Posts Tagged ‘law enforcement’

Nunes’s Russia-Trump memo: What’s in it (and what’s missing)

February 3, 2018

AFP and The Associated Press


© Mark Wilson, Getty Images |President Donald Trump approved the release of a controversial Republican memo this week.

Video by Philip CROWTHER


Latest update : 2018-02-03

After more than a week of partisan bickering and social media-fueled buildup, the #releasethememo crowd got their wish.

President Donald Trump declassified it. The GOP majority of the House intelligence committee released it. And the public dissection of the four-page, GOP-authored document began.

Here are a few key takeaways:

What’s the gist?

The memo makes a series of allegations of misconduct on the part of the FBI and the Justice Department in obtaining a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Specifically, it takes aim at the FBI’s use of information from a former British spy, Christopher Steele, who compiled a collection of memos containing several allegations of ties between Trump, his associates and Russia.

The memo says the FBI and the Justice Department didn’t tell the FISA court enough about Steele’s role in an opposition research effort. The research was funded by Democrat Hillary Clinton through a Washington law firm.

The document also takes aim at several senior FBI and Justice Department officials. Among them is former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who it says knew of Steele’s anti-Trump leanings and whose wife worked at the firm behind the opposition research effort.

What’s new?

The memo provides the first formal government confirmation of the secret FISA warrant and that Page was the person being monitored.

Information like that is ordinarily considered among the most tightly held national security information, and it almost never gets released to the public.

Though the memo takes issue with the FBI’s methods, it also confirms that the FBI and Justice Department believed there was probable cause that Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power and a judge agreed – four times over.

The memo fills in the timeline of the Russia investigation, showing that Page was under surveillance for months.

According to the memo, the Justice Department and FBI obtained the FISA warrant on Page on Oct. 21, 2016, and then had it reauthorized three additional times.

Given that FISA warrants must be renewed every 90 days, the memo indicates that the government monitored Page’s communications for nearly a year.

Republican Matthew Gaetz talks to reporers after a six-page memo alleging misconduct by senior FBI officials investigating President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign was released to the public February 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. © Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

It started with Papadopoulos

The whole Russia investigation, that is.

According to the memo, information about former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos “triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016.”

That’s significant because Trump and his allies in the GOP have tried to undermine the Russia investigation by saying it all stems from the Steele dossier.

The memo doesn’t provide further details about the information the FBI received about Papadopoulos. But it appears to confirm in part reporting by The New York Times late last year that FBI concerns about Papadopoulos started the investigation.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last year. Court papers show he had several contacts with people representing themselves as being tied to the Russian government starting in the spring of 2016.

Court papers show that Papadopoulos learned the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails” prior to that information becoming public.

The FBI did use information from Steele, though

The memo says Steele’s collection of reports “formed an essential part” of the FISA application for Page, but it doesn’t specify exactly what information was used or how much.

It also says that the FISA application relied on a September 2016 Yahoo News article, and claims that the information in the article also came from Steele.

The document quotes former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as telling the House intelligence committee in December that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought” from the FISA court “without the Steele dossier information.”

According to the memo, the application also included “Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters.”

No underlying information released

The accuracy of the memo is hard to assess because the majority of the underlying contents are classified or confidential.

The memo cites an initial FISA warrant application – a document which usually has dozens of pages – as well as three additional renewals by the court. None of those documents are public.

The same is true of the transcripts of the committee’s closed-door interviews with McCabe and other senior FBI officials who had contact with Steele.

On Friday, the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, took issue with the memo’s characterization of McCabe’s comments, saying the former FBI deputy director was speaking generally about how any FISA application relies on “each and every component” included.

But the committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, said late Friday on Fox News the description of McCabe’s comments is “a summation of a long interview and that’s definitely what he said.” He noted that other witnesses have said “similar things.”

‘Minimally corroborated’

It’s been a burning question ever since the dossier was published by Buzzfeed News last year: How much did the FBI corroborate?

According to the memo, not much at the time the FBI obtained the FISA warrant on Page. The memo cites FBI Assistant Director Bill Priestap as saying FBI corroboration of the dossier was in its “infancy” when the court authorized the first FISA warrant.

It also says an “independent unit” in the FBI conducted a “source validation report” on Steele’s memo and found it “only minimally corroborated.”

But without the underlying documents or transcripts of Priestap’s testimony, it’s hard to judge the accuracy of the memo’s description.




