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Hillary Clinton talks to Anderson Cooper, mocks the press: “There’s a lot of smoke and there’s no fire”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper has a conversation with Hillary Clinton via telephone.

Alex Christoforou

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In this lengthy phone interview, Cooper discusses the Clinton Foundation, and Hillary Clinton’s “apparent” conflict of interest during her time at the US State Department.

Clinton deflected a variety of questions thrown out by Cooper, as she consistently turned the attention away from her scandals and focused her responses on bashing Trump’s credibility and transparency.

Hillary also heaped a lot of praise towards her pay-to-play Clinton Foundation, citing its extensive charitable work, while insinuating that Trump is indebted to the Chinese and Russians.

Cooper notes after the phone call, that this was Clinton’s first interview in nearly a month.

Full transcript below:

COOPER: First of all, just a few minutes ago at a campaign rally in Mississippi, Secretary Clinton, Donald Trump called you a bigot. He’s been calling your policies bigoted. Tonight, he actually called you a bigot. How do you respond to that?

CLINTON: Oh, Anderson, it reminds me of that great saying that Maya Angelou had that when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. And Donald Trump has shown us who he is. And we ought to believe him. He is taking a hate movement mainstream. He’s brought it into his campaign. He is bringing it to our communities and our country.

And, you know, someone has questioned the citizenship of the first African-American president who has courted white supremacists, who’s been sued for housing discrimination against communities of color, who has attacked a judge for his Mexican heritage and promised a mass deportation force, is someone who is, you know, very much peddling bigotry and prejudice and paranoia. I will have more to say about this tomorrow when I gave a speech in Reno.

COOPER: Well, let me ask you about something else Donald Trump has said that you’ve been peddling. He also said today “that you sold favors and access in exchange for cash” from people who donate to the Clinton Foundation. Now, I know you point to the life saving work for the foundation that the foundation’s done over the years, getting low cost HIV drugs and other things. I know you denied the charges that Mr. Trump is making there. But at the very least, there is an appearance of a conflict of interest for the foundation. You’ve agreed to make if you’re elected. Why not just make those changes now? Have your husband step away from the foundation now?

CLINTON: Well, first, what Trump has said is ridiculous. My work as secretary of state was not influenced by the outside forces. I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right that keep Americans safe and to protect U.S. interests abroad. No wild political attacks by Donald Trump is going to change that.

And in fact the State Department has said itself that there is no evidence of any kind of impropriety at all.

[21:40:10] Now, I think it’s important to recognize that the foundation which does do life-saving work, and is so well-respected here in our country and around the world has been doing this work for a number of years. And in 2009, they took steps that went above and beyond all legal requirements and, indeed, all standard requirements followed by every other charitable organization, voluntarily disclosing donors, significantly reducing sources of funding, even to the point of, you know, of those funding being involved in providing medication to treat HIV/AIDS.

And I think that the announcements that the foundation has made really reflect its desire to continue as much of its important work as possible, but to do it in a way that provide great disclosure. And although, none of this is legally required, the steps go further than the policies that were in place when I was secretary of state.

And it’s important to remember, Anderson, the foundation is a charity. Neither my husband nor I have ever drawn a salary from it. You know more about the foundation than you know about anything concerning Donald Trump’s wealth, his business, his tax returns. I think it’s quite remarkable. His refusal to release his tax returns is even more …

COOPER: Well, let me ask.

CLINTON: … concerning. Even the recent news that his business are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to big banks, including the state-owned Bank of China and business groups who are tied to the Kremlin.

So, yes, we did provide a lot of life-saving work. I’m proud of the work that my husband started. And we did, we provided a massive amount of information.

COOPER: But why was it OK …

HILLARY: And Donald Trump doesn’t release his tax returns and is indebted to foreign banks and foreign lenders.

COOPER: Why was it OK for the Clinton Foundation to accept foreign donations when you were secretary of state but it wouldn’t be OK if you were president?

