reportedly

Trump Is Reportedly ‘Struggling to Stay Calm’ as the Russia Investigation Deepens

So are we as a nation still just going to not talk about how freaking nuts this is.

President Trump has a new morning ritual. Around 6:30 a.m. on many days — before all the network news shows have come on the air — he gets on the phone with a member of his outside legal team to chew over all things Russia.

Trump now has a dedicated morning phone call for the Russia investigation. It’s like the presidential daily intelligence briefing—but for what people have been saying about him and Russia, and nothing else. It is now a scheduled part of the White House day. It specifically targets, among others, the special counsel leading that investigation.

The calls — detailed by three senior White House officials — are part strategy consultation and part presidential venting session, during which Trump’s lawyers and public-relations gurus take turns reviewing the latest headlines with him. They also devise their plan for battling his avowed enemies: the special counsel leading the Russia investigation; the “fake news” media chronicling it; and, in some instances, the president’s own Justice Department overseeing the probe.

Oh, thank goodness. A dedicated morning call so that his team can battle his avowed enemies: anyone who talks about Russian election hacking and the specific investigators investigating it. That is a brilliant idea that is no way a symptom of a deranged narcissist losing his everloving s—t while his entire team watches.

His advisers have encouraged the calls — which the early-to-rise Trump takes from his private quarters in the White House residence — in hopes that he can compartmentalize the widening Russia investigation. By the time the president arrives for work in the Oval Office, the thinking goes, he will no longer be consumed by the Russia probe that he complains hangs over his presidency like a darkening cloud.

Spoiler alert: It hasn’t been working. Another spoiler alert: Anyone who thought it would work hasn’t been paying attention to just how bottomless this man’s need for ego-fueled vengeance against his invisible enemies has always been.

And so we’re treated to stories like “Trump is struggling to stay calm on Russia, one morning call at a time” which is a headline you would expect to see written about a celebrity battling their rampant drug usage, not a sitting president battling an investigation which he insists will find nothing and is completely meaningless except as vehicle for making him, ensconced in the most powerful office in the nation, feel bad.

Michael Lazzaro, aka Hunter, is a Daily Kos Contributing Editor. 

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Rep. Jacky Rosen (Feminist Kike), Nevada Democrat, reportedly eyeing Senate seat

Jacky Rosen

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen, a freshman Democrat from Nevada, reportedly is eyeing a Senate run next year.

Politico reported Monday that Rosen, a software developer whose only elective experience prior to her successful congressional run last year was as president of Ner Tamid, a Reform synagogue in suburban Las Vegas, was favored by former Sen. Harry Reid as the likeliest challenger to unseat Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Reid, who retired last year as the party leader in the Senate, remains a powerhouse in Nevada politics and still has a say in whom the party advances.

In its report, Politico said Reid favored Rosen because she is a fresh face, making it harder for Heller and Republicans to attack her.

Nevada is considered one of the few likely Senate pickups for Democrats in 2018. Heller is the only Republican incumbent whose state voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election in November.

Palestinian PM reportedly says Israel’s policies helped prevent 3rd intifada

During a closed conversation with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that Israeli policies during the most recent wave of violence helped prevent a third intifada, or uprising, Channel 2 reported Monday.

Hamdallah and Kahlon met last Wednesday to discuss steps that the Israeli cabinet approved last month to improve economic ties with the PA and relieve restrictions on Palestinian movement prior to US President Donald Trump’s visit to the region.

Sources who were updated on the details of the meeting told Channel 2 that Hamdallah emphasized that Israel’s policy of containment during the spate of attacks that began in October 2015 helped prevent further deterioration of the situation, specifically the absence of collective punishment.

There was no confirmation of the report from Palestinian officials.

A year and a half of Palestinian terrorism and violence has seen more than 40 Israelis, two Americans, a Briton and an Eritrean national killed in stabbing, car-ramming and shooting attacks. According to AFP figures, some 266 Palestinians, a Jordanian and a Sudanese migrant have also been killed, most of them in the course of carrying out attacks, Israel says, and others in clashes with troops in the West Bank and at the Gaza border, as well as in Israeli airstrikes in the Strip.

But Hamdallah reportedly said it could have been much worse.

From left: Head of of COGAT Maj- Gen Yoav Mordechai, Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheik, Israel's Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Israel's Ministry of Finance Director-General Shai Babad sign an agreement to resolve NIS 2 billion of debt owed by the Palestinian Authority to the Israel Electric Corporation, September 12, 2016. (Facebook/COGAT)

The Palestinian prime minister reportedly said that Israel’s ability to not involve the civilian population in its actions targeting perpetrators of terror helped keep events from boiling over. This pleasantly surprised the PA, Hamdallah reportedly added.

