of the agency from the outside. This, the report claims, would bring more accountability to the agency.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson weighed in on the review, saying, according to CBS News, the panel findings were “astute, thorough and fair.”
“It is now up to the leadership of the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that all the recommendations are carefully considered,” said Johnson. “In fact, some of the panel’s recommendations are similar to others made in past agency reviews… The Secret Service itself must commit to change.”