Former Attorney General Eric Holder says Jeff Sessions needs to “to have the guts” to stand up to President Donald Trump, suggesting the Justice Department leader may have rushed to fire former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe at the president’s behest. Holder, who led the department under former President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2015, urged Sessions on Monday to take greater ownership of internal personnel decisions, questioning the decision to dismiss McCabe amid criticisms of the FBI leader from Trump. “It may be that at the end of the day, his separation, his termination is appropriate but you don’t rush that component of it to meet a deadline that I think the president essentially set,” Holder said during an event at Georgetown University. Sessions on Friday fired the FBI’s former No. 2 a little over a day before he was set to formally retire from the bureau, a move that sparked a public war of words between McCabe and the president.Sessions said the dismissal was prompted by internal reviews that found McCabe had violated Justice Department policies and had not been forthcoming regarding the probe into the FBI's actions before the 2016 presidential election, including their investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails.McCabe has denied any wrongdoing.Holder, who was succeeded by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then Sessions at the Justice Department, framed the dismissal of McCabe as premature and urged the sitting attorney general to challenge Trump when necessary. “If you’re the attorney general of the United States, you run the damn Justice Department, you know?” Holder said. “And you’ve got to have the guts to look at the president every now and again and say no.”The White House said last week that any decision on McCabe’s status would be left to Sessions, though press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed concern over the former FBI deputy’s actions. “We do think it is well documented that he has had some very troubling behavior and by most accounts a bad actor and should have some cause for concern,” Sanders said at a press briefing Thursday.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied Pennsylvania Republicans' request to stop the imposition of new congressional districts ahead of the 2018 midterms.A statement from the court said a request to stay a ruling from the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court had been denied without comment or recorded dissent. The state Supreme Court ruled the previous map, drawn by Republicans in the state legislature and signed into law in 2011 by then-GOP Gov. Tom Corbett, was a partisan gerrymander that violated the state's constitution.The court’s statement followed an order from a three-judge federal panel earlier Monday turning down a Republican request to halt the new map — essentially leaving Republicans with little recourse to stop the new district lines before the May 15 primary elections.The filing deadline for candidates running under the new map is Tuesday. The new map, drawn by the state Supreme Court, weakens Republicans’ hold on a number of seats, especially in the Philadelphia suburbs. Behind the scenes, Republican consultants prepared their clients for the new maps to stand, even as GOP congressmen and state legislative leaders sought relief from the courts. One GOP incumbent who saw his district become more Democratic under the new lines, Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), is reportedly considering retiring rather than filing for reelection before Tuesday’s deadline.It's the second time Republicans have failed to halt the state Supreme Court’s actions at the federal high court. The GOP initially applied for a stay after the state Supreme Court threw out the old map, but Justice Samuel Alito rejected that effort last month.After the state Supreme Court drew a map that unwound the GOP-friendly lines — on the new map, President Donald Trump would have carried 10 of the state’s 18 congressional districts, versus 12 on the old map — Republicans tried again, with urging from Trump himself."Hope Republicans in the Great State of Pennsylvania challenge the new 'pushed' Congressional Map, all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary," Trump tweeted last month. "Your Original was correct! Don’t let the Dems take elections away from you ..."The high court could still agree to hear the case, even after denying Republicans' stay application. But none of the court's nine justices dissented for the record on Monday to indicate openness to reversing the state Supreme Court's actions.Republicans in Harrisburg expressed disappointment Monday with the dual court rulings leaving the map in place."We are upset by the decisions today of the three judge panel in Middle District Court and the U.S. Supreme Court regarding redistricting. It is disappointing that the U.S. Supreme Court did not intervene," said GOP state Sens. Joe Scarnati, Jake Corman and Mike Folmer in a joint statement, noting that the district court case "was dismissed on the legal issue of standing," and not on the merits of the case.“We still believe these issues in this case are vital constitutional questions that deserve to be heard, including the [state] Supreme Court taking on the role of creating legislation," the statement continued, insisting the state Supreme Court's decision to draw the maps itself "takes us down a path for the creation of another legislative body in Pennsylvania.”Democrats, meanwhile, celebrated the decisions.“Today’s two court rulings, including one from the United States Supreme Court, are important victories for the citizens of Pennsylvania and the fight against gerrymandering," said former Attorney General Eric Holder, chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. "This November, Pennsylvanians will finally have the opportunity to vote for a congressional delegation on a fair map. By fighting against a fair map drawn by an independent court, Republicans have shown they are afraid of the very voters they claim they want to represent.”Josh Gerstein contributed to this report.
