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Christie: Trump Knows He's Guilty, "Almost Certain He Would Face Jail" If He Goes To Trial

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 19:36
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie commented on the federal case against former President Trump during an interview Thursday with CNN's Jake Tapper. JAKE TAPPER, CNN: [Trump's] hope is for an acquittal because there will be a jury pool from South Florida. Florida is a state that Trump won. All you need is one juror. What do you make of that strategy? CHRIS CHRISTIE: Look, it is a real roll of the dice, because what happens then, when you know you're guilty -- and my suspicion is that Donald Trump knows he's guilty -- you go and you take a case to trial, there will then be a presumption of jail time. And, basically, the way most U.S. attorney's offices handle that is, if you plead, you know, we can work with you in terms of whether you have to go to jail or not on some of the charges that he's talking about here. If you make the case go to trial, if you force us to go and put witnesses on the stand and the judge to take the time and the jury to take the time, and you're prosecuted and convicted, then it's almost certain that you would face jail. And so it's a huge roll of the dice for both of these guys to do that. And I think that's a lot of bluster right now. I think, as this case gets closer, they may think differently. And, on a jury, I think it's horrible to say that about a jury anywhere. Look, I was in New Jersey, one of the bluest states in America, right? But I never found a jury, and we did 130 political corruption cases during my seven years, I never found a jury that was focused on politics. TAPPER: Because you weed them out during voir dire? CHRISTIE: That's part of it. But also part of it is, when they take that oath and they sit in one of those grand federal courtrooms, I found that most citizens take that responsibility really seriously. And even if they have certain points of view or prejudices, we all do, they really take it seriously when the judge says, you have to put that aside and judge this only based on the facts that are presented here in this courtroom. And I found that jurors that I ran into for seven years as U.S. attorney, I never saw one of them make what I thought was a political judgment. So they may be overestimating that as well.

KJP Calls Out "Incredibly Irresponsible" Question About Cocaine Found In White House: "The Biden Family Was Not Here"

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 19:21
White House press secretary Kraine Jean-Pierre called out Caitlin Doornbos, a reporter with the New York Post, who asked her during Friday's briefing to state on the record that a bag of cocaine allegedly found in the White House on Sunday did not belong to a member of the Biden family. REPORTER: Can you just say once and for all whether or not the cocaine belonged to the Biden family? ... KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: We're not avoiding the question, that is not true, we've answered the question, and we've litigated the question for the past two days exhaustively. You know, there has been some irresponsible reporting about the family and so I gotta call that out here. I have been very clear. I was clear two days ago when talking about this over and over again as I was being asked the questions, as you know, and media outlets reported this. The Biden family was not here. They were not here. They were at Camp David. They were not here Friday. They were not here Saturday. They were not here Sunday. They were not even here on Monday. They came back on Tuesday. So to ask that question is actually incredibly irresponsible and I'll just leave it there.

Karine Jean-Pierre: Republicans Still Deny Climate Change Despite "Extreme Heat" Outside

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 19:08
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre cited the "extreme heat" of July in America as an example of the threat of climate change during Friday's briefing and said the administration would announce new measure "to protect communities from extreme heat" next week. KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: We've all been dealing with this extreme weather, if you will, the extreme heat. These conditions certainly impact millions of Americans across our country in different regions. These extreme weather patterns are alarming, but for years now, Republican lawmakers continue to deny the very existence of climate change that we can now all witness with our very own eyes. They've repeatedly tried to repeal the biggest climate protection bill in history, as you all know, this is something the president signed almost a year ago, the Inflation Reduction Act, and this is an act that is the most significant investment that any administration has put behind climate change. And so by them trying to repeal this is stunning, absurd, and dangerous, just by what we have seen these past couple of days. As a senator, as now president, the president was one of the first members of Congress to take real action against climate change, and he will continue to charge forward on the most ambitious climate agenda to date. He is investing in our nation's electric grid and accelerating clean energy deployment so we can reduce pollutants and bring clean energy jobs and manufacturing back to America. In the meantime, federal officials are proactively inspecting over 70 high-risk industries and areas under a heat warning or advisory to protect workers. And next week we'll be announcing additional action to protect communities from extreme heat.

U.S. On Giving Cluster Bombs To Ukraine: The Country "Will Have To Be Demined Regardless"

