Part 1, Obama The Big Liar (The Great Pretender) Vs. Trump The Great Truth Teller (We Will Rock You) — Make America Great Again! — Could Not Have Said It Better Myself — Three Cheers For Trump — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 500  July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499  July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498  July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497  July 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 496  June 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 495  June 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 494 June 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 493 June 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 492 June 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 491 June 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 490 June 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 489 June 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 488 June 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 487 June 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 486 June 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 485 June 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 484 June 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 483 June 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 482 June 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 481 June 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 480 June 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 479 June 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 478 June 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 477 June 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 476 June 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 475 June 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 474 May 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 473 May 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 472 May 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 471 May 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 470 May 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 469 May 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 468 May 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 467 May 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 466 May 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 465 May 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 464 May 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 463 May 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 462 May 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 461 May 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 460 May 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 450: April 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 449: April 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Story 1: Part 1, Obama The Big Liar (The Great Pretender) Vs. Trump The Great Truth Teller (We Will Rock You) — Make America Great Again! — Could Not Have Said It Better Myself — Three Cheers For Trump — Videos

Highlights from Donald Trump ‘running for President’ speech

possible-2016-republican-presidential-candidates

Polling Data

Poll Date Bush Walker Carson Rubio Huckabee Paul Trump Cruz Perry Christie Santorum Fiorina Kasich Jindal Graham Spread
RCP Average 6/11 – 6/28 16.3 10.5 9.8 9.3 7.8 7.3 6.5 4.0 3.8 3.3 2.3 2.0 1.5 1.3 1.3 Bush +5.8
CNN/ORC 6/26 – 6/28 19 6 7 6 8 7 12 3 4 3 3 1 2 2 1 Bush +7
FOX News 6/21 – 6/23 15 9 10 8 6 9 11 4 2 2 3 3 2 2 1 Bush +4
NBC/WSJ 6/14 – 6/18 22 17 11 14 9 7 1 4 5 4 0 2 1 0 1 Bush +5
Monmouth 6/11 – 6/14 9 10 11 9 8 6 2 5 4 4 3 2 1 1 2 Carson +1

All 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination Polling Data

Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc., speaks while announcing he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Billionaire television personality and business executive Donald Trump formally began his Republican presidential campaign today in Manhattan, saying that the United States has become "a dumping ground for other people's problems." Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Donald Trump

eight_col_trumpDonald+Trump+Makes+Announcement+Trump+Towedonald-trump-presidential-announcementdonald-trumps-presidential-announcementtrump-president-thumb

obama-liar-liarobama_strategybush obama strategy
isil_obamacoalition
ISISgolf_ISISnukePutin-StratObama-ISIS-Strategyontherunstrategy

September 4, 2014

September 4, 2014

Freddie Mercury – The Great Pretender (Official Video)

Obama: U.S. working to ‘smother’ new ISIS cells

The President Provides an Update on Our Campaign to Degrade and Destroy ISIL

MidPoint | President Obama Speaks at the Pentagon about ISIS

President Obama speaks at the Pentagon about the U.Ss strategy against ISIS. Veteran TV host and political commentator, Steve McPartlin and comedian, Joe DeVito react.

Glenn Beck Exposes Obama’s Fraudulent History and Radicalized Beliefs

Real Story Behind Barack and Michelle Obama

“The Real Story II” Barack and Michelle Obama The Unholy Phony Couple

From the Desk of Donald Trump: Major Announcement

Queen – We Will Rock You

Donald Trump, 2016 Campaign, cartoonists, political cartoon

Donald Trump, 2016 Campaign, cartoonists, political cartoon

The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me…and, just like our country, my organization is better for it.

Donald Trump, Written Statement released July 6, 2015

Donald Trump Speech: 2016 Presidential Announcement 6/16/16 HD

Watch Donald Trump announce his candidacy for U.S. president

Trump defends remarks from his candidacy announcement speech

Trump on seeking the presidency and his plan to defeat ISIS

Donald Trump compares Hillary Clinton email scandal to Blago’s crimes

Donald Trump discusses Presidential run with Tribune editorial board

Donald Trump On Bernie Sanders

Donald Trump Is Running for President – Late Night with Seth Meyers

Announcing: an Announcement!

