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Donald Trump’s and Angela Merkel’s unhappy summit

A summit meeting intended to create bridges between the leaders of the US and Germany merely highlighted their differences.

Alexander Mercouris

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As she gears up to meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow in May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel – the self-styled “Queen of Europe’ – has concluded a trip to Washington where she had her first meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Merkel previously had a very close relationship with Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, and was widely seen as Obama’s most important foreign policy ally. Given the critical importance of relations with the US for Germany, there is no doubt this close relationship with Obama gave Merkel considerable political standing in Germany and played a key role in securing her position.  The political and perhaps psychological importance of this relationship for Merkel is shown by the way Merkel repeatedly sacrificed other relationships and policy positions in order to preserve it.

Thus in 2014 Merkel reversed the longstanding German policy of maintaining close political and commercial relations with Russia by imposing sanctions on Russia during the Ukrainian crisis that year, and in 2015 she backed away from a plan proposed by her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble to eject Greece from the eurozone to which she had previously appeared to lend support.  On both occasions she did this in order to fall into line with Obama’s wishes.

Angela Merkel undoubtedly anticipated that she would be able to forge a similarly strong relationship with Hillary Clinton – a personal friend – once Hillary Clinton had been elected US President.

The election as US President of Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton therefore came as a shock, and Merkel has struggled to come up with a coherent response.

In doing so she has not been helped by absurd suggestions from Donald Trump’s opponents in the US and Europe that following Donald Trump’s election victory she is now the “leader of the free world”, or by the equally misconceived attempt by Barack Obama following the election to enlist her as the guardian of his legacy.  As Merkel undoubtedly knows, she lacks the power to do either of these things, and the attempts of others to position her into doing them risk making her relationship with Trump even more fraught than it already is.

Her meeting with Trump in Washington was therefore an attempt to build bridges to the new US President and to try to forge a working relationship with him, even if Merkel undoubtedly knows that this can never be as close as the one she had with Obama.

In the event the meeting can hardly have satisfied her.  Instead of building bridges what it showed was the colossal gulf between her and Donald Trump.

Many have spoken of the uneasy body-language and mood of the summit, and much has been made (far too much in my opinion) of Donald Trump’s failure to shake hands with her (for the record I get the impression that Trump is one of those people who simply doesn’t like shaking hands, and nothing should therefore be read into this).

A more useful insight into the lack of mutual understanding between Trump and Merkel is what the two had to say at their joint news conference, of which the official text can be found here

Firstly, it is impossible to avoid noticing the sharp contrast in styles.

As is his way Trump was spontaneous and exuberant, ranging widely over many topics in his usual uninhibited way.  Merkel, who like Obama always picks her words carefully and gives away as little as she can whilst peppering her comments with clichés, was clearly uncomfortable with this.

Beyond that however were the clear disagreements on issues of substance.  These were so great that at one point Merkel was even forced to admit them and say that she was in Washington to defend German interests and to look for compromises

Well, I’m here as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. I represent German interests.  I speak with the President of the United States, who stands up for, as is right, American interests.  That is our task, respectively.  And I must say that I was very gratified to know the very warm and gracious hospitality with which I have been received here.

We held a conversation where we were trying to address also those areas where we disagree, but to try to bring people together, try to show what is our vantage point, what is the American vantage point, and then try to find a compromise which is good for both sides.  Because we need to be fair with each other.  Each and every one is expecting for his or her leader that something good comes out of it for their own people.

For Germany, I can say, well, people are different.  People have different abilities, have different traits of character, have different origins, have found their way into politics along different pathways.  All that is diversity, which is good.  Sometimes it’s difficult to find compromises, but that’s what we’ve been elected for.  If everything just went like that and without problem, we wouldn’t need politicians to do these jobs.

This is very far from the sort of things that Merkel and Obama would say following Merkel’s meetings with Obama, when she and Obama liked to stress the US and Germany’s commonality of views and interests, not their differences and disagreements with each other.

There was also no word at any point in the news conference of any actual agreement being concluded between the two leaders.  Whilst this is not unprecedented, it is usually the case following a meeting between two leaders who are close partners and friends that they announce some agreement or at least some joint initiative, however minimal, in order to conclude the meeting with something positive.  Not only did that not happen on this occasion, but there is no evidence in anything Donald Trump said that he was interested in any such thing or was looking for it.

In fact Trump repeatedly said things during the press conference that would have been guaranteed to make Merkel worried and uncomfortable.

Firstly, as is his way, Trump qualified his (very cursory) support for NATO by presenting Merkel again with a demand for money

I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO, as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense.  Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years, and it is very unfair to the United States.  These nations must pay what they owe.