Authored by Tom Luongo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had a moment of clarity once. He famously said, “When things get serious, you have to lie.” Given the state of affairs in his beloved European Union right now Mr. Juncker and company are doing a lot of lying. It is rare in politics to get that kind of honesty from a politician, especially one currently in office. But, Juncker’s statement shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who is even a semi-serious political observer. It’s why I find it funny that the Democrats and Antifa-Left get so bent out of shape when Donald Trump exaggerates or outright lies. To him it’s a tactic. Catching Donald Trump in a falsehood is like trying to ladle water with a sieve. So, by the Juncker Maxim, things must be getting very serious because the amount and type of lies being thrown around by people who are supposed to know better have been staggering. To the point that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “I simply don’t have any normal terms left to describe all this.” Lavrov has been the world’s most effective diplomat over the past few years, effectively talking to and cutting deals with people who should hate him and Russia’s policies. What it highlights is that Lavrov and his boss, Vladimir Putin, have been effective simply because they make a deal and keep to it. They are the opposite of Mr. Juncker. When things get serious they become honest, speaking with one voice. Part of that comes from having a single administration in power for the past 17 years. It’s easy to keep to agreements when those in power don’t change. The U.S.’s diplomatic history with North Korea, for example, highlights the problems of shifting domestic political winds in Washington. But, that part stems from the way these men comport themselves on international stage. So, watching the hyperventilations of of Theresa “Gypsum Lady” May and her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over the poisoning of Former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia means there is a lot more going on here than anyone cares to admit. The quick reversals from European leaders as well as Donald Trump from their initial skepticism of May and Johnson’s bloviating tells me that not only are they lying but they are being forced to lie by some vaguely unseen hand. Just Blame Putin-stan! It’s not just that the Neocons are losing, like I talked about in my last article. It is that stench of desperation that’s everywhere right now. The level of histrionics, lying and insanity over Former Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s firing is telling. From McCabe himself, to his disgraced former boss, James Comey, the level of mendacity, chutzpah and, frankly, evil on display is impressive. I guess the situation’s been serious for a long time for the lies to come this easily to their tongues. This week we had the staged walk-outs by high school students over the Parkland, Fl shooting calling for gun control. How desperate are those clinging to power behind the scenes that they’ve turned to weaponizing mal-educated children to do their bidding? His Ideas Resonated Better in the Original German The French Foreign Ministry instructing its diplomats to not travel to Syria is also telling. It’s all about lying to support the narrative that Assad and Putin are the bad guys. The Reuters article I just linked to spends more column inches perpetuating the lie that there are no humanitarian corridors in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, even though there are plenty images, video and reports of thousands of civilians having been liberated from ISIS/Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists. But it mentions reports of chlorine gas attacks, again neglecting to say anything about the Syrian Army liberating a major chemical weapons facility in their advances against US-backed proxies. How bad is the situation behind the scenes in the financial markets that Goldman-Sachs CEO Lloyd “Doin’ God’s Work” Blankfein suddenly decides it’s time to step down? Derivative book that bad, Lloyd? Or did you bet that Gary Cohn would get Trump to heel to allow Goldman to finish destroying Europe? Long-established diplomatic norms and rules of conduct are simply thrown out the window because they need to be to induce hysteria to take people to war, otherwise, a war-weary, anxiety-ridden population will turn on their own governments. So, Theresa May tells Russia to prove to her they’re innocent to distract from her betrayals on Brexit. This is a joke, Right? Boris Johnson threatens Putin directly and the moron in charge of Britain’s defense department screeches for the Russians to ‘shut up and go away.’ Presumably he said it from his safe space rubbing his safety pin like Captain Queeg. Meanwhile Mr. Juncker continues to lie about everything as it pertains to Brexit negotiations because the EU’s financial situation must be that serious. If it weren’t they wouldn’t be trying to shake the U.K. down for tens of billions of euros. Why So Serious?! Look around you, step back from the craziness and see the bigger picture. When you do you just see a bunch of incompetent, venal people covering their asses. While a lot of what I write here could be considered ‘conspiratorial’ I would disagree. In fact, I rarely, if ever, chalk up to conspiracy that which incompetence explains far better. As a root cause analyst, I prefer Occam’s Razor to Alex Jones. Yes, there are groups of people with power conspiring to achieve personal and societal goals which are anathema to life and decency. But, that doesn’t mean that because they have power they are competent at wielding it. In fact, power makes you lazy. Winning makes you complacent and, eventually, stupid. Does anyone with any shred of self-respect believe that thirteen Russian trolls armed with Tweetium could derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign? Really? When the more obvious answer is that Hillary and her backers thought they had perfected the art of rigging an election and never conceived of losing. It never crossed their minds until a few days before the election and internal polling forced Obama to campaign in Michigan on her behalf. And he only did that to help himself, since he was in up to his neck in all of her dirty laundry. The Theory of the All-Powerful Putin is a childish and nonsensical as the Alt-Right’s blaming Jews for everything. The Gypsum Lady is trying to save her government by invoking it now. So is Nikki Haley at the U.N., Mika Brzezinski at MSNBC, George Soros and David Brock, the leadership at CNN, Google, Facebook and Twitter. The bigger the lies get, the more desperate you know they are. All of the Obama administration traitors — Samantha Power, James Brennan, Susan Rice, Robert Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Eric Holder, etc. — lie every time they open their mouths. It their narrative fails it means the end of not only their careers, but the plans of the incompetent globalist oligarchs who fund and power them. And those are the stakes in play here. Ye Gods, and I haven’t even brought up the Saudi Arabians, yet. Or the attempted military coup against the U.S. pet in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, from within his own government, no less. Talk about gross incompetence! Cooler Heads or Heads in a Cooler? While I’m not sanguine about how all of this plays out, I refuse to give into hysteria and add to the cacophony. It serves no purpose. The markets still believe, as they always do, that ‘cooler heads will prevail.’ But, markets aren’t allowed to believe anything else. The central banks ensure that. The sheer size of the money at stake makes it nearly impossible to move much of it without inducing even more panic. So, the default position of most money managers is sit tight and hope. But, hope is not a plan or a path to the stars. It is, as I’ve said before, the worst thing in the world — that which you have when you have nothing else. But, changes are coming, war or the collapse of the post-WWII institutional order or both. As I’ve pointed out, banks are getting nervous, emerging market central banks are positioned for radical currency defense. Rates are rising and dollar liquidity is falling. Bitcoin and gold are screaming this. If there was ever a time to get to cash it’s now. The acceleration of events since Putin’s speech on March 1st is itself accelerating. Windows are closing fast. It’s time to get serious. * * * To support the production of more work like this and get access to Tom's investment ideas and portfolio advice sign up for the Gold Goats ‘n Guns Investment Newsletter at my Patreon page.
