Andrew Kreig

September 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative August 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

Sept. 30

Supreme Court Battle / #MeToo

ny times logoNew York Times, Details of F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry Show Its Restricted Range, Michael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Sept. 30, 2018 (print edition). The F.B.I. will interview four witnesses about sexual assault claims against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as part of a background check, not a full-fledged criminal investigation. The White House will decide the breadth of the inquiry and can order further investigation based on the findings from the four interviews.

The Atlantic, Opinion: This Was Never About Finding Out the Truth, Matt Thompson, Sept. 30, 2018. Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate was a lesson in power — who wields it, and at whose expense.

Palmer Report, Analysis: Deborah Ramirez has already dropped the FBI hammer on Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Palmer, Sept. 30, 2018. Even as controversy and chaos swirl around the scope of the FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the FBI is moving forward very quickly.

deborah ramirez benjamin rasmussen new yorkerDeborah Ramirez, right, was interviewed by the FBI earlier today, according to a CNN report this evening. Not only that, she provided the FBI with a list of witnesses who can corroborate her sexual assault accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kellyanne Conway: ‘I’m a victim of sexual assault,’ Alex Horton​, During an appearance on CNN, Sept. 30, 2018. The White House adviser suggested conservatives have become targets for political score settling.

Natural Disaster: Indonesia

washington post logoWashington Post, Death toll soars past 800 after quake, tsunami in Indonesia, Ainur Rohmah and Shibani Mahtani, Sept.…

August 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative August 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

Aug. 31

Trump Watch

 ny times logoNew York Times, Lobbyist Sam Patten Pleads Guilty to Steering Foreign Funds to Trump Inaugural, Kenneth P. Vogel, Sharon LaFraniere and Adam Goldman, Aug. 31, 2018.  An American lobbyist on Friday admitted brokering access to President Trump’s inauguration for a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch in a scheme that highlighted the rush by foreign interests to influence the new administration.

republican elephant logoAs part of a plea agreement under which he pledged to cooperate with federal prosecutors, the lobbyist, Sam Patten, pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian political party, and to helping the Ukrainian oligarch who had funded that party illegally purchase four tickets to Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

Although the charges were not brought by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Robert S. Mueller III, they stem from his team’s work, and overlap substantially with its continuing investigation, suggesting that Mr. Patten could be a useful witness.

Media News

ny times logoNew York Times, The Village Voice, a New York Icon, Closes, Tyler Pager and Jaclyn Peiser, Aug. 31, 2018. When Peter D. Barbey bought The Village Voice in 2015, he vowed to invest in the storied alternative weekly, saying it would “survive and prosper.” But last August he shuttered the print edition, and on Friday he closed the operation altogether.

The end of the left-leaning independent publication was an anticlimax, given the many empty red plastic Village Voice boxes that have been scattered like debris across the sidewalks of Manhattan in recent years.

“This is a sad day for The Village Voice and for millions of readers,” Mr.…

July 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative July 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

July 31

Inside DC

ny times logoNew York Times, Administration Mulls Unilateral Tax Cut for the Wealthy, Alan Rappeport and Jim Tankersley, July 31, 2018 (print edition). A proposal under consideration at the Treasury Department would bypass Congress and use federal regulation to index capital gains for inflation, a $100 billion boost for high earners. The move would face a near-certain court challenge and could reinforce a liberal critique of Republican tax policy.

According to the budget model used by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, indexing capital gains to inflation would reduce government revenues by $102 billion over a decade, with 86 percent of the benefits going to the top 1 percent.

ny times logoguiseppe conteNew York Times, Trump Again Threatens to Shut Down Government, Katie Rogers and Nicholas Fandos, July 31, 2018 (print edition). “We’re the laughingstock of the world,” President Trump said during a 40-minute news conference with Giuseppe Conte, right, the visiting Italian prime minister.

President Trump reiterated on Monday his threat to shut down the federal government this fall if Congress does not deliver on Republican demands to crack down on immigration by enforcing security on the border with Mexico and building his long-promised wall.

“If we don’t get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Mr. Trump said during a 40-minute news conference with Giuseppe Conte, the visiting Italian prime minister. “We’re the laughingstock of the world.”

Mr. Trump repeated his vow for the second time in two days, continuing to rattle those in his party who are leery of a difficult midterm election season and are focused on confirming Judge Brett M.…

June 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative June 2018 news and views

June 30

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. assessing cost of keeping troops in Germany as Trump battles with Europe, John Hudson, Paul Sonne, Karen DeYoung and Josh Dawsey, June 30, 2018 (print edition). European officials are scrambling to determine whether the president intends to reposition U.S. forces or is just making threats ahead of a NATO summit.

NATO logoThe Pentagon is analyzing the cost and impact of a large-scale withdrawal or transfer of American troops stationed in Germany, amid growing tensions between President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to people familiar with the work.

The effort follows Trump’s expression of interest in removing the troops, made during a meeting earlier this year with White House and military aides, U.S. officials said. Trump was said to have been taken aback by the size of the U.S. presence, which includes about 35,000 active-duty troops, and complained that other countries were not contributing fairly to joint security or paying enough to NATO.