In order to leave no room for ambiguity that one of the “nations” Trump was referring to is Germany, after the summit Trump followed up this comment with a tweet (see here and here)

Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

This repeated demand for money, which has become the common refrain coming from all the officials of the Trump administration including Vice-President Pence, Defense Secretary Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson, and not just Donald Trump himself, is making NATO appear less and less like an alliance based on common values and interests, and more and more like a protection racket.

Perhaps that in truth is what NATO has been all along.  The Germans and the US’s other NATO allies do not however like to have it spelled out quite so frankly.  Merkel is known to be personally offended by it.

Whilst Trump spoke about NATO in this frankly rather threatening – even Godfatherish – way, he had absolutely nothing to say about the EU.  He has previously made no secret of his disdain for the EU.  Whilst hosting the ‘Queen of Europe’ he backed off from none of it.  Instead of uttering some word of support for the EU, however qualified, he never once mentioned it.  Merkel will have noticed, and in light of the Brexit crisis and the challenges she is now facing all across Europe, she now knows she no longer has the US President’s support, and it will cause her concern.

On relations with Russia, where some claim to see signs that Donald Trump is backing off from his desire for detente with Russia (for the record, I don’t), and on the related question of Ukraine, Trump spoke not a word of condemnation for Russia’s actions or of support for Ukraine.  His words could scarcely have been more terse or less interested, and again make a startling contrast to what Obama in an identical situation would have said

I also appreciate Chancellor Merkel’s leadership, along with the French President, to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, where we ideally seek a peaceful solution.

On this issue Merkel clearly took the hint, which Trump may have spelled out to her more clearly when they met in private, that Trump wants detente with Russia and does not want the conflict in Ukraine to stand in the way of this, though her choice of words in response were carefully ambiguous and were clearly intended to give her political space

I am very gratified to know that the American administration and also the President, personally, commits himself to the Minsk process.  We need to come to a solution of this problem.  There has to be a safe and secure solution for Ukraine, but the relationship with Russia has to be improved, as well, once the situation there on the ground is clarified.

Minsk is a good basis, but, unfortunately, we haven’t made yet the headway that we want to.  But we are going to work together with our experts in the next few months to come on this issue.

(bold italics added)

This comment is simultaneously a concession to Donald Trump’s desire for detente with Russia – making it seem that Merkel agrees with Trump that an improvement of relations with Russia is a “necessity” – whilst actually imposing a condition that this depends on “clarification” of “the situation on the ground” in Ukraine.  What Merkel is saying is that the “necessary” improvement in relations with Russia depends on “a safe and secure solution for Ukraine” to be achieved through implementation of the Minsk Agreement as she interprets it.

Essentially this is a form of words Merkel has hit on in order to justify keeping the sanctions in place.

The trouble with using this sort of coded language is that whilst someone like Obama or indeed Putin would have no difficulty understanding it, it is highly doubtful that Donald Trump – a man not known for doing subtlety – either does or can be bothered to.  The result is that by continuing to use such coded language in Trump’s presence Merkel – instead of buying herself political space as she intends – is simply highlighting the difference between herself and Trump.

In truth what this exchange actually does is show how the coming of Donald Trump has made Merkel, with her use of coded language, her intricate policies, and her indirect approach to problems, look out of date and out of touch.

By contrast with his cursory words about Ukraine Donald Trump made unambiguously clear that his foreign policy priority is defeating Jihadi terrorism and ISIS.  Thus directly after his almost off the cuff comment on Ukraine Trump said this

Most importantly, our two countries must continue to work together to protect our people from radical Islamic terrorism and to defeat ISIS.  I applaud Chancellor Merkel for Germany’s contributions, both civilian and military, as a counter-ISIS coalition member.

(bold italics added)

The problem for Merkel is that for all the brave talk of German help in the anti-ISIS coalition and in Afghanistan, on this key issue which Donald Trump considers his overriding foreign policy priority, Germany compared to Russia has little to offer and little that it can do.

That this is so is shown by how Merkel struggled to say anything about it

And we said that, obviously, defense and security has a lot of different assets and facets to it.  One the one hand, it’s supporting missions in Africa, for example.  It’s also promoting development assistance, but it’s also helping mission in Africa, for example, in trying to stand up for their own safety and security.

We continue to be in conversation.  What was important for us today was that we were able to talk about Afghanistan, talk about, as the President quite rightly said, the continuing mission of Germany in Afghanistan.  I am very glad that the United States are intending to continue to commit to the Afghan mission as well.

Together, we fight against Islamist terrorism.  Germany is going to step up its work and is going to continue its work in Afghanistan and also in Syria.  We’re going to monitor the situation there very closely.  We’re going to work on political solutions in Syria, but also in Libya — what we talked about.