Donald Trump’s Bullsh*t Speech Wasn’t Politics, It Was Worse

Hypocrite Donald Trump Employs Undocumented Immigrants

Donald Trump success story | Documentary | [Biography of famous people in english]

• Donald Trump • One On One • Hannity • 6/17/15 •

Michael Savage on Donald Trump Running for President – Opening Segment – June 16, 2015

Rush Limbaugh Reacts to Donald Trump Running for President – June 16, 2015

Race for 2016 – Trump: I’m Running For President – Special Report All Star Panel

Bill O’Reilly Talks About The Vilification of Donald Trump Over Illegal Immigrants

Bill O’Reilly Donald Trump Interview. Trump Bashes ‘Tremendously Biased’ NBC, Univision

Ted Cruz – ” Donald Trump Shouldn’t Apologize for Comments About Mexicans “

Donald Trump: My Poll Numbers Will Continue to Climb Because People Know I’m Right

Frank Sinatra – “Theme from New York New York” (Concert Collection)

Billionaire mogul Donald Trump announced his 2016 presidential run Tuesday. Below is the text of his speech:

Last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product – a sign of strength, right? But not for us.

It was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero.

Our labor participation rate was the worst since 1978.

But think of it, GDP below zero, horrible labor participation rate, and our real unemployment is anywhere from 18-20%. Don’t believe the 5.6. Don’t believe it.

That’s right – a lot of people up there can’t get jobs. They can’t get jobs because there are no jobs because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs. They all have our jobs. But the real number, the real number, is anywhere from 18-19 and maybe even 21% and nobody talks about it because it’s a statistic that’s full of nonsense.

DONALD TRUMP IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT

Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day and we as a country are getting weaker. Even our nuclear arsenal doesn’t work.

It came out recently. They have equipment that’s 30 years old and they don’t even know if it works. And I thought it was horrible when it was broadcast on television because boy does that send signals to Putin and all of the other people that look at us and they say ‘OK, that is a group of people and that is a nation that truly has no clue. They don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know what they’re doing.’

We have a disaster called the big lie – Obamacare, Obamacare.

Yesterday it came out that costs are going, for people, up 39, 39, 49 and even 55%. And deductibles are through the roof. You have to get hit by a tractor, literally a tractor, to use it because the deductibles are so high it’s virtually useless. It’s a disaster.N

NEW YORKERS WITH MEXICO ROOTS SLAM DONALD TRUMP

And remember the $5 billion website, 5 billion we spent on a website, and to this day it doesn’t work. A $5 billion dollar website.

I have so many websites. I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a website. It costs me $3.

$5 billion dollar website.

Well you need somebody because politicians are all talk, no action. Nothing’s going to get done. They will not bring us, believe me, to the promised land. They will not.

TWITTER REACTS TO DONALD TRUMP’S BIZARRE 2016 ANNOUNCEMENT

As an example, I’ve been on the circuit making speeches and I hear my fellow Republicans and they’re wonderful people. I like them. They all want me to support them.

They don’t know how to bring it about, they come up to my office. I’m meeting with three of them in the next week and they don’t know: Are you running, are you not running, could we have your support, what do we do, how do we do it?

And I like them. I hear their speeches. And they don’t talk jobs. They don’t talk China. When was the last time you heard ‘China’s killing us?’ They’re devaluing their currency to a level that you wouldn’t believe it makes it impossible for our companies to compete. Impossible.

They’re killing us, but you don’t hear that from anyone else. You don’t hear that from anybody else.

And I watch the speeches. I watch the speeches and they say ‘the sun will rise. The moon will set. All sorts of wonderful things will happen.’

And the people are saying ‘What’s going on? I just want a job. I don’t need the rhetoric, I just want a job.’

And it’s going to get worse because remember, Obamacare really kicks in in 2016, 2016.

Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might even be on one of my courses – I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. So I say, you know what, if he wants to – I have one right next to the White House. Right on the Potomac. If he wants to, if he’d like to play, that’s fine. In fact I’d love him to leave early and play. That would be a very good thing.

But Obamacare kicks in in 2016, really bigly. It is going to be amazingly destructive.

Doctors are quitting.

