Trump says he'll send federal forces to more leftist-run cities as Dems decry feds' role in Portland riots

The Trump administration plans to send federal forces to violence-torn cities across the nation to help quell riots and surging crime, regardless of whether Democrat mayors and governors welcome Washington’s involvement.

“I’m going to do something, that I can tell you,” President Donald Trump said on Monday in the Oval Office. “We’re not going to let New York and Chicago, and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these – Oakland is a mess – we’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats.”

The move comes as US House Democrats demand that inspectors general investigate whether the administration abused its emergency powers, deploying “a secret police force, not to investigate crimes, but to intimidate individuals it views as political adversaries.”

Portland’s Mayor has demanded that federal forces leave the city, while Oregon Governor Kate Brown said Trump is playing “political theater.” Democrat lawmakers from the state accused federal agencies of “horrific” tactics, including use of paramilitary forces to snatch peaceful protesters off the street. Senator Ron Wyden called federal officers “an occupying army.”

Trump noted that federal forces stepped in only after weeks of rioting by violent anarchists. The US Department of Homeland Security said anarchists have repeatedly damaged federal property and attacked officers with hammers, slingshots and other weapons.

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Federal law enforcement officers face off with protesters in Portland, Oregon, U.S. July 18, 2020 © Reuters / Nathan Howard
House Democrats demand to probe fed officers in Portland, as city mayor blames them for violence

Oregon’s Democrat leaders don’t want help from the feds because they’re afraid of the violent anarchists plaguing Portland, the president said. “I really believe they’re actually maybe even physically afraid of these people, because what they’re doing is incredible.”

By sending federal law enforcement agents to other cities, Trump wants to address not only violent protests, but also rising crime. He said police in New York have been restricted from cracking down on crime after a recent jump in gun violence. Chicago suffered another violent weekend, with 63 people shot, including 12 fatally.

“This is worse than Afghanistan, by far,” Trump said. “This is worse than anything anyone has ever seen, all run by the same liberal Democrats.”

For those such as the Oregon governor who are suggesting that the crackdown is about election-year politics, Trump provided some ammunition: “If [Joe] Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell, and we’re not going to let it go to hell.”

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Protesters in Portland, Oregon on July 17, 2020
Trump says he wants to ‘help’ Portland, accuses local officials of allowing ‘anarchists & agitators’ to take control of the city

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Source: RT, Trump says he’ll send federal forces to more leftist-run cities as Dems decry feds’ role in Portland riots

‘Russian agent’ or Steele’s patsy? ‘Revealed’ identity of primary sub-source for Russiagate dossier sparks fresh speculation

In the latest twist in the ‘Russiagate’ saga, internet sleuths say they have figured out the identity of the source Christopher Steele used to embellish and fabricate what would become the notorious Trump-Russia dossier.

The identity of Steele’s “primary sub-source” (PSS) has long been the subject of speculation, as the former British spy had no actual sources in Russia himself. The 59-page transcript of the FBI interview with the PSS, conducted in February 2017 and published on Friday, was heavily redacted. Several sources online now say they figured it out, and point to former Brookings Institution researcher Igor Danchenko as the match.

An anonymous blog that seems to have been created for the purpose lays out the case for Danchenko, saying his resume posted online “matches every detail in the summary to a degree that it is almost certain that this is the primary sub source.”

In addition to the resume, Danchenko’s name and the name of his hometown, Perm, match the length of the redactions in the document. So does the timing of his trips to Europe and Russia, and the unredacted job title – facilitator – at the Open World program run by the US Library of Congress, whose name was redacted.

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A 'Russiagate'-inspired protest against US President Donald Trump in New York City, July 26, 2017.
Real Russiagate bombshell: FBI knew Steele dossier was fiction, Strzok notes show NYTimes reporting ‘misleading and inaccurate’

A picture that emerges is of a Russian-born Danchenko who was recruited by the US program, and came to the US to get a master’s in Kentucky. He appears to have been introduced to Steele in the mid-aughts, by his professor from Louisville Paul Weber, and paid several hundred dollars for small tasks while he had no income.

