If Not For President Putin, Bernie Sanders Would Be The U.S. President
Folks, this article to you this evening is obviously just my opinion but if I did not believe that it was correct I would not waste my time or your time with it. Last fall the American people really only had two choices that we were being allowed to have in our vote for our next President. We had the reality that we were either going to have as our next President “Crooked Hillary”, or we could have Donald “Fake News” Trump. During the campaign (DFNT) used as one of his slogans concerning “Crooked Hillary” was “lock her up.” This was even though he knew darn well that if he won that he was not going to pursue this venture, just as he knew that Mexico was not ever going to pay far any wall. If you are one of the few people in the world that didn’t know it before he stole the election from Hillary (because of Putin), he “the Donald” is and has always been, an habitual liar.
As I am sure you caught it, my statement about this Fraud in Chief steeling the election from Hillary, I do actually believe that is correct. Personally I believe that Russian hackers were able to infiltrate several of the State election systems thus taking a few of the States away from Hillary and giving them to Trump, thus swinging the election to him. I do believe that history will prove this as a fact but, what about now? What do we as the American public do about having a FRAUD President in the Oval Office? If he is impeached and imprisoned for the rest of his life as he should be, who takes his place, Mike Pence, the VP? But since Trump is illegally in office, Mike Pence is not legally the VP so it is unfair to allow him to be put into the Office of President, so now what? The next in line would Constitutionally have to be the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. But for how long? Personally the most honest answer would be to swear Bernie Sanders into Office for one seven-year term with that being a one time gig for him, no second term.
As I stated above, I totally believe that Trump and Putin stole the election from Hillary, but, and it is a big but, she stole the Democratic Nomination from Senator Bernie Sanders. Hillary illegally took over the controls of the DNC rigging the process so that only she could win the Nomination. By the events that I have been learning, Hillary is guilty of several frauds, tax evasions, among several other Felonies. So, it is my honest opinion that if President Putin had not interfered in our elections the Democratic Nominee would be our President right now. The only one of the three biggest candidates (Trump, Hillary, and Sanders) who are not guilty of mass felonies is Mr. Sanders. So, in my opinion Mr. Sanders should be awarded the Presidency ASAP. The other two pathetic egomaniacs should be put into Fort Leavenworth Prison for the rest of their lives. This is just a short oped, just wanted to tweak your thoughts to see what you think. Just think of all of the damage that Donald Trump has done to our country here and abroad in this 10 months he has been sitting in the White House. I do have to wonder how the world would be different if we didn’t have this idiot moron of a fool pretending to be the American President.
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Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call.
I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.
So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.
Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.
By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.
The Saturday morning after the convention in July, I called Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign. He wasted no words. He told me the Democratic Party was broke and $2 million in debt.
“What?” I screamed. “I am an officer of the party and they’ve been telling us everything is fine and they were raising money with no problems.”
That wasn’t true, he said. Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books. Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign—and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.
If I didn’t know about this, I assumed that none of the other officers knew about it, either. That was just Debbie’s way. In my experience she didn’t come to the officers of the DNC for advice and counsel. She seemed to make decisions on her own and let us know at the last minute what she had decided, as she had done when she told us about the hacking only minutes before the Washington Post broke the news.
On the phone Gary told me the DNC had needed a $2 million loan, which the campaign had arranged.
“No! That can’t be true!” I said. “The party cannot take out a loan without the unanimous agreement of all of the officers.”
“Gary, how did they do this without me knowing?” I asked. “I don’t know how Debbie relates to the officers,” Gary said. He described the party as fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign, which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp. The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party’s national committee.
Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund—that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement—$320,000—and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.
“Wait,” I said. “That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?”
Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse.
“That was the deal that Robby struck with Debbie,” he explained, referring to campaign manager Robby Mook. “It was to sustain the DNC. We sent the party nearly $20 million from September until the convention, and more to prepare for the election.”
“What’s the burn rate, Gary?” I asked. “How much money do we need every month to fund the party?”
The burn rate was $3.5 million to $4 million a month, he said.