I have a friend who’s a doctor and he said to me the other day: ‘Donald, I never saw anything like it. I have more accountants than I have nurses. It’s a disaster. My patients are besides themselves. They had a plan that was good. They had a plan. They have no plan now.’

We have to repeal Obamacare and it can be replaced with something much better for everybody. Let it be for everybody, but much better and much less expensive for people and for the government. And we can do it.

So I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life. If you can’t make a good deal with a politician, then there’s something wrong with you. There’s something certainly not very good and that’s what we have representing us.

They will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They are controlled fully, they are controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors and by the special interests. Fully. They control them.

Hey, I have lobbyists. I have to tell you, I have lobbyists that can produce anything for me. They’re great. But you know what? It won’t happen. It won’t happen because we have to stop doing things for some people, but for our country it’s destroying this country.

We have to stop and it has to stop now.

Our country needs, our country needs a truly great leader and we need a truly great leader now.

We need a leader that wrote the Art of the Deal. We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our manufacturing, can bring back our military, can take care of our vets – our vets have been abandoned. And we also need a cheerleader.

You know, when President Obama was elected I said ‘Well, the one thing I think he’ll do well – I think he’ll be a great cheerleader for the country. I think he’d be a great spirit. He was vibrant. He was young. I really thought he would be a great cheerleader.

He’s not a leader, that’s true. You’re right about that. But he wasn’t a cheerleader. He’s actually a negative force. He’s been a negative force. He wasn’t a cheerleader, he was the opposite.

We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again. It’s not great.

We need, we need, we need somebody that literally will take this country and make it great again. We can do that.

And, I will tell you, I love my life. I have a wonderful family. They’re saying, ‘Dad, you’re going to do something that’s so tough.’

You know, all of my life I’ve heard that a truly successful person, a really, really successful person – and even modestly successful – cannot run for public office. Just can’t happen.

And yet, that’s the kind of mindset that you need to make this country great again.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for President of the United States and we are going to make our country great again.

It can happen. Our country has tremendous potential. We have tremendous potential.

We have people that aren’t working. We have people that have no incentive to work. But they’re going to have incentive to work. Because the greatest social program is a job. And they’ll be proud, and they’ll love it, and they’ll make much more money than they would have ever made. And they’ll be doing so well, and we’re going to be thriving as a country. Thriving. It can happen.

I will be the greatest jobs president that god ever created, I tell you that.

I’ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I’ll bring back our jobs, and I’ll bring back our money.

Right now, think of this – we owe China $1.3 trillion. We owe Japan more than that. So they come in, they take our jobs, they take our money and then they loan us back the money and we pay them in interest. And then the dollar goes up, so their deal’s even better.

How stupid are our leaders? How stupid are these politicians to allow this to happen? How stupid are they?

Business mogul Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on Tuesday in New York. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House.CHRISTOPHER GREGORY/GETTY IMAGES

Business mogul Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on Tuesday in New York. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House.

I’m going to tell you a couple of stories about trade, because I’m totally against the trade bill for a number of reasons.

Number one: the people negotiating it don’t have a clue. Our president doesn’t have a clue. He’s a bad negotiator. He’s the one that did Bergdahl. We get Bergdahl, they get five killer terrorists that everybody wanted over there. We get Bergdahl. We get a traitor. We get a no-good traitor and they get the five people that they wanted for years. And those people are now back on the battlefield trying to kill us. That’s the negotiator we have

Take a look at the deal he’s making with Iran. He makes that deal, Israel maybe won’t exist very long. It’s a disaster and we have to protect Israel.

So we need people – I’m a free trader. But the problem with free trade is, you need really talented people to negotiate for you. If you don’t have talented people, if you don’t have great leadership, if you don’t have people that know business – not just a political hack that got the job because he made a contribution to a campaign, which is the way all jobs just about are gotten, free trade is terrible.

Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have people that are stupid. We have people that aren’t smart, and we have people that are controlled by special interests and it’s just not going to work.

So here’s a couple of stories. Happened recently, a friend of mine is a great manufacturer, and you know, China comes over and they dump all their stuff.

