The Morning Briefing: Brennan, Manafort and Much, Much More

Television cameras are set up outside of federal court as jury deliberations are set to begin in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, in Alexandria, Va., Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Good Friday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The president participates in a roundtable with supporters in Southampton, NY.
  • President Trump gives remarks at a luncheon.

Brennan security clearance fallout

Twelve senior intelligence officials issued a statement late yesterday butt-hurting (I just made that verb up) about Trump’s decision to yank the security clearance from MSNBC star and Twitter celebrity John Brennan.

“The president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” the statement reads.

“As individuals who have cherished and helped preserve the right of Americans to free speech — even when that right has been used to criticize us — that signal is inappropriate and deeply regrettable.”

I don’t have much confidence in a group of people who think that having a security clearance is in any way related to free speech. Are these idiots arguing that John Brennan has a First Amendment right to have access to and share classified information? I don’t have a clearance — are my rights being violated? Brennan is on TV all the time and his toxic Twitter feed is active, so where is his speech being stifled?

So who signed on to this letter?

Among the signers are six former CIA directors — including retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was a potential candidate for secretary of state in the early days of the Trump administration.

Also in the group: five former deputy directors of the CIA, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whose name reportedly appeared on a White House list of ex-officials who may soon join Brennan in losing their security clearances.


Tucker Carlson wonders why Brennan needs a security clearance in his new career as an MSNBC pundit. Exactly.

The Manafort jury completes first day of deliberation

The Paul Manfort jury has finished its first day of deliberation on the 18 counts of tax- and bank-related fraud yesterday and sent a question to the judge about “reasonable doubt.”

Judge T.S. Ellis – the federal judge overseeing Manafort’s case in Alexandria, Virginia, clarified to jurors that the government is not required to find “guilt beyond all possible doubt,” but defined reasonable doubt as a “doubt based on reason.”

Jurors also asked the court to define “shelf company,” and for more information on foreign bank account records. Jurors also asked for the special counsel’s indictment of Manafort to be included in their exhibit list.

Judge Ellis told jurors to rely on their collective recollection based on testimony to answer those questions.

Any guesses on how long the jury will deliberate? Tell me in the comments below.

Mini RUSSIA roundup

Important: Pentagon Whistleblower Questioned FBI Informant Stefan Halper’s ‘Outrageous’ Contracts

‘Major Crack in Government’s Defenses’: We May Finally Learn How the FBI Handled the Steele Dossier

What Was Bruce Ohr Doing?

Historical picture of the day:

Eugene V. Debs, member of the Socialist Party of the USA and presidential candidate, speaks to members of the worker’s union on Aug. 17, 1912, at an unknown location in the USA. (AP Photo) — Eugene V. Debs


Other morsels:

Seems important China’s military ‘likely training for strikes’ on US targets: Pentagon

U.S. states demand better access to secrets about election cyber threats

Anti-Semitism is so bad in Britain that some Jews are planning to leave

Where’s the #metoo crowd? Ellison ex-girlfriend details abuse allegations

‘Don’t vote for the ching-chong!’: Things get very racist in Michigan state Senate election

Source: House panel considers subpoena for Twitter CEO

Twitter Allegedly Working Overtime To Ban Conservatives

Important: Attorney: Former IT Aide Imran Awan Deserves No Jail Time Because Trump, Republicans Were Mean

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution rebuking Trump’s statement that the news media is ‘the enemy of the people’

Remains found at New Mexico compound are missing boy, authorities say

Pentagon postpones Trump’s military parade

World’s top empathy researcher accused of bullying colleagues

North Carolina county school board ends spanking policy

Dems threaten to sue for Kavanaugh records

Bomb threat made at Boston Globe after editorial condemning Trump

Satanic Temple Members Rally In Arkansas And Demand The State Erect Satanic Statue On Capitol Lawn

How long is this going to go on? Omarosa releases recording of $15K-per-month job offer from Lara Trump

Pompeo announces new team for Iran strategy


Education Department investigates sex abuse scandal amid Jordan allegations

Elderly woman fights off attacker by grabbing his ‘weak spot’

Vatican condemns sex abuse described in Pennsylvania grand jury report

Trump declares opioids from Mexico, China ‘almost a form of warfare,’ tells Sessions to sue drug makers

Trader Joe’s has sold nearly a billion bottles of ‘2-buck Chuck’ wine, but the actual Charles Shaw has never earned a dime from its success

FiveThirtyEight forecasts Democrats as favorites to win the House of Representatives

FDA approves first generic EpiPen

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!


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