Category Archives: News

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) Accused of Sexual Harrassment | Nov 16 2017

Los Angeles TV host alleges Sen. Al Franken kissed and groped her without her consent

|| Business Insider

“Los Angeles TV broadcaster Leeann Tweeden alleged in a 790 KABC column that Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota kissed and groped her without her consent in 2006, while she was part of a United Service Organizations tour to entertain military service members abroad.

Tweeden said that Franken had been headlining the tour and wrote a comedy skit in which Franken’s character attempted to kiss Tweeden’s character. Tweeden said she believed she could turn her head or cover his mouth with her hand “to get more laughs from the crowd.”

But during a rehearsal of the kiss that Franken repeatedly insisted on, Tweeden said, Franken forcefully kissed her.

“He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me,” Tweeden wrote. “We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”

Tweeden said she felt “disgusted and violated” by the kiss and pushed Franken away and told him that if he ever did that again, she “wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.”

Later, the pair performed the skit and Tweeden said she turned her head to dodge Franken’s kiss.

She added that she told neither the tour’s sponsor, the Sergeant Major of the Army, nor the USO representative about the incident.

“At the time I didn’t want to cause trouble. We were in the middle of a war zone, it was the first show of our Holiday tour, I was a professional, and I could take care of myself. I told a few of the others on the tour what Franken had done and they knew how I felt about it,” Tweeden wrote. “I tried to let it go, but I was angry.”

But Franken’s alleged misconduct didn’t end there, Tweeden said. Franken groped her breasts while she was asleep during the 36-hour trip back to Los Angeles — an incident captured in a photograph that Tweeden didn’t see until she was back in the US.

“I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” she wrote. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. … How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?”

Tweeden said she told her husband about Franken’s behavior and showed him the photograph. She said she did not speak publicly about the incidents because she was worried about backlash and damage to her broadcasting career.

But thanks to the slew of recent public allegations made against prominent figures such as film producer Harvey Weinstein, Tweeden said she is no longer afraid to come forward.

“Senator Franken, you wrote the script,” she wrote. “But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault … You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.

“I’m telling my story because there may be others.”

In a statement sent to Business Insider, Franken apologized to Tweeden.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it,” he said.”

….Continue reading more @ BI

 

Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It

|| KABC

“By Leeann Tweeden

In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.

Also on the trip were country music artists Darryl Worley, Mark Wills, Keni Thomas, and some cheerleaders from the Dallas Cowboys. The headliner was comedian and now-senator, Al Franken.

Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.

As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.

When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.

On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’

He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.”

….Continue reading more @ KABC.com

 

 

 

100 Parisian Officials Singing La Marseillaise Drown Out Islamic Street Prayers | Nov 12 2017

100 Officials Singing La Marseillaise Drown Out Islamic Prayers

|| the Gateway Pundit

“In a scene perhaps reminiscent of film classic, Casablanca, a defiant crowd of two hundred Parisians faced-off with Islamic protestors, Friday lunchtime, attempting to end a street protest which has brought the town center to a standstill each Friday afternoon for eight months.

As reported by the Gateway Pundit in spring, Clichy-la-Garenne, several métro stops from central Paris, has been the scene of Friday street prayers by Muslims demanding the town provide a new mosque in the heart of Clichy – despite the opening, at tax-payer expense, of a new prayer room and Islamic center a short distance away.

At 12:30pm, close to one hundred elected officials from right and centrist parties, wearing saches in the red, white and blue of the French Republic, assembled outside the town hall and marched towards the site of Friday’s Islamic street prayers – a pedestrianized street where two hundred Muslims were gathering a short distance away.

As the republican cortège neared the street protest, a dozen or so elected officials physically attempted to prevent Friday prayers from taking place at which point heavily armed CRS, French riot police, intervened forming a double cordon between the Muslim gathering and the elected officials and supporters.

Led by Mayor Rémi Muzeau, the march pressed closer to the police line, breaking into La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, and advancing until such point as the two opposing groups were mere feet apart.

In the surreal moments that followed, the Muslim faithful – mostly of North African descent, some of whom were dressed in traditional Islamic garb – offered up incantations in Arabic as the elected representatives and longtime Clichy residents continued their patriotic rendition of La Marseillaise, the two sides squaring off against one another.

