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Beginning of the end for Mueller? Paul Manafort’s civil suit

Manafort’s application for Judicial Review pinpoints how Mueller’s probe is running amok

Alexander Mercouris

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There has been some confusion and no little ridicule of the civil suit which Paul Manafort has brought against Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

In my opinion the ridicule is misplaced because Manafort’s suit has homed in on what is beyond question the single greatest weakness of Robert Mueller’s Russiagate inquiry.

This is that as the evidence of collusion during the 2016 election between the Trump campaign and Russia which Mueller is supposed to be investigating stubbornly refuses to appear – because it doesn’t exist – Mueller is increasingly going off on tangents investigating other wholly unrelated matters.

The propriety of that is questionable, and now it is its legality which Manafort is challenging.

Manafort’s suit runs to 17 pages of closely reasoned legal argument.  However it is in essence very simple.

Manafort makes the point that none of the matters for which Mueller has investigated and indicted him have any connection to the Trump campaign, the Russians, or the 2016 election, which are supposed to be the subjects of Mueller’s inquiry.

Instead all the matters for which Mueller has investigated and indicted Manafort predate Manafort’s involvement in the Trump campaign and concern (1) his various business dealings extending all the way back to 2005; and (2) his publicly disclosed work for the pre-Maidan government of Ukraine, which is a matter of public knowledge, and which Manafort says he repeatedly discussed at the time when he was doing this work with the US’s ambassador to Ukraine.

Manafort moreover says that all of the allegations for which Mueller has investigated and indicted him were previously investigated by the FBI, which in 2014  – ie. before Donald Trump launched his Presidential campaign and two years before the 2016 Presidential election – fully cleared him and closed down the case against him.

Manafort also says that contrary to what some reports are saying Mueller has indicted him on no fresh evidence but wholly on the basis of the same evidence which was disclosed to the FBI before 2014 and upon which they cleared him and closed down the case.  Manafort moreover says that most of this evidence was disclosed to the FBI by himself.

Manafort says the case which has been brought against him is wrong because it is brought beyond Mueller’s power to bring ie. it is what lawyers call ultra vires.

As concerns the Justice Department Manafort argues that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s Appointment Order appointing Mueller Special Counsel was improperly drafted because it purports to give Mueller in advance carte blanche to investigate any matter even if it is wholly unrelated to the collusion allegations which are supposed to be the subject of Mueller’s inquiry, this being contrary to the Justice Department’s own Code for appointing Special Counsel and to the will of Congress, which in 1999 specifically limited the remit of Special Counsel’s investigations precisely because of concerns about the way they had been abused previously.

As for Mueller, Manafort argues that even if his challenge against Rosenstein’s Appointment Order is wrong, Mueller’s actions in bringing a case against him based on his private business dealings before he joined the Trump campaign and before the 2016 election is so far removed from the supposed purpose of Mueller’s inquiry – which is to investigate the allegations of collusion during the election between the Trump campaign and the Russians – that Mueller’s inquiry has become “completely unmoored from the Special Counsel’s original jurisdiction” and has so far exceeded its limits that its amounts to an abuse of process.

To my knowledge four main arguments have been made against Manafort’s suit. These are

(1) that the Justice Department’s Code expressly forbids individuals affected by breaches of the Code from suing because they have suffered from these breaches;

(2) that if Mueller really is acting outside his powers then the problem is easily solved because the Code permits Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to expand Mueller’s powers of investigation following a request from Mueller; and

(3) that Manafort’s claim stands no prospect of success because it would require the Supreme Court of the United States to reverse the decision it took in Morrison v. Olson 487 U.S. 654 (1988);

(4) that Manafort is wrong in claiming that he is entitled to the civil Court’s relief since he has the right to apply to the criminal court for the case against him to be struck out, and his claim is really simply a device to prevent a criminal case being brought against him.

I am not an expert in US administrative law, but I have to say that none of these arguments looks to me especially convincing.

