House Judiciary Committee invites John Dean for first hearing on Mueller report

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Michael_Novakhov
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One of the key congressional panels leading the charge with ongoing probes into the Trump administration is set to hold a series of hearings on the findings laid out in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report. The nearly two-year long probe into the president’s ties to Moscow came to an official close last week after Mueller announced his resignation from the Department of Justice and subsequent closure of the special counsel’s office. 

The House Judiciary Committee will hold the hearings beginning next week, Chairman Jerry Nadler announced Monday. The first hearing will feature testimony by John Dean, the former White House counsel whose bombshell testimony during Watergate paved the way for President Nixon’s resignation. 

“These hearings will allow us to examine the findings laid out in Mueller’s report so that we can work to protect the rule of law and protect future elections through consideration of legislative and other remedies,” Nadler said. “Given the threat posed by the President’s alleged misconduct, our first hearing will focus on President Trump’s most overt acts of obstruction. In the coming weeks, other hearings will focus on other important aspects of the Mueller report.”

The hearings come after Mueller, in his first public statement about his Russia probe, explained that his team of investigators did not explicitly exonerate Mr. Trump, and instead offered reasoning why his office never considered indicting him for obstruction of justice.

“As set forth in the report, after the investigation, if we had confidence that the president did not clearly commit a crime, we would have said so,” he said at the Justice Department last week. 

Despite Congress’ multiple appeals to the special counsel to testify in-person on the nearly 400-page long Russia report, Mueller indicated he would prefer not to testify before Congress, as many Democrats had hoped. 

“Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself,” Mueller said. “The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

The panel has already held two public hearings into the president’s alleged crimes, as well as Democrats’ ongoing concerns over possible abuse of executive authority. Over the course of the panel’s Russia probe, numerous administration officials have successfully dodged congressional subpoenas to appear before the body, claiming executive privilege. 

The first hearing in the series, entitled “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes,” will take place on June 10 and feature testimony from Dean, former U.S. attorneys and legal experts.

Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report. 


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mikenov on Twitter: PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: PBS NewsHour full episode June 7, 2019 (Trump News TV from…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/pbsnewsh… pic.twitter.com/zUAgyf2Z7M

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PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: PBS NewsHour full episode June 7, 2019 (Trump News TV from…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/pbsnewsh… pic.twitter.com/zUAgyf2Z7M



Posted by

mikenov
on Saturday, June 8th, 2019 1:14am

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mikenov on Twitter: Mystery company off the hook from Mueller subpoena and contempt of court charge (Google Alert -…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/mystery-…

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Mystery company off the hook from Mueller subpoena and contempt of court charge (Google Alert -…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/mystery-…


Posted by

mikenov
on Saturday, June 8th, 2019 1:01am

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mikenov on Twitter: #NewAbwehr (which now #includes #remnants of #Abwehr, #Germany, & #alliance with #Russia & #Israel) #Strategy of #Conquering #America: To #Promote the #Great #ImmigrantInvasion from #Central America as #slow #DemographicBomb… (The Trump…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/newabweh…

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#NewAbwehr (which now #includes #remnants of #Abwehr, #Germany, & #alliance with #Russia & #Israel) #Strategy of #Conquering #America: To #Promote the #Great #ImmigrantInvasion from #Central America as #slow #DemographicBomb… (The Trump…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/newabweh…


Posted by

mikenov
on Saturday, June 8th, 2019 1:01am

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mikenov on Twitter: #Strategy of #Conquering #America: To #Promote the #Great #ImmigrantInvasion from #Central America as #slow #DemographicBomb (#Children) managed by #continuous #SocialMedia #ElectionsInterference and #installations of #DesirableLeadership trumpandtrumpism.com/2019/06/07/str…

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#Strategy of #Conquering #America: To #Promote the #Great #ImmigrantInvasion from #Central America as #slow #DemographicBomb (#Children) managed by #continuous #SocialMedia #ElectionsInterference and #installations of #DesirableLeadership trumpandtrumpism.com/2019/06/07/str…


Posted by

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on Saturday, June 8th, 2019 12:55am

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mikenov on Twitter: #NewAbwehr’s (which now #includes #remnants of #Abwehr, #Germany, & #alliance with #Russia & #Israel) #Strategy of #Conquering #America: To #Promote #Great #ImmigrantInvasion from #CentralAmerica as #slow #DemographicBomb trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/06/newabw… #FBI #CIA #ODNI #CI #BorderCrisis pic.twitter.com/WsfZh8ugaA

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#NewAbwehr’s (which now #includes #remnants of #Abwehr, #Germany, & #alliance with #Russia & #Israel) #Strategy of #Conquering #America: To #Promote #Great #ImmigrantInvasion from #CentralAmerica as #slow #DemographicBomb
trumpinvestigations.blogspot.com/2019/06/newabw…
#FBI #CIA #ODNI #CI #BorderCrisis pic.twitter.com/WsfZh8ugaA



Posted by

mikenov
on Saturday, June 8th, 2019 12:16am

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‘Tales of the City’s’ Alan Poul on the new freedom to depict “sex in a casual way”

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Alan Poul with Olympia Dukakis

The seven-time Emmy nominee Alan Poul is a fearless producer.

Having worked on low budget films like Candyman through the 1980s and early 90s, Poul took on a job that would earn him distinction in the annals of television: producer of the landmark, if controversial, miniseries Tales of the City in 1993. Since then, Poul has produced other acclaimed, groundbreaking shows such as My So-Called Life, Six Feet Under, The Newsroom and Westworld.

