• Why Leave Well Enough Alone in Jerusalem?

    December 13, 2017

    Tags: , , , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Trump


    “Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” President Donald Trump said. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.” Trump’s formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital, reversing some seven decades of American policy, is arguably the most unnecessary decision of his time in office, and the clearest one to date to have consequences that will linger far past his tenure. The decision may yield some domestic political advantage for the president, but at irrational expense globally.
    Apart from the short-term violence likely to ensue, understanding the depth of Trump’s mistake requires digging a bit into how diplomacy works. There are many facets (I served as a diplomat with the United States Department of State for 24 years) that can seem almost silly to outsiders but are in fact a very necessary.

    Jerusalem is where Israel’s President presides, and where the Parliament, Supreme Court, and most government ministries are located. In practical terms, the capital. Unlike in nearly ever other nation, however, the United States maintains its formal embassy elsewhere, in the city of Tel Aviv. It keeps a consulate in West Jerusalem, claimed by Israel since 1948, a consular annex in East Jerusalem, the Old City annexed by Israel in 1967 and sought by many Palestinians as the future site of their own capital, and an office in the neighborhood between East and West Jerusalem, directly on the so-called Green Line, the 1949 armistice line between Israel and Jordan. Diplomats from all nations, as well as Israeli officials, understand that in formal terms an embassy is the head office located in the capital, and a consulate is a kind of branch located outside the capital. But they also know from experience in Israel which door to knock on when you need to get business done, regardless of what the nameplate reads out front.

    And to an outsider that might seem like a lot of wasted effort. But diplomats are required to represent the position of their country, and to place that at times in front of “reality” itself. If the sign on the door in Jerusalem says “embassy” then the reality is everyone must slam on the brakes. Everything else may need to wait while the big picture is settled. But as long as the sign says “consulate,” well, we can agree this business about where the capital of Israel is located is complex, but anyway, there are some important matters that need to be discussed…
    This kind of thing is not unique to Israel. A similar system has been in place in Taiwan since 1979 and has kept the peace there.

    In 1979 the United States recognized the reality of the People’s Republic of China, with Beijing as its capital, and shifted formal relations from Taiwan. Instead of an embassy in Taipei, the United States established the American Institute in Taiwan, officially not a part of the American government. An actual registered non-governmental organization, with offices in a nondescript office building in Virginia, the Institute benefits from the Department of State “ providing “a large part of funding and guidance in its operations.”

    Because United States policy is there is only one China and that Taiwan is a part of it, there is no ambassador at the Institute; the chief representative is called the director. People who work for what anyone else would call the Taiwan government are “authorities,” not “officials.” A whole sitcom worth of name changes and diplomatic parlor tricks keeps the enterprise in Taipei not an embassy of the United States.

    But what seems childish actually allows all sides — Washington, Taipei, and Beijing — to focus on the practical, day-to-day work of relations without having to address the never-gonna-resolve-it-in-our-lifetimes geopolitical questions first. That’s why these things matter. They matter because appearance and symbols matter, in East Asia, and especially in the Middle East. That’s why Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and potentially relocate the embassy pulls down the curtain, turns on the lights, and spray paints day-glo yellow the 500 pound gorilla in the room. It will vastly complicate nearly everything.

     

    In the case of the United States and Jerusalem, the kabuki which has more or less maintained the status quo is the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. That law required the United States to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999, and said Congress would withhold 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the State Department for overseas building operations if the deadline wasn’t met. The Act also called for Jerusalem to be recognized as the capital.

    The thing is that the Act left open a politically-expedient loophole, allowing the president to repeatedly issue a waiver of the requirements every six months if he determines that is necessary for national security. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama dutifully issued the waiver. Trump also reluctantly did it a few months ago, and then again just after announcing his recognition of Jerusalem to give the State Department some bureaucratic breathing room. Though as stated by the mayor of Jerusalem, “They just take the symbol of the consulate and switch it to the embassy symbol — two American Marines can do it in two minutes.” That would make the American Embassy the only embassy in Jerusalem. Reports say Trump will not designate an existing facility as the embassy and instead plans to build a new structure somewhere in Jerusalem, a process that will take years.

    Under the Jerusalem Embassy Act, the American embassy stayed in Tel Aviv, business was done in Jerusalem as needed, and everyone with a hand in the complex politics of the Middle East could look the other way, whichever other way best fit their needs. It was an imperfect solution, not the failed plan that did not lead to formal peace between the Palestinians and Israel as Trump characterized. The shadowplay status of Jerusalem worked.

     

    No more. Trump’s action in recognizing Jerusalem demands all of the players set aside whatever other issues they have in Israel, not the least of which is the Palestinian peace process, and now take a stand on America’s changed position.