CLINTON: Well, what we did when I was secretary of state, as I said, went above and beyond anything that was required, anything that any charitable organization has to do. Now, obviously, if I am president, there will be some unique circumstances and that’s why the foundation has laid out additional …

COOPER: But didn’t those unique circumstances exist when you were secretary of state?

CLINTON: … if I am elected.

COOPER: Didn’t those unique circumstances exist …

CLINTON: No, no. And, you know, look, Anderson, I know there’s a lot of smoke and there’s no fire. This A.P. report, put in it context, this excludes nearly 2,000 meetings I had with world leaders, with countless other meetings with U.S. government officials when I was secretary of state. It looked at a small portion of my time. And it draws a conclusion and made a suggestion that my meetings with people like the late great Elie Wiesel or Melinda Gates or the Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus were somehow due to connections with the foundation instead of their status as highly respected global leaders. That is absurd. These are people I was proud to meet with, to any secretary of state would have been proud to meet with, to hear about their work and their insights.

COOPER: Let me ask you, according to “The New York Times” report, you told FBI investigators that former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised you to use a personal e-mail account. His response to that this past weekend was reportedly, “Her people are trying to pin it on me.” “The truth is, she was using,” he’s talking about the private e- mail server, “for a year, before I sent her a memo telling her what did I,” he’s talking about the private e-mail account. Did you say that to FBI investigators? And is Secretary Powell right, were you using this private e-mail server prior to your conversation with him?

CLINTON: Well, look, I have the utmost respect for Secretary Powell. And he was incredibly gracious and helpful after I was nominated and before I took the job. I appreciated the time he took when I was preparing to become secretary. And I valued his advice. I’m not going to relitigate in public my private conversations with him.

I’ve been asked many, many questions in the past year about e-mails. And what I’ve learned is that when I try to explain what happened it can sound like I’m trying to excuse what I did. And there are no excuses. I want people to know that the decision to have a single e- mail account was mine. I take responsibility for it. I’ve apologized for it. I would certainly do differently if I could.

[21:45:12] But obviously, I’m grateful the justice department concluded there was no basis to pursue this matter further. And, I believe, the public will be and is considering my full record and experience as they consider their choice for president.

COOPER: Donald Trump is now indicating he would allow some illegal immigrants to remain in the country. Early on, during the primaries, you well know he talked about 11 million undocumented immigrants, they all have to get out, the good ones can come back in, in his words. He’s now told Fox News he would work with people if they paid back taxes. He says that’s not amnesty. They wouldn’t get a path to citizenship. What do you make what appears to be quite a big shift by him on this if this, in fact, is his policy moving forward?

CLINTON: Well, you know, my understanding is that the comment you just referred to was the third different position he took yesterday on immigration. Somebody has told him, I guess, the latest people that he is consulting, how damaging his statements have been, how terrible his deportation plan is, how offensive his views on immigrants have been from the very first day of his campaign. So, he’s trying to do, you know, kind of a shuffle here.

But I think, we need to look at the entire context. We need to believe him when he bullies and threatens to throw out every immigrant in the country. And, certainly, when he changes his position three times in one day, it sends a message that it’s just a desperate effort to try to land somewhere that isn’t as, you know, devastating to his campaign as his comments and his positions have been up until now.

COOPER: Finally, Secretary Clinton, you haven’t done a press conference in more than 260 days in terms of your public appearances, your media strategy, this report in POLITICO that indicates your allies believe by keeping a low profile, a relativity low profile. You can essentially run out the clock on Trump, keep the focus on Trump. How do you respond to that? Will you give a press conference?

CLINTON: Well, Anderson, I’m talking to you right now. And I’ve given, I think, way in excess of 300 interviews this year. So I’m going to continue talking with the press and answering questions and many different …

COOPER: Why not give a press conference though with a lot of different reporters?

CLINTON: Well, you know, I mean, I’ve got a lot that I have been sharing with the press, talking to the press as I’m doing with you right now. So, you know, stay tuned, there’ll be a lot of different opportunities for me to talk to the press as well as continuing to talk to the American public.

