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NYT Answers 9 Questions About Anonymous Op-Ed After Trump Demands DOJ Investigation

The NYT has published answers to questions from nine readers out of 23,000 who submitted questions about the anonymous op-ed.

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Via Zerohedge


After publishing a highly controversial anonymous Op-Ed Wednesday purportedly written by a senior White House official who claims to be part of an internal “resistance” that is actively undermining the President, the New York Times has taken heat from all sides.

The author has been generally deemed a coward – with the right knocking him or her for their pre-midterm “hit-job,” while many on the left have suggested that the author should have published the piece under their real name in order to attach more credibility to a series of anonymous complaints about the President that the New York Times just doesn’t have the journalistic credibility to pull off anymore.

Indeed, the piece appears to have backfired – while President Trump has demanded that the Justice Department launch an investigation into the article for the sake of national security.

Speaking at a Thursday night campaign rally in Billings, Montana, Trump said:

for the sake of our national security, the New York Times should publish his name at once. I think their reporters should go and investigate who it is. That would actually be a good scoop.

That would be a good scoop. Unelected deep state operatives who defy the voters to push their own secret agendas are truly a threat to democracy itself. And I was so heartened when I looked

And as The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald points out: “The irony in the op-ed from the NYT’s anonymous WH coward is glaring and massive: s/he accuses Trump of being “anti-democratic” while boasting of membership in an unelected cabal that covertly imposes their own ideology with zero democratic accountability, mandate or transparency

Perhaps to try and win some points in the court of public opinion (and other possible courtrooms down the road), The Times has published answers to questions from nine readers out of 23,000 who submitted questions about the essay.

Via the New York Times

Why did you publish this piece?

Why publish this? What purpose does it serve, other than to enrage its target and assuage the guilt of a collaborator? We have a mad king and a shadow government. This is a coup, not a heroic attempt to save democracy.

— Henry Matthews, New York

Henry:

In our view, this Op-Ed offered a significant first-person perspective we haven’t presented to our readers before: that of a conservative explaining why they felt that even if working for the Trump administration meant compromising some principles, it ultimately served the country if they could achieve some of the president’s policy objectives while helping resist some of his worst impulses.

We’ve certainly read excellent news stories that quoted anonymous officials making similar points and criticizing the president’s temperament and chaotic style. What distinguished this essay from those news articles was that it conveyed this point of view in a fleshed-out, personal way, and we felt strongly that the public should have a chance to evaluate it for themselves.

The only way that could happen was for us to publish the essay without a byline. That was an extraordinary step for us, but the piece touched off what we believe to be an important national debate about whether the writer, and similarly situated Trump administration officials, are making the right choice (many of our readers clearly think they are not).

— Jim Dao

***

How did you find this writer?

Did The New York Times seek out the author of this piece, or did the author seek out The New York Times?

— Norma Buchanan, Billings, Mont.

Norma:

The writer was introduced to us by an intermediary whom we know and trust.

— Jim Dao

***

How do you vet a piece like this?

How are you certain of the author’s identity?

— Martin Trott, Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Through direct communication with the author, some background checking and the testimony of the trusted intermediary.

— Jim Dao

***

What does ‘senior administration official’ really mean?

Who qualifies as a “senior administration official” for The New York Times? How many individuals are there in the administration who fit the bill?

— Daniel Burns, Hyattsville, Md.

Daniel:

I understand readers’ frustration that we didn’t provide a more precise description of the official. But we felt strongly that a broader categorization was necessary to protect the author from reprisal, and that concern has been borne out by the president’s reaction to the essay. The term we chose, senior administration official, is used in Washington by both journalists and government officials to describe positions in the upper echelon of an administration, such as the one held by this writer.

— Jim Dao

***

Would you ever reveal your source?

Under what conditions would The New York Times be forced to disclose the source of the Op-Ed?

— Stephanie Genkin, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Stephanie:

It is difficult to imagine a situation where The Times could be forced to disclose the author’s identity. The First Amendment clearly protects the author’s right to publish an essay criticizing the president, and absolutely nothing in the Op-Ed involves criminal behavior. We intend to do everything in our power to protect the identity of the writer and have great confidence that the government cannot legally force us to reveal it.

— Jim Dao

***

Were the writer’s motives considered?

Were the motives of the author considered when deciding whether to publish the Op-Ed?

— Samantha Combs, Pensacola, Fla.

