Posts Tagged ‘Terry McAuliffe’

McCabe, the New ‘Deep Throat’ — It Wasn’t Just James Comey That Leaked, Lied and Blamed other FBI Agents

April 17, 2018

By William Mc Gurn
The Wall Street Journal
April 16, 2018 5:54 p.m. ET

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe arrives to testify before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill, May 11, 2017.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe arrives to testify before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill, May 11, 2017.PHOTO: ERIC THAYER/REUTERS

Before there was Andrew McCabe, there was Mark Felt. Or, as he is better known, “Deep Throat.”

Both Mr. McCabe and Felt were FBI deputy directors. Both leaked information about an FBI investigation that was under way. Both did so for the sake of their own careers, lied about it to their bosses, and even let other FBI agents take the blame.

Start with Felt, who died in 2008. Though sometimes cast as the noble truth-teller of Watergate—in “All the President’s Men” he was memorably played by a chain-smoking Hal Holbrook—reality is less flattering. Felt saw himself as the rightful heir to J. Edgar Hoover. When he was passed over for L. Patrick Gray III, Felt flattered Gray to his face while sabotaging the new FBI director behind his back.

He also let others take the fall. On a Saturday morning in June 1972, a furious Director Gray summoned 27 agents from the Washington field office to the conference room at FBI headquarters. He then cussed them out over a leak to Time magazine. Paul Magallanes, an FBI agent working the Watergate burglary, said Gray called them all “yellow-bellied sniveling agents” and demanded the guilty party step forward. No one did, of course, and Gray vowed to find out who the leaker was and fire him.

Felt never corrected the record on behalf of his falsely accused brother agents. To the contrary, Deep Throat would himself assume control over the investigation into who was leaking—and use that position to admonish other agents about leaks for which he himself was the culprit.

Mr. McCabe is Felt’s heir. Like Felt, he had a highly personal reason for authorizing a leak to The Wall Street Journal and then denying it. In October 2016, the Journal had raised questions about Mr. McCabe’s impartiality on the Hillary Clinton email investigation by reporting that his wife, Jill, had accepted donations from political action committees associated with Terry McAuliffe —a Clinton friend and former member of the Clinton Foundation board. Now the Journal was following up, and asking about an alleged order from Mr. McCabe telling FBI agents investigating the Clinton Foundation to “stand down.”

To counter the narrative that he might be compromised, Mr. McCabe authorized FBI counsel Lisa Page and a public-affairs officer to tell the Journal about a phone call with a high-ranking Justice official. In this account, Mr. McCabe is the fearless G-man pushing back against Justice complaints that the bureau was still investigating Mrs. Clinton’s family foundation during the election.

In the process the leak made public something Mr. Comey had studiously kept quiet: an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. In a report released Friday, the Justice Department’s inspector general notes that while this disclosure “may have served McCabe’s personal interests,” it did so “at the expense of undermining public confidence in the Department as a whole.”

Mr. McCabe’s disservice to the bureau didn’t stop there. Just as Felt had covered his tracks by shifting blame, Mr. McCabe implicated innocent agents. After the second Journal story appeared, he called the heads of the New York and Washington field offices to berate them for what appears to be his own leak. The head of the Washington office says he was told “to get his house in order.”

Then, in a final Feltian flourish, Mr. McCabe lied to his director.

The IG report says that Messrs. Comey and McCabe give “starkly different accounts” of their conversation about the article containing the leak. Mr. McCabe insists he told Mr. Comey he’d authorized it—and that Mr. Comey had answered it was a “good” idea. Mr. Comey is categorical that Mr. McCabe “definitely did not tell me that he authorized” the leak.

Just two men with different memories? The inspector general thinks not. The circumstantial evidence, the report notes, all runs against Mr. McCabe. Not a single senior FBI official backs Mr. McCabe’s claim that within the bureau people generally knew he’d authorized the leak. It isn’t the only McCabe statement to conflict with accounts given by other agents: At one point, he claimed FBI agents who had interviewed him under oath had wrongly reported he’d denied authorizing the leak.

Back in the early 1970s, Mark Felt leaked information about an investigation in hopes it would eventually lead to his becoming director. In a 1999 interview with Slate’s Timothy Noah, six years before his Watergate role was revealed, Felt rightly declared that if he had been Deep Throat, it would have been “terrible” and “contrary to my responsibility as a loyal employee of the FBI to leak information.”

