Preet Bharara Is Fired After Refusing to Step Down as U.S. Attorney
MAGGIE HABERMAN and BENJAMIN WEISER (NY Times)
trumpalternativefacts.com website post author’s thoughts:
Preet Bharara, the Manhattan federal prosecutor who was asked by President Trump to remain in his post shortly after the election, was fired on Saturday after he refused an order to submit his resignation.
Mr. Bharara’s dismissal capped a brief but highly unusual showdown in which a political appointee installed by Mr. Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, declined an order to submit a resignation.
He told the world what had happened on Twitter.
“I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life,” Mr. Bharara wrote on his personal feed, which he set up in the past two weeks.
Mr. Bharara was among 46 holdover Obama appointees who were called by the acting deputy attorney general on Friday and told to immediately submit their resignations and plan to clear out of their offices.
But Mr. Bharara, who was called to Trump Tower for a meeting with the incoming president in late November, declined to do so.
Mr. Bharara’s office is overseeing a pending case against former close aides and associates of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and an inquiry into people close to Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, who has been a target of Mr. Trump’s ire as he has positioned himself as a vocal opponent of the president’s on the left.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago is heaven — for spies
President Donald Trump relishes the comforts of his Mar-a-Lago estate for repeated weekends away from Washington, but former Secret Service and intelligence officials say the resort is a security nightmare vulnerable to both casual and professional spies.
While Trump’s private club in South Florida has been transformed into a fortress of armed guards, military-grade radar, bomb sniffing dogs and metal-detection checkpoints, there are still notable vulnerabilities, namely the stream of guests who can enter the property without a background check.
And security experts warn that the commander in chief’s frequent visits — four since he took office in January — afford an unprecedented opportunity for eavesdropping and building dossiers on the president’s routines and habits, as well as those of the inner circle around him. They add that with each repeat visit, the security risk escalates.
3 Terrifying Reasons For Trump’s Latest Rant
Early Saturday morning, March 4, the 45th president of the United States alleged in a series of tweets that former president Barack Obama orchestrated a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to tap Trump’s phones at his Trump Tower headquarters last fall in the run-up to the election. Trump concluded that the former president is a “Bad (or sick) guy!”
Sunday morning, Trump called for a congressional investigation.
Trump cited no evidence for his accusation.
Folks, we’ve got a huge problem on our hands. Either:
1. Trump is more nuts than we suspected – a true delusional paranoid. Trump’s outburst was triggered by commentary in the “alt-right” publication, Breitbart News, on Friday, which reported an assertion made Thursday night by right-wing talk-radio host Mark Levin suggesting Obama and his administration used “police state” tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team’s dealings with Russian operatives.
If this was the case, we’ve got a president willing to put the prestige and power of his office behind baseless claims emanating from well-known right-wing purveyors of lies.
Which means Trump shouldn’t be anywhere near the nuclear codes that could obliterate the planet, or near anything else that could determine the fate of America or the world.
Leashes Come Off Wall Street, Gun Sellers, Miners and More
ERIC LIPTON and BINYAMIN APPELBAUMMARCH (NY Times)
Telecommunications giants like Verizon and AT&T will not have to take “reasonable measures” to ensure that their customers’ Social Security numbers, web browsing history and other personal information are not stolen or accidentally released.
Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase will not be punished, at least for now, for not collecting extra money from customers to cover potential losses from certain kinds of high-risk trades that helped unleash the 2008 financial crisis.
And Social Security Administration data will no longer be used to try to block individuals with disabling mental health issues from buying handguns, nor will hunters be banned from using lead-based bullets, which can accidentally poison wildlife, on 150 million acres of federal lands.
These are just a few of the more than 90 regulations that federal agencies and the Republican-controlled Congress have delayed, suspended or reversed in the month and a half since President Trump took office, according to a tally by The New York Times.
Trump-Russia conspirator Alex Oronov dies suspiciously; he lived in Donald Trump’s building
Bill Palmer (The Palmer Report)
Yet another individual directly involved in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal has dropped dead under suspicious circumstances, and for the first time, the deceased is a United States citizen. Alex Oronov, one of the organizers of a plot that had the Kremlin pressuring Trump to oust the president of the Ukraine, has died. Palmer Report has determined that Oronov lived in Donald Trump’s building.
Alex Oronov was the individual who arranged a meeting between Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen and Trump’s Russian former business partner Felix Sater, with the assistance of Russian-controlled Ukrainian politician Andrey Artemenko. That meeting resulted in Cohen delivering a Kremlin-backed proposal to National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s office just before he resigned. The plan involved Donald Trump using Russian blackmail to force out the president of Ukraine, so Artemenko could become president and give Crimea to Russia.