NEW CIVILITY UPDATE. Rage-Democrats return: Eric Holder vows to knife the GOP. “The whole statement calls to mind President Obama’s campaign statement about knife fights, one of the very few things he ever said that was memorable.”
Following the 11th hour firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on the recommendation of the DOJ's Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), for lying under oath and leaking to the press, former Obama administration officials have thrown a temper tantrum. Recall Sen. Schumer (D-NY) warning Trump that the intelligence community has "six ways from Sunday" to get revenge... Amid Comey, Brennan, and Power issuing veiled threats over McCabe's firing, never forget Schumer warned Pres. Trump that the intel community has 'six ways from Sunday' to get revenge. pic.twitter.com/ZIm6KRj48E — Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) March 17, 2018 Well, consider the hornet's nest kicked: Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2018 For starters, Obama's ex-CIA director John Brennan broke out the thesaurus and lashed out at President Trump. "You may scapegoat Andy McCabe," Brennan wrote "but you will not destroy America...America will triumph over you." As an aside, Brennan - who insisted on being sworn in under Obama on an original draft of the constitution - without the Bill of Rights and all those inconvenient amendments - notably spied on members of Congress, endorsed torture, and ran Obama's covert drone war. Maybe he became so cutthroat while learning Arabic and Middle Eastern studies in Cairo? When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America...America will triumph over you. https://t.co/uKppoDbduj — John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) March 17, 2018 Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan. https://t.co/VLg94OLL2R — Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) March 17, 2018 Next - Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder - who challenged Republicans to a "knife fight" last Wednesday, lashed out over the "cruel" timing and caving to an "increasingly erratic President." Analyze McCabe firing on two levels: the substance and the timing. We don’t know enough about the substance yet. The timing appears cruel and a cave that compromised DOJ independence to please an increasingly erratic President who should’ve played no role here. This is dangerous — Eric Holder (@EricHolder) March 17, 2018 Of note - Holder appointed Robin Ahston to head up the Office of Professional Responsibility in 2010, saying she would "lead the office with the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and dedication." It was her recommendation that McCabe be fired for violations we won't know the full extent of until IG Michael Horowitz releases his report. Earlier we reported on former FBI Director James Comey's tweet after McCabe's firing, warning cryptically that Americans will" soon" be able to "judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not." Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not. — James Comey (@Comey) March 17, 2018 You are not honorable @Comey. You tarnished the reputation of the FBI. You exonerated criminal Hillary Clinton despite having overwhelming evidence. You wrote a not guilty “memo” months before you interviewed her. You illegally leaked your own classified memos to the press. pic.twitter.com/AzNVPXDgJ7 — Andrew Sarega (@AndrewSarega) March 17, 2018 Soon indeed James... pic.twitter.com/WCcxe4hTmb — TrumpIsMyPresident™ (@Trumpism_45) March 17, 2018 Throwing shells from the peanut gallery Various other Trump-haters also gnashed their teeth; issuing threats and making little comments: Gloat now, but you will be fired soon. And it’s not going to be done cowardly, as you’ve done to so many who’ve served you. There’s a storm gathering, Mr. President, and it’s going to wipe out you and your corrupt organization all the way down to the studs. https://t.co/I0UlNAlwxI — Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) March 17, 2018 If you had any doubt about whether the McCabe firing was an act of retribution, here is a flagrant victory dance from the man who ordered the hit. He just couldn’t resist. https://t.co/VLPaeSKuTY — David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 17, 2018 The whole "attack the FBI that is investigating you and humiliate career public servants" strategy maybe isn't the best approach to either governing or the Russia investigation. https://t.co/JvT9Yvdq1w — Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) March 17, 2018 And yet, not everyone is so bitter... Andrew McCabe: EAT CAKE. Justice never tasted so sweet. pic.twitter.com/li8H70TelD — thebradfordfile (@thebradfordfile) March 17, 2018
Shortly after he was dismissed Friday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the former FBI deputy director pinned the blame directly on President Trump.
The White House faces an uphill battle getting nominees Pompeo and Haspel confirmed ahead of the midterm elections.
Pence and McCarthy have already proven to be major fundraising forces for the GOP.
Eric Holder is heading to Wisconsin to campaign this week as Democrats there aim to turn a race for state Supreme Court into the next nationalized race after Tuesday’s Pennsylvania special House election. The election is April 3, and Holder is backing Rebecca Dallet, a Milwaukee County circuit court judge. Democrats involved with the campaign say that they’re eager for all the help that might come in from afar, and that it was Republicans who went first in nationalizing it through the involvement of the National Rifle Association and other groups behind Dallet’s opponent, Michael Screnock, a Sauk County circuit judge. But they’re hoping that the national conversation around guns and women’s rights boosts support for Dallet in the statewide race. “ "This campaign is about the people of Wisconsin but the outside spending for our opponent has certainly brought additional interest to this race," said Dallet campaign manager Jessica Lovejoy. They’re touting an internal poll that has Dallet up by 11 points, and insisting she can expand that lead. Dallet is pegging her campaign on standing up to Gov. Scott Walker, who's up for re-election this year, and Screnock pegging his on Dallet being too liberal and activist for the state. Holder, President Barack Obama's former attorney general, will do three events across Thursday and Friday, in Milwaukee and Madison. There won’t be explicit campaign rallies: instead he’ll do a roundtable discussion with Black Leaders Organizing for Communities on his first stop, then head to the state capital for a Friday discussion on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to talk about activism and engagement in this year’s elections. He’ll finish off the trip with a happy hour with Obama alumni and members of Organizing for Action, the Obama-inspired group his National Democratic Redistricting Committee has partnered with to push the redistricting election efforts. The visit is on the heels of a lawsuit filed by a non-profit affiliated with the NDRC to try to force Walker to call special elections in two vacant state legislature districts. Walker is fighting the lawsuit, and a hearing is scheduled for March 22. The NDRC has also identified Wisconsin as one of its target states to focus efforts on redistricting reform in the campaigns into November. But already, it has invested $140,000 into a digital ad program promoting Dallet. Holder said that his appearances in Wisconsin pull all the threads together, including fighting the voter ID law passed there. “During my trip, I’m going to be focused on engaging with activists and voters, particularly African-Americans and young people, about the stakes of the upcoming state Supreme Court race and elections that will happen this fall,” Holder said.
