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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is suddenly facing an active dilemma.
A guilty plea signed last month by one of his former Trump campaign underlings revealed this week shows he likely perjured himself during his confirmation hearing — and he doesn’t have a good option to wriggle out of it.
Sessions told Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) at the January hearing that he was “not aware” of evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government during the campaign, according to the New Republic.
He walked back those claims last month during another Senate hearing, telling Franken he “conducted no improper discussions with Russians at any time regarding the campaign or any other item facing this country.”
But court filings, and a new CNN report, show he was aware of evidence that at least one campaign associate was in contact with Russia.
George Papadopoulos, who served on the foreign policy advisory committee that Sessions oversaw, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to lying to FBI agents in January and February.
The guilty plea Papadopoulos signed shows the campaign adviser communicated with Russians promising stolen campaign information on Hillary Clinton, and he tried repeatedly to set up meetings between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Papadopoulos told other committee members, and Trump himself, about his contacts with Russia during a March 31, 2016, meeting — and proposed arranging for the Republican candidate to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
According to a CNN report Wednesday, Trump “didn’t say yes and he didn’t say no.”
But Sessions, then an Alabama senator and chairman of his national security team, shut down the proposal, according to one person present for the meeting and confirmed by another source.
The guilty plea shows Papadopoulos continued trying to arrange a meeting between campaign officials and Russia until at least August 2016.
J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman and Trump campaign national security adviser who attended the meeting, told CNN that Papadopoulos “obviously went to great lengths to go around me and Sen. Sessions.”
There’s no evidence at this point to contradict Gordon’s claim — but the new revelations still leave Sessions in a position where he’s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.
“The good news for Sessions is that he can plausibly claim to have opposed any Russian collusion,” writes the New Republic‘s Jeet Heer. “The bad news is that, in making those claims, he opens himself up to charges of perjury.”
Sen. Flake: GOP Must Stand Against Trump’s Behavior ‘Or Lose That Chance’ http://n.pr/2lcjPI8
August 6, 2001: Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S. Everyone knows it by now. This was the CIA’s Presidential daily brief given to George W Bush on that day, detailing how Al Qaeda was set on carrying out a major terrorist attack on the U.S. For years, experts and historians have talked about how it was possible for Bush to miss this one coming. Now it seems we have our answer.
This was not a bungling of the job. The Bush administration KNEW that Al Qaeda was going to hit us, and they made a conscious choice to let it happen so that there was no paper trail. They had been warned.
Cofer Black, who was chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center said, “It was very evident we were going to be stuck. We were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.”
George Tenet, Cofer’s boss and former CIA chief said that for months the signs were everywhere. Terrorists were disappearing into hiding, camps were closing, all as if in preparation for an attack. Threat reports and intelligence kept coming in, in increasing severity and urgency. All of this was given directly to the Bush administration month after month, but they made a conscious choice to ignore it.They didn’t try to stop it AT ALL.
Tenet had previously pitched a plan in the spring of 2001, called “the Blue Sky paper” to Bush’s national security team. It called for a CIA and military campaign to end the Al Qaeda threat by invading Afghanistan in a paramilitary operation. Tenet says that the word back from the Bush administration and Condoleeza Rice was “We’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.
Translated, this means they did not want a paper trail to show they had been warned. It isn’t completely known why they had such aversions to there being irrefutable evidence of being warned. Possibly it was so they could justify the Iraq war after 911. Bush had Iraq in his sights before the first election was stolen and handed to him (Al Gore won). Maybe it was because they knew if they tried and failed, and 911 still happened, it would ensure a 1 term Bush presidency.
Tenet went on to describe the discussion with Condoleeza Rice and her team because George W. Bush was on a trip to Boston at the time.
The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda’s intention is the destruction of the United States.
Rice said “What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’
Condoleeza Rice remarkably wrote in her memoir: “My recollection of the meeting is not very crisp because we were discussing the threat every day. I thought we were doing what needed to be done”.
She thought, and apparently by extension, the Bush administration also thought they were doing what needed to be done which was absolutely nothing.
The surreal nature of the multiple, comprehensive, and constant warnings about the 9/11 attacks coming was only eclipsed by the completely astonishing choice, not mistake by the Bush administration to literally allow this to happen to America. There is no other way to possibly interpret it. God himself couldn’t have warned George W. Bush about the terrorist attacks coming, and he literally did not do a thing to stop it. This isn’t a mistake. It isn’t bad judgement. It isn’t even that he forgot about it. He chose to let it happen. Point blank. If that is not High Treason by aiding America’s enemies, I don’t know what is.
