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Strzok-Gate and the Mueller Cover-Up

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Almost eighteen months after Obama’s Justice Department and the FBI launched the Russiagate investigation, and seven months after Special Counsel Robert Mueller took the investigation over, the sum total of what it has achieved is as follows:

(1) an indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates which concerns entirely their prior financial dealings, and which makes no reference to the Russiagate collusion allegations;

(2) an indictment for lying to the FBI of George Papadopoulos, the junior volunteer staffer of the Trump campaign, who during the 2016 Presidential election had certain contacts with members of a Moscow based Russian NGO, which he sought to pass off – falsely and unsuccessfully – as more important than they really were, and which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations; and

(3) an indictment for lying to the FBI of Michael Flynn arising from his perfectly legitimate and entirely legal contacts with the Russian ambassador after the 2016 Presidential election, which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations, and which looks as if it was brought about by an act of entrapment.
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State Department, Meet the New Boss, Same/Worse as the Old Boss?

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The rumors of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s demise may finally not be greatly exaggerated.

A marked man, it was only about a month ago the media speculated on how soon United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley would replace Tillerson. Two weeks ago a trial balloon floated up with Mike Pompeo’s name in trail. But a burst of nearly-identical stories over the last few days,spearheaded by the New York Times, signals the end for Tillerson and names Pompeo, currently Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as his successor. What lies ahead?

The unique interplay between the Civil Service (non-diplomats largely stationed in Washington DC) and the Foreign Service (who have primary responsibility in Washington and who staff the embassies and consulates abroad) complicates Secretary of State transitions. Engaging both sides, with their different vested interests, can be tough. And unlike the military, where chains of command and internal procedures are written on checklists, State is a hybrid, half foreign and half domestic, with a structure that either conforms to a new Secretary or is conformed by a new Secretary. State is a vertically-oriented bureaucracy, with layers below the boss’ office waiting for bits of policy to fall so as to inform them of what their own opinions are. One academic referred to this as “neckless government,” a head and a body in need of an active connection.

A huge part of Tillerson’s failure was in missing that last point. The traditional way of engaging the bureaucracy is for a new Secretary to fill key positions with political appointees, who will shape the rank and file below them. Bonus points to the Secretary who can pluck out career Foreign Service people with the approved ideological bent to act as a virtual political appointees, a strong point of Hillary Clinton’s. Tillerson left too many slots vacant too long, and now finds himself without allies inside Foggy Bottom.
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US Made Secret Deal With ISIS to Let Thousands of Fighters Flee Raqqa to Battle Assad in Syria, Former Ally Says

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The US military allowed thousands of Islamic State militant group (ISIS) fighters to flee from their de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, in a secret deal that boosted the 
US fight against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to a Pentagon-backed Kurdish commander, who has since switched his allegiance to Turkey and who spoke to Reuters.
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The US Just Announced It Will Stay in Syria Even After ISIS Is Defeated: Here’s Why

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According to Newsweek, despite calls from Russia and Iran for the U.S. to abandon its illegal invasion of Syria, the Pentagon has just announced its intention to maintain its troop presence in the country even after ISIS is successfully defeated. 

“We are going to maintain our commitment on the ground as long as we need to, to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups,” Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon told Agence France-Presse.

“To ensure an enduring defeat of ISIS, the coalition must ensure it cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot external attacks,” Pahon added.

The U.S. reportedly has at least 1,723 troops in Syria, up from the 1,251 figure reported in June.

Even if these concerns regarding ISIS are genuine, one should wonder why the U.S. feels responsible for ensuring that ISIS cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot further attacks. The premise completely undermines Syria’s sovereignty and the competency of its allies, who are more than capable of defeating ISIS without external western intervention. In fact, western intervention has not provided Syria with nearly as much of the stability or security it claims to have.
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Bipartisanship On Jerusalem: Does It Make Us Safer?

Now that some of the dust has settled on President Trump's yesterday announcement that the US would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, what might we expect? How does Iran fare? Will the Saudis and Jordanians feel the pinch? Will the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner emerge as a major Middle East peacemaker after much work behind the scenes on behalf of Israel? We do our best to sort out conflicting interests and outcomes of this major turn of events in today's Liberty Report...
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Israel's Capital: Who Decides?

How will President Trump's announcement that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital affect US policy in the Middle East? How might it affect our security, as the move will most certainly inflame and cause anger in the Muslim world? Is there a silver lining? We cover this complicated issue in today's Liberty Report...
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Bake The Cake? How Should The Supremes Rule?

The Supreme Court today will take up the case of a Colorado baker who was found to have violated anti-descrimination laws in Colorado for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The baker has argued that the lower court ruling violates his right to religious expression. In today's Liberty Report we are joined by RPI Senior Fellow Adam Dick to take a look at what are the real issues at stake in this dispute...
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The FBI's Perjury Trap Of The Century

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 If you were a Martian visitor just disembarked from of one of Elon Musk's rocket ships and were therefore uninfected by earth-based fake news, the culprits in Washington's witch-hunt de jure would be damn obvious.

They include John Brennan, Jim Comey, Sally Yates, Peter Strzok and a passel of deep state operatives----all of whom baldly abused their offices. After Brennan had concocted the whole Russian election meddling meme to sully the Donald's shocking election win, the latter three holdovers----functioning as a political fifth column in the new Administration----set a perjury trap designed to snare Mike Flynn as a first step in relitigating and reversing the voters' verdict.

The smoking gun on their guilt is so flamingly obvious that the ability of the Trump-hating media to ignore it is itself a wonder to behold.

After all, anyone fresh off Elon's rocket ship would learn upon even cursory investigation of the matter that the National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts electronically every single communication of the Russian Ambassador with any person on US  soil----whether by email, text or phone call.
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From ‘Russia-Gate’ to ‘Israel-Gate’

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Life is full of surprises. Like that time you were counting on a new bike for Christmas, and were totally certain your parents were going to come through, and then – lo and behold! – on Christmas morning there it was: a spanking brand-new Segway! The final evidence that, despite your best efforts, you’d always be a nerdy little dork. (And yes, a pocket calculator turned up in your stocking).

That’s just what happened to #TheResistance this holiday season. For months they’ve been salivating heavily in anticipation of the turning of Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor now charged with lying to the FBI. Flynn has admitted doing so on at least two occasions, both involving his answers to questions about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kisylak. During the transition – after Trump’s election but before he took office – Flynn was talking to the Russians about two subjects: the possible blowback from the Obama administration’s decision to impose more sanctions and close the Russian compound in Maryland, and the Russian position on the controversial UN resolution condemning Israel for building yet more “settlements” on Palestinian land.

The incoming Trump team was “intensely focused on improving relations with Moscow and was willing to intervene to pursue that goal,” as the New York Times phrased it, even as the war cries in the Democratic party got louder and demagogues like Adam Schiff waved the bloody shirt of Russia-gate. That took balls: and here’s another instance where the alleged non-interventionists ensconced in the world of thinktanks and academia fail to give the Trump people the credit that is their due.
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