Tag Archives: Asset

Donald Trump: Russian Asset?

Donald Trump: Russian Asset?‘I  think it’s possible” that President Donald Trump is a Russian asset, disgraced former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. McCabe also said to The Atlantic that FBI brass felt “concern about the president and whether or not he posed a national-security threat that we should be investigating.”On Wednesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin addressed the Federal Assembly in Moscow. “Let me be loud and clear,” he told lawmakers near the Kremlin. “If the U.S. really is going to deploy missiles on the European continent, it will exacerbate the international situation and create a genuine danger for Russia, as there will be missiles with a 10–12-minute flight time to Moscow.” Putin lamented America’s February 1 withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty and added: “We are ready for disarmament talks, but we are no longer going to knock on a closed door.”McCabe’s bizarre comments perfectly echo the Trump-hating Left’s exhausted yet unsinkable theory that the president of the United States secretly works for Russia, Russia, Russia, and that he and Putin somehow swiped the White House from Hillary Clinton, who had waited her turn patiently to become America’s commander-in-chief.But only a thoroughly rotten Russian asset would create genuine danger for the Kremlin and close doors to Moscow. Indeed, President Trump routinely gives Putin ulcers.A Russian asset worth his borscht would work quietly to erode America’s military. Instead, Pentagon spending has soared from Obama’s final $ 521 billion allocation to Trump’s $ 634 billion in outlays for 2017 (up 21.7 percent) and another $ 716 billion last August (up 12.9 percent).Not satisfied simply to bolster the U.S. armed forces, Trump has pressured America’s NATO allies to do the same. Some criticize Trump for supposedly abusing our European partners. Actually, he has lavished them with tough love.“By the end of next year, NATO allies will add $ 100 billion extra toward defense,” NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said January 27 on Fox News Sunday. “So we see some real money and some real results. And we see that the clear message from President Donald Trump is having an impact.” Stoltenberg added: “NATO is united because we are able to adapt to deliver. North America and Europe are doing more together now than before.”None of this makes Vladimir Putin smile.Putin must have groaned last October when President Trump persuaded German chancellor Angela Merkel to spend $ 576 million on a terminal to receive U.S. liquefied natural gas. The Wall Street Journal called this “a key concession to President Trump as he tries to loosen Russia’s grip on Europe’s largest energy market.” This promises less revenue and leverage for Moscow and more profits and employment for American gas exporters.Adjacent to Russia, Trump restored Poland’s purchase of U.S. Patriot air-defense missiles  (which Obama canceled to appease Moscow). Trump also shipped Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.Last June, and in January 2017, Trump imposed financial sanctions and travel restrictions on Russian companies and oligarchs. This was payback for Moscow’s invasions of Ukraine and Crimea and its interference in U.S. political campaigns. As Trump said: “We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.”If anyone behaved like a Russian asset, it was Obama. Trump’s predecessor launched the soft-on-Moscow “Russian Reset.” He was caught on a hot mic in March 2012 whispering to Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev: “This is my last election,” Obama said at a conference in Seoul. “After my election I have more flexibility,” especially on matters like anti-ballistic missiles in Europe, on which Russia frowned. “I understand,” Medvedev replied. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”As The Weekly Standard recalled, “the Obama administration removed a group of missile launchers from near the Russian border with Poland after Moscow objected to their placement.” Obama refused to arm Ukraine’s anti-Putin fighters. Obama’s first secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said in March 2010: “Our goal is to help strengthen Russia.” This apparently included encouraging Cisco Systems, Google, and Intel to open shop at Skolkovo, a sort of Russian Silicon Valley. The Pentagon and FBI eventually learned that the entire project was a giant technology-theft scam.Strengthening Russia also involved greenlighting Moscow’s purchase of Uranium One Inc. and its 20 percent share of U.S. uranium reserves. This company’s top investors donated $ 145 million to the Clinton Foundation. What a coincidence.Alas, fact-o-phobic Trump haters like Andrew McCabe consider him a pro-Moscow mole even as they wink at Obama’s and Hillary’s Russophilia.Michael Malarkey furnished research for this opinion piece.