Minor scuffles broke out on the fringe of the protest and police temporarily struggled to maintain order as tempers flared leading up to the moment the two opposing sides came face to face.

Friday’s protest represents the first time the Islamic protesters were seriously challenged since their street prayers began in March this year, apart from a minor demonstration by secular protesters earlier in the week.

’We cannot accept that the public space is occupied in this manner. The mayor is powerless. It’s up to the State to act’’, Valérie Pécresse, regional president of the conservative Les Républicains explained to the assembled media.

The mayor of Clichy, Rémi Muzeau (also of Les Républicains) went further, calling on the French Minister of the Interior, Gérard Collomb, to ban the illegal street prayers, citing his duty to ensure the tranquility and liberty of the town’s 60,ooo inhabitants.

‘‘They present a bad image of our town on social media and to the whole world, and I don’t want that’’, Muzeau explained to RTL radio, calling on the state to finally intervene.

As the Gateway Pundit reported earlier this year, the mayor of Clichy chose not to renew a short-term lease granted by his socialist predecessor, which had allowed members of the local Muslim community to utilize a city building as a mosque and Islamic cultural center. In its place, he opened an Islamic center and prayer room a short distance away.

Representatives of the town’s 20,000 strong Muslim population say the building is badly served by public transport however, and have vowed to continue to observe their Friday prayers in the open on the streets of Clichy until a suitable facility is provided.

Through-out France, a massive expansion of mosque building is underway, including huge ‘cathedral mosques’ nearing completion across the historically Catholic country, a sign of the country’s shifting demographics.

Thus far, there has been no reaction from President Macron’s Interior Minister, Gérard Collomb, to Friday’s events.

French social media lit up in support of the counter protest, Friday evening, with Clichy Mayor, Rémi Muzeau calling the event ”an immense success” and vowing to counter protest the street prayers every Friday until the state takes action.”

….Continuing reading more @ TGP

 

‘Islamization’ of Paris a Warning to the West | July 2016

 

Saturday Night Shooting Spree by Illegal Alien in Texas Ignored by Mainstream Media | Nov 08 2017

Man charged with aggravated assault in I-35 shooting spree had ICE Detainer

 

“AUSTIN (KXAN) —  Shots were fired across an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 35 from Wells Branch Parkway to Stassney Lane early Saturday morning. For the first time, we’re hearing from one of the victims in the I-35 shooting spree who dodged bullets on Austin’s busiest highway.

“When I looked back behind me, I noticed a guy standing by with a rifle and as soon as I noticed him I quickly stepped on the gas and sped off and automatically he started shooting at us,” Rigoberto Ochoa told KXAN.

Ochoa said he and his friend were going to get something to eat and found themselves ripping out of a parking lot in north Austin off 183. He was fighting to keep them alive.

“He was shooting at us and I think he was aiming at us to kill us,” Ochoa said, who described the suspect firing seven rounds, one that blew out his tire. “I just kept on hearing the shots fired and the impact to my pickup.”

Ochoa’s friend, sitting in the front passenger seat, was shot in the arm.

It was one stop, during an hour-plus shooting spree that ultimately led to police charging 25-year-old Rolando Martinez with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. At another stop, a man, woman and 7-year-old were shot.

Assistant Police Chief Joseph Chacon said, “What I can tell you is that my understanding is the 7-year-old is out of danger and is moving into a rehabilitation type of stage of her recovery.”

KXAN also spoke with Martinez’s younger brother, who doesn’t know what to think.

“Not an hour goes by that I don’t think, I don’t think of him ’cause it’s just crazy,” he said, explaining the hardest part is that his family still hasn’t heard from Martinez. “That ain’t him. He’s chill, he’s calm, he’s serious but he wouldn’t do nothing like this. Guess… I don’t know.”

As for Ochoa, he says the most important thing he did that early Saturday morning was step on the gas.

“I did believe at the time this was going to be the end of me,” he said. “He should stay in jail. If he gets out, next time he’s going to do it again. He’s going to do it again and I feel there’s no excuses.”

Court documents reveal Martinez told police he had been drinking at the Nocturno Nightclub and didn’t remember much from that night, but he did remember waking up in a grassy median near the freeway.