The first argument looks to me to be based upon a misunderstanding of the nature of the case Manafort is seeking to bring.

Manafort is not suing Rosenstein and Mueller, which is what the Justice Department’s Code appears to prohibit.  What he is doing is applying for a Judicial Review by the Court of Rosenstein’s and Mueller’s exercise of their powers, which is something completely different thing.

It is a fundamental legal principle that the Court has the power to review actions of the executive branch to determine whether or not they are lawful.  This is a fundamental power possessed by the Court in all states which are or which pretend to be governed by law.

In this case Manafort is saying that Rosenstein and Mueller – both officials of the executive branch – are acting unlawfully because they are acting beyond their powers.  If he is right then I have no doubt the Court can review it and take whatever action it deems necessary in response to it.

It is to my mind all but inconceivable that the Justice Department’s Code deprives the Court of its entire right to exercise its inherent power to determine whether or not actions of officials of the Justice Department – the branch of the executive to which Rosenstein and Mueller belong – are acting unlawfully, and I cannot imagine that Manafort’s suit will fail for that reason.

As for the second argument, it is partially answered by these words in Manafort’s claim

On September 12, 2017, undersigned Counsel for Mr. Manafort sent a letter to Mr. Rosenstein requesting that he confirm or deny that, prior to July 26, 2017, he granted Mr. Mueller additional jurisdiction to investigate Mr. Manafort for potential tax crimes and other white-collar criminal offences dating back to January 1st, 2006, and that prior to August 3, 2017, he authorized Mr. Mueller to prosecute Mr. Manafort for tax crimes related to the 2010 tax year.  Mr. Rosenstein has not responded, and nor has anyone else from his office.

I would add that even if a discussion did take place between Rosenstein and Mueller over the course of which Rosenstein did authorise Mueller to investigate Manafort for “potential tax crimes and other white-collar criminal offences dating back to January 1st, 2006”, I would expect that for a Court to decide that such an authorisation was valid it would have to be set out in writing probably as an amendment to Mueller’s original Appointment Order.

Since no such amendment to Mueller’s Appointment Order has been made or has been made public that is a good reason for doubting that such a grant of further authority has been lawfully made.

As for the suggestion that Rosenstein can simply authorise Mueller’s actions retrospectively, that looks to me like a straightforward case of retrospective law making, which would almost certainly be unlawful.

As for Morrison v. Olson, in that case as I understand it the Supreme Court of the United States was asked to decide whether the Office of the Independent Counsel created by the Independent Counsel Act was or was not constitutional (it decided that it was constitutional).

If so then I cannot see the relevance of Morrison v. Olson to Manafort’s case.  The Office of the Independent Counsel which was the subject of Morrison v. Olson no longer exists, and Manafort is not disputing the legality of Mueller’s appointment or of his office, merely the way Mueller has exercised the powers of his office, which Manafort says Mueller has exercised unlawfully.

Lastly, the argument that Manafort’s correct remedy is not to seek a Judicial Review of Rosenstein’s and Mueller’s actions but to apply to the trial Judge in the criminal court to strike out the case – presumably on the grounds that it is brought in bad faith – and that Manafort’s claim is simply a device to prevent a criminal prosecution from being brought against him looks to me to be confusing completely different issues which each fall separately to be decided respectively by administrative law and by criminal law.

If Rosenstein and Mueller really are acting beyond their powers then that certainly looks to me to be a matter of administrative law to be determined by a civil court in response to an application for Judicial Review.  I cannot see that it has anything to do with the conduct of a criminal case, in which the criminal court’s concern is primarily with the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Certainly a criminal court can strike out a prosecution if it decides that it is brought in bad faith.  However that does not seem to me to be the issue in Manafort’s case.  Rather the issue is whether or not Rosenstein and Mueller as individuals are acting unlawfully and beyond their powers by investigating and then bringing a case against Manafort in a manner which allegedly breaches the Justice Department’s Code and which goes against the will of Congress.