Thank Progressives for the Nunes Memo

February 3, 2018

House Republicans released a secret memo on Friday that alleges that F.B.I. and Justice Department officials misused their authority in conducting surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. It also claims the officials abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process by citing dubious information in their application for a warrant to wiretap Mr. Page.

The move is nakedly partisan, and it certainly seems as if Republicans are trying to discredit the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling. The Republicans, members of the House Intelligence Committee, refused to share the memo with their Senate counterparts. And they also rejected a bid to to release a Democratic rebuttal at the same time as the memo.

The memo is a shame. But those on the left denouncing its release should realize that it was progressive and privacy advocates over the past several decades who laid the groundwork for the Nunes memo — not Republicans. That’s because the progressive narrative has focused on an assumption of bad faith on the part of the people who participate in the FISA process, not the process itself.

In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act after hearings exposed the F.B.I.’s egregious practice of illegally spying on civil rights leaders, black nationalists, Communists and Vietnam War protesters. The Supreme Court has left open the possibility of a narrow “foreign intelligence exception” to the warrant requirement for the executive branch. Nonetheless, FISA requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before conducting foreign intelligence surveillance on Americans. The act also created a special court where federal judges would vet petitions for surveillance warrants.

This makes the FISA process unique because it involves all three branches of government. For example, Congress has created its own rules to oversee electronic surveillance and judges approve or deny the requests for warrants. These are in addition to the internal oversight tools that the executive branch has. The checks and balances for FISA are quite robust compared to the ones that exist for other presidential national security powers like the authority to approve drone strikes.

I know firsthand that it’s difficult to get a FISA warrant. From 2002 to 2005, when I was an F.B.I. agent conducting counterintelligence investigations in New York, my FISA applications went through many layers of approval and required very strong evidence. It was clear to me that the process was set up to protect against abuses of power.

This process has been in place for 40 years and the Republican Party has never meaningfully objected to it — until now. It’s important to realize that it’s not the FISA system itself that Republicans believe is the problem, but the people involved. That’s a complaint they share with progressives.

In criticizing the FISA process, the left has not focused so much on fixing procedural loopholes that officials in the executive branch might exploit to maximize their legal authority. Progressives are not asking courts to raise the probable cause standard, or petitioning Congress to add more reporting requirements for the F.B.I. Instead, progressives complain that law enforcement officials, along with judges, will always act in bad faith and try to circumvent the law altogether — and that’s why the FISA process can’t be trusted.

Philippine lawyers Blast President for Constantly Threatening Martial Law — “What is with the insatiable appetite for martial law powers?” — “Martial law has a chilling effect…”

January 24, 2018
 / 06:57 PM January 24, 2018

Martial law in Mindanao is nothing but a tactic being used by President Rodrigo Duterte to scare his administration’s detractors, according to the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).

In a 38-page memorandum filed with the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday, the NUPL said that the Duterte administration had only been taking advantage of the declaration’s “partly psychological” effect on the populace.

“Clearly, another extension – this time for a much longer period – would result in an increase in human rights abuses. But why the uncontrollable desire for the extension? What is with the insatiable appetite for martial law powers?” the group stressed.

Image may contain: 1 person, hat and closeup

“Martial law is the President’s ultimate scare tactic,” the NUPL said. “Martial law has a chilling effect and as Respondent AFP Chief admitted during the oral arguments, the declaration is ‘partly psychological’ as it pictures and embeds in the minds of the populace that a ‘strong authority is in charge’.”

Gen. Rey Guerrero, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), had recommended to Congress the extension of martial law for its “psychological impact” on law enforcement in the region.

READ: Drilon: Martial law for ‘psychological impact’ invalid basis for extension

According to the NUPL, the impact the AFP wants to sustain unequivocally frustrates and circumvents the constitutional safeguards against human rights abuses an the unbridled exercise of presidential powers.

“These safeguards were borne out of the lessons and experience as a nation and a people under the Marcos dictatorship,” the NUPL said.

“Historical and contemporary experiences indubitably prove that the monster of martial law has targeted and will target civilians who have no participation at all in any armed uprising or struggle,” the group said.

The petitioners said the inclusion of alleged “coddlers,” “supporters,” and “financiers” in quelling the reported rebellion would open the floodgates to further attacks against anyone.

“The vagueness and ambiguity of said pronouncement sends a chilling effect that violates the people’s right to exercise vital freedoms and liberties,” the NUPL said.