A mysterious majestic city
Companion article: Proof that pyramids exist in the Grand Canyon
The Kaibab Plateau located in central Northern Arizona showcases a mysterious majestic city epic jof size and proportion. While this city is officially referred to as a series of natural “Grand Canyon Monuments”, they are in fact precisely arranged Pyramids and structures aligned to the star and nebula pattern of ORION “The Hunter” constellation.
This appears to be a great city of a “lost” continent. There is neither folklore nor definition of it, although, Egyptian and Asian artifacts have been found. Some of which swiped under the guidance of the Smithsonian Institute. The city is masked in secrecy using deceptive language and tactics as a device for keeping the general population from understanding what the “Monuments of the Grand Canyon” truly are.
Click the image to the right to view video: The…
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Christie and Koch in Cahoots? It’s Time to Subpoena the Committee for Our Children’s Future
(Photo: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continued his “New Jersey Comeback” theme at a town hall meeting held at the Westfield Armory located in Westfield, New Jersey on February 8, 2012 via Shutterstock)
Far more insidious, more corrosive and dangerous than the Governor of New Jersey playing traffic warden is the story of Gov. Chris Christie’s secret meetings with a gaggle of billionaires – and the legality of the spending by the front organization set up following these hidden hugger-muggers.
In 2012, a tax-exempt “social welfare organization” called Committee for Our Children’s Future, CCF, ran a series of TV ads telling America that Governor Christie has performed more miracles in New Jersey than Jesus did with loaves and fish. The New York Times found some old college chums who said they set up the “Children’s” crusade for Christie. But the ads cost about $6 million. The Times didn’t ask how Christie’s buddies, not wealthy guys, found the six big ones.
But CCF was not started in 2012. When I heard “Children’s Future,” my nose started twitching. I smelled Koch.
The whiff of sulfur took me back to seven thick investigation binders nearly two decades old – each one marked “KOCH.” In Volume 3, I found it: CCF – Campaign for Our Children’s Future.
Just days before the 1996 election, “Campaign for our Children’s Future,” previously unheard of, paid for some of the most vicious smear ads ever run. The nasty blast, disseminated in coordination with a mysterious operation called “Citizens United,” accused one Democrat of associating with a child molester (false), another of being “a Jewess” (true) and so on.
Most of the 29 targeted Democrats, blindsided and unable to swing at the phantom “Children” and “Citizens,” were creamed. The result, to everyone’s surprise, was that the Republicans kept control of Congress.
(Image: Ted Rall)
Everyone’s surprise but Charles and David Koch. The head of “Children’s Future” confessed to federal investigators he’d signed over $700,000 in blank checks to ananonymous donor running funds through Children’s. The money-laundering operation was traced back to a funding source called “Triad Inc.” – named after the Chinese mobsters. Triad’s front man, facing hard time, swore that all the hidden loot came from Koch Industries, owned by Charles and David Koch.
And that was a crime, one of the two times the Kochs came within kissing distance of prison cells – because, in 1996, before the Citizens United ruling, America still had a democracy, and it was a felony for corporations to slip cash to political campaigns.
And Citizens United? It was, in practice, just one citizen, right-wing-nut billionaire Foster Friess. In 1996, he and rich friends would put cash into Citizens United, which then made campaign contributions, in the exact same amount, on the very same day, to one of their favored politicians. The sums and timing were a “coincidence,” said the “Citizens” lawyers. But it looked an awful lot like a crime: an illegal way around campaign contribution limits.
(How the Kochs and Friess avoided hard time – with Bill Clinton’s help – is a story for another time and place. The place is my book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.)
It wasn’t just me who thought that Children’s Future and the Kochs had committed felonies. Then-Senator Fred Thompson, who’s played a lawman so many times on TV he thinks he is one, accused the Koch operatives of creating illegal “sham nonprofit corporations.”
That was Thompson’s mistake. The Senator was stripped of his powers as chairman of the Government Affairs Committee, denied his demand to subpoena anyone around the Kochs, and his investigation was shut down.
In a parting shot, Thompson wrote: “Triad is important not just for the ways it bent or broke existing laws, but for the pattern it has established for future groups.”
And now we know: The “future group” would be, apparently, the re-formulated CCF, now as Committee for Our Children’s Future. And apparently, our children want Chris Christie.
But this time around, dumping hidden money into a campaign to boost a politician has been decriminalized by the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling, which threw out charges against the old Friess front, Citizens United.
So who are the men who care so much about our children’s future?
There’s Still One Law Left to Break
Despite the Supreme Court stripping naked almost all restrictions on political expenditures, the Justices did firmly secure a critically placed fig leaf: “Independent” organizations may not, in any way whatsoever, plan with, secretly coordinate with, make or take suggestions from, nor consult with, a candidate.