Word of the assessment has alarmed European officials, who are scrambling to determine whether Trump actually intends to reposition U.S. forces or whether it is merely a negotiating tactic ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels, where Trump is again likely to criticize U.S. allies for what he deems insufficient defense spending.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavov, right, interviewed by Channel 4 in  Moscow on June 30, 2018 about upcoming Putin-Trump Summit

Channel 4 (Moscow) via SouthFront, Russian Foreign Minister’s Interview On Conflict In Syria And Upcoming Putin-Trump Meeting, Staff report, June 30, 2018.

Question: Foreign Minister, the summit is happening in Helsinki. Russian President V.Putin and US President D.Trump together. Is this the post-West world order that you have talked of in the past?…

May 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative May 2018 news and views

May 31

Trump Probes

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washington post logoWashington Post, Prosecutors speak to Comey as they mull charges against his former deputy, Matt Zapotosky, May 31, 2018. The move is an indication that the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office is seriously considering whether Andrew McCabe (shown above testifying to Congress) should be charged with a crime. He’s accused of lying to federal agents about whether he told his boss about a media disclosure.

Trump’s U.S. Department of Injustice?

washington post logoWashington Post, Inauguration Day rioting charges dropped against 7 defendants, Keith L. Alexander, May 31, 2018. A D.C. judge determined that the government intentionally misrepresented information and withheld evidence from the defense. Federal prosecutors Thursday dropped their cases against seven people charged with rioting during President Trump’s inauguration after a D.C. judge determined that the government intentionally misrepresented information and withheld evidence from the defense.

Justice Department log circularAssistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff had repeatedly told the court and defense attorneys that her office possessed a single video of a protest-planning meeting, secretly recorded by a conservative group that had infiltrated the meeting. But on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office acknowledged in an email to defense attorneys that 69 such undercover videos or audio recordings existed. Prosecutors wrote that they had turned over evidence they deemed relevant to the cases.

During a hearing Thursday in D.C. Superior Court, Judge Robert E. Morin pressed prosecutors about the omission.

“It was intentional. Your office represented there was only one video,” Morin said. “The government has not offered any explanation as to why they did not inform the court of these additional videos.”

Legally, prosecutors must provide their evidence to the defense at the earliest possible time, even if that evidence weakens their case. Failure to do so can be considered misconduct and a violation of a 1963 rule based on the U.S.…

April 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative April 2018 news and views

April 30

U.S. War Powers

washington post logotim kaine wWashington Post, Opinion: Congress must take away Trump’s unlimited authority to wage war, Tim Kaine, April 30, 2018 (print edition). U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia up for re-election in 2016, was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2016. President Trump believes he can launch missile strikes against Syria and broadly expand the global war on terrorism without seeking any congressional approval. If missile strikes against Syria can be carried out without authorization from Congress, there’s nothing to stop the administration from attacking Iran or North Korea, as some of the president’s advisers have publicly encouraged.

It is time for Congress to act. We should take back the unlimited authority the president believes he has. We should act in a bipartisan manner to define what military action the president can and can’t take against terrorist groups. And we should clarify that military action against a sovereign nation, except to defend the United States from imminent attack, requires separate congressional approval.

Associated Press​ via Washington Post, Report: Mueller gives list of questions to Trump’s lawyers, Staff report, April 30, 2018. The list from the special counsel includes almost four dozen questions that range from President Trump’s motivations for firing FBI Director James Comey a year ago to contacts Trump’s campaign had with Russians, according to a report published in the New York Times.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has given a list of almost four dozen questions to lawyers for President Donald Trump as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice, according to a report published in The New York Times.

The Times obtained a list of the questions, which range from Trump’s motivations for firing FBI Director James Comey a year ago to contacts Trump’s campaign had with Russians.…

March 2018 News Reports

 

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative March 2018 news and views

March 31

U.S. Propaganda Disguised As ‘News’

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Sinclair-owned “news” anchors parrotting the same propagand script word-for-word around the nation (Deadspin investigation)

Deadspin, How America’s Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump’s War On The Media, Timothy Burke, March 31, 2018 (1:28 mins. video here.) Timothy Burke is Deadspin’s Video Director.

Earlier this month, CNN’s Brian Stelter broke the news that Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner or operator of nearly 200 television stations in the U.S., would be forcing its news anchors to record a promo about “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.” The script, which parrots Donald Trump’s oft-declarations of developments negative to his presidency as “fake news,” brought upheaval to newsrooms already dismayed with Sinclair’s consistent interference to bring right-wing propaganda to local television broadcasts.

boris ephsteyn You might remember Sinclair from its having been featured on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight last year, or from its requiring in 2004 of affiliates to air anti-John Kerry propaganda, or perhaps because it’s your own local affiliate running inflammatory “Terrorism Alerts” or required editorials from former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn (shown at right), he of the famed Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that failed to mention Jewish people. (Sinclair also owns Ring of Honor wrestling, Tennis magazine, and the Tennis Channel.)