These comments are both nervous and empty.  They give the impression of Merkel struggling to come up with something meaningful to say.  That is one reason why they range so freely and so aimlessly from Africa to Afghanistan to Syria and to Libya in a few short platitudinous sentences.  They contain no definite commitments because Germany is in no position to make any.

As if this was not all already difficult enough for Merkel, she also had to listen to a fusillade from Trump trashing her positions on immigration and trade policy.

On immigration Trump made crystal clear his complete rejection of Merkel’s stance on the refugee question, once again emphasising how unlike her he views this issue purely through the prism of anti-terrorism, national security policy and national self-interest

We also recognize that immigration security is national security.  We must protect our citizens from those who seek to spread terrorism, extremism and violence inside our borders.  Immigration is a privilege, not a right, and the safety of our citizens must always come first, without question.

On trade policy Trump made no secret of his belief that Germany has taken the US for a ride, and that he sees himself first and foremost as the CEO of United States Inc. and not as the leader of the “Free World”, and that he intends to put the US’s trade and business interests first, whilst putting the US’s trading and business rivals (including Germany) in their place.

In an extraordinary but highly revealing slip Trump even at one point referred to the US by mistake as a “very powerful company” before correcting himself and saying “country”.

First of all, I don’t believe in an isolationist policy, but I also believe a policy of trade should be a fair policy.  And the United States has been treated very, very unfairly by many countries over the years.  And that’s going to stop.

But I’m not an isolationist.  I’m a free trader, but I’m also a fair trader.  And free trade has led to a lot of bad things happening — you look at the deficits that we have and you look at all of the accumulation of debt.  We’re a very powerful company — country.  We’re a very strong, very strong country.  We’ll soon be at a level that we perhaps have never been before. Our military is going to be strengthened — it’s been depleted.

But I am a trader.  I am a fair trader.  I am a trader that wants to see good for everybody, worldwide.  But I am not an isolationist by any stretch of the imagination.  So I don’t know what newspaper you’re reading, but I guess that would be another example of, as you say, fake news…..

On trade with Germany, I think we’re going to do fantastically well.  Right now, I would say that the negotiators for Germany have done a far better job than the negotiators for the United States.  But hopefully we can even it out.  We don’t want victory, we want fairness.  All I want is fairness.

Germany has done very well in its trade deals with the United States, and I give them credit for it, but — and I can speak to many other countries.  I mean, you look at China, you look at virtually any country that we do business with.  It’s not exactly what you call good for our workers.

(bold italics added)

This is language the like of which Merkel has never heard before and which neither of the two previous US Presidents she has previously dealt with – George W. Bush and Barack Obama – would ever have used.

Merkel, whose entire career has been in politics and who has no business background, is peculiarly ill-equipped to deal with this sort of essentially mercantilist thinking, something which incidentally is also true of the rest of her cabinet.

Something else which will have added to Merkel’s concerns will be the gross insensitivity and lack of deference Trump showed to her.

Not only did Trump repeatedly cut in and answer questions before her, but he even made a joke targeting her former friend Obama at her expense when he drew a parallel between the NSA’s surveillance of her mobile phone with his claim that the Obama administration was listening in to his phone conversations

As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps.  (Laughter.)

Merkel’s irritation and embarrassment at this quip was all too obvious to those attending the news conference.  A more sensitive person than Donald Trump would have anticipated it.  He either didn’t do so, or he did but didn’t care.  In either case he showed no interest in accommodating the feelings of his guest.

Overall the general impression left from Merkel’s visit is of a strained and unhappy relationship.

On issue after issue – NATO, the EU, immigration, trade, relations with Russia – Trump conceded nothing, and the gulf between Trump and Merkel was all too clear.

On the one foreign policy issue that Trump genuinely cares about – crushing Jihadi terrorism and defeating ISIS – Merkel had nothing to offer and appeared at a loss, with nothing useful to say.

Beyond that was the complete absence of any successful personal chemistry between the two leaders.

Whilst it is going too far to say that they actively dislike each other, their personalities and philosophies are so different that it is impossible to see how they can ever be friends, or even partners.  Quite simply Merkel lacks the uninhibitedness and quickness of mind and spirit needed to keep up with Trump – whose ideas she anyway barely understands – or to forge a good relationship with him, whilst Trump for his part is all too obviously concerned not to be taken for her patsy, and finds her ideological way of speaking all but incomprehensible.

Normally when two leaders disagree about so much and have so little in common, the result – usually after various unsuccessful attempts to patch things up – is a total breakdown in their relationship.

The nature of the relationship between the US and Germany however makes that impossible.  Unless Merkel ceases to be Chancellor soon or Trump is somehow removed from the White House, then for the next four years they will be stuck with each other in what will almost certainly become an increasingly unhappy and strained relationship.  Though almost certainly it is still too early for them to dislike each other, before long they probably will.

