NEWT ups his speaking fees, agency cites ‘insight’ into Trump -- Clinton, Trump strategists brawl in Cambridge -- EXCLUSIVE: New NRCC ED -- TOM REYNOLDS to Facebook -- B’DAY: Harry Reid is 77
Listen to Playbook in 90 Seconds http://bit.ly/2gPpDll ... Subscribe on iTunes http://apple.co/2eX6EayFIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- NEWT UPS HIS PRICE -- Newt Gingrich is cashing in on Donald Trump’s popularity. Gingrich’s speaking agency, Worldwide Speakers Group, sent out a notice Thursday afternoon with the subject line “Newt Gingrich Fee Increase.” “Few people in the world have as much insight into President-elect Trump’s philosophies, principles and objectives as Newt Gingrich. As the senior voice in the Republican Party and advisor to the new Administration, Gingrich has been at the forefront of the Republican strategy for the last two years,” the email read. IF YOU WANT TO BOOK the former House speaker for a D.C. speech, it will now cost you $25,000 plus ground transportation. For speeches east of Chicago, he’s charging $60,000 plus first class travel for two, and for speeches west of Chicago, he’s asking $75,000 plus first class travel for two.” It’s an increase of about $15,000, our source tells us. No wonder he wanted to stay out of the administration! Gingrich had “no comment,” he said in an email.THE TRUMP AGENCY -- Lobbyists have been scrambling to pump up their connections to the incoming Trump administration, but few have been as brazen as Gotham Government Relations & Communications and Gerstman Schwartz & Malito. David Schwartz sent an email Thursday detailing his firm’s “storied relationship” with Trump, whom he has represented since 2010. “It has been the thrill of a lifetime to work for this man whom I have grown to respect and admire over the years, and I believe he deserves a chance to succeed as our President,” Schwartz wrote, noting that he and his partners started the website “Should Trump Run” ahead of the 2012 election, setting the stage for his 2016 presidential bid. SCHWARTZ WRITES that, in addition to assisting Trump on several lobbying issues, he was also involved in Trump’s campaign launch at Trump Tower. “Our firm set up that entire event.” He adds: “We have an insight into the thinking of the new President. We look forward to meeting with you and analyzing all of the problems of your business, industry, not-for-profit and trade associations.” The firm expects to expand into Washington, linking up with a yet unnamed firm. DEPT OF RAW NERVES -- “Clinton and Trump strategists still throwing punches,” by Shane Goldmacher and Gabe Debenedetti at the Harvard Institute of Politics’ post-election conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts: “The scene on Thursday was fraught, from the moment the top campaigns’ top officials sat down across the room from each other. There were interruptions, accusations and plenty of crosstalk for more than two, tense hours. ‘We’re not at a Trump rally, Corey,’ Clinton’s chief strategist Joel Benenson snapped at one point at Trump’s first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Later, Trump’s last campaign manager Kellyanne Conway cautioned her side of the table, ‘Hey guys, we won, we don’t have to respond.’ … Clinton’s advisers looked pained from the start. They gulped water. They gripped their pens. They crossed their arms. They glared. Then they boiled over.“After 90 minutes, when Trump deputy campaign manager Dave Bossie called Trump’s campaign CEO Steve Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, ‘an unbelievably brilliant strategist,’ an impassioned Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, jumped in. ‘If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician I am glad to have lost,’ Palmieri said. ‘I would rather lose than win the way the guys you did.’ Palmieri called Clinton’s speech in Reno denouncing the ‘alt-right’ in August one of her ‘proudest’ moments as shouting ensued across the room. ‘Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?’ Conway snapped back. ‘You’re going to look me in the face and tell me that?’ ‘I did, Kellyanne,’ Palmieri said. ‘I did.’ ‘Do you think you could have just had a decent message for the white working class voters?’ Conway said, adding to no one in particular as the conversation moved on, ‘You guys are bitter.’ ...“On Wednesday evening, Republican campaign managers shouted down and heckled CNN president Jeff Zucker when he said that all candidates had been invited onto his airwaves. ‘Wrong!’ shouted Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who had worked as campaign manager for her father. Later, Sanders rattled off one statistic from August 2015 that in a 10-day period Trump had been on CNN during prime time for 256 minutes, and Mike Huckabee had been on for 17 seconds.” http://politi.co/2h1ysLC … Audio of all of this year’s sessions, which have been taking place every 4 years since 1972 http://bit.ly/2gtQJ2Y BUZZ -- Sen. Claire McCaskill is expected to join the Senate Finance Committee, according to multiple sources. The Missouri Democrat would take the slot left open after incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer opted to leave the panel to serve in leadership. McCaskill and Schumer’s offices were mum on the move.PLAYBOOK EXCLUSIVE: NEW NRCC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR -- Newly elected National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) has tapped John Rogers to run the NRCC this cycle. Rogers was the political director of the NRCC last cycle, and the deputy during the 2014 cycle. “We are building a world-class team, which will be laser-focused on maintaining the House Majority, and gaining seats where we can. John is the first part of that team," Stivers said.WHY THIS MATTERS: The NRCC has helped keep a House Republican majority since 2010. Stivers and Rogers will have to do that again -- two years into Donald Trump’s administration. Stivers has been a top official at the NRCC, and Rogers has run the political department, which should help the organization in 2018.BECERRA OUT, NEAL IN -- Rep. Xavier Becerra’s unexpected appointment to become California’s attorney general has made way for Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal to ascend to the plum spot of ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee. Neal has the job all but locked up, according to several sources. PLAYBOOK’S TAKE: Neal is popular with his colleagues, will easily be able to go toe to toe with his Republican counterpart, Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas, and is a favorite among the K Street crowd.THE 45TH PRESIDENT -- “Trump Kicks Off ‘Thank You’ Tour, Reveling in Crowd and Campaign Themes,” by Nick Corasaniti in Cincinnati and Mike Shear in D.C. on A1 of the NYT: “He boasted about himself in the third person. He sneered at the opponents he had vanquished. He disparaged journalists and invited angry chants from the crowd, grinning broadly at calls of ‘lock her up’ and ‘build the wall.’ He ridiculed the government’s leaders as stupid and dishonest failures. In his first major address since winning the presidency three weeks ago, Donald J. Trump soaked up the adulation of tens of thousands of his supporters at a campaign-style rally here, unabashedly gloating about the ‘great’ victory he had secured. If there were any question about whether his evolution to president-in-waiting would temper his presentation or moderate his tone, the rally offered a forceful answer: Not a chance. ...“‘How about North Carolina — how well did we do in North Carolina? Remember when they said he cannot win North Carolina?’ Mr. Trump said, adding a moment later: ‘Donald Trump can’t break the blue wall, right? We didn’t break it, we shattered that sucker. We shattered it, man. That poor wall is busted up.’” http://nyti.ms/2fNtPEP -- POLITICO, by Eli Stokols: http://politi.co/2fShREY … WaPo, by Jenna Johnson and John Wagner: http://wapo.st/2fSsBmL.-- @RVAwonk: “#Trump tells Cincinnati rally that violent crime is at a 45-year high. It's actually at a 51-year low, according to latest FBI data.” http://bit.ly/2gfKlcU … @glennkesslerWP: “[What] will he say in a year when violent crime is his problem?”TWO TIDBITS for your radar from Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt’s interview with TRUMP that’s airing this morning on “Fox and Friends.”-- EARHARDT: “Mitt Romney -- I was out there in the crowd. You can hear them out there; they’re so excited for you to come out on stage tonight. They don’t love Mitt Romney as your pick. If you do pick him, what can you say to the American public?” TRUMP: “Well, he’s been very gracious and don’t forget I hit Mitt pretty hard also … so I understand how it all works. He’s been very, very nice. We had dinner the other night, it was great there was actually a good chemistry.” … EARHARDT: “Day One, what are you going to do? The wall? Obamacare repeal?” TRUMP: “We could do the wall. We are going to do some repealing. We are going to [reverse] some executive orders that we think are inappropriate. We are going to be working. We are going to be working very hard. If you would have seen the people of Indiana today, 1,100 people are going to have a great Christmas, that I can tell you.”MIKE PENCE INTERVIEW -- “Vice President-elect Mike Pence Says Trump Administration Plans Ambitious Agenda,” by WSJ’s Peter Nicholas in Cincinnati: “Mr. Pence is positioned to be an active vice president wielding substantial influence in the Trump administration. Asked if he saw himself in the mold of such previous running mates as Dick Cheney or George H.W. Bush, he said he ‘can learn a great deal from vice presidents over the last 30 and 40 years. But ultimately I have a firm conviction that the president [Mr. Trump] will define that role. Not me.’” http://on.wsj.com/2fSrL9K FUTURE OF MEDIA -- SUSAN GLASSER for Brookings: “Covering politics in a ‘post-truth’ America: Journalism has never been better, thanks to these last few decades of disruption. So why does it seem to matter so little? Reflections on the media in the age of Trump”: “I have a different and more existential fear today about the future of independent journalism and its role in our democracy. And you should too. Because the media scandal of 2016 isn’t so much about what reporters failed to tell the American public; it’s about what they did report on, and the fact that it didn’t seem to matter.” http://brook.gs/2h1Q36gPENTAGON WATCH -- “Trump picks General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as defense secretary: Mattis would be only the second retired general to become the civilian leader of the military,” by Bryan Bender and Andrew Hanna: “Mattis, 66, so nicknamed for his salty language and obsessive dedication to the military, was the top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2010 to 2013. He had earlier co-authored a counterinsurgency strategy manual credited with helping to halt some of the worst sectarian violence in Iraq before the U.S. military withdrawal in December 2011. But as head of the U.S. Central Command he also clashed with President Barack Obama's National Security Council, particularly over Iran, which Mattis has called ‘the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.’ ...“Yet not all of Mattis’ views are so in sync with Trump and Flynn, who have made friendly gestures to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mattis has expressed deep wariness of Russia's intentions, saying it wants ‘to break NATO apart.’” http://politi.co/2fSpsmQ -- “Trump’s pick for defense secretary went to the mat for the troubled blood-testing company Theranos,” by WaPo’s Carolyn Johnson: http://wapo.st/2gu0GgT -- CLICKER: “9 unforgettable quotes by James Mattis,” by Madeline Conway: http://politi.co/2h1GTGI -- ICYMI, TOM RICKS on ForeignPolicy.com, Nov. 21: “Mattis as defense secretary: What it means for us, for the military, and for Trump”: “[C]areer Pentagon officials who otherwise might decline to serve in a Trump administration instead might be encouraged to stay on by the presence of Mattis, who is extremely popular among the rank and file. His Chuck Norris-like reputation is likely be worn down by the realities of the job. But Mattis admires the way Robert Gates operated as defense secretary, and that is a good model to have.” http://atfp.co/2fZmH6N PAUL RYAN ON “60 MINUTES” -- From CBS: “Scott Pelley interviews House Speaker Paul Ryan about his relationship with President-elect Donald Trump and the first issues he will address after the inauguration.” PELLEY: “You called Donald Trump a racist.” RYAN: “No, I didn’t. I said his comment was.” PELLEY: “Well -- I’m not sure there’s a great deal of daylight between those two definitions. But he definitely called you ineffective and disloyal. Have you patched it up?” RYAN: “Yeah, we have. We’re fine. We’re not looking back. We’re looking forward. We -- we actually -- we’ve had -- we -- like I said, we speak about every day. And it's not about looking for -- back in the past. That’s behind us. We’re way beyond that.” … PELLEY: “Have you told him being president is not being CEO of the United States, that the Congress is going to have a say?” RYAN: “Oh, we’ve talked about that extensively. We’ve talked about-- the Constitution, Article I [of] the Constitution, the separation of powers. He feels very strongly, actually, that-- that, under President Obama’s watch, he stripped a lot of power away from the Constitution, away from the Legislative Branch of government. And we want to reset the balance of power, so that people and the Constitution are rightfully restored.”IF YOU READ ONE THING -- NYT A17, “Trump’s Breezy Calls to World Leaders Leave Diplomats Aghast,” by Mark Landler: “President-elect Donald J. Trump inherited a complicated world when he won the election last month. And that was before a series of freewheeling phone calls with foreign leaders that has unnerved diplomats at home and abroad. In the calls, he voiced admiration for one of the world’s most durable despots, the president of Kazakhstan, and said he hoped to visit a country, Pakistan, that President Obama has steered clear of during nearly eight years in office. Mr. Trump told the British prime minister, Theresa May, ‘If you travel to the U.S., you should let me know,’ an offhand invitation that came only after he spoke to nine other leaders. He later compounded it by saying on Twitter that Britain should name the anti-immigrant leader Nigel Farage its ambassador to Washington, a startling break with diplomatic protocol. ...“Mr. Trump’s conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan has generated the most angst, because, as Mr. Earnest put it, the relationship between Mr. Sharif’s country and the United States is ‘quite complicated,’ with disputes over issues ranging from counterterrorism to nuclear proliferation. … The breezy tone of the [Pakistani government’s] readout left diplomats in Washington slack-jawed, with some initially assuming it was a parody. In particular, they zeroed in on Mr. Trump’s offer to Mr. Sharif “to play any role you want me to play to address and find solutions to the country’s problems.” http://nyti.ms/2fZlA6S FOR YOUR RADAR -- “Russia accuses Ukraine of sabotaging Trump: A Foreign Ministry official says Ukrainian officials hampered Trump by targeting Manafort,” by Ken Vogel and Julia Ioffe: “A spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday contended that the Ukrainian government over the summer damaged Trump’s campaign by implicating his then-campaign chief Paul Manafort in a corruption scandal involving a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party funded by oligarchs.” http://politi.co/2gPbTqz SCOOP -- “Christie throws his hat in the ring for RNC chair,” by Alex Isenstadt: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expressing serious interest in the job of [RNC] chairman -- and he’s getting an audience to make his case. Christie told senior members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team on Thursday morning that he is interested in the post ... One person said the governor had embarked on an aggressive, ‘full-court press’ in hopes of getting the chairmanship.” http://politi.co/2fZjeVz VIDEO DU JOUR -- @MattNegrin: “so here are a bunch of news anchors who don’t know how to pronounce Steven Mnuchin’s name” http://bit.ly/2gfQfLd HOT DOC -- “Trump team urges GOP to play up Sessions’ ‘strong civil rights record,’” by Seung Min Kim: “President-elect Donald Trump’s team is advising Senate Republicans to promote Jeff Sessions’ deep familiarity with the Justice Department, his ‘strong civil rights record’ and that he is ‘known for his deep respect and adherence to the rule of law’ as senators talk about the his nomination as attorney general. For Steven Mnuchin, the Trump team wants senators to emphasize that the former Goldman Sachs executive is a ‘world-class financier’ whose history in the financial sector ‘make him the ideal candidate’ to be Trump’s pick to lead the Treasury Department. And Tom Price, whom Trump intends to nominate for Health and Human Services secretary, is ‘a renowned physician” who ‘has earned a reputation for being a tireless problem solver.’ Those are just a sample of talking points sent by Trump’s transition team -- and obtained by POLITICO -- to the Senate GOP Conference this week to promote the incoming president’s choices for his administration.” http://politi.co/2fZi7VX -- K-FILE: “Jeff Sessions fought as Alabama attorney general to keep an LGBT conference from meeting on a public campus,” by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski: http://cnn.it/2gNrglLHILLWATCH -- “Rep. Himes Elected Head Of Moderate Democrats Group,” by the Hartford Courant’s Russell Blair: “U.S. Rep. Jim Himes has been elected chairman of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of about 50 Congressional Democrats that calls itself moderate and fiscally responsible.” http://cour.at/2fZzQwsWEST COAST WATCH -- “Mayor Eric Garcetti is trying to strike a balance with Donald Trump. Will it pay off?,” by L.A. Times’ Dakota Smith: “Before election day, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti didn’t hold back when it came to Donald Trump. ‘He’s a racist. He’s a bigot. He’s sexist,’ Garcetti told reporters in May, criticizing the Republican presidential hopeful for his views on the economy, immigration and women, among other things. ‘What we cannot do with Donald Trump is normalize him as a candidate.’ ... But since Trump’s victory, Garcetti has adopted a more civil tone. They spoke by phone last week, and Garcetti has expressed his willingness to work with the president-elect on infrastructure and the economy. At the same time, Garcetti has offered assurances that the city won’t aid Trump on any widespread crackdown against immigrants who are in the country without authorization.” http://lat.ms/2h1ObKI POLITICO “PULSE CHECK” podcast — DOES TRUMP NEED A HEALTH REFORM CZAR? Tom Daschle, who was President Obama’s original choice for that role in 2008, tells POLITICO’s Dan Diamond that it’s a necessary job — even if he fiercely disagrees with Trump's priority to repeal Obamacare. “You really want someone who can be … a czar-like individual. Somebody who can really coordinate the entire effort. It can’t be bifurcated, it can’t be divided up with a number of people involved, or you lose a lot of the ability to move the process forward.” Listen to the podcast: http://bit.ly/2gGYal2 … Read the story: http://politi.co/2gt3L0R ANDREW ROSS SORKIN in Seattle on the NYT Business Day front, “Starbucks Chief Howard Schultz to Step Down Next Year”: “Mr. Schultz, 63, will be succeeded by his close friend Kevin Johnson, the company’s current president and a longtime Starbucks board member. ‘This is a big day for me,” Mr. Schultz said in an interview. ‘I love the company as much as I love my family.” But he said it was the right time to hand the keys to Mr. Johnson, whom he described as being ‘better equipped’ to ‘run the company than I am,’ ticking off a list of Mr. Johnson’s operational talents, and saying that he wanted to ‘relinquish the role and responsibility to the right person.’ … “The move is likely to ignite renewed speculation about whether Mr. Schultz is paving the way to leave the company entirely to enter politics. An outspoken Democrat, Mr. Schultz has spent an increasing amount of time traveling around the country speaking publicly about the need to fix the ‘dysfunction in Washington.’ He has a close relationship with President Obama and had been a supporter of Hillary Clinton.” http://nyti.ms/2gNGp6E MEDIAWATCH -- from TJ Ducklo at Bloomberg: “Today is the 526th and final regular episode of Bloomberg TV’s ‘With All Due Respect’ hosted by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Special appearances by Jeff Goldblum, Jeff Daniels, and many more surprise guests will send off Bloomberg Politics’ staple television program. Watch the finale at 5 p.m. ET on Bloomberg and 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC.”