I buy it. I buy it because, frankly, I have an obligation to buy it, because they devalue their currency so brilliantly. They just did it recently and nobody thought they could do it again, but with all our problems with Russia, with all our problems with everything, everything, they got away with it again.

And it’s impossible for our people here to compete. So I want to tell you this story. Friend of mine if a great manufacturer. Calls me up a few weeks ago, he’s very upset.

I said, ‘What’s your problem?’

He said, ‘You know, I make a great product.’

I said, ‘I know, I know that, because I buy the product.’

He said, ‘I can’t get it into China. They won’t accept it. I sent a boat over and they actually sent it back. They talked about environmental, they talked about all sorts of crap that had nothing to do with it.’

I said, ‘Oh, wait a minute, that’s terrible. Did anyone know this?’

He said, ‘They do it all the time with other people.’

I said, ‘They send it back?’

He said, ‘Yea, so I finally got it over there, and they charged me a big tariff.’

They’re not supposed to be doing that. I told him. Now they do charge you tariffs on trucks when we send trucks and other things over there.

Ask Boeing. They wanted all their patents and secrets before they agreed to buy planes from Boeing.

Hey, I’m not saying they’re stupid. I like China. I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?

I own a big chunk of the Bank of America building at 1290 Avenue of Americas that I got from China in a war. Very valuable. I love China.

The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower.

I love China. People say, ‘Oh, you don’t like China.’ No, I love them, but their leaders are much smarter than our leaders. And we can’t sustain ourselves with that.

There’s too much – it’s like, it’s like take the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team. That’s the difference between China’s leaders and our leaders.

They are ripping us. We are rebuilding China. We are rebuilding many countries.

China, you got there now – roads, bridges, schools. You never saw anything like it. They have bridges that make the George Washington Bridge look like small potatoes.

And they’re all over the place. We have all the cards, but we don’t know how to use them. We don’t even know that we have the cards, because our leaders don’t understand the game.

We would turn off that spigot by charging them tax until they behave properly.

Now they’re going militarily. They’re building a military island in the middle of the South China Sea – a military island. Now, our country could never do that because we’d have to get environmental clearance and the environmentalists wouldn’t let our country – we would never be able to build in an ocean.

They built it in about one year, this massive military port. They’re building up their military to a point that is very scary.

You have a problem with ISIS, you have a bigger problem with China.

And in my opinion, the new China, believe it or not, in terms of trade is Mexico.

So this man tells me about the manufacturing. I say, ‘that’s a terrible story, I hate to hear it.’

But I have another one, Ford. So Mexico takes a company, car company, that was going to build in Tennessee, rips it out. Everybody thought the deal was dead. Reported in the “Wall Street Journal” recently.

Everybody said that it was a done deal. It’s going in, and that’s going to be it, going into Tennessee -. great state, great people. All of a sudden, at the last moment, this big car manufacturer, foreign, announces they’re not going to Tennessee, they’re going to spend their billion dollars in Mexico instead. Not good.

Now Ford announces a few weeks ago that Ford is going to build a $2.5 billion car and truck and parts manufacturing plant in Mexico. $2.5 billion. It’s going to be one of the largest in the world. Ford – good company.

So I announced that I’m running for President. I would, one of the early things I would do, probably before I even got in, and I wouldn’t even use – you know, I know the smartest negotiators in the world.

I know the good ones, I know the bad ones, I know the overrated ones. You’ve got a lot that are overrated. They get good stories because the newspapers get buffaloed. But they’re not good.

But I know the best negotiators in the world and I’d put them one for each country. Believe me folks, we will do very, very well. Very, very well.

But I wouldn’t even waste my time with this one. I would call up the head of Ford, who I know. If I was President I’d say ‘Congratulations, I understand that you’re building a nice, $2.5 billion dollar factory in Mexico and that you’re going to take your cars and sell them to the United States. Zero tax – just across the board.’

And you say to yourself, ‘How does that help us, right? Where is that good.’ It’s not.

So I’d say ‘Congratulations, that’s the good news. Let me give you the bad news. Every car, and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35% tax. Okay? And that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction, and that’s it.’