Today Mr. McCabe stands accused of an unauthorized leak that poisoned the FBI’s relationship with Justice and of a “lack of candor” under oath. President Trump is having aTwitter field day calling Mr. McCabe a liar. But the irony of the McCabe defense is that it hinges on having us believe it was not him but Mr. Comey and other FBI agents who gave the false accounts of his actions.

Write to mcgurn@wsj.com.

Appeared in the April 17, 2018, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/mccabe-the-new-deep-throat-1523915645

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A second special counsel should be investigating the FBI leaks — Effort to uncover anti-Trump wrongdoing in the government has been slapdash

March 19, 2018

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post

Rachel Brand Resigns At U.S. Justice Department — Was next in line of succession to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

February 10, 2018

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Rachel Brand has been widely discussed as a potential judicial nominee. Leaving the administration might help her avoid controversy that could complicate any future nomination. | Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department’s third-ranking official, Rachel Brand, will resign and take a senior job at Walmart Inc (WMT.N), with sources familiar with her decision saying on Friday that she had grown increasingly uncomfortable with President Donald Trump’s attacks on her department and the FBI.

The department said Brand will be leaving her post in the coming weeks. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, himself repeatedly criticized by Trump, praised her “critical role in helping us accomplish our goals as a department.”

Brand, 44, was next in line of succession to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia and whether the Republican president has unlawfully sought to obstruct the ongoing probe.

She became the latest senior law enforcement official to either resign or be fired since Trump took office in January 2017, a list that includes a Federal Bureau of Investigation director and deputy director, and an acting attorney general. Trump also ousted all remaining U.S. attorneys, the chief federal prosecutors in each state, who had served under Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

Brand’s resignation is different in that she was hand-picked for the job by Trump, assuming her post just five days after Mueller’s appointment in May 2017.

News of Brand’s departure came a week after Trump approved the release of a previously classified memo written by Republican lawmakers that portrayed the Russia investigation, initially handled by the FBI and now headed by Mueller, as a product of political bias against Trump at the FBI and Justice Department.

After just nine months on the job, Brand had become more and more uneasy with Trump’s escalating attacks on the Justice Department and the FBI, which she and other law enforcement professionals feared was beginning to undermine the rule of law, according to sources familiar with her thinking.

In a statement, Brand defended her department, saying, “The men and women of the Department of Justice impress me every day.”

The attacks have escalated in recent weeks as Republicans in Congress have criticized the handling by the Justice Department, FBI and the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court of warrants for surveillance of a Trump campaign advisor, Carter Page, who had ties to Russia. Trump called the matter “a disgrace.”

In a statement, Walmart said Brand will join the company as executive vice president for global governance and corporate secretary. “We are fortunate to have a leader of Rachel Brand’s stature join the company,” President and CEO Doug McMillon said.

Mary McCord, who served as acting head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division from October 2016 until April 2017 and helped oversee the FBI investigation into the collusion matter, said Brand’s resignation would further shake morale at the department.

“When the associate attorney general steps down after just nine months in the midst of a barrage of attacks on the department from the White House and Capitol Hill, it is another blow to the career women and men of the department who have been doing their jobs diligently while trying to block out the turmoil around them,” said McCord, now a visiting professor at Georgetown University’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.

The department is also facing a major backlog on leadership positions that still need confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Rosenstein oversees Mueller’s investigation because Sessions recused himself from the matter last year. Trump also has criticized Sessions for recusing himself. Brand on Friday lauded Sessions’ “commitment to the rule of law.”

Rosenstein is the only official with legal authority to fire Mueller, and it is widely believed he would resign if ordered to do so without good cause. If Rosenstein resigned, that authority would have fallen to Brand under the department’s succession line. With her gone, the next person in line is Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

Any permanent replacement for Brand would have to be confirmed by the Senate and would likely face tough questioning about their willingness to preserve the Russia probe’s independence.

Trump could use a 1998 law on executive branch vacancies to appoint a temporary replacement of his choice, as long as that person was an experienced Justice Department employee or another administration official already confirmed by the Senate.

Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the agency’s Russia investigation, in May 2017, saying he took the action because of “this Russia thing.”

The FBI’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, stepped down in January after Trump repeatedly criticized him on Twitter. McCabe’s wife previously ran as a Democrat for a seat in Virginia’s state Senate and received donations from then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a close ally of Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton.

Brand oversees the Justice Department’s civil, antitrust, tax and environmental and natural resources divisions. She played a crucial role in helping push for Congress to reauthorize the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program after it faced opposition from some privacy-minded lawmakers in both parties. The measure passed, and Trump signed it into law in January.

A Justice Department official said that Jesse Panuccio, the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, will temporarily take over Brand’s job until a replacement is named.

He previously served as acting associate attorney general until Brand was confirmed and sworn in.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and John Walcott; Additional reporting by Warren Strobel, Karen Freifeld, Jonathan Landay, Anthony Lin, Jan Wolfe and Nathan Layne; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Eric Walsh and Daniel Wallis

See also:

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/09/rachel-brand-leaving-justice-department-402074

Andrew McCabe, Federal Bureau of Investigation’s deputy director, forced to step down

January 29, 2018

BBC News

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses, beard and closeup

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s deputy director, whom US President Donald Trump accused of political bias, has resigned.

Andrew McCabe was forced to step down ahead of his official retirement date in March, reports CBS News.

His exit from the top law enforcement agency comes a week after a report that Mr Trump wanted him out.

It was also reported last week that the president had asked Mr McCabe during an Oval Office meeting whom he voted for.

Mr McCabe briefly became acting FBI director last May after Mr Trump fired its previous chief, James Comey.

Mr Comey had been overseeing the bureau’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr Trump eventually nominated Christopher Wray as the new FBI director, and he was confirmed by the Senate in August.

Mr Wray recently threatened to resign after being pressured by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mr McCabe, Washington DC news outlet Axios reported last week.

ll you need to know about the Trump-Russia investigation

The Republican president has previously criticised Mr McCabe because his wife, Dr Jill McCabe, ran as a Democrat for a Senate seat in Virginia.

Her campaign received $675,000 in donations from the Virginia Democratic Party and a political funding committee aligned with Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s 2016 election rival.

Mr Trump has railed against Mr McCabe and his wife on Twitter, calling the FBI chief a “Comey friend”.

Last July he tweeted: “Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!”

The Washington Post reported last week that Mr McCabe was disturbed by a question he was asked by the president during a get-to-know-you Oval Office meeting.

Mr Trump had reportedly asked Mr McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 US presidential election, according to current and former officials in the report.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42865202

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe ‘removed’ from the bureau

January 29, 2018

By Judson Berger, Jake Gibson | Fox News

Top FBI official Andrew McCabe has been “removed” from his post as deputy director, Fox News is told, leaving the bureau after months of conflict-of-interest complaints from Republicans including President Trump.

A source confirmed to Fox News that McCabe is taking “terminal leave” – effectively taking vacation until he reaches his planned retirement in a matter of weeks. As such, he will not be reporting to work at the FBI anymore.

The move was first reported by NBC News.

Andrew McCabe

McCabe has long been a controversial figure at the bureau.

Republicans have questioned McCabe’s ties to the Democratic Party, considering his wife ran as a Democrat for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015 and got financial help from a group tied to Clinton family ally Terry McAuliffe.

Trump himself tweeted in December: “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?”

The Washington Post last week reported that Trump, during an Oval Office meeting last spring, pressed McCabe, who was then acting FBI director, about whom he voted for in the 2016 election. McCabe, according to the outlet, told the president he didn’t vote.

McCabe’s name has surfaced in connection with several other controversies.

The Daily Beast reported that a GOP memo alleging government surveillance abuse named McCabe, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and ex-FBI boss James Comey.

Incidentally, the McCabe removal comes after FBI Director Christopher Wray viewed the memo Sunday on Capitol Hill, as reported by Fox News’ Catherine Herridge.

Several Republicans also want to know what McCabe knew about anti-Trump text messages between two bureau officials, including one that seemed to reference an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the 2016 election.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Peter Strzok texted on Aug. 15, 2016. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Some lawmakers think “Andy” was a reference to McCabe.

Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/29/fbi-deputy-director-andrew-mccabe-is-stepping-down-from-bureau-fox-news-has-learned.html

Carl Bernstein: FBI isn’t tainted, Trump’s presidency is

December 27, 2017

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BY JOHN BOWDEN – 

Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein tore into President Trump on Tuesday over the latter’s attacks on the FBI, saying it’s Trump’s presidency whose integrity has been compromised, not the law enforcement agency’s.

In an interview with CNN’s Jim Sciutto, the legendary Watergate reporter accused Trump of acting contemptuously toward the FBI and other “instruments” of American democracy.

“The key word… that he keeps using is ‘tainted.’ There’s really only one institution that has really been tainted through these months and that is the Trump presidency,” Bernstein said. “It’s tainted by the president’s lies, by his disrespect for American institutions operating under the law with traditional American democracy and the instruments thereof.”

“He’s contemptuous of those instruments,” Bernstein added.

Bernstein accused the president of doing a “grave disservice” to the country by undermining institutions such as the FBI. Trump, Bernstein said, should welcome moves from Mueller’s team if he really believes he will be exonerated in the end.

“If the president is as confident as he says, if this investigation is going to end very soon with him being exonerated, he ought to welcome all of this instead of attacking constantly,” Bernstein said. “He’s doing a grave disservice to our democracy.”

Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning that the FBI was “tainted.” His comment came after he sharply criticized Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Saturday over reports that McCabe will possibly retire in March.

“How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” the president tweeted.

“FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” Trump added another tweet.

McCabe has been the target of Republican criticism over a campaign donation his wife received from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), a top ally of Hillary Clinton, just a year before the investigation he managed into her private email server cleared Clinton of wrongdoing.

Includes video:

http://thehill.com/homenews/media/366539-carl-bernstein-fbi-isnt-tainted-trump-is

Facebook will invest $1 billion in Virginia — Gov. Terry McAuliffe: “I am proud to welcome Facebook.”

October 6, 2017

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Image result for Gov. Terry McAuliffe, photos

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Facebook will invest $1 billion in Virginia as part of its plans to establish a 970,000-square-foot data center at White Oak Technology Park in eastern Henrico. The data center will cost $750 million to build and more than $250 million will be invested for the construction of new renewable energy projects.

Facebook is expected to have 100 full-time employees when the data center comes online — probably in 2019 — and construction is expected to create thousands of jobs.

In his remarks, County Manager John Vithoulkas called the occasion one of Henrico’s most exciting.

“You’ve got one of the most recognized companies in the world that’s chosen to locate in Henrico,” Vithoulkas said in an interview.

The data center will include two buildings and a so-called admin area. Additional buildings may be developed later and Facebook has enough land for five buildings, said Facebook spokeswoman Lindsay Amos.

Facebook’s Henrico Data Center will be the company’s eighth in the United States. Rachel Peterson, Facebook’s director of data center strategy, said the Henrico facilities will be some of the most advanced, energy-efficient in the world.

“Henrico County is a great fit for our newest data center, and we look forward to being part of the community,” Peterson said in her remarks.

Vithoulkas said the county gave Facebook an $850,000 sewer connection credit on a total fee that would be upward of $2 million. Facebook will become one of the top taxpayers in the county and one of its top water users, Vithoulkas said.

Image may contain: cloud, sky and outdoor

Facebook’s planned data center in Henrico county, Virginia

Facebook plans to use both water and air to keep the Henrico Data Center’s hardware cool. According to Facebook, its data centers use less water than typical data centers.

Vithoulkas said work at the data center will mostly consist of maintaining computers.

“It’s not the factory of yesterday,” Vithoulkas said. “It’s really about the building itself, which is massive, and the equipment in the building.”

In addition to the tax revenue and job impact, local leaders are banking on Facebook to play a role in the region’s schools, though what form that will take hasn’t been finalized.

Tyrone Nelson, the Henrico supervisor for the Varina District, which is home to Facebook’s site, said he was looking forward to seeing the impact Facebook would have on the community.

“The thing that excites me about Facebook is the constant care about investing in the community,” Nelson said.

Henrico has been laying the groundwork to lure Facebook.

Earlier this year, Henrico’s Board of Supervisors lowered the county’s tax rate on computers and equipment related to data centers.