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing

Moreover, the NUPL asserted that martial law was not intended for armed groups but for those opposing the government.

The petitioners noted how Duterte showed a lack of tolerance against those who openly criticized him such as the Church, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission of Human Rights, the media and the courts.

“It is this factual context and concrete situation that the constitutional and bounden duty, not only of the whole Court as an institution but also for each and every individual honorable member of this Court, to exercise judicial review to check on abuse of power, protect and defend freedoms and liberties, and breathe life, guidance and inspiration to its role as a supposed last bastion of democracy instead of allowing it to be an empty shibboleth to the delight and pleasure of fleeting tyrants of any time,” the NUPL said. /atm

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Related: Junta, Martial Law

 (with links to related reports)

Related: South China Sea


Related: War on Drugs and Human Rights

Image result for Nora Acielo, still clutching the school bag, philippines, photos

In this Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 photo, people and a policeman looking at the body of a woman, later identified by her husband as that of Nora Acielo, still clutching the school bag of her child, are reflected in a pool of water after she was shot by still unidentified men while walking with her two children to school at a poor neighborhood in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Police said the killing of Acielo was the 13th recorded drug-related case in the past 24 hours in President Rodrigo Duterte’s unrelenting war on drugs. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

Tom Homan, Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Has Some Choice Words for “Sanctuary State” California

January 3, 2018

Tom Homan, Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Has Some Choice Words for “Sanctuary State” California:

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said California “better hold on tight” after its liberal Democratic governor allowed a sanctuary state law to take effect this week.

Neil Cavuto said that Gov. Jerry Brown claimed the law will protect illegal immigrants living quietly in the shadows of society from law enforcement intent on “yanking them out of there.”

“I think it’s terrible,” Homan said, adding that Brown’s action put politics in front of public safety.

Prank California highway signs ‘welcome’ felons, illegal immigrants & MS-13 

Prank California highway signs ‘welcome’ felons, illegal immigrants and MS-13

Drivers entering California are being greeted with signs proclaiming the liberal bastion an OFFICIAL SANCTUARY STATE, according to photos and videos circulating on social media appearing to show a…

He said that rank-and-file police officers are opposed to the new measure and that Brown’s administration didn’t consult them before approving the law.

“If [Brown] thinks he is protecting the community, he’s doing quite the opposite,” Homan said. “[Brown] is knowingly putting law enforcement at risk.

Hundreds of Sacramento residents protested, listened and shouted while acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, left, and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones held a community forum in March. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, left, and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones held a community forum in March 2017 in California. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

“There’s no sanctuary from law enforcement,” he said. “California better hold on tight – they’re about to see a lot more deportation officers. If politicians don’t protect their communities then ICE will.”

Homan said illegal alien smuggling organizations will use the California law as a “selling point” and that Brown “bit off a lot more than he can chew.”

Homan said that Brown and other sanctuary-jurisdiction leaders may have violated 8 U.S. Code § 1324 – relating to “harboring certain aliens.”

He said he hopes the Justice Department will look into whether officials can be criminally charged under the statute.

According to text of the federal law cited by Homan, any person “knowing… the fact that an alien has come to… the United States in violation of the law, conceals, harbors or shields from detection… such [an] alien in any place” can face fines and/or up to several years in prison.

Watch more above.

Anxiety, evasion and addiction: how Mexicans deal with endless violence — More than 23,000 dead

December 29, 2017


© AFP/File / by Sofia MISELEM | A Mexican woman protests the assassination of journalist Javier Valdez

MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Between anxiety, addiction and evasion, Mexicans have found coping mechanisms to deal with the violence plaguing their country and which peaked in 2017 to the highest level in two decades.The year is not yet over, but the number of murders committed in November reached 23,101, according to a government registry of violent deaths, the highest count since the tally was launched in 1997, and topping the 22,409 killed in 2011 when the big drugs cartels started to fracture.

The statistics do not show how many of the deaths were linked to narco-trafficking, but experts believe the majority were attributable to the wave of drugs-related violence that has risen incessantly since 2006, when the government launched all-out war on Mexico’s powerful cartels.

– Collective violence –

“Since the start of this absurd war on drugs, Mexico has entered into what the World Health Organization technically defines as ‘collective violence,'” said Juan Ramon de la Fuente, a psychiatrist and former dean of the Autonomous National University of Mexico, or UNAM.