Danchenko then got hired as a researcher at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, where he worked on Russia and the Balkans. He actually made headlines in 2008, when he claimed that plagiarism is rampant in Russian academia, and that President Vladimir Putin himself plagiarized his doctorate from an American study.

Danchenko’s name is subsequently listed at events with Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, Brookings fellows who went on to write ‘Operative in the Kremlin,’ a 2012 anti-Putin book.

British-born Hill would later join the national security council – after the firing of Russiagate-entrapped General Michael Flynn – and return to Brookings in July 2019. She later testified for the Democrats during the November 2019 impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump.

Danchenko appears to have reacted to the online identification of the PSS by locking down and scrubbing his social media accounts over the weekend. RT has reached out to Danchenko for comment. 

Why would any of this matter? Because the Steele Dossier has been the keystone of ‘Russiagate’ – the manufactured scandal accusing Trump of having ties or “colluding” with Russia during the 2016 election – from the very beginning. It was the grounds for the FBI to get a FISA warrant for spying on the Trump campaign via adviser Carter Page, which began prior to the election and continued for almost a year. It was also funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, using a series of cutouts: the Democratic National Committee, its law firm Perkins Coie, and Fusion GPS. Steele was also paid an undisclosed amount by the FBI. 

Yet the supposedly former British spy had not traveled to Russia, nor did he have any contacts there, so the crucial question about his dossier depended on how well informed the PSS was – and the FBI interview neatly demolished pretty much all of it, revealing that his “sources” were drinking friends and his intelligence consisted of “warmed-over rumors and laughable gossip,” as Eric Felten of Real Clear Investigations described it.

In one particular instance, the PSS told the FBI that Steele asked him for information about Paul Manafort – Trump’s campaign manager at the time – which he thought was a “strange task” because he was “clueless” about who Manafort was. The story about Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visiting Prague – repeatedly debunked but refusing to die – was apparently a fabrication of a female acquaintance described only as ‘Source 3.’ The claim that Trump had hired prostitutes to urinate on the bed of a Moscow hotel where President Barack Obama had stayed? The PSS said he heard third-hand that the hotel manager didn’t outright deny it.

While experts have described much of the dossier as fabricated, Steele has long hidden behind the PSS that he insisted had an inside line to the Kremlin itself. The FBI interview pretty conclusively debunks that – and so could Danchenko, if he is indeed the PSS and is willing to talk about it on the record. 

Ironically, Danchenko’s Russian birth may feed the conspiracies of Republicans who sought to defend Trump from ‘Russiagate’ by adopting the Democrats’ framing but insisting it was Clinton and the DNC who actually colluded with Moscow. If Danchenko is the PSS, then some of the dossier is indeed “Russian disinformation” in the strictest sense of the term – though not what people tracing it to the Kremlin had in mind. 

Yet the FBI interview makes it clear that the PSS fed Steele rumor and innuendo the British spy then used as a “smokescreen” for the claims of collusion, manufactured to please his Democrat employers, argued researcher Hans Mahncke.

The anonymous blogger who first fingered Danchenko agreed, saying he was “set up to be the fall guy” while the real villains of the piece are “people who used his information and pretended it came from legitimate sources” – meaning Steele, the FBI and DOJ who used his dossier, and the Democrats and their operatives who paid for it. 

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Source: RT, ‘Russian agent’ or Steele’s patsy? ‘Revealed’ identity of primary sub-source for Russiagate dossier sparks fresh speculation