I gasped. I had a pretty good sense of the DNC’s operations after having served as interim chair five years earlier. Back then the monthly expenses were half that. What had happened? The party chair usually shrinks the staff between presidential election campaigns, but Debbie had chosen not to do that. She had stuck lots of consultants on the DNC payroll, and Obama’s consultants were being financed by the DNC, too.
When we hung up, I was livid. Not at Gary, but at this mess I had inherited. I knew that Debbie had outsourced a lot of the management of the party and had not been the greatest at fundraising. I would not be that kind of chair, even if I was only an interim chair. Did they think I would just be a surrogate for them, get on the road and rouse up the crowds? I was going to manage this party the best I could and try to make it better, even if Brooklyn did not like this. It would be weeks before I would fully understand the financial shenanigans that were keeping the party on life support.
Right around the time of the convention, the leaked emails revealed Hillary’s campaign was grabbing money from the state parties for its own purposes, leaving the states with very little to support down-ballot races. A Politicostory published on May 2, 2016, described the big fund-raising vehicle she had launched through the states the summer before, quoting a vow she had made to rebuild “the party from the ground up … when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”
Yet the states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding, just as Gary had described to me when he and I talked in August. When the Politicostory described this arrangement as “essentially … money laundering” for the Clinton campaign, Hillary’s people were outraged at being accused of doing something shady. Bernie’s people were angry for their own reasons, saying this was part of a calculated strategy to throw the nomination to Hillary.
I wanted to believe Hillary, who made campaign finance reform part of her platform, but I had made this pledge to Bernie and did not want to disappoint him. I kept asking the party lawyers and the DNC staff to show me the agreements that the party had made for sharing the money they raised, but there was a lot of shuffling of feet and looking the other way.
When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.
The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
I had been wondering why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.
When the party chooses the nominee, the custom is that the candidate’s team starts to exercise more control over the party. If the party has an incumbent candidate, as was the case with Clinton in 1996 or Obama in 2012, this kind of arrangement is seamless because the party already is under the control of the president. When you have an open contest without an incumbent and competitive primaries, the party comes under the candidate’s control only after the nominee is certain. When I was manager of Al Gore’s campaign in 2000, we started inserting our people into the DNC in June. This victory fund agreement, however, had been signed in August 2015, just four months after Hillary announced her candidacy and nearly a year before she officially had the nomination.
I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff. I had gone department by department, investigating individual conduct for evidence of skewed decisions, and I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.
The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity.
I had to keep my promise to Bernie. I was in agony as I dialed him. Keeping this secret was against everything that I stood for, all that I valued as a woman and as a public servant.
“Hello, senator. I’ve completed my review of the DNC and I did find the cancer,” I said. “But I will not kill the patient.”
I discussed the fundraising agreement that each of the candidates had signed. Bernie was familiar with it, but he and his staff ignored it. They had their own way of raising money through small donations. I described how Hillary’s campaign had taken it another step.
I told Bernie I had found Hillary’s Joint Fundraising Agreement. I explained that the cancer was that she had exerted this control of the party long before she became its nominee. Had I known this, I never would have accepted the interim chair position, but here we were with only weeks before the election.
Bernie took this stoically. He did not yell or express outrage. Instead he asked me what I thought Hillary’s chances were. The polls were unanimous in her winning but what, he wanted to know, was my own assessment?
I had to be frank with him. I did not trust the polls, I said. I told him I had visited states around the country and I found a lack of enthusiasm for her everywhere. I was concerned about the Obama coalition and about millennials.
I urged Bernie to work as hard as he could to bring his supporters into the fold with Hillary, and to campaign with all the heart and hope he could muster. He might find some of her positions too centrist, and her coziness with the financial elites distasteful, but he knew and I knew that the alternative was a person who would put the very future of the country in peril. I knew he heard me. I knew he agreed with me, but I never in my life had felt so tiny and powerless as I did making that call.
When I hung up the call to Bernie, I started to cry, not out of guilt, but out of anger. We would go forward. We had to.
GOP strategist Jen Kern provides insight into the former DNC chief’s claims.
Hillary Clinton has spent a year crying about how the presidency was stolen from her. Turns out, she stole the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders.