Assange Lashes Out: "Hypocritical Motherf*ckers... Remember How I Exposed Your Secret Deal With The Saudis"
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange lashed out at the UK government over Twitter on Friday after Britain's official UN account (UK Mission to the United Nations) tweeted "A free and independent media fulfils a vital role in holding the powerful to account and giving a voice to the powerless," with a link to a puff piece waxing eloquent over the UK's commitment to free speech. Assange - apparently not included in the UK's definition of "free and independent media" (facing arrest and detention should he leave the Embassy), fired off a stunning reply - claiming that the UK's has spent roughly twice as much spying on him as it has on their entire international human rights program. "And that is exactly why you have detained me without charge for eight years in violation of two UN rulings and spent over 20 million pounds spying on me you hypocritical mother fuckers. Your entire international human rights programme is £10.6m you pathetic frauds." And that is exactly why you have detained me without charge for eight years in violation of two UN rulings and spent over 20 million pounds spying on me you hypocritical mother fuckers. Your entire international human rights programme is £10.6m you pathetic frauds. https://t.co/wjSQnmM5jp — Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) March 9, 2018 Assange then followed up with "Remember how I exposed your secret deal to put Saudi Arabia on the Human Rights Council?" referring to a 2015 vote-trading deal in which the UK approached Saudi Arabia in secret, promising it a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in exchange for council support. Remember how I exposed your secret deal to put Saudi Arabia on the Human Rights Council? https://t.co/SE4d7aQ1mp — Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) March 9, 2018 Assange, 46, remains confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London following a failed appeal of his arrest warrant for skipping bail to enter the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault (which Sweden has dropped). The UN, meanwhile, has twice ruled that Assange's detention is unlawful. Despite this, the judge in his most recent appeal - Emma Arbuthnot, who said “I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years." Judge Arbuthnot's impartiality in the Assange matter has been called into question, while her husband and ex-Conservative MP, Baron James Arbuthnot, is listed as the director of a security company along with the former head of MI6. Not exactly friends of WikiLeaks. Moreover, a February report from the Guardian reveals that Sweden wanted to drop their case against Assange as early as 2013, but was pressured by the UK to maintain it. The newly-released emails show that the Swedish authorities were eager to give up the case four years before they formally abandoned proceedings in 2017 and that the CPS dissuaded them from doing so. The CPS lawyer handling the case, who has since retired, commented on an article which suggested that Sweden could drop the case in August 2012. He wrote: “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”. -The Guardian Assange Drops Bombs In yet another angry tweet by the WikiLeaks founder, Assange replied to a two-week old comment by former Eric Holder - blaming the former Attorney General for putting him in the position to release emails from the DNC, Hillary Clinton and John Podesta during the 2016 US election. Ostensibly getting ahead of the upcoming midterm elections in November, Holder tweeted "Russian threat to our upcoming elections: do something!" Holder then called for sanctions, ending the tweet with "We were attacked!" Russian threat to our upcoming elections: do something! Do anything. Impose sanctions overwhelmingly approved by even this dysfunctional congress. Are you simply unfit, without the necessary nerve or do they have something on you? We were attacked! — Eric Holder (@EricHolder) February 20, 2018 Assange replied: "Attacked? By what? The truth? It's entirely your own fault, Eric. Thanks to your unconstitutional grand jury against @WikiLeaks you left me with nothing to do but work 24/7, in harsh conditions, for years--and I'm good, very good, at my job." Attacked? By what? The truth? It's entirely your own fault, Eric. Thanks to your unconstitutional grand jury against @WikiLeaks you left me with nothing to do but work 24/7, in harsh conditions, for years--and I'm good, very good, at my job. — Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) March 9, 2018 Holder, who was President Obama's Attorney General, attempted to prosecute WikiLeaks and Assange personally over the publication of military documents and US diplomatic cables regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. "Russia-theorists" - particularly neoconservatives and hawkish Democrats, have maintained that WikiLeaks is a "cutout" for Russian to engage in information warfare, and blame Moscow for the theft and publication of the leaked emails. Assange added to his response to Holder, tweeting "Next time, not that there will be one, try following the constitution you swore to uphold," with a link to a 2014 article calling for Holder to drop the investigation against WikiLeaks or resign. Next time, not that there will be one, try following the constitution you swore to uphold: https://t.co/PNSDPzOToD — Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) March 9, 2018
Authored by Jim E via ThePoliticalInsider.com, Uncle Joe is getting ready to run! That’s the buzz around D.C. this morning, as former Vice President Joe Biden is putting our serious feelers for a 2020 presidential run against President Trump. Politico just rocked Washington with the exclusive report: Joe Biden knows that winning in 2020 would require a shoot-the-moon set of circumstances and luck. So his team is on the hunt for a moon shot. Between stops on his book tour and in the ramp-up for what will be a heavy midterms campaign schedule, a tight circle of aides has been brainstorming a range of tear-up-the-playbook ideas for a White House run, according to people who’ve been part of the discussions or told about them. The talk has gotten so serious that Biden is actually plotting campaign strategies, and is mulling whether or not to announce his candidacy early and be the front-runner, or announce late in the process to burst through what is shaping up to be a crowded field. If Biden thinks he’s going to be the only all-star Obama Administration alumnus in the race, he may be surprised. Former Attorney General Eric Holder is seriously considering a run. Former Secretary of State John Kerry is doing the same. Even Julian Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Obama, is thinking about running. Honestly, it seems like everyone and everything left from the Obama White House is pondering a presidential bid, except for maybe the North Lawn gardener. Then, of course, there are the slew of liberal senators champing at the bit to challenge Trump. Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Corey Booker, and Kamala Harris are all vying to be the upstart anti-Trump champion of angry Democrats. Then there’s Mark Cuban, a liberal billionaire who shilled for Hillary during the 2016 election. Biden has his work cut out for him if he expects to waltz right into the Democratic Convention for a coronation ceremony where he receives the Party’s nod. We all know how that worked the last time it happened.
Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com, We may finally get some answers to the high-level Obama administration’s gun-running scandal dubbed “Fast and Furious.” The Trump administration is promising to release the documents pertaining to that scandal that were withheld by former Attorney General, Eric Holder. Operation Fast and Furious was the Obama-era operation in coordination with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in which the federal government allowed criminals to buy guns in Phoenix-area shops with the intention of tracking them as they were transported into Mexico. But the agency lost track of more than 1,400 of the 2,000 guns they allowed smugglers to buy. “For over six years, the House Oversight Committee has fought for additional documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. Today, the Committee finally reached a conditional settlement with the Department of Justice,” Amanda Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement to Fox News. “The Committee seeks all relevant facts so we can learn from the mistakes made by the Justice Department. We have a responsibility to uncover why they worked so hard to hide this information from the Committee, the family of [slain border patrol agent] Brian Terry, and the American people.” Brian Terry was killed in 2010 by an illegal immigrant with a weapon used in the botched Operation Fast and Furious. Terry died in a gunfight between Border Patrol agents and members of a six-man cartel “rip crew,” which patrolled the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border looking for drug dealers to rob. The cartel member suspected of killing Terry was apprehended in 2017. Terry’s brother, Kent Terry also wants the scandal investigated. #FastAndFurious @realDonaldTrump Sir it's been 7 yrs .my family ask you reopen Obama's gun scandal that cost my brother his life..I talk to you back on the campaign trail here in Michigan and you offered to reopen the books into this senseless scandal .thank you.God bless — Kent terry (@terry_superman) March 3, 2018 “We need to find out the truth, exactly what happened, how it happened, why it happened,” Kent Terry said on Fox & Friends Tuesday. “We need Mr. Trump, President Trump, to unseal the documents, reverse executive privilege so that we know what happened, and that we can hold the people accountable that are responsible.” According to Fox News, the Justice Department entered into a conditional settlement agreement with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The settlement agreement was filed in federal court in Washington D.C. and ends six years of litigation arising out of the previous administration’s refusal to produce records requested by the committee. “The Department of Justice under my watch is committed to transparency and the rule of law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Wednesday. “This settlement agreement is an important step to make sure that the public finally receives all the facts related to Operation Fast and Furious.” The White House has yet to release an official statement on the Justice Department’s settlement.
President Trump will be slapped with obstruction of justice, predicts former Attorney General Eric Holder. “You technically have an obstruction of justice case that already exists,” Holder, who served under then-President Obama, said on HBO’s "Real Time with Bill Maher." "I've known Bob Mueller for 20, 30 years; my guess is he's just trying to make the case as good as he possibly can. So, I think that we have to be patient in that regard.” The president's foes point to Trump's alleged interactions with former FBI Director James Comey leading up to his dismissal amid the agency's ongoing investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia - including a conversation in which Comey says Trump said "I hope you can let this go," in regards to his investigation in to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Last May in an NBC interview with Lester Holt, Trump made clear he was frustrated that the Russia allegations had become "an excuse for having lost an election," and that Comey was clearly on the chopping block: HOLT: Monday you met with the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. TRUMP: Right. HOLT: Did you ask for a recommendation? TRUMP: What I did is I was going to fire Comey. My decision. It was not... HOLT: You had made the decision before they came into your office (ph). TRUMP: I -- I was going to fire Comey. I -- there's no good time to do it, by the way. In December 2017, Trump told thje New York Times “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” Holder has long suggested that an obstruction charge was possible - however, this is the first prediction he's made that Mueller would actually bring the charge. Meanwhile, liberal legal scholar Alan Dershowitz disagrees: "You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate,” said Dershowitz last December. “That’s what Thomas Jefferson did, that's what Lincoln did, that's what Roosevelt did. We have precedents that clearly establish that.” The controversy over whether or not Trump obstructed justice was one of the primary drivers behind Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel following Comey's dismissal. Notably, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all things related to the Russia investigation - frustrating many who say he's simply been sitting on his hands while Mueller and his fleet of trump-hating Democrat investigators gun for the President. “I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him,” Trump told the New York Times. “When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest.” Holder shot back fast and furiously on Real Time with Bill Maher - stating "The difference between me and Jeff Sessions is that I had a president I didn't have to protect." Perhaps he forgot about the selective targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, lying about the cause of Benghazi, Obama's knowledge of Hillary's private server, the Solyndra green energy and similar crony capitalism scams, spying on journalists, the Secret Service hooker scandal, and of course Fast and Furious. Holder thinks Sessions should resign in the wake of President Trump openly criticizing him. “At some point, though, you would hope that you would have the intestinal fortitude or the pride to simply say, you know, 'I wanted this job all my life, but it's not worth it, and I'm not going to take that kind of abuse, and I'm simply going to tell you, you know, go screw yourself, and I'm out,’” Holder told Maher.