Martinez is currently being held on a $1 million bond. According to Travis County Jail records, he also has an Immigration and Naturalization Service detainer holding him there.

Police say they’re looking into whether Martinez obtained the gun legally and if drugs were involved.”

….Continue reading more @ KXAN – Austin

‘My God Protected Me,’ Says Hero of Sutherland Texas Church Terror Attack | Nov 07 2017

VIDEO: ‘My God Protected Me,’ Says Man Who Shot Texas Church Killer

|| Breitbart

“The Sutherland Springs man who came face-to-face with a madman who killed 26 people in a Texas church says God protected him and gave him the skills he needed to stop more deaths. The former NRA instructor engaged Devin Patrick Kelley as he exited the church.

“I’m no hero. I’m not,” Stephen Willeford told 40/29 News reporter Joshua Cole in a video interview on Monday. “I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills I needed to do what needed to be done.”

“I just wish I could have gotten there faster,” Willeford said in an emotional interview. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know what was happening.”

Willeford told Cole the experience was surreal. “I was scared,” he said. “It was surreal to me–it couldn’t be happening.”

After hearing the “pop pop pop pop” sound that was all too familiar to a former NRA instructor, Willeford said he grabbed his rifle and quickly loaded rounds into his magazine. When he stepped out onto the street, he saw a man wearing all black, a tactical helmet, and a ballistic vest.

“I kept hearing the shots, one after another, very rapid shots – just ‘pop pop pop pop’ and I knew every one of those shots represented someone, that it was aimed at someone, that they weren’t just random shots,” Willeford explained. “He saw me and I saw him.”

He said he took cover and did what he had to do.

Texas officials reported in a press conference Monday night that Devin Patrick Kelley, the killer of 26 in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, was struck by Willeford’s gun fire two times–once in the torso and once in the leg.” He then dropped his rifle, got in his car, and fled the scene before he could shoot any other people who were outside the church.

Willeford then stopped a passing neighbor and asked for help. “That guy just shot up the Baptist church,” he told the driver. He climbed in the car and together, they took off in pursuit of the deranged killer.

They eventually caught up to Kelley’s SUV shortly before he crashed into a road sign. They later learned Kelley shot himself in the head after calling his father.

Willeford and his companion shouted at Kelley to get out of his truck. There was no movement.

Willeford’s family has lived in the unincorporated Texas community of Sutherland Springs for four generations. Many of those who died or were wounded were friends of his.

He says he is not a hero–others are sure to disagree.”

…Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

 

 

California’s Devin Nunes shifts dossier probe from Trump to Dems | Oct 31 2017

Devin Nunes (CA-R) shifts dossier probe from Trump to Dems

|| Washington Times

“Congressman exposed ‘unmasking’ by Obama aides, flushed out source of payments for report

On two fronts, Rep. Devin Nunes has shifted the Russia debate in Washington further away from President Trump and closer to Democrats.

He exposed the practice of “unmasking” by Obama aides and flushed out the source of payments for the scandalous anti-Trump dossier that drove the Russia collusion narrative.

The California Republican’s first tactic: He traveled to the Executive Office Building and viewed evidence that the Obama administration had “unmasked” the concealed names of Trump associates in highly classified intelligence reports during the election campaign.

On two fronts, Rep. Devin Nunes has shifted the Russia debate in Washington further away from President Trump and closer to Democrats.

He exposed the practice of “unmasking” by Obama aides and flushed out the source of payments for the scandalous anti-Trump dossier that drove the Russia collusion narrative.

The California Republican’s first tactic: He traveled to the Executive Office Building and viewed evidence that the Obama administration had “unmasked” the concealed names of Trump associates in highly classified intelligence reports during the election campaign.

The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence talked publicly about his discovery to much derision from Democrats and Washington’s press corps. The unmasking suggested that the Obama White House was spying on a political foe through its legal right to unmask the identities of people unintentionally swept up in surveillance operations.

An advocacy group filed a complaint about his disclosure with the Office of Congressional Ethics. Mr. Nunes responded by removing himself as the overseer of the committee’s Russia probe.

But his legacy lives on. Both the Senate and House intelligence committees have summoned former Obama aides as witnesses. It turns out that Samantha Power, as ambassador to the United Nations, made hundreds of unmasking requests, Fox News reported.

