Tag Archives: Obama

Alleged commander of militia reportedly said group was training to assassinate Clinton, Obama

Alleged commander of militia reportedly said group was training to assassinate Clinton, ObamaThe group has posted social media videos of its volunteers apprehending migrants crossing the U.S. border in New Mexico.



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New Mexico Border Militia Leader Allegedly Said Group Planned to Assassinate Obama, Clinton

New Mexico Border Militia Leader Allegedly Said Group Planned to Assassinate Obama, ClintonPAUL RATJEThe border militia leader who was arrested in New Mexico over the weekend on weapons charges allegedly said that his far-right group was training to kill prominent Democratic figures because of their “support of Antifa.”According to an arrest warrant for Larry Mitchell Hopkins, witnesses told authorities that he’d said the United Constitutional Patriots were training to “assassinate” liberal billionaire George Soros, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and former President Barack Obama.The 69-year-old and his armed militia, which spreads conspiracies and searches for asylum seekers on the border, have been accused of illegally detaining migrants. Hopkins was arrested Saturday on charges of possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports he could face three years probation and a $ 250,000 fine.Witnesses also told authorities in Oct. 2017 that the group “had its ‘base’ at Hopkins’s residence, was supported by approximately 20 members, and was armed with AK-47 rifles and other firearms,” the arrest warrant states. During a search of his property, the FBI found 10 guns in Hopkins’ “office,” which he claimed were owned by Fay Sanders Murphy, his “common law wife.” Hopkins told authorities there were two more guns in his bedroom—a shotgun and a handgun—and another handgun in his kitchen. All told, the FBI seized nine guns from Hopkins’ home as evidence, including shotguns and long rifles. Saturday’s arrest marks the third time the militia leader has been arrested on weapons charges. In 1996, he was convicted for possessing a loaded firearm in Michigan. In 2006, he was also convicted in Oregon of felony possession of a firearm and criminal impersonation of a peace officer.UCP and Hopkins claim to do work with Border Patrol, but the federal law-enforcement agency has denied having any ties to the vigilante group. A UCP spokesperson named Jim told The Daily Beast that there was “no question” about their work together, pointing to the group’s publicity videos in which Border Patrol agents can be seen in the background.“That’s all documented, and not just once. It’s documented hundreds and hundreds of times over in the videos that I post,” he said.Border Patrol, however, said it does “not endorse private groups or organizations” that take “enforcement matters into their own hands.”UCP produces a radio show that spreads conspiracy theories, QAnon beliefs, and misinformation about migrants being connected to terrorists. Hopkins has also claimed President Trump has asked him about “Muslim immigration.”According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Hopkins made his initial court appearance Monday morning and has a detention hearing scheduled for April 29.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here



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Indictment of Obama official in Mueller probe may pose a dilemma for Trump, so he takes it out on media

Indictment of Obama official in Mueller probe may pose a dilemma for Trump, so he takes it out on mediaConfronted with the novel situation of the special counsel's office going after a member of Barack Obama's administration, President Trump reacted with a tweet complaining about how the New York Times played the story in its Friday editions.



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Feds Charge Greg Craig, Former Obama Lawyer Tied to Manafort Ukraine Report