The stunning revelation from former Democratic National Committee interim chairperson Donna Brazile that Clinton secretly rigged the primary process by commandeering the DNC should come as no surprise to anyone. Clinton is nothing, if not unethical and corrupt. She always has been. This is precisely why pre-election polls consistently showed that a majority of Americans found her dishonest and untrustworthy.
The critical question now is whether she committed crimes in her theft of the nomination.
According to Brazile, the DNC went broke under the leadership of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This dire circumstance presented a perfect scenario for Clinton to seize command of the party apparatus by paying off its debt of roughly $20 million dollars. But in exchange, the DNC executed a written, albeit hidden, agreement transferring to Clinton the committee’s finances, strategy, and money raised — all to the benefit of Clinton and to the detriment of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her primary opponent.
Even more deceptions and money shuffling ensued. It was a clever and complicated stratagem, but here is the simple version. During Clinton’s joint fundraising events with the DNC and state parties held across the nation, more than $82 million was raised. The states immediately kicked back nearly all of their share to the DNC which, in turn, kicked back their share and the states’ share to Clinton’s campaign.
With Clinton in control of the Democratic party’s staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, mailings and money, she was able to overcome the serious primary challenge by Sanders in securing the nomination. The DNC, which was supposed to remain neutral, had been neutered by Clinton. It devolved into nothing more than a willing accessory to a devious scheme for Clinton’s campaign to get rich at the expense of Sanders.
There appears to be little doubt that Clinton rigged the election process. It was so unconscionable and unprincipled, that Brazile’s discovery of the incriminating document left her in tears. So she says.
The Federal Election Commission must immediately launch an investigation. So, too, must the Department of Justice and the FBI. It appears that Clinton may well have violated several laws which could constitute serious crimes.
First, federal law sets strict limits on campaign contributions. Financial records must now be subpoenaed to determine whether these laws were broken. Given Clinton’s past record of shady transactions such as the Whitewater land deal and her sale of cattle futures, there is a strong chance that a document trail will lead investigators to multiple violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.
Second, if Brazile’s account of Clinton’s artifice is true, it is likely that campaign finance reporting laws were broken under the same Act. Hiding campaign money through false or misleading campaign reports is illegal. In egregious cases it is a crime, not just a civil penalty.
Finally, the funneling of campaign funds from one source to another smacks of money laundering. Any transaction that seeks to conceal or disguise proceeds of illegal activity constitutes money laundering. So, if it can be shown that Clinton violated campaign contribution limits or reporting requirements, then the channeling of the proceeds from one source to another would be the “laundering” of it.
Second Special Counsel
Clinton and her campaign are already suspected of playing a pivotal role in violating federal law by paying a substantial amount of money to a British spy and Russian government sources in order to obtain the infamous and discredited Trump “dossier”. Talking to a Russian in a campaign is not a crime, but payingmoney to one as part of a political campaign is a crime.
There is also evidence Clinton used her public office to confer a benefit to the Russian government in exchange for millions of dollars in donations to her foundation and cash to her husband. If the Clintons were enriched at the very time Hillary presided over a governing body which unanimously approved the sale of one-fifth of America’s uranium supply to Russia, it would amount to a violation of seven criminal statutes, including racketeering.
Yet, despite calls by the House Judiciary Committee and others on Capitol Hill for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel, he has taken no action whatsoever. Perhaps this is because he recused himself from any matter related to Hillary Clinton during his confirmation hearing in January.
This, however, would not legally prevent him from appointing a special counsel to handle the investigation. But it does underscore that Sessions has become so compromised on so many disqualifying matters of vital public interest, including the Trump-Russia case, that he can no longer serve in an able capacity.
It is clear from President Trump’s many comments over the last several months that he has lost all confidence in his attorney general. It is time for him to go.
Hillary Clinton has bemoaned for months that the presidential election was stolen from her and that Donald Trump “colluded” with the Russians. As with many thing in Clinton’s mind, she has it backwards.
Evidence continues to mount that it was Clinton who may have conspired with the Russians, while also rigging the primary election process to hand herself the Democratic nomination for president.
If she committed crimes in the process, she should be charged, convicted and punished.
Gregg Jarrett joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2002 and is based in New York. He currently serves as legal analyst and offers commentary across both FNC and FOX Business Network (FBN).