The alternative is for one of them to go soon.  Since it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Trump is going to be removed from the White House as a result of the ‘Russiagate’ scandal, that puts the question mark on Merkel’s future.

The German elite has had to endure for three years a Chancellor who has done serious damage to Germany’s critical relationship with Russia, and who has brought Germany’s relations with many of its EU partners to the point of crisis.  As elections in Germany loom, will they stick with their current Chancellor as Germany’s relations with Washington also now start to become more difficult, or will they finally start to look for someone new?

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Pelosi tries to prevent State of the Union address because of shutdown

Nancy Pelosi advised Mr. Trump not to deliver a live State of the Union speech, but the reason may be because she is unwilling to be exposed.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tried what is perhaps a new stunt in the ongoing government shutdown saga (we hesitate to call it a “crisis”). She requested that President Trump either reschedule his yearly State of the Union address or – and she said this literally – deliver it in writing to Congress on January 29th, the date the speech is scheduled to occur.

“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Trump.

The letter, which can be seen directly by clicking the hyperlink above, tries to essentially make this request the President’s fault because he refuses to take “no wall” for an answer.

The motive behind this attempt is interesting. Politico covered this story originally, and this publication is pretty far to the left and definitely not a Trump fan oasis. Yet in a rare random feat of journalism, the Politico article does appear to give some of the real reason why the Speaker of the House did this.

Publicly, Democrats plan to argue that the parties need to focus on addressing the shutdown, now the longest in U.S. history. They’re also concerned about security staff working through a major national event without being paid.

“This shutdown is ridiculous and the people tasked with protecting him and protecting us are not getting a paycheck,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the House Rules Committee chair. “So it’s inappropriate to carry on with business as usual.”

But privately, Democrats also don’t want to give Trump a major platform to blame them for the shutdown when Trump’s demand for billions in wall funding has been the main driver, according to a Democratic lawmaker close to leadership. Trump has tried to pin the blame on the shutdown on Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, but public polls shows the public largely blames the president.

The announcement comes as a group of bipartisan House lawmakers in the Problem Solvers Caucus is set to meet with Trump on Wednesday to discuss border security. Trump, frustrated by his inability to secure any additional money for his border wall, has tried to peel off moderate Democrat support as Pelosi and Schumer dig in.

But Democrats are rallying fellow members to stay together. Schumer attended a closed-door caucus meeting with House Democrats just as Pelosi made the announcement on the State of the Union address on Wednesday. Her message was to stay unified in their opposition.

Politico was able to bury this bold-typed point in the rhetoric that “public polls largely blame the president.” However this may not exactly be the case.

There are indications that the 26-day long standoff is going to go the President’s way. While this is admittedly speculative, there seem to be solid factors on the President’s side of the argument that the Democrats do not have. Some are factual, and many are emotional and rhetorical:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is standing firm, and has not wavered from the commitment to pass nothing that the President will not sign.
  • Some Democrat leaders are beginning to speak about border security – including the wall – as vital needs. This includes this representative from Southern California (!) Representative Katie Hill, who gave this interview on Fox News:

  • Where the argument is pragmatic and information-based, as Representative Hill notes, then the argument becomes quite compelling for a wall.
  • CNN turned down the opportunity to interview Dan Plante, a San Diego area TV reporter, about the border wall there because Mr. Plante said that the new wall that has been installed in that sector is hugely successful.
  • The level of information given by the Democrat opposition leaders, Pelosi and Chuck Schumer is essentially at the level of “no you can’t have it. Because!!” – in other words, septuagenarians acting like four-year olds. Really.
  • Talk show anchor Rush Limbaugh and his huge body of listeners are wildly in favor of the shutdown and everything the President is doing. It is very clear that the shutdown’s length is doing nothing to deter President Trump’s base. And as long as that holds true, he will not move a muscle.
  • President Trump is a businessman, not a politician. He is far more results-driven than the mainstream media can afford to admit. While they characterize him as insane, or a child, or throwing a tantrum, the President doesn’t really care. He knows what he wants, and he is prepared to be patient and wait the Democrats out.
  • The final sign we will offer on this list (though there are more) is that the Russia collusion narrative is back. When things go bad for the media on Trump, they try to pull out Russia. Maybe it is just a bad habit because it seems less and less effective each time it is tried.

The battle lines are tropes versus reality, and politics versus policy. It is too soon to be sure that this will go the President’s way and that the wall will go up, but patience and perseverance are beginning to expose cracks and weaknesses in the Democrat argument. Some of the US certainly does NOT care about a border wall. But those that do have not been shaken by all this – rather, they have been strengthened, plus they have facts on their side.

All the Pelosis and Schumers of the world can do is fret and complain and look like fools, and they seem to be doing exactly that.

 

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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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