That seems to me a completely different situation from one in which a civil court is asked to meddle in a criminal case brought lawfully by a prosecutor acting within his or her powers, regardless of whether that case is brought in bad faith or not.

If the four objections I have seen to Manafort’s claim look to me unconvincing, does that mean I think Manafort’s claim will succeed?

I am not an expert in US administrative law so I am not in a position to say.  However on the face of it it does look to me as if Manafort is making a compelling case.  It will however be for the federal courts of the United States to decide it.

I would however before ending this discussion of Manafort’s case make a number of further points about it

(1) Manafort’s claim against Rosenstein and Mueller shows just how intense Mueller’s pressure on Manafort has been.

According to Manafort’s claim, not only did Mueller’s people carry out an early morning search of his house – which if one is to believe Manafort came up with nothing – but Mueller has served no few than one hundred (!) subpoenas on Manafort, which seems extraordinary and even oppressive given the short time the investigation of him was underway.

Given what we now know about the importance of the Trump Dossier in triggering the Russiagate inquiry and in providing the inquiry with its frame narrative, I suspect that the obsessive concentration on Manafort is the result of the prominent role the Trump Dossier accords him.  If so then that may come out in Court in the case which Manafort is now bringing, which could prove to be highly embarrassing for the Democrats, for the Justice Department, for Mueller, and for the FBI.

(2) Though Manafort’s suit is an application for Judicial Review not a private lawsuit, I have no doubt that if it is successful private law suits will follow.

A few months ago there were reports – never denied – that members of Mueller’s team were taking out private insurance because they were afraid of future law suits brought by those they were investigating.

In light of Manafort’s application for Judicial Review and what his claim tells us about the way in which the case against him has been conducted, I have to say that I now completely understand why this happened.

The fact that some of Mueller’s people have been so concerned about the way in which the case against Manafort has been conducted so as to take out private insurance to protect themselves from possible claims he may one day bring against them is incidentally a further sign that there may be more to Manafort’s application for Judicial Review than some think, and that the ridicule heaped on it is misplaced.

(3) There has been some talk recently that Mueller is considering issuing a “supplemental indictment” against Manafort.

In light of Manafort’s application for Judicial Review – of which Rosenstein and Mueller must have been informed in advance – it seems at least possible that this “supplemental indictment” – if it is indeed really planned – is intended to get round the problem identified in Manafort’s claim that Mueller investigated him for “potential tax crimes and other white-collar criminal offences dating back to January 1st, 2006” without first getting proper authority from Rosenstein.

Presumably the plan is that Rosenstein will now give that authority, and Mueller will then issue his new “supplemental indictment” based upon it.

If that is the plan, then I have to say I have my doubts about whether it can succeed.

Firstly, issuing a “supplemental indictment” for such a reason is all but an admission that Manafort’s decision to apply for Judicial Review is justified on the current facts.

Secondly, given that the basis of Manafort’s application for Judicial Review is Mueller’s investigation of him rather than the issuing of the indictment against him, I cannot see how – since nothing can now change the fact of the existence of the investigation – the plan can work.

(4) Judicial Review is an area of the law which falls squarely within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Irrespective of what happens at the first instance court which will hear the case apparently in February, I expect that this case will eventually go to the Supreme Court of the United States and will be decided there.

(5) Needless to say, if Manafort is successful then that will be the end of Mueller’s inquiry and of the Russiagate investigation.

I cannot see either Rosenstein or Mueller remaining in their positions if the Court – especially if the court in question is the Supreme Court of the United States – decides that they have acted beyond their powers and quashes Mueller’s indictment.  At that point I would expect them both to resign.

With them gone the credibility of the Russiagate investigation will be shot to pieces, and at that point it will effectively all be over for Russiagate.

What that means is that of all the legal claims which have been issued up to now it is Manafort’s application for Judicial Review – not Mueller’s indictments of Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos or Flynn – which looks to be the most important.