COOPER: We appreciate you talking to us tonight. But I know a lot of other reporters who would love a chance to talk to address you during a press conference so I’m throwing that out there. Secretary Clinton, thank you very much.

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It’s Official: ‘Britain’s Democracy Now At Risk’

It’s not just campaigners saying it any more: democracy is officially at risk, according to parliament’s own digital, culture, media and sport committee.

The Duran

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Via True Publica, authored by Jessica Garland – Electoral Reform Society:


Britain’s main campaign rules were drawn up in the late 1990s, before social media and online campaigning really existed. This has left the door wide open to disinformation, dodgy donations and foreign interference in elections.

There is a real need to close the loopholes when it comes to the online Wild West.

Yet in this year’s elections, it was legitimate voters who were asked to identify themselves, not those funnelling millions into political campaigns through trusts, or those spreading fake news.

The government trialled mandatory voter ID in five council areas in May. In these five pilot areas alone about 350 people were turned away from polling stations for not having their papers with them — and they didn’t return. In other words, they were denied their vote.

Yet last year, out of more than 45 million votes cast across the country, there were just 28 allegations of personation (pretending to be someone else at the polling station), the type of fraud voter ID is meant to tackle.

Despite the loss of 350 votes, the pilots were branded a success by the government. Yet the 28 allegations of fraud (and just one conviction) are considered such a dire threat that the government is willing to risk disenfranchising many more legitimate voters to try to address it. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Indeed, the fact-checking website FullFact noted that in the Gosport pilot, 0.4 per cent of voters did not vote because of ID issues. That’s a greater percentage than the winning margin in at least 14 constituencies in the last election. Putting up barriers to democratic engagement can have a big impact. In fact, it can swing an election.

In the run-up to the pilots, the Electoral Reform Society and other campaigners warned that the policy risked disenfranchising the most marginalised groups in society.

The Windrush scandal highlights exactly the sort of problems that introducing stricter forms of identity could cause: millions of people lack the required documentation. It’s one of the reasons why organisations such as the Runnymede Trust are concerned about these plans.

The Electoral Commission has now published a report on the ID trials, which concludes that “there is not yet enough evidence to fully address concerns” on this front.

The small number of pilots, and a lack of diversity, meant that sample sizes were too small to conclude anything about how the scheme would affect various demographic groups. Nor can the pilots tell us about the likely impact of voter ID in a general election, where the strain on polling staff would be far greater and a much broader cross-section of electors turns out to vote.

The Electoral Reform Society, alongside 22 organisations, campaigners and academics, has now called on the constitution minister to halt moves to impose this policy. The signatories span a huge cross-section of society, including representatives of groups that could be disproportionately impacted by voter ID, from Age UK to Liberty and from the British Youth Council to the Salvation Army and the LGBT Foundation.

Voters know what our democratic priorities should be: ensuring that elections are free from the influence of big donors. Having a secure electoral register. Providing balanced media coverage. Transparency online.

We may be little wiser as a result of the government’s voter ID trials. Yet we do know where the real dangers lie in our politics.

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Corrupt Robert Mueller’s despicable Paul Manafort trial nears end (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 79.

Alex Christoforou

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Paul Manafort’s legal team rested its case on Tuesday without calling a single witness. This sets the stage for closing arguments before the judge hands the case to jurors for a verdict.

Manafort’s defense opted to call no witnesses, choosing instead to rely on the team’s cross-examination of government witnesses including a very devious Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, and several accountants, bookkeepers and bankers who had financial dealings with Manafort.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday. Jurors may begin deliberating shortly after receiving their final instructions from judge Ellis.

Manafort case has nothing to do with Mueller’s ‘Trump-Russia collusion witch-hunt’ as the former DC lobbyist is accused of defrauding banks to secure loans and hiding overseas bank accounts and income from U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion to acquit Manafort on the charges because prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the circus trial of Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and how crooked cop Robert Mueller is using all his power to lean on Manafort, so as to conjure up something illegal against US President Donald Trump.