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she believes that the Democratic National Committee was “rigged” in favor of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 primary.
Asked Thursday by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether she believes that the Democratic campaign organization was tipped in favor of Clinton over her primary opponent, independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren responded without hesitation: “Yes.”
“We learned today from the former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile that the Clinton campaign in her view did rig the presidential nominating process by entering into an agreement to control day-to-day operations at the DNC,” Tapper said, continuing on to describe specific arms of the DNC the Clinton camp had a say over, including strategy and staffing, noting that the agreement was “entered into in August of 2015,” months before Clinton won the nomination.
Warren called that “a real problem.”
“But what we’ve got to do as Democrats now, is we’ve got to hold this party accountable,” Warren said.
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The Massachusetts Democrat is seen as a possible presidential contender in 2020 and beyond.
Tapper then asked, “Do you agree with the notion that it was rigged?” And Warren responded simply: “Yes.”
The question came up after Brazile’s book excerpts were released this week, detailing the DNC’s financial turmoil during the election and the role that the Clinton campaign played in aiding it financially.
“Debbie (Wasserman Schultz) was not a good manager,” Brazile wrote in excerpts released in Politico on Thursday. “She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party — she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was.”
(Opinion: How is it that this is not a major case of FRAUD against the American people? We are digging into the case of Moscow committing FRAUD against the American voters, so, then what the heck is this if not BLATANT FRAUD against the voting American public? Why are there not legal charges against Mrs. Clinton and the DNC Chair?)
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For those of you who know me you know that I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat though I do and I have voted for some of both in the past. Even though I am a registered voting Independent I do find it difficult most of the time to figure out whom to vote for in the different elections. This past November I voted for a third-party candidate just because I just couldn’t pull the lever for Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump. If I was forced to vote this past November and I only had the two folks I just mentioned as my choices I guess, I think, I would have chosen Mr. Trump even though I had major issues with his ego and his maturity as I just couldn’t get my self to vote for Mrs. Clinton. I still believe that if the DNC did not have their ‘super delegates’ that Bernie Sanders would have won the Democratic nomination instead of Hillary. I also still totally believe that the existence of these ‘super delegates’ are unconstitutional. I also believe that if Mr. Sanders had won the Democratic nomination that he would definitely have beaten Mr. Trump quite easily last November. So, in a sense I believe that it is a fair assumption that the DNC elected Donald Trump as our President.
I wrote that first paragraph because I know that some folks will say that since I am writing a negative issue about Mr. Trump that I am really a liberal Democrat yet I believe that those who say such things are speaking yet have no knowledge of what they are saying. I have evolved through the years into being very much a moderate, I want the two extremest political parties to meet in the middle on almost all issues so that the country and the Congress can get out of the gridlock it has been in for so long now.
Mr. Trump is the President of our Country whether we like him, love him, or hate him. During the campaign trail I was concerned about his habitual lying just as I was about Hillary’s. I have never believed that either one of them cares anything about the everyday working class, working poor, or just plain poor people in our Country or in any other Country. The Democratic Party would easily win the elections if they did not insist on condoning abortions and for trying so hard to take the citizens of our Country ability to protect our selves from thugs and from the Government itself by stripping our God-given and 2nd Amendment rights away from us. Again, the DNC can and should blame themselves for Mr. Trump being our President.
If the ignorant things that Mr. Trump did during the campaign didn’t scare you or worry you about his narcissistic, egotistic, stupidity, are you concerned yet? Think about some of his statements such as him saying he knows more about what is going on in the Middle-East than our Generals do. Since being in Office saying that he does not need the morning security briefings. He doesn’t believe in nor does he trust any of our Nations Intelligence agencies Directors. The man we have in the Oval Office seems content to spend his days watching cable TV and listening to right-wing folks like the folks on Fox and Friends. He has proven to be a very, very thin-skinned person who has a constant habit of not thinking or caring about anything before he degrades himself into being the Twitter King. Just as the Secret Service took away Mr. Obama’s Blackberry as soon as he assumed Office they should for the sake of our Country also take away Mr. Trumps Twitter abilities.