Now here’s what’s going to happen. If it’s not me in the position, if it’s one of these politicians that we’re running against, you know, the 400 people that we’re – and here’s what going to happen. They’re not so stupid. They know it’s not a good thing. And they may even be upset by it,

But then they’re going to get a call from their donors or probably from the lobbyists for Ford and say ‘you can’t do that to Ford, because Ford takes care of me, and I take care of you, and you can’t do that to Ford.’

And you know what? No problem. They’re going to build in Mexico, they’re going to take away thousands of jobs. That’s very bad for us. So under President Trump, here’s what would happen: The head of Ford will call me back, I would say within an hour after I told him the bad news, but it could be he’d want to be cool and he’ll wait until the next day. You know, they want to be a little cool.

And he’ll say, ‘Please, please, please.’

He’ll beg for a little while, and I’ll say, ‘Sorry, no interest.’

Then he’ll call all sorts of political people and I’ll say ‘Sorry fellas, no interest.’

Because I don’t need anybody’s money. It’s nice. I don’t need anybody’s money. I’m using my own money. I’m not using lobbyists, I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.

And by the way, I’m not even saying that to brag. That’s the kind of mindset, that’s the kind of thinking you need for this country.

So, because we’ve got to make the country rich. It sounds crass. Somebody said ‘oh, that’s crass.’ It’s not crass.

We’ve got $18 trillion in debt, we’ve got nothing but problems.

We’ve got a military that needs equipment all over the place. We’ve got nuclear weapons that are obsolete.

We’ve got nothing.

We’ve got social security that’s going to be destroyed if somebody like me doesn’t bring money into the country. All these other people want to cut the hell out of it. I’m not going to cut it at all. I’m going to bring money in, and we’re going to save it.

But here is what’s going to happen. After I’m called by 30 friends of mine who contributed to different campaigns, after I’m called by all of the special interests and by the donors and by the lobbyists – and they have zero chance at convincing me. Zero. I’ll get a call they next day from the head of Ford.

He’ll say, ‘Please reconsider.’

I’ll say, ‘No.’

He’ll say, ‘Mr. President, we’ve decided to move the plant back to the United States. We’re not going to build it in Mexico.’

That’s it. They’ll have no choice. They have no choice. There are hundred of things like that.

I’ll give you another example: Saudi Arabia. They make a billion dollars a day, a billion dollars a day.

I love the Saudis, many are in this building. They make a billion dollars a day. Whenever they have problems, we send over the ships. We send, we’re going to protect – what are we doing? They got nothing but money.

If the right person asked them, they’d pay a fortune. They wouldn’t be there except for us.

And believe me, you look at the border with Yemen – you remember Obama a year ago, Yemen was a great victory. Two weeks later the place was blown up. Everybody.

And they kept our equipment. They always keep our equipment. We ought to send used equipment, right? They always keep our equipment, we ought to send some real junk because, frankly, it would be – we ought to send our surplus. We’re always losing this gorgeous, brand-new stuff.

But look at that border with Saudi Arabia. Do you really think that these people are interested in Yemen? Saudi Arabia without us is gone. They’re gone.

And I’m the one that made all of the right predictions about Iraq. You know, all of these politicians that I’m running against now, it’s so nice to say I’m running as opposed to if I run, if I run – I’m running.

But all of these politicians that I’m running against now, they’re trying to dissociate. I mean, you look at Bush – it took him five days to answer the question on Iraq. He couldn’t answer the question. He didn’t know.

I said, ‘Is he intelligent?’

And then I looked at Rubio. He was unable to answer the question. He didn’t know.

How are these people going to lead us? How are we going to go back and made it great again? We can’t They don’t have a clue. They can’t lead us. They can’t.

They can’t even answer simple questions. It was terrible, but Saudi Arabia is in big, big trouble.

Now, thanks to fracking and other things, the oil is all over the place. And I used to say it, there are ships at sea, and this was during the worst crisis, that were loaded up with oil. And the cartel kept the prices up because, again, they were smarter than our leaders.

They were smarter than our leaders. There is so much wealth out there that we can make our country so rich again and, therefore, make it great again.

Because we need money. We’re dying. We’re dying. We need money. We have to do it and we need the right people.

So Ford will come back. They’ll all come back. And I will say this – this is going to be an election, in my opinion, that’s based on competence.