Poul also returned to produce the Tales of the City sequels, More Tales of the City and Further Tales of the City. He resumes those duties this month when the much-anticipated Netflix revival of Tales lands on the streaming platform. The revival marks a full-circle reunion of original cast members Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Barbara Garrick, and Paul Gross, as well as behind-the-scenes talents like Poul and series author Armistead Maupin.

Queerty scored a few minutes with Poul ahead of the Tales of the City premiere to chat about his career and his duty as keeper of the keys to Barbary Lane.

So let the record show we don’t really interview a lot of producers, but you’ve overseen the whole Tales franchise from the very start. Initially, how did Tales of the City come to you?

It was in the early ’90s. The short version: I was working, at the time, with a company called Propaganda Films, which is a seminal production company of the early 90s. We started in music videos but branched out into narrative. They were a sister organization of Working Title [production company behind Fargo, No Country For Old Men and Les Miserables] in the UK, which is still around today

Working Title had the rights to the book, and because it needed to be shot in the US, they’d asked Propaganda to carry the ball. I was the main in-house producer for narrative. They came to me not knowing that I was a huge Armistead and Tales fan, because what young gay man in the 90s wasn’t? They said, “Have you heard of this Tales of the City? Would you be interested in producing?”

So I met with Armistead, Richard Kramer who wrote the original adaptation, and that’s how it happened. It was really just great serendipity.

Flash forward 25 or so years since the original series, and you are one of the original talents returning. How were you able to convince the cast and Netflix, as well as Armistead, to do a new one?

I’d like to take full credit, but I can’t. One of the great things that emerged from the original series for my life was my friendships with Armistead and Laura, which continue. So going back to Working Title, Andrew Stern who was running the TV department at the time, and who is one of our executive producers, discovered that Working Title still had the rights to the book. He’d be a huge fan of the original series too. So he called me and said, “Would you be interested in doing this again?” And I immediately felt that the time was really right given where we are now as a culture, in terms of two different angles.

Which were?

One is how we have changed and diversified with the passing of the generations: an entirely new iteration of queerness and sexual fluidity. And then the second being the state of our nation, and the world, where the all-embracing message of Armistead’s world, I felt, this would be an ideal time to re-inject that into the public conversation. So I called Armistead, and he was aboard. And I called Laura, and she was immediately on board. We weren’t sure how to go about doing a new chapter, it was revisiting an earlier chapter or a new one. Once we knew Laura was on board—the one and only Mary Ann—Mary Ann is middle aged. Laura is middle aged. Let’s just do it today and move on into the future. So that’s how the premise of the current iteration came together. After that, it was just a question of putting together the creative team.

Murray Bartlett and Laura Linney

I talked to Lauren Morelli already, who is remarkable.

The next big turning point was Lauren coming onto the project. She incredibly aware of and respectful of Armistead’s world, his style, and the entire Tales canon, but at the same time, being part of the younger generation who was determined to tell the new generation’s stories with authenticity. So that was the key element in the creative team. We put together an all-queer writer’s room that we made sure spanned several generations so we could honor the world from which these stories sprang, while also pushing them forward to address everything that’s happening right now and present a generation of young characters that would be as revelatory and comforting to young queer people today as it was for me, an older gay man, to see myself on screen in the original Tales.

One thing I’m curious about: Armistead wrote a whole series of books. Why did you decide to create all new storylines, rather than rely on those of the existing stories? Obviously, the new series takes seeds from the novels, but it relies more heavily on new stories, albeit with Armistead’s input.

That was fairly early on. We wanted to springboard off of the later books but we had to create stories that were more immediate for the younger generation. I love the books—but the focus of the final three books is really on the older characters settling into middle age or old age. There’s a beautiful elegiac feeling to those books, but we needed to expand the world of the younger people, and make them as much of a focus as returning characters.

Related: WATCH: Queer San Franciscans talk about their own tales of the city

You know, episode eight was very personal for me.

That’s the big flashback episode?

Yeah, and I directed that. Having had the chance to work with Jen Richards and Daniela Vega to create a world and a situation for what it was like for trans women in that era which has never been shown was a great thrill. We broke ground there in a very original way.

And Jen and Daniella are both very good in the episode. I believe this was the first time Daniela has taken an English language role…

It’s the first time she has acted in English, yes.

Jen Richards & Daniela Vega

She’s great. And that also speaks to the diversity equation.

Also—and this was something Armistead was really, whole-heartedly on board with—as well as making the show reflect the reality of present-day San Francisco with all its diversity. And that means diversity of ethnicity, and age, and specifically gender.

And that was something—I was at Outfest, in the room when Armistead announced the new series. And somebody there immediately attacked him for ignoring diversity. And he immediately said, “We’re addressing that.”

I was there too. And even when the original Tales was published he came into criticism. As far back as the 70s. So Armistead has been very eager to diversify the population of Barbary Lane as much as possible.

PBS almost got shut down over the content of the original 1993 series. How did being associated with that affect your career? Did you encounter blowback?

No. But the controversy, and the extent that it got traction in the media was because of some very obnoxious noise making on the religious right, specifically Donald Wildman and the American Family Association. The show was a gigantic rating hit for PBS. It set records for PBS original dramas. So there was no question that the controversy was all ginned up. It took us by surprise because we thought we were making a love letter to San Francisco. And by the way, it’s also worth noting that the original series was made by Channel 4 in the UK, along with PBS. When it aired in the UK there was no controversy at all. It’s very telling.