These past few days have been very disturbing because of the hugely ignorant Tweets that he has put out concerning the couple that does the ‘Morning Joe’ cable show and for the absolutely asinine ‘wrestling event’ with CNN. Are you yet worried about this mans sanity? How about his maturity level? Is this man totally mentally unhinged as well as having the mentality and the maturity of a spoiled brat first grader? I read articles from all over the world everyday, from newspapers that are State owned and free ones as well. I read blogs from many countries everyday also and I get article from news TV stations all around the globe and when it concerns their thoughts about our President they range from concern, worry, or just plain laughter at him. Yet the biggest issue is trust or faith in him as a leader. Our Allies are worried and our enemies are laughing at him. I will make one final statement here about the situation we all find ourselves in with Mr. Trump as our President. This statement is that if Mr. Trump does not quickly grow up and start acting like an adult the Republicans in the November 2018 midterm elections are going to lose both the House and the Senate. There is no chance that Mr. Trump will ever grow up so the only chance the Republicans have in that election is if the Republican led Senate impeach this pathetic child from the Presidency ASAP!
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Folks, this is not an article that pleases me to have to write about, yet pretty much everyone in the ‘wired world’ will know that what I am going to say is the truth. Most everyone knows that it is a trait of almost all (I’m being nice) American politicians to have a forked tongue. Last November in the elections the American people were basically given a choice between two people that were well known for being very crooked and habitual liar’s. There really was no way to win if the voter was looking for an honest, non-habitual liar to be our leader. The DNC rigs their side of elections via using the so-called ‘Super Delegates’ to make sure that who they want and only whom their party leaders want will be their Candidate for President. I honestly believe that if the DNC leadership had acted in a Constitutional manner that Bernie Sanders would have not only beaten out Ms. Hillary, he would have quite easily beaten out Mr. Trump last November. So, in a sense I do blame the DNC for Mr. Trump sitting in Our Oval Office.
Today’s New York Times headline says that Mr. Trump will testify under oath that he is not a liar but that former FBI Director James Comey is. I personally believe that it is Mr. Trump who tells everyone, not just the people that he has surrounding him, but everyone, so many lies everyday that he has proven over and over again that he can’t remember what he lies about one day to the next. I am simply a person who would like to have all people in every government in the world to be honest with the people they govern, yet I think we all know that is just a fantasy. I personally believe that Mr. Trump is the most clueless, ignorant, lying, egomaniac’s that has ever set foot in Our Oval Office. I know that statement is really saying a lot, I never really thought that we could ever have a bigger idiot than George W. Bush as our President but then up steps Mr. Trump. To me it is still a debate which family is more crooked though, the Bush family, the Clinton family, or the Trump family.
I have no doubt that if Mr. Trump does go through with testifying under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee (if he isn’t also lying about doing it) that he will lie many times during that event. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Democrat or a Republican, but I am a voter. I like everyone else, under our current two-party system we voters can either not vote, or we can vote for one of the two main party candidates, or they can do like I did last November and vote for a third-party candidate whom we know in advance has no chance of winning. So, ‘We The People’ are put into the position of choosing which habitual liar we want as our ‘Leader.’ Over the last year or so I have been closely watching Mr. James Comey the now former Director of the FBI and I have found him to be one of the most honest, sincere and intelligent people I have ever come across. Mr. Trump on the other hand has totally proven to the whole world that he is basically clueless of real world realities which in part has shined a huge spotlight on his lack of basic knowledge and on his continues lying.
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Washington (CNN) Eric Trump said Democrats who support the probe into his father’s campaign and Russia are “not even people” and he has “never seen hatred like this.”
He also shared harsh criticism of the Democratic Party as a whole.
“They’re imploding,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday night, adding: “They have no message. You see the head of the (Democratic National Committee), who is a total whack job.”
Trump’s “not even people” remark quickly evoked comparisons on social media to Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment made about President Trump’s supporters during the 2016 campaign.
Trump — one of President Donald Trump’s five children — also said Democrats are obstructing the current administration.
“They lost the election that they should have won because they spent seven times the amount of money that my father spent. They have no message so what do they try and do? They try and obstruct a great man, they try and obstruct his family, they come after us viciously, and its truly, truly horrible,” Trump said.
