Posts Tagged ‘Fox News’

Trump’s ‘spy’ claim is debunked by Trey Gowdy and even Judge Napolitano

May 30, 2018

President Trump has made it clear that he likes what he hears on Fox News. The network often covers the president favorably, bringing on conservative commentators who push the president’s agenda and, at times, explore far-right conspiracy theories.

But in an unusual shift Tuesday, three voices on Fox News pushed back against the president’s most recent conspiracy theory. A Fox News guest, commentator and anchor all rebuked claims from the president and his allies that the FBI planted a “spy” in his campaign in an effort to undercut his candidacy.

By Samantha Schmidt
The Washington Post

Outgoing Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the House Oversight Committee chairman and a Trump supporter, said in an interview on Fox that the FBI was justified in using a secret informant to assist in the Russia investigation. Gowdy, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, attended a classified Justice Department briefing last week on the FBI’s use of the confidential source, identified as Stefan A. Halper.

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Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in December. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

“President Trump himself in the Comey memos said if anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it, and it sounds to me like that is exactly what the FBI did,” Gowdy told host Martha MacCallum. “I think when the president finds out what happened, he is going to be not just fine, he is going to be glad that we have an FBI that took seriously what they heard.

“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump,” Gowdy said. Asked about the president’s tweets on the subject, Gowdy added that such statements could be subject to questioning by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

“If I were his lawyer, and I never will be, I would tell him to rely on his lawyers and his [communications] folks,” he said.

Asked to respond to Gowdy’s remarks, a Fox News commentator known for defending the president also cast doubt on Trump’s claims. Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano (better known and often quoted by Trump as Judge Napolitano) said claims that the FBI placed an undercover spy on Trump’s campaign “seem to be baseless.”

“There is no evidence for that whatsoever,” Napolitano said. The fact that the FBI source spoke with “people on the periphery of the campaign,” he said, “is standard operating procedure in intelligence gathering and in criminal investigations.”

Image result for Andrew Napolitano, photos

Andrew Napolitano

MacCallum, the Fox News anchor, pressed Napolitano, asking him, “If that were the case and the president said, ‘I want to know if anybody’s working with Russia,’ why was he not sort of clued in to that?”

Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge, replied that “frankly, that’s a judgment call.”

“I understand the president’s frustration that he was not informed of the fact that his campaign was being investigated,” Napolitano said. “Would I have told the candidate? I would have. But I respect the judgment of those who decided not to tell him. If they were there for some nefarious reason, the one Giuliani suggested, to gather data from the campaign and pass it to the West Wing and pass it to Mrs. Clinton, I’d want to see evidence before I made an allegation that outrageous.”

As The Washington Post has reported, there is no evidence to suggest that the FBI informant was inserted into the campaign. He did, however, seek out and meet three Trump campaign advisers.

Napolitano’s reluctance to back Trump’s claims was surprising in part because of Napolitano’s previous tendency to peddle conspiracy theories with no evidence. Trump is known to watch Napolitano on Fox News and has even quoted the legal analyst in tweets and seemingly appeared to follow his advice. Just last week, Trump tweeted a quote from Napolitano apparently delivered on Fox News: “It’s clear that they had eyes and ears all over the Trump Campaign,” Trump quoted Napolitano as saying.

Donald J. Trump


“It’s clear that they had eyes and ears all over the Trump Campaign” Judge Andrew Napolitano

In March 2017, Fox News temporarily pulled Napolitano off the air after he made the baseless assertion that President Barack Obama had asked for British assistance in wiretapping Trump. Later in the week, then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer referenced Napolitano’s claim in a news briefing, and Trump also repeated the assertion in a news conference.

“All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for that on television,” Trump said. “I didn’t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox.”

Fox News was then forced to distance itself from Napolitano’s comments, saying it could not confirm Napolitano’s commentary and that it knew of no evidence supporting the wiretapping claims.

In a rally in Nashville on Tuesday night, Trump doubled down on his theory, asking the crowd: “How do you like the fact they had people infiltrating our campaign?”

President Trump answered questions from reporters on May 23, about his attacks on the FBI’s Russia investigation and their informant during the 2016 campaign.

Earlier in the day, the president once again fired out tweets condemning the Russia investigation as a partisan “Witch Hunt” and saying it could amount to “MEDDLING” in this year’s midterm elections. The same day, Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said the president will not agree to an interview with the special counsel until prosecutors allow the president’s legal team to review documents related to the FBI’s use of the source.

In his with Fox News, Gowdy called on the president to sit down for an interview with Mueller. He said the president should feel “heartened” that senior officials at the Justice Department, including FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, “now are all Trump appointees.” He said that Trump is not the target of the investigation.

“If he were my client,” Gowdy said, “I would say, ‘If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you need to sit down with Mueller.’ ”

It’s not the first time the South Carolina Republican has expressed his disapproval of the way the president and his legal team are approaching the Russia probe. Earlier this month, Gowdy condemned Trump’s attorney John Dowd for calling on the Justice Department to end the special counsel probe.

“If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it,” Gowdy said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Also on Fox News on Tuesday, anchor Shepard Smith ripped apart the president’s “conspiracy theories” that Mueller and his team are meddling in the midterms, calling the allegations “unfounded, not based in fact or reason, with no evidence to support them.”

“There’s nothing to support that claim, and neither the president nor the White House has offered anything to support that claim,” Smith said, quoting Trump’s Tuesday morning tweet.

Donald J. Trump


Why aren’t the 13 Angry and heavily conflicted Democrats investigating the totally Crooked Campaign of totally Crooked Hillary Clinton. It’s a Rigged Witch Hunt, that’s why! Ask them if they enjoyed her after election celebration!

Smith also dismantled the president’s spy accusation, saying, “Fox News knows of no evidence to support the claim.”

“Lawmakers from both parties say using an informant to investigate suspected ties to Russia is not spying; it’s part of the normal investigative process,” Smith said.

It is not the first time Smith has gone against the grain of Fox News coverage. In November, the anchor stirred anger from Fox News viewers when he debunked conservative conspiracy theories surrounding a uranium deal involving former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Many Fox News conservative viewers called for Smith to be fired.

Tuesday brought a rare dose of Trump fact-checking on Fox News.

But come nightfall, there’s always Sean Hannity.

On his Fox News show Tuesday night, the conservative commentator stood behind Trump’s baseless spy claims, saying, “Robert Mueller’s out-of-control Russia probe has now lost all sense of legitimacy.”