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Via Zerohedge

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars made from his work for a Ukrainian political party, then lied to obtain bank loans when cash stopped flowing from the project.

The courtroom was sealed for around two hours Tuesday morning for an unknown reason, reopening around 11:30 a.m. with Manafort arriving around 10 minutes later.

The decision to rest their case without calling any witnesses follows a denial by Judge T.S. Ellis III to acquit Manafort after his lawyers tried to argue that the special counsel had failed to prove its case at the federal trial.

The court session began at approximately 11:45 a.m.:

“Good afternoon,” began defense attorney Richard Westling, who corrected himself and said, “Good morning.”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Judge Ellis responded.

Ellis then heard brief argument from both sides on the defense’s motion for acquittal, focusing primarily on four counts related to Federal Savings Bank.

Federal Savings Bank was aware of the status of Paul Manafort’s finances,” Westling argued. “They came to the loans with an intent of doing business with Mr. Manafort.”

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye fired back, saying that that even if bank chairman Steve Calk overlooked Manafort’s financial woes, it would still be a crime to submit fraudulent documents to obtain the loans.

“Steve Calk is not the bank,” Asonye argued, adding that while Caulk may have “had a different motive” — a job with the Trump administration — “I’m not really sure there’s evidence he knew the documents were false.”

Ellis sided with prosecutors.

The defense makes a significant argument about materiality, but in the end, I think materiality is an issue for the jury,” he said, adding. “That is true for all the other counts… those are all jury issues.”

Once that exchange was over, Manafort’s team was afforded the opportunity to present their case, to which lead attorney Kevin Downing replied “The defense rests.

Ellis then began to question Manafort to ensure he was aware of the ramifications of that decision, to which the former Trump aide confirmed that he did not wish to take the witness stand.

Manafort, in a dark suit and white shirt, stood at the lectern from which his attorneys have questioned witnesses, staring up at the judge. Ellis told Manafort he had a right to testify, though if he chose not to, the judge would tell jurors to draw no inference from that. – WaPo

Ellis asked Manafort four questions – his amplified voice booming through the courtroom:

Had Manafort discussed the decision with his attorney?

“I have, your honor,” Manafort responded, his voice clear.

Was he satisfied with their advice?

“I am, your honor,” Manafort replied.

Had he decided whether he would testify?

“I have decided,” Manafort said.

“Do you wish to testify?” Ellis finally asked.

“No, sir,” Manafort responded.

And with that, Manafort returned to his seat.

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One more step toward COMPLETE de-dollarization

Over the past several months, sitting here in Moscow, it has become increasingly obvious that while the US Dollar is unquestionably the world’s leading and liquid reserve currency, it comes with an ever increasing high price (of sovereignty and FX) if you are not the USA.

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I have opined and written about the trend towards de-dollarization before, but with the latest US –Turkish spat it has hit the wallets, mattresses and markets of a number of countries, be they aligned with Washington or not. One thing they all have in common was that in this recent era of low cost available money, many happily fed at the US dollar trough.

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This serves as a further albeit loud example to many nations for the need to diversify to an extent away from the greenback, or risk being caught up in its volatile, sudden and unpredictably risky increasingly politicized directions.

The Dollar and the geopolitical winds from Washington are today as never before openly being used as policy, which can be called the “carrot and stick”, a distinctly Pavlovian approach. Sadly, few if any can make out where or what the carrot is in this recent US worldview branding.

Tariffs, sanctions, pressured exchange rates, the Federal Reserve loosening or tightening, trade agreements and laws ignored or simply trashed… there is a lot going on which seems to democratically affect America’s allies as well as those on Washington’s politically popular and dramatic “poo-poo” list.

Just now from a press conference in Turkey, I watched Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov say that through the actions shown by the US, the role of the US dollar as a secure global reserve currency for free trade will diminish as more countries switch to national currencies for international trade.