The Department of Justice's internal watchdog sanctioned at least 14 FBI agents and officials over the last five years - most of which occurred under Former FBI Director James Comey's leadership, reports Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller - which has reviewed documents from the agency's Inspector General, Michael Horowitz. The acts entail inappropriate romantic relationships with a subordinate, outright sexual harassment, favoritism or promotion based on demands for sex, and retaliation against women who rebuffed male employee’s advances. -Daily Caller Prior to Comey's tenure as Director which began in September 2013, no sexual misconduct charges had been filed by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Most recently, an extramarital relationship between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page was revealed during Congressional investigations into the FBI, which had been uncovered by Horowitz through a search of text messages between the two agents. Perhaps the most shocking revelation, however, is that Comey attempted to thwart Horowitz's investigation. As Horowitz explained in his March 2015 final report on how law enforcement agencies handle sexual-misconduct complaints, his office’s ability “to conduct this review was significantly impacted and delayed by the repeated difficulties we had in obtaining relevant information from both the FBI and DEA as we were initiating this review in mid-2013.” After pulling teeth to try and obtain records from the FBI, Horowitz was finally presented with unredacted information that satisfied his requests - however it was "still incomplete." Of note, Obama's Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Comey fought Horowitz's investigation into sexual misconduct charges. Lynch supported Comey’s defiance of the IG via a July 20, 2015, memo from DOJ Office of Legal Counsel principal-deputy AG Karl Thompson. Thompson charged law enforcement agencies could redact information in its files and withhold information from the Inspector General. It was one of her first acts as Obama’s new Attorney General, who was sworn in to office on April 27, 2015. -DC It was only after a multi-year battle with the Obama administration that Horowitz was finally able to obtain the information he sought after Congress passed the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016, restoring his office's ability to access information without having to ask for it first. Of note, Horowitz's report on FBI malfeasance during the 2016 election is due out in several weeks - which many think will provide official confirmation that the top ranks of the FBI and DOJ engaged in a highly politicized hit-job on President Trump and his team in an effort to elect Hillary Clinton while undermining Trump. Who is Michael Horowitz? As we detailed in January, Horowitz was appointed head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in April, 2012 - after the Obama administration hobbled the OIG's investigative powers in 2011 amid the "Fast and Furious" scandal. The changes forced the various Inspectors General for all government agencies to request information while conducting investigations, as opposed to the authority to demand it. This allowed Holder (and other agency heads) to bog down OIG requests in bureaucratic red tape, and in some cases, deny them outright. What did Horowitz do? As one twitter commentator puts it, he went to war... In March of 2015, Horowitz's office prepared a report for Congress titled Open and Unimplemented IG Recommendations. It laid the Obama Admin bare before Congress - illustrating among other things how the administration was wasting tens-of-billions of dollars by ignoring the recommendations made by the OIG. After several attempts by congress to restore the OIG's investigative powers, Rep. Jason Chaffetz successfully introduced H.R.6450 - the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016 - signed by a defeated lame duck President Obama into law on December 16th, 2016, cementing an alliance between Horrowitz and both houses of Congress. 1) Due to the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016, the OIG has access to all of the information that the target agency possesses. This not only includes their internal documentation and data, but also that which the agency externally collected and documented. TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) January 3, 2018 See here for a complete overview of the OIG's new and restored powers. And while the public won't get to see classified details of the OIG report, Mr. Horowitz is also big on public disclosure: 13) Horowitz in 2017 took his organization to a new level via public disclosure. He no longer wants his findings hidden from us by the media. In May he created the twitter account @OversightGov. On October 1st his website https://t.co/TJqbITz0IR went live. pic.twitter.com/H8MKD6WzVE — TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) January 3, 2018 Horowitz's efforts to roll back Eric Holder's restrictions on the OIG sealed the working relationship between Congress and the Inspector General's ofice, and they most certainly appear to be on the same page. Moreover, brand new FBI Director Christopher Wray seems to be on the same page as well. Click here and keep scrolling for that and more insight into what's going on behind the scenes. Once congress has reviewed the OIG report on the FBI's conduct during the 2016 election, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees will use it to supplement their investigations, which will result in hearings with the end goal of requesting or demanding a Special Counsel investigation. The DOJ can appoint a Special Counsel at any point, or wait for Congress to demand one. If a request for a Special Counsel is ignored, Congress can pass legislation to force an the appointment. And while the DOJ could act on the OIG report and investigate / prosecute themselves without a Special Counsel, it is highly unlikely that Congress would stand for that given the subjects of the investigation. As TrumpSoldier