That it is.

So there was no damage done to me, as anybody who was going to be in the position to collaborate with me or offer me future employment—they appreciated and loved the series. Where we got caught in the political crosshairs was the fact that PBS uses public funds. It was at a time when the Republicans in Congress were gunning for the National Endowment of the Arts, with this mantra that public money shouldn’t be spent on unwholesome art. There was some movement among some members of the House of Representatives about pulling back funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. So because of that, there was a new head of the CPB who then backed down and reneged on the promise PBS had made to finance the second series. That’s because of the noise the religious right made, and it took us three years to find a new home at Showtime. But that didn’t hurt me personally.

You have worked on some groundbreaking shows and films, particularly when it comes to depictions of queer life, and intelligent, independent women.

My guiding motive is to make stories that I love. So I tend to love stories that have complicated and fallible characters. I’m still very committed to telling queer stories, but at the time I started on Tales of the City, there were a dearth of images—certainly positive images—where people my age could see images of themselves reflected in a non-judgmental and interesting way from the point of view of a character. In part, because I did Tales, was in a position to do that. And I’ve also been a part of shows that aren’t very queer at all, like The Newsroom.

Laura Linney & Barbara Garrick

Sure.

It’s so hard to make a show or a film. What people don’t often recognize is that it takes just as much effort to make a bad show as a good show. Either way, it’s going to kill you…

[Laughter]

So you better make sure it’s something you really believe in.

The beauty of streaming services like Netflix, HBO and Showtime is that they are not restricting images or depictions of sex. I’m curious: what is it in America that we can show ridiculous violence on network TV, but not sexuality?

I mean, I hesitate to use a broad brush, and I haven’t worked on network shows for a couple of years. But I think that—because this isn’t just television, this has always been a huge bone with the MPAA for movies as well—you can chop off as many heads as you want but if you show a penis, it’s an R-rating. I think it comes from a certain prudishness in the American DNA. In addition, that kind of censorship doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens because of response to public opinion, or in the case of networks, an anticipated response by advertisers who are trying to sell commodities to the public. So it’s the segment of the American public most likely to get upset about sexual depiction. That segment of the public is much less concerned with depictions of violence. I’m not going to extrapolate more from that, but I think you get what I’m saying.

Yeah.

So everything comes down to public opinion that affects what a network will want to show.

Do you think that has something to do with the temptation for directors, executives, producers to film scenes to titillate the audience, rather than just show sex in a frank way?

This is a big thing for me: I really believe in trying to depict sex in a casual way. All of those things are part of our daily lives. But in terms of depiction, or what directors will be tempted to do, that’s exactly the same for sex and violence. Film is innately a sensational medium. From the time of the silent pictures pushing sensations is one thing that film has always done. So the natural tendency to sensationalize sex and violence is as old as the medium.

Ellen Page and Paul Gross

So with all of this—all these reunions—what was the most emotional moment you had when all this was happening?

The first big emotional trigger was walking onto the set. The set, of course, went up in stages, but there was a certain point where the facade was on the house and the gate was on the fence, and the path was there, and the stairs were on the side of the house. But there was a certain point where the gate was open and you could walk through the gate and see the house. That drove it home in a visceral, emotional way.

You’ve had a long, prestigious career. Orson Welles used to say that every artist should have that one work, that when he dies and meets God for the first time, he can say “I did this. Let me in.” For you, is that the Tales of the City series?

Oh boy…

[Laughter]

Is that too big a question?

That’s a really hard question. I’m not a big St. Peter at the gate guy.

Fair enough.

But in terms of what you’re driving at—it’s the issue of legacy. Then yes, I think more than anything, Tales is my legacy. Particularly, the opportunity to come back 25 years later, and pick up something that you buried 25 years before, is just something that doesn’t happen in a lifetime. It doesn’t happen. You can’t make it happen. But in this case, it happened, and I feel incredibly blessed by that. That gives it a significance that overshadows anything else.

Any chance for more?

We’re all very committed to this as a limited series. But if there is demand, there’s always a way to figure it out. But right now we’re just at a place where we’re really satisfied that we made this happen.

Tales of the City streams on Netflix June 7.


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RT @TheBeatWithAri: “Congratulations, you played yourself.” – @AriMelber pic.twitter.com/tmLQMdMYVZ

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“Congratulations, you played yourself.” – @AriMelber pic.twitter.com/tmLQMdMYVZ


Posted by
TheBeatWithAri on Friday, June 7th, 2019 10:21pm
Retweeted by
mikenov on Friday, June 7th, 2019 10:54pm

604 likes, 200 retweets

600 likes, 199 retweets


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RT @thehill: #BREAKING: Judge rules FBI must release some redacted sections of Comey memos on talks with Trump hill.cm/wclG564 http…

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#BREAKING: Judge rules FBI must release some redacted sections of Comey memos on talks with Trump hill.cm/wclG564 pic.twitter.com/XCZbUsZXlM



Posted by
thehill on Friday, June 7th, 2019 10:51pm
Retweeted by
mikenov on Friday, June 7th, 2019 10:54pm

104 likes, 48 retweets

102 likes, 47 retweets


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RT @KremlinTrolls: Followers of astronomy were in for a surprise on Friday, when Donald Trump announced that the moon is part of Mars. Alr…

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Followers of astronomy were in for a surprise on Friday, when Donald Trump announced that the moon is part of Mars.

