Ivanka Trump says ‘Lock her up!’ doesn’t apply in her case
Wednesday, November 28
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ivanka Trump defended her use of a private email account as she was moving into an adviser’s position in her father’s administration, saying that it cannot be compared to the flap over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server and that “Lock her up!” doesn’t apply to her.
“All of my emails are stored and preserved. There were no deletions,” President Donald Trump’s elder daughter and adviser told ABC News in an interview broadcast Wednesday.
The Washington Post reported this month that Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails about government business from a personal email account last year to White House aides, Cabinet members and her assistant, many in violation of public records rules.
“There is no restriction of using personal email,” she said. “In fact, we’re instructed that if we receive an email to our personal account that could relate to government work, you simply just forward it to your government account so it can be archived.”
Clinton used a personal email account linked to a private server at her home in Chappaqua, a New York City suburb, during her time as the top U.S. diplomat under President Barack Obama. The FBI found classified information in some of the emails that were sent or received through her private server.
Donald Trump harshly criticized Clinton, his 2016 Democratic presidential rival, for her use of the private email server. Trump dubbed her “Crooked Hillary” and repeatedly said, including to her face, that she belonged in jail. At his campaign rallies, chants of “Lock her up!” rang out.
Ivanka Trump was asked by ABC News, “So the idea of ‘Lock her up!’ doesn’t apply to you?”
“No,” she replied.
Referencing her father’s denunciations of Clinton’s private email server, she said, “There’s no equivalency to what my father’s spoken about.”
Clinton deleted thousands of emails that she and her lawyers decided were personal or unrelated to her work as secretary of state before she turned over thousands of other emails to federal investigators. She said she had been unaware of rules against using private email to conduct the public’s business and said she never knowingly emailed classified information.
Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill plan to scrutinize Ivanka Trump’s personal email use. The Republican chairmen of Senate and House oversight committees — as well as a top House Democrat who will be wielding a gavel when his party takes power in January — have called on the White House to provide more information about the email account and the nature of her messages.
That would renew Republican-led congressional probes that had languished since last year when reports by Politico revealed that Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, and other White House officials had been using private email for government purposes in possible violation of the Presidential Records Act and other federal record-keeping laws.
On other issues, Ivanka Trump said she is not worried about legal exposure for herself, her father or anyone else in her family regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
“I know the facts as they relate to me and my family, and so I have nothing to be concerned about,” she said.
Swamped by cyberthreats, citizens need government protection
November 29, 2018
Professor of Cybersecurity, Abertay University
James J. Rouse Endowed Professor of Information Systems, Mississippi State University
Disclosure statement: The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: Mississippi State University provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
Most people can’t keep up with the latest in technology, which puts them at risk as cybercriminals exploit human and technical weaknesses.
For example, William and Nancy Skog hoped to retire to a beautiful new home. Then a fraudster fooled them into transferring US $307,000 to his bank account. Their entire life savings disappeared in the blink of an eye.
This is not an isolated incident – it happens all the time across the globe, and attacks are increasing. Older computer users are particularly vulnerable.
Public officials around the world – and in the U.S. – are beginning to understand that their cybersecurity efforts need to do more than defend businesses and government agencies. Citizens’ personal cybersecurity is a key element of national security.
Governments have long addressed physical security through public safety services, like police and fire departments, as well as public health programs for water purification, sewage treatment and inoculation against infectious diseases. Similar efforts could – and, in our view, should – help citizens cope with cyberthreats.
We are cybersecurity behavioral researchers working with Craig Orgeron, who heads the state of Mississippi’s Department of Information Technology Services, contemplating how government could support its citizens when it comes to cybercrime. A new endeavor demonstrates what is possible. New York City’s government has launched a campaign to help residents to defend themselves against hacking, online fraud and other cybersecurity threats.
Improving cyber immunity
New York City offers its citizens a free smartphone app called “NYC Secure.” Any U.S. resident can download it, no matter where they live. It scans the person’s smartphone for a range of threats, and offers advice on how to fix any problems it finds. The app has some key strengths.
Most importantly, it targets citizens individually, delivering advice from a trustworthy authority directly to their pockets. This does not require people to search for information online and then figure out which web source to trust.
The app essentially empowers citizens. Many hackers succeed because they exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities. Operating system providers and anti-malware software vendors make updates available to remove these, but the average citizen might not be aware of the need to install it. The app could bridge this gap, ensuring that far fewer devices can be successfully attacked.