Trump Administration Plots Crackdown by Feds in Cities Nationwide

Trump Administration Plots Crackdown by Feds in Cities NationwideThe crackdown by federal law enforcement in some American cities is on the verge of going national, according to knowledgeable Trump administration sources. As previewed by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows over the weekend and President Donald Trump on Monday, the administration intends to send federal law enforcement into Democratic-run cities—whether those cities want federal police help or not. Multiple sources expected Chicago, a flashpoint of white anxiety, to be a focus, as the Chicago Tribune first reported. The Department of Homeland Security is taking the lead in Portland, where federal agents are assaulting unarmed and largely peaceful protesters. After Trump issued his June 26 executive order to protect “monuments”—a culture war initiative as protesters toppled and vandalized statues, many of openly white supremacist, Confederate figures—DHS put together a task force called PACT of federal officers on the pretext of protecting federal property. Two senior administration officials described that task force as a working group focusing on identifying cities and towns experiencing the vandalization or destruction of federal property. One of those senior officials said the department has spent the last several weeks tracking “data” related to the destruction of monuments and creating a list of cities in need of extra law enforcement protection. But two other administration officials described a process that was anything but data-driven. In the past several days, they said, Trump has repeatedly brought up Chicago in his conversations with top advisers. One of these officials recounted that Trump at one point quipped that if protesters and liberals truly cared about Black lives, they should be “begging” him to launch a federal crackdown on crime and gang violence in the Windy City. Neither of these officials could recall Trump mentioning any statistics related to the relative threats to federal property or statues in President Barack Obama’s hometown.And of course, Trump has been promoting the idea of heavy-handed law enforcement tactics in Chicago since at least 2016. On Monday, he added more cities to the potential target list. “New York, and Chicago, and Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore, and all of these—Oakland is a mess—we are not going to let this happen in the country, all run by liberal Democrats,” the president told reporters at the White House. “We’re going to have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you.”Critics promptly warned against the past week’s assaults on Portland protesters by federal law enforcement turning into a larger federal crackdown. “What is happening in Portland—armed occupation by federal agents—is totally unacceptable,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) told The Daily Beast. “Donald Trump’s unconstitutional test run in Portland cannot be the precursor to a nationwide invasion of cities across the country. Republicans and officials at DOJ and DHS need to think long and hard about whether they want to be party to this gross abuse of power.”DHS and Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s queries.Over in the West Wing, Trump’s chief of staff Meadows has been heavily involved in the intra-administration coordination with this working group and also with overseeing the drafting of plans for Chicago and other urban areas to present to Trump, according to a source with knowledge of the deliberations.“Mark is one of the president’s top guys on this,” this source said. Trump’s full-on embrace of this type of election-year posturing came after a brief period earlier this summer when the president flirted with emphasizing supposed police reform and related criminal-justice matters, in his increasingly uphill fight against presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Naturally, Trump quickly grew bored with playing the role of reformer.These days, his campaign is sounding a different tune. “Many presidents have used the military to stop riots, so this is nothing new and in accordance with the law,” said longtime state Rep. Al Baldasaro, the New Hampshire co-chair of Trump 2020. “Our police have taken a beating, and they don’t deserve this. I fully support what President Trump is doing,” he continued, adding that Trump quickly send “federal help” to other cities such as “Chicago [and] Detroit.”In Portland, Customs and Border Protection agents, kitted out in military-style camouflage uniforms and obscured insignia, detained protesters in unmarked vans and used pepper spray, tear gas, and batons against them. Oregon’s governor, both its