Among the measures discussed during the meeting were an expansion of operating hours at key crossings through which large numbers of Palestinians travel; the establishment of an industrial zone near the Tarkumiya crossing in the southern West Bank; and the easing of of construction enforcement in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank known as Area C when they border Palestinian population centers in PA-controlled areas A and B.

The Oslo Accords, signed by Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s, divided the West Bank into three administrative areas — Area A, run exclusively by the Palestinian Authority; Area C, which contains most of the Israeli settlements and is run solely by the Israelis; and Area B, administered jointly, with the PA responsible for civil affairs and the IDF for security.

Kahlon and Hamdallah were joined by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, and the PA’s Minister of Civilian Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh.

Kushner reportedly encouraged to take hiatus as FBI probes Russia contacts

Jared Kushner has reportedly been encouraged to take a leave of absence from his White House adviser position because of FBI scrutiny of his contacts with Russia.

Administration officials close to US President Donald Trump have been pushing Kushner to step aside while the FBI investigates meetings that Kushner had with Russian figures during the transition period following the November election, ABC News reported on Sunday.

The news website Politico called Kushner the White House’s “lead distraction” following what is being seen as Trump’s mostly successful first foreign trip, which included 28-hours in Israel.

“It’s clear that Jared Kushner will be under intense scrutiny at a time when his father-in-law has named him everything but chief cook and bottle washer,” Democratic strategist David Axelrod, a former top White House adviser to President Barack Obama, told Politico. “It’s bad for the prospects of calm at the White House.”

Kushner, Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, reportedly flew home Thursday from Rome with his wife, Ivanka Trump, and arrived in his West Wing office on Friday to meet with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to discuss the presidential trip.

Though under scrutiny by the FBI, Kushner has yet to be accused of unlawful behavior, and he has offered to share any information about meetings with Russian officials.

The Washington Post and NBC reported late Thursday that Kushner’s interactions with Russian figures were of interest to the FBI, but that this did not mean he was a target of the investigation.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that Kushner had proposed secret back-channel communications with Russia.

Kushner, is one of Trump’s closest advisers. He met separately last December — after the election but before Trump assumed office — with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington, and Sergey Gorkov, the head of the government-owned Vnesheconombank, which has been subject to US sanctions because of its role in Russia’s occupation of a part of Ukraine.

Kushner in March said he was ready to testify about his Russia meetings to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats on Sunday demanded to hear directly from Kushner over the allegations he suggested back-channel Russia contacts, saying his security clearance may need to be revoked.

Trump, having returned from a nine-day overseas trip, immediately railed against administration leaks, calling them “fabricated lies,” in a flurry of tweets.

And his Homeland Security head defended the idea of establishing that kind of communication as a “smart thing” and said he didn’t see “any big issue here” for Kushner.

But to the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, it’s “obviously very concerning” that a key Trump campaign figure was possibly seeking secret communications with a country that intelligence experts say intervened in the 2016 election.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California said the government needed to “get to the bottom” of the matter and urged a review of Kushner’s security clearance “to find out whether he was truthful.”

“If not, then there’s no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance,” Schiff said.

Ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) delivers his opening statement as former Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill, May 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images AFP)

Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, described the latest allegations involving Kushner as “serious” and called for a thorough investigation.

NJ Senator Cory Booker (YouTube screenshot)

“He needs to answer for what was happening at the time,” Booker said. “What’s worrying me are the patterns we’re seeing. So one is this administration not talking about our values, cozying up to authoritarian leaders. And the other pattern we have is just a continuous drumbeat of inappropriate contacts with the Russians.”

Lawyers for Kushner said he was willing to talk with federal and congressional investigators about his foreign contacts and his work on the Trump campaign.

The disclosure of the back channel put the White House on the defensive. Just back from visiting the Middle East and Europe, Trump on Sunday dismissed recent reports as “fake news.”

“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies,” Trump tweeted. He added: “Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names … it is very possible that those sources don’t exist.”

Kushner’s involvement in the proposed back channel was first reported by The Washington Post, which said he suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities for the discussions, apparently to make them more difficult to monitor. The newspaper cited anonymous US officials who were briefed on intelligence reports on intercepted Russian communications.

The Post reported that Kislyak was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well for as the Trump team.

According to the person familiar with the Kushner meeting, the Trump team eventually felt there was no need for a back channel once Rex Tillerson was confirmed as secretary of state on Feb. 1.

Kushner was a trusted Trump adviser last year, overseeing the campaign’s digital strategy. He remains an influential confidant within the White House, as does his wife, Ivanka Trump.

Federal investigators and several congressional committees are looking into any connections between Russia and the Trump campaign, including allegations that there may have been collaboration to help Trump and harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, has requested information and documents from Trump’s campaign dating back to July 2015, the AP and other news outlets confirmed.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly failed to disclose multimillion-dollar art collection

(JTA) — Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump failed to disclose to tax authorities a multimillion-dollar art collection they have amassed since they were married in 2009, a news site on the arts sector reported.