Feds Charge Greg Craig, Former Obama Lawyer Tied to Manafort Ukraine ReportMark Wilson/GettyFederal prosecutors have charged President Obama’s former White House counsel with making false statements in connection with his role in disseminating a report commissioned by Paul Manafort. Prosecutors allege that as an attorney in private practice, Greg Craig lied to officials at the Foreign Agents Registration Act unit after the Justice Department launched an investigation into Paul Manafort’s illegal lobbying on behalf of his pro-Russian clients in Ukraine. The charges, spurred by a referral from then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, mark the first time the Russia investigation has led to a criminal complaint against a prominent former Democratic official. Craig was a partner at Skadden Arps in 2012 when Manafort arranged for the firm to write a report about his client, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, and the prosecution of Yanukovych’s former political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko. Skadden reached a settlement with the Justice Department in January 2019 over its work with the Ukrainian government. As part of the agreement, the firm admitted that “a partner then at Skadden made false and misleading statements to the FARA Unit, which led it to conclude in 2013 that the firm was not obligated to register under FARA.” Under the deal, Skadden Arps agreed to register as a foreign agent and pay $ 4.6 million to the U.S. Treasury—the cost of its work on the report.Prosecutors say Craig, who led a team of Skadden lawyers in writing the report, ventured into lobbying when he allegedly offered a copy of the report to a New York Times reporter, subsequently identified as David Sanger, and pitched him on a call with a lobbyist for Ukraine in advance of its release. Craig’s conversations with the Times reporter took place shortly after he met with Manafort and a public relations firm to discuss the media strategy for the report’s rollout, and prosecutors viewed his media calls as an outgrowth of the strategy meeting.The indictment alleges that Craig began lying to officials at the Justice Department's FARA unit when they inquired about his contacts with the media shortly after the Times story ran. In a meeting with the chief of the FARA unit and in a subsequent letter, prosecutors say, Craig falsely claimed that his conversations with reporters “was done in response to requests from the media” and that the Ukrainian government neither knew of it nor directed it.In particular, they claim that Craig failed to tell FARA officials he had “recommended and facilitated” the Ukrainian government's choice of a PR firm, had been briefed on the firm's strategy, and had recommended Sanger as a recipient for the report after he met with the PR firm and a lobbyist for Ukraine. The indictment quotes a handful of emails from Craig meant to back up claims that his media outreach was allegedly an extension of a Ukrainian government-directed PR strategy and not a responsive correction of the record.Craig allegedly emailed Sanger in December 2012 with the explanation that “the Ukrainians have determined that you should be given first look” at the report. In an email sent shortly after Craig handed an advance copy of the report to the Times, the lawyer reported to a PR firm working for Ukraine that he told Sanger “it was his if he wanted to use it” and that “tomorrow is not too late for [another U.S. reporter] or for [another major U.S. newspaper].”In discussions with prosecutors, Craig’s attorneys have doubled down on his claims about contacts with the media, according to CNN. They claim Craig only spoke with the Times in order to correct an unspecified mischaracterization of the report and that the prosecution represented an attempt to make the Russia investigation and its spin-off prosecutions, which have primarily targeted Republicans, seem less partisan. The Skadden report featured prominently in court documents filed in Manafort’s Washington, D.C., lobbying case. The special counsel’s office alleged that Manafort’s choice of “the lead attorney at Skadden was made with the United States lobbying effort in mind" and that the report Craig spearheaded was “misleading and used to justify the political prosecution and jailing of a political opponent.” Skadden earned $ 4.6 million for the report, paid through Manafort’s offshore accounts in Cyprus, but the Ukrainian government publicly claimed that the work cost only $ 12,000. Craig resigned from Skadden in April 2018, shortly after attorney Alexander Van Der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to the special counsel’s office about his work on the report. Van Der Zwaan, whom Skadden fired in 2017, destroyed emails requested by the special counsel and lied about talking points he passed to Manafort aide Rick Gates and an advance copy of the report he slipped to a public relations firm. He served a 30-day prison sentence after pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate with Mueller’s office.  Prosecutors said that the Skadden report was one part of a sprawling illegal lobbying campaign that enlisted other Washington heavyweights, Mercury Public Affairs and the Podesta Group, to sell Washington on Yanukovych’s government. The special counsel’s office alleged that Manafort used an obscure think tank in Brussels as a cut-out to allow Mercury and the Podesta Group to lobby for the Ukrainian government without registering as foreign agents. Mercury subsequently registered with the Justice Department for its Ukraine work but the Podesta Group fared worse. Its founder, Tony Podesta, left the firm shortly after Mueller indicted Manafort in October 2017, and the firm closed seven months later. The charges against Craig are another sign that the Russia investigation has led to increased vigilance in enforcing foreign lobbying rules by the Justice Department. The department announced in March that Brandon Van Grack, a special counsel’s office prosecutor who worked on Manafort’s Virginia tax and bank fraud trial, would take over as the head of the Foreign Agents Registration Act unit. Read more at The Daily Beast.



