Matt Gaetz: Evidence of FBI-media ‘corruption’ coming out before DOJ inspector general report washex.am/2Izuyar
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Matt Gaetz: Evidence of FBI-media ‘corruption’ coming out before DOJ inspector general report washex.am/2Izuyar
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A naked corpse is peeing in Nathan Lane’s face. He wipes it clean, and the pale makeup he wore as a clown before becoming a royal coroner goes, too. Bodies are piled sky high on stage at the Booth Theatre, where Taylor Mac’s ingenious and outrageous Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus opened tonight. Much like a rigor-mortis golden shower, it is morbid and hilarious, poetic and gross, deeply absurd and born of undeniable urgency.
Prior knowledge of Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy isn’t necessary for this follow-up, which picks up where the Bard left off in 1594 and feels more alive to the present than most anything on Broadway. The mounds of carnage on stage — intestines spilling over, limbs akimbo like so many flesh-colored stuffed animals — is enough to tell us shit has hit the fan. A tyrannical emperor and his evil kin (plus a handful of bystanders) are kaputz. An unflagging maid, played by Kristine Nielsen, expertly preps cadavers for the grave. Lane’s Gary has been ordered to quit clowning around and help clean up.
But it’s after all the blood has spilled that the real fooling begins. Mashing up a menagerie of forms and traditions, from farce and theatre of the absurd to Brechtian self-reference and the bawdiness of National Lampoon, Mac conjures a hyper-stimulating experience unlike any other. Maybe as much was to be expected from the queer bastion of downtown avant guard — who goes by the pronoun “judy” — crashing the party uptown for the first time. Gary is the kind of explosive art — wild, riotous, sharp as a dripping dagger — that comes at the height of rotting empire, like the one grown fetid in Titus. And it’s speaking to the one we live in now.
Mac’s verse (which rhymes at times, driving Nielsen’s character to distraction) is performing a sort of jig on the grave of civil society. A Trump-gold banquet hall turned mausoleum is set to host the succeeding emperor’s inauguration; in the meantime, Lane and Nielsen are the have-nots questioning the systems that led to this mess in the first place. The wealthy hoard their riches while the poor starve; men destroy each other and unleash their rage on women, power gets passed around over the people’s heads and for what? Mac’s dexterity in weaving such social indictments into a madcap comedy rife with fart gags and dick jokes is a wonder to witness.
Lane embodies the tomfoolery and vague melancholy of Shakespeare’s best fools, equally adept at milking crude sight gags and waxing philosophical. Nielsen’s antic ability to wring every laugh from with slightest tick has rarely met a more fruitful context. Julie White completes the funerary tea party as a midwife who crawls from the corporal heap having survived a slit to her throat. Under the direction of George C. Wolfe, three singular performers blend in harmony to deliver a maniacal and uproarious treatise on the end of the world. Man’s downfall has never seemed such a hoot.
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Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar
photos by julieta cervantes
The post Taylor Mac’s ‘Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus’ Is a Bloody Riot on Broadway: REVIEW appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.
A photo from the 2000 St. Joseph’s High School yearbook reveals that then senior Pete Buttigieg was declared “Most likely to be President.”
ABC News reports: “The Catholic school’s yearbook was unearthed at a public library in South Bend, the same weekend the mayor of the 299th largest city in America announced he was taking his first swing at the White House. Looking through the rest of his high school yearbooks, he moved from appearing in a single photo his freshman year — sporting shaggy hair and large glasses — to showing off a dizzying array of activities in the following years, including the National Honor Society, Junior Leaders and Philosophy Club. He was often pictured wearing a white shirt, tie and no jacket, which has also become his current political uniform. His senior year, he was also voted most likely to succeed and eventually became his class valedictorian.”
The post High School Yearbook Reveals Pete Buttigieg Was Declared ‘Most Likely to Be President’ appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.
BBC One has dropped the trailer for Russell T. Davies’ (Queer As Folk, A Very English Scandal) new six-part drama Years and Years, which stars Russell Tovey (Looking, Being Human) and Emma Thompson and follows one family from 2019 forward over a period of 15 years.
“What sort of world are we in,” asks Tovey’s character at the start of the trailer as he cradles a newborn infant, “because if it’s this bad now, what’s it going to be like for you in 30 years’ time?”