As the app gains popularity, it could easily be extended to warn users as and when a new attack emerges. For instance, the widespread WannaCry attack of May 2017 compromised only computers that did not have a particular update installed. The app could easily warn people to install updates, tell them exactly how to check their devices for infection and even give directions for cleanup.
The city’s campaign to protect its residents’ cybersecurity will bolster New Yorkers’ awareness of a wide range of online dangers. That could encourage them to take other protective actions. For example, many people use public Wi-Fi, which can easily allow attackers to eavesdrop on communications. An app that warned users about the dangers of Wi-Fi networks could help people choose whether to connect or not, and know that some activities – like bank transactions – should be conducted only on secure Wi-Fi networks.
In terms of privacy, too, people need help. Health care apps, mostly provided by private companies, are not particularly respectful of their users’ extremely sensitive data. The “NYC Secure” app, by contrast, diligently preserves its users’ privacy. The app embodies government’s goal to serve the citizenry without need for profit, which builds trust with users, making people more likely to use it.
It is impossible to wipe out all cyber threats – just as it is to eradicate all infectious diseases. Of course, even apps designed specifically to support and empower citizens may be targeted by hackers. The New York model is one other cities and states could emulate and extend: Give advice and provide tools to help citizens to repel cyber attacks. Governments could promote the “NYC Secure” app itself or provide something similar for their own citizens, especially if it provides regularly updated advice tailored specifically to address current and emerging threats. We believe governments have the responsibility to help their citizens protect themselves – both in the physical world and online.
Trump says he wouldn’t take Manafort pardon ‘off the table’
By CHAD DAY
Thursday, November 29
WASHINGTON (AP) — A pardon for Paul Manafort is “not off the table,” President Donald Trump said, drawing swift rebuke from critics who fear the president will use his executive power to protect friends and supporters caught up in the Russia probe.
The president’s discussion of a possible pardon in an interview Wednesday with the New York Post came days after special counsel Robert Mueller said Manafort had breached his plea deal by repeatedly lying to investigators. The former Trump campaign chairman denies that he lied.
Trump’s remarks are the latest sign of his disdain for the Russia investigation, which has dogged him for two years and ensnared members of his inner circle. In recent weeks, the president, armed with inside information provided to his lawyers by Manafort’s legal team, has sharpened his attacks, seizing on what he claims are dirty tactics employed by the special counsel and accusing investigators of pressuring witnesses to lie.
On Thursday, Trump likened the Russia probe to Sen. Joe McCarthy’s pursuit of communists in the 1950s. “When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever?” he tweeted.
When asked about a pardon for Manafort, Trump told the newspaper: “It was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?”
Trump only has the power to pardon for federal charges. A pardon would not shield Manafort from prosecution for state charges, though he is not currently facing any.
On Wednesday, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said that if Trump pardons Manafort, it would be a “blatant and unacceptable abuse of power.”
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said in a tweet that the president’s pardon power is not a “personal tool” that Trump can use to protect “himself and his friends.”
Meanwhile, Manafort’s lawyers have been briefing Trump’s attorneys in recent months on what their client has told investigators, an unusual arrangement for a government cooperator and one that raises the prospect that Manafort could be angling for a pardon.
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni declined comment.
In the Post interview, Trump also praised two other supporters who are caught up in the Russia probe — conservative author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone. He said they were “very brave” for resisting Mueller’s investigation.
Both men have been heavily critical of the investigation, and Corsi this week said he had rejected a plea offer from Mueller’s team. Draft plea documents show Mueller accusing Corsi of lying to investigators — an allegation he denies — about emails he exchanged with Stone regarding WikiLeaks.
U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that Russia was the source of hacked material from Democratic organizations that WikiLeaks released during the 2016 presidential campaign. That included thousands of stolen emails from the private account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in the closing weeks of the campaign.
Mueller is investigating whether any Trump associates had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans.
Mueller earlier this week said Manafort could face additional charges related to lies they say he told investigators in the nearly three months since he cut a plea deal.
Neither Manafort nor Mueller’s team has said what Manafort is accused of lying about. But a federal judge set a hearing for Friday in which she will hear from both sides about next steps in the case. That hearing could yield new details about the status of the Russia probe.
