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Guantánamo Trials Grapple With How Much Evidence to Allow About Torture

Seventeen-and-a-half years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and a decade after President Barack Obama ordered the C.I.A. black sites. By law, prosecutors cannot use evidence gained through torture — or any other involuntary statements — at the war court, where eight of Guantánamo’s 40 prisoners are accused of being complicit in terrorist attacks. Prosecutors have made clear that nothing the defendants said at the black sites will be used as evidence. Defense lawyers in those cases have sought for years to get access to eyewitnesses and graphic details from the C.I.A. sites. The lawyers want to use descriptions of torture to ask the judge to exclude some of the defendants’ own statements after they left the black sites. In his second year of C.I.A. calls this “rectal feeding.” Defense lawyers call it rape. Mr. Khan’s lawyers now want to call witnesses and gather evidence to show his sentencing jury what happened to him.

Federal Authorities Raided Trump Fundraiser’s Office in Money Laundering Probe

Let's not condone violence right now, that is one dangerous road to go down. Plus... What about the ones without oaths? Don Jr. Signed one of the checks to reimburse Michael Cohen for the Stormy Daniels payments - from the revocable trust that Trump was supposed to put his businesses in so politics couldn't get involved with it... Ivanka went on TV to state that her dad had nothing to do with security clearances in the last month, to cover for something that isn't illegal for a President to do... Remember when Trump's kids were trying to get CIA top level security clearance? After he was cleared by the White House, Kushner’s file was reportedly submitted to the C.I.A. to be evaluated for an S.C.I., or “sensitive compartmented information” clearance—an even higher designation. officers who make clearance decisions balked, two of the people familiar with the matter said. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that counterintelligence officials in early 2017 warned Jared Kushner that Wendi Deng Murdoch might be using her relationship with Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to aid the Chinese government. A friend of Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was the mystery buyer of "Salvator Mundi," a painting of Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci that recently sold for a record $450 million.

Trump politicizes Thanksgiving call with troops to attack migrants, judges

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump struck a nakedly political tone during a Thanksgiving call with US service members stationed around the world as he steered the conversation toward controversial political topics. Speaking with a US general in Afghanistan, Trump likened the fight against terrorists to his efforts to prevent a group of migrants from illegally entering the United States, and he assailed federal judges who have ruled against his administration. US Presidents have traditionally called troops stationed abroad during the holidays to boost morale and remind the country of their service, making Trump's rhetoric yet another striking break from the norms of presidential behavior. Trump has not shied away from politicizing the military in the past, and on Thursday, he drew on US men and women in uniform to justify his controversial deployment of nearly 6,000 US troops to the southern border. After the call wrapped, Trump continued to focus on the 9th Circuit and his administration's efforts to prevent the group of migrants -- many of whom are seeking asylum -- from crossing into the US illegally. "The whole border." Trump also once again undermined the CIA's assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the murder of Khashoggi, insisting the agency did not conclude bin Salman was responsible. I don't know if anybody's going to be able to conclude that the crown prince did it," Trump said. That's a big difference." This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn't believe it."

Paul Manafort jury pool was full of political opinions

But several of the people called for jury duty for Manafort's trial in Virginia last month did have opinions about the case before they reported to court, according to a newly unsealed transcript from when the lawyers and judge first determined the jury. The transcript made public Wednesday offers a new window into how potential jurors felt about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman. One juror, a 51-year-old government contractor, according to the court's records, told the judge that before he came to the courtroom on the first trial day, "Only the name sounded familiar when I heard it." Without fail, each juror told the judge they could weigh the case without bias. The judge and lawyers didn't always believe each person. "I feel that the Mueller investigation is dragging on and dragging on," she said. Another potential juror came to court with a potentially similar bent, after reading "an exposé on Mr. Manafort" in the conservative magazine National Review last year, he told the court. One person, who was not chosen, was eager to serve. "I would love to serve on this case," the potential juror said. One juror told the lawyers she had read about the case on Facebook.