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 18:48
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said during Friday's White House briefing that the use of cluster munitions by the Russians makes it acceptable for the U.S. to provide the same weapons to Ukraine. Sullivan explained that Ukraine "will have to be de-mined regardless," because Russia has already littered the country with "tens of millions" of unexploded bombs with the use of its own cluster bombs. "The argument I'm making is that Russia has already spread tens of millions of these bomblets across Ukrainian territory. So we have to ask ourselves, is Ukraine's use of cluster munitions on that same land actually that much of an addition of civilian harm, given that that area is going to have to be de-mined regardless?" Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S. all never signed the 2008 international agreement not to use such weapons. Sullivan said that even countries who did sign the agreement "understand our decision" and "recognize the difference between Russia using its cluster munitions to attack Ukraine, and Ukraine using cluster munitions to defend itself." "Ukraine has provided written assurances that it is going to use these in a very careful way," he also said. "And by the way, the democratically elected government of Ukraine has every incentive to minimize risk to civilians because it is their citizens... who they are trying to protect and defend. This is not Ukraine taking these and using them in the Middle East or Southeast Asia or some faraway land. They're using them on their territory to defend their territory." "Let me just say that the use of cluster munitions by Russia in this conflict is completely unacceptable on multiple counts. First, they are using them to attack a sovereign country in flagrant violation of international law," he continued. "Second, they are using them specifically to strike after civilian targets, not only military targets... and with this weapons system as well as other weapons systems, we have identified war crimes committed by the Russians." "Third, and critically, there is a big difference between the type of cluster munition being used by Russia and the type that we will provide to Ukraine. As I mentioned before, ours has a maximum 2.5% dud rate, the dud rate of the Russian munitions is between 30-40%. And just so i don't get this wrong, I will read it to you, the Department of Defense assesses that during the first year of the conflict alone, Russian-fired cluster munitions deployed from a range of weapons systems have likely expended tens of millions of submunitions, or bomblets, in Ukraine." "When I talk about what Russia is doing with cluster munitions, I'm not making an argument that says, 'They do it, so we'll do it.' The argument I'm making is that Russia has already spread tens of millions of these bomblets across Ukrainian territory. So we have to ask ourselves, is Ukraine's use of cluster munitions on that same land actually that much of an addition of civilian harm, given that that area is going to have to be de-mined regardless?" "So that is why when we look at the situation today, as opposed to a year ago, and when we look at what Ukraine would be doing with these weapons as opposed to what Russia is doing with them, we see a substantial difference," he explained.

Full Replay: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Joins WH Press Briefing

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 17:05
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will answer questions from reporters around 2:00 p.m. on Friday.

John Yoo: Action Should Be Taken Against Members Of Executive Branch That Participated In Censorship

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 14:26
Speaking on The Steve Malzberg Show, Former DOJ official and University of California at Berkley law Professor John Yoo reacted to the recent federal court decision banning the government from talking with social media companies. YOO: "If it's true what he found, that the government was cooperating with these big tech, high tech companies to censor on social media, they're both in trouble. The social media companies are going to get sued now, and they're not going to be able to claim, oh we're just private businesses we can just censor whoever we like. Once they are tightly intertwined with the government they're bound by the 1st Amendment. And then all these people who have been censored because of COVID or the Russia hoax or whatever, are going to be able to sue these companies for a lot of money and they're going to be in a lot of trouble. The government is also going to be in trouble. Congress should have immediate oversight hearings because it's not the job of the federal government to play footsie with big tech companies and decide what they should be publishing or not. So they're going to be investigated to and I think this would be grounds for action to be taken against members of the executive branch who did this."

MSNBC's Joyce Vance: Fed Judge Basically Shut Down Communication Between Federal Government And Social Media

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 14:18
The judge in essence is shutting down communication between broad parts of the federal government and the social media platforms, says former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance. None of us are safer with this sort of exchange shut down.

RFK Jr.: Overwhelming Evidence That The Assassination Of JFK Was a Coup D'etat By CIA Against Our Democracy

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 14:08
2024 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. comments on the "60-year cover-up" on information surrounding the assassination of his uncle JFK: "I mean this was one of the most momentous crimes in American history. There is strong evidence that this was a coup d'etat by our government agencies against our democracy. We know that the CIA, there is overwhelming evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the CIA was involved in the assassination. But that it's also been involved in the cover up. It's a 60 year cover up, and it's illegal. You know the JFK's Assassination Record Act. Required that these documents be released years ago. And yet the CIA continues to sit and may get the president to violate the law. Sitting on 4,000 documents that should have been released to the public. This is 60 years after my uncle was murdered, all of the people who are involved in that murder are now dead. So why is the CIA still hiding 4,000 documents from 60 years ago? The only explanation to that is that there's some kind of institutional liability in these documents and the American people have a right to know about them."

NBC's Ben Collins: Facebook's Threads Is Like Going To The Mall, Twitter Is January 6th And "Inundated With Actual Nazis"

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 13:53
Instagram Threads has launched with millions of new users, and is assessed as feeling safer than Twitter by NBC News senior reporter on the dystopia beat, Ben Collins. "It's not inundated with actual Nazis, Collins tells Joy Reid. "A good analogy here is that Threads is sort of like the Mall. You go there, Wendy's is there for some reason, you can go down to Old Navy, your friends might be there it's fine. It's okay. It's comfortable and normal. You are used to it. Twitter is like January 6. That's the choice that you have to make... That's what it really feels like on Threads, it's messy and complicated. I would assume they had to push this out before it was ready. It has no browser or desktop experience. It has no chronological time line. The stuff you are reading is from 15 minutes ago or five seconds ago, or an hour ago. It feels safer, it just feels fine because it's not inundated with actual Nazis."

Tom Bevan: Democrats Are Stuck With Biden For Now, But They Have Concerns And Want Someone Younger

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 13:43
RealClearPolitics co-founder Tom Bevan talked about the 2024 presidential election and Democrats who would prefer someone younger than President Biden: "Answer is stuck with him right now. I agree. The fact that were so seeing these stories about Gavin Newsom and other Democrats is because Democrats like Biden, support him, like his policies, but they want to give him a gold watch and see him off the stage. They have concern of the stamina, age, mental ability, and they are just stuck with them right now."