The show also stars Rory Kinnear, Jessica Hynes, T’Nia Miller, Ruth Madeley, and Anne Reid.
The truth is out there.
After watching video of this James Harden flip over 100 times there is only one reasonable conclusion … paranormal activity.
James Harden is tough they say. Break down this play for me. pic.twitter.com/tlS940oXLj
— Mikey Peterson (@Mikeyvp) April 20, 2019
Working against Joe Ingles on Saturday night, Harden was blown by before clutching his throat in agony. Many are writing this off as a rudimentary flop, but I believe there are far more sinister forces at play.
This is either the work of a ghost or a spectral Sith — both with the aim of throwing Harden off his game. It’s difficult to tell from this grainy video, but I’m inclined to believe this was the work of a ghost, rather than a Sith, even considering the fact that Harden makes the classic “I’m being choked by a Sith” gesture.
After extensive research on the topic if “Salt Lake City ghosts,” I’m led to believe, based on the modus operandi of this apparition that it could be the work of “Richard,” an usher at the Captiol Theater who died in 1947. A former employee said that the spirit “wanted him out of the building,” and used techniques eerily similar to what Harden experienced on Saturday night.
At one point he was “attacked” by the black shadows. “It felt just like I got a punch in the chest. Literally, I could not talk,” he said. “Whatever it was, it had the power to shut me up.”
A punching ghost wanting visitors out and looking to disrupt performances? Sounds a lot like something Harden ran into. Also, if you’re saying to yourself “that was at a theater, not the arena — this is dumb” well I have something stunning for you to see.
A half mile. Easy enough for a ghost to float over, punch Harden in the throat and make it back in time for the curtain call. It all makes sense now.
Callas The Very Best 01 youtu.be/3hf9SBt2VGI via @YouTube
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Byron York says the Mueller report became the world’s biggest ‘nevermind’ youtu.be/Sp6Rndl_X04 via @YouTube
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This is so great.
The Flippist is an artist in the medium of flip books. For years he’s been making lovingly crafter recreations of sports moments in flip book form, but nothing is quite as emotional as this.
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My two favorite sports are mini golf and emotional dad hugging, so this lines up with my interests. Congrats to Tiger Woods on his 2019 Masters win. ⛳️⛳️⛳️⛳️⛳️⛳️⛳️⛳️⛳️⛳️⛳️ Special shoutout to The Tiger Woods Foundation…started in 1996 by Tiger Woods and his dad Earl Woods. They do a lot of good, but it’s core mission is to ignite a passion for school, college plans and STEM careers for underserved and minority students…really significant important work! (They were also one of my first flipbook commissions a few years back so that was significant too )
The flip book pays tribute to two of Tiger’s five wins at The Masters — 1997 and 2019. The obvious bookends of his career at Augusta. The first a celebration with his father, jubilation from a 21-year-old, who became the youngest person to win The Masters. The second, an emotional reunion with his children, as Woods recaptured his prior glory when nobody thought it was possible.
This was a very personal flip book for The Flippist, who explained how The Tiger Woods Foundation were one of his first clients when he was commissioned to make a flip book just for them. This celebration went deeper than the game itself, and the green jacket for Tiger at the end was the perfect touch.
We have that and more in Sunday’s NBA newsletter.
Game 3s are often so good. I’m not sure you can call Game 3 of the Rockets vs. Jazz series good, at least not in a traditional sense of the word. It was something, though. Something.
James Harden started 0-15 from the floor as Royce O’Neal and others continued to defend him in highly unorthodox ways. This included defending behind him on the left hip to force him right and prevent any stepbacks. Harden lit up this unusual defense in the first two games, but he didn’t hit a bucket until the fourth on Saturday.
Harden hit a few (three) shots in the fourth. Everything came down to two plays from there: the Rockets, up two, had the ball with 33 seconds left. No need for the Jazz to foul: get a stop and you’ll get the ball back. Utah pulled its scheme on Harden again, but he still stepped back to his right to fire up a three. It missed … but P.J. Tucker slipped by Joe Ingles to capture the offensive rebound. After an intentional foul, he hit one of two from the line to give Houston a three-point lead with 10 seconds to go.
