News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Terror Attack in New Zealand and Much, Much More

Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Good Friday morning.

Here is what’s on President Trump’s agenda today:

  • The president meets with national security officials in Arlington
  • President Trump has lunch with the secretary of State

New Zealand terror attack

This is a developing story but here is what we know:

  • Forty people shot and killed at 2 different mosques
  • Four people in custody, one is a woman
  • The shooter has a manifesto and live-streamed his slaughter
  • The attack took place during midday morning prayers

From The New York Times:

Shots were fired at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue near Hagley Park in the center of the city, and at Linwood Mosque, about three miles away, the police said.

The police said that four people, including three men and one woman, had been taken into custody. Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia said that one of them was Australian.

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Ms. Ardern described those arrested as one principal, two associates and one person not directly connected to the attacks. She said that none of them were on security watch lists.

Authorities are also reporting that there were explosive devices and cars involved, although the devices were not detonated. The shooters were not on any watch lists and the attack was described as “well-planned.”

One attacker has been identified as an Australian citizen.


Big stories on the RUSSIA collusion front

Buckle up.

Yesterday, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) released the Judiciary testimony of fired FBI agent Peter Strzok. We learned that Strzok deleted some of his “personal” communications with his lover, DOJ lawyer Lisa Page.

“As a fact of the matter, following the — at some point, I — you know, it was related to personal reasons — deleted all those,” Strzok told lawmakers on June 27, 2018, according to a transcript of the testimony released Thursday. The FBI doesn’t have the ability to retrieve such messages? The messages were probably just yoga routines and wedding plans.

We also learned that Strzok wanted to use media reports of the salacious and unverified dossier to interview some “suspects.” What was the basis for the media reports? The same dossier that was insufficient to give cause for the FBI to investigate in the first place. See how that works?

“We’re discussing whether, now that this is out, we use it as a pretext to go interview some people,” Strzok wrote to FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

As if that isn’t enough, we found out yesterday that one of John McCain’s associates was pimping out the trash dossier to media harpies.

David Kramer, a former State Department official, said in a deposition on Dec. 13, 2017 that he provided a copy of Christopher Steele’s dossier to reporters from McClatchy, NPR, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and BuzzFeed and CNN’s Carl Bernstein.

He also shared the report with State Department official Victoria Nuland, Obama National Security Counsel official Celeste Wallander and Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

Holy moly, that certainly is a phone book of reporters, isn’t it? Kramer was out pimping this muck after Trump was elected. Trump was the president of the United States and John McCain’s buddy and probably John McCain were trying to undermine the sitting president.

Next on the agenda: Hillary Clinton negotiated a deal where the FBI didn’t get access to the Clinton Foundation emails on her home-brewed bathroom State Department server. We learned this bombshell from the Strzok testimony.

Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok told Congress last year that the agency “did not have access” to Clinton Foundation emails that were on Hillary Clinton’s private server because of a consent agreement “negotiated between the Department of Justice attorneys and counsel for Clinton.”

Strzok testified: “according to the [DOJ] attorneys, we lacked probable cause to get a search warrant for those servers and projected that either it would take a very long time and/or it would be impossible to get to the point where we could obtain probable cause to get a warrant.”


Did you think I was done yet? Nope, it gets even better. Over at The Federalist, Margot Cleveland found a little gem in the newly released testimony of another of DOJ’s finest, Bruce Ohr, husband of Fusion GPS employee Nellie Ohr.

During questioning, Ohr stated that Simpson mentioned “that Cleta Mitchell became aware of money moving through the NRA or something like that from Russia.” Ohr added that Simpson claimed that Mitchell—a D.C. attorney specializing in campaign-finance law and a former member of the NRA board of directors—“was upset about it.” But when asked how Simpson found out about Mitchell, Ohr testified, “I don’t think he said.”