-- “A look at Facebook’s billion dollar 2016 hit on the news ecosystem,” by Poynter’s Rick Edmonds: “With a little help from advertising analyst Gordon Borrell, I’m estimating that Facebook has sucked well over $1 billion out of print advertising budgets for U.S. newspapers just this year. And that’s at a time when newspapers have seen that figure (once $43 billion a year) fall well below $15 billion.” http://bit.ly/2gfPh1t [email protected], N.Y. Times business editor: “A huge welcome to @katekelly who is coming to The Times as a Wall Street reporter after six great years at CNBC!” (h/t Morning Media)-- John Schwartz (@jswatz): “Brilliant immigration reporter @JuliaPrestonNYT is retiring; the National desk celebrated her tenure with mariachis.” Video: http://bit.ly/2fZFleM--“New York Times to Offer Special Puzzle Section, Exclusive to Print Readers”: “The special broadsheet section [on Dec. 18], which will be edited and introduced by New York Times Crossword editor Will Shortz and The Times’s puzzle team, will be devoted entirely to a series of different puzzles, including, as a centerpiece, the largest crossword puzzle in the history of The New York Times. Will Shortz and the puzzle team have pulled out all the stops for the Puzzle Spectacular, which includes more than 30 puzzles of all kinds, from logic puzzles like Sudoku to acrostic and cryptic crosswords, to brainteasers and visual puzzles.” http://bit.ly/2gGYxMs HOT VIDEO: Trevor Noah’s Daily Show interview with combative conservative commentator Tomi Lahren went viral yesterday http://bit.ly/2fZPYxZSPOTTED: Neera Tanden on a Shady Grove-bound Red line train at Metro Center around 7 p.m. last night ... Jonathan Capehart walking out of the White House driveway yesterday ... House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at Don and Megan Beyer’s party last night at the Cosmos Club … Eva Longoria and Ana Navarro having dinner with a large group at Le Diplomate -- Eva was the host of last night’s National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony – Video of Obama’s last tree lighting as president http://bit.ly/2gNNjsF OBAMA ADMIN DEPARTURE LOUNGE -- Cathy Cochran, USDA’s press secretary and the pride of Greenville, Mississippi, has her last day at the department today before heading next week to Glover Park Group as a director. OBAMA ALUMNI -- TOM REYNOLDS emails friends and colleagues: “[A]fter leaving the Obama Administration earlier this year ... [n]ext week, I am joining the Facebook policy communications team ... The job will take Anne and me to the Bay area, so while we are sad to say goodbye to our DC friends (who are more like family), we’ve had an awesome run.”TRANSITIONS -- Stephanie Benedict has joined Waxman Strategies as a senior account executive. She worked for Hillary Clinton the lead press fellow in four primary campaigns. She previously was a member of the China practice at the Albright Stonebridge Group. http://bit.ly/2gtSbm1 ... Sen.-elect Maggie Hassan has hired Jude McCartin, currently with Sen. Heinrich, as her new LD. ... Kelley Moore has been promoted to press secretary in Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s office. WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- AP diplomatic writer Matt Lee and Amanda Meister Lee, administrator for Signal Group (formerly McBee Strategic), have welcomed Vaille Olivia Meister Lee, born early Wednesday at seven pounds, four ounces.OUT AND ABOUT -- Natalie Portman and director Pablo Larraín headlined the D.C. premiere of their new film “Jackie” at the Newseum last night. The film, which opens in theaters today, “is a psychological portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the days following John F. Kennedy’s assassination as she fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband’s historic legacy.” The screening was hosted by Fox Searchlight, 21st Century Fox and the MPAA. Trailer http://bit.ly/2gg73RY--Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery): “Q: Advice to First Lady Melania Trump? Natalie Portman, at ‘Jackie’ screening: ‘I dunno... don’t ride in a convertible in a motorcade?’”SPOTTED: Former Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife Sharon Malone, Amb. Peter Selfridge, Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Chris Murphy, Reps. Rick Allen, Cheri Bustos, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Louie Gohmert, Denny Heck, Billy Long, Barry Loudermilk, Reid Riddle, Jackie Speier and Dave Trott, Maureen Dowd, Margaret Carlson, Ed O’Keefe, Sally Quinn, Nina Totenberg, Howard Fineman, Amy Argetsinger, Dan and Rhoda Glickman, Carter Roberts, Ben Schreckinger, Allie Goldstein, Rachel Schindler, Marty Kady, Ed O’Keefe, Bob Cohn, Kelly O’Donnell, David Sanger, Caitlin Legacki.--AEI President Arthur Brooks and AEI scholars hosted the grand opening of their new HQ, The Daniel A. D’Aniello building, at 1789 Massachusetts Ave. last night. SPOTTED: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), RSC Chairman Bill Flores (R-Texas), RSC Chairman-elect Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Carl Cannon, S.E. Cupp and John Goodwin, Hugo Gurdon, Daniel Halper, John Parkinson, Paul Teller, Chris Isham, Jonathan Karl, Michele Kelemen, Bill Kristol, Libby Liu, Josh and Ali Rogin, Neil Irwin, Chris Bedford, Lauren Zelt, Benny Johnson, Katie Glueck, Rich Lowry, Chris Stirewalt, Niels Lesniewski, Matt Continetti, Jim Geraghty, John Bolton, Jim DeMint, Strobe Talbot, Sue Desmond-Hellman, Jonah Goldberg, Robby George, Ramesh Ponnuru, April Ponnuru, Cornel West, Marc Thiessen, Tim Carney, David French, Danielle Pletka, Michael Strain, Kevin Hassett, Michael Barone, Paul Wolfowitz.SPOTTED at La Jambe for the Americans For Responsible Solutions Holiday Party last night with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly: Pia Carusone, Isabelle James, Robin Lloyd and Zach Stewart, Dan Kanninen, Chris Fleming, Aaron Wells, Gabby LaVerghetta, Lauren Pollack, Jeff Pollock, Matt Canter, Jen Bluestein, Arun Chaudhary. SUNDAY SO FAR:--NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Vice President-elect Mike Pence--ABC’s “This Week”: Vice-President-elect Mike Pence … Ret. Gen. David Petraeus. Panel: David Axelrod, Alex Castellanos, Matthew Dowd and Sara Fagen--CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta … Newt Gingrich … Nancy Pelosi --"Fox News Sunday": Monica Crowley, Kimberley Strassel, Lisa Lerer, Juan Williams--CNN’s “State of the Union”: War Stories: Inside Campaign 2016 (From Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics Forum) ... Kellyanne Conway ... Robby Mook--CNN’s “Inside Politics,” hosted by John King: Julie Pace, Jonathan Martin, Abby Phillip, Manu RajuANNIVERSARY: Autumn and Jim VandeHei celebrate 16 today. BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Marc La Vorgna, spokesman for Mike Bloomberg and founder of comms and public affairs firm MLV Strategies, who celebrated last night by watching the Cowboys game at a bar in NYC with his dad and brother -- read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2fZvIfW BIRTHDAYS: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is 77 … Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is 33 … former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is 85 … Stone Phillips is 62 … Nancy Haberman, the pride of the Upper West Side ... Cal Thomas is 74 ... Ken Babby is 37 ... Grant Everett Starrett ... Paul Walhaus ... Bob Carey, RNC’s director of military and veterans engagement ... Jason Huntsberry ... CBS politics reporter Emily Schultheis … Megan McCafferty ... Caroline Gangware, pride and joy of Riverside, Ill. ... Mark Irion, former president at Levick, member of Prosper Group’s advisory board and resident sommelier ... Rep.-elect Carol Shea Porter (D-N.H.) is 64 ... former Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Tex.) is 55 ... Rayshon Bush WH alum Eleanor Schiff ... country music superstar Jana Kramer … Dan Puskar, executive director of the Association for the Partners of Public Lands ... Mairead Lynn, press secretary for Nevada Dems and an SKDK alum ... Erin Bailey, former executive director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute ... Politico’s Alexandra Short ... Sara Siskind (h/t Teresa Vilmain) ... … Patricia Rojas-Ungar, VP of gov’t relations at the U.S. Travel Association ... Andrew Howell of Monument Policy Group (h/ts Stewart Verdery) … Conyers Davis of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute ... Guillermina Garcia Moore, director at Glover Park Group (h/t Riley Moore) ... Bush 41 alum Mark A. Shiffrin is 6-0, celebrating with sushi and scotch as family and friends gather at Congregation Beth Israel, the historic New Haven Orchard Street Shul; Shiffrin also has served as CT commissioner of consumer protection, where he regulated boxing in the state (h/t Bryan Anderson) ... Audrey Lavin ... Celeste Brown of Rep. Doggett’s office ... Rayshon Payton ... Monica Seles is 43 … Britney Spears is 35 (h/ts AP)
President-elect Donald Trump’s team is advising Senate Republicans to promote Jeff Sessions’ deep familiarity with the Justice Department, his “strong civil rights record” and that he is “known for his deep respect and adherence to the rule of law” as senators talk about the his nomination as attorney general. For Steven Mnuchin, the Trump team wants senators to emphasize that the former Goldman Sachs executive is a “world-class financier” whose history in the financial sector “make him the ideal candidate” to be Trump’s pick to lead the Treasury Department. And Tom Price, whom Trump intends to nominate for Health and Human Services Secretary, is "a renowned physician" who "has earned a reputation for being a tireless problem solver."Those are just a sample of talking points sent by Trump’s transition team to the Senate GOP Conference this week — obtained by POLITICO — to promote the incoming president’s choices for his administration. Trump has steadily rolled out his picks, and they’ve so far been met with high praise from Republicans in the Senate, where any Cabinet nominee needs just 51 votes to be confirmed. But Senate Democrats are guaranteed to put up a fight for at least some of the nominees, and the incoming administration is giving Republicans some guidance on how to push back. For example, opponents of Sessions’ nomination have jumped on his failed bid in 1986 to be confirmed as a federal judge due to allegations that he used racist comments as a prosecutor. But the transition wants senators to point out that the Alabama senator has led desegregation lawsuits in his home state, voted to extend the Civil Rights Act and he voted to to confirm former Attorney General Eric Holder, the first African-American to lead the Justice Department. “Even individuals who voted against Sen. Sessions' confirmation 30 years ago ultimately regretted it,” the talking points added. “The late Senator Arlen Specter said, ‘My vote against candidate Sessions for the federal court was a mistake because I have since found that Sen. Sessions is egalitarian.’”The guidance includes talking points for Sessions, Mnuchin, Price, Wilbur Ross (Commerce secretary), Todd Ricketts (deputy Commerce secretary), Elaine Chao (Transportation secretary), Seema Verma (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator), Betsy DeVos (Education secretary), Nikki Haley (United Nations ambassador) and Mike Pompeo (director of the Central Intelligence Agency).Here are the talking points for all announced Trump Cabinet picks so far –