In September, Henrico’s Planning Commission approved a development plan for a data center at White Oak of up to 2.5 million square feet code-named Project Echo.

As part of a new renewable energy tariff designed by Facebook and Dominion Energy Virginia, hundreds of millions will go toward the construction of solar facilities to help make the data center powered with 100 percent renewable energy.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the project is three years in the making and included a meeting on Monday in San Francisco to tie things up.

“I am proud to welcome Facebook to Henrico County, and we look forward to a strong partnership,” McAuliffe said.

 http://www.richmond.com/news/local/henrico/more-details-on-facebook-s-billion-data-center-in-henrico/article_51cd7630-ee3d-590b-97ff-1f321e32e8bc.html

White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA linked to three deaths

August 13, 2017

The Associated Press

© Paul J. Richards, AFP | People receive first-aid after a car accident rammed into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-08-13

A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in a Virginia college town, killing one person, hurting more than a dozen others and ratcheting up tension in a day full of violent confrontations.

Shortly after, a Virginia State Police helicopter that officials said was assisting with the rally crashed outside Charlottesville, killing the pilot and a trooper.

The chaos boiled over at what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade. The governor declared a state of emergency, and police dressed in riot gear ordered people out. The group had gathered to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, and others arrived to protest the racism.

Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, said several hundred counter-protesters were marching when “suddenly there was just this tire screeching sound.” A silver Dodge Challenger smashed into another car, then backed up, barreling through “a sea of people.”

The impact hurled people into the air. Those left standing scattered, screaming and running for safety in different directions.

The driver was later identified by police as James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio. Police say Fields, 20, has been charged with charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene. A bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Field’s mother, Samantha Bloom, told The Associated Press on Saturday night that she knew her son was attending a rally in Virginia but didn’t know it was a white supremacist rally.

“I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump’s not a white supremacist,” Bloom said.

“He had an African-American friend so …,” she said before her voice trailed off. She added that she’d be surprised if her son’s views were that far right.

Bloom, who became visibly upset as she learned of the injuries and deaths at the rally, said she and her son had just moved to the Toledo area from the northern Kentucky city of Florence. She said that’s where Fields grew up. She relocated to Ohio for work.

Late Saturday, the Department of Justice announced the opening of a federal civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the FBI’s Richmond field office and Rick Mountcastle, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, will lead the investigation.

“The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice,” Sessions said in a statement. “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.”

The turbulence began Friday night, when the white nationalists carried torches though the University of Virginia campus. It quickly spiraled into violence Saturday morning. Hundreds of people threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays. At least three more men have been arrested in connection to the protests

The Virginia State Police announced late Saturday that Troy Dunigan, a 21-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was charged with disorderly conduct; Jacob L. Smith, a 21-year-old from Louisa, Virginia, was charged with assault and battery; and James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

City officials said treated 35 patients altogether, 19 of whom were injured in the car crash.

State Police said in a statement that the helicopter was “assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation” when it crashed in a wooded area. The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Virginia, died at the scene.

President Donald Trump condemned “in the strongest possible terms” what he called an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” after the clashes. He called for “a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.”

Trump said he had spoken with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and “we agreed that the hate and the division must stop and must stop right now.”

But some of the white nationalists cited Trump’s victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump’s critics pointed to the president’s racially tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation’s festering racial tension.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson noted that Trump for years publicly questioned President Barack Obama’s citizenship.

“We are in a very dangerous place right now,” he said.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had called for what he termed a “pro-white” rally in Charlottesville, sparked by the monument decision. White nationalists and their opponents promoted the event for weeks.

Oren Segal, who directs the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said multiple white power groups gathered in Charlottesville, including members of neo-Nazi organizations, racist skinhead groups and Ku Klux Klan factions.

The white nationalist organizations Vanguard America and Identity Evropa; the Southern nationalist League of the South; the National Socialist Movement; the Traditionalist Workers Party; and the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights also were on hand, he said, along with several groups with a smaller presence.

On the other side, anti-fascist demonstrators also gathered in Charlottesville, but they generally aren’t organized like white nationalist factions, said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Many others were just locals caught in the fray.

Colleen Cook, 26, stood on a curb shouting at the rally attendees to go home.