Samantha:

Our first step in evaluating any submission is to look at the background of the writer and the quality and significance of the piece itself. But we do also take into consideration a writer’s motives as part of the vetting process.

It can of course be difficult to discern what those motives are, and in this case a combination of motives were undoubtedly in play, including the writer’s desire to defend the integrity of the president’s internal critics.

But we concluded that the author’s principal motivation was to describe, as faithfully as possible, the internal workings of a chaotic and divided administration and to defend the choice to nevertheless work within it. The resulting essay, we believe, is an important piece of opinion journalism.

— Jim Dao

***

Why now?

Why did you publish it now? At a time when the country should be focused on the Kavanaugh hearings, the outcome of which will affect us for the next 30 years or more, you totally distracted everyone with a guessing game. This administration is placing our democracy in enough danger. Do you really need to play along?

— Paul Birkeland, Seattle

Paul:

The simple answer is that we published when we did because the piece was ready to go and we saw no reason to wait. It certainly was not our intention to start a guessing game or draw the nation’s attention away from the Kavanaugh hearings.

The Op-Ed section considers the Supreme Court nomination to be of the utmost importance and, for that reason, has published numerous Op-Eds and columns about Judge Kavanaugh since he was nominated (including several just this week).

It was always our expectation that even if the Op-Ed created a splash, that the Kavanaugh hearings would remain a focus of media attention. And indeed, though the Op-Ed was the big news on Wednesday and Thursday, the hearings remained front-page news in The Times throughout the week. I should also point out that the actual vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination could be more than a week away, leaving plenty of time for additional coverage.

— Jim Dao

***

Has this happened before?

You said publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay is a “rare step.” So does it mean that it was not unprecedented? Then what were other times when you made a call to run anonymous Op-Eds? What were your rationales back then?

— Dien Luong, Vietnam

Dien:

It has happened before. Earlier this year, we published an anonymous essay by an asylum seeker whose name we withheld because she was concerned about gang violence against her family in El Salvador. In 2016, we published this Op-Ed by a Syrian refugee in Greece, using her first name only because her family in Syria faced threats. We also published in 2016 an account of the Syrian civil war by a writer in Raqqa using a pen name to protect him from being targeted by the Islamic State.

— Jim Dao

Did you consider the effect this piece might have?

To what extent did The Times consider the effect that publication of the piece would have in bolstering conspiracy theories about the “deep state” or QAnon, etc.?

— James Apps, Berlin

James:

We did not take that into consideration. It is difficult to ever know what reportage might feed into a conspiracy theory. But the essay included a passage that indicates the author suspected the piece might be viewed as part of a “deep state” theory: “This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.”

— Jim Dao

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john vieiraThraxiteT W HuningrogermorrisOld Uncle Dave Recent comment authors
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Anne felippe
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Anne felippe

Someone should have asked if the NY Slime wrote the piece. Good article from paul craig roberts convinced this s the case. Regardless who wrote it, since the NYSlime has zero credibility, the motives for publishing this are crystal clear. And all the accomplishments of the president were part of his campaign promises yet this egotistical unelected nobody thinks he is taking credit for accomplishing them. And as far as his absurd claims about syria this is all false flag and almost everyone realizes it and as far his claims about rx spy poisoning any person not dumbed down by… Read more »

john vieira
Guest

“They” are at wits end and will try ANYTHING…even going so far as to “invent” a traitor or group of traitors in the White House. The only traitors in America are the 5th Column/Shadow Government led by the “organizer” and their minions/eunuchs in the corrupt, sold out mainstream media…

Old Uncle Dave
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Old Uncle Dave

Do a search: Times op-ed USC plagiarism

rogermorris
Guest
rogermorris

This is not the first time NYT’s has been ‘ahead of the curve[ball]’ in the ‘manufacturing of public myth. It has been here before.Many many times. It builds the biggest and bestest of all myths. Including the big kahuna 17yrs ago just down the road :The ‘Lower’ Manhattan Project/Office Furnishings Fire Myth. NYT.
The worm in the big apple.
Mother mouth piece of the Wurlitzer .

T W Huning
Guest
T W Huning

…should have published the piece under his real name… (Of course the author didn’t publish the piece. The “Typhoid Mary of Journalism”* did.) *Gore Vidal

T W Huning
Guest
T W Huning

Another high Whitehorse souse.