I’M NOT ON TWITTER MUCH ANYMORE, BUT IF YOU SPEAK MY NAME THREE TIMES I MAY JUST SHOW UP: Well, when you wonder why people aren’t talking about things that you’re really upset about, maybe it’s because they don’t find them upsetting. I don’t think that any of Trump’s appointments are “disastrous.” Sessions as AG […]
Senate Republicans are planning to move quickly on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as U.S. attorney general under the Trump administration. Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who will move the Sessions nomination through his panel, said Tuesday that he plans to hold confirmation hearings for the Alabama senator before Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20. Previous attorney general nominees for presidents-elect — such as John Ashcroft for George W. Bush and Eric Holder for Barack Obama — had their confirmation hearings before the president was formally sworn into office, Grassley noted. “It would be my intention to move ahead in that procedure,” Grassley told reporters. He met with Sessions Tuesday morning in his office, kicking off the traditional meet-and-greet process that Cabinet nominees hold with senators during the confirmation process. Grassley also praised Sessions, calling him a “very honorable man” and a “man of integrity.” The committee has already sent the nominee questionnaire to Sessions, and Grassley urged his colleague to return the completed document “very quickly” so he could schedule the confirmation hearing.Sessions, as is customary during these meetings with senators, did not respond to questions. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have promised a thorough and extensive grilling process for Sessions, and have pressed Grassley for ample time to question the nominee and bring in outside witnesses to testify on Sessions’ track record on hot-button policy issues. “Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein [D-Calif.] has been reported as saying that he’s gonna get a fair hearing,” Grassley said of his incoming counterpart on the Judiciary Committee. “I’m sure that’s going to be true for both Republicans and Democrats.”Speaking to reporters later Tuesday, Feinstein was skeptical that the Senate could move the Sesssions nomination as quickly as Grassley wanted. "I don’t know that all of the due diligence can be done," Feinstein said. "For example, I don’t become ranking member until next year … we need the staff to do some of this work. I’m a little bit surprised."Elana Schor contributed to this report.
The GOP senator has long been a lonely voice on immigration. At the DOJ he'd have vast powers over the issue.
The mainstream media deserves disbelief. It chronically publishes false or misleading stories by omitting material facts necessary for reader understanding. If the mainstream media were selling stock instead of news protected by the First Amendment, the Securities and Exchange Commission would have a full docket under SEC Rule 10b-5 prosecuting cases of misinforming readers by omitting "to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading." Emblematic have been a proliferation of stories or editorials expressing alarm that President-elect Donald Trump had stated in a November 22 interview with The New York Times that he would not pursue criminal investigations of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State or the funding or operations of the Clinton Foundation. It was said or insinuated that the President-elect was improperly interfering in the operations of the Department of Justice and the FBI. Exhibiting a spirit of magnanimity, the President-elect explained to the Times: "I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious." In other words, Mr. Trump had decided that the Executive Branch would exercise the prosecutorial discretion conferred under Article II of the Constitution to heal rather than to convulse the nation. On this score, Mr. Trump was following the instruction of President Barack Obama. He refrained from investigating former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and other high level Bush administration officials for acknowledged complicity in torturing alleged Al Qaeda terrorists with waterboarding to avoid political divisiveness. In a White House press conference on April 29, 2009, President Obama affirmed, "I believe that waterboarding was torture...." During his confirmation hearing as Attorney General Eric Holder testified: "Waterboarding is torture." The federal criminal code, 18 U.S. C. 2340A and 2441 prohibits torture or any conspiracy to torture Al Qaeda suspects detained abroad. The Convention Against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1994, requires signatory nations to "ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction." President Obama, nevertheless, exercised prosecutorial discretion to desist from any torture investigation of the former President or Vice President because "I have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backward." He opposed a "Truth Commission" on torture proposed by Senator Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) because, "We want to look forward and not back." Thus, President-elect Trump was following in President Obama's footsteps in deciding against a criminal investigation of Ms. Clinton or the Clinton Foundation. Indeed, Mr. Trump's decision was far less momentous that Mr. Obama's because torture is a crime against mankind, whereas the suspected crimes of Clinton and the Foundation implicate far less moral turpitude. But while President Obama escaped any mainstream media rebuke for turning a blind eye to prosecuting open and notorious torture suspects according to his own and Attorney General Holder's understandings of the crime, President-elect Trump has been scolded for alleged constitutional or ethical waywardness. On November 22, 2016, for instance, The Washington Post published a news story declaring: "If Trump decided to pursue or not pursue a criminal investigation from the Oval Office, it would be an extraordinary break with political and legal protocol, which holds that the attorney general and FBI make decisions on whether to conduct investigations and file charges, free of pressure from the president." But the newspaper story failed to inform the reader of President Obama's decision not to pursue torture investigations against high level Bush Administration officials, which would have discredited its alarmist narrative featuring President-elect Trump. Ditto for its failure to report that President Gerald Ford had similarly dictated administrative, alternate service dispositions to resolve outstanding prosecutions of Vietnam Era draft evaders in Proclamation 4313 issued on September 16, 1974. I was then serving as Assistant Director in the Office of Legal Planning at the Department of Justice. Not a single official in the Department believed the Proclamation represented improper Oval Office interference or violated any protocol. If the mainstream media hopes to recover public credibility, it should begin by voluntarily adopting the equivalent of SEC Rule 10b-5 to insure reporting all of a story, not misleading fragments. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1295. I love how after 8 years of Lois Lerner, Eric Holder, and Loretta Lynch, the folks at Politico are suddenly worried about the politicization of the civil service.
If Democrats find Jeff Sessions so objectionable as a pick to be the nation’s next attorney general, then why did the Alabama senator run unopposed when he last won office in 2014, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump wondered aloud Monday morning.Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s presidential campaign to a shocking win earlier this month, defended the Manhattan billionaire’s pick to lead the Justice Department against allegations of racism dredged up from his past during an interview on CNN’s “New Day.” Sessions was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 in part because of comments he was accused of making, including calling the NAACP “un-American” and referring to an African-American attorney as “boy.”Sessions denied those allegations, but his history of opposing the Voting Rights Act has raised concerns among some on the political left about what his stewardship of the DOJ might look like. Some of his fellow senators, including Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the incoming ranking minority member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, have signaled that Sessions’ confirmation process will not be a cakewalk.“Why didn't Democrats put anybody up against him last time he ran, in 2014?” Conway asked CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.“In Alabama?” Cuomo replied.“Sure,” Conway said. “If you’re against him, be the sacrificial lamb. Say, ‘I’m going to stop this guy because of who he is.’ They couldn’t do it, because they know who he is.”Sessions won reelection in 2014 with just over 97 percent of the vote. His was the only name on the ballot for the seat, the first time in Alabama history that a Democrat did not run in a Senate race.Conway said those objecting to Sessions are “still in campaign mode,” accusing them of not accepting the election’s results. She said a full examination of the Alabama senator’s record would show that he voted to confirm former Attorney General Eric Holder and, as a U.S. attorney in the 1980s, secured the death penalty for the son of a KKK member who killed a black man.“He's been a United States senator for 20 years. He was a law enforcement officer before that. He is incredibly qualified. Look, the criteria for any of these posts, Chris, is No. 1, are you qualified and capable of doing the job on Day One?” Conway said. “Secondly, it’s are you loyal to the agenda that the president-elect has put forward as his vision? And he has a right to go ahead and implement that with the advisers that he surrounds himself with.”