Hemingway: "Bidenomics" Is Biden Trying To Take His Greatest Weakness And Turn It Into A Strength

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 13:31
Editor in Chief of 'The Federalist,' Mollie Hemingway, explained why President Biden is embracing 'Bidenomics.' BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Bidenomics is the drive for the White House. They're embracing the name. They're embracing the pitch. If you go across the country and you take a look at a map and there are all kinds of administration officials, not only the President but the Vice President, the Transportation Secretary, head of infrastructure, all kinds of people, the HHS, with a Bidenomics tour.... It is interesting to see the embrace here. They've obviously taken not really what the Wall Street Journal intended at the first, which was a negative connotation but they are trying to turn that. Is it working with these speeches and these talks? MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: It looks like what the Biden administration is trying to do is take their greatest weakness and turn it into a strength. The problem for them is that Americans report that they are extremely unhappy with the economy. Not only do you have the actual data like real wage growth is declining and inflation that has been such a problem but also just when people talk about how they feel about the economy, they report a tremendous amount of economic anxiety and worry about what is coming ahead. So that is going to be a huge issue for them in the next campaign.

DeSantis: The People Responsible For A Lot Of The Ills In Our Society Don't Want Me To Be The Nominee

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 12:54
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday told FOX News host Will Cain that the corporate media does not want him to be the Republican presidential nominee because he is attacking "people that are responsible for a lot of the ills in our society." WILL CAIN, FOX NEWS: The question is, I think for anyone watching tonight, how can you take the success story of Florida and make that a success story for America? GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Will, Bidenomics in a nutshell is you pay more for the necessities of life, your standard of living goes down, the government gets bigger and more powerful, and ultimately, China will benefit from a lot of stuff. The reason why Florida has done good leading net in migration, leading in new business formations. Our unemployment rates are way lower than the national average, is because we've rejected Bidenomics. We govern conservatively. We don't spend our state into oblivion. We run big budget surpluses. We've actually paid down billions of dollars in state debt. We have a very reasonable regulatory climate. But all of those other issues you've talked about are important in driving migration, and I think the economy. We don't let criminals run the street. We should not allow that in any place in this country. We respect the rights of parents, every parent's rights throughout the country should be respected. It doesn't matter if you live in a red and blue state. We have gotten indoctrination out of our curriculum. So all of those things I think are important for a good quality of life. You can theoretically have good economic policy, but if you have San Francisco style social policy, everything's going to end up decaying. CAIN: Yes, I think there's no greater endorsement for Ron DeSantis than the -- not just the policies, but the execution of the policies in Florida. But I have to ask you, Governor this, why do you think despite those successes, so far, it hasn't been reflected in your polling for your 2024 run for president of the United States? I have several different polls here. I know you're familiar with them. You know, the latest being from a group entitled, The Beacon Center, but we have RealClearPolitics averages as well, and while Donald Trump is above 50 percent, in some of these polls, 60 percent, your numbers are somewhere between 20 and 10 percent and they've stayed there for about two months. Why is it in your estimation the numbers have not reflected your success in Florida? DESANTIS: Well, I think if you look at the people like the corporate media, who are they going after? Who do they not want to be the nominee? They're going after me. Who is the president of Mexico attacking because he knows we will be strong on the border, to hold him accountable and the cartels? He is going after me. So, I think if you look at all these people that are responsible for a lot of the ills in our society, they are targeting me as the person they don't want to see as the candidate. And so this campaign just started, but I think it's pretty clear that I'm the guy that not only can beat Biden, I'm the guy that can beat the left on all of these different issues, because people's freedoms are under assault, we had to fight all of these people in Florida. And I think of any Republican in the country, I have the best record of defeating the left on issue after issue and we will be making that case over the next six or seven months. I'm running to win in January and February. I'm not running to juice polling now. CAIN: I do believe there is some truth in the saying that you shall be defined by your enemies. So I appreciate you bringing up those who are attacking you in your run for president. What about those though, as well, that support you. Steve Cortes is one of the major leaders of a Super PAC that supports Ron DeSantis and he acknowledges that the numbers right now are not where they need to be. And Governor, I want to be clear with you. You and I have met on one occasion, and I think you have done a wonderful job. What I'm trying to suss out tonight is when that job, if ever begins to resonate in the numbers for you for president. You know, and as I mentioned, we've met and I liked you a lot, but there are those that say there's something about you that's not connecting for whatever reason, not connecting with the voter, weather that be personality, Donald Trump says it's about loyalty, Francis Suarez says it's about your relationships. And it's not about those individuals so much as I'm curious in the analysis of Ron DeSantis, of why not yet he is connecting? DESANTIS: Well, I think, did you just see the news today about the record fundraising haul we've had. Nobody's been able to match that in the history of modern presidential politics. So we've got a huge amount of support to be able to take the case to the people. We really haven't started that yet. We're in the process of building out a great organization and I think we're going to be on the ground in all of these early states. It is three yards and a cloud of dust type situation. That's what we're going to be doing. CAIN: Right. DESANTIS: But look, at the end of the day, nobody has stood up for hardworking Americans more than I have over these last five years, and delivered the level of results that I have. That's going to be a great story to tell, because if we did it in Florida, we absolutely can do it as president. That will mean the border, the invasion stops. It'll mean the economy is restored and it is going to mean that woke ideology ends up in the dustbin of history.