Somebody said to me the other day, a reporter, very nice reporter – ‘But Mr. Trump, you’re not a nice person.’

But actually, I am. I think I’m a nice person. Does my family like me? I think so. Look at my family.

I’m proud of my family by the way. Speaking of my family – Melania, Barron, Kai, Donny, Dunn, Vanessa, Tiffany, Ivanka did a great job. Did she do a great job? Jarrett, Laura and Eric. I’m very proud of my family. They’re a great family.

So the report said to me the other day ‘But Mr. Trump, you’re not a nice person. How can you get people to vote for you?’

I said, ‘I don’t know. I think that, number one, I am a nice person. I give a lot of money away to charities and other things.’

I think I’m actually a very nice person, but I said ‘This is going to be an election that’s based off competence. Because people are tired of these nice people and they’re tired of being ripped of by everybody in the world and they’re tired of spending more money on education than any nation in the world per capita. Than any nation in the world.’

And we’re 26th in the world. Twenty-five countries are better than us at education, and some of them are like, third-world countries.

But we’re becoming a third-world country because of our infrastructure, our airports, our roads, everything.

So one of the things I did, and I said, you know what I’ll do? I’ll do it. And a lot of people said ‘he’ll never run. Number one, he won’t want to give up his lifestyle.’

They’re right about that, but I’m doing it.

Number two – I’m a private company, so nobody knows what I’m worth. And the one thing is, when you run, you have to announce and certify to all sorts of governmental authorities, your net worth.

So I said, ‘that’s okay, I’m proud of my net worth.’

I’ve done an amazing job. I started off in a small office with my father in Brooklyn and Queens. And my father said – and I love my father. I learned so much. He was a great negotiator.

I learned so much just sitting as his feet playing with blocks, listening to him negotiate with subcontractors. But I learned a lot.

But he used to say ‘Donald, don’t go into Manhattan. That’s the big leagues. We don’t know anything about that. Don’t do it.’

But I said, ‘Dad, I gotta go into Manhattan. I gotta build those buildings. I’ve got to do it, Dad, I’ve got to do it.’

And after four or five years in Brooklyn, I ventured into Manhattan and did a lot of great deals: the Grand Hyatt hotel, I was responsible for the convention center on the west side.

I did a lot of great deals and I did them early and young, and now I’m building all over the world. And I love what I’m doing.

But they all said, a lot of the pundits on television, ‘well Donald will never run and one of the main reasons is, he’s private, and he’s probably not as successful as everybody thinks.’

So I said to myself, ‘you know, nobody’s ever going to know unless I run because I’m really proud of my success, I really am.’

I’ve employed tens of thousands of people over my lifetime. That means medical, that means education, that means everything.

So a large accounting firm and my accountants have been working for months because I’m big and complex and they put together a statement, a financial statement. It’s a summary, but everything will be filed eventually with the government. And we don’t need extensions or anything, we’ll be filing it right on time.

We don’t need anything. And it was even reported incorrectly yesterday, because they said he had assets of nine billion.

I said, ‘no, that the wrong number. That’s the wrong number, not assets.’

So they put together this, and before I say it, I have to say this: I made it the old-fashioned way. It’s real estate. it’s labor and it’s union – good and some bad – and lots of people that aren’t unions and it’s all over the place and building all over the world.

And I have assets, big accounting firm – one of the most highly respected – $9,240,000,000.

And I have liabilities of about $500 – that’s long-term debt, very low interest rates.

In fact, one of the big banks came to me, said, ‘Donald, you don’t have enough borrowing, can we loan you $4 billion.”

I said ‘I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I’ve been there. I don’t want it.”

But in two seconds, they give me whatever I wanted. So I have a total net worth, and now with the increase, it’ll be well-over $10 billion. But here, a total net worth of — net worth, not assets, not — a net worth, after all debt, after all expenses, the greatest assets — Trump Tower, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Bank of America building in San Francisco, 40 Wall Street, sometimes referred to as the Trump building right opposite the New York — many other places all over the world.

So the total is $8,737,540,000.

Now I’m not doing that, I’m not doing that to brag, because you know what? I don’t have to brag. I don’t have to, believe it or not.