The question is, did the Kochs and Christie drop the fig leaf? The answers are a hell of a lot more important than Sopranos-style score-settling like backing up a bridge.
Let’s look at the evidence. The hidden funnel of funds into Our Children’s Future followed on undisclosed meetings: the first, a two-hour rendezvous between Governor Christie and David Koch in New York in January of 2011. Just the two of them, no one else allowed in.
This concealed chat with Christie was unwittingly disclosed by David Koch himself: He blabbed about it to his billionaire buddies at a closed gathering he organized with his brother Charles. Koch did not know he was being secretly recorded. (Thanks to investigative reporter par excellence Brad Friedman for making the recording public.)
And this was the second secret meeting: The Kochs’ closed confab in Vail, Colorado, on June 26, 2011. The guest of honor at the bash: Governor Chris Christie.
But you’re not supposed to know that.
Now you may think it’s pretty hard for Christie to conceal himself, but the governor did his best. This was some time after Governor Mark Sanford was excoriated for disappearing for a few days, in Sanford’s case to meet his girlfriend. Similarly, Christie left off his schedule any mention of his travel to Colorado for the tryst with the Kochs.
Christie was feted at the billionaires’ bacchanal – and he returned the favor. The hidden recorder captured the governor saying, “We must cut Social Security, cut Medicare, cut Medicaid.” It was Christie tough-guy talk that, notably, he was too cowardly to repeat in New Jersey. He told the awed ultrarich that, by cutting teacher pensions, he could stop Democrats’ attempts to tax millionaires.
Dance of the $70 Million in Vail
(Photo: Greg Palast)
Christie told the billionaires that The Lord Himself had anointed them to rule America – if only the moochers would stop torturing them with stupid environmental rules and taxes.
“All they do is layer regulation and taxes and burdens on all those people who just wanted opportunities to use their God-given gifts and their ambition and their vision to try to improve their lives and through that, improve the lives of other people.”
For the record, the Kochs’ billions were not God-given, but Dad-given. And Daddy Koch got his loot from deals made with Joe Stalin. (No kidding.)
That night, the billionaires whom Christie cast as the victims of government cruelty ponied up $70 million for the Kochs’ political campaign war chest. And, after Christie spoke, Charles Koch said, acknowledging the million-dollar checks from Foster Friess and others: “We will invest this money wisely and get the best possible payoff for you …“
Fighting the Tax on “Extortion”
The Kochs had already received their payoff from Christie – that is, Christie saved America’s future. The brothers Koch stand to profit by approximately $1 billion each per year if the XL Pipeline is built. Therefore, defeating laws to cut greenhouse emissions is crucial. On May 27, 2011, after his secret meeting with David Koch and just before sneaking off to Vail, Christie stunned New Jersey by pulling the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Not that there’s a connection.
After the Vail meeting, there were reports that a gaggle of billionaires had launched a campaign to draft Christie as the most-electable alternative for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination – about the same time as Chris Christie’s college roomies decided to chip in $6 million for old time’s sake.
David Koch was on the “We Heart Christie” bandwagon, of course – joined by the one billionaire more influential, more cunning and more forbidding than any Koch: Paul “The Vulture” Singer. Note: You’re not called a “vulture” by Wall Street for your philanthropic work.
In an investigation for The Nation, I found that Singer had sucked $1.28 billion dollars from the US Treasury in a scheme involving the auto bailout. A treasury official called it “extortion.” Call it extortion or cotton candy, the loot would be nearly tax-free to Singer via a loophole called “carried interest.” Obama was threatening to close this billionaire’s tax goodie – while Christie crowed that he opposed any “millionaire tax.”
And that suited one of Singer’s coinvestors, John Paulson, who made $2.6 billion on the alleged “extortion” from the treasury – and did not want to pay tax on it. His fellow hedge-fund billionaire and Christie fan Stephen Schwarzman likened Obama’s questioning the carried interest loophole to “Hitler’s invasion of Poland.”
Then, billionaire Ken Langone also joined the Christie parade. Langone, I disclosed in Salon, was the money behind the company that, in 2000, purged thousands of black voters from voter rolls in Florida. Later, he was charged with insider trading by Elliott Spitzer, and, after charges were dropped, announced that Spitzer “would pay.” Langone implied, true or not, that he’s the one who busted Spitzer’s career. Langone is not warm to business regulation.
Singer the Vulture is chairman of the Manhattan Institute, a think tank that generates antiregulation propaganda. In May 2010, Governor Christie made a pilgrimage there.