points out in his analysis, the DOJ can take various actions regarding "Policy, personnel, procedures, and re-opening of investigations. In short, just about everything (Immunity agreements can also be rescinded)." Back to the topic at hand, here are the 14 cases of sexual misconduct within the bureau, via the Daily Caller: Tuesday the IG found that a special agent in charge (SAC) of an FBI field office, had an “inappropriate romantic relationship” with a subordinate who also was married. The SAC was married and had a young child at home, according to a source knowledgeable of the case. On June 3, 2016, a SAC retired after it was disclosed he accepted free rent and lived at the residence of a subordinate FBI special agent in violation of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, which prohibits an employee from accepting a gift from a subordinate who receives less pay and is a violation of the FBI Code of Conduct policy. In August 2015, the IG reported that an FBI assistant SAC (ASAC) was temporarily demoted because he made “inappropriate comments of a sexual nature towards employees and made inappropriate physical contact with employees.” The IG interviewed several witnesses “who told the OIG that they were either inappropriately touched or that they had inappropriate comments made to them by the ASAC. Other witnesses said they observed the ASAC engage in such conduct with the employees.” The ASAC denied the allegations, and stated “he did not recall” the specific incidents. “The OIG found the witnesses’ accounts to be consistent, credible, and corroborative of each other” and that he “lacked candor” in his interview. In December 2014, an ASAC was disciplined for sexually harassing an FBI employee. He admitted to engaging in several acts of sexual harassment, including sending the employee an electronic communication containing sexual innuendo and making a sexually-oriented comment at a luncheon. In December 2014, an ASAC was disciplined for making unwanted sexual advances to a special agent and later removing the special agent from his assignment for refusing those advances. He also allegedly selected a replacement for the special agent based on a personal relationship with the replacement. Although the IG investigation found “no evidence” the ASAC made supervisory decisions based solely on a personal relationship, the IG “found that the ASAC’s involvement in decisions benefitting the individual created an appearance of favoritism.” In June 2014, the IG reported that an FBI program analyst was dismissed. While detailed to another federal agency, he arranged for sexual encounters using his work computer. The analyst also “admitted to arranging sexual encounters by using his personal e-mail account accessed through the other agency’s network on his work computer.” In June 2014, an FBI Information Technology specialist and program manager resigned after making multiple unwanted sexual advances towards an FBI contract employee while intoxicated. When the contractor reported the incident to an FBI supervisor, the IT specialist allegedly “threatened to kick the contractor and retaliate against her at work.” In January 2014, the FBI issued disciplinary action against an ASAC who had sexual relationships with and sexually harassed subordinates. He created “a hostile work environment” and disregarded his supervisor’s instruction to inform him if a relationship developed with his subordinate. The FBI determined the ASAC “sexually harassed other female subordinates, had inappropriate sexual contact with two other subordinates while on duty and retaliated against a female special agent after she refused to engage in a romantic relationship with him.” In January 2014, the FBI demoted a SAC who “engaged in a protracted sexual relationship with a foreign national that he deliberately concealed from the FBI.” He also “disclosed sensitive information to the foreign national,” and allowed the foreign national to use FBI-issued iPads and an FBI-issued Blackberry phones on numerous occasions. He also exchanged sexually explicit communications on the Blackberry with the foreign national. In January 2014, an FBI ASAC made “unwanted sexual advances” to an FBI special agent (SA). The ASAC removed the female agent for refusing those advances. “The ASAC was further alleged to have selected a replacement for the SA based on a personal relationship with the replacement.” In November 2013, an FBI Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) resigned after it was determined he was involved in a personal relationship with a direct subordinate that resulted in favoritism. The two exchanged messages on their FBI-issued Blackberry devices. The DAD “failed to disclose the relationship and recuse herself from all official decisions regarding the subordinate, as required by FBI policy, and that the relationship created perceived instances of benefit or favoritism towards the subordinate, in violation of FBI policy.” In May 2013, an ASAC voluntarily removed himself from his position and was reassigned to a GS-13 position for engaging in a relationship with a subordinate employee for a lengthy period that began before and continued after the his promotion to the ASAC position. The investigation also found that the ASAC “was insubordinate by willfully ignoring a former SAC’s instruction to terminate the relationship.” In February 2013, an FBI ASAC was disciplined when he engaged in a relationship with a subordinate FBI employee for a lengthy period. The investigation also found the ASAC was insubordinate by willfully ignoring a former SAC’s instruction to terminate the relationship. In January 2013, an ASAC engaged in romantic relationships with approximately 17 female FBI employees, nine of whom were direct subordinates, “creating a hostile work environment.” The investigation determined the ASAC “sexually harassed other female subordinates, had inappropriate sexual contact with two other subordinates while on duty, and retaliated against a female special agent after she refused to engage in a romantic relationship with him.