Obama’s Justice Department, Hannity said, “utilized at least one informant to spy on multiple Trump campaign officials and associates during the 2016 election. And by the way, the media is lying about it.”


Comcast Lines Up Financing for Possible Hostile Bid for 21st Century Fox Assets

May 8, 2018

Cable giant is monitoring outcome of AT&T and Time Warner antitrust trial as it weighs whether to proceed with offer

Comcast has lined up around $60 billion in financing to make an all-cash offer for the Fox assets.
Comcast has lined up around $60 billion in financing to make an all-cash offer for the Fox assets. PHOTO: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS


Cable giant Comcast Corp. is getting the pieces in place to make a hostile bid for 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets should it choose to do so, according to people familiar with the situation.

Fox agreed in December to sell the assets in question to Walt Disney Co. for $52.4 billion in stock.

Comcast is considering making a play to break up that deal, and has lined up around $60 billion in financing to make an all-cash offer for the Fox assets, the people say.

Comcast hasn’t yet decided whether to proceed with a hostile bid. One pivotal factor is the outcome of the government’s lawsuit to stop the pending merger of AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. If the companies are successful and their deal survives, Comcast would be emboldened to pursue the Fox assets, the people said.

Arguments in the antitrust case against the deal concluded last week, with the judge saying he would announce his ruling on June 12.

The assets Comcast and Disney are seeking to purchase include the Twentieth Century Fox TV and film studio, cable networks and international properties including Fox’s 39% stake in European pay TV operator Sky PLC.

Separately, on another track, Comcast and Fox are each vying for full control of Sky and have lobbed in bids. Comcast is securing financing from banks that would allow it to pursue a bid for the Fox entertainment assets and consolidate 100% ownership of Sky, the people familiar with the situation said.

Reuters earlier reported that Comcast was asking banks to arrange financing that would give it the ability to pursue an all-cash bid for the Fox assets.

Comcast has circled the Fox assets for months. Fox, citing regulatory concerns, turned down a Comcast stock offer in the low $60 billion range before sealing the Disney deal, people familiar with the matter have said. Comcast’s offer was a 16% premium to Disney’s, according to a securities filing and people close to the deal talks.

It is possible Comcast could bid a bit lower than last time if it pursues a hostile effort, one of the people familiar with the situation said. The cable company believes an all-cash offer would be compelling to most Fox shareholders.

One concern raised from the Fox side during the last round of deliberations was the relative value of Comcast shares versus Disney shares, so an all-cash bid would take that off the table, the person said.

Comcast shares have been under pressure in recent months. The cable company’s chief financial officer, Michael Cavanagh, said on an earnings call late last month that Comcast was unlikely to use its stock to make deals. He said the company’s strong balance sheet will give it flexibility to consider opportunities “at times like this.”

21st Century Fox and Wall Street Journal-parent News Corp share common ownership.

Comey’s media tour shows why we’re better off without him

April 29, 2018

The more Comey talks, the more he inadvertently proves Trump’s case that something was very rotten in Washington and that Comey himself was unfit to lead the FBI.

You don’t have to be a cockeyed optimist to believe that, although times are tough, they could be worse. Just imagine the mess if James Comey were still running the FBI.

Near the end of his forceful Thursday interview, Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Comey if he would have kept working for President Trump had the president not fired him.

“Yes,” Comey said. “In fact, that was my intention. To serve another six years.”

Yikes. Thank heavens — and Trump — Comey didn’t get the chance to corrupt the FBI for a minute longer, let alone six more years.

Comey’s book tour is a phenomenon possible only in the Age of Trump. He is treated like a star because he delivers catnip to the hate-Trump media, as when he condemns the president as “like a crime boss who’s morally unfit.” The book, “Higher Loyalty” has sold more than 600,000 copies and the president feeds the circus by calling Comey a “leaker and a liar.”

Most authors would die for such attention and sales, but Comey is paying a reputational price for his windfall. The more he talks, the more he inadvertently proves Trump’s case that something was very rotten in Washington and that Comey himself was unfit to lead the FBI.

Consider his comments to a New York bookstore audience.

“There is a deep state in this sense,” Comey said. “There is a collection of people, CIA, NSA, FBI [and] in the United States military services who care passionately about getting it right, who care passionately about the values we try to talk about.”

He called them the “ballast of the country” and said “No president in a single term could screw it up…It would take generations, and that should comfort us.”

That depends on who “us” is and whose “values” are being pushed.

In a vacuum, the notion of seasoned professionals making the government run is unremarkable. But against the backdrop of continuing revelations of serious misconduct in those agencies during the Obama administration, there is no comfort for the millions of Americans who believe insiders abused their powers for partisan purposes.

They see the “deep state” as a sinister force aiming to hijack an election and, when that didn’t work, undermine a fairly elected president. They also see a system with one set of laws for those favored by the government and a different set for everyone else.

Comey, as an ambitious insider, was both a beneficiary and a perpetrator of this double standard of justice.

He continues to insist that his investigation of Hillary Clinton was clean, even as he says he didn’t trust the actions of his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch. He insists the Trump probe was not affected by the anti-Trump sentiments of top officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who texted about an “insurance plan” in case Trump won, or the lies to investigators of his top deputy, Andrew McCabe.

His claim that he saw no bias is laughable — they were all biased in the same way, agreeing that Trump should not be president!

In a truly bizarre claim, Comey said on Fox he isn’t certain the Russian dossier was paid for by Clinton and the Democratic Party.

That doesn’t pass the smell test, and, even if true, would mean the probe was incompetent. The political motivation behind the dossier is a key fact when judging its credibility, as are the openly-partisan leanings of investigators.

Yet to hear Comey talk, none of this matters. All that matters is that we should trust him to do the right thing, which happens to be whatever he says it is.

That includes giving a “friend” memos he wrote to leak them to the media. Oops — it’s not a leak when he does it.

Nor does he see anything wrong in writing a scathing book based on his private meetings with the president, even though he leaves an unprecedented stain on the FBI.

Comey’s self-aggrandizement is apparent with his claim that he tried to “protect the independence” of the agency, as if it were a separate branch of government, accountable to no one.

It also doesn’t seem to bother him that public trust is destroyed when law enforcement is politicized to help the candidate of the incumbent party and hurt the candidate of the opposition party.

What happened at the FBI under Comey in 2016 was not “ballast.” It was a clear and present danger to America.