The Jazz burned both of their remaining timeouts but set up a gorgeous sideline out-of-bounds play to spring Donovan Mitchell for his most open shot of the night: an elbow three. He missed it. Intentional foul, made free throws, game. (Kyle Korver had a beautiful little quote about Mitchell’s miss.)
Houston now has a commanding 3-0 lead in the series and can start looking ahead to a likely second round series against the Warriors. Utah … wow, this is a tough way for an otherwise successful season to end. Mitchell needs some help on offense this summer.
Sixers 112, Nets 108
Philadelphia leads 3-1
Nuggets 117, Spurs 103
Series tied 2-2
Bucks 119, Pistons 103
Milwaukee leads 3-0
Rockets 104, Jazz 101
Houston leads 3-0
Celtics at Pacers, 1 ET, ABC
Boston leads 3-0
Warriors at Clippers, 3:30 ET, ABC
Golden State leads 2-1
Raptors at Magic, 7 ET, TNT
Toronto leads 2-1
Blazers at Thunder, 9:30 ET, TNT
Portland leads 2-1
That beef brewing between Ben Simmons and Jared Dudley finally boiled over on Saturday with a MINI FRACAS. Perhaps hating Jared Dudley finally brought the Sixers together! Sixers won the game on a Mike Scott bucket, because sure, with all of these max-ish players Mike Scott is the guy to deliver game-winning buckets. [surprised face emoji]
Nikola Jokic had himself a GAME and the Nuggets evened their series with the Spurs. DeMar DeRozan got ejected after cannon-arming the ball at Scott Foster. (He missed.)
The Pistons finally slowed down Giannis and, uh, still lost badly. Detroit has lost 13 straight playoff games. Yikes!
These playoffs might be critical for Draymond Green’s future with the Warriors.
And finally: not too many celebrities at Jazz home games, but there is at least one LEGEND.
Be excellent to each other.
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BOSTON — There was less than a minute to play and a playoff series hung in the balance as Jaylen Brown flew down the court with the ball and a chance to tie the score. Transition is where he’s at his best. Give him a clear runway to the basket and Brown is capable of throwing down on anyone. This was his moment to put a stamp on a playoff series and a punctuation point on a season that failed to meet anyone’s expectations, let alone his high standards.
But Brown didn’t try to throw it down and he didn’t try to force the action. Instead he made one of the best plays of his career at exactly the right moment.
“You’ve got be patient enough to know that things take time, but also understand that time takes things,” he had told me the day before at the team’s practice facility. “It’s a balance. Yes, I’m patient, but at the same time, I have a blueprint.”
You see, Brown believes he is ready to become one of the better two-way players in the league. Not tomorrow, not in a few years. Today.
In the first two games against the Pacers, his offense had been an afterthought. His job was to defend Indiana sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic, who is the closest thing Indy has to a go-to player without Victor Oladipo. Brown has done his job well against Bogdanovic, staying up in his air space, trailing around screens and making it as hard as possible for Bogdanovic to score.
It’s a vital job, but it’s a decidedly unglamorous role in a series that’s been ugly by nature. You don’t get asked to step up to the postgame podium by simply playing your role.
So here he was, streaking down the court with a step on his defender and the thunder roar of the Garden behind him. What better opportunity for Brown prove his value on both ends of the floor? As he made his move, Indiana’s rim protector Myles Turner was closing fast. Even better! Turner’s been a force at the rim, and man, could you imagine jammin on Myles?
Instead, in one fluid motion, Brown reversed the ball to the corner where Jayson Tatum was all alone. Tatum’s shot was true and the Celtics claimed a lead they didn’t relinquish. Afterward, Celtics coach Brad Stevens called it, “One of the best plays I’ve ever seen him make.”
The conversation between coach and player, as Brown recounted later, went like this.
Stevens: That was a hell of a play. That was a big time play.
Brown: You probably thought I was going to lay it up, didn’t you?
Stevens: No, I knew you were going to make the right play.
This is what the postseason is all about now for Brown and the rest of the Celtics. The regular season is dead, may it be forgotten quickly. What matters is what they do now and through the first three games of this series, the Celtics look an awful lot like a team that’s coming together.
It’s not just about winning and losing games. It’s about making plays for each other, setting screens with purpose, hitting the open man, recovering on defense, and most of all, trusting one another.