Trump is currently helping run the family business with his brother, Donald Trump Jr., while their father serves as president.
Here’s the full Eric Trump quote in context:
I’ve never seen hatred like this, and to me they’re not even people. It’s so, so sad, I mean morality is just gone, morals have flown out the window we deserve so much better than this as a country. You know it’s so sad. You see the democratic party — they’re imploding. They’re imploding. They have no message. You see the head of the DNC who is a total whack job. There’s no leadership there. And so what do they do? They become obstructionists because they have no message of their own. They have no solid candidates of their own. They lost the election that they should have won because they spent 7 times the amount of money that my father spent. They have no message so what do they try and do? They try and obstruct a great man, they try and obstruct his family, they come after us viciously, and its truly, truly horrible.
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July 28, 2016: Pro-Bernie Sanders protesters demonstrate outside the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Fox News)
The 2016 presidential campaign is still being litigated – literally.
As Trump administration controversies command media attention, a little-noticed set of lawsuits against the Democratic Party continues to play out in the courts – including one claiming coordination with the Clinton campaign against Bernie Sanders amounted to election fraud.
The case being heard in a Florida courtroom dates back to last summer, when the Democrats were thrown into turmoil following the leak of documents that appeared to show some DNC officials sought to undermine Sanders in the party primary. Jared Beck, a Harvard law expert, shortly afterward filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of residents of 45 states against the DNC and former chairwomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The DNC has been trying for months to have the case dismissed, and scored a temporary victory last year when it was decided the plaintiffs had improperly filed paperwork.
Beck has been fighting the DNC every step of the way, and is demanding the party repay individuals and Sanders supporters for contributions made during the election, alleging misappropriation of funds.
“If we can’t trust the two political parties to run an election in a fair manner, who can we trust?” Beck told Fox News.
During the most recent hearing on April 25 before a judge in the southern district of Florida, the DNC made a strictly legal argument – one that surely would have rankled Sanders supporters.
Bruce Spiva, a lawyer for the DNC, argued in its motion to dismiss that the party holds the right to select its candidate any way it chooses and is not bound by pledges of fairness.
“We could have voluntarily decided that, ‘Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way.’ That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right,” Spiva argued.
Although the Article 5, Section 4 of the Democratic Party charter stipulates that it will function with total neutrality during Democratic primaries, the DNC lawyer argued the promise was non-binding.
“And there’s no right to not have your candidate disadvantaged or have another candidate advantaged. There’s no contractual obligation here,” he said.
“This lawsuit has nothing to do with politics or political disagreements within the DNC. This case should concern everyone because it goes to the heart of the country’s democratic institutions,” Beck told Fox News.
A victory by Beck could have a profound impact on how the Democratic Party conducts business in 2020 and beyond. However, those familiar with election law say he faces an uphill climb.
“I don’t think it is going to amount to much,” said Michael Toner, a lawyer with the Wiley-Rein and a former legal counsel for the Republican National Committee.
“Courts don’t typically get in the middle of intraparty disputes and while I am sure the DNC does not appreciate having to fight this lawsuit, judges are very reluctant to exercise their jurisdiction over politics,” Toner said.
The DNC attorneys also contend the suit is meritless, arguing most Sanders donors do not even support the lawsuit.
“The vast majority of whom almost certainly do not share Plaintiffs’ political views—have no realistic means of disassociating from this action, brought in their name against the political party they likely support,” the DNC lawyers wrote in their motion.
Toner said the danger to the DNC would come if the lawsuit entered the discovery phase, which is why an affiliated case alleging the DNC failed to pay overtime wages poses a potentially greater threat.
The DNC this week filed a motion to dismiss in the second class-action lawsuit, which alleged workers at the Democratic National Convention and through the election were not paid a minimum wage, while others were refused overtime compensation guaranteed by federal and state law.
The 2016 Democratic platform characterized the current federal minimum of $7.25 per hour as “a starvation wage and must be increased to a living wage. No one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty.”
The suit also names the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and others involved in the party’s 2016 national convention in the lawsuit. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party did not return calls for comment.