Thraxite
Guest
Thraxite

“We did not take that into consideration. It is difficult to ever know what reportage might feed into a conspiracy theory” The guy/gal has admitted to belonging to a secret group and doing things they’re not supposed to be doing, that is no longer a conspiracy theory, that is actually called a CONSPIRACY!

john vieira
Guest

Considering from whence they are purportedly operating it is tantamount to TREASON!!!

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Peak Stupidity: Deep State and mainstream media push ‘Trump is a spy’ nonsense (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 167.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the sheer stupidity of the entire ‘Trump is a Russian spy’ narrative being plastered all over the mainstream media, as neo-liberal shills and neocon war hawks continue to damage the Office of the United States President by insisting on pushing a made up story that a five year old child who waits for Santa Claus to bring Christmas gifts would have a hard time believing.

Meanwhile the real crime and real treason derived from a Comey-Clapper-Brennan Deep State plot to remove a democratically elected Trump from power, is being blacked out from the mainstream, neo-liberal news cycle.

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The Gateway Pundit lists the 35 times the FBI “deviated from standard practice” or committed crimes in an effort to exonerate Hillary Clinton and indict US President Donald Trump..


The FBI leadership under the Obama Administration took many actions that deviated from standard practice [i.e. were corrupt and criminal] in their efforts to exonerate Hillary from her crimes and then spy and frame candidate and then President Trump.  Today current members of the FBI are embarrassed to even turn on their TV’s as a result.

Time magazine of all places reported recently about the many efforts the FBI took related to Hillary exoneration and then the Trump framing.  These corrupt and criminal actions have taken a desperate toll on the current members of the FBI –

In normal times, the televisions are humming at the FBI’s 56 field offices nationwide, piping in the latest news as agents work their investigations. But these days, some agents say, the TVs are often off to avoid the crush of bad stories about the FBI itself. The bureau, which is used to making headlines for nabbing crooks, has been grabbing the spotlight for unwanted reasons: fired leaders, texts between lovers and, most of all, attacks by President Trump. “I don’t care what channel it’s on,” says Tom O’Connor, a veteran investigator in Washington who leads the FBI Agents Association. “All you hear is negative stuff about the FBI … It gets depressing.”

Of course the employees of the FBI are in a funk, their fearless and corrupt leaders, as well as leaders in Obama’s corrupt DOJ, went to extravagant links to exonerate the obvious criminal actions of Hillary Clinton, and then to do all they could to prevent candidate Trump from winning an election.  Then once the election was won by President Trump, they went to unheard of depths of deceit and corruption to attempt to remove him from office.

Here’s a list of the actions the Deep State FBI took in their recent criminal actions surrounding the 2016 Presidential election and since [the first 11 items are from the Time post noted above with comments in brackets] –