This is the “deep state” in reality, not the idealized one he depicts.

A final example involves how the most salacious aspects of the Russian dossier were published. Comey writes that he briefed President-elect Trump on the alleged prostitute saga, telling him that “media like CNN had the dossier and were looking for a news hook” to publish it.

Presto — two days after that briefing, CNN broke the news that Comey had discussed the dossier with Trump, making the meeting the news hook CNN sought. The source of that story appears to be James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence — and now a CNN contributor.

According to a House Intelligence Committee report released Friday, Clapper initially “flatly denied” discussing the dossier with CNN.

But when confronted with evidence to the contrary, he changed his story.

The report says “Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the ‘dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,’ and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists,” according to The Federalist.

One more fact: Comey said he briefed Trump on the dossier at Clapper’s suggestion.

That’s the deep state in action.

Part of Donald Trump’s Telephone Kitchen Cabinet is Sean Hannity

April 18, 2018

Hannity’s rising role in Trump’s world: ‘He basically has a desk in the place’

April 17 at 7:53 PM

The phone calls between President Trump and Sean Hannity come early in the morning or late at night, after the Fox News host goes off the air. They discuss ideas for Hannity’s show, Trump’s frustration with the ongoing special counsel probe and even, at times, what the president should tweet, according to people familiar with the conversations. When he’s off the phone, Trump is known to cite Hannity when he talks with White House advisers.

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The revelation this week that the two men share an attorney is just the latest sign of how Hannity is intertwined with Trump’s world — an increasingly powerful confidant who offers the ­media-driven president a sympathetic ear and shared grievances. The conservative commentator is so close to Trump that some White House aides have dubbed him the unofficial chief of staff.

This portrait of the interactions between the president and the talk-show host is based on interviews with more than a dozen friends, advisers and associates of the two men, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

For a president who feels, intensely, that he is under siege, Hannity offers what he prizes: loyalty and a mass audience. And Trump, in turn, has directed his supporters to Hannity’s show — urging people on Twitter last week to watch the commentator attack special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who heads the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

Their bond intensified during the 2016 campaign and has grown stronger during Trump’s time in office.

“The bottom line is, during the heat of the campaign when relationships are forged, he was always there, offering good advice, in person and on television,” former deputy Trump campaign manager David Bossie said of Hannity. “The president sees him as an incredibly smart and articulate spokesman for the agenda.”

Before stardom on Fox News, Hannity found controversy on college radio

Trump and Hannity usually speak several times a week, according to people familiar with their relationship. The Fox News host, whose show averages more than 3 million viewers daily, is one of the few people who gets patched immediately to Trump. The two men review news stories and aspects of Hannity’s show, and occasionally debate specifics about whatever the president is considering typing out on Twitter. There have also been times when Trump has assessed the merits of various White House aides with Hannity.

The frequency of Hannity’s contact with Trump means that “he basically has a desk in the place,” one presidential adviser said.

Hannity and White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Several West Wing aides and friends of the president pointed to their running conversations — whether they take place over the phone or on the golf course in Florida, as they did in late March — as crucial to understanding this moment in the Trump presidency, when the president is eager to return to the combative and television-infused style of his business career and more isolated than ever from the traditional Republicans who have struggled to guide him.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer gives Fox News host Sean Hannity a tour of the White House press briefing room in January 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

“There is a small group of people who Trump speaks with who truly don’t have to be obsequious,” a veteran Trump ally said. “Sean is one of them,” the ally added, and said that Blackstone chief executive Stephen Schwarzman, veteran investor Carl Icahn and first lady Melania Trump “may be the only others on that list.”

Hannity’s counsel hews to a core theme — distance yourself from Washington elites and trust the instincts that he argues won Trump the White House — the advisers said, and Hannity has emphasized that keeping conservatives happy on immigration and health-care issues is critical.

Another regular topic: venting about the Russia probe and senior Justice Department figures such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation, the advisers said.

Read the rest:

The Washington Post

Kitchen Cabinet

Neil Cavuto Challenges Kudlow on Trump’s China Tariffs — “Looks like a trade war” (Cavuto thinks Kudlow is flip-flopping on positions he held for years)

April 5, 2018

Fox News

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow defended President Donald Trump’s institution of tariffs against Chinese goods, to which Beijing has responded in kind.

Kudlow said Trump does not want a “trade war” and is instead showing that America has lost out due to “unfair and illegal trading practices.”

“Blame China, don’t blame President Trump. Trump’s the solution,” Kudlow, a former chief economist at Bear Stearns and a longtime business news anchor, said.

Neil Cavuto, who noted he has known Kudlow for decades, told the Englewood, N.J. native that there is “no way” that Trump is a “free-trader.”

Kudlow disagreed, saying that Trump knows the “path to free trade” is through correcting illegal practices by China and others.

“They’re closing markets,” he said. “They’re not playing by the rules.”

Kudlow said Trump is seeking a “pot of gold” on the “other side of the rainbow… that is economic growth.”

“[That] sure sounds like a trade war to me,” Cavuto said.

Includes video:


Cavuto Battles Kudlow in Tense Standoff: You Don’t Sound Like the Larry Kudlow I ‘Respected and Admired’

Several weeks ago — Larry Kudlow and Neil Cavuto were adversaries of a sort, but also allies in the field of cable news financial punditry. Now, however, Kudlow is gone from CNBC — where he served as a contributor — and has joined President Donald Trump‘s administration as Director of the National Economic Council. And now that Kudlow’s got the high-profile gig, Cavuto thinks he’s flip-flopping on positions he held for years.

In a tense battle on Fox News Wednesday, Cavuto grilled Kudlow over what Cavuto believes is the beginnings of a trade war with China — amid proposed tariffs from Trump.

“I hope you are to avoid that kind of thing,” Cavuto said of the tariffs. “But this doesn’t sounds like the laissez-faire, hands off Larry Kudlow I’ve respected and admired all these decades.”

Kudlow fired back, saying that some form of intervention is necessary at this moment.

“I have been an opponent of China for many years, as a free-trader,” Kudlow said. “Because they’re closing markets, they’re closing investment. They’re not playing by the rules of the game. And so what are we supposed to do? We have to react.”

Kudlow then made the nebulous, unverifiable claim that negotiations on NAFTA are proceeding “well.” Cavuto tried to press for details. Kudlow said he couldn’t go any further.

“You want to whisper it in my ear?” Cavuto said, dryly.