The stakes could not be higher, and the US’s huge community of constitutional and administrative lawyers – the biggest and most sophisticated on earth – will be following the case closely.

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Ugly breakup at FBI: Lisa Page throws ex-lover, Peter Strzok, under the bus (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 60.

Alex Christoforou

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While Peter Strzok’s testimony put a face on the deceptive and secretive Deep State, GOP lawmakers who were present at Lisa Page’s closed-door deposition said they learned a lot of new information from the ex-FBI lawyer, and ex-lover of Peter Strzok.

Lisa Page confirmed to GOP lawmakers that the text messages sent between her and her lover Strzok “meant exactly what they said,” contrary to Strzok’s testimony.

According to The Gateway Pundit, one damning text message in particular sent from Strzok on May 19th, 2017, just two days after Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel, intrigued investigators and the public alike.

“There’s no big there there,” Strzok texted.

According to investigative reporter, John Solomon, Lisa Page confirmed that text from Peter Strzok did indeed refer to the Trump-Russia case.

Strzok knew it was a nothing-burger yet he forged ahead.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou, RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle, and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how Peter Strzok’s testimony has undoubtedly contradicted Lisa Page’s cooperative deposition, as the ex-FBI lawyer is preparing to save herself, while throwing her ex-lover under the bus.

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Via The Epoch Times

Representatives John Ratcliffe and Louie Gohmert of Texas recently shared their observations of the closed-door testimony of former high-ranking FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which concluded on July 16.

One of the major questions regarding the testimony was whether it would match the one given by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.

But while Ratcliffe said he found a mismatch, Gohmert wouldn’t go so far.

Page and Strzok played major roles in the investigations on both 2016 presidential candidates: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. During the same period, Page and Strzok had an affair and exchanged thousands of text messages expressing a strong bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton.

“When I questioned Lisa Page on Friday about the anti-Trump text messages that were sent between herself and Peter Strzok, there were significant differences in her testimony and Strzok’s as it relates to what she thought some of these text messages meant,” Ratcliffe said in a July 16 tweet, shortly before the second round of questioning.

“Page gave us new information that Strzok either wouldn’t or couldn’t, confirming some of the concerns we had about these investigations and the people involved in running them,” he wrote.

On July 17, Ratcliffe expanded on his further statements about Page’s testimony. Radcliffe told Fox News…

“There are differences in their testimony.”

“In many cases, she admits that the text messages mean exactly what they say, as opposed to agent Strzok, who thinks that we’ve all misinterpreted his own words on any text message that might be negative.”

Via The Epoch Times

In one of the texts, Strzok vowed to “stop” Trump from becoming president. In another, the two discussed having an “insurance policy” in the “unlikely” event that Trump would win the election.

Strzok, who gave a closed-door testimony on June 27 and a public one on July 12, said the first message meant he and the American people would stop Trump. The second, he said previously, meant he wanted to pursue the Russia investigation aggressively, in case Trump won.

GOP lawmakers were furious with Strzok’s attitude and unwillingness to answer questions. In a scathing monologue, Gohmert even linked Strzok’s credibility to the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife.

President Donald Trump repeatedly called Strzok’s testimony a “disgrace.”

The lawmakers said Page was comparatively more cooperative.

“There were times the FBI lawyers would be reaching to the button to mute her comment, and she would answer before they could mute her comment,” Gohmert told Fox News.

He said Page didn’t contradict Strzok “so much,” but “has given us insights into who was involved in what.”

“I think she’ll be a good witness,” he said.

Page ditched her first testimony appointment on July 11, prompting GOP lawmakers to threaten her with contempt of Congress. She then agreed to appear on July 13, which gave her the opportunity to review Strzok’s public testimony before giving hers.

The lawmakers are probing the FBI’s and Justice Department’s decisions before the election, suspecting they were influenced by political considerations.