Kushner, a senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, and Ivanka Trump have acquired works by blue-chip and emerging artists, including Alex Israel, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, Alex Da Corte, and David Ostrowski, according to the report Thursday on Artnet News.

In the required financial disclosures, however, Kushner failed to report the couple’s art collection, according to the report.

In recent months, Trump’s top Cabinet picks have revealed considerable art holdings as part of required financial disclosures. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross disclosed an art collection worth at least $50 million. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed his stake in a $14.7 million Willem de Kooning painting, plus other artworks, according to Artnet.

Responding to an inquiry about the collection’s exclusion from Kushner’s financial disclosures, a lawyer advising Kushner told Artnet News that the art holdings would be added to a new version of his disclosure form.

“Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump display their art for decorative purposes and have made only a single sale,” the lawyer said in a statement issued by the White House. “To avoid any doubt, however, they will report their art collection.”

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal wrote that Kushner did not report his stake in Cadre, a real estate finance startup co-founded with his brother Joshua. The real estate scion turned White House adviser also failed to report loans totaling at least $1 billion from more than 20 lenders to properties and companies he co-owns, according to the Journal.

Ethics experts say it is not uncommon for administration officials to update financial disclosures with more information. The White House did not indicate when the new disclosure would be released.

The disclosure rules for federal employees on art are complicated, hinging on the distinction between works purchased for investment or for personal enjoyment. Federal employees such as Kushner are required to disclose artwork if it is held for investment purposes and is worth more than $1,000, according to the Office of Government Ethics.

The ethics office’s website says that artwork displayed for “decorative or artistic purposes” is “not normally” considered an investment. According to the OGE, “periodic sales from a collection of artwork” are the most relevant indicator of whether a collection is held for investment purposes.

Joe Lieberman (Kike) reportedly out of contention as Trump pick to lead FBI

Joe Lieberman

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump reportedly has dropped Joe Lieberman, a one-time Democrat who was the first Jewish candidate on a major party presidential ticket, from his list of contenders to helm the FBI.

Trump had indicated last week that Lieberman, a former U.S. senator from Connecticut and an Independent who has forged strong ties with Republicans and Democrats, was his likeliest pick. Lieberman was seen by Trump’s team as a sop to members of both parties angry with Trump for how he fired James Comey, the previous FBI director.

But Democrats in the Senate, chief among them Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, raised concerns because Lieberman is employed by the legal firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres and Friedman, which represents Trump. CNN reported Wednesday that Trump had retained the firm’s top lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, as personal counsel as scandals besieged Trump’s presidency, and that was likely a factor in Lieberman’s removal from contention for the FBI post.

Comey was helming the investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign when Trump sacked him earlier this month.

The White House delivered an array of sometimes conflicting reasons for the dismissal, saying at first that Comey mishandled last year’s FBI inquiry into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. Then Trump acknowledged that he was also thinking of the Russia inquiry when he fired Comey.

Comey’s firing and subsequent reporting that Trump had tried to influence Comey’s handling of the Trump campaign-Russia investigation was a watershed in the scandals that have plagued Trump’s young presidency. Republicans in Congress seemed eager for the first time to vigorously pursue their own investigations into the alleged Russia ties, and last week subpoenaed materials related to the Russia investigations.

Lieberman earned a reputation for integrity in the late 1990s when he became the first Senate Democrat to take President Bill Clinton to task for his transgressions related to his affair with a White House intern.

Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2000, made history when he named Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, as his running mate.

Lieberman alienated grassroots Democrats in the next decade when he backed President George W. Bush’s Iraq War, and in 2006 was defeated in the Democratic primary in his home state. He ran and won as an Independent, and backed his close friend, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, over Barack Obama in the 2008 election. He retired from politics in 2012.

Since then, Lieberman has gravitated back toward the Democratic fold, campaigning among Florida’s Jews last year for Clinton. He still maintains ties with Republicans, however, this year testifying on behalf of two Trump nominees in confirmation hearings: Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, and David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, who is the “Friedman” in the legal firm representing Trump.

Controversial WH adviser, Stephen Miller (White Idiot, White Freemason) reportedly writing Trump’s speech on Islam

JTA — Stephen Miller, who serves as Trump’s senior adviser for policy, is reportedly the primary author of a speech on Islam that the president will deliver in Saudia Arabia.

Trump will be giving the speech, which will address radical Islam, in front of representatives of 50 Muslim countries as part of his first overseas trip. He is arriving in Saudi Arabia on Friday, and will also visit Israel and the Vatican on the trip, which is supposed to send a message of unity among Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the fight against terrorism.