Watch above, via Fox News.

[featured image via screengrab]

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Trump Hits Again at Mueller, Invoking Alan Dershowitz’s Support

March 21, 2018


By Terrence Dopp

  • President keeps up attacks on prosecutor leading Russia probe
  • Mueller wrong way to address Russian 2016 meddling: academic

President Donald Trump returned to criticisms of the special counsel investigating Russian election meddling Wednesday, this time quoting Alan Dershowitz on Fox News mounting a vigorous attack on Robert Mueller, saying he never should have been appointed and that there was no evidence of a crime.

“Special Council is told to find crimes, whether crimes exist or not. I was opposed the the selection of Mueller to be Special Council, I still am opposed to it. I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have been a Special Council appointed,” Trump said on Twitter, quoting the former Harvard law professor.

Alan Dershowitz

Photographer: Lior Mizrahi/Hulton Archive

In a subsequent message, Trump wrote, “there was no probable cause for believing that there was any crime, collusion or otherwise, or obstruction of justice!”

The tweets come as even Republicans in Washington have become concerned that Trump will fire Mueller, the former FBI director brought in as special counsel after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday praised Mueller and said he should be allowed to finish his job, in his first comments since Trump began slamming Mueller over the weekend. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that Mueller should be allowed to complete his work.

Lawmakers took some comfort in statements from Trump attorney Ty Cobb and White House officials that Trump wasn’t planning to oust Mueller. But Trump continued to attack the investigation as a “witch hunt,” and he hired Joseph diGenova, a former federal prosecutor who has said Trump is the victim of a “brazen plot” by the FBI and the Justice Department. DiGenova also has repeatedly criticized the Trump appointee who oversees Mueller’s probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Satellite Images of Iranian Missile Base in Syria May Signal an Israeli Strike

March 1, 2018


The Fox News report evokes the BBC report from December on a military base for pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Syria. The base was bombed from the air a few weeks later

.Israeli satellite images reveal: Iran builds military base near Damascus
Israeli satellite images reveal: Iran builds military base near Damascus.: Imagesat International (ISI)

Judging by historic precedent, the report Fox News aired Wednesday on the new Iranian military base in Syria is like cocking a gun: it’s the warning before the blast. The same happened in December. A few weeks after the BBC reported based on “Western intelligence” sources, on a base for pro-Iranian Shiite in Syria, the base was bombed from the air. Foreign media attributed the attack to Israel, though Israel as usual declined to comment.

The last week has brought more reports about Iran’s establishment in Syria – the deployment of Shiite militias, the presence of military experts, soldiers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as plans to build bases and weapons factories. First The New York Times published a detailed map showing the Iranian reinforcement, now Fox News reports that the new base near Damascus includes big hangars, that could house missiles capable of hitting anywhere in Israel.

Israeli satellite images reveal: Iran builds military base near Damascus
Israeli satellite images reveal: Iran builds military base near Damascus.Imagesat International (ISI)

Fox News, like the BBC before it, broadcast satellite images of the suspect site. The conservative news network quoted the same opaque Western sources. One may assume that definition is a relatively flexible one, and that it’s perfectly accurate if one reads that as sources located somewhere west of Iran.

These reports follow a number of other developments, one being Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unusual speech last week at the International Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on February 18. There for the first time he threatened a direct hit on Iran and military action against the Assad regime. Another is Netanyahu’s anticipated meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington next month; and when a group of senators returned home from visiting Israel, they stated that the new threats by Iran require the administration to reconsider giving Israel more military aid.

Speaking to the Voice of Israel radio on Wednesday morning, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would not accept Iranian establishment in Lebanon, and certainly not let it position long-range missiles there. The minister however repeated that Israel is not looking for war up north.


Iranian presence in Syria

Most of the Syrian medium- and long-range missiles were used up or destroyed during the seven-year civil war. Iran’s attempts have centered so far mainly on arming Hezbollah and, lately, it’s been trying to improve the accuracy of the Lebanese organization’s guided rockets.

Yet assuming that Iran is preparing for future war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, it makes sense, as far as it’s concerned, to prepare a second front deep inside Syria. That would force the Israeli air force to stretch its aggressive capacities over a wider area, enabling the Iranians and their partners to launch missiles at Israel from a greater distance, even if the Israeli army embarks on a broad ground campaign in Lebanon.

The new threat against Iran was issued two and a half weeks after the day of Israeli-Syrian-Iranian fighting on February 10. That day the Israeli army shot down an Iranian drone that had penetrated Israeli territory by Beit She’an; in retaliation, Israel attacked an Iranian command bunker by Tadmor (Palmyra) in central Syria, and the Syrian aerial defense downed an Israeli F-16 fighter jet.

Despite the price the parties paid (including Syria, after Israeli jets bombed its antiaircraft batteries in response), the latest report seems to show the parties are continuing to follow their own original plans. Iran continues to increase its assets in Syria, which Israel may target again. The foreign press hasn’t reported any more Israeli bombing raids on Syria since February 10, but senior Israeli sources have already spelled out that the policy of deterrence in the north will continue.

In other words, in light of the Fox News report, it’s fair to assume that the countdown has started for another aerial clash in the Syrian skies. Even with the parties stating that they do not want war, it will take extraordinary navigational skills to prevent matters from spiraling out of control.

New Iranian Bas Near Damascus Seen in Satellite Images

February 28, 2018

New satellite images purport to show base built to house missiles “capable of striking Israel.”

 FEBRUARY 28, 2018 08:17

A satellite image claiming to show a n Iranian military base outside Damascus

A satellite image claiming to show a n Iranian military base outside Damascus. (photo credit: IMAGESAT INTERNATIONAL (ISI))

New satellite images of an area near the Syrian capital of Damascus show a new permanent military base which may house missiles capable of striking Israel, Fox News reported Wednesday.

The images of the base, some 12 kilometers northwest of Damascus, were taken by ImageSat International (ISI) and shared with Fox. They show two recently constructed hangars which are similar in appearance to Iranian bases in Syria.

According to Fox, the new base is operated by Iran’s Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responsible for operations in foreign countries, deployed to Syria to help embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad and is being used to store short and medium-range missiles.

In November, the BBC news agency reported that Iran established another military base at a Syrian army site south of Damascus. It was destroyed in December by an alleged Israeli air-to-surface missile strike, according to foreign media reports.