He clearly spoke for many nations when he said; “It will make more and more countries that are not even affected by US sanctions go away from the dollar and rely on more reliable, contractual partners in terms of currency use.” Putting the situation in a nutshell he went on to say “I have already said this about sanctions: they are illegal, they undermine all principles of global trade and principles approved by UN decisions, under which unilateral measures of economic duress are unlawful.”

Turkey, a long-standing NATO ally and a key line of western defense during the long cold war years fully agreed with his Russian counterpart. The Turkish foreign minister Mr. Cavosoglu openly warned that US sanctions or trade embargoes can and are being unilaterally imposed against any country at any time if they do not toe DC’s political line.

He said at the same press conference; “Today, sanctions are imposed on Turkey, and tomorrow they can be used against any other European state. If the United States wants to maintain respect in the international arena, then it is necessary for it to be respectful of the interests of other countries.”

What is happening in Turkey is symptomatic of the developed and emerging markets globally. When trillions of dollars of newly issued lucre was up for grabs, thanks to several developed country central banks, it was comparatively easy for governments and companies just like Turkey’s to borrow funds denominated in dollars and not their national currencies.

Turkey has relied on foreign-currency debt more than most EM’s. Corporate, financial and other debt denominated mostly in dollars, approximates close to 70% of it’s economy. Therefore as the Turkish lira plunges, it is very costly for those companies to repay their dollar-denominated loans, and even now it is patently clear many will not.

The concern rattling around the underbelly of the global markets is what can be reasonably expected for assets and economies that were inflated by cheap debt, the United States included. All this points not so much to a banking crisis as has happened eight years ago, but a systemic financial market crisis.

This is a new one, and I doubt if any QE, QT, NIRPs, or ZIRPs will make much of a difference, despite the rocket-high equity markets the US has been displaying.

One financial trader I spoke to, whom I have known since the early 1980’s (and I thought him ancient then) muttered to me “we’re gettin’ into the ecstasy stage, nothing but the high matters, everything else including the VIX is seen as boring denial, and not the warning tool it is. Better start loading up on gold.”

Meanwhile, de-dollarization is ongoing in Russia and is carefully studied by a host of countries, especially as the Russian government has not yet finished selling off US debt; it still has just a few billion to go. The Russian Finance Minister A. Siluanov said this past Sunday that Russia would continue decreasing holdings of Treasuries in response to sanctions.

The finance minister went on to say that, Russia is also considering distancing itself from using the US dollar for international trade, calling it an unreliable, conditional and hence risky tool for payments.

Between March and May this year, Russia’s US debt holdings were sold down by $81 billion, which is 84% of its total US debt holdings, and while I don’t know the current figure it is certain to be even less.

The latest round of tightening sanctions screws against Russia were imposed by the State Department under a chemical and biological warfare law and should be going into effect on August 22. This in spite of the fact that no proof was ever shown, not under any established national or international law, or with any of several global biochemical conventions, not even in the ever entertaining court of public opinion.

Whatever Russia may continue to do in its relationship with US debt or the dollar, the fact of the matter is that Russia is not a heavyweight in this particular financial arena, and the direct effects of Russia’s responses are negligible. However, the indirect effects are huge as they reflect what many countries (allied or unallied with the US) see as Washington’s overbearing and more than slightly unipolar trade and geopolitical advantage quests, be they Mexico, Canada, the EU, or anyone else on any hemisphere of this globe.

Some of the potential indirect effects over time may be a similar sell-off or even gradual reduction of US debt exposure from China or any one of several dozens of countries deciding to reduce their exposure to US debt by reducing their purchases and waiting for existing Treasuries to mature. In either case, the trend is there and is not going away anytime soon.

When Russia clears its books of US dollarized debt, then who will be next in actively diversifying their US debt risk? Then what might be the fate of the US Dollar, and what value then will be the international infusions to finance America’s continually growing debt, or fuel the funds needed for further market growth? Value and the energy of money has no politics, it ultimately trends towards areas where there is a secure business dynamic. That being said, looks like we are now and will be living through the most interesting of disruptive times.

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