Adding intrigue to her research, she told the committee that other people did some of the unmaskings in her name.

The committee subpoenaed documents concerning Ms. Power, former National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice and former CIA Director John O. Brennan. All deny that they were spying on Mr. Trump.

Mr. Nunes‘ second tactic brought the most immediate result: He flushed out the identities — long kept secret — of some of the financial backers for the notorious Trump dossier that has fed the Democrats’ Russia collusion charges for months.

He did it by signing a subpoena for the bank records of Fusion GPS, the liberal opposition research firm that hired the dossier writer, former British spy Christopher Steele.

The Nunes subpoena touched off a chain of events.

Fusion GPS went to U.S. District Court on Oct. 20 and asked a judge to block the subpoena. That move triggered the first unmasking of the dossier’s financier.

On Tuesday, the law firm Perkins Coie decided it was time to fess up. It filed a letter, written to Fusion’s attorneys, acknowledging that Perkins had hired Fusion with money from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Perkins, whose attorney Marc E. Elias is the Clinton campaign’s general counsel, urged Fusion to lift the confidentiality of other clients who funded the dossier.

The letter said the flow of money to Fusion started in April 2016 and ended before the Nov. 8 presidential election. Mr. Steele began writing his memos in June. He continued to write and submit dossier memos up until December, meaning there are other moneymen for whom Mr. Nunes would like names.

Because Fusion also has Russian clients, some Republicans have wondered whether anyone in Moscow also paid Mr. Steele’s bills. There has been no proof, to date.

Washington learned of another funder. For months, news reports said the first entity to hire Fusion to conduct Trump opposition research was a Republican.

The Washington Free Beacon on Friday acknowledged that it had hired Fusion to collect information from publicly available sources. It said the arrangement stopped well before Fusion went to Democrats and received money to pay Mr. Steele.

The Free Beacon, a snappy conservative news website filled with investigative and humorous postings, is funded by Paul Singer, a Republican and big campaign donor. He is also anti-Trump. He backed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the Republican presidential primary race.

Mr. Nunes‘ moves have clearly irked Democrats, who want the investigation confined to suspected Republican coordination with Russian election interference. The Senate and House intelligence committees so far have found no confirmed evidence of Trump collusion.

Fusion’s attorneys, the Washington firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, filed court arguments attacking the congressman’s “fishing expedition.”

They said he had no power to act because he recused himself from the Russia investigation. They called his subpoena signature “not part of legitimate legislative activity” and an exercise of “coercive power.”

“The Trump dossier appears to have deeply upset President Trump and some of his allies, including Mr. Nunes, who served on President Trump’s campaign,” the Fusion attorneys said.

Posted in full by BuzzFeed, the dossier accuses Mr. Trump of salacious conduct with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel, a long quid pro quo relationship with Russian intelligence and bribe-paying in Asia. None of those charges has been confirmed publicly.

Mr. Nunes‘ chief congressional critic is Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the House intelligence committee’s top Democrat. Mr. Schiff is a big fan of Mr. Steele’s and has repeated his charges in Congress and on TV.

Interviewed last week by CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Mr. Schiff said Mr. Nunes is just trying to change the subject.

“I think, Chris, at the end of the day, what this is about is a technique you see often in criminal cases where the facts are really bad for the defendant, there’s an effort to put the government on trial,” Mr. Schiff said. “So I think Mr. Nunes and the president want to put the government on trial because they don’t want to look at the facts implicating the White House.”

Mr. Cuomo: “That’s problematic when the man that you’re defining that way is in charge of the investigation, is the head of your committee. And it raises the question of when are we going to see what you guys have.”

Mr. Schiff: “It is problematic, Chris, because he had committed to stepping aside and recusing himself from the investigation but has not done that. And so that is a real problem that we have to grapple with every day.”

Mr. Nunes picked up an unlikely supporter in Leon E. Panetta, a Democrat who has served as a congressional representative from California, director of the CIA and secretary of defense.

Mr. Panetta told CNN that Congress needs to find out who funded the dossier.

“Well, it’s obviously something that the intelligence committee is going to have to look at,” Mr. Panetta said. “You know, knowing presidential campaigns, they’re big operations and somehow the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. And that could be the case here, but I really do think that the committee is going to have to get into this, determine just exactly what happened. Who knew what and when.”