“There’s a different energy in the building because we know we’ve got to do everything it takes to win,” Kyrie Irving said after that Game 2 victory. “There’s so much you don’t have to worry about anymore. You don’t have to score a bunch of points to make an impact on the game. We have a bunch of talented players and now we’re in the postseason and we have to do the little things.”
Talent, ambition, and ego. These have been the defining traits for the Celtics this season and Jaylen Brown has never lacked for any of the three. They are not bad things in the context of the NBA. In fact they are absolutely necessary for survival. They are, however, not great in the context of a team that needs its players to make individual sacrifices.
Like most of the Celtics, Brown’s season did not get off to a great start. He had trouble finding his way in a starting lineup now crowded with players who need the ball. He was often forced to defend bigger opponents as the de-facto four man. As the Celtics struggled out of the gate, Brown came in for his share of criticism, and he was moved to the bench in December.
Rather than see it as a demotion, Brown used the bench to find his niche and carve out his own space. His shooting steadily improved throughout the winter and his scoring and rebounding returned to previous levels. He was still up and down as they all were, but if he didn’t take a massive step forward this season, he also didn’t take a giant one backward. Sometimes maintaining is an accomplishment given the circrumstances.
“I don’t make excuses,” Brown told me. “You need to have a maturity level about being in this position. It was a challenge, probably the most challenging thing I’ve had to deal with in terms of expectations and getting put into a scenario where this is reality; this is your role.
“It was tough to deal with,” he continued. “But either you can make excuses and try to get to a better situation, which may or may not be, or you can work through it and try to make the best of it. I chose to make the best of it rather than point fingers and make excuses.”
Still, Brown didn’t get here by settling. In his mind, he’s ready to become an All-Star given the right opportunity. Honestly, he’s always felt that way about his game. It’s one of the endearing things about him. You could call it irrational confidence if not for the fact that Brown is so precisely analytical about himself.
“Coming into the league nobody thought I could score the ball,” Brown said. “So they typecast me as just a defender. Once they saw that I could score the ball at a high level, that’s when the dilemma started. My scoring is just a bonus for the coaching staff, front office. What they wanted me to do when I was drafted here was be a defender. I can do that, but it’s a double-edged sword because I feel like I can one of the better two-way players in this league.”
The thing about doing the right thing, is that it comes back to you. Call it karma or summon the basketball gods for a further explanation, but good basketball begets more good basketball and opportunities reveal themselves
In Game 3 in Indiana, Brown and the Celtics had a point to make. They proved they could win at home, but the road has been unkind to them the last few years. To get a win in Indy, they would need to come out strong and remain connected as never before. They would need to play through their mistakes and weather the various storms without the energy of the home crowd behind them.
Brown was ready from the jump. He went 4-for-4 and made all three of his 3’s in the first quarter, eclipsing the total number of points he had scored in the two previous games. He went on to make his first seven shots en route to a 23-point performance on 8-for-9 shooting with seven rebounds and all the defense you could want.
“I think everybody knows that I’m known for the defensive potential I have,” Brown had told me after that practice on Tuesday. “When I’m really locked in, I can make it hard on anyone to score. At the same time I can lead a team in scoring as well.”
Prophetic words as it turned out.
“We have a very long and successful history together with Klutch Sports. Rich Paul and I have spoken about Anthony (Davis) and I think we’re both excited about what we can potentially build here.”
Reaction: I still think AD gets traded this summer, but this is a smart opening gambit by Griff. Wipe the slate clean and start over without all the animosity of the past few months. Who knows, maybe Davis agrees to stay and sign that massive extension. Regardless, the Pels have already remade their franchise with Griff in place. Now he just needs to remake the roster.
“I’m Kevin Durant. Y’all know who I am.”]
Reaction: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Durant is the best player in the league. He showed it again in Game 3.
“Derrick White came out like he hadn’t eaten in two days. He came out hungry. He came out pissed off. And he sent a very loud and clear message.”
Reaction: I really want the Nuggets to stick around just because Malone’s quotes are so great.
“I think James was [Harden] is having a better year than he did last year. I think Chris [Paul] is healthy. I think, yeah, we’re definitely better. We haven’t proved it yet. But yeah, I think we can be better.”