Is the GOP Presidential Debate Going Sideways? Biden Takes on the Courts, and Who Brought Cocaine Into the White House?

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 01:58
RealClearPolitics president and co-founder Tom Bevan, Washington bureau chief Carl Cannon, and White House correspondent Phil Wegmann join Andrew Walworth on today's RCP Takeaway podcast.

VP Kamala Harris: Culture Is The Way We Express How We're Feeling And We Should Express How We Feel

Fri, 07/07/2023 - 01:54
Vice President Kamala Harris at a discussion on reproductive rights in New Orleans last week: "Culture is a reflection of our moment and our time, right? And present culture is the way we express how we're feeling about the moment and we should always find times to express how we feel about the moment that is a reflection of joy 'cause you know - it comes in the morning."

DeSantis: Donald Trump Was "A Pioneer Of Injecting Gender Ideology Into The Mainstream"

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 22:31
Florida Gov Ron DeSatnsi told the Tomi Lahren podcast this week that former President Trump is "a pioneer in injecting gender ideology into the mainstream" when asked to explain a video tweeted by his campaign "war room" this week attacking Trump for supporting trans rights and gay marriage. "He was having men compete against women in his beauty pageants," DeSantis also said. "I think that's totally fair game because he's now campaigning saying the opposite." "It's an attack on women's rights more broadly to say that gender is fluid. And I also think it's an attack on the truth itself," DeSantis also said about Trump. RON DESANTIS: I think identifying Donald Trump as really being a pioneer in injecting gender ideology into the mainstream, where he was having men compete against women in his beauty pageants, I think that's totally fair game because he's now campaigning saying the opposite, that he doesn't think that you should have men competing in women's things like athletics. So, we've been very clear on it, that we believe in protecting the rights of our girls and the rights of women athletes to be able to participate with fairness and integrity, and ultimately, when you talk about some of the gender ideology that's being unleashed in this country, in the state of Florida, we are fighting back against that, clearly in schools. I think even beyond that, it's just a fundamental issue of, what role, I think it's an attack on women's rights more broadly to say that gender is fluid. And I also think it is an attack on the truth itself. When they take a swimmer who swam on the men's team for three years and then switches to the women's team and they say that's the women's swim national champion, we know, not only does that violate the opportunities for the other women swimmers, but we also know that that's a lie, it is not true. And I think there's value in making sure that our society is rooted in truth and not in social fads. Hat tip: Breitbart Clips

Mark Simone: We Like DeSantis But He Needs "An Intervention," "Vivek Will Pass Him Pretty Soon"

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 22:18
FBN's Larry Kudlow hosted conservative talkers Mark Simone, Katie Pavlich, and Kellyanne Conway for this panel discussion on where the presidential campaigns of Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy are going: LARRY KUDLOW: In your judgment, with the polls shifting, I mean, Vivek Ramaswamy is now at 10%. He's closing in on DeSantis. DeSantis keeps falling. Is DeSantis going to be out of the race? What's your view? MARK SIMONE: Listen, we like the guy but we gotta do an intervention. We gotta tell him, "You're 44 years old. You're way too early. Wait 10 years when you're in your 50s and do it." He doesn't have the campaign skills. He is, talk about failure to launch. He's just sinking. And you're right, Vivek will pass him pretty soon. I don't think he has to drop out, he's just going to fade out. He'll wither and die there on the vine. ... KELLYANNE CONWAY: Look, I've been long on the record that he should have waited to run, not just because of his age but because he has got a really big job he just got reelected to do as the governor of our third-largest state. He got reelected by 20 points. A lot of pressure from media for him to run. When the mainstream media tells you which Republican can win, run the other way. Number one, and most importantly, so many donors convinced Ron DeSantis he is the guy who can beat Donald Trump, he can beat Biden. They're lovely people in life, they're successful people, but they've never made a penny of their billion dollars giving political advice. I think DeSantis is ruining himself a little bit for 2028. It is "early." Yes, he has a ton of money. He raised 20 million last quarter, that ain't nothing. He's got Robert Bigelow, one donor giving another $20 million just to his super-PAC. But if you don't have the skills, you don't have connective tissue with the people, and you have this juggernaut called the former president of the United States as the front-runner, who, by the way, is sending the TRUTH Social post about DeSantis being a disaster on the campaign trail in New Hampshire from Bedminster. Trump is the only one who didn't campaign on July 4th. He figures, I'm the front-runner, I don't need to. Maybe part of same reason he's thinking about not going to the first debate. LARRY KUDLOW: The rise of Vivek Ramaswamy, who is not going to be president, okay, I'm just going to say that. He's a great kid, smart, but he is running an issues campaign. He is running an ideas-oriented campaign. I think people appreciate that. It is the exact opposite of DeSantis which, Kellyanne was the one who said to me the trouble with donors is they give money first and then they talk to the candidate... But isn't that DeSantis' downfall? He has been running, I know he declared a month ago. But he has been running for over a year but still has no issues. KATIE PAVLICH: You notice Vivek's strategy is not to go after President Trump on anything. Therefore Trump has not gone after him. So he's avoided that firestorm. ... But with the DeSantis vs. Trump situation, Trump has done this before. He's been to New Hampshire, he's been to Georgia, he's been to Arizona, he's been on the campaign trail, and there's unfinished business there. DeSantis has had to start over, and even though the policies implemented in Florida as governor could absolutely be beneficial to the country, especially when you're running against Joe Biden, he has to start over and sell himself as a national candidate when he really is still at the state level. So President Trump has the benefit of doing this again and having all this groundwork ready to go and the infrastructure in place to have a different strategy... versus 2020, but he's been there before and DeSantis is starting over.