WASHINGTON – The Ifill family’s journey from Barbados to the pinnacle of American society was an arduous and inspirational one. It was not the kind of story you heard from the campaign of Donald Trump, because it is one that undercuts and invalidates the worst aspects of the message of fear of “others” that Trump peddled. The Ifills left three generations ago, with an education in faith and a faith in education, but no money or prospects. They made their way to jobs in the U.S. Canal Zone in Panama, though because of their race and status they had to live outside the zone in Panama proper. “It was like the old segregated South,” Sherrilyn Ifill, one of the descendants of those pioneers, told me Saturday. “It may as well have been Alabama.” With the men working on the canal and the women working as domestics, they made the money and got the papers to come to America. Two young brothers of those founders became ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, traveling from post to post in New York and elsewhere in their new country. One of the brother’s daughters, Sherrilyn, attended Vassar College and NYU Law School and is now the president of the prestigious NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund ― the organization Thurgood Marshall ran when he won the Brown v. Board of Education lawsuit. One of the other brother’s daughters was Gwen Ifill, the trailblazing and widely respected print and television journalist who died last Monday of endometrial cancer at the age of 61 in Washington. A celebration of her life at the historic Metropolitan AME Church in downtown Washington on Saturday was a moving personal and religious ceremony, full of lilting gospel music, strong preaching and a stately rendition of Ifill’s favorite, the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Tears flowed, shouts rang out, and family and friends embraced as if their lives depended on it. It was an intensely personal three hours for the thousand or so of all hues and heritages gathered in a church famous for past congregants such as Frederick Douglass and beloved for its good works. But intentionally or not, the event was something more: It was a revival meeting for America, a celebration of that which is so positive, so nourishing and so indispensable about the country’s growing diversity that it renews our faith in our common destiny. Speaking from the pulpit about her family and her cousin, Sherrilyn explained her family’s patriotic faith ― that, “with all its flaws, they believe in America,” including the opportunities for education it provided. Neither they nor Gwen, in her long career at great newspapers and TV networks, ever “gave up on the project of America.” She was the most American of success stories. Sherrilyn Ifill, Gwen Ifill's cousin The fathers and mothers taught the children to always respect the opinions of others, and to realize that “there is no weakness in listening.” Gwen Ifill was an excellent interviewer because she was an even better listener. She mentored dozens of other black and female journalists, and anyone else who came to her for help. Her incandescent smile and calm, equable demeanor hid a fierce impatience with superficiality, cant and people too cunning by half. Her family’s peripatetic lives, moving from place to place for her father’s ministry in small towns in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, gave her a ground-level feel for the country and its glorious, maddening variety. “She was the most American of success stories,” said Sherrilyn. “Her life and work made all of our lives better.” The crowd and the messages read out loud were a testament to her reach and her grace: first lady Michelle Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder were in the pews; House Speaker Paul Ryan sent condolences; Holder read a letter from President Barack Obama. Holder recalled that Ifill ― though a friend and fellow descendant of Barbadian immigrants whom he called “cuz” ― hit him with tough questions in interviews. He challenged the many journalists in attendance to follow her example in the years to come. “Will you cower?” he asked, beseeching the reporters not to sacrifice the search for the truth to the false god of “access maintenance.” That brought knowing applause from the savvy D.C. crowd and sheepish nods from the famous reporters in the church. The undergirding ― and uplifting ― message to the crowd was one of unity: brought together by one woman, but unified in a faith that, as former President Bill Clinton said, there is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. Ifill’s life and work is a testament to that faith, and after hearing about both, the congregation rose as one as AME Bishop William P. Deveaux Sr. led them in the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.” Everyone sang loudly and with a feeling of hope ― for Gwen, for each other, and for America. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Here is the full hideous point-by-point list of the major votes of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions on civil rights issues, complete with the dates he torpedoed them. • Banning the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. (Jan 2006) • Voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. (Feb 2013) • Voted YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006) • Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006) • Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002) • Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001) • Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000) • Voted NO on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998) • Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997) • Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001) This list of civil rights horrors from Sessions earned him a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, a 7% rating from the NAACP and a 20% rating from the ACLU. The prospect of Sessions as the next Attorney General is an absolute worst nightmare. However, there were ample warning signs. One was Sessions himself. He was one of the first GOP name officials to latch onto to the Trump campaign and never wavered in his support of it. There was little doubt that if Trump bagged the White House, Sessions would be in on the pay-off for his loyalty and would land some big-ticket administration appointment. That appointment was almost certain to be the Justice Department head. He had the right Trump favored credentials. He was a former U.S. Attorney, a long-time member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and most importantly, there's his record on civil rights. It fit into exactly the type of person Trump would put into every top legal position he could put someone in, from the Justice Department to the Supreme Court. That someone had to be the type who took the narrowest strict constructionist interpretation of the law, and the dimmest view of what and how civil rights should be litigated and enforced. For the court, Trump's ideal choice as he oft put it, was another Antonin Scalia. If he couldn't get Sessions for the High Court -- and the likelihood of that was slim since Sessions had already been rejected once for a federal judgeship as too racist -- then the next best place he could fit him was the Justice Department. Now we come to Clinton. The drumbeat refrain from many progressives and some liberal Democrats was that Clinton was as bad as Trump. She was supposedly pro-war, pro-Wall Street, and a corporate shill. If Bernie Sanders didn't get the nomination, then they would either vote for a Third-Party candidate or stay home. No amount of exhorting that Trump would wreak havoc on the Affordable Care Act, labor protections, voting rights, abortion, give unfettered free rein to Wall Street and the Big Banks, try to put at least two or three more Scalias on the Supreme Court, not to mention stock the federal judiciary with Scalia type clones, and cut and slash an array of other federal supported health, education and job spending programs mattered. The retort was that Trump would be relentlessly challenged every step of the way by Congressional Democrats, civil rights, liberties, environmental and women groups to prevent shoving this horrific apocalyptic vision of a future America through. Maybe, but that overlooked one glaring problem. Senate Democrats and progressive House Democrats would almost certainly be in the minority in Congress and could not stop Republicans from proposing endless legislation and initiatives in these areas, inflaming their invigorated base of ultra-conservatives, and white protestant evangelicals, bullying the mainstream media, and using their majorities in the majority of America's state legislatures and state houses to counter the other side. Protest groups would have leverage only in the forces they could muster in the streets. But a Republican White House and majority Congress would be virtually immune to those protests since they did not rely on them to win or stay in office. No matter what one thought of Clinton and her supposed deep standing corporate and Beltway ties, she was not Trump. It would be the height of lunacy to compare say Obama's Attorney Generals, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch on their absolute worst days to Sessions. It would be beyond delusion to think that Sessions would ever file briefs challenging the gut of the Voting Rights Act or bring a civil rights prosecutions of police officers that gunned down unarmed blacks as Lynch and especially Holder did. The almost certain blind eye by a Sessions to the horrendous abuse of civil rights might not have much resonance to well-to-do, comfortable and smug progressives who are not in direct harm's way from these abuses. But for poor, and working class blacks and Hispanics these abuses are almost literally a matter of life and death. Shunning Clinton could not be shrugged off as a mere case of thoughtless, holier-than-thou idealism that had no consequences. It did then and even more so now. Sessions is the horrid proof of that. Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of How President Trump will Govern (Amazon Kindle) He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
SEEN ON FACEBOOK: “You don’t get to appoint Eric Holder, Thomas Perez, Sonia Sotomayor, Ken Salazar…
SEEN ON FACEBOOK: “You don’t get to appoint Eric Holder, Thomas Perez, Sonia Sotomayor, Ken Salazar, Ernest Moniz, Lisa Jackson and Tim Geithner and then turn around and criticize the Republican who comes along for going hard-core with his people. You really don’t get to do that. You lost. Shut up.”
A former leader says Justice staffers are alarmed by the Alabama senator's record on racial issues.
Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general has a record of hostility toward the federal government's role in curtailing discrimination on the basis of race, sexuality, and immigration status.
The president-elect is rewarding the incendiary figures who helped guide his improbable campaign, but is also throwing a bone to establishment Republicans.
Civil rights groups reacted with alarm Friday to President-elect Donald Trump's selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as his nominee for attorney general."The choice of Senator Sessions to lead the Department of Justice is more than deeply unsatisfactory; it is a blatantly inflammatory act in a time of heightened focus on violence and injustice against communities of color," said Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice, a coalition of civil rights advocacy organizations. "Sessions’ history of racist rhetoric, insults and persecution is well-known, and put a swift end to his nomination for a federal judgeship years ago....The proposed nomination of this person as a candidate for this position is a shocking gesture of hostility toward millions of Americans, and should be immediately rejected.” In 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sessions to a district court seat in his native Alabama. During a contentious confirmation hearing, Sessions was confronted with claims from colleagues that he had made racist remarks, but denied having done so. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted down his nomination, 10-8, marking only the second time the panel had rejected a judicial nominee in half a century.Liberal Trump opponents also jumped into the fray Friday morning, blasting Sessions over the racial allegations from three decades ago as well as his Senate record on issues such as immigration and civil rights."The handful of people who might be even less equipped than Jeff Sessions to dispense justice on behalf of the American people typically spend their weekends wearing pointy hats and burning crosses," Democracy for America's Charles Chamberlain said in a statement. "Jeff Sessions was too racist to become a federal judge. In the 1980s. The idea that Jeff Sessions might become Attorney General is a genuine threat to our country and the lives and safety of people of color, Muslim Americans, women, and working families."Trump spokesman Jason Miller said Trump's team is confident that Sessions will win confirmation in front of the same senate panel that turned him down 30 years ago."Sen. Sessions is someone who is universally respected across party lines in the U.S. Senate," Miller told reporters on a conference call Friday. "We feel very confident that Sen. Sessions has the background and the support to receive confirmation."The Trump spokesman also sought to rebut some of the criticism of Sessions' civil rights record by noting that he filed several desegregation lawsuits while he was for U.S. Attorney for southern Alabama and voted in favor of the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 2006. Miller also pointed to Sessions' vote to confirm President Barack Obama's nomination in 2009 of the first African-American attorney general, Eric Holder.Miller also noted that one late senator who voted against Sessions in 1986, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, later called that vote "a mistake" and praised Sessions as a colleague.In a statement Friday announcing the planned nomination, Trump declared that Sessions has great stature in the legal community."Jeff has been a highly respected member of the U.S. Senate for 20 years. He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great Attorney General and U.S. Attorney in the state of Alabama," the president-elect said. "Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”Sessions' formal statement on his nomination made no mention of his aggressive advocacy on polarizing issues like immigration or of his endorsement of Trump's call for a special prosecutor to investigate the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account while at State Department.“My previous 15 years working in the Department of Justice were extraordinarily fulfilling. I love the Department, its people and its mission. I can think of no greater honor than to lead them," Sessions said. "I enthusiastically embrace President-elect Trump's vision for ‘one America,’ and his commitment to equal justice under law. I look forward to fulfilling my duties with an unwavering dedication to fairness and impartiality."Senate Democrats struck a cautious tone on Sessions' nomination, raising some concerns about his record, but pledging fair consideration."The attorney general should be above the political fray—our laws absolutely must apply equally to all Americans if we're to have confidence in them," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who's expected to be the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee starting in January. "The attorney general has jurisdiction over many crucial laws and must discharge his or her duties regardless of personal views. These include enforcing civil rights and voting protections, prosecuting hate crimes and firearm violations, protecting women’s health clinics and upholding the constitutional right to marriage equality," Feinstein added. "While many of us have worked with Senator Sessions closely and know him to be a staunch advocate for his beliefs, the process will remain the same: a fair and complete review of the nominee. While Senator Sessions and I differ on a great many issues, I am committed to a full and fair process."Top Republicans said they didn't need to wait for a hearing to offer their support. "Senator Sessions has broad law enforcement experience at both the state and the federal levels, and in both the executive and the legislative branches. I am confident he will help get the Justice Department back on track," Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said. "Having served with Senator Sessions for many years on the Judiciary Committee, I look forward to supporting his nomination and working closely with him on important initiatives in the months ahead.” Sessions served as U.S. Attorney in Alabama for 12 years during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. He was later elected attorney general in the state. In 1996, he won a U.S. Senate race, assuming the seat he has held for the past decade.