1 – Comey breached Justice Department protocols in a July 5, 2016, press conference when he criticized Hillary Clinton for using a private email server as Secretary of State even as he cleared her of any crimes
2 – Comey reopened the Clinton email probe less than two weeks before the election
3 – Andrew McCabe lied to the bureau’s internal investigations branch to cover up a leak he orchestrated about Clinton’s family foundation less than two weeks before the election and had lied for months about it
4 – FBI wasn’t adequately investigating “high-risk” employees who failed polygraph tests (but, in fact, putting them in charge of high-profile investigations, like Peter Strzok who failed his poly). In one instance, an FBI IT specialist with top-secret security clearance failed four polygraph tests and admitted to having created a fictitious Facebook account to communicate with a foreign national, but received no disciplinary action for that.
5 – The FBI’s miss of the Russian influence operation against the 2016 election, which went largely undetected for more than two years (The FBI had the chance to kill this Russian intrusion years before it reached crisis point in the election). Mueller’s Russia probe found that Moscow’s operation against the 2016 election first got under way in 2014, but the FBI failed to address it.
6 – The FBI was getting information it shouldn’t have had access to when it used controversial parts of the Patriot Act to obtain business records in terrorism and counterintelligence cases.
7 – The bureau missed the significance of the damaging 2015 hack of the DNC database [although others argue that the DNC was never hacked – due to the FBI’s lack of investigative process, we may never know what happened.] 8 – The bureau also sat on the disputed “dossier” prepared by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. [Which was then used for the entire case against Trump and anyone near him].
9 – The bureau’s decision to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was influenced by politics.
10 – Text messages between FBI special agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which were critical of Trump.
11 – Comey broke with Justice Department rules and norms by assuming authority usually held by prosecutors and speaking in public about a case that did not produce criminal charges.
12 – Comey took copious notes and diligently informed others of all interactions with Trump while lying about having had any interactions with Obama, never taking notes or notifying anyone so even after having been warned of Mr. Steele’s motivations, even after having fired him for violating the rules, the FBI continued to seek his information—using Mr. Ohr as a back channel. This surely violates the FBI manual governing interaction with confidential human sources.
13 – FBI guidelines state that unverified information should not be submitted to the FISA court.
14 – They were passive, not proactive. The Obama administration “stood down” and watched these “activities” unravel. At worst, they possibly played a hand in creating circumstances to push the investigation forward into more serious stages that allowed for more intrusive techniques, such as spying. (The FBI is supposed to prevent crime, not watch it happen).
15 – John Brennan, James Clapper, Samantha Power, Loretta Lynch were all briefed by James Comey on the alleged Russian interference into the Trump campaign, yet the Trump campaign was left in the dark.
16 –FBI agents found Abedin deleting classified Clinton emails from her Yahoo account but failed to subpoena her devices. If they had, maybe they wouldn’t have had to reopen the case in 11th hour when NY agents found work emails on the laptop she shared with her perv husband.
17 – The FBI failed to notify Congress of the investigation into the Trump campaign for months rather than quarterly as was practice. [See Comey presentation to House Republicans in March 2017] 18 – The FBI did not pursue criminal charges when Clinton’s email archives were permanently deleted from her private server days after a subpoena for them was issued by a congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
19 – The IG found that the FBI and DOJ during the MidYearExam probe of Hillary Clinton email server “did not require any witnesses to testify before the grand jury,” despite at least 3 witnesses lying to FBI agents.
20 – “[T]he 
Midyear team did not obtain search warrants to examine the content of emails in Mills’s or Abedin’s private email accounts and did not seek to obtain any of the senior aides’ personal devices.”
21 – IG Report: Nobody was listed as a subject of this [Clinton email] investigation at any point in time (So neither Hillary nor her top aides were formally under investigation by FBI at any time in 2015-2016, but the agents handling the issue thought it was a criminal action).
22 – The IG report indicates a strong pro-Clinton/anti-Trump bias in FBI investigators of Midyear and Operation Russian Collusion but it still went on without personnel changes or actions against the corrupt investigative team.
23 – The IG report found: “The MYE Team did not seek to obtain every device, including those of Clinton’s senior aides, or the contents of every email account through which a classified email may have traversed.”
24 – Manafort interviewed twice before joining the Trump team. If he was guilty of anything why did they allow him to join the Trump team?
25 – In 2008, a questionable person on McCain’s POTUS campaign caught the attention of FBI counterintelligence, and the FBI privately approached McCain. That questionable person was quietly removed from Team McCain but this same sensitivity was not provided to the Trump team.
26 – The corrupt Obama FBI and DOJ used the “salacious and unverified” opposition research called the Steele dossier to open a counterintelligence investigation and obtain warrants but it wasn’t even verified and it was created by the opposition party [DNC]. [Multiple sources] 27 – Unprecedented leaking to the press: 13 different individuals at the FBI were feeding a journalist information.
28 – Dan Bongino asks the question: How did Halper go from being a CIA informant to an FBI informant? And he’s right. It is a DEVIATION FROM THE STANDARD PRACTICE for law enforcement agencies to give up/share their asset.
29 – The “probable cause” arrest of George Papadopoulos is a deviation from the standard practice.
30 – Halper was a CHS (Confidential Human Source). FBI rules prohibit using a CHS to spy on Americans before an official investigation has been created.
31 -Stone and Caputo say they believe they were the targets of a setup by U.S. law enforcement officials hostile to Trump which was before an official investigation which again is a deviation from standard practice.
32 – The FBI interviewed Carter Page in March of 2016 about his Russian ties. Two months later, Comey is briefing the NSC about his concerns about Carter Page. Nothing of any note happened in those intervening months to cause a rise of concerns, so whatever concerns Comey had Comey had them before Page was hired on as an adviser. It was a DEVIATION FROM STANDARD PRACTICE for Comey to not have warned Trump about Page. Comey warns Obama instead who also takes no steps to warn Trump.
33 – Another deviation from the standard practice is to start an investigation without a crime.
34 – Planting the Isikoff article to be used in court to obtain a FISA warrant.
35 – Related to the FBI, it’s important to note that former DNI chief James Clapper limited the IC report for review to only 3 agencies rather than send the report out to all 17 agencies for review. This way he was able to control what was put into the report – another deviation from the standard practice.