Manafort faces up to five years in prison on the two charges in his plea agreement — conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He faces a separate sentencing in Virginia set for February after he was convicted on eight felony counts during a trial last summer.
Follow Chad Day on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChadSDay
Will Trump pardon Manafort?
November 29, 2018
Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College
Austin Sarat does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Amherst College provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, may be hoping for a presidential pardon.
In September, Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy against the U.S. He also agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. However, Mueller recently filed papers in the federal district court for the District of Columbia alleging that Manafort had violated his cooperation agreement by repeatedly lying to the FBI and to Mueller’s investigators.
In addition, one of Manafort’s lawyers has been repeatedly briefing President Trump’s lawyers about his client’s discussions with the special counsel’s team.
Manafort may have been trying to please two masters in this period by both claiming to cooperate with Mueller, yet at the same time providing Trump with back-channel information about Mueller’s investigation that would benefit him. As a legal scholar, this incident raises a crucial question: Was this Manafort’s play for a pardon?
My research on clemency shows how chief executives have used this power, in particular the power to pardon, to halt criminal prosecutions, sometimes even before they begin.
‘For any reason at all’
The pardoning power, as Founding Father Alexander Hamilton explained, is very broad, applying even to cases of treason against the United States. As Hamilton put it, “The benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed.”
Throughout our history, courts have taken a similarly expansive view. In 1977, Florida’s State Supreme Court said that “an executive may grant a pardon for good reasons or bad, or for any reason at all, and his act is final and irrevocable.”
In 1837, the United States Supreme Court held that the president’s pardon power “extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment.”
Yet prospective pardons are quite rare. The most famous prospective pardon in American history was granted by President Gerald Ford in September 1974. He pardoned former President Richard Nixon after he was forced to resign in the face of the Watergate scandal. Ford pardoned Nixon for “all offenses against the United States which he … has committed or may have committed or taken part in” between the date of his inauguration in 1969 and his resignation.
In other cases, presidents have halted criminal proceedings immediately after they began. President George H.W. Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger just after Weinberger had been indicted for lying to Congress about the sale of arms to Iran by the Reagan administration.
Those pardons evoked public outcry against what was perceived to be an arrogant interference with the legal process. Ford’s action may have contributed to his defeat in the 1976 presidential election against Jimmy Carter. And Bush’s pardon of Weinberger prompted accusations that he was engaging in a cover-up. Critics said that his action demonstrated that “powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office – deliberately abusing the public trust without consequence.”
Rule of law
Given such controversies about pardons and the the fear of being labeled soft on crime, presidents until recently have been increasingly reticent about using their clemency power before or after conviction. Thus, while President Nixon granted clemency to more than 36 percent of those who sought it during his eight years in office, the comparable number for George W. Bush was 2 percent. President Obama reversed that trend, granting more pardons and commutations than anyone since Harry Truman.
And President Trump, despite his commitment to being a law-and-order president, already has demonstrated his fondness for the pardon power.
In July 2017 Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff predicted a negative public reaction if Trump granted pardons in the context of the Mueller investigation. He said: “The impressions the country, certainly, would get from that is the president was trying to shield people from liability for telling the truth about what happened in the Russia investigation or Russian contacts.”
With the prospect of a pardon for Manafort in the news, Rep. Jerry Nadler, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, reiterated Schiff’s warning. As he put it, “The President should understand that even dangling a pardon in front of a witness like Manafort is dangerously close to obstruction of justice and would just fortify a claim or a charge of obstruction of justice against the President.”
Trump is seldom dissuaded from his preferred course of action by such warnings and threats. He seems confident that Senate Republicans will provide a firewall against conviction on any impeachment charges. In this context, the prospect of sparing his former campaign chairman any more jail time could provide a plausible cover for “buying” Manafort’s silence with a pardon.
Pardoning Manafort would not only hamper the Russia investigations, it would also deliver another serious blow to American democracy and the rule of law.
This is an updated version of an article originally published on July 19, 2017.
TAKING ON THE WAR LOBBY
By Robert C. Koehler
Suddenly America’s political cauldron bubbles with hope and possibility — not just because the Democrats have won races across the country, but because voters pushed back in record numbers against the forces of Trump and racism and the long-standing lies of entrenched wealth.
Now the work begins: to hold our political leadership accountable for real change —the sort of change that is too easily ducked by the powerful. The time has come to change who we are as a nation, to transform the national identity.