    Of immediate concern will be America’s relationship with Jordan. Jordan has thrown in heavily with the United States, allowing its territory to be used as an entry point into Syria for American aid. The United States and Jordan more broadly have a robust and multi-layered security relationship, working well together in the war on Islamic State and in the peace process. It has been a steady relationship, albeit one based on personal ties more than formal agreements.

    Yet following Trump’s announcement, Jordanian King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein warned of “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region.” Beyond modern geopolitics, the issue of Jerusalem runs deep in Jordan: it was Abdullah’s father, King Hussein bin Talal, who lost the city to Israel in the 1967 war, and Abdullah himself is officially the custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Even as protests broke out in areas of Jordan’s capital inhabited by Palestinian refugees, American diplomats working in Amman will find every facet of the relationship colored and their skills tested — no Arab ruler can be seen being publically pushed around, perhaps humiliated, by the United States.

     

    A second body blow could come in America’s relationship with Egypt. Even more so than Jordan, Egypt’s rulers must act in awareness of public opinion, with memories of the Arab Spring still fresh. In response to Trump’s announcement, Egyptian parliamentarians called for a boycott of American products, including weapons. Egypt is also no stranger to the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, and one Egyptian minister warned Trump’s decision would shift focus from fighting terrorists to inflaming them; the symbolic role retaking Jerusalem places in the radical Islamic canon cannot be under estimated. All of this comes at a sensitive time: Cairo, for the first time since 1973, has reached a preliminary agreement to allow Russian military jets to use Egyptain airspace and bases.
    In the coming days there will very likely be acts of violence, street protests, and announcements globally condemning Trump’s decision. But long after the tear gas clears from Cairo’s side streets or Amman’s public squares, American diplomats will find themselves hamstrung, entering negotiations on a full range of issues having to first somehow address the action taken by President Trump. This one was not an unnecessarily bombastic tweet that runs off the bottom of the page, or a crude remark likely to fade with the next news cycle: this time the president overturned an American policy of nearly seven decades’ standing which will have consequences far beyond his own tenure.

     

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    Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

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  • Recent Comments

    • Mitch said...

      1

      So….

      Let’s all hate Trump… Ridicule… Threaten…. Batter and bash…

      For following a 22 YEAR OLD LAW… Ridiculous!!!!

      Where’s the outrage been for 22 YEARS ???!!!???!!!

      And never once realize…. The simple reason that the world is in such turmoil is because the United States appears (to the rest of the world) on the verge of a civil war.
      The big kid on the block… The one that broke up all the fights… Is so divided… With such division…. That its free game to do whatever is wanted.

      And every bit of that lays at the feet of the “media”.

      M

      12/13/17 10:45 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      Mitch,

      The GOP stole the Dumbocrat playbook on how to blow an election: run a morally-flawed candidate who gets the oppostion to turn out to vote.

      12/13/17 11:09 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      3

      Rich.

      Once… In this nation…. There were these little … Insignificant… Things called…. Trials….

      Now…. Its the court of “public opinion”….. Also known as “the Mob”.
      Check into history at bit…. Look at the effects of the “Mob”… Going all the way back to Rome…
      Or… Maybe if that bores you…. Look at Lynch “mobs”.

      Pretty much the same thing…. Now its just another “mob” of people operating on unproven data… Screaming it over the media…. Rather than in the street with rope, and torches.

      M

      PS. How’s that racist thing of yours working out?

      Just another example of operating on preconceived ideas… Working toward a private Agenda!!!

      M

      12/13/17 11:38 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      Yo Mitch, but not in the same league as our dumbass racist in chief:

      Dumbnuts has outdone hisself racist self

      President Donald Trump on Friday accused foreign nations of manipulating a visa lottery program to send the United States their “worst of the worst” – a complete misrepresentation of how the State Department’s program actually works.

      In fact, foreign leaders have zero control over the entrants or the winners of the diversity lottery. Nor do they control the vetting process, which requires the same security checks as many other immigration paths to the U.S.

      “You think the country is giving us their best people? No,” Trump said during a speech at a police officer training program in Quantico, Virginia, and then stated that foreign leaders are permitted to choose the visa recipients. “What kind of a system is that? They come in by a lottery. They give us their worst people, they put them in a bin. But in his hand when he’s picking them is really the worst of the worst. ‘Congratulations, you’re going to the United States, ok.’”

      Trump’s White House did not respond to several HuffPost queries about where the president got his ideas about the program, which accounts for a relatively small percentage of immigrants who come into the U.S. each year and is designed to give residents of countries with low rates of immigration an opportunity to emigrate to the U.S.