abc news logocbs news logoThe net result of the company’s current mandate is dozens upon dozens of local news anchors looking like hostages in proof-of-life videos, trying their hardest to spit out words attacking the industry they’d chosen as a life vocation. [They appear on stations with network affiliations such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, thus hiding from viewers the centralized control of news management.]

fcc logofox news logo Smallnbc news logoNot that any of it matters to Sinclair, which, with the help of a friendly federal government, is about to swallow up another 40 television stations — increasing its reach and its lead over competitors like Hearst and Scripps.…

February 2018 News Reports

 

 

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative February 2018 news and views

Feb. 28

White House Bombshells

hope hicks strategic communications directorNew York Daily News, Longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks announces resignation as White House communications director, Staff report, Feb. 28, 2018. White House Communications Director Hope Hicks said Wednesday that she was planning to resign, a new report says. The 29-year-old Hicks (pictured) made the sudden announcement a day after she testified before a House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Hicks refused to answer questions about her time in the White House or during the transition, but she did admit to telling white lies on behalf of the President.

“There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump,” Hicks said. “I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.” Hope Hicks admits to telling white lies for President Trump

A former model with no experience in politics, Hicks was considered one of Trump’s most trusted and loyal aides. She was expected to leave her post in the next few weeks. It was not clear what she would do next. Hope Hicks (pictured) was considered one of Trump’s most trusted and loyal aides.
Hope Hicks was considered one of Trump’s most trusted and loyal aides.

hope hicks tux japan 2017 CustomHicks (shown at a formal dinner in Japan last year) was the seventh person named as the White House communications director. She shunned the spotlight and largely remained out of view, but her last few weeks were among the most tumultuous of her time at the White House.

Hicks came under fire earlier in the month after it was revealed that she helped coordinate the administration’s fierce pushback against reports that staff secretary Rob Porter abused his two ex-wives.…

January 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative January 2018 news and views

Jan. 31

FBI Leadership vs. White House On Memo

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Washington Post, FBI challenges accuracy of GOP’s surveillance memo, Devlin Barrett, Karoun Demirjian and Elise Viebeck​, Jan. 31, 2018.  The bureau spoke out against a memo criticizing the use of surveillance authorities, challenging the classified document’s accuracy as the White House and congressional Republicans are expected to soon make its contents public.

The FBI pushed back sharply Wednesday against a GOP memo criticizing the bureau’s use of secret surveillance orders — escalating a remarkable public standoff between the White House and the nation’s top law enforcement agency.

“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about the material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” the FBI said in a statement.

rod rosenstein cspan It is highly unusual for the White House and the FBI to be publicly at odds over a matter of national security, and it was unclear what impact the disagreement might have on the standing of FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein (shown at left), two Trump appointees who went to the White House on Monday to urge that the memo not be released.

Ethics Violation At HUD By Secretary Carson?

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ben carsonWashington Post, HUD lawyers warned Ben Carson risked running afoul of ethics rules by enlisting son, Juliet Eilperin and Jack Gillum, Jan. 31, 2018. The head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (shown at right) allowed his son to help organize a “listening tour” in Baltimore despite warnings from department lawyers, according to internal documents and people familiar with the matter.

djt sotu screen jan 30 2018President Trump speaks at his first State of the Union address on Jan. 30, 2018. He is flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (left) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (Screenshot)

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New York Times, ‘This Is Our New American Moment,’ Trump Tries to Move Past Tumult in State of the Union Speech, Julie Hirshfeld Davis and Michael D.…

December 2017 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative December 2017 news and views

 Washington Botanical Gardens

 Happy New Year!

The Justice Integrity Project thanks our readers for your interest and inputs.

Dec. 31

djt christmas eve 2017 on phone no credit

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New York Times, For Trump, a Year of Reinventing the Presidency, Peter Baker, Dec. 31, 2017. In ways that were once unimaginable, President Trump has discarded the conventions and norms established by his predecessors. The office has become a blunt instrument to advance personal, policy and political goals. Will that change the institution permanently?

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Washington Post, In first year, Trump starts delivering on vow to shrink government, Lisa Rein and Andrew Ba Tran,  Dec. 31, 2017.By the end of September, all but three Cabinet departments had fewer permanent staff than when President Trump took office — with most shedding hundreds of employees, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.

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New York Times, Democrats in High-Tax States Try to Cushion New Law’s Jolt, Ben Casselman, Dec. 31, 2017. Officials are considering legal challenges, other sources of revenue and ways to, in effect, restore deductions that the overhaul scaled back. Governments, as a rule, have not sought to exploit tax loopholes. But state leaders said Congress, in singling out certain states, had broken an implicit compact with them.

Supreme Court Report On Federal Courts

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john roberts oWashington Post, Chief justice announces courts will examine sexual harassment protections, saying federal judiciary ‘is not immune,’ Robert Barnes,  The initiative will ensure there are proper procedures in place to protect law clerks and other court employees from sexual harassment, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. (shown at right) announced in his 2017 State of the Judiciary Report.

alex kozinski informal wThe statement, in Roberts’s 2017 State of the Judiciary Report, follows the retirement last month of Judge Alex Kozinski (shown at left), of the U.S.…

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