Reaction: What a strange season it’s been for the Rockets. Given the way they’re toying with Utah again and with Golden State looking in the next round, we should find out real quick if they really are better than last year.
“First of all, he’s a nobody.”
Reaction: For the record, Dudley has carved out an 11-year career as a smart and dependable veteran. There are a lot of nobody’s who haven’t accomplished half of what Dudley’s done in his career. Praise be for this spicy series, and for Embiid’s brilliant Game 4, but come on, man.
The first round of the playoffs can be a bit of a drag. It lasts just a little too long as series get stretched out over two, and even three, weekends. That does leave ample time for player storylines to evolve. Here are five who have made their mark.
When the Spurs chose White at the end of the first round of the 2017 draft, a murmur went up from the masses. There wasn’t much buzz about White, a 6-5 guard of some sort who played only one season at the University of Colorado after spending his first three years playing Division II ball. But if RC Buford drafted him, then you knew he was a player. Sure enough, White has been the breakout star of the first round combining tremendous defense with an athletic scoring touch. Imagine him and Dejounte Murray in the same backcourt next season … goodness.
Despite the Rookie of the Year trophy and the All-Star validation, Simmons is still something of an enigma. We all know he’s a tremendous player, but he also has a tendency to just kind of be there, a trait that was called out by Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley. After losing the opener to the Nets, Simmons responded with a triple double in Game 2 and was a monster in Game 3 while Joel Embiid sat out with his knee injury. Performances like that make you wonder if Simmons would flourish if he had control of his own team.
When DeMarcus Cousins went down with a quad injury minutes into Game 2 of the Warriors first-round series with the Clippers, all eyes turned to Andrew Bogut. The big man was brought back from retirement as Cousins insurance, but don’t overlook Looney who has quietly become a valuable rotation big man. Looney knows his game and his role. He’ll be a free agent this summer and he’s going to get paid.
Coming into this postseason, Lillard’s Blazers were coming off a pair of first-round sweeps. That seemed to set their ceiling as a good regular-season team that lacked the top-end talent to properly compete in the Western Conference playoffs. Lillard never bought into that line of thinking, and after leading the Blazers to a pair of wins over Oklahoma City, he has Portland poised for a long awaited postseason breakthrough. This series is still a long way from being over.
Of all the changes the Raptors made in the offseason, one of the biggest was the internal development of Siakam who blossomed into a two-way force. Siakam was excellent through the first two games of Toronto’s series with the Magic, but he was brilliant in Game 3 with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. Regardless of what happens with Kawhi Leonard this summer, the Raps’ future in good hands with Siakam.
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The Facebook and The FBI are paving the royal road to Dictatorship | The Canaris Directive – Updated on 4:39 AM 4/21/2019 fbinewsreview.org/2019/04/21/the…
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The Sixers figured it out on the fly during the regular season. The first-round battles with an unlikely foe was exactly what Philly needed to come together.
BROOKLYN — This was the scene after the 76ers came from behind to defeat the Nets in Game 4, 112-108: laughter. Despite a third-quarter scuffle that ejected one of Philadelphia’s four stars, the post-game press conference for Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid became a comedy special.
Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler addressing the Jared Dudley situation pic.twitter.com/B0dInypB9v
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) April 20, 2019
It was utter mayhem on the basketball court midway through the third period after Embiid issued Jarett Allen his second flagrant foul of the series. Only this time, Jared Dudley came to Allen’s defense, shoving Embiid and barking in his face. And only this time, Butler came to Embiid’s defense, ramming Dudley with the need to be restrained.
Embiid never had a chance to even think about retaliating. Butler handled his light work. That’s the way this relationship works.
Jared Dudley and Jimmy Butler ejected for the melee; Embiid gets a Flagrant 1 pic.twitter.com/OllMftoI9W
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 20, 2019
Butler and Embiid had come to an agreement earlier in the season. They acknowledged that the two cannot win without one another.
Embiid is the workhorse, the dominant presence giving opponents matchup nightmares. Butler is the closer, the playmaker who has proven, time and time again, he can create under pressure. If Embiid carried the team through the first three periods, Butler would carry the team across the finish line. It’s the wild experiment in Philly that’s got the Sixers headed to the second round for a date with Toronto.