The news that Trump’s Jewish policy adviser, who grew up in a liberal circles in Santa Monica but showed a fondness for conservative ideals at an early age, is behind the Islam speech isn’t without controversy.

Miller has been called “one of the chief architects” behind the executive order, which temporarily banned citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries and indefinitely banned Syrian refugees from entering the United States. The original executive order also instructed the US to prioritize Christian refugees from the Middle East over their Muslim counterparts and was widely criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as well as civil rights group such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which said the order discriminated against Muslims. Federal judges blocked the order from being implemented, and Trump issued a second, slightly revised order, which was also blocked.”

Miller also has longstanding ties to David Horowitz, whose think tank was labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a driving force of the anti-Muslim” movement and a hate group.

David Horowitz founded the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a right-wing think tank that “combats the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm this country as it attempts to defend itself in a time of terror.” Miller met Horowitz as a teen and invited the conservative writer to speak at his high school, Politico reported. As a student Duke University, Miller once again invited Horowitz to speak. Horowitz’s defenders say he is pointing out real threats others are ignoring in the name of political correctness and worse.

He also organized a campus group that promoted an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.”

At Duke, Miller worked with Horowitz’ think tank to launch the “Terrorism Awareness Project,” which sought to educate college students about “Islamofascism,” according to CNN. In a blog post about the project, Miller wrote that young people were not aware of the dangers of radical Islam: “American kids attend school in an educational system corrupted by the hard left. In this upside-down world, America is the villain and Jihadists the victims of our foreign policy. Instead of opening eyes, we are fastening blindfolds.” Suggested programming for one of the project’s initiatives include screening a film called “Islam: What the West Needs to Know,” which aimed to show “the violent, expansionary ideology of the so called ‘religion of peace’ that seeks the destruction or subjugation of other faiths, cultures, and systems of government.”

As a college student, Miller wrote a biweekly column for the The Duke Chronicle, addressing such topics as terrorism, US foreign policy and political correctness. Defending President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, Miller wrote that “Islamic terrorists have declared holy war on the United States. They have declared a death sentence on every man, woman and child living in this country.” In another column he attacked the lack of border security following the 9/11 attacks, writing “Why aren’t our airports, borders or ports secure? … Why are there 3,000,000 people in the United States who have overstayed their visas? Why isn’t the murder of 3,000 people enough to shake us out of our apathy?”

And yet, the Saudi Arabia speech may be kindler and gentler.

For all his aide’s aggressive rhetoric, Trump is expected to deliver a speech that, according to AP, will “call for unity in the fight against radicalism in the Muslim world,” casting the challenge as a “battle between good and evil.” According to the draft obtained by AP, the speech envisions a “new partnerships with America’s traditional allies in the Middle East. It noticeably refrains from mentioning democracy and human rights — topics Arab leaders often view as US moralizing — in favor of the more limited goals of peace and stability.”

Hamas reportedly will remove goal of destroying Israel from new policy document

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas will remove its goal of destroying Israel from a new policy document.

The Palestinian terrorist organization’s document is expected to be released Monday, Reuters reported, citing Gulf Arab sources. It will also drop Hamas’ association with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The new statement of policy is believed to be designed to improve relations with Gulf Arab States and Egypt. Most Arab Gulf states consider the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization; most Western countries have similarly labeled Hamas.

Hamas reportedly also will agree to a “transitional” Palestinian state along the 1967 borders. The document will still deny Israel’s right to exist and call for “armed struggle” against Israel, Reuters reported.

Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007. Its 1988 charter calls for Israel’s destruction.

The document is being released two days before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet President Donald Trump at the White House.

Trump reportedly picks businessman Howard Lorber (Kike) to head Holocaust Memorial Council

(JTA) — President Donald Trump reportedly is tapping Howard Lorber, a businessman and longtime friend, to serve as chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council’s governing board.

Lorber, the president and CEO of the Vector Group, a New York holding company, and chairman of the real estate giant Douglas Elliman, arranged for Trump to serve as grand marshal of New York’s Salute to Israel Parade in 2004, according to Politico. The 68-year-old Jewish businessman served as an economic adviser on Trump’s presidential campaign, The Washington Post reported.

Congress established the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in 1980 to commemorate the Holocaust and raise money for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

The museum’s governing board has 68 members, including presidential appointees, who serve five-year terms, along with senators and representatives and members of the education, interior and state departments.

On Tuesday, Trump will deliver public remarks as part of the museum’s annual Days of Remembrance ceremony — a day after Holocaust Memorial Day is observed in Israel — in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.

Every president since the museum opened in 1993 has participated in Days of Remembrance events, which were first held in 1979 and later established by Congress as the nation’s commemoration of the Holocaust. They will be observed this year April 23-29.