According to the report, which was based on a western intelligence source, the Iranian base was some 50 kilometers north of Israel’s Golan Heights and had several buildings which likely would have housed soldiers and military vehicles.

Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the growing Iranian presence on its borders and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are red-lines for the Jewish State.

Last week, a New York Times investigative report revealed the scope and depth of Iranian entrenchment in Syria, with a high concentration of outposts along the border with Israel, including administrative bases, logistical bases, control centers for UAVs (drones), training centers and more.

Former Israeli defense minister Amir Peretz said on Twitter Wednesday that the report of a new base demands determined diplomatic action by the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The message must be made clear that Iranian military entrenchment constitutes a red line that must not be crossed. If need be, all options will be examined to prevent the entrenchment on the northern border,” he wrote.

In early February, an Israeli F-16i fighter jet was downed by Syrian anti-aircraft missiles after it carried out retaliatory airstrikes following the infiltration of an advanced drone into Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then warned at the Munich Security Conference that Israel could strike the Islamic Republic directly and cautioned Tehran not to “test Israel’s resolve.”

“Israel will not allow Iran’s regime to put a noose of terror around our neck. We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves. And we will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”

On Tuesday, Gen. Joseph L. Votel, head of US Central Command, said that Iran was “increasing the number and quality” of its ballistic missiles deployed to the war-torn country as well as “enhancing” its funding to its proxy troops in the Middle East.

But despite that increased threat posed by Iran, Votel stated that “countering Iran is not one of the coalition’s missions in Syria.”



Bonfire of the academies: Two professors on how leftist intolerance is killing higher education

December 13, 2017
At colleges and universities all over the country, students are protesting in increasingly virulent and sometimes violent ways. They demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, shouting down those with whom they disagree. It has become rote for outsiders to claim that the inmates are running the asylum; that this is analogous to Mao’s Red Guard, Germany’s brown shirts, the French Revolution’s Jacobins; and, when those being attacked are politically “left” themselves, that the Left is eating its own. These stories seem to validate every fantasy the Right ever had about the Left.
As two professors who recently resigned from positions at a college we loved, and who have always been on the progressive-left end of the political spectrum, we can say that, while none of those characterizations is exactly right, there is truth in each of them.

The Evergreen State College is a public liberal arts college in Olympia, Wash., at the southern tip of Puget Sound, surrounded by water and forests. Being public means it has a socioeconomically diverse student body, which brings a variety of life experiences to campus. It is not an elite college made up primarily of rich kids. It is, rather, an experimental college with a curricular structure that, for both better and worse, is like no other. Most students take full-time 16-credit programs, for up to a full academic year. Instead of hopping from organic chemistry to genetics to art history, students are immersed with others whom they come to know well in full-time, interdisciplinary programs that are often team-taught by faculty. This allows professors to know each student individually, and is particularly well-suited to students with high potential and unusual learning styles.

To give but one example of what was possible at Evergreen, in 2015-16, we team-taught a year-long program called Evolution and Ecology Across Latitudes. It included an intensive, 11-week trip through Ecuador, in which we explored the Amazon, the Andes Mountains, and the Galápagos Islands, and also studied the pre-Colombian peoples of Ecuador — the Inca, Cañari, and Huaorani, to name just a few. We started the year with epistemology, taught statistics, and considered the modern history of Latin America as well. Before our trip, we worked with several of our low-income students to help them get grants so that they could study abroad with us. We were a diverse group in nearly every way.

We were among Evergreen’s most popular faculty, and year in, year out, our students wrote stellar evaluations of us. Our programs were always full, even in a time of falling enrollments. Yet, we work at Evergreen no more. What happened to this brilliant, flawed experiment? There are too many subplots to recount, but here is one thread that, we hope, others can use to spot insurgencies on their own campuses.

In 2015, Evergreen hired a new president. Trained as a sociologist, George Bridges did two things upon arrival. First, he hired an old friend to talk one-on-one to members of our community — faculty, staff, and students. We talked about our values and our visions for the college. But the benefit of hindsight suggests that he was looking for something else. He was mapping us, assessing our differences, our blind spots, and the social tensions that ran beneath the surface. Second, Bridges fired the provost, Michael Zimmerman. The provost, usually synonymous with the vice president for academics, is the chief academic officer at an institution of higher education. Zimmerman would have disapproved of what Bridges had in mind and would have had some power to stop it. But he was replaced by a timid (though well-liked) insider who became a pawn due to his compromised interim status and his desire not to make waves.

Having mapped the faculty and fired the provost, Bridges began reworking the college in earnest. Surprise announcements became the norm as opportunities for discussion dwindled.

The president took aim at what made Evergreen unique, such as full-time programs. He fattened the administration, creating expensive vice president positions at an unprecedented rate, while budgets tightened elsewhere due to drops in student enrollment and disappearing state dollars. He went after Evergreen’s unparalleled faculty autonomy, which was essential to the unique teaching done by the best professors.

All of this should have been alarming to a faculty in which professors have traditionally viewed administrative interference in academic matters with great suspicion. But Bridges was strategic and forged an alliance with factions known to be obsessed with race. He draped the “equity” banner around everything he did. Advocating that Evergreen embrace itself as a “College of Social Justice,” he argued that faculty autonomy unjustly puts the focus on teachers rather than students, and that the new VP for Equity and Inclusion would help us serve our underserved populations. But no discussion was allowed of students who did not meet the narrow criteria of being “underserved.” Because of the wrapping, concerns about policy changes were dismissed as “anti-equity.” What was in the nicely wrapped box turned out to be something else entirely.


When protesters interrupted the fall 2016 convocation, claiming that “Evergreen cashes diversity checks but doesn’t care about blacks,” Bridges did not let the self-described radicals take over. He might as well have, though, for the next day he apologized for not doing so. “I regret having made this decision,” he wrote, making it clear that, upon reflection, he felt he should have let the protesters dominate and derail the proceedings.

Any parent, or indeed, anyone who has ever mentored someone will recognize that the president’s apology was guaranteed, if not calculated, to embolden the protesters. Put aside for the moment that the grievances being aired — Evergreen is a hotbed of racism! — amount to empty assertions. We have heard no stories that hold up under scrutiny of actual institutional racism at the school. Those who assert that racism is ubiquitous at the college cannot point to it. Even so, assume for the moment that Evergreen did have racism running rampant. Even under those conditions, would apologizing to students for asking them to respect the college and its invited speakers be the right move? Of course not.