“It is a kind of epidemic when there are more than 10 homicides for every 100,000 people,” he said.

WHO figures show that in 2015 Mexico was suffering 19 murders per 100,000 people, but De la Fuente, who participated in a multidisciplinary study of the impact of violence on society, puts that figure at at least 22 per 100,000.

The lack of security that has reigned over large tracts of Mexico for years has had a tangible emotional impact on the population, said De La Fuente, while life expectancy has dropped yearly among young people because of the number of youths being killed.

“We cannot separate the violence from the mental health problems which are on the rise across the country,” said De La Fuente. “There is a feeling of helplessness which creates reactions that people express symptomatically, in terms of anxiety, a disturbance to sleep patterns, or the increased use of alcohol and other drugs.”

According to government data, drug consumption has in fact increased by more than 40 percent since 2010.

“In Mexico there are no fewer than a million people who probably have suffered from some emotional or psychological impact derived from the drugs war since the army was sent on to the streets,” said Rogelio Flores, a researcher into the societal effects of violence at UNAM’s psychology department.

De la Fuente estimates that with the 200,000 people murdered, and tens of thousands missing since 2006, around 250,000 homes in Mexico have been affected by “a process of pain, depression, helplessness, frustration and fear, a gamut of very powerful and complicated emotions which is overlooked by the state from a medical and psychological point of view.”

– Scenes from Dante –

In other cases, people display the phenomenon of “normalization” or “habituation” to the endless violence that is incorporated into daily life, from school children learning how to protect themselves during shootings to drugs lords being lionized in television shows or in the folk ballards known as “narco-corridas.”

“It is worrying that we come to see death as an element of everyday life,” said Flores. “There is a process of desensitization in large parts of society which is promoting and legitimizing violence, without considering its consequences.”

The spectacular cruelty of the drug cartels has produced scenes of Dantesque horror, with people being beheaded, dismembered, skinned alive, tortured and hung from bridges — their bodies dumped, often by the dozen, in the streets for all to see.

Martin Barron, a criminologist at the National Institute for Criminal Science, said that in the past the cartels had “codes of respect” that included not killing a victim’s wife or children.

But in 2009, with the rise of the Zetas — the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel, which was made up originally from government special police who defected to the drugs lords — all the rules started to disappear.

“The criminals now have no limitations preventing them inflicting whatever degrading acts they wish upon another human being,” he said.

He underlined the lack of importance given to the origin of the Zetas, former elite commandos around whom swirl macabre legends, such as the story that one their late leaders used to eat the human flesh of his victims.

“We have to analyze these figures that come from a military background, they start out there and then the cartels look for someone who would do be prepared to do something like this. This violence is not in the normal make-up of Mexicans, you have to go out looking for someone with psychotic tendencies,” he said.


2017 Mexico’s most violent year in two decades: officials

December 23, 2017


© AFP/File | An activist posing as a murder victim lies on the ground during a demonstration in Ciudad Juarez against the approval of a new internal security law that would formalize the military’s role in domestic security


2017 was Mexico’s most violent year in two decades, with 23,101 murders carried out between January and November, according to official figures released Friday.

The number of murders in the first 11 months of this year surpassed the previous record of 22,409 killings during the whole of 2011.

In November alone, 2,212 murders were recorded — while 2,380 killings were carried out in October, making it the most violent month since the authorities began keeping records two decades ago.

Violence has surged across Mexico over the last decade after former president Felipe Calderon’s government declared war against the country’s powerful drug cartels in late 2006.

Some 190,000 people have died in drug related violence since then.

This year, the killings spread to states which had previously escaped clashes between cartels — including Baja California Sur, a northwestern state popular with tourists where the murder rate has more than doubled from last year’s total.

According to experts, this year’s considerable increase in violence is the result of cartels fragmenting into smaller, more brutal cells.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Mike Vigil told AFP that cartels have started to fight for territory to grow illicit crops — while a weak police force and rampant corruption further fuel the problem.

Semaforo Delictivo, a civil society project promoting peace in Mexico, in October said the high murder rate reflected a lack of action by the authorities and a “failure” of their anti-crime strategy.

In a bid to address the issue, Mexico’s congress last week approved a controversial internal security law that would formalize the military’s role in domestic security.

The move drew criticism from rights groups concerned about the militarization of the country — while UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein said earlier this month it “risks weakening incentives for the civilian authorities to fully assume their law enforcement roles.”