"Mamas For DeSantis" Ad: "When You Come After Our Kids, We Fight Back"

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 22:01
This hype video from "Mamas For DeSantis" from the Florida governor's wife Casey on Thursday calls on "every mama and every grandmama in every corner of the country" to vote for Ron DeSantis. CASEY DESANTIS: In America, we've witnessed a lot and put up with enough. ... We've been forced into silence, into compliance, told that we must "trust the science," we've been told we must deny truth, back down, and look the other way. Enough is enough. When you come after our kids, we fight back. Because there's nothing we won't do to protect our children. They're not yours. PRESIDENT BIDEN: Our nation's children are all our children. CASEY DESANTIS: We will not allow you to exploit their innocence to advance your agenda. We are no longer silent, we are united, and we have finally found our fighter. RON DESANTIS: We're not going to let you impose an agenda on our kids. We're going to stand up for our kids. CASEY DESANTIS: He'll do for America what he did for us in Florida. Schools open, parent's rights defended, school choice universal, critical race theory prohibited, DEI stopped, child mutilation illegal, girls sports saved, communities protected, our economy growing, and freedom guaranteed. Winning the fight in Florida is just the beginning. We must protect parents' rights and the innocence of our children. We must restore sanity in our society. We need every mama and every grandmama in every corner of the country to stand up and fight back by electing Ron DeSantis President of the United States.

Former Clinton Speechwriter Waldman: Injunction Halting Government Contact With Social Media Companies "Reeks" Of "Conspiracy Theories"

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 21:48
Michael Waldman, a former speechwriter for the Clinton administration and president of the Brennan Center For Justice, explained why the recent injunction from a federal district judge requiring the Biden administration to stop communicating moderation requests to social media companies could be a "significant threat to the ability to stop election interference," during an appearance Thursday with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. ANDREA MITCHELL MSNBC: The Biden administration is appealing a federal judge's ruling on July 4th that severely limits the administration's contacts with social media companies. And this is a major national security issue for many people with whom I have spoken, as well as a health issue, a public health issue. The injunction is in response to a lawsuit by two Republican attorneys general who argue the Biden administration went too far in encouraging companies to moderate misinformation about Covid vaccines. Joining us is Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice. He has also worked in the West Wing in the Clinton administration... Michael, from conversations I've had with national security officials, this is a major issue for them in terms of election security. They are not, under this ruling, this injunction, unless the appeal is successful, and it will go to the higher court, presumably, they cannot notify people if they have a known instance of election interference. They cannot notify, according to our own contributor Andrew Weissmann, he as FBI general counsel was notifying people overseas that social media was endangering the lives of people, of government officials overseas. MICHAEL WALDMAN: It is an extraordinarily broad, even radical ruling in many ways, made by one trial judge before a trial and before there was even discovery in the case, listening to two very conservative Republican attorneys general basically putting into the law, the conspiracy theory idea that somehow the government has been censoring social media and keeping conservative voices off. This is a potentially very significant threat to the ability to stop election interference. We know that, for example, Russia in 2016 made use of these social media platforms. We know that there's massive potential for disinformation. We know that AI only takes that up to the next level. What this ruling says is that the State Department, all these public health doctors, the entire Department of Health and Human Services, cannot even talk to these companies. You got to protect the First Amendment, nobody should be ordering content off, but it's a very, very far reaching and potentially very damaging action by this one judge. ANDREA MITHCELL: Where do we stand on the request to stay the injunction? MICHAEL WALDMAN: Well, in a case like this, the government will and has rushed to say, "Let's not have this go into effect," but in the meanwhile, meetings are getting canceled and lots of people are wondering what they are allowed to do under the law. This is what is called a nationwide injunction from one judge. It's being, these days, abused a lot by conservatives shopping for a judge to try to stop the Biden administration from doing something. When Trump was president there were liberal judges who made similarly broad, nationwide rulings. The Supreme Court has never said whether these rulings are actually allowed. But certainly, this led to the Supreme Court pretty quickly, because the impact could be so significant. And again, if there is an allegation, a serious allegation of a violation of the law or a violation of the first amendment, that's what the legal process is for. What this does is freeze everybody and declare things, in effect, illegal before the evidence is even out. That's why I think it reeks more of a conspiracy theory than of a fact. One example you are probably familiar with, one of the charges it makes is that Dr. Fauci came on your show to say that Hydroxychloroquine was not an effective tool against Covid and that somehow was deemed coercive of the social media platforms. I think there's a lot of stuff like that in here.