Alrighty.
theguardian.com/science/2019/j…


Posted by

KremlinTrolls
on Friday, June 7th, 2019 10:45pm
Retweeted by

mikenov
on Friday, June 7th, 2019 10:55pm

11 likes, 4 retweets


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Hello world, France is here to mess you up

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France’s stars made the most of a moment they’ll never forget.

There aren’t a lot of athletes who get the opportunity that France’s players had on Friday night. In the opening game of the World Cup, in front of an extremely loud, sold-out crowd and a huge TV audience, they got to show off what they’re all about.

France’s stars are well-known to women’s soccer fans and have been for a decade, but for Les Bleus’ match against South Korea, millions of people who had only vaguely heard of them sat down to actually watch those players for the first time. It was the biggest stage they’ve ever had in their own country. And holy shit, did they deliver.

The 4-0 score is impressive enough on its own, but more important than those four goals is who scored them, and how. They were scored by France’s three biggest stars, and scored in signature fashion.

Eugenie Le Sommer always has perfect timing

Le Sommer is terrifying enough when she has the ball at her feet, running at defenders, but she might be even better off the ball. I cannot imagine being a fullback and trying to track her runs all over the place. Plus, she’s so fast that if you make even a minor wrong decision, there’s no recovering. This is a perfect attacking run.

This was Le Sommer’s 75th career goal for France, putting her just six behind Marinette Pichon’s all-time record for the country. It looks like she’ll be shattering that mark quite easily.

Wendie Renard is SO TALL

France showed off some slick set piece routines on Friday, but the best ones were honestly the ones where they just kicked the ball up at Renard’s head. She had a great headed assist on a goal that was marginally disallowed for offside, but she still got two of her own. Both, of course, from headers.

Renard is a central defender, but she’s consistently been one of France’s best goal-scoring threats over the last decade, for obvious reasons. South Korea had no one capable of marking a 6’2” player with great jumping ability and perfect heading technique.

Amandine Henry has a crack just for fun

I think my favorite thing about Henry’s goal is that it looked like she could have pulled off this move whenever she felt like it over the course of the game. Instead, as she usually does, she opted to run wide with the ball or make early passes. She wanted to create space for her teammates and enable them to shine.

But in the 85th minute, with the game already wrapped up, Henry saw a chance to surge into a central space about 25 yards out from goal. In a different situation, she might have opted to go for an assist to Valérie Gauvin, but the result was settled, so she took her moment to show off.


We don’t know how France will do at this World Cup. South Korea certainly didn’t present much opposition. And in each of the last two World Cups, France have turned in some good group stage performances before capitulating in the knockout rounds. But no matter what happens, these players will have this moment, forever. They’ve been the superstars pushing the women’s game forward in France for the last decade, and in the World Cup opener, they produced one of their best performances in front of the big audience they deserved.


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16 highly relatable tweets about Pride

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rainbow pride flag

Pride season is officially upon us. All across the country, people are breaking out their rainbow swag and hitting the streets to celebrate.

This weekend, there are Pride festivals happening everywhere from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, Key West to New Orleans, plus Milwaukee, Detroit, Sacramento, Spokane, and more.

And while each city’s Pride is unique and has its own special offerings, there some things about Pride that are universal no matter where you go.

And now, the tweets…

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15.

16. 

 


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House Intelligence Committee To Hold Hearing On Mueller Probe

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from The Daily Caller.

Chuck Ross | Investigative Reporter

  • Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have scheduled a hearing next Wednesday to explore the counterintelligence implications from the special counsel’s investigation.
  • Democrats are likely to focus on whether contacts between Russians and Trump associates have made the Trump administration vulnerable to the Kremlin.
  • Republicans will also have an opportunity to discuss the partially-debunked Steele dossier.

The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing next Wednesday about the “counterintelligence implications” of the special counsel’s investigation.

Two former FBI national security officials, Stephanie Douglas and Robert Anderson, will testify at the hearing, which is entitled “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Counterintelligence Implications of Volume 1.”

Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff, who chairs the committee, will focus on dozens of contacts between Russian government officials and operatives discussed in the special counsel’s report.

Republicans could use the hearing to raise questions of their own about the partially-discredited Steele dossier, as well as about the role played by Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who had contact with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Schiff, who was a leading proponent of the collusion conspiracy theory, has had to refocus his line of attack on Trump in the wake of the special counsel’s report.

The report said that prosecutors were unable to establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. It also said that investigators did not establish that Trump associates acted as agents of the Russian government.

Schiff has said that the report does not shed light on what information the FBI gathered regarding any Russian attempts to gain leverage over Trump associates.

“The evidence has been both criminal and non-criminal, and implicated deep counterintelligence concerns over the potential compromise of U.S. persons,” he said in a statement announcing the hearing.

Schiff has argued that efforts by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to negotiate the building of a Trump Tower in Moscow during the campaign could have allowed the Kremlin to gain leverage over Trump. Schiff has also focused on a June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians who offered information about Hillary Clinton.

Republicans have not said what topics they will bring up in Wednesday’s hearing, but the Steele dossier is likely to be a focal point.

As intelligence experts have increasingly noted in the wake of the special counsel’s report, the numerous flaws in the dossier raise questions over whether the document is the product of Russian disinformation. (RELATED: Investigate Steele Dossier As Russian Disinformation, Intel Experts Say)

Attorney General William Barr testified on May 1 that he is “concerned” that Russians planted disinformation with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier.