What happened next was predictable. Protests became more frequent and intrusive. Protesters showed up at the swearing-in ceremony of the new campus police chief, Stacy Brown, and shut it down. Brown, an officer with impeccable credentials and a good heart, who is herself also an Evergreen graduate, was thus denied the honor she deserved. One faculty member added insult to injury by writing to her to say that police are not wanted on campus. Soon thereafter, protesters showed up at another ceremony, the dedication of a campus building to the last president of Evergreen, Les Purce. Purce happens to be black. Protesters grabbed the microphone and read an epithet-rich announcement claiming that the school is “unsafe for marginalized students.” The current president stood in the background, silent and limp.

Meanwhile, the “Equity Council” that Bridges had appointed and empowered shifted into high gear. It produced a document laden with proposals that tear at the foundations of a liberal arts college. It recommended, for example, using “diversity and equity in the criteria for prioritizing faculty hires.” As is clear from the minutes of the council’s meetings, this goes well beyond affirmative action, which is itself illegal in the state of Washington. Taken to its logical conclusion, this policy would mean hiring no more artists, or chemists, or writing faculty, or any faculty, really, unless their research or training could be defended on the grounds of “equity.” That would spell the end of the liberal arts college.

In Nov. 2016, the Equity Council held the “canoe meeting.” Remarkably, as with so much of the history we are laying out here, this meeting was captured, and the whole episode is available for viewing online. It has to be seen to be believed. Ostensibly, the meeting was called to discuss the adoption of a Strategic Equity Plan. But the contents of the 38-page plan were not discussed. Instead, there was a celebration, with much hand-wringing and some tears, of just two pages of the plan devoted to its goals. These were nothing more than a string of platitudes about helping historically disadvantaged people in order to put all graduates on an equal footing. There was no debate or discussion about how this incredible feat was to be accomplished. There was no time given to objections. After all, who could possibly object? The audience was told that there was a binary choice between being allies of the plan or becoming enemies, and that regardless of anyone’s opinion, “we’re going to do it.”

And then came the canoe. First, senior administrators were called by name, invited to walk down to the stage, and to step into a large and imaginary canoe. Then, everyone in the room was invited to come aboard, en masse. Finally, everyone walked in a line, as if in a canoe, out of the building together, on a fantastical voyage toward campus equity. An Indian drum beat and the recorded sound of crashing surf were in the background.

Afterward, Evergreen’s email system echoed to the virtuous cry of “I’m in the canoe!” Bret, who had refused to climb aboard, wrote and circulated his dissent, suggesting that what was happening at the college amounted to a campaign of intimidation. Dissent was impossible. He added that he did not believe the plan would benefit students of color, now or in the future. The email responses were disheartening. One colleague wrote that “white people … cannot dictate the terms of this conversation.” Another emailed that “there are multiple versions of ‘truth’ that exist at once.” Still another wrote: “If our students are telling us … that they are experiencing a hostile environment, we must take our students at their word.”

That is the sound of inquiry and due process dying.

At the beginning of this year, true believers in faux-equity intensified their campaign. Evergreen was, remarkably, compared to Little Rock in 1957. At faculty meetings, Bret was publicly denounced as a racist for repeatedly and fruitlessly asking that the plan be discussed thoroughly. Heather was on sabbatical, engaging far less with the goings-on on campus.

In April, the event that nominally brought Evergreen to national attention arrived. Historically on campus, a day in April has been chosen as a “Day of Absence,” on which some people of color chose to absent themselves from campus to demonstrate their important roles at the college. This year, the organizers decided that the process should be reversed, and white people were “asked” to leave the campus for the day. When Bret respectfully challenged the invitation to absent himself over email, the blowback from faculty and staff was telling. One wrote, “I love imagining students, staff and colleagues of color having the campus to themselves to do their work.” Another commented, “By switching the Day of Absence programming, we are physically moving our bodies so that people of color can be centered for ONE DAY on campus.” Yet another wrote: “I feel strongly about honoring the call for white-identified people to absent themselves from campus.” The interim provost had already sent an email saying “This expanded programming and call for even broader participation in both Day of Presence and Day of Absence also mean faculty will need to make adjustments to teaching and associated classroom scheduling.” Many faculty committed long in advance to require students to participate.

If this is an ask, we don’t want to see a tell.


Weeks later, on the morning of May 23, an unruly group of students disrupted Bret’s class, yelled and chanted at him, barred the police from entering the scene, and then went to hold court with the college administration. Many of the protesters did not even know what they had been asked to come protest. Students acted badly, and then stupidly, taking video and posting it for the whole world to see. But it was not the students who were the driving force behind this disruption. They were, rather, empowered and encouraged by bad decisions by the administration, and by the faux-equity cabal, represented by a minority of faculty and staff.

These faculty members and their accomplices in the administration are primarily at fault. They are the adults. At an institution of higher education, it is the faculty’s job to teach, not to preach; to educate, not indoctrinate. Some of the students who became protesters will be paying off their loans for years, and for what? They were let down by an institution that imposed and nurtured grievance and propaganda rather than educating and conferring knowledge. Evergreen handed them temporary power, an intoxicating thing, instead of establishing boundaries and legitimately empowering them with insight and wisdom.

Later that afternoon, hundreds of people, mostly students, held a forum in a fourth floor room. The entry, a long hallway, was entirely controlled by protesters who had been emboldened by the successes of their disruptions earlier in the day. The college administration had promised that it would “train” faculty, and the campus police chief had been ordered to attend the forum unarmed, an important symbolic victory for a movement that advocates an end to police presence on campus with the acronym ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards). Bret attended, as did many of his students. Two of his students, neither of them white, attempted to defend him to the angry crowd. They were shouted down. Not following the faux-equity party line meant that you would be informed that you were wrong, that you were a traitor, and that you needed to change.

The meeting was decidedly threatening and unsafe. While it was going on, some of Bret’s students texted him from other points in the room to tell him that protesters were hiding mace, and discussing not letting him leave. He texted Heather, in case he found himself a hostage: “I am told I will not be allowed to leave.” “Not sure what to do.”

At that moment, Heather was holding our two sons close to her at home. By coincidence, it was also the moment when a giant maple in our backyard cracked in half, and fell, crashing into another tree and landing suspended, where it would hang for months. The silence that followed was deafening. It seemed that our world was shifting. The protesters might detain Bret, the police chief had been disarmed, and nobody with authority was stepping up.