      Many of those people are now U.S. citizens ― meaning that the president disparaged his fellow Americans as “the worst of the worst.”

      “It’s beyond insulting ― it’s totally malevolent,” said David Bier of the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. “I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that the president just told the entire world that these million people are the worst of the worst, to use his expression. It’s not true.”

      Trumpie, keep rotting yiur brain with those diet Cokes.

      12/15/17 4:57 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      5

      Rich.

      First… Pot and kettle… At least Trump denies it.

      Second…. Try again.

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370446/obamas-immigration-non-enforcement-actions-andrew-stiles

      Or maybe your going to try and defend “sanctuary cities”, next?

      Btw…. Immigration and immigration reform are just talking points.

      The only true solution to the problem is the stabilization of whichever region the immigrants are coming from.
      Pretty simple… Not enough of anything in the US to bring them all.

      Here’s a simple thing…. Take a watch… Makes it real easy to understand.
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LPjzfGChGlE

      M

      12/15/17 6:24 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      6

      Rich.

      Figured you out… And why you hate Trump so much…. Killary promised you a job here… Didn’t she???

      Btw…. This sums up the word “obscene” quite well. Wonder if they know what ‘moats’ were really used for???

      A bit expensive for the neighborhood as well.

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-14/why-does-new-1-billion-us-embassy-london-need-first-moat-medieval-times

      M

      12/15/17 6:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      What is the big rukus about moving the embassy, which no one gives a shit anyway, to J-town? Trumpie effectively moved the White House to Moscow, kissing Putin’s ass so he can make big business deals after he leaves, which is sooner than he thinks when Mueller makes his case.

      12/16/17 9:53 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      8

      Bauer- Mueller may not still know what and who he is up against. Go soft and respectful and charges will glance off Trump. Go super hard- if indeed the charges are legitimate- and it can backfire. I think we’re in for an interesting period of unrest in these Disunited States.

      12/16/17 12:09 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      9

      JP,

      Trumpie is already in deep shit with Deep State. He is at the same risk as JFK, too many suspects that can kill him. Instead of the Mob or the CIA, it’s the Big Macs and fries.

      I do AGREE with Trumpie that the FBI nees a total overhaul. These clowns either botched the Anthrax investigation or were willfully incompetent to find the Deep State conspirators.

      12/16/17 1:03 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      10

      John.

      The only way Trump can be taken down is with FAiR and IMPARTIAL investigations.

      Which…. As long as people with a built in BIAS, such as Bauer’s, are actually investigating… Its not going to happen.

      And, Bauer… The problem is not Trump in reference to Jerusalem… All Trump is done is follow an existing law.

      Want to rip Trump… Get rid of the Bias…. Look for a credible attack.

      M

      12/16/17 7:06 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      11

      Mitch, I agree. If Mueller has legitimate evidence of wrong doing byTrump then I think everyone will start to consider the evidence in an unbiased manner. I see Mueller as similar to Ken Starr-the wrong person for the assignment.

      12/16/17 10:51 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      12

      Rich.

      This should answer the question of where Trump got his ideas on immigration.
      From a US Senator’s email updates.

      Can’t argue with the facts of it.

      ” In 2012 President Obama issued an executive order that granted young illegal immigrants work permits so they could continue living in the U.S. This program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was clearly unconstitutional, so President Trump suspended it in September. Now, the president has given Congress until March to come up with a long-term solution. ”

      M

      12/17/17 7:56 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      13

      John.
      My math on Mueller and Trump… The “investigation”… Etc….pretty simple..
      In Oct of last year, Clinton, Obama… Etc… Started screaming “RUSSIANS!!!!”
      “19 intelligence agencies says RUSSIANS!!!!!”

      The congress of the United States issued sanctions because of RUSSIANS!!!

      So…. Here we are… December…. 14 months later… Mueller digging into Trumps life from 50 years ago looking for anything that he can use to justify the last 14 months of his payroll.

      Or…. To put it another way… (kind of a long read…. But… If any part of it is true or proven to be true…. I would suggest ducking when shit hits the fan… Because there is not a person in the whole country that’s not going to know what it tastes like…”

      “. New documents call into question integrity of FBI and DOJ
      Comey edits reveal announcement on Clinton investigation was watered down.

      There is strong circumstantial evidence that an insidious plot unprecedented in American history was hatched within the FBI and the Obama Justice Department to help elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. 

      And when this apparent effort to improperly influence the election did not succeed, the suspected conspirators appear to have employed a fraudulent investigation of President Trump in an attempt to undo the election results and remove him as president.