President Donald Trump said he wanted to meet with state attorneys general to hear their ideas about gun laws — he brought in two anti-gun-regulation Republicans, and the White House says that’s enough.Trump won’t be meeting with a bipartisan group of AGs in Washington this week for the National Association of Attorneys General conference, as he did last year. After being told to leave part of Monday open to come to the White House, Democratic attorneys general have been told not to expect to see the president.“I would have liked to have had a respectful conversation with him, but unfortunately he rescinded that invitation,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, said on Monday. “I would have said, ‘Mr. President, it does not have to be this way, that this is a conscious choice that you and other policymakers make to quite literally do nothing and allow these murders to continue.’”Standing with nodding colleagues from Rhode Island, Maryland, Maine, Oregon, Virginia and Washington, D.C., at a news conference near the White House, Shapiro said he would have talked about policy measures that could be taken in response, including improved data sharing with the federal government, holding off on the efforts to pass concealed-carry reciprocity (which would allow people to follow the concealed-weapons laws of their states even when traveling to other states) and banning assault weapons.“You don’t have to invent the wheel, Mr. President,” added California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, also a Democrat. “There are a whole bunch of us who can tell you how to save lives.”Florida’s Pam Bondi and Indiana’s Curtis Hill both attended the White House meeting last week.In an email sent on Monday morning and obtained by POLITICO, a White House aide dispensed with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s attempt to secure a time for the meeting to discuss gun laws and other topics.“The president very much appreciated the opportunity to have two state attorneys general in Thursday’s important discussion on school and community safety,” the White House aide wrote. “State attorneys general will bring an important perspective to this conversation moving forward.”The aide pointed out that the U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions, would be speaking to the AG conference this week, as did White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, asking whether that made a difference. Gidley laughed when told officials were accusing Trump of not wanting to meet with the attorneys general because he didn’t want to talk about gun laws — “That’s their claim?” he asked incredulously. He pointed out that on Monday the president met with governors at the White House, and “he met with parents and teachers and law enforcement officials.”Gidley said the White House tried to find a meeting date, “but scheduling conflicts prevented a meeting.”“It is unfortunate that Democrat attorneys general are choosing to be so partisan in a time when the president is bringing Americans together with bipartisan solutions,” Gidley said. “Instead of participating in partisan political grandstanding, perhaps these attorneys general should come up with solutions of their own.”Healey said that from what she’d seen, everything Trump has been talking about in White House meetings and in his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference last week is “straight out of the NRA.”“It’s very surprising and I think a real shame that he didn’t take the opportunity to meet with AGs,” Healey said. “He met with two who are not representative of the views of all of the AGs out there.” As for Bondi and Hill, she said, “it was a self-selecting group. I don’t know what was discussed. I don’t know what’s going to come out of it.”Healey said she was looking to talk about mental health and gun regulation.Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general, said he saw the White House’s decision as part of a pattern.“They did not want to hear from attorneys general who reflect the will of the American people and stand for reasonable gun safety measures,” Holder said. “They don’t want to hear dissenting voices, whether they’re Republican or Democratic.”
The National Redistricting Foundation sued Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin on Monday for not holding special elections for two state Legislature seats.The seats, left vacant by an assemblyman and state senator who resigned in December to take jobs in Walker’s Republican administration, will otherwise remain open until January 2019, following the regularly scheduled elections for the seats in November.Eric Holder, who was President Barack Obama’s first attorney general and is now chairman of the foundation’s parent organization, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said that although most of his focus right now is on fundraising and campaigning around redistricting, he felt drawn to this lawsuit out of good-government concerns, as well as talk about Democratic efforts to win the seats if and when there are races.“The primary thing at this point is to just hold the damn elections,” Holder said. “Those are basic and fundamental, democratic and American concepts. You hold elections. The question is: ‘What are you afraid of, Scott Walker?’”In January, Democrats won the special election for a different state Senate seat that had been left open after the incumbent also resigned to join Walker’s administration, flipping party control there for the first time in 17 years. Walker, who is running for a third term himself in November, tweeted that the Democrats’ win was “a wake up call,” and Republicans around the state expressed concern that it could be a sign of a growing blue wave, despite President Donald Trump’s victory there in 2016 and Sen. Ron Johnson’s reelection that same night.Walker press secretary Amy Hasenberg said that the governor does not see merit to the suit. “Voters are already going to the polls this year to elect new representatives in these districts. This D.C.-based special interest group wants to force Wisconsin taxpayers to waste money,” Hasenberg said. “The Legislature will be adjourned for 2018 before these seats could be filled in special elections, and staff in these offices are working for constituents until new leaders are elected. Our decision is consistent with the law.”The 501(c)(3) redistricting foundation contended on behalf of eight constituents that “plaintiffs have a clear legal right to elect representatives to fill those vacancies (and to representation in the Legislature) and Governor Walker has a plain legal duty to issue the writs of election to hold a special election as promptly as possible.”Holder held off on promising help for Democrats who might run in those districts if there were elections, and argued that the larger efforts to help Democrats win state Legislature seats was not the driving force in filing the suit.“If there’s a political calculus here, I think it’s on the part of Walker not wanting to hold a special election in this year,” Holder said, adding: “We expect that Democrats will contest and fight for these seats.”
Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Michigan on Friday in a visit that combines official duties and political fundraising, according to multiple Republican officials familiar with the trip.Pence will travel to the state after attending Billy Graham’s funeral in North Carolina, according to one official familiar with the vice president’s plans.Pence will first hold an official event with America First Policies — a public policy nonprofit that is backed by President Donald Trump and is designed to boost his agenda — to tout recent tax cut legislation, and will then speak at an event hosted by the Great America Committee PAC to support GOP House candidates.Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, the front-runner in the Republican primary for governor, said Pence’s visit was the latest move by national Republicans to counter efforts by Democratic organizations planning to pour money into the state to boost their candidates. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee — led by Eric Holder, who was attorney general in the Obama administration — has picked Michigan as one of its priority states for spending money to block Republican-favored congressional maps in 2020.“It’s one of the top five states,” Schuette said, adding that this was why top Republicans, including the agriculture secretary, had made sure to travel there. “Sonny Perdue was in a couple weeks ago. Pence is coming in Friday. Michigan is on the map, on the radar in a high-visibility fashion. So I’ll be with the vice president on Friday, March 2nd.”
THE 21ST CENTURY IS NOT TURNING OUT AS I HAD HOPED: Horses, Pigs, and Turkeys on Planes Thanks to Er…
THE 21ST CENTURY IS NOT TURNING OUT AS I HAD HOPED: Horses, Pigs, and Turkeys on Planes Thanks to Eric Holder. (Classical reference in headline.)
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein flew to Seattle for a press conference at which he announced little, but may have said a great deal.
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