“More than a decade after the armed forces were deployed in the so-called war on drugs, violence has not abated and many human rights violations and abuses … continue to be committed by various state and non-state actors,” he said in a statement.

Explosion Near Times Square in New York City

December 11, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing

Several people were injured Monday morning when a device exploded at the Port Authority bus terminal on 42nd Street, according to law enforcement sources.

One person is in custody after his device partially detonated inside a tunnel, sources told The Post.

Police and firefighters have responded to the scene, where the bomb squad also has been deployed.

The NYC Office of Emergency Management said commuters should expect delays.

There was no immediate word on what prompted the response between Eighth and Ninth avenues.

This a developing story.


Philippine Government Under-Reported Police Deaths in War on Drugs — Group Says 242 policemen died in drug-related raids

December 9, 2017
Police inspect firearms, ammunition, shabu and communication equipment seized in June from members of a big drug ring arrested in Pandag, Maguindanao. Unson, file
MANILA, Philippines — The most recent #RealNumberPH data release contradicts a new claim by President Rodrigo Duterte made on Thursday that 242 police officers have died in drug operations.

Duterte, a guest at the Kapampangan Food Festival in Clark, Pampanga on December 7, stressed that shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) makes drug suspects violent and aggressive, forcing law enforcers to shoot back and kill them.
“Pero why is it, if it is not that dangerous and violent, why is it that to date, I have lost 242 policemen in drug-related raids and arrest?” he said according to an official transcript released by the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
He later said that, including police officers killed in the Marawi siege that lasted from May 23 to October 23, the number of police killed is close to 300.
“That is why in the — the Mindanao campaign against drugs, I have lost something like almost 300 policemen. That is including those who died in the actual fight when there was the siege already. ‘Yung noon ‘yun, those were arrest… and the deaths of — until today,” he said.
“And you can be very sure of this. I’m losing on the average six to eight soldier or policemen in Mindanao in drug-related cases,” he also said.
But the latest #RealNumbersPH infographic released by the PCOO tallies 86 security personnel killed in drug operations between July 1, 2016 and Nov. 27, 2017.
That number includes personnel from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Bureau of Investigation, logos on the infographic suggest.
Of the 312 casualties, 226 were wounded.
The #RealNumbersPH campaign was launched to give the public what the government says is accurate data on the war on drugs.


Marawi casualties


According to the PNP in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, six police officers had been killed in fighting in Marawi as of October 6.
Another 61 cops had been wounded in operations to liberate the capital of Lanao del Sur from Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists at the time.
A press release on the PNP website on a heroes’ welcome for Special Action Force troopers on October 25 said that of 500 police commandos deployed to Marawi, four had been killed in action.
SAF said 60 of its personnel had also been wounded during operations there.
According to reports, security forces lost 165 personnel in the battle for Marawi, which was declared liberated after five months of fighting. Clearing operations continue in the city’s main battle area.
Security officials have shrugged off differing figures on drug war casualties in the past, saying the president has intelligence sources that heads of the police and military may not have access to.

Are Trump’s August Controversies Careless—Or Calculated?

August 28, 2017

Did the president mindlessly pick fights, or did he deliberately choose his targets to speak to middle America?

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix last week lashed out at the news media and attacked fellow Republicans for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix last week lashed out at the news media and attacked fellow Republicans for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act. PHOTO: JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS

Aug. 28, 2017 11:07 a.m. ET

Here are two ways of looking at how President Donald Trump has spent his August:

He has ruined the month—perhaps even his presidency—by mindlessly picking fights with Republican congressional leaders and the media, and by wallowing in divisive cultural issues rather than pushing his economic agenda.

But here is another:

Rather than stumble and fumble into these controversies, Mr. Trump has quite deliberately chosen his issues and his enemies.

He has drawn attention to cultural issues—immigration, his border wall, defending Confederate symbols, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio—precisely because they speak clearly to middle America. There, they resonate with both his core supporters and a wider universe of people who don’t love the president but think the nation’s elites have walked away from them on social issues.

Donald Trump, Joe Arpaio

Similarly, he has picked his targets for wrath—the media and the Republican establishment—carefully rather than cavalierly.

Targeting the news media is a winner with his base as well as a much broader segment of GOP votes. And by attacking Republican Senators, he is trying to be sure they are blamed rather than him for failures on health care—while also creating grass-roots pressure on them to atone for that failure by delivering on tax reform this fall.