The president-elect starts building out his administration with loyalists.
WASHINGTON ― President Barack Obama entered office in 2009 with the promise of reining in his predecessor’s freewheeling use of military force abroad. But rather than rolling back the authorities former President George W. Bush exercised, Obama has expanded some of his most controversial national security programs ― such as the drone program and conducting warfare without specific congressional authorization. While there were cases where Obama reversed Bush-era policies, critics say he often did so with minimal transparency and accountability. Obama has set a precedent for the next commander-in-chief to claim even greater unilateral authority on the use of force. In two months, he will hand off an empowered executive branch to Donald Trump, a man he has described as lacking the temperament, experience and values to lead the country. Here are some of the ways he has expanded the presidential prerogative to wage war: DRONES A key part of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” involved using unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with Hellfire missiles to quietly kill suspected enemies without formally going to war with the country they inhabited. Obama inherited that ability and greatly expanded its use during his first term. When it appeared that Obama might not win re-election in 2012, the White House scrambled to lay out rules governing the use of drones for targeted killings abroad, the New York Times reported. Administration officials feared Obama’s possible Republican successor might use the sweeping authority to kill suspected terrorists based on classified determinations by the president about who is a legitimate target. That effort lost some of its urgency when Obama was re-elected, but the White House did eventually finalize its classified guidance on the use of lethal drone strikes in May 2013. The administration released a redacted version of the guidance earlier this year, after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The rules require only “near certainty” that a terrorist target is present at the site of the strike, that the target can’t be captured by other means and that innocents won’t be injured or killed. “Near certainty” is, of course, entirely subjective ― and without meaningful congressional or judicial oversight of the process, it’s up to the executive branch to make that decision behind closed doors. The Obama administration hoped that the 2013 guidance would set a standard going forward, but because it is policy not law, Trump is not obligated to adhere to it. And even if Trump opted to follow the guidance, it is worded vaguely enough that it wouldn’t in any practical way be able to restrain his ability to kill suspected terrorists abroad. Furthermore, the Obama administration has indicated that it is not planning to narrow the rules around targeted killings before leaving office, the Guardian reported Tuesday. That guidance “is riddled with ambiguities and loopholes,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, who wrote a book on the Obama administration’s legal justification for the targeted killing program. “Trump is inheriting sweeping power to use legal force against people he perceives to be threats to the U.S.” Obama also set a low standard for disclosing information about civilians killed in U.S. airstrikes. His administration declined to publicly release the number of innocents killed by strikes in countries where the U.S. is not officially at war until July 2016. The White House says that between 64 and 116 civilians have been killed since 2009, in airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a London-based nonprofit news organization that closely monitors U.S. airstrikes, says the number of civilian casualties in those countries is most likely somewhere in the range of 380 to 801, based on reports from journalists and NGO investigators, as well as leaked government documents and court papers. Some of the blame falls to Congress and the courts, says Jaffer, for failing to exercise meaningful oversight on the drone program. “It’s not the executive branch’s job to police itself,” he said. OUTDATED WAR AUTHORIZATION Obama has overseen bombings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iraq and Syria. In each country, the administration relied, in part, on legislation Congress passed in 2001 to authorize the use of force against those who plotted the Sept. 11 attacks. The wording of that authorization was vague ― it didn’t limit the war to a specific country or timeframe ― and the Obama administration’s lawyers have presented a complicated legal justification to defend its ongoing use in countries that Congress never even considered in 2001. That means a future president could continue to rely on the 15-year-old law to wage new wars in additional countries without asking Congress for approval. There is near unanimous agreement that the 2001 AUMF is outdated. It’s a “stretch” to use it as legal justification to fight the current war against the so-called Islamic State, multiple national security law experts say. “The ways it was invoked have been stretched to a breaking point,” said Hina Shamsi, head of the ACLU’s national security project. With regard to using military force abroad, Obama has been more unilateralist than Bush. Matthew Waxman, former Bush administration official Obama asked Congress to pass a new AUMF in 2015, one tailored to the war against ISIS ― after he had already started bombing the group in Iraq and Syria. Lawmakers briefly debated a new war authorization, but they were divided on how restrictive or expansive the new law should be, and ultimately dropped the issue. There wasn’t much pressure on lawmakers to take a politically risky vote, since the Obama administration had signaled it would fight ISIS with or without Congressional action. “With regard to using military force abroad, Obama has been more unilateralist than Bush,” said Matthew Waxman, a former Bush administration official. Congress, of course, bears much of the blame ― but regardless of who is at fault, the over-reliance on the 2001 AUMF sets a precedent for the Trump administration to make decisions about where and when to go to war with little input from lawmakers. TORTURE Obama signed an executive order outlawing torture immediately after entering the White House, and then worked with Congress to pass anti-torture legislation. But the president also said he wanted to “look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” and none of the Bush-era officials who were responsible for the torture program were punished. Then-Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a prosecutor to investigate the CIA program, but the investigator recommended against filing charges. The findings of his investigation were kept secret. The Senate Intelligence Committee embarked on its own exhaustive review of the torture program, and the White House sometimes sided with the CIA in its efforts to keep that review secret as well. In several instances, the Obama administration pressed Senate investigators to redact some episodes that reflected poorly on the government, the Guardian reported in September. Torture works. President-elect Donald Trump The Senate released a redacted summary of its findings in 2014, which revealed that the CIA’s “interrogation” tactics were far more brutal than they had acknowledged and that the spy agency had misled the White House about the efficacy of using torture to get information. CIA detainees were beaten, anally raped, waterboarded, threatened with a power drill, deprived of sleep and confined in coffin-sized boxes. In one case, an interrogator threatened to sexually assault a detainee’s mother. The ACLU pushed the Obama administration to open a criminal investigation into the CIA program, based on the Senate committee’s findings, but the administration ignored the request. A year later, Trump began making promises on the campaign trail to bring back waterboarding “and a hell of a lot worse.” “Torture works,” he said at a campaign rally in February. Some are skeptical that any president could compel subordinates to reinstate tactics like waterboarding, “The military and intelligence agencies will resist it,” Waxman said. “I’d expect any administration lawyers to be very cautious about future criminal liability for reinstating it.” At the same time, Shamsi said, if there had been accountability for Bush-era use of torture, it would be far less likely that a presidential candidate would promise to bring it back. If Trump does try to reinstate torture, he’ll likely face hefty opposition from inside government and from civil liberties watchdogs. “The fact remains, that torture has always been unlawful and it is still unlawful,” Shamsi said. “No amount of attempted legal shenanigans will change that.” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
The ethics of accepting, or refusing, a political appointment from the president-elect