John Brennan threatens to sue Trump over stripped security clearance

The former CIA director John Brennan is threatening legal action against Donald Trump, after he was summarily stripped of his security clearance in an unprecedented display of presidential pique. Read more Brennan took to the airways on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press and made clear that he had no intention of being cowered by Trump’s bombshell action to deprive him of access to classified information. The unparalleled move has triggered an equally unparalleled blowback from 13 of the most revered national security figures in the country, who penned a joint letter decrying the move as “ill-considered and unprecedented”. Brennan said he had been contacted by a number of lawyers and was actively weighing his options. He told NBC that in his opinion the revoking of his security clearance was Trump’s way of trying to scare other existing and former government officials. He said: “I am going to do whatever I can to try and prevent these abuses occurring in the future and if that means going to court I will do that.” While the former CIA director has been busily doubling down on his criticism of Trump, the White House and its supporters in Congress have also been energetically mounting a campaign of character assassination against him. Richard Burr, the Republican chair of the Senate intelligence committee, began the outpouring last week when he suggested that any comment by Brennan accusing Trump of possible collusion with Russia that had been based on classified information gathered since he left the CIA would constitute an intelligence breach. When he was CIA director I was very troubled by … what I thought was his politicization of the intelligence community John Bolton On Sunday, national security adviser John Bolton echoed the claim when he told ABC’s This Week: “A number of people have commented that [Brennan] couldn’t be in the position he’s in of criticizing President Trump and his so-called collusion with Russia unless he did use classified information.” Bolton was forced to admit he could point to no specific examples of any such breach. Instead, he further cast aspersions on Brennan by questioning his actions while in office as Barack Obama’s final CIA director. “When he was CIA director I was very troubled by his conduct, by statements he made in public and by what I thought was his politicization of the intelligence community,” Bolton said, again without offering specifics.

Des Moines Register announces 2018 Political Soapbox schedule at the Iowa State Fair

A long-running tradition in Iowa politics, the Soapbox this year will feature candidates running for Congress, governor, secretary of state, secretary of agriculture, auditor and treasurer. Saturday, August 11 11:00 a.m.: Democrat Rob Sand, running for state auditor. Swalwell serves as California's 15th District representative and chaired the Martin O'Malley PAC's Young Professionals Leader Circle in 2014. Gannon currently works as a farmer on his family’s 900-acre century farm near Mingo, worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture under Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, and served with former President Barack Obama's Iowa campaign. Sunday, August 12 None scheduled. Monday, August 13 10:30 a.m.: Libertarian Jake Porter, running for governor. 4:00 p.m.: Republican Paul Pate, running for state secretary of state. Wednesday, August 15 10:30 a.m.: Republican David Young, running for Congress in the 3rd District. 4:00 p.m.: Republican Christopher Peters, running for Congress in the 2nd District. Scholten, running for Congress in the 4th District.

Yes, Russian Election Sabotage Helped Trump Win

President Donald Trump repeatedly claims that no votes were affected — even on occasions when he acknowledges Russian meddling at all. Trump beat Clinton.” Meddling & collusion are NOT the same thing. Russia did meddle in 2016 election & are trying it again. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018 It’s hard to prove that Russia’s use of phony trolls and social media and its theft of email messages from prominent Democrats is what elected Trump. But Pompeo was factually wrong about one thing: The intelligence community reached no conclusion about what did propel Trump to victory, at least not in public. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper now says the evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin swung the election to Trump “is staggering.” Noting that fewer than 80,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin decided the contest, he wrote in a book released in May, “I have no doubt that more votes than that were influenced by the massive effort by the Russians.” Most Republicans dismiss Clapper as a Trump-hating supporter of his former boss, ex-President Barack Obama. “The use that the mainstream and conservative media made of the Russian hacking of the Democrats’ emails altered the news and debate agendas in ways that past election research would suggest were significant enough to change the outcome.” The book is “Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President, What We Don’t, Can’t and Do Know.” Jamieson is a professor and former dean at the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Contrary to the claims of most Republicans, there’s already a serious circumstantial case for the strong impact of Russian interference. Beyond the effect on voters, the relentless drumbeat of articles about email leaks also forced the Clinton campaign to spend time reacting and making strategic adjustments. Later, after the election, the Times reported on links between Trump and Russians during the campaign, and the American intelligence agencies concluded in a public report that the purpose was to help Trump.