But in this wild role reversal, Butler was ejected with 7:40 remaining in third quarter. Philadelphia’s closer was no more, because he came to his workhorse’s defense. Embiid took over after Butler was ejected. He had 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks from that point on. He dominated the game, after Butler dominated Dudley.
The 76ers had no choice but to come together in the face of an unlikely enemy. After all, Dudley called Ben Simmons “average in the half-court,” to which Simmons responded, “That’s coming from Jared Dudley. Come on.” The story was no longer Nets vs. Sixers, but beef between a veteran and a young star.
The real story is this loaded 76ers team, crystallizing a chemistry that has waffled back and forth all season. Chemistry was the only question mark after taking two stars and adding another two in the middle of the season. If this team is connected, like they looked against Brooklyn, it could be the beginning of something special in Philadelphia.
After all, the 76ers upended their team in November to acquire Butler, then absolutely bulldozed it at the trade deadline to land Tobias Harris. The moving parts blasted the chemistry from Philly’s previous season. They played the second half of the year figuring it out on the fly. Somehow they steered the plane through turbulence into the East’s third seed.
Some felt Dudley had gotten into Simmons’ head. Simmons responded with a signature playoff performance in Game 3, then refused to talk about Dudley any further.
But Dudley continued jawing at Simmons in Game 4. He stripped him in transition in the second quarter, then after a timeout was called, Dudley trash-talked Simmons on the way to the bench. Then, he made a three-pointer in the same period, and gave Simmons a taste of his own trolling medicine.
Dudley was exactly the villain the Sixers needed. He was the the trolling force who helped Philadelphia unite.
Joel Embiid on Jared Dudley: “First of all, he’s a nobody. When opponents do stuff like that, they’re trying to get us out of our game. I’m too valuable for that.” (via @DefPenHoops) pic.twitter.com/uAtSAz5FL5
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) April 20, 2019
The Sixers knew Dudley would have something extra in Game 4; both Embiid and J.J Redick admitted the team was expecting it this time around. But Butler dealt with Dudley, then the Sixers dealt with the Nets. This series against a gritty Brooklyn team is exactly what Philly needed to grow.
It was the matchup that brought the team together after the regular season tried to tear them apart.
“The fact that it’s not present in the report tells me the ball is now and remains in the court of the FBI and the intelligence community,” said Frank Figliuzzi. It’s unclear whether the counterintelligence investigation into Trump remains open. An FBI spokeswoman declined to…”
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The counterintelligence investigation of the Trump team and Russia hasn’t stopped nbcnews.com/politics/natio…
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By Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation may be over, but the FBI’s efforts to assess and counter Russian efforts to influence the U.S. political system — including the Trump administration — is continuing, current and former U.S. officials say.
The FBI and other intelligence agencies are pursuing a counterintelligence effort to thwart Russian influence operations in the U.S. and stymie an anticipated Russian effort to interfere in the 2020 election, the officials tell NBC News.
As part of that mission, analysts will continue to drill down on exactly how the Russians interfered in the 2016 election, whether any Americans helped them unwittingly, and whether any American continues to be compromised by Russia, experts say.
These are different questions than whether crimes were committed, which is what Mueller explored in his 448-page report. Mueller’s report is silent on some of the key counterintelligence issues raised in his probe. It doesn’t mention, for example, the counterintelligence investigation the FBI opened into the president — an inquiry former acting director Andrew McCabe said was designed to examine whether he was compromised by Russia. Nor does the report cite the counterintelligence briefing the Trump campaign is said to have received from the FBI, warning that Russia and other adversaries would seek to infiltrate the campaign.
“The fact that it’s not present in the report tells me the ball is now and remains in the court of the FBI and the intelligence community,” said Frank Figliuzzi, an NBC News contributor and former head of counterintelligence at the FBI.
It’s unclear whether the counterintelligence investigation into Trump remains open. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.
Counterintelligence is also an issue the House Intelligence Committee will explore, said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., its chairman. The committee has requested an intelligence briefing on the Mueller investigation but has yet to receive a response, according to a congressional source.
“That’s very important for our committee as well as the Financial Services Committee to make sure there’s no financial leverage or other leverage that the Russians or the Gulf or anyone else have over the president of the United States,” Schiff told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Thursday.
