Thursday, April 11, 2019

Last Call For Deportation Nation, Con't

The more we learn about the Trump regime's mass deportation scheme, the more it becomes clear that Trump is using the autocrat playbook, trying to deliberately create a situation so chaotic and broken that he believes the country will turn to him in order to save America.  

The first step was his emergency declaration, followed by the disaster situation on the border right now with DHS, ICE and the Border Patrol in total disarray and tens of thousands trying to cross the southern border.

Now we see that the Trump regime wanted to create chaos inside the US, with a plan to deliberately release ICE detainees onto the streets of "sanctuary cities" in order to weaken Democratic opposition in urban areas.

White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post.

Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months — once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target, according to DHS officials. The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds.

White House officials first broached the plan in a Nov. 16 email, asking officials at several agencies whether members of the caravan could be arrested at the border and then bused “to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” places where local authorities have refused to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation.

The White House told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the plan was intended to alleviate a shortage of jail space but also served to send a message to Democrats. The attempt at political retribution raised alarm within ICE, with a top official responding that it was rife with budgetary and liability concerns, and noting that “there are PR risks as well.”

After the White House pressed again in February, ICE’s legal department rejected the idea as inappropriate and rebuffed the administration.

A White House official and a spokesman for DHS sent nearly identical statements to The Post on Thursday, indicating that the proposal is no longer under consideration.

This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion,” the White House statement said.

Sure, it was just a proposal.  And now all the officials that rebuffed that proposal are gone, having been summarily fired by Trump in the last week, with the agencies in question now run by "acting" heads loyal to Trump and Trump alone. 

I'm sure it's a total coincidence.

The First Rule Of Trump Club

The first rule of keeping your creepy and dangerous Trump cult secret in DC is to talk to Politico about how cool Trump club is, I guess.

The club, an informal gathering that provides solidarity and networking opportunities in a hostile Washington, is open to what it calls “the Team” — Trump administration appointees as well as alumni of the campaign, transition and inaugural committee. Members wear a lapel pin fashioned after the butt end of a .45 caliber bullet casing and attend semi-regular gatherings that often feature remarks by better-known Trump-world figures such as Brad Parscale, Corey Lewandowski and Scaramucci.

Its operations, described here for the first time, offer insight into how the anonymous foot soldiers of Trump’s Washington have organized their social lives: discreetly, with an eye toward exclusivity and the aspirational lifestyle that has always marked the Trump brand.

Not quite a secret society, the club nonetheless goes to some lengths to fly under the radar: Public hints of its existence are scarce, and the locations of its events are withheld from attendees until they RSVP, all the better to evade the notice of pesky activists and nosy reporters. “In this political climate, there’s a lot of people who would not have pure intentions of coming to network,” explained a former campaign staffer familiar with the club. “They may be trying to infiltrate.”

This is totally normal behavior for people old enough to have drivers' licenses.

While it is common for veterans of presidential campaigns and administrations to form alumni groups, the 45 Club has taken on an outsized role as a refuge for junior operatives and appointees who have few connections in the capital. Barack Obama’s young staffers were the toast of Washington, and George W. Bush rode into town with a clubby, multi-generational political network that was heavy on the GOP establishment. But, in a reflection of his outsider campaign, Trump’s hires often came from outside the traditional feeding grounds of Republican politics. And in a city that has largely shunned them — dating app profiles here often declare an unwillingness to meet Trump’s supporters, let alone his aides — Trump’s young aides have formed an insular social scene.

“When you’ve kept the Washington Illuminati at a distance, I think you’re more likely to form groups of your own,” explained one club member.

Of course, because this is the Trump administration, there has been infighting: The 45 Club has been the subject of internecine sniping over charges that it is run by hangers-on bent on exploiting their tenuous connections to the president.

“They’re trying to create an exclusive club because they’ve been banned from every other exclusive club in D.C.,” sniped one former campaign staffer.

“Ironically enough, the two guys who started it were never on the campaign, never in the administration,” lamented Kevin Chmielewski, a member of the campaign’s advance team who went on to serve at the Environmental Protection Agency. “We were all kind of pissed about it, because it’s like, ‘Who are you to do that?’”

I can understand that when everyone in DC hates you because Trump is human filth, and that outside their little White House fiefdom, Trump people are rightfully shunned, that you would want your little clubhouse so you can commiserate in how awful the world is for white guys.

But these guys are all nursing a grudge against the country just like their boss, and I'll be damned if these guys don't have visions of being Trump's army to take over DC.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

So it turns out that Russian hackers hit voter registration systems in all 50 states during the 2016 campaign and not just the 21 states previously disclosed.  Surprise!