Kennedy: Trusted News Initiative Was "An Organized Conspiracy" To Broadcast Government Propaganda And Censor Dissent During Covid

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 21:21
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. talked about running in the 2024 Democratic primary against President Biden during an interview posted Thursday with podcast host Lex Fridman. Kennedy discussed his battle against the mainstream media, which he characterized as controlled by a modern-day continuation of the CIA's "Operation Mockingbird" and the anti-competitive and pro-censorship Trusted News Initiative. "They believe that they're doing the right thing by suppressing information that may challenge government proclamations on Covid. But there is a danger to that. The danger is that once you appoint yourself an arbiter of what is true and what is not true, then there is really no end to the power that you have now assumed for yourself, because now your job is no longer to inform the public, your job is to manipulate the public," Kennedy said. "If you end up manipulating the public in collusion with powerful entities, then you become the instrument of authoritarian rule rather than the opponent of it. It becomes the inverse of journalism in a democracy." Kennedy also said about the CIA: "Nobody knows what the budget is, plus it has its own investment fund, In-Q-Tel, which has invested and made 2,000 investments in Silicon Valley, so it has ownership of a lot of these tech companies and a lot of the CEOs of those tech companies have signed state secrecy agreements with the CIA, which if they even reveal that they have signed that, they can go to jail for 20 years and have their assets removed, etc. So the influence that the agency has, the capacity to influence events at every level in our country is really frightening." LEX FRIDMAN: To what degree was the CIA involved, or the various bureaucracy, involved in [JFK's] death? ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: The evidence that the CIA was involved in my uncle's murder, and subsequently involved in the coverup, and continue to be involved in the coverup -- there are still 5,000 documents they won't release 60 years later -- is so insurmountable and mountainous and overwhelming that it is beyond any reasonable doubt... It came as a surprise recently to most Americans, the release of these documents in which the press, when the American media finally acknowledged that Lee Harvey Oswald was a CIA asset... Even though it had been known for decades, it never percolated into the mainstream media because they have such an allergy to anything that challenges the Warren report. When Congress investigated my uncle's murder in the 1970s, the Church Committee did a two-year investigation, and they had many more documents and testimony than did the Warren Commission, this was a decade later, they came to the conclusion that my uncle was killed by a conspiracy... I've talked to much of the staff from that committee and they said the CIA was stonewalling us the whole way through... It's impossible to even talk about a fraction of the evidence here, but I suggest... the best book for me for people to read is James Douglas' book JFK and the Unspeakable. He's an extraordinary scholar and he does this amazing job of digesting and mobilizing probably a million documents... into a coherent story. I recommend people do not take my word for it... FRIDMAN: So if it is true that the CIA had a hand in this assassination, how is it possible for them to amass so much power? How was it possible for them to become so corrupt? Is it individuals or the entire institution? KENNEDY: No, it is not the entire institution, my daughter-in-law who is helping run my campaign, was in CIA clandestine services all of her career, she was a spy on the weapons of mass destruction program in the Mideast and China. And there are 22,000 people who work for the CIA. Probably 20,000 of those are patriotic Americans and really good public servants doing important work for our country. But the institution is corrupt at the high ranks of the institution. In fact, Mike Pompeo said something to me the other day, he was the director of the CIA [under Trump] and he said, "When I was there I didn't do a good job of cleaning up that agency." He said the entire upper bureaucracy of that agency are people who do not believe in the institutions of democracy. That's what he said to me... He's a smart person and he ran the agency and he was secretary of state. It's no mystery how that happened. We know the history. First of all, there was great reluctance in 1947. For the first time, we had a spy agency in this country during World War Two called the OSS. That was disbanded after the war because Congress said having a secret spy agency is incompatible with democracy. Secret spy agencies are things like the KGB and the Stasi... all over the world, they have to do with totalitarian governments. They're not something that you can have, it is antithetical to democracy to have that. But in 1947, Truman signed it in, it was initially an espionage agency, which means information gathering, which is important. To gather and consolidate information from many different sources all over the world and put them in reports for the White House so the president can make good decisions based upon valid, evidence-based information. But Allen Dulles, who was essentially the first head of the agency made a series of legislative and political machinations that gave additional powers to the agency and opened up what they called then the "Plans Division," the dirty tricks and black ops, fixing elections, murdering what they call "executive action," which means killing foreign leaders, and making small wars and bribing and blackmailing people, stealing elections, that kind of thing. The reason, at that time, we were in the middle of the Cold War, and Truman and then Eisenhower did not want to go to war, they didn't want to commit troops. It seemed to them this was a way of kind of fighting the Cold War secretly, at minimal cost, by changing events invisibly. And so, it was seductive to them. Everybody in Congress when they voted it into place, both political parties, said if we create this thing, it could turn into a monster and undermine our values. And today, it is so powerful. Nobody knows what the budget is, plus it has its own investment fund, In-Q-Tel, which has invested and made 2,000 investments in Silicon Valley, so it has ownership of a lot of these tech companies. And a lot of the CEOs of those tech companies have signed state secrecy agreements with the CIA, which if they even reveal that they have signed that, they