“While the DNC was not the employer in this case, the DNC follows all employment and wage laws to make sure that everyone who works a full time job receives a fair wage,” DNC spokesman Michael Tyler said in a statement to Fox News.
Although the individuals participated in party-building activities, such as voter registration, soliciting volunteers and knocking on doors, the national party argues they were not officially DNC staff.
Justin Swidler, the lawyer behind the suit, told Fox News, “We believe in fair pay for fair work. The lawsuit seeks only that. We believe these ideals are consistent with the platform of the DNC.”
According to individuals familiar with the case, the DNC filed another motion to dismiss this week, but neither side anticipates a prompt resolution of the case given the court’s full docket.
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A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.
They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [en.riss.ru/], after the election.
The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office.
The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.
It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.
A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.
The current and former U.S. officials spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the Russian documents’ classified status. They declined to discuss how the United States obtained them. U.S. intelligence agencies also declined to comment on them.
Putin has denied interfering in the U.S. election. Putin’s spokesman and the Russian institute did not respond to requests for comment.
The documents were central to the Obama administration’s conclusion that Russia mounted a “fake news” campaign and launched cyber attacks against Democratic Party groups and Clinton’s campaign, the current and former officials said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (not pictured) in Moscow’s Kremlin, Russia April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Pavel Golovkin/Pool
“Putin had the objective in mind all along, and he asked the institute to draw him a road map,” said one of the sources, a former senior U.S. intelligence official.
Trump has said Russia’s activities had no impact on the outcome of the race. Ongoing congressional and FBI investigations into Russian interference have so far produced no public evidence that Trump associates colluded with the Russian effort to change the outcome of the election.
Four of the officials said the approach outlined in the June strategy paper was a broadening of an effort the Putin administration launched in March 2016. That month the Kremlin instructed state-backed media outlets, including international platforms Russia Today and Sputnik news agency, to start producing positive reports on Trump’s quest for the U.S. presidency, the officials said.
Russia Today did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Sputnik dismissed the assertions by the U.S. officials that it participated in a Kremlin campaign as an “absolute pack of lies.” “And by the way, it’s not the first pack of lies we’re hearing from ‘sources in U.S. official circles’,” the spokesperson said in an email.
Russia Today and Sputnik published anti-Clinton stories while pro-Kremlin bloggers prepared a Twitter campaign calling into question the fairness of an anticipated Clinton victory, according to a report by U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian interference in the election made public in January. [bit.ly/2kMiKSA]
Russia Today’s most popular Clinton video – “How 100% of the 2015 Clintons’ ‘charity’ went to … themselves” – accumulated 9 millions views on social media, according to the January report. [bit.ly/2os8wIt]
The report said Russia Today and Sputnik “consistently cast president elect-Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional media outlets.”
The report said the agencies did not assess whether Moscow’s effort had swung the outcome of the race in Trump’s favor, because American intelligence agencies do not “analyze U.S. political processes or U.S. public opinion.” [bit.ly/2kMiKSA]
Neither of the Russian institute documents mentioned the release of hacked Democratic Party emails to interfere with the U.S. election, according to four of the officials. The officials said the hacking was a covert intelligence operation run separately out of the Kremlin.
The overt propaganda and covert hacking efforts reinforced each other, according to the officials. Both Russia Today and Sputnik heavily promoted the release of the hacked Democratic Party emails, which often contained embarrassing details.
Five of the U.S. officials described the institute as the Kremlin’s in-house foreign policy think tank.
The institute’s director when the documents were written, Leonid Reshetnikov, rose to the rank of lieutenant general during a 33-year-career in Russia’s foreign intelligence service, according to the institute’s website [bit.ly/2oVhiCF]. After Reshetnikov retired from the institute in January, Putin named as his replacement Mikhail Fradkov. The institute says he served as the director of Russia’s foreign intelligence service from 2007 to 2016. [bit.ly/2os4tvz]
Reuters was unable to determine if either man was directly involved in the drafting of the documents. Reshetnikov’s office referred questions to the Russian institute.