“He’s framing the fall,” says Jason Miller, who was communications director of the Trump campaign and maintains close ties to the White House. “I think the president masterfully knows how to work the synergy of this counterculture, anti-Washington-elite sentiment to help him push forward on his agenda.”

In short, perhaps Mr. Trump is simply doing exactly what he did during last year’s presidential campaign, which is to use controversy and even seeming chaos to show that he stands apart from establishment forces that many Americans think have failed them. He won by running essentially as a political independent and, after seven rocky months in office, he appears to be gambling on that course again.

That doesn’t mean this is the wisest approach, or that it won’t blow up in the president’s face. It’s certainly risky to think that angering rather than wooing congressional leaders of his own party is going to produce a productive working relationship this fall. It’s equally hard to grasp why Mr. Trump is pursing this approach after having eased out of the White House its main proponent, Steve Bannon.

Still, it isn’t mindless. It is controversy generated for a purpose.

Trump aides believe—and there is ample evidence to support them—that cultural anxiety among working-class voters was as big a factor as economic anxiety in his campaign victory. Look at the list of issues Mr. Trump has touched upon in recent weeks—transgender Americans in the military, sanctuary cities, the racially charged march in Charlottesville—and you can see him returning to that path.

In doing so, he has stoked deep divisions in the country, particularly with his language that appeared to equate white supremacist marchers with those who protest them. Yet while many in Washington hear defense of neo-Nazi groups when Mr. Trump talks, his supporters make clear that what THEY hear is defense of historic Confederate statues—and, by implication, a traditional version of American culture.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has responded by calling for removing every Confederate statue from the U.S. Capitol—something Mr. Miller calls “a very dangerous spot of overreaching.”

Similarly, when Mr. Trump revives tough immigration talk, he is embracing an issue that helped him steal white working-class voters away from the Democrats.

Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg calls immigration a “critical element of the Democrats’ working-class challenge.” His survey work has found that, among 2016 voters, white working-class men—a traditional Democratic group who became a core Trump constituency—were twice as likely to call immigrants an economic burden on the country as were college-educated white women, a core Democratic constituency.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is in Mr. Trump’s crosshairs over his city’s policies toward immigrants, thinks he see another motive: an attempt to distract attention from the administration’s failure to produce economic policies that help the working class. “Each of these announcements is of a single piece: to grab voters they have lost on economic issues with cultural red meat,” he says.

Heading into the fall, the paramount economic issue for the Republican Party and the White House is the quest for tax reform and a broad tax cut. Across the GOP there is no more important priority, and party leaders know they can ill afford to fail.

Mr. Trump’s criticisms of party leaders are designed, Mr. Miller says, to add to the pressure. The president is saying: The party establishment failed me—and you—on health care. It’s not my fault. Don’t let them fail us on taxes.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at

Britain aims for open data flow with EU after Brexit

August 24, 2017


© AFP | Britain will become the first country to withdraw from the European Union by March 2019
LONDON (AFP) – Britain wants data flows with the EU worth billions to continue unimpeded even after it leaves the bloc, the government said on Thursday, promising to uphold current high standards for data protection.”Data flows are important for the UK and the EU economies and for wider cooperation, including on law enforcement,” the Department for Exiting the EU said in a position paper for negotiations on the issue.

“It is therefore essential that… we agree arrangements that allow for free flows of data to continue, based on mutual trust in each other’s high data protection standards,” it said.

The ministry emphasised that Britain would be starting from “an unprecedented point of alignment with the EU” on data protection when it leaves in March 2019 but did not say what would happen if data protection regulation in Britain or the EU changes.

The ministry said the EU’s data economy was estimated to be worth 272 billion euros ($321 billion) in 2015, or around 2.0 percent of gross domestic product.

That figure is estimated to rise to 643 billion euros in 2020, or more than 3.0 percent of GDP by 2020.

According to ministry estimates, 75 percent of the flow of data out of Britain was to EU countries.

The third round of Brexit negotiations between Britain and the EU is due to begin next week.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the main big business lobby, said the digital economy was “at risk of isolation” as a result of Brexit unless the government secures a transition deal.

TechUK, a trade body, has also argued that securing a future partnership agreement in data sharing would “take time” and previous deals have taken 18 months or more to negotiate.

Labour MP Chris Leslie, a leading supporter of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, said the government’s proposals were “likely to be impossible” as Britain is leaving the European single market.

“The government’s position seems to be that everything should change and yet stay the same,” he said.