This may only be a partial list of FBI abuses and actions taken with deviations from standard practice, if not clear cut crimes.  The gangsters who ran Obama’s FBI, from Mueller to Comey, are so corrupt, current and former agents are now embarrassed to be part of the once storied federal agency.  Quite frankly, it’s doubtful if the FBI can ever be trusted again!

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Trump’s wish to take the US out of NATO leaves NeoCons seething

The US President has seen the truth of the irrelevance of NATO, but there is enormous resistance to change.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Tucker Carlson, Fox News and Russian and American news outlets alike have picked up the story that US President Donald Trump has on numerous occasions, opined that the United States would do well to depart from the North Atlantic Military Organization, or NATO.

This wish caused enormous fury and backlash from those opposed, which, oddly enough include both Democrats and Republicans. Their anger and alarm over this idea is such that the media networks through much of the US are alive with the idea of impeaching the President or bringing 25th Amendment proceedings against him for insanity!

Take a look:

Tucker Carlson, as usual, nailed it.

NATO was formed to make Western Europe secure in the face of a perceived Soviet threat. In 1991, the USSR collapsed and the threat of Ivan the Communist bad guy collapsed with it.

But 28 years later, NATO is still here. And, why?

Well, many “experts” continue to point at Russia as a threat, though after that statement no one seems honestly able to elucidate precisely how Russia would, in fact, threaten any nation, take over it, or conquer the world. Indeed, if anyone seems to understand the perversity of being in charge of the whole world, it seems to be Russia, as expressed by politician and LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky (see how this is so here).

Zhironovsky observed that China is the other nation that is running at full force, but viewing the problems the US is having with being the leader of the world, China stops short of trying to attain this position itself. The question becomes “What does a nation that rules the world actually do then?”

President Trump appears to be seeing the same question, or some similar variant based on the same theme. NATO serves no constructive purpose anymore. Despite the conflicts in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Israel and Syria, there simply are no great threats in the world as it stands today. While there are certainly still wars, none of these wars represents an existential threat to the United States.

Why wouldn’t a US leader want out? In fact, there is further no existential threat to Europe from any present war, nor is there a threat from Russia itself. In fact, Russia has been entering into business relations with many European countries who wish to buy cheap and easily available Russian natural gas. Turkey purchased an S-400 antimissile system in addition to its US made Patriot battery.

There would seem to be very little in the way of concrete and reliable reasoning for the alliance to continue.

But the American Deep State and liberal establishment have come together to resist the US President in a truly furious manner, and it is revelatory of the hypocrisy of anti-Trump politics that American liberals, typically the “sing Kum-ba-yah peacenik” crowd, displays paroxysms of outrage and horror that NATO might be disbanded.

As the result of that, the American media is determined to choke off any possibility of one thinking, “well, what if we were to disband NATO?”

Why is this?

Simple. A lot of people make their living by preparing for the Russian “threat”, and it would mean the end of their work, the end of their money, and a great disruption in life. It does not matter that while this is true, these same people could conceivably apply their considerable skill sets to deal with real problems that face a world that no longer has a dipolar alignment, or to help prevent a real problem from arising from real situations, such as the recent and current Islamization of many European cities.

One of the great afflictions of American politics and policy has been that so much of it appears to be focused on “short term” or “no term” matters. We see this with the problems related to border security, the coming advent of AI-based automated processes that may furlough low-skilled workers in tremendous amounts in a short period of time. Rather than solve real problems, the elected representatives and media seem more content to oppose Donald Trump when he, as a businessman ought to do, makes a federal case out of what he sees on the horizon.

The Border Wall, for example, is a highly logical part of a properly handled set of immigration policies. But the very direct behavior of President Trump helped amplify the resentment the Democrats still hold against him for defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016, and so, the Democrats have effectively said “nuts!” to the needs of the nation and they take out their resentment on the nation by refusing to negotiate with the President about how to close the border.

NATO is another example. The alliance served its purpose. It is time for the alliance to end, or to be radically restructured in terms of new goals based in real, and not just flimsy rhetorical, needs.