U.S. senators, and Portland’s mayor have denounced the federal deployment as an unwanted escalation. Its attorney general has sued DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service, and opened a criminal investigation into the federal detention of protester Mark Pettibone. Even Oregon’s federal prosecutor, Billy J. Williams, has asked the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate a use of force by the Marshals.But while Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf showed little sign of backing off the crackdown (“I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors or state governors, to do our job. We’re going to do that whether they like us there or not,” he told Fox News), his predecessor, former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, warned his old department that it risked undermining its core missions. “While I am not in a position to second-guess decisions being made on the ground in Portland, I do know that if the mayor, governor, and both U.S. senators questioned the deployment of additional DHS law enforcement personnel in their state, I would too,” Johnson told The Daily Beast. “When I was in office I constantly told our component leaders to avoid controversial measures that could undermine their own core missions.” Daryl Johnson, a former DHS analyst of right-wing extremism, said the deployment risked appearing as if DHS was arrayed against Americans exercising their constitutional freedoms. “When we’re trying to instill trust in public relations, this isn’t doing anything to foster that trust,” he said. Wyden and his fellow Oregonian in the Senate, Democrat Jeff Merkley, on Monday introduced an amendment to the annual defense authorization to disallow the federal law-enforcement deployment. Their amendment, supported by Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici, restricts federal efforts at crowd control to the “immediate vicinity” of federal property unless requested by local authorities and bans the use of unmarked vehicles or obscured insignia.In Chicago, where police reactions to Black Lives Matter protests have been violent, a Fraternal Order of Police president requested Trump’s assistance. That move drew strong rebuke from local elected officials. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, often the subject of ire from the protesters, has said she doesn’t want outside federal law enforcement assistance. “We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully. That’s not what we need,” Lightfoot said Monday. A senior official appeared to downplay the Department of Justice’s role in the federal response in Portland, saying DOJ was only involved in coordinating with DHS and local officials on the deployment of U.S. Marshal officers to protect federal facilities.However, another official told The Daily Beast to expect an announcement this week “about an expansion of Operation Legend.” Operation Legend is a DOJ law enforcement initiative—announced earlier this month—aimed at reducing violent crime, particularly gun violence, in America’s cities. As part of the initiative, DOJ sent 100 federal law enforcement officers to Kansas City to work with state and local officials there and is expected to deploy additional agents to other areas of the country, another senior administration official said. (It’s unclear whether the nationwide federal build-up teased by Meadows and Trump is this expansion of Operation Legend, a replica of the Portland model, or both.) Although DHS predicates the federal deployment on acts of extreme violence allegedly overwhelming local police, the early charges out of Oregon portray a different story. Since the onset of July, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Oregon has arrested or charged eight people for offenses related to the protests in Portland. The allegations all appear to involve altercations around the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, one of the loci of the federal crackdown. Allegations range from “assaulting federal officers with high intensity lasers”—that is, directing laser pointers at the eyes of security posted to the building—to destroying a closed circuit video camera mounted on the structure’s facade. In one instance, someone was indicted on charges of assaulting a U.S. Marshal with a “four-pound blacksmith’s hammer.” Court records show only two of the accused have been indicted so far, and several have been conditionally released. All the incidents occurred between July 3 and July 11, shortly before the federal crackdown began in earnest. —With additional reporting by William BreddermanRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Source: Yahoo News, Trump Administration Plots Crackdown by Feds in Cities Nationwide