      Such a Machiavellian scheme would move well beyond what is known as the “deep state,” a popular reference to government employees who organize in secret to impose their own political views on government policy in defiance of democratically elected leadership. 

      However, this apparent plot to keep Trump from becoming president and to weaken and potentially pave the way for his impeachment with a prolonged politically motivated investigation – if proven – would constitute something far more nefarious and dangerous.

      Such a plot would show that partisans within the FBI and the Justice Department, driven by personal animus and a sense of political righteousness, surreptitiously conspired to subvert electoral democracy itself in our country.

      As of now, we have no proof beyond a reasonable doubt of such a plot. But we have very strong circumstantial evidence.

      And as the philosopher and writer Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal in 1850: “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” 

      Newly revealed text messages about the apparent anti-Trump plot are the equivalent of a trout in the milk. It smells fishy.  

      The Plans

      The mainstream media and Democrats dismiss talk of an anti-Trump conspiracy by the FBI and Justice Department as right-wing nonsense – paranoid fantasies of Trump supporters with no basis in facts. But there are plenty of facts that lay out a damning case based on circumstantial evidence.

      Recently disclosed text messages between FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page suggest there may have been two parts of the apparent anti-Trump plot.

      “Part A” was to devise a way to exonerate Clinton, despite compelling evidence that she committed crimes under the Espionage Act in her mishandling of classified documents on her private email server.

      Absolving Clinton cleared the way for her to continue her candidacy at a time when all polls and just about every pundit predicted she would be elected president in November 2016. If Clinton had been charged with crimes she would likely have been forced to drop her candidacy, and if she remained in the race her candidacy would have been doomed.

      But “Part A” of the apparent anti-Trump plot was not enough. A back-up plan would be prudent. It seems the Obama Justice Department and FBI conjured up a “Part B” just in case the first stratagem failed. This would be even more malevolent – manufacturing an alleged crime supposedly committed by Trump where no crime exists in the law. 

      And so, armed with a fictitious justification, a criminal investigation was launched into so-called Trump-Russia “collusion.” It was always a mythical legal claim, since there is no statute prohibiting foreign nationals from volunteering their services in American political campaigns. 

      More importantly, there was never a scintilla of evidence that Trump collaborated with Russia to influence the election. 

      No matter. The intent may have been to sully the new president while searching for a crime to force him from office.  

      But thanks to the discovery of text messages, circumstantial evidence has been exposed. 

      The Texts

      The text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page, who were romantically involved, confirm a stunning hostility toward Trump, calling him an “idiot” and “loathsome.”

      At the same time, the texts were filled with adoring compliments of Clinton, lauding her nomination and stating: “She just has to win now.”

      One text between Strzok and Page dated Aug. 6, 2016 stands out and looks like the proverbial smoking gun. 

      Page: “And maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.” (This is clearly a reference to a Trump presidency). 

      Strzok:  “Thanks. And of course I’ll try and approach it that way. I can protect our country at many levels .…”    

      It is reasonable to conclude that Strzok had already taken steps to “protect” the country from what he considered would be a dangerous and harmful Trump presidency.

      Just one month earlier, then-FBI Director James Comey had announced he would recommend that no criminal charges be filed by the Justice Department against Clinton. Given all the incriminating evidence against Clinton, Comey’s view that she should not be prosecuted made no sense by any objective standard.  

      This is where Strzok played a pivotal role. As the lead investigator in the Clinton email case, he is the person who changed the critical wording in Comey’s description of Clinton’s handling of classified material, substituting “extremely careless” for “gross negligence.”

      As I explained in an earlier column, this alteration of two words had enormous consequences, because it allowed Clinton to evade prosecution. This removed the only legal impediment to her election as president.

      Documents made available by the Senate Homeland Security Committee also show that Comey intended to declare that the sheer volume of classified material on Clinton’s server supported the “inference” that she was grossly negligent, which would constitute criminal conduct. Yet this also was edited out, likely by Strzok, to avoid finding evidence of crimes.    

      This seems to be what Page and Strzok meant when they discussed his role as protector of the republic. It appears that Strzok was instrumental in clearing Clinton by rewriting Comey’s otherwise incriminating findings. 

      Were Page and Strzok also referring to the investigation of Trump that was begun in July 2016, right after Clinton was absolved?  After all, Strzok was the agent who reportedly signed the documents launching the bureau’s Trump-Russia probe. And he was a lead investigator in the case before jumping to Robert Mueller’s special counsel team.            

      If there is any doubt that Strzok and Page sought to undermine the democratic process, consider this cryptic text about their “insurance policy” against the “risk” of a Trump presidency.