“Can we state with confidence that the Steele dossier was not part of the Russian disinformation campaign?” Texas Sen. John Cornyn asked Barr during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

“No, I can’t state that with confidence and that is one of the areas that I’m reviewing. I’m concerned about it, and I don’t think it’s entirely speculative,” said Barr.

The special counsel’s report all but debunked the dossier’s central claim that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

The report also disputed Steele’s claim that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin operatives.

GOP members of the committee may also focus on Mifsud, the professor who cozied up to Papadopoulos during the campaign.

Republican California Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the committee, asked U.S. intelligence agencies on May 3 for information about Mifsud to find out whether he is considered a Russian asset, or whether he is affiliated with Western intelligence agencies.

According to George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser, Mifsud told him on April 26, 2016 that he had heard that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.

The special counsel’s report refers to Mifsud as having Russian contacts, but Nunes noted in his letter that he has worked closely in the past with Western intelligence agencies. Mifsud has visited the State Department, and worked at LINK Campus, a university in Rome that has held seminars for the FBI and CIA.

Nunes said in his letter that if Mifsud is a Russian agent, “then an incredibly wide range of Western institutions and individuals may have been compromised by him, including our own State Department.” (RELATED: Nunes Raises Questions About Joseph Mifsud)

But if Mifsud was not working on behalf of Russia, it would “raise questions about the veracity” of the special counsel’s report, Nunes said.

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Oversight Dems Accuse White House of Interfering ‘Directly and Aggressively’ in Yet Another … | House committee chair: Barr, Ross ‘would rather be held in contempt’ – Yahoo News

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from The Trump Investigations Blog by Michael Novakhov – Review Of News And Opinions.

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Oversight Dems Accuse White House of Interfering ‘Directly and Aggressively’ in Yet Another …
House committee chair: Barr, Ross ‘would rather be held in contempt’ – Yahoo News

6:06 PM 6/7/2019 – Oversight Dems Accuse White House of Interfering ‘Directly and Aggressively’ in Yet Another … | House committee chair: Barr, Ross ‘would rather be held in contempt’ – Yahoo News – Post Link

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by Paul R. Pillar
The selective release of classified information from U.S. intelligence agencies has long been a favorite way for administrations to make a public case amid doubt or controversy. Raw intelligence lends a cachet of seriousness and authenticity even if the intelligence in question did not drive or underlie any presidential decisions. The administration of the day—with the president having the ultimate power to determine what will be declassified and what won’t—can release whatever seems to support its case and withhold whatever tends to refute it. The intelligence agencies, even if they see a different and more complete picture than what is being portrayed publicly, are largely powerless to do anything to counteract such a ploy. For the agencies to make their own release of offsetting classified information would be seen as insubordination and would be contrary to the professional ethics associated with their mission.
Past administrations have used selective release of intelligence to rationalize going to war in Vietnam in the 1960s and in Iraq in 2003. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clearly was gearing up to repeat one of the ploys used to sell the Iraq War—propounding the notion that the targeted regime was an ally of al-Qaeda—when rebuffing arguments that congressional approval would be required to launch a war against Iran. The notion of being in cahoots with al-Qaeda is just as incorrect when applied to Iran as it was with Iraq. The ploy seems to be shelved for now as President Trump has overruled war-hungry subordinates.
A higher priority for Trump has been to discredit investigations into the Russian interference in the U.S. election that helped to elect him in 2016. “Witch hunt” has been one of the dominant rhetorical themes of Trump’s presidency. The latest significant step in Trump’s campaign of discreditation has been to direct Attorney General William Barr to investigate the investigators and to give Barr unilateral authority to declassify whatever documents he wants from the intelligence agencies.
This particular grant of declassification authority is noteworthy not only because it gives to Barr a function that, if it is to be performed at all, rationally would be part of the job of intelligence agency heads or the director of national intelligence. The move also illustrates Trump’s priorities. Whatever risks involved in releasing what is normally classified information are to be taken not to protect the nation from, in the words of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election,” a matter that “deserves the attention of every American.” Instead, the risks will be taken to discredit an investigation into that very interference.
In William Barr, Trump has a subordinate evidently fully committed to the discreditation effort. If there were any doubt about Barr’s intentions after his misrepresentation of Mueller’s report and his use of the intentionally derogatory term “spying” to describe an FBI investigation, the doubt should have been removed by his recent interview with CBS, in which he performed a role barely distinguishable from that of Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani.
Nothing has so far emerged publicly to indicate that the FBI investigation in question was anything other than what it should have been: a counterintelligence inquiry into Russian interference in a U.S. election campaign. Nothing has emerged to falsify former FBI Director James Comey’s description of the sequence of events leading to the investigation. What is especially bizarre about the suggestion of a politically motivated “spying” effort against the Trump campaign is that no fruits from the supposed spying were ever used to hurt Trump’s election effort. To the contrary: while the multiple connections between Russia and the Trump campaign that the FBI was investigating were kept tightly under wraps, the only politically significant output from the FBI during the election season was Comey’s eleventh-hour statement about resuming an inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails—a move that helped Trump and infuriated Democrats.
Some commentary since Trump’s grant of declassification authority to Barr has focused on the need to protect intelligence sources and methods and on the question of how intelligence chiefs will respond if they are told to release information that might endanger those sources and methods. This ought not to be the main worry. For one thing, there is so far no indication that responsible officials such as Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel have bought into the “witch hunt” notion and every reason to expect that they will do what they can to protect what needs to be protected.
Moreover, Trump’s and Barr’s purposes will not be served by, say, revealing or endangering some Russian source. Although those purposes represent as much of a perversion of the intelligence-policy relationship as does previous cherry-picking to sell a war, this time the selective revelation of intelligence will be different. Rather than having an incentive to reveal juicy reports suggesting that a foreign power was doing something bad, Trump’s and Barr’s objective is to suggest that whatever Russia was doing was not so bad, or at least did not reach so extensively into a U.S. political campaign as to warrant a full investigation.
It is easy to anticipate how the cherry-picking in this instance may work. Internal communications among FBI officers expressing dislike for Trump get released, but documents showing that such opinions had no effect on the performance of official duties do not. Raw intelligence that turns out to be of questionable authenticity gets released, while the full range of leads that justified an investigation—including more solid reporting—does not.
When the administration plays such a game, officials such as Coats and Haspel will have a harder time affecting the game by claiming the need to protect sources and methods. It’s the crummy reporting—the kind that suggests the counterintelligence investigation was poorly grounded—that Trump and Barr are most likely to make public. Whatever better reporting there has been—the kind that would give good insight into what the Russians are up to and where protection of sources is most important—Trump and Barr would not want to release anyway.
The resulting distorted picture given to the public will inaccurately portray why the counterintelligence investigation was initiated and will suggest to the public that, with weak grounds for such an investigation, it must have been politically motivated. Any corrective to this process lies with the intelligence oversight committees in Congress. Fortunately, some members of those committees have anticipated the game and called on the intelligence community to keep them well enough informed to be able to monitor the investigation of the investigation.
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5:52 PM 6/7/2019 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Power of Declassification | The Russia Investigation and Cherry-Picking of Intelligence | June 7, 2019 | The Trump Investigations Report – Review Of News And Opinions | The Trump Investigations Report – Review Of News And Opinions