Texts between Strzok and Page suggest that the FBI initiated an offensive counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign as early as December 2015.

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Russia makes MASSIVE progress on its ‘super-weapons’

Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle moves into serial production, nuclear-engine powered cruise missile tests continue, and more as Russia continues to outdo all Western military tech

Seraphim Hanisch

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On July 19th and 20th, The Russian Defense Ministry announced several milestones of progress in its advanced weapons systems programs. These programs were revealed to the world in March of this year, when Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the State of the Russian Federation speech.

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While at first the Western onlookers did not believe the amazing announcements of hypersonic weapons and nuclear-powered cruise missiles with unlimited range, subsequent releases and concurrent observation by the American military experts has shown these developments to be as real as Mr. Putin claimed they are.

TASS, the Russian News Agency, released information on these weapons systems in separate reports:

Kinzhal

The Kinzhal hypersonic missile:

Squadrons of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles should enter combat duty in the Black Sea region and at other Russian fleets and flotillas, said Russian military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal Otechestva magazine.

Besides, a squadron (between 12 and 16 aircraft) of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles entered combat duty in the Caspian Sea region in April.

“I think at least one squadron of those complexes should be deployed at any fleet, in other words – at all regions where we have fleets and flotillas. We need to deploy them in the regions of the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Northern Fleet. The Pacific region also should not be forgotten,” Murakhovsky said.

He said that such systems can become a “good instrument” against not only vessels equipped with high-precision weapons, but also for countering carrier attack groups.

“We know how expensive a carrier attack group can be. By employing this asymmetric method, which is unbelievably cheap in comparison with building a carrier attack group, we can neutralize this threat almost completely,” the expert said.

Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile trials:

The Burevestnik is an entirely new cruise missile, powered by a nuclear engine. This gives the missile unlimited range. In theory, such a missile could be launched at a target and spend days or weeks in hidden flight using advanced guidance systems, and then close on its target at the optimal time to assure destruction of that target with maximum surprise. The TASS piece goes on to say:

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia was preparing to test upgraded test prototypes of the nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile with an unlimited range.

According to the expert, it is highly likely that the prototype of the missile “has already made a flight.”

“Clearly, it was something like the pop-up trials of Sarmat – a launch without the nuclear-powered engine, in other words, with an ordinary missile booster, conducted in order to assess the possibility of a launch, aerodynamics and the operability of the entire system in general,” [Murakhovsky] said.

Further reporting from TASS had this to add about the Burevestnik program:

Russia is getting ready for flight tests of the Burevestnik nuclear powered cruise missile, an official at the Defense Ministry told reporters on Thursday.

“The missile’s component makeup is being improved based on clarified requirements, while ground tests continue and preparations are being made for experimental flight tests of the improved missile,” the official said.

According to the Defense Ministry, “work on an unlimited-range missile is going according to plan.”

“In the meantime, launching systems are also being designed, while technological processes to manufacture, assemble and test the missile are being improved. This range of work will make it possible to start designing a totally new sort of weapon – a strategic nuclear complex armed with a nuclear powered missile,” the ministry official noted.

[The head] of the 12th Central Research Institute at Russia’s Defense Ministry Sergey Pertsev, in turn, said that the tests of the new cruise missile equipped with a small nuclear power unit had confirmed the accuracy of the technical decisions that Russian researchers, engineers and designers had made. In addition, the tests enabled the researchers “to receive valuable experimental data necessary for specifying a number of requirements.”

“A low-flying and low-observable cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with an almost unlimited range, an unpredictable trajectory and capability to bypass interception lines is invincible to all the existing and advanced air and missile defense systems,” the Russian Defense Ministry stressed.

A further use of the nuclear engine technology is also expected in the Poseidon underwater drone, Mr. Murakhovsky stated that separate systems for the craft have been successfully tested. He further noted that the next task is to design the entire layout, build a test model and begin testing the whole platform.