      Strzok:  “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.…”

      The reference to “Andy” is likely Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was also supervising the investigation of Clinton’s emails at the same time his wife was receiving roughly $675,000 in campaign money in her race for elective office in Virginia from groups aligned with Clinton. 

      What was the “insurance policy” discussed in Andy’s office? Was it the FBI’s investigation of Trump and his associates?  Or was it the anti-Trump “dossier” that may have been used by the FBI and the Justice Department as the basis for a warrant to wiretap and spy on Trump associates? Perhaps it was both. 

      The Dossier

      The “dossier” was a compendium of largely specious allegations about Trump, compiled by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The dossier was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Comey called it “salacious and unverified.”  

      Various congressional committees suspect the dossier was illegally used to place a Trump campaign associate, Carter Page, under foreign surveillance. When asked about that on Wednesday during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused to answer, which sounds like an implicit “yes.”

      Using a dubious, if not phony, document in support of an affidavit to obtain a warrant from a federal judge constitutes a fraud upon the court, which is a crime. 

      The dossier scandal recently ensnared Bruce Ohr, a top Justice Department official, who was demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the document.

      Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS. This created a disqualifying conflict of interest for Mr. Ohr. He was legally obligated under Justice Department regulations to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation of Russia’s role in the election, but he did not.      

      Congress needs to find out whether the dossier was exploited as a pretext for initiating the Russia probe against President Trump. It would also be unconscionable, if not illegal, for the FBI and Justice Department to use opposition research funded by Clinton’s campaign to spy on her opponent or his campaign. 

      Both agencies have been resisting congressional subpoenas and other demands for answers, which smacks of a cover-up. Since the Justice Department cannot be trusted to investigate itself, a second special counsel should be appointed. 

      This new counsel should also reopen the Clinton email case and investigate the conduct of Strzok, Page, Comey and others who may have obstructed justice by exonerating Clinton in the face of substantial evidence that she had committed crimes. 

      If Strzok or anyone else allowed their political views to shape the investigations of either Clinton or Trump and dictate the outcomes, that is a felony for which they should be prosecuted.    

      The Mueller investigation is now so tainted with the appearance of corruption that it has lost credibility and the public’s trust.

      It is very much like a trout in the spoiled milk.       ”

      M

      12/17/17 8:08 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      14

      John.

      Btw…. This is the best discription I’ve ever heard of “deep state”.

      ” Such a Machiavellian scheme would move well beyond what is known as the “deep state,” a popular reference to government employees who organize in secret to impose their own political views on government policy in defiance of democratically elected leadership.  ”

      Bauer…. Still want to claim to be part of “deep state”

      M

      12/17/17 8:14 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      15

      John.

      As I said…. If Any of this is proven true….. Duck when It hits the fan… Because every person in the nation is going to have it all over everything.

      ” Exclusive— A lawyer for the Trump presidential transition team is accusing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office of inappropriately obtaining transition documents as part of its Russia probe, including confidential attorney-client communications, privileged communications and thousands of emails without their knowledge.

      In a letter obtained by Fox News and sent to House and Senate committees on Saturday, the transition team’s attorney alleges “unlawful conduct” by the career staff at the General Services Administration (GSA) in handing over transition documents to the special counsel’s office.

      Kory Langhofer, the counsel to Trump for America (TFA), argues the GSA “did not own or control the records in question” and the release of documents could be a violation of the Fourth Amendment – which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

      Langhofer wrote in Saturday’s letter that the GSA handed over “tens of thousands of emails” to Mueller’s probe without “any notice” to the transition.

      The attorney said they discovered the “unauthorized disclosures” by the GSA on Dec. 12 and 13 and raised concerns with the special counsel’s office. The Associated Press reported that the GSA turned over a flash drive containing tens of thousands of records on Sept. 1 after receiving requests from Mueller’s office in late August.

      Those records included emails sent and received by 13 senior Trump transition officials. Among the officials who used transition email accounts was former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to a count of making false statements to FBI agents in January and is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.

      “We understand that the special counsel’s office has subsequently made extensive use of the materials it obtained from the GSA, including materials that are susceptible to privilege claims,” Langhofer wrote. He added that some of the records obtained by the special counsel’s office from the GSA “have been leaked to the press by unknown persons.”

      The transition attorney said the special counsel’s office also received laptops, cell phones and at least one iPad from the GSA.

      Trump for America is the nonprofit organization that facilitated the transition between former President Barack Obama to President Trump.

      The GSA, an agency of the United States government, provided the transition team with office space and hosted its email servers.

      “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel’s office, told Fox News.

      In an interview with BuzzFeed News Saturday evening, GSA Deputy Counsel Lenny Loewentritt denied Langhofer’s claim that then-GSA General Counsel Richard Beckler had promised that any requests for transition team records would be “routed to legal counsel for [Trump for America].”