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Elinadav Heymann as the CEO of Archimedes Group – Google Search
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June 7, 2019 | The Trump Investigations Report – Review Of News And Opinions
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“counterintelligence implications” of volume one of the Mueller report – Google Search
“counterintelligence implications” of volume one of the Mueller report – Google Search
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House plans more hearings to examine Mueller report
PBS NewsHour full episode June 6, 2019
Israeli intervention in US elections ‘vastly overwhelms’ anything Russia has done, claims Noam Chomsky #TrumpAndTrumpism – #Review Of #News #And #Opinions #DonaldTrump and his #PoliticalMovement – #NewsReview #FuckFacebook #InvestigateJoelZamel! #Counterintelligence #Trump pic.twitter.com/3RkUIVXMjX
Archimedes Group Tel Aviv and Joel Zamel – Google Search
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Tel Aviv Electra Tower. – Google Search
Tel Aviv Electra Tower. – Google Search
M.N.: Congratulations, My Dear America! The Obama’s Dream for something now re-e-e-ahh!!!-lly came to its the Shining Truth: You are now one of the Thirld World countries, on the par with “sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia”, or so you are treated by the famed Israeli Social Media Manipulation firms, who were quite successful using their absolutely the same algorithms, knowledge base, analysis, strategy, and tactics. Voters Of The World, Unite under the Wise Historical Guidance Of the Israeli “private spying and who knows what else firms”! They are the true geniuses, those Israeli guys from the “Archimedes Group”: they really figured it all out. Mazel tov! | The Trump Investigations Report – Review Of News And Opinions
Day: June 7, 2019 M.N.: Congratulations, My Dear America!
Who is behind Israel’s Archimedes Group, banned by Facebook for election fakery? | The Times of Israel
Israel’s interference in 2016 US election to be probed by Senators – Middle East Monitor
Investigations of US Elections 2016 – Google Search

 

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Matt Bomer’s fanny, updated ‘Tales,’ ‘Pose’ returns, and the de-gaying of history

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Murray Bartlett and Laura Linney in ‘Tales of the City’

The Requisite: Tales of the City

The wait finally ends this Friday, June 7, when the much-anticipated fourth entry in the Tales of the City franchise comes to Netflix. Few shows have ever celebrated the diverse tapestry that is the LGBTQ community with such love or tenderness. The new series finds transgender pothead landlady Anna Madrigal (once again played by the great Olympia Dukakis) celebrating her 90 birthday and bringing together several generations of her adoptive queer children. Yet a dark secret from her past begins to haunt her and threatens the existence of the refuge she’s created at 28 Barbary lane. We’ve seen the full 10-episode run and can say the new series manages to bring modern diversity to a classic tale.  It’s a must-see, and a great way to celebrate Pride Month.

Streams on Netflix.

The Step-Out: Papi Chulo

The buddy comedy which delighted audiences at the Toronto Film Festival finally gets a theatrical run in here in the states. Matt Bomer stars as Sean, a weatherman on the verge of a total breakdown. When his boss forces him to take some “vacation” time from work, Sean hires migrant worker Ernesto (Alejandro Patino) to repaint his deck. The two thus begin an unlikely friendship. John Butler (Handsome Devil) writes and directs with his usual charm and wit, as well as with genuine empathy. Moreover, Papi Chulo features Bomer in possibly his best–and funniest–performance to date. Wendi McLendon-Covey of Reno 911! and Bridesmaids also plays a supporting role, as does Bomer’s bare ass. In short, it’s worth the price of admission.