On Saturday, the House intelligence committee said it had reached a deal to inspect Fusion’s banking records.”

….Continue reading more @ Washington Times

 

Actor Norman Lloyd at 102 Attends the 2017 World Series in LA in Style | Oct 27 2017

102-year-old actor who watched Babe Ruth split his pants on a slide goes to first World Series since 1926

|| LA Times

“Before stepping into Dodger Stadium this week, Norman Lloyd had attended one World Series.

In 1926.

As a 12-year-old boy at Yankee Stadium, he watched as Babe Ruth slid into second base and split his pants.

Now, a mere 91 years later, the actor — known as the rigid headmaster who fired Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society” and the villain who fell from the Statue of Liberty in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Saboteur” — returned to the Fall Classic to watch a series between the Dodgers and Houston Astros that already has the makings of a Hollywood drama.

As Lloyd settled into his left-field chair, a rollicking crowd danced and hollered around him in the sweltering early-evening heat. The actor was a few days short of his 103rd birthday, and the ticket had been an early gift from friends who’d surprised him the night before as he watched the Dodgers on television.

“It is wonderful to be at a World Series again,” Lloyd said. “Baseball has always remained a passion for me, and I followed it religiously.”

Ever the dignified performer, Lloyd recounted the baseball of his youth in a deep, rhythmic voice, spinning his stories slowly and dramatically, even as the stands convulsed with wild energy around him.

On Oct. 2, 1926, the Yankees faced the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series. Lloyd watched from the stands and still remembers the Yankees’ lineup.

“The Yankees had — now it’s like talking about a great religious figure — Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and some other wonderful people, like Tony Lazzeri and Bob Meusel,” Lloyd recalled.

When Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, tore the seat of his pants, Lloyd and the rest of the crowd went crazy as Yankees trainer Doc Woods rushed onto the field with a needle and thread to fix his uniform right there on the field.

“An ordinary person would call time out and get a new pair,” Lloyd said. “Not the Babe. He stood up, on the base, hands on his hips, surveyed the crowd and stood there while they sewed him up.”

Lloyd, a Brooklyn-bred boy with a penchant for salty language, naturally adored the Dodgers.

“I go way back. I’m talking about Brooklyn, I’m talking about Ebbets Field.”

And, naturally, he couldn’t stand the now-San Francisco Giants.

“We kids who grew up in Brooklyn as Dodgers fans, we hated the New York Giants,” Lloyd said. “I don’t mean to tell you we disliked them. We haaaated them.”

The Giants’ early 20th century Hall of Fame manager, John McGraw, had a nickname that he hated: Mugsy. Lloyd and his pre-teen boys feasted on that hatred and waited for him to leave the ballpark. As he made his way to his Buick, Lloyd said, the boys were there.

“We waited until he came out, and we’d say, ‘Aw, you Mugsy bastard!’ and run for the subway,” Lloyd said. “We had done our rite of passage. We were real Dodger fans.”

Lloyd glanced around at the crowd around him and grinned mischievously.

“I have to watch my language here,” he said. “Because I’m from Brooklyn, you see, and we were very naughty with our language. It was considered ordinary conversation.”

He would watch the game, he said, and try to behave himself. As far as baseball goes, he has strong opinions on how the game should be played and relishes saying so.

“I don’t guarantee my politeness,” he said. “I will contain myself, but if you hear four-letter words being spewed at the player who makes an unnecessary error, it’s me.”

Lloyd attended Wednesday’s game at Dodger Stadium with his longtime friend Tim O’Connor, who said the actor told him mid-game that he was intrigued by one major difference between this World Series and the one 91 years ago: the noise.

In Lloyd’s youth, the crowd was always silent as they watched the slow-moving game, until something extraordinary happened.

Wednesday’s wild, extra-innings game — which the Astros won 7-6 in the 11th — was certainly theater. As a quickly extinguished brush fire and an apartment fire burned near the stadium, the teams battled, game-tying home run to game-tying home run.

Fans screamed in joy, only to be screaming in horror minutes later. In the stands, a young boy in a Dodgers shirt melted down, screaming and crying, burying his face in his mother’s shirt as the Astros took the lead.

Lloyd and O’Connor left just a tad early, when it looked as if the Dodgers would win it. He is 102, after all.