      “Beckler never made that commitment,” said Loewentritt, who added that transition team members were warned that information “would not be held back in any law enforcement” investigation and that “no expectation of privacy can be assumed.” (Longhofer’s letter notes that Beckler “was hospitalized and incapacitated in August.” He died the following month.)

      Loewentritt also told BuzzFeed that the GSA suggested that Mueller’s team issue a warrant or subpoena for the transition team materials, but the special prosecutor’s office decided a letter requesting the materials would suffice.

      “We continue to cooperate fully with the special counsel and expect this process to wrap up soon,” Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Saturday.

      In his letter, Langhofer argued the GSA’s actions “impair the ability of future presidential transition teams to candidly discuss policy and internal matters that benefit the country as a whole.”

      Langhofer requests in the letter that Congress “act immediately to protect future presidential transitions from having their private records misappropriated by government agencies, particularly in the context of sensitive investigations intersecting with political motives.”

      The letter was sent to the Senate Homeland Security and House Oversight Committees.

      The committees did not immediately return a request for comment.”

      M

      12/17/17 8:29 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      16

      Mitch,

      There is no political agenda in the FBI, as there is no real political difference between the GOP and the Dumbocrats, as they are only two wings of the Wall Street War Party. The only difference is the level of corruption. Deep State keeps getting paid.

      12/17/17 8:46 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      17

      BTW- the Whore House just sent the FBI a list of words that cannot appear in its reports: collusion, dossier, peepee tape, money laundering, treason.

      12/17/17 8:50 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      18

      John.

      So much for Bauer’s “Pussy-grabber”…. Womans a lawyer… Should know all about protecting evidence… Protecting the investigation… Once you start paying the witnesses… It pretty much just slander, libel and defamation….

      And the lawyer getss to walk clear of it all.

      ALLEGATIONS
      Report: Civil rights lawyer solicited donations for Trump accusers
      December 16, 2017

       
      ABC News/Screenshot
      A civil rights lawyer named Lisa Bloom solicited donations to pay women who have made or were considering making sexual harassment allegations against President Trump, The Hill reported Friday. Documents reviewed by The Hill date these efforts to the final months of the 2016 election and suggest that people associated with political action committees supporting Hillary Clinton were among those Bloom contacted.

      “Bloom’s efforts included offering to sell alleged victims’ stories to TV outlets in return for a commission for herself,” The Hill story says, as well as “arranging a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempting to secure a six-figure payment for another woman who ultimately declined to come forward after being offered as much as $750,000.”

      Bloom told The Hill donors came to her with the money, not vice versa, and “said her goal in securing money was not to pressure the women to come forward, but rather to help them relocate or arrange security” if they felt they were in danger after speaking out.

      In an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America on Saturday, Bloom again denied soliciting money, saying “donors reached out” to her “and said, ‘Oh my God, what can we do to help these women?'” “If you’re a single mom unemployed on the verge of bankruptcy and thinking about speaking out against Donald Trump,” she added, “an offer of relocation and round-the-clock security is very meaningful to you.”

      RUSSIA PROBE
      Trump transition team accuses Mueller of unlawfully obtaining private emails
      7:58 a.m. ET

       
      Andrew Burton/Getty Images
      Attorneys representing President Trump’s transition team on Saturday accused Special Counsel Robert Mueller of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of private emails as part of his probe into Russian election meddling and alleged Trump campaign involvement.

      The lawyers sent a letter to the oversight committees of both houses of Congress claiming Mueller has run afoul of both attorney-client privilege and the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions on search and seizure. The emails in question were obtained from the General Services Administration (GSA), which the letter says “did not own or control the records” but handed them over to Mueller anyway.

      Mueller’s office denied wrongdoing, stating it has always “secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process” in accessing emails for the investigation. The GSA said the transition team was informed there was no expectation of privacy for these records, and that the transition team was never promised that it would be informed or consulted before the records were distributed.

      Btw….. Nice to see how the 4th amendment is set aside so easily.

      M

      12/17/17 8:53 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      19

      Rich.

      I translate your statements as “walking back ” your previous statements being part of “deep state” ???

      Bauer… You don’t get it do you?… If DOJ and FBI actually did what is outlined… That means State Department and the former President are in it up to their ears…

      The fallout is going to break this nation into little pieces… If ANY part is true

      Btw… This is what I was referring to by you “walking back”.