In explaining his prosecution decisions, Mueller’s report explores how a Russian intelligence operation sought to help Donald Trump get elected and how the Russian government later tried to influence his transition team and nascent administration. Mueller found no provable criminal conspiracy in those interactions.
But the report conspicuously avoids making an assessment about whether any of that conduct harmed national security. It scarcely mentions counterintelligence, and it doesn’t say whether Mueller looked for financial ties between Trump and Russians or determined whether Russia has any leverage over the president or any member of his team.
In the one short section devoted to counterintelligence, the Mueller report makes clear that the issue of thwarting Russian influence went beyond the criminal probe.
For the last year, FBI counterintelligence analysts who were not working on the criminal investigation were embedded in Mueller’s office, sending written summaries of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence to FBI headquarters and relevant field offices, the report says.
“From its inception, the office recognized that its investigation could identify foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information relevant to the FBI’s broader national security mission,” the report says.
Much of that information is not contained in the report, which was designed to summarize prosecution decisions. Left unsaid is that much of that information is also classified.
The sort of information that might have been included in those summaries — and which does not appear in the redacted report — might include details about Vladimir Putin’s role in the election interference operation, or the relationship between Russian intelligence and the St. Petersburg troll farm that manipulated U.S. social media.
“In fairness to Mueller, they were operating under rules built for a traditional criminal investigation,” said Joshua Geltzer, a former senior attorney at the National Security Council under Presidents Obama and Trump.
“Those regulations had at least a somewhat different paradigm in mind. Counterintelligence investigations are by their nature sensitive and classified. It’s not clear that there is much more that could or should be said publicly. But I do think the question of whether there are folks acting in ways contrary to our national interest is at least as important as the question of who is charged with a crime.”
In a New York Times opinion piece Friday, Geltzer and Ryan Goodman, editor of the blog Just Security, call counterintelligence “the missing piece of the Mueller report.”
“President Trump may claim ‘exoneration’ on a narrowly defined criminal coordination charge. But a counterintelligence investigation can yield something even more important: an intelligence assessment of how likely it is that someone — in this case, the president — is acting, wittingly or unwittingly, under the influence of or in collaboration with a foreign power,” they write. “Was Donald Trump a knowing or unknowing Russian asset, used in some capacity to undermine our democracy and national security?”
A person on Trump’s legal team, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, told NBC News that it was ridiculous to suggest that Trump is compromised by Russia after Mueller cleared him of conspiracy.
But the Mueller report seems to keep that question in play by explicitly stating that the Trump campaign and the Russian government had a shared interest.
“The investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” the report says.
After the election, the report says, “Russian government officials and prominent Russian businessmen began trying to make inroads into the new administration. The most senior levels of the Russian government encouraged these efforts.”
And members of the incoming Trump administration, including Mike Flynn and Jared Kushner, greeted the efforts with open arms, the report shows. Trump, for his part, continually expressed his desire to improve relations with Russia, and he said he would examine lifting certain sanctions.
Geltzer and other foreign policy experts have long said that Trump’s favorable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin is so out of step with his own party, and seems so contrary to American interests, that it raises counterintelligence questions. When Trump proclaimed during last year’s Helsinki summit he accepted Putin’s claim that the Russians didn’t meddle in the 2016 election, those questions deepened, Geltzer said.
These are not criminal questions that can be resolved in a court of law, experts say.
“Often in the worlds of intelligence it’s about shades of gray that don’t approach certainty,” Geltzer said.
As part of its counterintelligence mission, the FBI makes assessments, including assessments about whether a particular American is acting as an agent of a foreign power, wittingly or not.
The next step is mitigation, which usually happens secretly. A foreigner can be placed under surveillance, or deported. A U.S. government official can be deprived of her security clearance or fired.
“I have been involved in cases where the objective was to determine whether a government official was playing for the other side or unwittingly duped or co-opted,” Figliuzzi said. “The objective is to neutralize — detect, deter and defeat the threat.”
But, Figliuzzi said, “deterring it and defeating it becomes problematic if it’s the president of the U.S.”
Ken Dilanian is a national security reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Tom Winter contributed.
Her defense paints the portrait of a “compassionate civil activist”-the government says she was a threat to national security.
“former FBI agents power influence” – Google News