The Avangard Hypersonic Missile

While the Kinzhal is a Mach-10 capable hypersonic system that can be launched from a fighter, the Avangard is a Mach-20 capable system that has intercontinental reach. There is almost no footage of this system released to the public, but the concept videos show how the system works. TASS reports this status:

Russia’s Strategic Missile Force is preparing a position area for accepting the Avangard hypersonic missile system for service as part of the efforts to strengthen the country’s military security, the Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.

“The Russian defense industry has completed developing the Avangard missile system with the principally new armament – the gliding cruise warhead. Industrial enterprises have switched to its serial production,” the Defense Ministry said.

“A set of organizational and technical measures is underway in the position area of the Dombarovsky large unit of the Strategic Missile Force to accept the Avangard missile system for operation,” it added.

The development of new strategic weapon systems “is aimed at increasing Russia’s defense capability and preventing any aggression against our country and its allies,” the Defense Ministry stressed.

The infrastructural facilities of the large unit’s position area have already been prepared for the missile system’s operation, the ministry said.

“The position area has been prepared in geodesic and engineering terms to accommodate the missile system. Work is underway to build new and reconstruct old facilities to provide for the operation and the combat use of the system. Technical and utility supply lines are being modernized and electric power, communications and command and control cables are being laid. Work has been arranged to train personnel and prepare armament, military and special hardware,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

Deputy Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force for Armament Sergei Poroskun has said that the Avangard hypersonic missile system features combat capabilities that “make it possible to reliably breach any anti-missile defenses.”

The Okhotnik attack drone

The Okhotnik (“Hunter”) attack drone is now being viewed as a prototype for Russia’s “sixth-generation” fighter plane. TASS describes this in more detail:

According to [a defense industry] official, although the sixth generation fighter jet project “has not yet taken full shape, its main features are already known.”

“First of all, it should be unmanned and capable of performing any combat task in an autonomous regime. In this sense, Okhotnik will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter jet,’ the source said, adding that the drone will be able to “take off, fulfill its objectives and return to the airfield.”

“However, it will not receive the function of decision-making regarding the use of weapons – this will be decided by a human,” he said.

TASS was unable to officially confirm the information at the time of the publication.

Another defense industry source earlier told TASS that the prototype of Okhotnik (Hunter) was ready and would start test flights this year.

The Russian Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Company signed a contract for developing the 20-ton Okhotnik (Hunter) heavy unmanned strike aircraft in 2011. The drone’s mock-up model was made in 2014. According to unconfirmed reports, composite materials and anti-radar coating were used to create the Okhotnik. The drone is equipped with a reaction-jet propulsion and is supposed to develop a speed of 1000 kilometers per hour.

Peresvet laser weapons systems

TASS reported that the Russian military forces are now training for the use of the Peresvet combat laser system:

Russian Aerospace Force has accepted for service the laser complexes Peresvet and the military are now taking drills that involve the novel combat technologies, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

“The Peresvet laser complexes have been placed at sites of permanent deployment,” the report said. “Active efforts to make them fully operational are underway.”

“To ensure their proper functioning, the necessary infrastructures and specialized facilities for housing the complexes and duty crews have been built,” the ministry said.

The crews assigned to the Peresvets have taken upgrader courses at the Alexander Mozhaisky Military-Space Academy in St Petersburg.

The Russian military strategy of “asymmetric response.”

The overall defense strategy is termed an “asymmetric response”, and Mr. Murakhovsky explained the principle in this way:

“This is an asymmetric response, in which new classes of weapons are created, instead of new types within the framework of the existing systems. Other states are not expected to have anything of this kind [in the near future],” he said.

The expert described this response as “quite an efficient one, all the more so because it requires no additional investment – all the works are being carried out within the framework of the state procurement program.”

He added that unlike the Soviet Union, Russia avoids being dragged into a direct arms race and searches for cutting-edge solutions instead of simply increasing the number of weapons.