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Former White House counsel for Obama charged in Mueller-related case

Former White House counsel for Obama charged in Mueller-related caseGregory Craig was charged with lying to US authorities about his work alongside Paul Manafort * Follow the latest in US politics – liveGregory Craig is the first prominent Democrat to face criminal prosecution as a result of Mueller’s investigation. Photograph: Pablo Martínez Monsiváis/APGregory Craig, a former White House counsel to Barack Obama, has been charged with lying to US authorities about his work alongside Paul Manafort for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.Craig, 74, was indicted by a grand jury in Washington on Thursday following an investigation that grew out of Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He has denied wrongdoing.He is the first prominent Democrat to face criminal prosecution as a result of Mueller’s investigation, which led to the conviction of Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, for a series of financial crimes.Craig is charged with giving false information to the justice department officials who regulate work in the US by lobbyists, lawyers and other representatives of foreigners under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara). He is also charged with concealing details of his work from the same officials.Attorneys for Craig said in a statement that the charges were unfair and that prosecutors had chosen to omit evidence that was favourable to him.“Mr Craig had no interest in misleading the Fara unit because he had not done anything that required his registration,” the attorneys said. “That is what this trial will be all about.”Sign up for the US morning briefingCraig worked in 2012 for Ukraine’s ministry of justice while he was a partner at the prestigious law firm Skadden Arps. Manafort, a veteran Republican operative, meanwhile worked as a consultant to Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin president, who was later ousted.A team at Skadden produced a report to help the Yanukovych government defend its prosecution of a former Ukrainian prime minister, which critics said had been politically motivated. Craig also coordinated public relations work to boost the government’s image.Craig wanted to avoid registering as a foreign agent in order to protect his ability to work in the US government in the future, according to the indictment, and so Skadden could avoid disclosing the $ 4m it was secretly receiving for its work from a wealthy Yanukovych backer.When Skadden was asked by the Fara unit for information on its Ukraine work, the firm submitted a response signed by Craig that failed to disclose Craig’s contacts with US media on behalf of Ukraine as part of a public relations strategy.Skadden Arps reached an agreement with the justice department in January this year to avoid prosecution. The deal forced the law firm to turn over the more than $ 4.5m it was paid by Ukraine and to register as a foreign agent retroactively. Craig has since left the firm.Prosecutors said on Thursday that, if convicted, Craig faced sentences of up to five years’ imprisonment for each charge. He could also be fined up to $ 100,000 and $ 250,000 for the respective charges.Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were later charged by the US with money laundering in relation to their payment for work in Ukraine. Manafort was convicted and Gates pleaded guilty to lesser charges.



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Former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig charged with false statements, concealing information

Former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig charged with false statements, concealing informationProsecutors charged Gregory Craig with lying about his work on behalf of Ukraine. It was part of a lobbying effort by ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort.



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Obama warns Democrats that ideological 'rigidity' can lead to a 'circular firing squad'

Obama warns Democrats that ideological 'rigidity' can lead to a 'circular firing squad'Former President Barack Obama warned Democrats about ideological "rigidity" and urged compromise in order to avoid a "circular firing squad."



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Barack Obama warns progressives to avoid 'circular firing squad'