      ” Rich Bauer on December 7, 2017 at 14:12 said:
      Josh,
      as a longtime member of Deep State, I can assure you we dont “run people over at night.” We may hack the control system of cars of pesky journalists but the rest of you guys dont pose a threat to us. We could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue in NYC and get away with ii. But again, that is small potatoes. We are into bigger things like the anthrax letters to get our message through who really rules America. So sleep well, it is later than you think ”

      M

      12/17/17 9:03 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      20

      Mitch 1991- the DISunion of Soviet Socialist Republics. 2020 the Disunited States of America? Maybe! Big difference- the kleptomania by the plutocracy has been going on here for decades. I’m taking your advice and buying some industrial full coverage strength rain gear or maybe even an old hazmat suit on line and a good floatation device. The five sided brass sphincter that is the anal embouchure of this nation could slacken and then……. the deluge.

      12/17/17 9:11 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      21

      Mitch,

      Why are the Trumpies so upset about the emails IF they have nothing to hide? Wow, talk about karma, Trumpie’s emails are gonna LOCK HIM UP!

      12/17/17 9:35 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      22

      John.

      Respect!!!… Thank you…

      I would suggest the full face welding mask… Might keep the shit out of your eyes.

      M

      12/17/17 2:01 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      23

      Bauer…

      Not the emails you should be focusing on.

      Try looking at your bosses Emails…. You know… Killary!!!

      M

      12/17/17 2:04 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      24

      Bauer

      Btw….. Maybe you missed the Point….. If so…. Here are the Two Year old crayons…..

      If…. Which is Big IF….. Even if Trump did work with the Russians… And it is not the partisan BS it appears to be….

      There is no LAW against it…. Which translates to just game playing BULLSHIT!!!!

      M

      12/17/17 2:28 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      25

      Bauer.

      This is WHY you should be GRATEFUL Trump won.

      By all accounts…. Hillary would have already had us in a further conflict with them… Instead….its a Direct phone call saying THANK YOU !!!

      I realize your “Deep State”…. But… To the rest of the world…. Putin is now saying, publicly, he owes Trump … A big favor.

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/17/putin-thanks-trump-by-phone-for-info-that-thwarted-terror-attack-wh-confirms.html

      This is what Should happen between world powers.

      M

      12/17/17 2:44 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      26

      Mitch: The horror (to me) of Hillary Clinton being POTUS is only matched by the contrafact nightmare of McCain winning and then dying in his first year. We would have had Sarah Palin as POTUS. I think I would have rather have contacted Ebola.

      12/18/17 9:42 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      27

      John.

      Agreed…. With one addition….

      I would revisit the McCain … Situation…. Personally… I think he was paid a great deal of cash to through that entire election.

      M

      12/18/17 11:39 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      28

      Peter.

      I KNOW how much you … Respect … This… Person…

      Blow is a fitting name… He would be … Popular … In Singapore

      So…. Here you go…. Amarossa says hello. What was her word… ” Vendetta???

      https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/17/opinion/omarosa-leaves-white-house.html

      M

      12/18/17 12:03 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      29

      John.

      Just for you…. Great legs…. But…. DAMN!!!!!…. She has raised some screwed up kids.
      Not to mention … She is counting on being able to phrase it correctly to get him out out of trouble…

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/17/sarah-palins-oldest-son-track-arraigned-on-domestic-violence-charges.html

      M

      12/18/17 12:52 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      30

      So…. How’s that Russia investigation going?

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42417287

      M

      12/19/17 6:00 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      31

      Trumpie has bigger goals in mind than burning up the Middle East…like Burning North Korea. BUT the US is really the one that will get burnt.

      Daniel Ellsberg: regime change in North Korea? Is it going to be achieved by military attack? You can destroy the regime with a military attack, but you’ll lose probably several million allies in the process and quite possibly an American city. [Kim] doesn’t have an ICBM that can reach an American city with a fission weapon. But he does have boats, and that’s all it takes to bring the warheads that he has to Long Beach or to San Francisco Harbor. I think he’s probably prepared to do that, and we seem to have a president who I can’t say is thoroughly deterred by that prospect. [Trump] does act in a number of ways as if he’s one of those rogue heads of state we hear about who can’t be deterred.

      Gee, they should make a movie about that.

      12/21/17 7:53 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      32

      Bauer.

      Question….. How exactly did you set your key word search for “HATE”???

      Suggest you try a new key word… “Objective”. .. Or maybe… “non-biased”… How about ” historical precedent”…. Or…

      Hey… Here’s an idea…. Ponder the phrase… “Divided we fall”.