So Glenn Simpson made up a lie about the NRA, knowing that Ohr would take it to the FBI. Who would have thought the FBI would run with unsubstantiated gossip? Apparently, Glenn Simpson. “Somehow” the media got wind of the FBI’s gossip-based investigation into the NRA. Cleta Mitchell vehemently denied the allegations (she released her email conversations to back up her account), but it was still published by McClatchy.

More fallout from the college payola scandal

Hallmark has announced that the network has dropped Lori Loughlin, one of the celebrities identified in the shady enterprise of buying admission to college for dumb kids.

“We are saddened by the recent allegations surrounding the college admissions process,” Hallmark Cards Inc. said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “We are no longer working with Lori Loughlin

One of Loughlin’s daughters had a lucrative deal with cosmetics giant Sephora and she’s been axed as well. Daughter Olivia is (was?) a big social media star, with millions of Instagram and YouTube followers, probably earning some nice money. Why was she going to college? We’ve all seen the video of her saying she really didn’t want to go to school, she wanted to have the college experience which really amounts to four years of a luxury camp involving tailgating and boozing it up.

Meanwhile, lawsuits are piling up. One person has filed a $500B class action suit against the parents involved in the scandal.

Jennifer Kay Toy is asking for billions in damages from the 33 wealthy parents, claiming her son was denied a fair shot at entry to the elite institutions because of their actions, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court.

Toy says her son Joshua, who is also named as a plaintiff, didn’t get into the schools where cheating allegedly took place even with a 4.2 grade point average.

Colleges and universities are also being sued.

“The students who filed the complaint didn’t receive what they paid for — to participate in an application process free of fraud,” a statement from Zimmerman Reed LLP said. “According to the complaint, these schools represented that their admission process would be based on the applicants’ merits, considering their character and performance. Instead, the students allege that what they got was a process tainted by bribes and school officials who failed to assure an honest application process.”

“It’s a straightforward claim and a simple remedy. The students want their money back,” the statement continued. “They request that anyone who paid an application fee to any of the eight named universities but was denied admission gets their application fee returned.”

I expect even more suits to crop up as more information and details about this scam are revealed.

Historical picture of the day:

U.S. President Ronald Reagan faces reporters in the White House Rose Garden, Thursday, March 15, 1984, in Washington to announce a package of deficit-reduction measures worked out with congressional Republican leaders. From left are: Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, R-Tenn.; Rep. Delbert Latta, R-Ohio; Vice President George Bush; Reagan; Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev.; Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.; and House Minority Leader Robert Michel, R-Ill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Other morsels:

He can draw a map to his own house. Southern Poverty Law Center fires its co-founder, chief litigator

‘Bomb cyclone’ winter storm moves east after punishing Colorado

Never heard of it. Sanders Institute shutting down amid criticism

NY attorney general: Evidence shows Trump misused charity for presidential campaign

Oh, hello there. Suspect In Kavanaugh Confirmation Doxxing Has Feinstein Ties, Allegedly Possessed Senate Data. DOJ May Hide The Details

Ocasio-Cortez Has Ties To A Dark Money Group

Not seeing too much about this story. Jewish Activists Protest At Pelosi’s Office Over Anti-Hate Resolution

Democratic Candidate Andrew Yang Predicts White People Will Shoot Up Asians

This is the black box from doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight

Trump tweets ‘VETO!’ after Senate votes to block emergency declaration

North Korea official: Kim rethinking US talks, launch moratorium

Judge Was at ‘Total Loss’ as to Why Alex Acosta ‘Found it Appropriate’ to Withhold Info in Underage Sex Crime Case

Rosario Dawson and Sen. Cory Booker are officially dating

Israel launches airstrikes on ‘terror sites in Gaza’ after attack on Tel Aviv, military says

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry hire Hillary Clinton’s former presidential campaign senior adviser

Israel says it struck 100 Hamas targets after rocket attack

Awful. Pitzer College votes to end study-abroad program with Israel, cheered on by Rep. Rashida Tlaib

Senate Democrats press Mnuchin about his financial holdings

Global Climate Strike: Students around the world protest climate inaction

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