Cook, a teacher who attended the University of Virginia, said she sent her son, who is black, out of town for the weekend.

“This isn’t how he should have to grow up,” she said.

Cliff Erickson leaned against a fence and took in the scene. He said he thinks removing the statue amounts to erasing history and said the “counter-protesters are crazier than the alt-right.”

“Both sides are hoping for a confrontation,” he said.

It’s the latest hostility in Charlottesville since the city about 100 miles outside of Washington, D.C., voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Lee.

In May, a torch-wielding group that included prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer gathered around the statue for a nighttime protest, and in July, about 50 members of a North Carolina-based KKK group traveled there for a rally, where they were met by hundreds of counter-protesters.

Kessler said this week that the rally is partly about the removal of Confederate symbols but also about free speech and “advocating for white people.”

“This is about an anti-white climate within the Western world and the need for white people to have advocacy like other groups do,” he said in an interview.

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices.

“I’m not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president,” he said.

Charlottesville, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a liberal-leaning city that’s home to the flagship UVA and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.

The statue’s removal is part of a broader city effort to change the way Charlottesville’s history of race is told in public spaces. The city has also renamed Lee Park, where the statue stands, and Jackson Park, named for Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. They’re now called Emancipation Park and Justice Park, respectively.

For now, the Lee statue remains. A group called the Monument Fund filed a lawsuit arguing that removing the statue would violate a state law governing war memorials. A judge has agreed to temporarily block the city from removing the statue for six months.

(AP)

Trump blames “many sides” for the violent clashes between protesters and white supremacists in Virginia

August 13, 2017

None

By JONATHAN LEMIRE
The Associated Press

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed “many sides” for the violent clashes between protesters and white supremacists in Virginia and contended that the “hatred and bigotry” broadcast across the country had taken root long before his political ascendancy.

That was not how the Charlottesville mayor assessed the chaos that led the governor to declare a state of emergency, contending that Trump’s campaign fed the flames of prejudice.

Trump, on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, had intended to speak briefly at a ceremony marking the signing of bipartisan legislation to aid veterans, but he quickly found that those plans were overtaken by the escalating violence in the Virginia college town. One person died and at least 26 others were sent to the hospital after a car plowed into a group of peaceful anti-racist counterprotesters amid days of race-fueled marches and violent clashes.

And officials later linked the deaths of two people aboard a crashed helicopter to the protests, though they did not say how they were linked.

null

Speaking slowly from a podium set up in the golf clubhouse, Trump said that he had just spoken to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va. “We agreed that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and … true affection for each other,” he said.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” said Trump. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”

The president said that “what is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.”

After completing his statement and the bill signing, Trump then walked out of the room. He ignored reporters’ shouted questions, including whether he wanted the support of white nationals who have said they backed him or if the car crash in Virginia were deemed intentional, would it be declared to be terrorism.

The previous two days, Trump took more than 50 questions from a small group of reporters. A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for an explanation as to what Trump mean by “many sides.”

Following Trump’s comment, several Republicans pushed for a more explicit denunciation of white supremacists.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner tweeted “Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wrote “Nothing patriotic about #Nazis,the #KKK or #WhiteSupremacists It’s the direct opposite of what #America seeks to be.”

And even New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a staunch Trump supporter, wrote: “We reject the racism and violence of white nationalists like the ones acting out in Charlottesville. Everyone in leadership must speak out.”

White nationalists had assembled in Charlottesville to vent their frustration against the city’s plans to take down a statue of Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee. Counter-protesters massed in opposition. A few hours after violent encounters between the two groups, a car drove into a crowd of people peacefully protesting the rally. The driver was later taken into custody.

Alt-right leader Richard Spencer and former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke attended the demonstrations. Duke told reporters that the white nationalists were working to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”

Trump’s speech also drew praise from the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which wrote: “Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. … No condemnation at all.”

The website had been promoting the Charlottesville demonstration as part of its “Summer of Hate” edition.

Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices with his campaign last year.

“I’m not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president,” he said.

Disturbances began Friday night during a torch-lit march through the University of Virginia before escalating Saturday.

The White House was silent for hours except for a tweet from first lady Melania Trump: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts.”