These protests at Evergreen were not like protests many readers will remember from their own college days. Nor were they like the ones we had participated in ourselves. Both of us protested as college students before the first Gulf War, and again after the bailouts that followed the 2008 financial collapse with the Occupy movement. It was heady stuff, but it never approached violence. And, agree with us or not, we were objecting to policy, not claims of bias that are immune to scrutiny. This was different.


The protesters did let Bret leave, but they assigned “handlers” to him and his students. And although Bret was able to have a productive, if tense, dialogue with protesters in small groups, the leaders inevitably intervened to stop such off-script activity.

By the next day, any gains were lost. Protesters stormed the last faculty meeting of the year, where newly emeritus faculty members were being lauded. They took over the meeting, stole a celebratory retirement cake, and said things like “Didn’t you educate us on how to do shit like this?”

The radicals blockaded the library, trapping employees and students inside, frightening several. One faculty member who had participated with the students in shutting down the faculty meeting held court outside the library, telling two faculty colleagues that “you are now those motherfuckers that we’re pushing against.” She told them to “go inside and listen to the students … or take your ass home … Two options: Go inside, go home.”

The protesters subjugated and humiliated everyone who did not fall into line. When they ordered the college president to stop gesticulating with his hands, on account of the presumably aggressive nature of his hand gestures, he promptly did so. When they insisted that he have an escort to use the bathroom, he acquiesced. They hurled obscenities and insults at him and others.

That evening, the same faculty member who had been issuing peremptory commands outside the library wrote to the campus community to say how proud she was of the protesters, and to reinforce an earlier thought from one of the radicals. “They are doing exactly what we’ve taught them today,” she wrote. What do you suppose the response to this email was? Horror, shock, quiet distaste? In some circles, yes, but the only people who responded publicly wrote to thank her.


On Thursday of that week, May 25, Bret and his students held class off campus, for their safety. Some of his students had been followed, harassed, doxxed. A day earlier, protesters had scoured the campus looking in cars for “an individual” whom Brown, the police chief, believed to be Bret. On Thursday, while biking past campus to get to town, Bret watched people recognize him and dive for their phones. Uncertain whether he was being paranoid, he diverted to the campus police station. Brown told him that he needed to get off campus immediately, and off his bike, too, indefinitely. He was too easy a target on his bike, and the police couldn’t protect him, as they had been ordered to stand down. In practice, that meant the police were locked in the police station.

At the same moment, the interim provost sent an email to all staff and faculty claiming he had not felt threatened on campus that week, but that if others had, they should find time to “come talk to me or an academic dean in person.” Heather wrote back to the list, suggesting that the administration was obscuring the truth, and that there was a public safety problem on campus. On social media, the same faculty member who had celebrated the radicals’ behavior responded by suggesting that “some white women come collect Heather Heying’s racist ass.”

Later that day, a sign on the locked door of the police station read, “Police Department is Closed. Call 911 in case of an Emergency.” We went with Bret’s class to the Capitol, where we spoke with the governor’s advisers on higher education and civil rights. We told them that the campus had descended into a state of anarchy, and that we needed help. Help never arrived.

As one faculty emeritus wrote during the chaos, “What is screamingly strange about the charges of racism … is that never are we given specific examples.” Nobody denies that racism exists. But our school was being likened to the battlegrounds of the civil rights movement, despite a failure to produce any examples. When one wondered why, another clause in the activist script became apparent: Asking for evidence of racism is itself evidence of racism.

On May 26, Friday morning, Fox News called. It was Tucker Carlson’s producer. The show was going to run a segment on Evergreen that night. Did Bret want to be part of it? No, he didn’t want to. But he felt he needed to. Fox was, at that point, the only member of the national news media that had shown up. YouTube was on fire with videos that protesters had posted, but most journalists were staying away, presumably because the story didn’t fit comfortable, mainstream narratives.

Two notable things happened after Bret went on Fox. One was that a substantial minority of our colleagues at Evergreen called for a “disciplinary investigation” against him. Why? Apparently, people on the Left aren’t allowed to talk to those on the Right. It is against the rules. Prohibitions against talking to “the other side” widens the intellectual fissure opening up in our society. It creates the very silos we are warned against. By speaking to others, Bret was breaking rank, and so treated like a deserter, or traitor. One thing we know is that when you’re being told by your antagonists who you’re not supposed to talk to, it’s probably a good indicator of who you should be talking to.

The other thing that happened after Bret went on Fox was that well over 1,000 viewers wrote to him. A couple of emails came from white nationalists, people perhaps similar to the New Jersey man who later phoned in a threat to the college, which shut the campus down for two days. Another email was a nasty piece of anti-Semitic hatred. But the overwhelming majority were supportive and eloquent. The writers were from across all known fault lines — socioeconomic class, race, national origin, location on the political spectrum. There were letters from First Nations people, high school students and university faculty, Evergreen students and alums, a man building a school in Uganda. And the thing that unites them is their call to stand strong. They say: Do not back down. And: At this moment, I am so glad to have respect for someone with whom I might politically disagree.

Doesn’t that sound like an antidote to the polarization that has gripped the body politic? An ability to reach out across prejudice and talk to people? To respect those with whom we do not share identical core beliefs?

Brown, the police chief, resigned in August, telling us that she had been given all of the responsibility, but none of the authority, to keep people safe on campus. Zimmerman, the ousted provost, testified in a congressional hearing to both the value of a liberal arts education, and to the madness occurring on campuses. We were told, during mediation with the college at the very end of summer, that the college was quite pleased with the direction it was going, and that there would be no veering from the course that we continue to regard as disastrous. We suggested that we could help change Evergreen’s reputation as a laughingstock to that of a beacon of hope, of viewpoint diversity and actual civil rights, in an ever bleaker higher education landscape. The college wanted no part of it.

We asked for leave, and were denied it. The college made it clear that they wanted us gone permanently. And so, in shock, feeling betrayed, heartbroken and livid, we left. We settled with the college for half a million dollars — about two years’ joint salary after our legal fees — a small price for two tenured professorships. Grief takes many forms, and we feel it, but we also feel that we were paid to leave a burning building. Unfortunately, we can do nothing for our many friends — students, staff, and faculty — still stuck on the inside.

The story goes on and on and on. There are so many threads and subplots that it feels dishonest to tell any version without all of them, but we must.