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BREXIT storm deepens, as parliamentary coup may be forming against May and Corbyn

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 166.

Alex Christoforou

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Emboldened by Theresa May’s lack of leadership and will to deliver the Brexit that UK citizens voted for in a democratic referendum, remain MPs are now mobilizing to do the EU’s bidding in forcing Britain to nullify the Brexit process and eventually stay a part of the European Union.

After yesterday’s thumping of May’s Brexit plan in parliament, The Times’ Matthew Parris is now openly floating the idea that “it’s time for parliament to wrest control from the zombies, stating that “Theresa May isn’t any good” and “Jeremy Corbyn is equally useless”…

There exists no leadership in either the government or the opposition capable of taking us through this mess. No hidden strengths, no unexpected qualities; no whizzbang new thinking, no magic. Forget May. Forget Corbyn. Salvation is not coming from these directions.
So it’s up to parliament. MPs are coming to understand that they have to act. It has been stealing on parliamentarians for months now and close contacts between leading members of both parties have been made and have been deepening.
From within the Commons a shadow executive must emerge, and is beginning to. Labour’s Yvette Cooper talks to the Tories’ Dominic Grieve. Around them is a cluster of senior parliamentarians who are getting used to talking.
A common purpose unites them: rescuing the country from a no-deal Brexit that only a small minority actually want. Whether this is to be done by seeking a better deal than May’s or by a new referendum, or both, they need to find a way soon. An “indicative” vote of the House of Commons may help guide them.
And however speedily the House can find its leadership and direction, it’s hard to imagine this can be done without an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period.
Overwhelmingly, the conclusion to be drawn from last night’s vote is that parliament must wrest control from a zombie prime minister, a zombie cabinet and a zombie opposition. I heard in May’s response to the result the hint of the straw at which she may now clutch: a Labour-style Brexit under a Tory nominal prime minister. I would be amazed if her party would accept it.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the turbulent and uncertain road ahead in the Brexit saga as a March deadline looms.

Shifting sands, and betrayal at the highest level is now crystallizing, as hints of a possible parliamentary coup against May and Corbyn is being floated as a possible solution to the impasse that will ultimately steer the UK back under EU control, and cancel the Brexit referendum.

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Via Straits Times

The words “humiliated” and “crushed” featured prominently in British newspaper headlines following Parliament’s massive rejection of a divorce deal with the European Union on Tuesday (Jan 15).

Dailies said Prime Minister Theresa May’s grip on power was waning after the huge vote against the agreement struck between her government and Brussels, as she prepared to fight a no-confidence motion on Wednesday.

“May humiliated by 230 votes,” The Daily Mirror tabloid said.

The Daily Telegraph wrote: “Humiliation for Prime Minister as MPs overwhelmingly reject deal and Labour tables no confidence vote.”

The broadsheet’s parliamentary sketchwriter Michael Deacon said Mrs May had somehow defied the odds by making a historic event an anticlimax.

“Her speech had all the brio of a mouldy gym sock,” he wrote.

“She sounded as winningly persuasive as a mother snapping at her children to eat up their cabbage or go to bed hungry.”

The vote itself “was as if Agatha Christie has allowed Miss Marple to solve the murder half way through and spend the rest of the novel pottering about in the garden”.

‘ZOMBIE PM’

The Times columnist Matthew Parris said it was time for senior MPs to take over the Brexit process.

“There exists no leadership in either the government or the opposition capable of taking us through this mess,” he wrote following the vote.

“Theresa May isn’t any good; she doesn’t have a fiendish, secret strategy; she’s careless with the truth and will say anything to get her through another week. She doesn’t know what to do.

“Overwhelmingly, the conclusion to be drawn… is that Parliament must wrest control from a zombie Prime Minister, a zombie Cabinet and a zombie opposition.”

The Daily Mail said the defeat left Mrs May’s power “hanging by a thread”, calling it a “devastating result, which threatens to plunge the Brexit process into chaos”.

The Sun, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, said: “Crushed PM dares MPs to vote for general election after record Brexit defeat.”

“The crushing defeat – which saw 118 Tories turn against the PM – is the worst since the advent of full democracy and suggests Mrs May will never win enough support for her strategy,” said the tabloid.

The Financial Times newspaper ran a headline reading: “May’s defeat spells trouble for the EU’s Brexit approach.”

“Huge loss leaves PM in race against time,” the broadsheet said.

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