Pence Tells Governors Masks Are Helping Turn the Tide on Coronavirus in Arizona

Pence Tells Governors Masks Are Helping Turn the Tide on Coronavirus in ArizonaDuring a meeting with governors on Monday, the White House Coronavirus Task Force trotted out decreased COVID-19 case counts in Arizona as proof that masks and social distancing work, encouraging other states to impose similar measures as a way to contain and prevent surges.“Masks, closing indoor bars, decreasing indoor dining capacity to 25 percent, continued social distancing and personal hygiene messaging, according to the model, dramatically decrease the rate of community spread,” Vice President Mike Pence, chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said in the meeting, according to a recording obtained by The Daily Beast. Pence said that evidence of the effectiveness of widespread mask use in particular was visible “today” in Arizona. The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center on Monday put the state—which recently had one of the worst case trends on the planet and saw a testing “shitshow”—with the steepest current decline in the nation.“The modeling suggested to us that Phoenix was supposed to be at more than 5,000 cases daily and rising, and instead I was informed by our health experts this morning that they are [at] less than 2,300 cases,” Pence said on Monday. “Again, we believe that the three actions I just described that are being implemented by Gov. [Doug] Ducey are having a dramatic impact on community spread, and it’s a clear example of transmitting science into action and proving this works.”Trump’s Surgeon General Literally Begs Fox News Viewers to Wear MasksThe call put a stark positive spin on a situation that was, as recently as a few days ago, being panned by local doctors on the front lines who told The Daily Beast they felt abandoned by state leaders. Ducey was one of the first governors to lift lockdown restrictions after a nationwide response to the pandemic caused unprecedented closures and shelter-in-place orders.And though Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force’s response coordinator, thanked Ducey and others for their “leadership,” the governor has come under harsh criticism for refusing to issue a mask mandate or reinstitute a lockdown order. Ducey did eventually allow cities to pass their own mask ordinances, and as The Daily Beast reported last week, nearly 90 percent of the state is under some kind of local mask mandate.Birx emphasized that models showed those measures, including 100 percent mask use, “came very close to the impact of sheltering-in-place, and it was theoretic, but it was implemented in Phoenix and in the Tucson area, and we can see now the impact.”As of Monday, Arizona had hit 143,624 cumulative coronavirus cases, and 2,761 had died, according to Johns Hopkins data.“I think this is a very exciting moment for all of us to really see that translation of a model into recommendations that were then executed on the ground and are now having a positive impact,” said Birx. “Hospitalizations and mortality are lagging indicators, but we are seeing a decline in test positivity and new cases.” Meanwhile, despite his opposition to a national mask mandate, President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted a photo of himself with a face mask, calling it “patriotic” to wear one. Despite widespread science on the effectiveness of masks, Trump had refused to publicly wear one for the first nearly six months of the pandemic’s presence in the U.S.On the call, when he reported from the ground, Ducey profusely thanked Pence and Birx for visiting his state, reinforcing that state leaders “continue to encourage and support and advocate and resource for masks,” as well as closures and capacity reductions at establishments.“We’re instructing people they’re safer at home,” said Ducey, adding, “There’s really no victory lap at all. We’re going to stay the course.”Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized that these “fundamentals” have the power to turn around surges, as Arizona’s turnaround has proved. “This is something everyone should be seriously considering,” said Fauci. “If we all do that, not only will we contain the surges, but we will prevent surges.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Source: Yahoo News, Pence Tells Governors Masks Are Helping Turn the Tide on Coronavirus in Arizona

Homeland Security making plans to deploy some 150 agents in Chicago this week, with scope of duty unknown

Homeland Security making plans to deploy some 150 agents in Chicago this week, with scope of duty unknownCHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is crafting plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to Chicago this week, the Chicago Tribune has learned, a move that would come amid growing controversy nationally about federal force being used in American cities. The Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, agents are set to assist other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in …

Source: Yahoo News, Homeland Security making plans to deploy some 150 agents in Chicago this week, with scope of duty unknown

U.S. Senate confirms Trump nominee who defied subpoena to lead budget office

U.S. Senate confirms Trump nominee who defied subpoena to lead budget officeThe U.S. Senate voted along party lines on Monday to confirm Russell Vought as director of the Office of Management and Budget, eight months after Vought defied a congressional subpoena and refused to testify in President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The vote was 51-45 to confirm Vought, as all of Trump’s fellow Republicans backed the nomination and every Democrat voted no. Vought, 44, has held the post of OMB director on an acting basis since January 2019, when his predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, became acting White House chief of staff.

Source: Yahoo News, U.S. Senate confirms Trump nominee who defied subpoena to lead budget office

Navy vet beaten by federal agents: 'They came out to fight'

Navy vet beaten by federal agents: 'They came out to fight'Under the assault, 53-year-old Christopher David seems like a redwood tree — impervious to the blows. Militarized officers from a handful of agencies have been using tear gas, flash-bangs, pepper spray, “less-lethal” impact weapons and other munitions to disperse crowds. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has deployed officers to Portland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident that David recounted.

Source: Yahoo News, Navy vet beaten by federal agents: ‘They came out to fight’

SpaceX successfully launches ANASIS-II satellite and breaks booster turnaround record – TechCrunch

  1. SpaceX successfully launches ANASIS-II satellite and breaks booster turnaround record  TechCrunch
  2. Watch SpaceX catch an entire rocket nose cone that fell from space for the 1st time (video)
  3. South Korea’s first military satellite launched – The Jakarta Post  Jakarta Post
  4. SpaceX just did something it’s never done before  BGR
  5. SpaceX launches satellite, breaks turnaround time  Yahoo! Voices
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

Source: Google News, SpaceX successfully launches ANASIS-II satellite and breaks booster turnaround record – TechCrunch