Hateful white nationalists comprise a tiny but exceedingly loud minority of people on the Right. The analogous group on the Left is the virulent social justice crowd. Those who would have us destroy Martin Luther King’s dream comprise a small but disproportionately loud minority of people on the Left. Also, we would argue that “Right” and “Left” make little sense in either of these contexts. Both fringe groups, extremists wherever they are found, are more accurately described as authoritarian.

We come from the Left, and our values and worldview have not changed. But our understanding of the landscape has, as has our understanding of who is most likely to be interested in pursuing democratic goals through democratic means. A democratic system needs intelligent dissent, which means that it must create and protect the conditions in which people can learn how to think critically, and how to critique ideas and proposals. Those are longstanding values on the Left, but today, they are hanging by a thread.

At Evergreen, a small fraction of students was the face of the protests, some even going so far as to patrol campus with baseball bats, threatening people, and vandalizing property. But the vast majority of students were not part of the protests. Some were yelled at, insulted, assaulted, even battered. Some left the school. Some graduated. Some are keeping their heads down, angry and scared, until they, too, graduate, while they wonder why their experiences are apparently of no interest to the college administration.

What of Martin Luther King’s dream? Why are we being advised by the social justice crowd that we shall not focus on the content of our character, but instead must focus primarily on the color of our skin (and our gender identification, sexual orientation, and various other signifiers of intersectional oppression)? This would be MLK’s nightmare. Why is it being handed a megaphone?

We are honored to be part of the nascent Coalition for Free Speech and Civil Rights, spearheaded by 1960s-era civil rights activist Bob Woodson. At a meeting this fall in Washington, Pastor Darryl Webster, who runs an organization that helps men integrate with family and community, made clear an important distinction in these discussions. There are those who would have us concentrate on historical and current inequities that provide people different leverage in life; and there are those who argue, no matter what hand you were dealt, to look forward, and make the most of your cards. The distinction is an important one as the conversation moves forward.

Left and Right historically disagree on the extent of current inequities in the system, and on the wisdom of solution making. Those on the Left tend to focus on the inequities in the system; those on the Right tend to argue for personal responsibility. The Left tends to see structural unfairness, and is inclined to intervene. The Right tends to see a landscape of opportunity, and fears the unintended consequences of new initiatives. Both positions have merit and, despite the frequent tenor of conversations between factions, they are not mutually exclusive. Wisdom is likely to emerge from the tension between these worldviews, uniting good people around the value of a fair system that fosters self-reliance as it distributes opportunity as broadly as possible.


So, is this present uprising Maoist? Are the inmates running the asylum? Has the extreme Left gone off the deep end? A bit, a bit. But with apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien, we offer a different analogy: One script to rule them all, One script to find them, One script to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

For today’s social justice warriors, only one narrative shall be allowed. It is unquestionable. Those who dissent are guilty. The “equity and inclusion” movement, cloaked in words that sound benevolent and honorable, is a bludgeon. To the outside world, Evergreen’s implosion looked like a student-motivated response to conditions on the inside. But the terrible conditions don’t really exist, and the real power dynamics, between administrators and faculty, were obscured by a narrative constructed to make resistance impossible.

The script showed up at our public, liberal arts college, and we, the evolutionary biologists, are now gone. It showed up at Duke Divinity School, and Paul Griffiths, a Catholic theologian, has resigned after being vilified for questioning training in racial equity. His words are to the point: “Events of this sort are definitively anti-intellectual. (Re)trainings of intellectuals by bureaucrats and apparatchiks have a long and ignoble history; I hope you’ll keep that history in mind as you think about this instance.”

Includes videos:

Racism, Protests, Magazine Political Correctness, Higher Education, Race and Diversity, Freedom of Speech,Fox News, College, Education ,News ,Politics

Also read: Harvard vs. Hillsdale: It’s cultural suicide to sic Washington on the Left’s institutions

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Report: Fusion GPS Paid Senior Justice Department Official’s Wife During 2016 Campaign

December 12, 2017


Fusion GPS, the firm behind the Trump dossier, paid the wife of a senior Justice Department official during the 2016 election, a Fox News report revealed on Monday.

The senior Justice Department official is Bruce Ohr, who was demoted last week, just before Fox News reported that he had met with dossier author Christopher Steele during the campaign, and with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson after the election.

He was demoted for not disclosing those meetings to the Justice Department, according to Fox News.

Until last week, Ohr was both associate deputy attorney general, putting him four doors down from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Ohr was removed from his first title just a day before Fox News reported on his meetings with Fusion GPS.

“The Department of Justice has provided no public explanation for Ohr’s demotion. Officials inside the Department have told Fox News his wearing of two hats was ‘unusual,’ but also confirm Ohr had withheld his contacts with the Fusion GPS men from colleagues at the DOJ,” according to Fox News.

It is not exactly clear yet what Ohr’s wife, Nellie H. Ohr, did for Fusion GPS, but the payments to a senior Justice Department official’s wife — in addition to his meetings — raises significant questions about the relationship between the Obama Justice Department and a firm hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to conduct political opposition research against Trump.

Ohr’s wife was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016, the House intelligence committee confirmed to Fox News. Although it is not exactly clear what she did for Fusion GPS, a review of her published works show that she has written extensively on Russia-related subjects.

Ohr worked as a Russia expert at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank, a decade ago. An open-source review of her work showed she has also reviewed a number of books about Russia.

Although Steele, a former British spy and longtime FBI informant, is said to have known Ohr for a decade, and an “initial investigation” suggested that Steele might have introduced Ohr to Fusion GPS’s Simpson, the revelation that his wife worked for Simpson now calls that account into question.

The web of relationships casts an even darker cloud of suspicion over the Obama Justice Department’s involvement with Fusion GPS.

House investigators are trying to figure out whether the Obama Justice Department used the dossier to launch an investigation on the Trump campaign, obtain a warrant to spy on one of its members, and perhaps pay for or help produce the dossier.

Steele provided the dossier to the FBI in July 2016, the same month that the FBI began a counterintelligence probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The dossier was also shopped around to journalists before the election, but was not published, due to news outlets’ inability to verify its salacious claims, which included that Trump campaign officials colluded with Russia during the campaign. After being published by Buzzfeed, it has been used by President Trump’s political enemies to discredit his election.

House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) told Fox News that it “is looking into all facets of the connections between the Department of Justice and Fusion GPS, including Mr. Ohr.”

Trump’s political opponents have cast revelations about the murky ties between Fusion GPS and the Obama Justice Department merely as a political attempt to discredit their collusion narrative.