      M

      12/21/17 8:29 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      33

      Mitch,

      Newsflash: The loonies in Trumpland are praying for Armageddon. Granted, people like Peter are convinced that Trumpie and Rocket man would never push the button, but dont overlook the prophetmotive here. If NK can make a few hundred million bucks selling one or more of their nukes to a terrorist group who smuggles one into NYC And DC, then NK gets off the hook for Trumpie retaliation. We will be a blind giant flailing at ghosts.

      12/21/17 1:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      34

      Bauer.

      Nows, I realizes.I’s aint one of you smart Deep States MOFo’s…

      However, it would occur that Kim is only actually looking to be recognized as an actual world power.

      But… Again… It would require un-biased thought to see that.

      M

      PS… Ever thought about maybe a bit of therapy to work with those anger and hate issues?
      Might be something to invest in… Might help stop all those nasty write up’s at work…
      Might help with the ex-wife problem as well.

      M

      PS 2….
      Guessing your not crazy about the personal attacks either.

      PS3

      Just a thought.

      M

      12/21/17 4:51 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      35

      Bauer.

      Here you go… How’s that ‘Russian’ thing working for you???

      Seems more than a bit odd…… The only person Not under ‘Investigation’ is your former boss… Hillary Clinton.
      The person who originally was screaming ‘The Russian’s are coming, the Russian’s are coming…”

      And any suggestion that is attacked with the full force of the media… Seemss just a bit odd.

      ” Stein: Russia probe is punishment for running for president ”

      ” Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein told Fox News Thursday night that Americans “have yet to see the proof” that Moscow meddled in last year’s election.

      Stein confirmed earlier this week that the Senate Intelligence Committee had contacted her campaign to request documents, including emails, as part of its investigation into Russian activities and alleged collusion between campaigns and foreign interests.

      “I think there are legitimate aims here in the investigation,” Stein told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Interference in our election is much bigger than the Russians and … I would like to see the evidence of Russian culpability here.”

      Stein compared the Russia investigation to the run-up to the Iraq War, saying, “We didn’t get to really see the evidence [then] … We are still paying that price — $5.5 trillion and counting. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a gazillion times, shame on all of us.”

      Stein also addressed her attendance at a now-infamous dinner in Moscow marking the 10th anniversary of RT, a Russian state-run news and propaganda channel. She was photographed sitting at a table with Russian President Vladimir Putin and future national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

      “The dinner … was really a non-event,” Stein said. “At one point, Putin came in with a couple of guys that I assumed were his bodyguards. Turns out they were actually his inner circle, but you would have never known it. Nobody was introduced to anybody … At one point, Putin made a very rapid turn around the table and shook everybody’s hand, but without any exchange of names, so that’s about as significant as this was.” “.

      M

      12/22/17 5:55 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      36

      Wow… It was a busy day.. And… Look!!!!!… A judge ruled on the “Emoluments Clause”.

      ” all I want for Christmas is melting snowflakes”.

      https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/us/politics/trump-suit-constitution-business.html?referer=

      M

      12/22/17 6:35 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      37

      The USA: “We cannot and will not tolerate a nuclear armed North Korea”. Do Americans care that NK has had to “tolerate” a nuclear armed USA for decades? American hypocrisy and hubris
      are not denied but instead relished by America’s ignorant citizens. Jesus and nukes- I can’t think of a more apocalyptic mix. Sort of makes me a “believer”………………………..in the stupidity of Christianity.

      12/22/17 8:52 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      38

      John.

      The nukes do keep the ‘Russians’ off our doorstep… Instead of just in our internet…. Opps… Sorry… Meant beds… Opps… Damn… Sorry… Meant Elections!!!!!

      The question I have is….

      Was Peter Van Buern… The “Man with the distinctly sounding German last Name”….
      Was he present at the “Russian Meddling ” RT dinner that has Jill Stein in trouble?

      After all… According to the State Department..and the Hillary camp. RT is the ‘State’ sponsored media and propaganda outlet of the ‘Russian’ government…. That said Hillary Clinton is a POS!

      Reason I’m asking… I’ve seen the RT interviews with Peter… And… Peter eluded to voting for Jill….

      So…. Peter….. When do you get called before Mueller??????

      I mean…. Distinguished Whistle Blower… Wrote a book… On Hillary’s Christmas (opps… Holiday ) card list….

      Seems like a perfect candidate to be interrogated (opps…meant ‘interviewed).

      Never let a good Witch Hunt go to waste…

      M

      12/22/17 1:27 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      39

      Hey… Bauer….

      Think Obama and Killary will be able to get a presidential pardon for this?????…

      Think the term that is most apropos is…. Screwed….. (How’s that deep state thing working ???)

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/22/sessions-orders-doj-review-after-report-obama-administration-gave-hezbollah-pass.html

      M

      12/22/17 6:31 PM | Comment Link

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