Trump later tweeted: “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for.” He also said “there is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!” Trump tweeted condolences about the woman killed the protests Saturday evening, more than five hours after the crash.

Trump, as a candidate, frequently came under scrutiny for being slow to offer his condemnation of white supremacists. His strongest denunciation of the movement has not come voluntarily, only when asked, and he occasionally trafficked in retweets of racist social media posts during his campaign. His chief strategist, Steve Bannon, once declared that his former news site, Breitbart, was “the platform for the alt-right.”

The president’s reluctance to condemn white bigots also stood in stark contrast by his insistence of calling out “radical Islamic terrorism” by name.

“Now, to solve a problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name,” Trump said in a general election debate.

In his remarks Saturday, Trump mentioned the strong economy and “the many incredible things in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it’s very, very sad.”

___

Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

See also, from London:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/12/state-emergency-declared-white-supremacists-neo-nazis-bring/

Related:

Senate committee wants more information about FBI number 2 Andrew McCabe role in Disclosures about Donald Trump

April 2, 2017

By BYRON YORK (@BYRONYORK) 4/1/17 7:17 PM

Washington Examiner

Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey demanding the story behind the FBI’s reported plan to pay the author of a lurid and unsubstantiated dossier on candidate Donald Trump. In particular, Grassley appears to be zeroing in on the FBI’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, indicating Senate investigators want to learn more about McCabe’s role in a key aspect of the Trump-Russia affair.

Grassley began his investigation after the Washington Post reported on February 28 that the FBI, “a few weeks before the election,” agreed to pay former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump. Prior to that, supporters of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign had paid Steele to gather intelligence on Clinton’s Republican rival. In the end, the FBI did not pay Steele, the Post reported, after the dossier “became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials.” It is not clear whether Steele worked under agreement with the FBI for any period of time before the payment deal fell through.

“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Comey dated March 28.

Grassley demanded the FBI turn over all its records relating to Steele and the dossier, in addition to “all FBI policies, procedures, and guidelines applicable when the FBI seeks to fund an investigator associated with a political opposition research firm connected to a political candidate, or with any outside entity.”

Image result for Andrew McCabe, FBI, Photos

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

But the most noteworthy thing about Grassley’s letter is its focus on McCabe. Grassley noted that McCabe is already under investigation by the FBI‘s inspector general for playing a top role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation even though McCabe’s wife accepted nearly $700,000 in political donations arranged by a close Clinton friend, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, for her run for state senate in Virginia.

“While Mr. McCabe recused himself from public corruption cases in Virginia…he failed to recuse himself from the Clinton email investigation,” Grassley wrote, “despite the appearance of a conflict created by his wife’s campaign accepting $700,000 from a close Clinton associate during the investigation.”

Now, Grassley wrote, there could be a problem with McCabe’s participation in the Trump-Russia probe. If McCabe had a conflict being too close to Clinton, how could he then investigate Trump? A key passage from Grassley’s letter:

Mr. McCabe’s appearance of a partisan conflict of interest relating to Clinton associates only magnifies the importance of those questions. That is particularly true if Mr. McCabe was involved in approving or establishing the FBI‘s reported arrangement with Mr. Steele, or if Mr. McCabe vouched for or otherwise relied on the politically-funded dossier in the course of the investigation. Simply put, the American people should know if the FBI’s second-in-command relied on Democrat-funded opposition research to justify an investigation of the Republican presidential campaign.

Grassley followed with a dozen questions, all targeted at McCabe. Has McCabe been involved “in any capacity” in investigating alleged collusion between TrumpWorld and Russia? Has McCabe been involved in surveillance or intercepts of any sort in the case? Has McCabe “made any representations to prosecutors or judges” regarding the Steele dossier? Has McCabe had any interactions with Steele himself? Did McCabe brief anyone in the Obama administration on the Trump-Russia investigation? Was McCabe ever authorized by the FBI to speak to the media about the case? Did he ever do so without authorization? Has anyone in the FBI raised questions about McCabe’s possible Clinton-Trump conflict of interest? Has any complaint been filed about it? Has anyone at the FBI recommended or requested that McCabe recuse himself from the Russia-Trump investigation?

Read More:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/byron-york-senate-committee-targets-fbi-no.-2-in-trump-dossier-probe/article/2619120