In select theatres.

The Fabulous: Pose Season 2

Speaking of waits coming to a merciful end, Pose returns this week for a new season of voguing and fabulousity. We’ve visited the set of the new season to meet with executive producer Ryan Murphy and the cast, and to tour the sets (more on that forthcoming), and we’ve seen the first four episodes. Though we’re sworn to secrecy, we can say that the new season jumps three years ahead of the last, and finds Blanca (MJ Rodriguez) and Pray Tell (Billy Porter) struggling with HIV, and the house of Evangelista celebrating the release of Madonna’s drag ball inspired “Vogue.” Tempers flare, drama brews and tragedy strikes in a season just as captivating as the first.

Airs on FX June 11.

The ICYMI: Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City

Just in case you’ve not seen the three original Tales of the City miniseries, we’ve scoured the internet trying to find them on some streaming site. Thank goodness then, for AcornTV which now offers all three full series for streaming pleasure. As with the newest incarnation, each iteration of Tales adapts the work of Armistead Maupin for the big screen, centering on the fictional apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. The original series, produced by PBS, remains the gold standard, not just for queer representation, but for miniseries as an art form. The two sequels produced by Showtime also retain most of the same cast and most of the same fun. Though the new Netflix Tales stands on its own, the stories and characters will have far more resonance for viewers familiar with the originals which feature Laura Linney, Barbara Garrick, Olympia Dukakis, Chloe Webb, Donald Moffat, Parker Posey, Ed Asner, Sandra Oh and Ian McKellen all have featured roles. A celebration of love and the LGBTQ community, these versions of Tales of the City should not be missed.

Streams on AcornTV.

The History Lesson: The Lavender Scare

Once upon a time, a few lucky gay people could thrive in the United States, so long as they maintained a certain level of discretion. That all changed in the 1950s with the Lavender Scare, a national hysteria over the presence of gay people as a threat to the nation, looking to sell it out to the Soviet Union. The new documentary of the same name, based on David K. Johnson’s book, retells how innuendo and demagoguery caused a panic used to deny people their jobs and their livelihood. As narrated by Glenn Close, the new documentary includes interviews with actual victims of the scare, and with surviving relatives of those already gone. Infuriating and powerful, The Lavender Scare serves as a potent reminder that in spite of progress, danger always looms should a community allow itself to fall silent, or worse, invisible.

In theatres in New York and Los Angeles June 7. A national rollout in cinemas and on streaming will follow.

The Hopeful: Southern Pride

Malcolm Ingram, director of Small Town Gay Bar aims his camera at another small town gay bar all the way down in Biloxi, Mississippi. Southern Pride follows two owners of local gay bars as they try to organize the city’s first Pride celebration to push back against the bigotry championed by Donald Trump, and show solidarity in a hostile country. Much as with his earlier outings, Ingram finds loveable, flawed and hilarious characters to feature in his story, which makes them all the easier to root for. Southern Pride serves to remind people everywhere–queer and not alike–that pride can be found anywhere people come together as a community.

Available on VOD services June 11.

The Deep Dive: Before Homosexuals

Homophobes love to argue that LGBTQ people didn’t exist before the Kinsey studies of the 1950s (when the word “homosexual” was coined). In point of fact, we’ve been around before Adam & Eve, when Adam loved Steve, so why does history seem to forget us so easily? Filmmaker John Scagliotti conducts worldwide research with historians and anthropologists to uncover the history of queer people in various cultures on a global scale, spanning from the 20th century all the way into prehistory. Before Homosexuals uncovers everything from lesbian goddesses to ancient Roman cruising spots in a fascinating look at queer history, and the nefarious forces that have tried to erase it.

Available on DVD and streaming on Amazon & iTunes June 11.

The Sip: The Pride Punch

Let the taste buds celebrate Pride with this fruity, crisp cocktail designed to make everyone want to giggle and sing along to their favorite gay anthem.

  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part grapefruit juice
  • 1 part soda water
  • Fresh lime

Mix vodka, juice and soda in a glass over ice. Add a slice of lime for flavor and garnish.


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The most important game for World Cup favorites is the first

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Job done, France.

For any big, favoured team going into a World Cup, there is exactly one thing that matters. For a host nation it counts double. Or maybe even triple. And that thing is: don’t screw up your first game.

World Cups are strange things. Self-contained hothouses of football in which everything grows faster and larger and weirder than normal. In part, this is a consequence of the format: a team gets just three games to get out of the group, and tanking one of them makes everything that little bit squeakier.

But mostly, it’s just the way these months work. Four years’ build-up compresses down into four weeks, and so, if there are any cracks in a squad or faults in a first XI, an early shock can blow the whole enterprise to pieces. A camp turns inward on itself, a manager panics, and suddenly all that matters is whose fault it was that it all went wrong.

Further, and as even the most studiously neutral observer will tell you, a World Cup needs a host to do well. FIFA’s heavy-handed branding and control freakery hasn’t quite managed to kick the party out of World Cups, and so as long as the hosts are having a good time, so is everyone else. It’s a party in their house, after all. Be awkward as hell if they left early.

Fortunately for France, and for everybody descending on France over the next few weeks, they were pretty much faultless in their opener against South Korea. They managed the threat of Ji So-yun by ensuring she never really saw the ball, pressing high and swarming their opponents whenever they had the temerity to try and pass the ball around.