Организованная преступность финансового бизнесаПора перестать смеяться над любителями теорий заговоров. Может быть, за нитки за кулисами дергают не ротшильды с рокфеллерами, а наемные менеджеры, но суть от этого не меняетсяМеждународная финансовая система, ставшая сегодня основой современной корпоративной свободнорыночной экономики - это мошенничество в особо крупных размерах.Странные порядки царили в советских СМИ. Интересные вещи появлялись в самых неожиданных местах. Журналы «Наука и жизнь» и «Знание сила» писали про политическую философию, рассказы Кафки появлялись где-нибудь в «Сибирских огнях», репродукция Пикассо впервые в СССР была опубликована в сатирическом «Крокодиле», а о Роллинг стоунз впервые написали не в музыкальном обозрении, а в детском журнале «Ровесник».В Америке все скоро будет, как в СССР эпохи застоя. Уже сейчас расследованиями финансовых спекуляций занимаются не солидные «Уолл-стрит джорнал» или «Файненшиал таймс», а журнал «Роллинг стоунз». Финансовый корреспондент журнала Мэтт Тайби практически единственный в мейнстриме, кто пишет о разрегулированном и дисфункциональном американском и мировом финансовом рынке и о том, насколько этот рынок мошеннический.Почему, как в СССР? А потому, что все меньше и меньше реальных хозяев, а делами заправляет цех наемных менеджеров, заинтересованный лишь в высокой зарплате и жирном пакете бенефитов в конце года. Именно менеджеры и финансовые спекулянты, да еще их адвокаты составляют тот 1%, который присваивает себе львиную долю национального богатства Америки. Как заметил ветеран американской журналистики Хедрик Смит, распределение богатства в Америке аналогично тому, что было в Египте в эпоху фараонов. Однако, в отличие от Египта, собственность здесь обезличена, а богатство рассредоточено и перемешано в различных банковских и финансовых продуктах, которые давно уже никто не способен контролировать.На встречу с Мэттом Тайби я шел с большим интересом. Его последняя статья «Все – мошенничество. Крупнейшая финансовая афера фиксирования цен в истории» рассказывает о манипулировании на рынке свопов. Комиссия по торговле товарными фьючерсами недавно начала следствие по делу брокерской фирмы ICAP и 15 банковских учреждений Уолл Стрит. Комиссия расследует их сговор с целью манипуляции скоростью публикации индекса ISDAfix.О ФИНАНСАХ ПРОСТО И ИНТЕРЕСНОЕсли продолжать писать о финансах в том же псевдопрофессиональном духе, зараженном корпоративным новоязом, то даже самые преданные мои читатели скоро потеряют интерес. Потому объясню просто. Что бы вы сказали, если бы результаты скачек объявлялись публике через несколько дней после того, как скачки состоялись? А в это время «умным людям» внутри системы разрешалось делать ставки? Собственно, так и происходит со скоростной электронной торговлей. Комбинаторы внутри системы получают возможность видеть и прогнозировать результаты торгов в конце дня, и на этом основании делают свои ставки, покупают и продают до того, как остальные игроки узнают, что там происходит. Покупают и продают не на свои деньги, а на деньги клиентов, против интересов которых они часто играют. ISDAfix – один из многих индексов, существующих на финансовых рынках. Он служит для определения курса в финансовых сделках. Libor – другой такой индекс, с помощью которого определяют курс практических всех банковских сделок с переменным курсом. Фокус здесь в том, что эти индексы составляются на основе оценочных данных, которые финансовые компании предоставляют добровольно и имеют возможность их поправлять.Самое простое объяснение свопа. Скажем вы – город или компания – заняли деньги под переменный курс и хотите иметь стабильность займа с фиксированным процентом. Тогда фиксированный процент вы платите банку, а уже он разбирается с переменными процентными ставками. Это выходит дороже, но освобождает от хлопот. Своп – это многошаговая операция, в ходе которой активы переходят из рук в руки, одновременно продаются и покупаются на заранее договоренных условиях.Сговор был в том, чтобы лишить широкую публику возможности своевременно узнавать об этих условиях. Банки докладывают о своих курсах добровольно, а это прямое приглашение не говорить всей правды.Большинство американского среднего класса слишком озабочено своими растущими долгами, невозможностью сводить концы с концами, необходимостью выкладываться на двух-трех работах. Лишь мельком они могут услышать о скачках индекса Доу Джонс на Уолл Стрит. В конце дня им по телевизору расскажут, как шутка хакеров о взрыве в Белом Доме завалила на несколько минут финансовые рынки. Уровень торгов потом восстановится. Вот только самого главного - кто нагрел на этом руки - СМИ не расскажут.Только недавно без лишнего шума закончилось судебной сделкой расследование аферы, в которой мошенники сманипулировали индексом Libor на пятьсот триллионов долларов. Штрафы заплатят, как водится, не виновники, а вкладчики компаний и налогоплательщики. Да еще законодатели дадут проворовавшимся банкирам налоговые скидки.Так случилось в рождественскую ночь, когда для компании, оштрафованной на $750 миллионов за уголовные нарушения, конгрессмены тихонько протащили закон об освобождении от налогов на $500 миллионов. ПОЧЕМУ ЖЕ ЗАКОНОДАТЕЛИ РАЗРЕШАЮТ ПОДОБНОЕ?– Раньше это работало или, по крайней мере, ничего не всплывало на поверхность, – говорит Тайби. – Теперь же выясняется, что котировки подправлялись довольно долгое время. Это очень легко сделать. Достаточно одному биржевому маклеру и одному из сотрудников рейтингового агентства вступить в сделку и позвонить по нескольким номерам. И это без преувеличения затрагивает интересы миллиардов людей.На манипуляциях поймали три банка, которые уже заключили судебные сделки, еще четыре - под следствием, но предполагается, что все 16 «первоклассных» банков, определенных в маркетмейкеры индекса, занимались манипуляциями. Тайби говорит, что по его данным, следствие ведется против 15-ти из них:Если там было мошенничество, то во всех 16-ти банках должны были знать о нем? – В деле есть множество косвенных улик, подтверждающих, что руководство знало о мошенничестве, – говорит Тойби. – В деле фигурирует переписка между Bank of England и гендиректором одного из крупнейших в Великобритании и мире финансовых конгломератов – Barklays в разгар глобального финансового обвала 2008 года о том, чтобы установить индекс ниже, чем он был на самом деле.Индекс Libor, по сути, измеряет, как банки доверяют друг другу, и поэтому является показателем благосостояния финансовой системы в целом. Если индекс низкий, банки доверяют и занимают друг другу деньги. Если индекс высокий – значит, банковская система нестабильна.Котировки межбанковского обмена устанавливаются ежедневно, и, вероятно, можно было создать независимую организацию для мониторинга и предотвращения мошенничества?– Да, если бы использовали реальные данные. Однако сегодня никто не обязан подавать реальные цифры о том, сколько денег они заняли вчера и по какому курсу. Предоставляют лишь свои предположения о том, какая котировка будет. Там довольно сложный процесс подсчета, охватывающий разные периоды времени и 16 основных мировых валют.Новый сговор, который расследует Комиссия, влияет на затраты по обслуживанию займов во всем мире и процентные свопы стоимостью в $379.000.000.000.000 – триста семьдесят девять триллионов долларов. Для сравнения – валовой национальный продукт США составляет около 15 триллионов, а совокупное национальное богатство США – 57.4 триллиона (на 2011 г). Эта мошенническая схема затрагивает любого, кто платит по ипотечной ссуде, по ссуде на машину, расплачивается кредитной карточкой. От этого зависит сама цена денег, обменные курсы валют во всем мире. Речь идет о небольшом подразделении внутри ICAP, – говорит Тайби. – Около 20 человек, которые, по сути, определяли курсы свопов во всем мире. Хотя фирма зарегистрирована в Лондоне, действовали они из Джерси-сити, потому американские регуляторы смогли расследовать их деятельность.По сути же, транснациональные банковские корпорации действуют в сумеречной зоне, с неопределенными юрисдикциями. В афере Lidor все началось с японского биржевика, вступившего в сговор с сотрудником Lidor, тоже находившимся в Японии. Национальные границы не всегда позволяют эффективно расследовать новые виды корпоративной преступности.Это совершенно новый вид преступлений. Нет надобности красть у людей деньги и имущество. Вместо воровства манипулируют стоимостью имущества, которое имеется у людей, манипулируют процентными ставками, которые мы платим.НОВЫЙ ЭТАП МЕЖБАНКОВСКИХ МЕЖДУНАРОДНЫХ ПРЕСТУПЛЕНИЙЧто же здесь нового, если Уолл-стрит и банки всегда отличались "творческими" и "новаторскими" подходами к поиску путей, как делать деньги? – Здесь нечто совершенно новое. Во время финансового коллапса 2008 вскрылся огромный объем системной коррупции в финансовых корпорациях, систематической обман в ипотечном бизнесе, укорененные аферы в аудите, мошеннические схемы в банках и компаниях, как в Лэмон Брозерс.Однако раньше мы никогда не сталкивались со случаями коррупции и мошенничества, включавшие сговор между банками. Последние аферы свидетельствуют о том, что корпоративная преступность вступила в новый этап межбанковских международных преступлений. На сцену выходит глобальная институцианализированная организованная преступность, способная безнаказанно подавить конкуренцию и манипулировать международными финансовыми рынками в невиданных ранее масштабах.Речь не идет о группе злоумышленников, ловящих рыбку в мутной воде рынка производных финансовых продуктов - деривативов. Определенные деятели зарабатывают миллиарды потому, что делают бизнес по-блатному, имеют нечестные преимущества. Мощные силы лоббируют политическую систему, и не допускают сделать рынок деривативов и свопов более прозрачным и понятным. Они имеют своих людей в Конгрессе. Они помогли Обаме избраться, а он расставил нужных людей в своей администрации. Громко разрекламированная финансовая реформа Обамы, известная еще как Додд-Френк Акт была без зубов, содержала множество лазеек и исключений, позволявший обойти закон. Даже те скромные меры обеспечения прозрачности рынка, которые содержит закон, администрация Обамы за полтора года так и не провела в жизнь.