Here’s a simpler way to put it: “Will the new House Democrats take on the war lobby?”
This question is the headline of an essay by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, and it touches the furious heart of who we are. I would put it this way: As long as 60 percent or so of our discretionary spending is diverted to militarism; as long as there is no official acknowledgment of the horrific and pointless hell our wars have created, with no benefits even to our “national interests”; as long as we refuse to face our own history of genocidal behavior and our addiction to “conquest” … we will not change, we will not grow, we will not survive.
Benjamin and Davies quote Martin Luther King’s iconic Riverside Church address in 1967, in which he notes the collapse of the country’s anti-poverty efforts: “Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube.”
Nothing much has changed in 50 years. The tube is still sucking resources and spewing fear. And it still owns the media.
Consider, for instance, the Washington Post’s failure to challenge the ominous demand for more military spending emerging from something called the National Defense Strategy Commission, a congressionally mandated commission chaired by military-industrial insiders.
“The United States has lost its military edge to a dangerous degree and could potentially lose a war against China or Russia,” the Post informs us as it moves to the commission’s main point.
“The commission said that despite a $716 billion American defense budget this year, which is four times the size of China’s and more than 10 times that of Russia, the effort to reshape the U.S. defense establishment to counter current threats is under-resourced. It recommended that Congress lift budget caps on defense spending in the next two years that in the past have hobbled the military’s ability to plan for the long term.”
The emergency here is the risk of “a further erosion of American military dominance” at a time when “China and Russia are seeking dominance in their regions and the ability to project military power globally, as their authoritarian governments pursue defense buildups aimed squarely at the United States.”
The limited, dominance-addicted thought process at work here is terrifying once you notice it. The commission, unchallenged in the Post story, is calling for an increase in the already bloated, out-of-control defense budget that could mean, according to William Hartung’s analysis in The Nation, “an annual Pentagon budget of an astonishing $972 billion by 2024.”
This is insane. This is what Philip Zimbardo has called “the Lucifer Effect”: the corruption of consciousness caused by having overwhelming power over others. Zimbardo famously conducted the Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971, creating a simulated prison environment in which some college-student volunteers acted as guards and others acted as prisoners. The experiment had to be called off after five days, well ahead of schedule, because the abuse of power had gotten so seriously out of hand. The “prisoners” started having emotional breakdowns, the situation had deteriorated so badly.
Turns out that global defense strategizing, if you are the world’s greatest military power, may have the same effect on the human beings designated as “the guards,” protecting America’s borders and its interests, including with nuclear weapons. This is the point, at any rate, that Daniel Ellsberg makes in his book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner: When you’re caught up in this sort of thinking, you lose a human perspective and are able to imagine waging — indeed, “winning” — a nuclear war. And of course the military budget you have to play with will never be adequate.
Here’s the Post again: “The picture of the national security landscape that the 12-person commission sketched is a bleak one, in which an American military that has enjoyed undisputed dominance for decades is failing to receive the resources, innovation and prioritization its leaders need to out muscle China and Russia in a race for military might reminiscent of the Cold War.”
This is America! Do we have politicians who can stand up to this? Why is military spending and the waging of war the one topic that is verboten in national discourse, even when progressive politicians are doing the speaking? Bernie Sanders, for instance, in a recent article (also in the Washington Post), laid out an extensive progressive agenda that included Medicare for all, debt-free college tuition, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage and much more … with zero mention of military spending.
Apparently you can’t get too close to the national governmental structure without surrendering all opposition to control over foreign policy.
Hartung writes: “We should be spending less time figuring out how to fight wars with Russia, China, Iran, or any other nation, and more on how to forge partnerships to address the biggest challenges to continued life on this planet: climate change and nuclear weapons. But the new report is silent on the first problem, while on the second, it has not one discouraging word for the Pentagon’s dangerous, counterproductive plan to spend $1.2 trillion on a new generation of nuclear weapons over the next three decades.”
Despite the hope and possibility bubbling from the big Dem midterm wins, transformative change — challenging the war lobby — will not happen today or tomorrow or anytime soon, and certainly not without serious public pressure. Benjamin and Davies suggest one place to start: signing a petition calling on “all Democrats who aspire to chair Congressional committees in the new Congress to return campaign contributions from the arms industry and stop accepting them from now on.”
Robert Koehler, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a Chicago award-winning journalist and editor. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is available. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at commonwonders.com.