But, watching the extra innings on TV, Lloyd was not happy. He declared himself the team’s good-luck charm and kicked himself for leaving.

He’ll be watching as the Dodgers head to Houston on Friday. And he’s got a strong opinion about it.

“The Dodgers,” he said, “should never lose.”

….Continue reading more @ LA Times

Creepy George Bush Sr. Groped Actress from his Wheelchair | Oct 26 2017

George H.W. Bush Apologizes for ‘Sexual Assault’ on Actress

|| Breitbart

“George H.W. Bush has apologized to AMC’s Turn: Washington Spies actress Heather Lind after she accused the former president of “sexual assault” while posing together for a publicity photo.

According to Deadline, Lind made the bombshell accusation in a now-deleted Instagram post. The alleged “assault” occurred in 2014 during a photo-op for the now-canceled AMC show. The elder Bush, who was 89 at the time and wheelchair-bound, allegedly “touched” the actress and told a “dirty joke.”

“He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side,” Lind claims. “He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again. Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say ‘not again.’”

Lind says she told other cast members about the alleged assault and they “helped me that day and continue to support me.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

Why doesn’t Hillary’s ‘dossier’ trick count as treason?

|| NY Post

“What’s the difference between the infamous Russian dossier on Donald Trump and that random fake-news story you saw on Facebook last year? The latter was never used by America’s intelligence community to bolster its case for spying on American citizens nor was it the foundation for a year’s worth of media coverage.

Then again, you get what you pay for. We now know Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid as much as $9 million for the discredited dossier on Trump.

According to The Washington Post, a lawyer named Marc Elias, who represented both the 2016 Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, had hired Fusion GPS, a DC firm working on behalf of the Russian government to soften sanctions at the time, to provide opposition research for them. The firm then hired a former British spy named Christopher Steele who reportedly purchased salacious rumors about Trump from the Russians.

Now, you might expect that the scandalous revelation of a political campaign using opposition research that was partially obtained from a hostile foreign power during a national election would ignite shrieks of “collusion” from all patriotic citizens. After all, only last summer, when it was reported that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who claimed to be in possession of damaging information about Clinton, there was widespread condemnation.

Finally, we were told, a smoking gun tied the Trump campaign to Vladimir Putin. Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine went as far as to suggest that the independent counsel begin investigating treason.

Treason! Trump Jr. didn’t even pay for or accept research.

The Clinton crew, on the other hand, did. They didn’t openly push the contents of the dossier — probably because they knew it was mostly fiction. Instead, Fusion GPS leaked it to their friends in the media.

The dossier ended up in the possession of most major news outlets. Many journalists relied on Fusion GPS to propel coverage. BuzzFeed even posted the entire thing for Americans to read, even though it was more than likely its most scandalous parts were hatched by a foreign government.

The memo dominated newsrooms that were convinced Trump was a Manchurian candidate. No fake-news story came close to having this kind of impact.

Democrats in Washington are now pushing the “Honest Ads Act,” which creates a raft of new regulations and fines for Web sites that don’t do enough to combat fake news. Attempting to control the flow of information into our screens is the hobbyhorse of would-be censors. But since they’re at it, when do we get a bill that fines institutional media organizations that readily embrace bogus foreign dossiers?

Because the dossier didn’t just awaken the Russia-stole-our-democracy narratives in the media. It’s just as likely that the dossier was used by Clinton’s allies in the government.

The Obama administration reportedly relied on the dossier to bolster its spying on US citizens. We know of at least one case where the information was used to justify a FISA warrant on a Trump adviser. And let’s not forget that Steele had reached an agreement to be compensated for his efforts by the FBI.

None of this excuses the actions of Paul Manafort and others who may have benefitted from their relationship with the Russians. Yet, using the very standards Democrats have constructed over the past year, the Fusion GPS story is now the most tangible evidence we possess of Russian interference in the American election.

And at some point, Democrats will have to decide whether it’s wrong for a political campaign to work with foreigners when obtaining opposition research or whether it’s acceptable. We can’t have different standards for Democrats and Republicans.

Otherwise people might start to get the idea that all the histrionics over the past year weren’t really about Russian interference at all, but rather about Hillary losing an election that they assumed she’d win.”

….Continue reading more @ NY Post