And while their four goals didn’t quite match the 11 that Germany opened with in 2007, there was little chance of them being denied a comfortable winning margin. Amandine Henry’s fourth was probably the pick of them, a gorgeous arcing slapshot from the edge of the penalty area. Though commiserations should go to Griedge Mbock Bathy, who contorted herself wonderfully to slam the ball home, only to find out she’d been marginally offside in the process. VAR has no sense of occasion.

But it was Wendie Renard’s second that set the tone. Up in the box, head to ball, down and through. Exactly what should happen when a central defender marauds their way forward. Thump.

Goals can’t talk, of course; that would be ridiculous. But if they could, well, this one would have said all kinds of encouraging things about France. How good they were feeling. How strong they were looking. How positive a statement of intent this was. And how much fun they and everybody else is going to have over the next few weeks.

Then finally — once it had finished saying “Ouch, that really hurt”, of course — it would conclude: job done.


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Trump Administration Bans U.S. Embassies Worldwide from Flying LGBT Pride Flag — a Blanket Permission Granted by Obama

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The State Department has banned U.S. embassies from flying the rainbow flag during LGBTQ Pride Month, according to diplomats in Israel, Germany, Brazil, and Latvia.

NBC News reports: “The denials to U.S. embassies have come from the office of the State Department’s undersecretary for management, Brian Bulatao, a longtime associate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who also worked for him at the CIA. Under State Department policy, embassies that want to fly the flag on their flagpoles are expected to obtain permission from Washington.”

NBC News adds: “During the Obama administration, the government granted blanket permission to embassies overseas to fly the pride flag during June. This year, U.S. diplomats said, embassies were told they can display the pride flag in other places, including inside embassies, but that requests to fly it on the flagpole must be specifically approved. No approvals have been granted.”

The Trump administration has claimed that it is leading the charge to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide. This news certainly flies in the face of that lie.

The post Trump Administration Bans U.S. Embassies Worldwide from Flying LGBT Pride Flag — a Blanket Permission Granted by Obama appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Gay Philadelphia Deputy and LGBT Liaison Found Dead at Sheriff’s Office of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

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Dante Austin / Facebook

Tragedy struck in Philadelphia on Friday ahead of its annual Pride weekend. Deputy Sheriff Dante Austin, the department’s LGBT liaison, was found dead in his office on Friday morning of what is thought to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound (pending confirmation from  the Medical Examiner’s Office). Austin was 27.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: “Police and medics raced to the building at 6:45 a.m. Friday, police said. Sheriff Jewell Williams confirmed Austin’s death shortly after noon. Austin, a U.S. Army veteran who was working in the Civil Enforcement Unit, was scheduled to be promoted to sergeant in the Sheriff’s Office on July 1, Williams said.”

Said Sheriff Jewell Williams: “This is a tragedy for the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Austin’s family, and the local LGBTQ community. Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody. He had the highest score on the Deputy Sheriff’s exam when he was hired in November 2013. He was our first openly gay deputy sheriff and we promoted him to become our first LGBTQ community liaison in May 2017.”

The Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs has lowered the rainbow flag at City Hall in Austin’s memory.

Said the mayor’s office: “Dante worked tirelessly, always, to lift up the most marginalized among us, to secure safety and protection for the most vulnerable, and to serve his community with unparalleled dedication and a warmth and generosity that moved so many of us. Dante’s legacy is one of boldness, bravery, compassion, and an unfailing commitment to a kinder and more just world for all. As we move forward in mourning and honoring our friend and colleague, may we cherish and celebrate the ways he changed us, improved our city, and protected and saved lives.”

Philadelphia Rep. Brian Sims tweeted: “Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community lost one of our best & brightest last night! Dante Austin was one of the strongest & kindest champions for equality I’ve ever met. He lifted up everyone he touched. He supported everyone who needed him. He cared deeply & loved loudly.”

The William Way LGBT Community Center mourned Austin on Facebook and held a vigil for Austin on Friday afternoon.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please ask for help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK. You can also text “talk” to 741-741.

The post Gay Philadelphia Deputy and LGBT Liaison Found Dead at Sheriff’s Office of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Trump tries to justify trans troop ban: “They take massive amounts of drugs”

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Trump transgender military ban

Making a nation reach for anti-nausea drugs, Donald Trump has tried to advocate his ban on transgender people serving in the military by claiming they take too many drugs.

In an interview with British muckraker Piers Morgan, Morgan confronted Trump about the hypocrisy of claiming to support the LGBTQ community while banning transgender servicemen. “They take massive amounts of drugs—they have to—and you’re not allowed to take drugs,” Trump said of transgender soldiers. “I’m proud of them, but you have to have a standard, and you have to stick by that standard, and we have a great military, and I want to keep it that way.”

Related: Trump administration will give homeless shelters the right to turn away transgender people

Morgan immediately pointed out to Trump that taking medication is not, in fact, banned under military policy. Trump complained that the cost of hormone therapy is too high to afford, though Morgan corrected him yet again. In fact, the armed forces routinely spend much larger amounts on drugs for erectile dysfunction than on hormones.

Trump’s response: “I didn’t know that.”

Budget reports show that the armed forces spend only about $8 million on transgender-related medical care per year. That figure shrinks compared to an overall budget of $50 billion devoted to military healthcare. Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that he supports LGBTQ equality in honor of Pride Month, though his policies clearly dictate otherwise.


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