can go to jail for 20 years and have their assets removed. So the influence that the agency has, the capacity to influence events at every level in our country, is really frightening. And then for most of its life, the CIA was banned from propagandizing Americans. But we learned they were doing it anyway. So, in 1973 during the Church Committee hearings, we learned that the CIA had a program called Operation Mockingbird, where they had at least 400 leading members of the United Staes press corps, in the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc., who were secretly working for the agency and steering news coverage to support CIA priorities. And they agreed at that time to disband Operation Mockingbird in 1973, but there are indications they didn't do that. Still today, the CIA is the biggest funder of journalism around the world, through USAID. The United States funds journalism in almost every country in the world, it owns newspapers, it has thousands and thousands of journalists on its payroll. They're not supposed to be doing that in the United States but you know, in 2016, President Obama changed the law to make it legal now for the CIA to propagandize Americans. I think we can't look at the Ukraine War and how the narrative has been formed in the minds of Americans and say that the CIA had nothing to do with that. FRIDMAN: What is the mechanism by which the CIA influences the narrative? KENNEDY: Through the press. FRIDMAN: Indirectly or directly or by funding the press? KENNEDY: Directly through key members -- there are certain press organs that have been linked to the agency, the people who run those organs, things like the Daily Beast and Rolling Stone... have deep relationships with the intelligence community. Salon, Daily Kos. FRIDMAN: But I wonder why they would do it. From my perspective, it seems like the job of a journalist is to have an integrity where your opinion can not be influenced or bought. KENNEDY: I agree. But I actually think the entire field of journalism has really shamed itself in recent years. It has become, the principal newspapers in this country, and the television stations, and the legacy media, have abandoned their tradition which was when I was a kid, my house was filled with the greatest journalists alive at that time... after my father died, they started the RFK Journalism Awards to recognize integrity and courage. And for that generation of journalism, they believed that the function of journalists was to maintain this posture of fierce skepticism toward any aggregation of power, including government authority. That people in authority always lie and always have to be questioned, and that their job was to speak truth to power and be guardians of the first amendment right to free expression. But if you look at what happened during the pandemic, it was the inverse of that kind of journalism, where the major press organs in this country were instead of speaking truth to power, they were doing the opposite. They were broadcasting propaganda, they became propaganda organs for the government agencies. They were actually censoring the speech of anybody who dissented, of the powerless. In fact, it was an organized conspiracy. The name of it was the Trusted News Initiative. Some of the major press organizations in our country signed onto it. They agreed not to print stories or facts that departed from government orthodox. The Washington Post was a signatory of the TPI, the AP, and the four social media groups, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, and Google all signed on to the Trusted News Initiative. It was started by the BBC, organized by them, and the purpose of it was to make sure nobody could print anything that departed from government orthodoxy. The way it worked is the UPI and the AP, which are the news services that provide most of the news around the country, and the Washington Post, would decide what news was permissible to print and a lot of it was about Covid, but also Hunter Biden's laptop. It was impermissible to suggest that those were real, or they had stuff on there that was compromising. And by the way, what I'm telling you is all well documented. I'm litigating it right now, I'm part of a lawsuit against the TNI and so I know a lot about what happened and I know all this is documented. People can go to our website, there is a letter on my substack now to Michael Shear of the Washington Post that outlines all this and gives all my sources. Because Michael Shear accused me of being a conspiracy theorist when he was actually part of a true conspiracy to suppress anybody who was departing from government orthodoxies by either censoring them completely or labeling them "conspiracy theorists." FRIDMAN: You can understand the intention of such a thing being good, that during a time of catastrophe and a time of pandemic, there is a lot of risk to saying untrue things. But that is a slippery slope that leads to a place where the journalistic integrity we talked about is completely sacrificed, and then you can deviate from the truth. KENNEDY: If you read their internal memorandum, including the statements of the leader of the Trusted New Initiative, I think her name is Jennifer Cecil, you can go on her website and see her statement, she says the purpose of this is that we are now -- she says when people look at us, they think we're competitors, but we're not. The real competitors are coming from all these alternative news sources. They are hurting public trust in us and they're hurting our economic model and they have to be choked off and crushed. And the way that we're going to do that is make an agreement with the social media sites that if we label their information "misinformation," the social media sites will de-platform it, they'll throttle it, or shadow-ban it, which destroys the economic model of those alternative competitive sources of information. But the point you make is important, that the journalists themselves, who probably didn't know about the TNI agreement, certainly I'm sure they didn't, they believe that they're doing the right thing by suppressing information that may challenge government proclamations on Covid. But there is a danger to that. The danger is that once you appoint yourself an arbiter of what is true and what is not true, then there is really no end to the power that you have now assumed for yourself, because now your job is no longer to inform the public, your job is to manipulate the public. And if you end up manipulating the public in collusion with powerful entities, then you become the instrument of authoritarian rule rather than the opponent of it. It becomes the inverse of journalism in a democracy.

