Monday's HOT MIC
Spicer on expanding libel laws to restrict press freedom: "It’s something that is being looked into, both substantively and logistically.”— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) May 1, 2017
Details, via TPM:
On Sunday, a day after President Trump railed against the press at a rally marking his 100th day in office, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said of amending the Constitution to expand libel law: “I think it’s something that we’ve looked at, and how that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story.”
White House spokesperson Sean Spicer doubled down on Monday.
“Is that a project that is currently being worked on by the counsel’s office?” the New York Times’ Glenn Thrush asked, referring to Priebus’ statements. “Can you tell me the status of that? Who is pursuing that?”
“I think the chief of staff made it very clear that it’s something that is being looked into, substantively and then both logistically, how it would happen” Spicer said. “But that’s nothing new. It’s something the President talked about on the campaign trail.”
“Is the counsel actually—” Thrush attempted.
“I will not go into it,” Spicer said.
Why is anything so hare-brained, not to mention doomed, being discussed privately, much less publicly, by the Trump White House?
And the other question is: Who do they think they are -- Democrats?
Counterterrorism. You're doing it wrong.
CNN has the crazy story.
An FBI translator with a top-secret security clearance traveled to Syria in 2014 and married a key ISIS operative she had been assigned to investigate, CNN has learned.
The rogue employee, Daniela Greene, lied to the FBI about where she was going and warned her new husband he was under investigation, according to federal court records.
Greene's saga, which has never been publicized, exposes an embarrassing breach of national security at the FBI—an agency that has made its mission rooting out ISIS sympathizers across the country.
OK, so crazy person does crazy thing -- that's certainly nothing new in human history.
But read on:
It also raises questions about whether Greene received favorable treatment from Justice Department prosecutors who charged her with a relatively minor offense, then asked a judge to give her a reduced sentence in exchange for her cooperation, the details of which remain shrouded in court-ordered secrecy.
Well, you might be thinking, maybe if we apply the Whoopi Rule he wasn't a terrorist-terrorist.
The man Greene married was no ordinary terrorist.
He was Denis Cuspert, a German rapper turned ISIS pitchman, whose growing influence as an online recruiter for violent jihadists had put him on the radar of counter-terrorism authorities on two continents.
In Germany, Cuspert went by the rap name Deso Dogg. In Syria, he was known as Abu Talha al-Almani. He praised Osama bin Laden in a song, threatened former President Barack Obama with a throat-cutting gesture and appeared in propaganda videos, including one in which he was holding a freshly severed human head.
She got two years and her court documents partially sealed, even after putting the FBI's secrets about methods and personnel at risk.
Gillice, a prosecutor in the National Security Section of the US Attorney's office in Washington D.C., wrote that Greene placed herself and her country in serious jeopardy.
"She endangered our national security by exposing herself and her knowledge of sensitive matters to those terrorist organizations," he wrote. "Her escape from the area unscathed, and with apparently much of that knowledge undisclosed, appears a stroke of luck or a measure of the lack of savvy on the part of the terrorists with whom she interacted."
In his argument for a reduced sentence, Gillice noted that Greene immediately began cooperating with authorities. Her cooperation was "significant, long-running and substantial," he wrote.
"After the egregious abuse of her position, the defendant attempted to right her wrongs, and to ultimately assist her country again," the prosecutor wrote.
I told you it was crazy.
A knife attack at the University of Texas-Austin has left one dead and at least 3 wounded.
The attacker wielded a machete-like knife. Quick action by police stopped the assailant as he ran toward a dormitory complex.
At about the same time as the attack, a media center was evacuated following a bomb threat.
In a separate incident, the Belo Center for New Media was briefly evacuated after a reported bomb threat. But university police said the building was not under lockdown and is open. “There is no immediate threat at this time,” they said.
A sign had been draped across the building’s sky bridge with the words “Tuition Pays for Bombs” before it was taken down.
Police have no motive for the machete attack and have not released the name of the attacker.
As a gloss to Charlie's excellent article, it strikes me than a number of people are suffering from RTDS (Residual Trump Derangement Syndrome). What I mean by this is that people on the right who opposed Trump during the election consciously and unconsciously still look for reasons to put him down, no matter how obscure, to justify their previous stance. In the defense of those people, this is a perfectly human phenomenon, normal self-justification. But still they should know better.
An example: today I was driving along listening to Michael Medved, a man I know pretty well and whose show I have been on several times. He always treated me extremely cordially. Today, however, he was all upset about Trump saying he would be "honored" to meet with Kim Jung-un. When a normally admiring listener called in to say the obvious -- that Trump was merely looking for a solution to a problem than no one thus far had solved and that his invitation to the NK nutcase in no way proscribed using military force if necessary -- Michael would have none of it. Trump was undoing decades of American foreign policy. He was bad, bad, bad.
We see this repeatedly from the left but also from the right. The man's surrounded.
It's been a lousy day to be a conservative and a worse day to be a Republican -- but at least you aren't Samantha Bee or former The Daily Show "reporter" Jason Jones.
It's as bad as it looks.
I mean, they must really, really want to keep their kids away from poor black kids.
Imagine the fun Comedy Central will have making fun of these two die-hard Republicans!
Black writer defends NRA, suspended for unauthorized wrongthink:
There has been a stabbing at the University of Texas: one dead, three injured.
Mark Zuckerberg, who
is definitely running for president woke up on Friday and decided to drop in on some real Americans in Ohio, had dinner with a family in Newton Falls. From Vindy.com:
Daniel Moore said he didn’t know who was coming for dinner until about 20 minutes before Zuckerberg arrived.
“I knew we were having a mystery guest, and that was about it,” Moore said. “It was completely incredible.”
Zuckerberg had asked his staff to find Democrats who had voted for President Donald Trump in November’s election, Moore said. Moore, who voted for former President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, campaigned heavily for Trump, and Zuckerberg’s staff found him quoted in an article on cleveland.com.
Zuckerberg, who woke up on Saturday with a sudden burning curiosity about how dairy farms work and what it's like to eat a brat, also showed up in Wisconsin over the weekend.
What took you so long?
Here's a hint: When the Candidate Herself calls a key Democrat constituency "deplorables," that's bad, mmkay?
Many Democrats have a shorthand explanation for Clinton’s defeat: Her base didn’t turn out, Donald Trump’s did and the difference was too much to overcome.
But new information shows that Clinton had a much bigger problem with voters who had supported President Barack Obama in 2012 but backed Trump four years later.
Those Obama-Trump voters, in fact, effectively accounted for more than two-thirds of the reason Clinton lost, according to Matt Canter, a senior vice president of the Democratic political firm Global Strategy Group. In his group’s analysis, about 70 percent of Clinton’s failure to reach Obama’s vote total in 2012 was because she lost these voters.
In recent months, Canter and other members of Global Strategy Group have delivered a detailed report of their findings to senators, congressmen, fellow operatives and think tank wonks – all part of an ongoing effort to educate party leaders about what the data says really happened in last year’s election.
“We have to make sure we learn the right lesson from 2016, that we don’t just draw the lesson that makes us feel good at night, make us sleep well at night,” Canter said.
The bad news for Democrats trying to sleep well at night is that the party is being held hostage by its most fringe interest groups -- who largely agree with Clinton's "deplorables" assessment.
The good news for Democrats however is that the Republicans in Washington have proven themselves perfectly willing to pre-emptively surrender the budget process -- thus alienating a key GOP constituency.
Unless something changes in the next 8-15 months, turnout at the midterm election is going to be as lonely as a Starbucks next to a Mormon temple.