On its website, the Russian institute describes itself as providing “expert appraisals,” “recommendations,” and “analytical materials” to the Russian president’s office, cabinet, National Security Council, ministries and parliament. [bit.ly/2pCBGpR]
On Jan. 31, the websites of Putin’s office [bit.ly/2os9wMr] and the institute [bit.ly/2oLn9Kd] posted a picture and transcript of Reshetnikov and his successor Fradkov meeting with Putin in the Kremlin. Putin thanked Reshetnikov for his service and told Fradkov he wanted the institute to provide objective information and analysis.
“We did our best for nearly eight years to implement your foreign policy concept,” Reshetnikov told Putin. “The policy of Russia and the policy of the President of Russia have been the cornerstone of our operation.”
(Reporting by Ned Parker and Jonathan Landay, additional reporting by Warren Strobel and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by David Rohde and Ross Colvin)
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Pompeo made a public appearance and blasted WikiLeaks
“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is”
He also offered his take on threats from Iran and North Korea
Washington (CNN) CIA director Mike Pompeo gave a speech Thursday, railing against WikiLeaks as a “hostile intelligence service.”
His appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, among his first forays into the public eye since being confirmed, came several months after WikiLeaks’ publishing stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta as well as the Democratic National Committee and just over a month since WikiLeaks published a trove of files it said were from the CIA. The CIA has neither confirmed nor denied their veracity.
In his Thursday speech, Pompeo accused WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, a former contractor who leaked NSA documents to journalists, of disseminating classified information to “make a name for themselves.”
Pompeo has in the past called for Snowden to receive the death penalty.
He said people at the CIA found praise for WikiLeaks “both perplexing and deeply troubling.”
“As long as they make a splash, they care nothing about the lives they put at risk or the damage they cause to national security,” Pompeo said. “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors, like Russia.”
During the question and answer portion of the event, Pompeo said because Assange was not a US citizen and lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, he “has no First Amendment freedoms.”
Although WikiLeaks describes itself as a media organization exposing powerful governments and companies, Pompeo said he viewed this as false.
“These are not reporters doing good work,” Pompeo said. “These are people who are actively recruiting agents.”
Pompeo said past administrations had been “squeamish” about going after people who published secrets he considered harmful to the US.
During the campaign rally in October, Trump said he loved WikiLeaks and regularly touted their disclosures. For a time before taking office, Trump did not endorse a report from the US intelligence community accusing Russia of being behind the hacks and using WikiLeaks to disseminate them in order to hurt the Clinton campaign.
Russia has denied any wrongdoing, and Assange has said WikiLeaks’ source was not Russia.
WikiLeaks responded to Pompeo’s comments in part by referencing a now deleted tweet he sent during the campaign referencing WikiLeaks’ DNC trove.
Until Trump tapped him to lead the CIA, Pompeo was a Republican member of Congress from Kansas. He was an outspoken critic of the Obama administration and the US nuclear agreement with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.
As CIA director speaking at CSIS on Thursday, he was considerably less outspoken about his issues with the Iran deal, but did say Iranians were “on the march” and cited missile launches, their support of the Houthis in Yemen and military involvement in Iraq in the past two years.
“The list of Iranian transgressions has increased dramatically since the date that the JCPOA was signed,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo said he viewed working with both European and Middle Eastern allies as integral to countering Iran, but also said the US’ recent cruise missile strike on Syria likely sent a message of US strength to Iran.
“What I mean by that is, this was a decision-making process that was decisive, thoughtful and truly based on a factual understanding of the geopolitical importance of the things that are facing our nation today.”
He went on to say the Iranians “ought to take note of the fact that this administration” is willing to take different measures than past administrations.
Pompeo also spoke about nuclear proliferation in North Korea and the potential of another nuclear weapons test in the coming days.
“Multiple administrations have tried to deal with the threat of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of putting a nuclear warhead into the United States, and we’re simply closer now than we have ever been at any time in North Korea’s history,” he said. “As the knowledge base increases and the capacity to deliver that increases and draws closer, it both reduces the option set to prevent it and makes more likely that you get a bad decision on a tough day from the leader of North Korea.”
Like Trump, Pompeo said China was of utmost importance to solving the issue.
Asked if there was hope China could turn back or end the North Korean nuclear weapons program, Pompeo said, “I’m counting on it.”
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