“The development of counter-weapons to those arms [may be possible] in distant future, but it does not mean that they can be created at all,” Murakhovsky added.

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From McCain to Brennan, Deep State soft coup against Trump picks up steam (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 59.

Alex Christoforou

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After Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki, the Deep State smells blood, and is moving quickly to depose of US President Donald Trump.

Government officials and mainstream media puppets from left and right are condemning the US President over his press conference with Vladimir Putin.

Leading the charge are the usual Deep State, suspects, starting with John McCain and ending with the man many believe is behind the entire Trump-Russia collusion hoax, former Obama CIA boss John Brennan.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou examine the soft coup aimed at removing US President Trump by the November 2018 midterms. Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via The Independent

Conservative John McCain, who is facing a rare and terminal brain cancer, unleashed a damning statement against Mr Trump’s conference with Mr Putin, describing it as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory”.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin,” he said.

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout — as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realise his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbours, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.”

The conservative senator’s comments arrived after the US president declined to name Russia as the adversary behind coordinated attacks on the 2016 presidential election.

While discussing whether he thought Russia was behind hacks against the 2016 election — as the US intelligence community has determined —the president said: “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

“Dan Coats [the US Director of National Intelligence] said its Russia. President Putin says its not Russia,” said Mr Trump. “I don’t know why it would be…..I have confidence in both parties. President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

That set off a wave of condemnations from Democrats and Republicans alike.

“President Trump’s press conference with Putin was an embarrassing spectacle,” Bernie Sanders wrote in a tweet. “Rather than make clear that interference in our elections is unacceptable, Trump instead accepted Putin’s denials and cast doubt on the conclusions of our intelligence community. This is not normal.”

Jeff Flake, one of the only frequent Republican critics of Mr Trump in Congress, said the conference was “shameful” in a statement he posted across social media.

“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression,” he said. “This is shameful.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan released a statement calling for Mr Trump’s impeachment and describing his comments as “treasonous”.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours,'” Mr Brennan wrote on Twitter. “It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Elizabeth Warren also slammed the president for failing to hold Mr Putin accountable, writing on Twitter: “Russia interfered in our elections & attacked our democracy. Putin must be held accountable – not rewarded.”

“Disgraceful,” she concluded.

However, Mr Trump’s typical roster of critics weren’t the only legislators rebuking his bizarre denials of US intelligence. Lindsey Graham also criticised Mr Trump’s performance, adding that his denial of US intelligence will “be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves”.

“Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections,” he said.

The Republican senator added a suggestion to Mr Trump: review the soccer ball Mr Putin gave to him as a gift for “listening devices” and “never allow it in the White House.”

Thomas Pickering, a regarded statesman and the former US ambassador to Russia, told MSNBC that he was in utter disbelief after the press conference was held on Monday.

“It’s a breathtaking denial of something that clearly is so obviously true,” he said. ”it represents the epitome of President Trump’s effort at self-promotion over the notion of defending the national interest of the United States.”

Mark Warner, a Virginia senator, also suggested Mr Trump committed a clear violation of his responsibilities as president.

Mr Trump committed “a breach of his duty to defend our country against its adversaries,” Mr Warner said. ”If the President cannot defend the United States and its interests in public, how can we trust him to stand up for our country in private?”

Meanwhile the latest Deep State leak, via the NYT, claims that US President Trump was told by Obama holdovers that Putin was involved in cyberattacks during the 2016 election. US intelligence told Trump this information days before the inauguration.

Via The Gateway Pundit

The same liberal hacks who illegally leaked this information want Americans to trust them as they continue to destroy this duly elected president.

President Trump on Wednesday told CBS anchor Jeff Glor that he has no confidence in the tainted intelligence by far left hacks Clapper, Brennan and Comey.

And, once again, the timing of this leak is not an accident.

Liberals are outraged that President Trump refused to chest bump Putin in Helsinki.

The deep state leaked this information to pile on the Republican president.

The New York Times reported…

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

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