French Journalist: I Wish There Was A Real And Profound Discussion About "Racialized Policing" In Paris Neighborhoods

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 20:44
In France, more than 3,000 people have been arrested after a week of nationwide protests following the police killing of Nahel Merzouk, a teenager of North African descent, captured on video. Nahel's family and friends held his funeral Saturday at a mosque in Nanterre. We speak with Rokhaya Diallo, a French journalist in Paris, who explains this killing is part of a long pattern of racist policing that has divided the country. I wish there was a real and profound discussion about police brutality, about racialized policing, says Diallo. AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman, with Juan Gonzalez. We turn now to France, which has seen a week of nationwide protests following the police killing last week of Nahel Merzouk, a 17-year-old of North African descent. He was killed during a traffic stop in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris. His death was captured on video. More than 3,000 people have been arrested. Tens of thousands of police descended on the demonstrations. Many protesters are now appearing in court, and the justice minister has called for prosecutors to seek prison sentences in some cases. We're going to go right now to Rokhaya Diallo. Rokhaya Diallo is a French journalist, a writer, a filmmaker, contributing writer for The Washington Post. She's a researcher-in-residence at Georgetown University. Her latest opinion piece in The Guardian is headlined France has ignored racist police violence for decades. This uprising is the price of that denial. Rokhaya, can you start off by just describing what's taken place? And talk about the simmering tension that was ignited with the killing of this young man. ROKHAYA DIALLO: Yes. Thank you so much for telling about what's going on today in France. So, what first initiated the uprisings was the death of a teenager, Nahel, who was killed in a traffic stop by the police. And what really outraged the people who are now in the streets was the fact that it was captured, and the fact that we could hear the sound, and the sound could really - really showed something very threatening to Nahel. And he was killed so quickly. And Nahel is also - it's important to underline that he's also from the North African origin, so he belongs to a category of the population that is overpoliced, overtargeted by police brutality and police abuses. So that's why people were so angry. Many of the people who went to the streets right after his killing were people who looked like him and who, some of them, think that they could have been targeted in the same way. JUAN GONZALEZ: And what do we know about Nahel Merzouk, in terms of the victim himself? Why do so many young people whose families came originally from North Africa or other former French colonies identify with what he went through? ROKHAYA DIALLO: Yes. Like, there are figures who were issued by an entity, a body, like it's an institutional body, that aims to tackle discrimination. And according that body, which name is the Defender of Rights, if you are a young man perceived as North African Arab or perceived as Black, you are 20 times more likely to be checked by the police than if you belong to any other category. So that means that we do have figures. We know that certain groups in the population are explicitly targeted, and they are more likely to be checked and also to be killed. There has been a law that was voted in 2017 that actually enables more easy - an easier use of firearms by the police officers. It has made it easier for the police to use their firearms. And most of the people who have been killed are from an immigrant background. If you read their names, most of their names sound North African, African. And it sounds like there are - they're really part of the largest group of victims as a consequence of that law. JUAN GONZALEZ: And what's been the response of President Emmanuel Macron to the uprisings and the disturbances around the country? ROKHAYA DIALLO: So, the response before the uprisings, his response was very quick and very uncommon, actually, because he said that the death of Nahel was inexcusable. He also said that it was inexplicable, which I don't agree with, since we had figures for a long time, and we know that those things, unfortunately, happen. And what happened first also - I forgot to mention that - is that before the video was spread on social media, the police issued a report saying that Nahel was dangerous, and he was driving in car towards them. The video showed this wasn't the case. So, it also means that we can think that other people have been facing the same kind of situation, and as it wasn't captured, we don't know what really happened. The police, at the end of the day, issue reports that fit to their version of the story, but it's not always the truth. So, Macron said at first that it was inexcusable, but then he really had a hard stance against the uprising, and he blamed it on the parents, saying that he was considering sanctions towards the parents who had their children taking part to the uprisings. AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to Nahel's mother, Mounia, who has led protests through Nanterre, in the Parisian suburb, calling for justice for her son. In a video published online, she said Nahel was her best friend, and his last words to her before he was killed were I love you. MOUNIA MERZOUK: [translated] I have lost a child of 17 years old. I was all alone with him. They took a baby away from me. He was still a child. He needed his mother. This morning, he gave me a big kiss and said, Mom, I love you. I said, Look after yourself. I told him, I love you. Look after yourself. There you go. We left at the same time. He went to get a McDonald's. I went to work like everyone. One hour later, what do they tell me? We have shot your son. What am I going to do? What am I going to do? I lived for him. I bought him everything. I gave him everything. I only have one. I don't have 10. I only have one. He was my life. He was my best friend. He was my son. He was everything for me. We were accomplices like you can't imagine. AMY GOODMAN: And this is Nadia, the grandmother of Nahel Merzouk. She has asked to only be identified by her first name. NADIA: [translated] I blame the police officer who killed my grandson. That's all I'm angry with. We have the police. And lucky for us that we have the police. And the people who are breaking things, I tell them, Stop it. Stop it. They're doing this with Nahel as a pretext. No, people should stop. They should stop. They should not break store windows. They should not ransack schools. AMY GOODMAN: Rokhaya Diallo, your final comment? I know mayors, 200 of them, have just met with the president. They're very unhappy with what's happening all over the country. What you expect to see next? ROKHAYA DIALLO: It's very difficult to know what's expected to be seen next. I wish there was a real and profound discussion about police brutality, about racialized policing that occurs in those neighborhoods which are banlieues surrounding the big cities, because it has not been part of the conversation, and that's a problem. The problem is that the U.N. issued a statement to say that France has to deal with its very deep problem of racism, but it has been dismissed by the French authorities, by the government. It hasn't been really - it hasn't been taken into account as something that should be dealt with. And I have the feeling we reached an inflection point with the death of Nahel, but, unfortunately, it's backfiring. A fund has been created to support the police officer who was - you know, who authored the killing, and it has gathered over 1.5 million euros. So, that means that the country is really divided. And many people don't get that the victim is Nahel, and the reason why he was killed has much to do with the structural inequalities in France. AMY GOODMAN: Rokhaya Diallo, we want to thank you so much for being with us, French journalist. We'll link to your piece in The Guardian headlined France has ignored racist police violence for decades. This uprising is the price of that denial.