Why? Singer is the brain in Restore Our Future, the super-PAC The Vulture funded with billionaire Harold “Ice-Man” Simmons (who died in December), and notably, the third Koch brother, billionaire Billy Koch.
It was right after the rogues’ gallery of billionaires made their secretive push for Christie that CCF spent $6 million to praise the governor. Notably, the spokesman for both Restore Our Future and Committee for Our Children’s Future, and the only identifiable operator for CCF, is an outfit called Black Rock.
Also, Politico reports that something called Arena Communications of Utah, a recipient of at least $670,973 from Restore Our Future, is virtually the sole donor and operator of the mysterious and short-lived Draft Christie for President Inc.
Question: If Governor Christie is such a straight shooter, then how come he left the Vail and Koch meetings off his schedule? What did he say to The Vulture in Manhattan that got the billionaire bird all excited? And do you want us to believe that in none of these secret gatherings that preceded the million-dollar ads, that there was no coordination, no consultation, no discussion whatsoever of the Governor’s campaign needs?
While my files are thick and the Vail tapes invaluable, I’m not going to pretend that I know the words they whispered in their chit-chats. That’s what subpoenas are for, and these would have to be served on the governor himself, The Vulture and the Kochs.
It’s said that Christie’s failure to question his staff about the GW Bridge jam-up makes him an oddly uncurious fellow. And Mr. Christie is steadfastly uncurious about how his old college friends found $6 million to spend – and, coincidentally, turned their operation over to the outfit that handles CCF’s funds. How many coincidences do we need before we can conclude that the legal line was crossed?
While we need to know what the dipwits appointed by Christie did to our bridge, more important is what the governor said to the billionaires in secret that opened their otherwise tight wallets . . . and whether that loot found its way to CCF.
Singer the Vulture once tried to bully my network, BBC Television, into backing off our investigations.
But I’m not worried – though I wonder whether the governor of New Jersey and Mr. Koch will put traffic cones across my driveway.
BREAKING: New Mexico Supreme Court Declares Statewide Marriage Equality
By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com December 19 2013 1:41 PM ET
In a landmark decision, the New Mexico Supreme Court declared that marriage rights must be extended to same-sex couples throughout the state.
The state’s highest court unanimously ruled that denying committed same-sex couples the right to marry violated the Equal Protection clause of the New Mexico constitution.
“We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law,” reads the ruling.
The court rejected the argument presented by marriage equality opponents that the state had a legitimate governmental interest in “responsible procreation and childrearing,” declaring that supposed interest “is not reflected in the history of the development of New Mexico’s marriage laws. Procreation has never been a condition of marriage under New Mexico law, as evidenced by the fact that the aged, the infertile, and those who choose not to have children are not precluded from marrying. In addition, New Mexico law recognizes the right of same-gender couples to raise children.”
The unanimous decision orders all county clerks in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and also confirms the legal validity of the unions of same-sex couples who married in New Mexico prior to today’s decision, after officials in several counties began issuing marriage licenses to them.
“This truly is a historic and joyful day for New Mexico, said Laura Schauer Ives, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, one of the groups that represented the six same-sex couples in the case before the court, along with the national ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “As a state, we have always strived to treat all families with dignity and respect, and today’s decision allowing loving, committed same sex couples to marry continues that tradition. The more than 1,000 same-sex couples who have already married in New Mexico can now rest certain knowing their marriages will be recognized and respected by our state.”
Added NCLR legal director Shannon Minter: “Today’s decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court is a powerful affirmation that same-sex couples are equal members of New Mexico’s diverse culture and must be given the same legal protections and respect as other families. With this ruling, New Mexico joins 16 other states, the District of Columbia, and at least eight Native American tribes that permit same-sex couples to marry. This is an important day, not only for New Mexico, but for the entire country.”
“The court is entirely correct that denying lesbian and gay couples the same rights as everyone else is fundamentally unjust,” said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin in a statement. “Regardless of where you live, all people should have the ability to marry the person they love, and now the legislature must not do anything to turn back the clock in the Land of Enchantment.”
Eight of New Mexico’s 33 counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in mid-August, when a Doña Ana County clerk began marrying those couples, saying he didn’t believe the state’s marriage statutes expressly prohibited same-sex marriage and that it was unconstitutional to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.
Later in August, a district judge in Santa Fe ruled that the state’s constitution did not preclude same-sex couples from marrying. A district judge in Bernalillo County affirmed this ruling, agreeing that denying marriage equality violates key provisions in the state’s constitution on equality and gender-based discrimination.
Source URL: http://www.advocate.com/politics/marriage-equality/2013/12/19/breaking-new-mexico-supreme-court-declares-statewide-marriage