Разве банки не конкурируют между собой? Разве незримая рука свободного рынка не способна упорядочить рынок? А как же базисные мифы капитализма, которые американцы (а теперь и все остальные) впитывают чуть ли не с молоком матери? Предвидя возмущенные возгласы моих читателей-свободнорыночных энтузиастов "где вы видели свободный рынок", скажу, то, что называет себя свободным рынком, таковым и является, другого - нет.С другой стороны мои читатели-либералы, свято верящие, что американское общество стоит на защите их прав и равных возможностей, возразят, мол, а как же антимонопольное законодательство? Что бы сказал борец с монополизацией Тедди Рузвельт?Я полагаю, что антимонопольное законодательство должно применяться к подобным сговорам, но оно не применяется, – говорит Мэтт Тайби. – Большие корпорации, контролирующие огромные сегменты рынка и национальных ресурсов, являются монополиями. Тем самым они становятся опасными для общества.Однако, когда появляются доказательства того, что они находятся в сговоре между собой для манипуляций курсами и котировками, это становится чрезвычайно опасным для общества. Если мы ничего с этим не делаем радикально, то это ведет нас к эскалации.ЧЕМУ БАНКИРЫ НАУЧИЛИСЬ У МАФИИ?И все-таки, что же с конкуренцией. Неужели "Чейс" и "Сити банк" не конкурируют между собой? – Они ведут борьбу за клиентов. Они конкуренты на каком-то уровне, но есть целые сферы в финансовом бизнесе, когда они заодно, – говорит Мэтт Тайби. – Я проводил журналистское расследование по поводу манипуляций на аукционах государственных облигаций. Мало кто об этом знает, но если город, штат или даже целая страна хочет мобилизовать средства, то по закону, они обязаны провести торги. Аукцион призван создать конкуренцию между финансовыми корпорациями, и тем самым снизить учетные ставки, которые общество платит. На деле банкиры поделили между собой рынок с целью не допустить конкуренции, мол, мы возьмем облигации этого города, вы – другого.Материал по расследованию торгов облигациями Тайби называется «Чему банкиры научились у мафии». Читателю на просторах бывшего СССР они живо напомнят мошеннические аукционы веселых времен приватизации 1990-х.В Америке власти все же уличили пять крупнейших финансовых корпораций Уолл-Стрит, да еще банковскую компанию «Дженерал Электрик» в махинациях на сумму в $3.7 млрд. Как водится, в тюрьму никто не сел. В Штатах элита выше этого и понятие личной ответственности здесь напрочь отсутствует. Никто не заплатил штрафа из собственного кармана. Откупились многомиллионными штрафами из денег держателей акций. Такие штрафы никого не отпугивают. Когда делаются десятки миллиардов, то многомиллионые штрафы – лишь производственные расходы.Да и не доходят штрафы до пострадавших. Когда американское министерство финансов в рамках судебной сделки оштрафовала банки за нарушения в сфере ипотеки, то пострадавшие получили компенсацию в размере $300 на душу, зато адвокаты банков положили в карман два миллиарда. Прокуратура предпочитает не связываться с финансистами. Уходящий министр юстиции Эрик Холдер заявил недавно, что эти компании слишком большие и не по силам прокуратуре.«Министерство юстиции не провело во время президентства Обамы никаких серьезных расследований ни одного из крупных финансовых учреждений», – говорил мне Уильям Блак, адъюнкт-профессор экономики и права в Университете Миссури, Канзас-Сити. В 1980-х годах он работал следователем в скандале S&L (saving&loans). За 4 года Холдер и его люди не только не завели ни одного дела против крупных банковских воротил, но и тщательно следили, чтобы на местах не появились такие дела. Когда генеральный прокурор Нью-Йорка Эрик Шнайдерман завел было уголовные дела за массовые нарушения законов банками при выселении людей из домов за долги, Холдер и его люди тут же надавили и заставили Шнейдермана подписать сделку с банками. При подготовки статьи, из офиса генерального прокурора штата сообщили, что взамен он добился, чтобы из сделки исключили пункт о предоставлении иммунитета банкирам от дальнейших расследований по ипотечным преступлениям.Обама привел Холдера из адвокатской фирмы «Ковингтон и партнеры», которая обслуживает и представляет худших финансовых нарушителей. Холдер зарабатывал там $2,5 млн. в год. Холдер привел с собой Ленни Брюэра, возглавлявшего в фирме отдел "белых воротничков" по защите финансовых уголовников. В юстиции Обамы, Брюэр возглавил отдел уголовного преследования и всячески заботился, чтобы его бывшие клиенты не стали его подследственными. В одном из интервью Брюер признался, что, прежде всего, его заботит, что финансовые фирмы могут пострадать, если их менеджеры окажутся на скамье подсудимых.Брюэра хорошо вознаградили, и после завершения работы в министерстве юстиции, он получил работу лоббиста с окладом $4 млн. в год. Еще два юриста из Ковингтон заняли при Холдере ключевые позиции в системе правосудия Обамы, а первый заместитель Холдера Джеймс Кол пришел из другой, не менее одиозной юридической фирмы Bryan Cave LLP.Не удивительно, что и расследование аферы Libor, по сути, закончилось пшиком.Первым обвиняемым, с кем заключили сделку, оказался Barclays. Они заплатили относительно небольшой штраф ($450 млн. способны ослепить человека с улицы, но это копейки по сравнению с суммами, которые они оборачивают). Мой друг в правоохранительных органах говорил тогда, что все ожидают, как обычно, что за легкое наказание они сдадут всех остальных и последуют обвинительные иски в уголовных преступлениях. Оказалось, что сделка с Barclays стала эталоном для всех остальных подобных сделок. СМИ не уделяют большого внимания финансовым аферам. Когда я ехал на встречу с Мэттом Тайби, в поезде пролистал газеты. Первые полосы были заняты сообщениями о том, что Джейон Коллинз стал первым открытым геем в Высшей спортивной лиге, Анджелина Джоли в целях профилактики удалила себе грудь (в качестве рекламной кампании по защите многомиллиардного бизнеса корпорации, запатентовавшей на себя человеческие гены – прим. ред.) в городских джунглях Сиэттла нашлись три женщины, проведшие 10 лет в рабстве в подвале дома в тихом городском районе. Одна из рабынь сумела сбежать, когда ее хозяин отправился покушать в местный МакДональдс.Мэтт Тайби - один из немногих в Америке, кто берется распутать аферы и рассказать о них публике, а «Роллинг Стоунз магазин» - практически единственное издание мейстрима, готовое предоставить свои страницы для расследований на эту тему.Много лет назад я слушал выступление легендарного Бена Бредли, многолетнего главреда «Вашингтон пост», запустившего расследование «Уотергейтского дела» и опубликовавшего знаменитые «Бумаги Пентагона». В русскоязычном мире многие помнят блестящую роль Джейсона Робардса, сыгравшего Бредли в фильме «Вся президентская рать». Бредли тогда спросили, а почему бы ему не заняться финансовыми аферами. Как раз тогда в самом разгаре был кризис S&L, в котором прогорело больше четверти всех кредитно-сберегательных ассоциаций США. Бредли тогда усмехнулся и сказал, что у публики «glaze over» – глаза остекленеют от этих дел. Американская публика способна до остервенения спорить по поводу толкования конституции, гражданских, гендерных или религиозных прав, но совершенно не обучена реагировать, когда задевают ее реальные социальные или классовые интересы. Капиталистический реализм, в котором здесь выросли, не дает необходимого словаря, моделей и понятий.Михаил Дорфман
В прошедший понедельник американцам доходчиво разъяснили при каких обстоятельствах любого из них могут убить, причем не кровожадные террористы, а собственная, горячо любимая армия, полиция, спецслужбы…Выступая перед студентами и преподавателями Северо-Западного Университета, генеральный прокурор США Эрик Холдер разъяснил, что факт убийства американских граждан их правительством не стоит расценивать как нечто ужасное, а наоборот, как демонстрацию заботы правительства о безопасности американцев. Эрик ХолдерХолдер пояснил, что: «Когда речь идет о национальной безопасности, конституция гарантирует надлежащую правовую процедуру, а не судебный процесс.» Иными слвоами, любого американца теперь могут лишить жизни без суда и следствия, лишь при одном подозрении в намерении совершить противоправные действия (теракт).Так же Холдер подчеркнул: "Мы находимся в состоянии войны с врагом без гражданства, склонного кочевать от страны к стране… Ни Конгресс, ни наши Федеральные суды не ограничили границы применения нами силы…"До недавних лишь группа высших чиновников могла расценивать уровень угрозы для национальной безопасности и принимать решение по ликвидации лиц, от которых эта угроза исходит. Среди таких чиновников были равно как министр обороны Леон Панетта (ныне Чак Хэйгел) так и президент Барака Обама, который, непосредственно и давал окончательное утверждение на ликвидацию.Леон Панетта и Барак Обама еще в январе 2012 публично обсуждали идею ликвидации подозреваемых без суда и следствия.По словам генерального прокурора, это, с недавних пор, уже пережиток прошлого. «Конституция не требует от президента откладывать действия по предотвращению теракта до момента, когда полностью становится известно, что подозреваемый планирует его совершить. Такие действия приводят к нежелательному риску».По словам Холдера отныне решения, о ликвидации граждан являются исключительной прерогативой исполнительной власти, потому что только исполнительная власть обладает "опытом принятия подобных решений и полным доступ к имеющейся.Таким образом, в ближайшее время стоит ожидать появления списков неблагонадежных граждан США, за которыми будет организована слежка. И случайный клик на гиперссылке радикального исламистского сайта может в ту же секунду призвать фею калибра 5.56.