Artemenko announced that Oronov is dead, and he blames the death on the plot becoming public knowledge. The implication seems to be that Vladimir Putin and Russia had Oronov killed after he was outed as a conspirator by the media. It turns out Oronov had direct ties to Donald Trump. Business Insider and Talking Points Memo first reported on the fact that Oronov had died. Palmer Report’s own research team has since determined that Oronov lived in the Trump Hollywood building.
Trump’s charge that he was wiretapped takes presidency into new territory
Karen Tumulty (Washington Post)
Donald Trump’s presidency has veered onto a road with no centerlines or guardrails.
The president’s accusation Saturday that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had tapped his phone “during the very sacred election process” escalated on Sunday into the White House’s call for a congressional investigation of that evidence-free claim.
The audacious tactic was a familiar one for Trump, who has little regard for norms and conventions. When he wants to change a subject, he often does it by touching a match to the dry tinder of a sketchy conspiracy theory.
But the stakes have gotten higher, and the consequences more real and serious, as questions mount over Moscow’s reported attempts to interfere with last year’s presidential election.
The resistance is all in your head: 6 ways to fight Trump brain rot
SOPHIA A. MCCLENNEN (The Salon)
In an appendix to George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” he described “The Principles of Newspeak,” the official language of the authoritarian regime in his novel: “Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought.”
For many, “1984” has served as a guide to the Trump era. But it is not just the lies and the alternate reality of Trump that has given rise to parallels being made to Orwell’s novel. It is also the fact that his administration threatens to diminish our range of thought.
As I wrote on Salon last week, the Trump era is likely to result in massive cognitive fatigue. In fact, unlike the grim world of 1984, the Trump brain rot is far more complex than Orwell’s dystopia. In five main ways the Trump administration, consciously or not, has been threatening our mental capacities.
Since Trump’s election progressive activists have placed considerable attention on how to best form a productive resistance to his platform and policies. We have debated the pros and cons of marches and the strengths and limits of uniting around the Democratic Party. but we have given less attention to the fact that any real resistance requires us to be at our cognitive best.
Hate crimes rise by more than half in New York City due to surge in anti-Semitism
Rachael Pells (The Independent)
Hate crimes in New York City have risen by 55 per cent since this time last year, police figures show.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) said the spike was driven by a 94 per cent surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes.
Crimes listed included swastikas appearing on subways and a bomb threat at the Manhattan Anti-Defamation League.
A total of 56 hate crimes were reported in the city as of 12 February this year, up from 31 over the same period last year.
Some 28 cases of anti-Semitism took place – higher than any other category of hate crime.
This is despite an overall drop in crime across the city, with more than 100 fewer shootings and 15 fewer murders than during the same period in 2015-2016.
The surge in hate crimes follows a national trend, in which police say they are fielding increasing reports and concerns.
Speaking to reporters, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attributed the increase to President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric.
“You can’t have a candidate for president single out groups of Americans, negatively, and not have some ramifications for that,” Mr de Blasio said, “it’s obviously connected to the election.”
Keystone pipeline won’t have to use American steel, despite Trump’s repeated promises
ERIN DOOLEY ANGIE YACK
The Keystone XL pipeline will not be bound by the Donald Trump’s Jan. 24 memo requiring new and retrofitted pipelines to use American steel, the White House said today — and apparently contradicting promises made by the president.
“The way that executive order is written … it’s specific to new pipelines or those that are being repaired. And since this one is already currently under construction, the steel is already literally sitting there, it would be hard to go back,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One. “But I know that everything moving forward would fall under that executive order.”
The presidential directive requires “all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines, inside the borders of the United States, including portions of pipelines, use materials and equipment produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law.”
Schumer and Putin shared doughnuts 14 years ago. Now Trump wants an investigation.
Karoun Demirjian (Washington Post)
President Trump is firing back at the top Senate Democrat calling for an investigation into his administration’s alleged Kremlin ties — by tweeting out pictures of him hobnobbing with Russian President Vladimir Putin almost 14 years ago.
“We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!” Trump wrote in a tweet posted to both his personal and presidential accounts Friday afternoon.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) responded shortly after with a tweet of his own: “Happily talk re: my contact w Mr. Putin & his associates, took place in ’03 in full view of press & public under oath. Would you &your team?”