Another battle between politics and common sense

Policymakers may have legitimate qualms about Trump’s nominee, but many are once again putting political theater above the country’s interests. Washington needs to be better and do better. Gina Haspel appears eminently qualified to lead the CIA, having served for more than three decades as an intelligence officer and station chief in various countries throughout the world. Maybe more important, people who have worked with her—CIA directors who have served both Republican and Democratic presidents, not to mention a wide range of CIA officers—have expressed their strong support for her nomination. At the same time that Haspel’s nomination was being politicized, the current administration was being actively undermined by a leader from the last one. And yet former Secretary of State John Kerry spent the last few weeks working explicitly against the foreign policy goals of the Trump administration. Now, his agenda is American policy. Americans want their leaders to immerse themselves in problem solving, not political gamesmanship. Gina Haspel should get fair consideration. John Kerry should leave the diplomacy to our current diplomats.

Former CIA chief Hayden on Powerhouse Politics: ‘We are less safe’”

Despite the possibility of a breakthrough with North Korea, former CIA and National Security Agency head retired Gen. Michael Hayden had some chilling words on ABC’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast. “Overall, we are less safe” as a country under President Donald Trump, said Gen. Hayden, who blamed the current instability under Trump in part on a “post-truth culture.” One big change, he said, is that under Trump, America can’t be trusted as the same force for stability that it’s been historically. We are the most disruptive force in the world today,” he said. “It’s not just this administration, but American society is broadly in a post-truth culture in which decisions are based less on data and fact and evidence and more on emotions, preference, fear, and anxiety.” When they came on air, hosts Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein had just learned the news that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had three Americans freed from North Korea with him on a plane, returning to the United States. Hayden said the nation should celebrate this moment and congratulate the administration on its diplomatic breakthrough and the hostage release. But he still had serious doubts about trusting North Korea's dictator Kim Jung Un. Hayden also wonders if the North Korean leader is playing his own game of cat-and-mouse. “The most dramatic progress made on North Korean missiles and nuclear efforts has taken place in the last 18 months, and we may be where we are because Kim’s decided he’s got what he needs now. He can park the car. He gets a sense of equivalency on the international scene.“

Trump’s CIA pick attacked over Bush-era program; do gender politics matter?

The Washington Post scoop in yesterday's paper said Haspel "sought to withdraw her nomination Friday after some White House officials worried that her role in the interrogation of terrorist suspects could prevent her confirmation by the Senate, according to four senior U.S. Sanders took note in tweeting the following: "There is no one more qualified to be the first woman to lead the CIA than 30+ year CIA veteran Gina Haspel. Well, she is to some extent—just like politicians of both parties have regularly played gender and racial cards for decades when it's in their interest. When Bill Clinton named Janet Reno as first female attorney general and Madeleine Albright as the first female secretary of State, that status was touted, implicitly or otherwise, as an extra reason for supporting her. It's not that they weren't qualified, but the politics of opposing them became a little more complicated. Too tough on terror is a loaded formulation, since the obstacle to her confirmation is her involvement in the CIA's interrogation program, which included such techniques as waterboarding, which critics view as torture. It was, of course, the Bush administration that launched the controversial program after 9/11, when terror topped the nation's agenda. Haspel made the comment about Ronny Jackson—who was forced to withdraw as the VA nominee and then lost his job as White House physician—because she doesn't want to be a distraction, according to the Post. She is, by the way, supported by a number of national security officials from the Obama administration. Senators should ask tough questions of every high-level nominee.