Barack Obama warns progressives to avoid 'circular firing squad'* Remarks come as Democrats battle for 2020 nomination * Former president was addressing young Europeans in GermanyBarack Obama addresses a town hall of young leaders from across Europe at an Obama Foundation event in Berlin, Germany, on Saturday. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/ReutersBarack Obama warned on Saturday that US progressives risk creating a “circular firing squad” at a time when prospective presidential candidates are competing fiercely against each other to run against Donald Trump.The former president was speaking in Berlin, at an Obama Foundation event.“One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States,” he said, “maybe it’s true here as well, is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be’ and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a ‘circular firing squad’, where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues.“And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens.”Sign up for the US morning briefingAmong Democrats, the field of prospective presidential nominees has swelled to nearly 20. All are eager to appeal to a party base pushed left in opposition to a hard-right president and motivated by success in the midterm elections.Championed by progressive luminaries including the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, policy ideas such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal have achieved rising prominence.On either side of the aisle, party primaries are traditionally brutal affairs in which candidates are tested against rivals from other wings or factions. The first debates of the 2020 Democratic contest are months away but fierce fire is already being directed towards some more centrist candidates.Obama’s former vice-president, Joe Biden, for example, has not yet entered the race but has nonetheless attracted attacks on his record over close to 50 years in national life, including previous stances on racial issues and women’s rights. He has also struggled to respond effectively to claims from a number of women that he made them physically uncomfortable.Among other candidates, the former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke has been attacked over a voting record on issues such as the environment and immigration which indicates a willingness to engage with Republicans.Kamala Harris, the California senator, has attracted broadsides over her prosecutorial record before she entered national politics.Republicans are of course seeking to stoke the flames of controversy themselves. Sarah Dolan, executive director of the America Rising political action committee, told the Guardian this weekend the group’s “mantra this cycle is really just to cause chaos, especially with how big the field is”.Barack Obama’s remarks in Berlin.In Germany, Obama also discussed the virtues and drawbacks of political compromise. He advised his audience of young Europeans to “take some time to think in your own mind and continually refine and reflect, ‘What are my core principles?’“Because the danger is if you don’t know what your principles are, that’s when you compromise your principles away.”He added: “You can’t set up a system in which you don’t compromise on anything, but you also can’t operate in a system where you compromise on everything.”Answering questions, Obama said progressives needed to think about remaining “true to our values and principles while recognising that in democracies … the only way we are going to be able to get things done is that we agree to a certain set of rules and part of those rules are that you never get 100% of what you want”.He cited the Paris climate agreement as an example of an imperfect deal achieved under his presidency with the aim of building on it later. Trump has withdrawn the US from the deal.



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Obama warns progressives to avoid 'circular firing squad' as Democrats prepare for 2020 showdown

Obama warns progressives to avoid 'circular firing squad' as Democrats prepare for 2020 showdownBarack Obama has urged progressives in the US to avoid becoming part of a “circular firing squad” that takes aim at people who do not share all their views.In what will be interpreted as a comment about the nature of the rivalry between different factions within the Democratic Party, the former president stressed the need for compromise.“The way we structure democracy requires you to take into account people who don’t agree with you,” he said at an event in Berlin hosted by the Obama Foundation. “And that, by definition, means you’re not going to get 100 per cent of what you want.”According to The Hill, he added: “One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States….is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be’, and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a “circular firing squad”, where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues. “And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens.”The 2016 Democratic presidential primary was marked by often bitter hostility between the camps of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Supporters of the Vermont senator considered her a Wall Street sell-out, while many of those backing the former secretary of state believed Mr Sanders was out of touch and campaigned for unrealistic policies.As Democrats prepare to select a challenger to Donald Trump for 2020 – congressman Tim Ryan announced on Saturday he was joining the already crowded field – different factions are already becoming clear. Progressives such as Elizabeth Warren and Mr Sanders support policies such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.Others, such as Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker have adopted a more centrist position. With perhaps as many as 20 Democratic candidates running in 2020, there is already a energetic fight underway for supporters and donations, something that will intensify as the contest progresses. At the same time, Mr Obama said it was important for candidates to know what they stood for. “You should take some time to think in your own mind and continually refine and reflect, ‘What are my core principles’,” he said. “Because the danger is if you don’t know what your principles are, that’s when you compromise your principles away.”He added: “You can’t set up a system in which you don’t compromise on anything, but you also can’t operate in a system where you compromise on everything.”



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Netanyahu Tweets Clip of 2011 Obama Slapdown to Boost Campaign

Netanyahu Tweets Clip of 2011 Obama Slapdown to Boost CampaignA video clip he tweeted on Thursday shows him lecturing then-President Obama at the White House on why the lines before the 1967 Middle East war couldn’t be a baseline for a future agreement with the Palestinians, as the U.S. leader had just proposed.



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