A joint intelligence bulletin (JIB) has been issued by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation to state and local authorities regarding Russian hacking activities during the 2016 presidential election. While the bulletin contains no new technical information, it is the first official report to confirm that the Russian reconnaissance and hacking efforts in advance of the election went well beyond the 21 states confirmed in previous reports.

As reported by the intelligence newsletter OODA Loop, the JIB stated that, while the FBI and DHS "previously observed suspicious or malicious cyber activity against government networks in 21 states that we assessed was a Russian campaign seeking vulnerabilities and access to election infrastructure," new information obtained by the agencies "indicates that Russian government cyber actors engaged in research on—as well as direct visits to—election websites and networks in the majority of US states." While not providing specific details, the bulletin continued, "The FBI and DHS assess that Russian government cyber actors probably conducted research and reconnaissance against all US states’ election networks leading up to the 2016 Presidential elections."

DHS-FBI JIBs are unclassified documents, but they're usually marked "FOUO" (for official use only) and are shared through the DHS' state and major metropolitan Fusion Centers with state and local authorities. The details within the report are mostly well-known. "The information contained in this bulletin is consistent with what we have said publicly and what we have briefed to election officials on multiple occasions," a DHS spokesperson told Ars. "We assume the Russian government researched and in some cases targeted election infrastructure in all 50 states in an attempt to sow discord and influence the 2016 election."

In fact, DHS Assistant Secretary Jeanette Manfra told the Senate Homeland Security Committee in April of 2018 that Russia had likely at least performed reconnaissance on election infrastructure in all 50 states. The bulletin raises the confidence in that estimate, however, saying:

Russian cyber actors in the summer of 2016 conducted online research and reconnaissance to identify vulnerable databases, usernames, and passwords in webpages of a broader number of state and local websites than previously identified, bringing the number of states known to be researched by Russian actors to greater than 40. Despite gaps in our data where some states appear to be untouched by Russian activities, we have moderate confidence that Russian actors likely conducted at least reconnaissance against all US states based on the methodical nature of their research. This newly available information corroborates our previous assessment and enhances our understanding of the scale and scope of Russian operations to understand and exploit state and local election networks.

Please keep in mind the Trump regime has done everything possible to weaken US defenses against Russian hacking, including shutting down defense efforts at both the Pentagon and in the White House since taking office.

And if you don't think current Russian efforts to hack state voter registration rolls in order to help Trump purge Democrats aren't already underway right now, you've not been paying attention.

And speaking of Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange finally got tossed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London into the waiting arms of UK police and Justice Department espionage charges.

The dramatic expulsion follows a year of ratcheting tension between Assange and his Ecuadorian hosts, culminating in Wikileaks publicizing a leak of hundreds of thousands of hacked emails mysteriously stolen from the inboxes of Ecuador’s president and first lady. It was this last move that finally set Ecuador’s government firmly against Assange, who was by then already being treated less like a political refugee than an inmate—albeit one who was free to leave at any time.

“The patience of Ecuador has reached its limit on the behavior of Mr. Assange,” said Ecuador’s president LenĂ­n Moreno on Thursday.
Assange, who has an outstanding warrant for jumping bail in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, was taken into custody after officers were invited inside by embassy officials. It’s a relatively minor charge, but Assange’s imminent freedom is far from assured.

British police confirmed a few hours after the initial arrest that Assange was arrested for a second time on behalf of U.S. authorities on an extradition warrant. The U.K. government didn't reveal much, only saying Assange is “accused in the United States of America of computer related offences.”

CNN reported that the U.S. Justice Department will soon announce charges against Assange and the cause for the extradition request.

Federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia, have been working to build a case against the Australian cypherpunk for nearly a decade, and a paperwork error last year revealed they have a sealed criminal complaint at the ready in anticipation of this moment.

That complaint was unsealed today as domestic political pressure on President Moreno from an exposed Chinese corruption deal (lot of those going around) made Assange an albatross around his neck, and weight was finally too much for him to bear.  In fact, Moreno blames WikiLeaks for the documents that Moreno's opponents magically seemed to get their hands on.

Assange is facing conspiracy charges for working with convicted whistleblower Chelsea Manning.  What Assange isn't facing is charges of publishing classified material.  It seems Bill Barr isn't willing to go that far on carrying out Trump's media "enemies of the people" plan quite yet.

For now.  Let's remember that WikiLeaks helped Trump and Roger Stone leak the Russian-provided hacked Podesta DNC memos in 2016.  It's perfectly understandable that they want to toss Assange in a hole before he can bury Trump in one.


Related Posts with Thumbnails