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SCOTUS Cracks Down on Civil Asset Forfeiture

SCOTUS Cracks Down on Civil Asset ForfeitureThe Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that state and local governments are not exempt from the Constitutional prohibition against imposing “excessive fines” on citizens, significantly constraining the ability of law enforcement to seize the property of criminal suspects.Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for eight of the nine justices, argued that state and local governments unconstrained by the Eighth Amendment's excessive-fines clause are likely to abuse their power.“For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties,” Ginsburg wrote. “Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies. . . . Even absent a political motive, fines may be employed in a measure out of accord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence.”The case in question concerned Tyson Timbs of Marion, Ind., who had his $ 42,000 Land Rover seized after pleading guilty to selling less than $ 1,000 of heroin. Tyson's property was seized via civil asset forfeiture, which allows the authorities to confiscate property they suspect was used in criminal activity before a suspect is found guilty or even charged with a crime.A trial court subsequently rejected the civil-forfeiture suit brought by the state, holding that the fine should be considered excessive because the vehicle was purchased for more than four times the maximum penalty of $ 10,000 that Timbs could be subjected to for selling heroin under state law.The Indiana Supreme Court then reversed that decision on the grounds that the excessive-fines clause of the Constitution applied only to the federal government in a ruling that was vacated by the High Court on Wednesday.Civil-liberties advocates celebrated the ruling as a reversal of a trend in which state and local governments increasingly rely on asset forfeiture to fund their operations.“Increasingly, our justice system has come to rely on fines, fees, and forfeitures to fund law-enforcement agencies rather than having to answer to elected officials for their budgets,” Scott Bullock, the president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, said in a Wednesday statement. “This is not just an ominous trend; it is a dangerous one. We are grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court established that the U.S. Constitution secures meaningful protections for private property and limits the government’s ability to turn law enforcement into revenue generators.”



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Andrew McCabe says it is ‘possible’ Trump is Russian asset

Andrew McCabe says it is ‘possible’ Trump is Russian assetIn a startling remark from a top US intelligence official, former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe says that it is “possible” that Donald Trump is a Russian asset. Mr McCabe made the comments on Tuesday, when he said that the FBI’s Russia investigation was launched to suss out the president’s ties to Moscow, and that he is eager to see what special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation uncovers. “I think it’s possible,” Mr McCabe told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.



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Venezuela crisis: Opposition leader Juan Guaido hit with travel ban and asset freeze by supreme court

Venezuela crisis: Opposition leader Juan Guaido hit with travel ban and asset freeze by supreme courtVenezuela’s self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido, has been hit with a travel ban after the country’s chief prosecutor announced he would launch a criminal investigation into the congressional leader. The supreme court – stacked with members loyal to president Nicolas Maduro – blocked Mr Guaido from leaving the counrty and froze his bank accounts, but did not strip him of his legislative immunity. It came as Mr Guaido called on Venezuelans to stage a two-hour walkout from their homes and workplaces in protest at Mr Maduro’s stewardship of the country.



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Venezuela targets Guaido with probe, travel ban, asset freeze

Venezuela targets Guaido with probe, travel ban, asset freezeThe court also said prosecutors could investigate Guaido, in apparent retaliation for sweeping U.S. sanctions on oil firm PDVSA, announced on Monday. The sanctions mean the state-run company may not be able to fulfill contracts with North American buyers, the government of President Nicolas Maduro said. Aimed at driving Maduro from power, the sanctions were the strongest measures yet against the 56-year-old former union leader, who has overseen economic collapse and an exodus of millions of Venezuelans in recent years.



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See differences as asset, not danger, pope says in Christmas message

See differences as asset, not danger, pope says in Christmas messageSecurity has been tight around the Vatican for the Christmas season, with military jeeps stationed at key access routes and tourists undergoing metal detector and bag searches. Last week police in southern Italy arrested a Somali man suspected of having been a member of Islamic State and who had threatened to bomb churches in Italy, including St. Peter’s. In his address, in what appeared to be a reference to the shrill political climate in a number of countries, Francis called for “fraternity among people with different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another”.



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Nancy Pelosi Is An Asset, Not A Liability, For Democrats In Midterms

Nancy Pelosi Is An Asset, Not A Liability, For Democrats In Midterms"Conor Lamb's success could provide a blueprint for other Democrats in tough



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