I’m doing that to say that that’s the kind of thinking our country needs. We need that thinking. We have the opposite thinking.

We have losers. We have losers. We have people that don’t have it. We have people that are morally corrupt. We have people that are selling this country down the drain.

So I put together this statement, and the only reason I’m telling you about it today is because we really do have to get going, because if we have another three or four years — you know, we’re at $8 trillion now. We’re soon going to be at $20 trillion.

According to the economists, who I’m not big believers in, but, nevertheless, this is what they’re saying, that $24 trillion. We’re very close, that’s the point of no return. $24 trillion.

We will be there soon. That’s when we become Greece. That’s when we become a country that’s unsalvageable. And we’re gonna be there very soon. We’re gonna be there very soon.

So, just to sum up, I would do various things very quickly. I would repeal and replace the big lie, Obamacare.

I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.

Mark my words.

Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump. Nobody.

I will find, within our military, I will find the General Patton or I will find General MacArthur, I will find the right guy. I will find the guy that’s going to take that military and make it really work. Nobody, nobody will be pushing us around.

I will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And we won’t be using a man like Secretary Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiation, who’s making a horrible and laughable deal, who’s just being tapped along as they make weapons right now, and then goes into a bicycle race at 72 years old, and falls and breaks his leg.

I won’t be doing that. And I promise I will never be in a bicycle race. That I can tell you.

I will immediately terminate President Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration, immediately.

Fully support and back up the Second Amendment.

Now, it’s very interesting. Today I heard it. Through stupidity, in a very, very hard core prison, interestingly named Clinton, two vicious murderers, two vicious people escaped, and nobody knows where they are.

And a woman was on television this morning, and she said, ‘You know, Mr. Trump,’ and she was telling other people, and I actually called her, and she said, ‘You know, Mr. Trump, I always was against guns. I didn’t want guns. And now since this happened,’ it’s up in the prison area, ‘my husband and I are finally in agreement, because he wanted the guns. We now have a gun on every table. We’re ready to start shooting.’

I said, ‘Very interesting.’

So protect the Second Amendment.

End, end Common Core. Common Core should, it is a disaster. Bush is totally in favor of Common Core.

I don’t see how he can possibly get the nomination. He’s weak on immigration. He’s in favor of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can’t do it.

We have to end, education has to be local.

Rebuild the country’s infrastructure. Nobody can do that like me. Believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought.

I look at the roads being built all over the country, and I say I can build those things for one-third. What they do is unbelievable, how bad.

You know, we’re building on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Old Post Office, we’re converting it into one of the world’s great hotels. It’s gonna be the best hotel in Washington, D.C. We got it from the General Services Administration in Washington. The Obama administration. We got it. It was the most highly sought after — or one of them, but I think the most highly sought after project in the history of General Services.

We got it. People were shocked, Trump got it. Well, I got it for two reasons. Number one, we’re really good. Number two, we had a really good plan. And I’ll add in the third, we had a great financial statement. Because the General Services, who are terrific people, by the way, and talented people, they wanted to do a great job. And they wanted to make sure it got built.

So we have to rebuild our infrastructure, our bridges, our roadways, our airports.

You come into LaGuardia Airport, it’s like we’re in a third world country. You look at the patches and the 40-year-old floor. They throw down asphalt, and they throw.

You look at these airports, we are like a third world country. And I come in from China and I come in from Qatar and I come in from different places, and they have the most incredible airports in the world. You come to back to this country and you have LAX, disaster. You have all of these disastrous airports. We have to rebuild our infrastructure.

Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it.

Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it. People have been paying it for years. And now many of these candidates want to cut it.

You save it by making the United States, by making us rich again, by taking back all of the money that’s being lost.

Renegotiate our foreign trade deals.

Reduce our $18 trillion in debt, because, believe me, we’re in a bubble. We have artificially low interest rates. We have a stock market that, frankly, has been good to me, but I still hate to see what’s happening. We have a stock market that is so bloated.

Be careful of a bubble because what you’ve seen in the past might be small potatoes compared to what happens. So be very, very careful.

And strengthen our military and take care of our vets. So, so important.

Sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Remarks by the President on Progress in the Fight Against ISIL

The Pentagon

4:10 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend — especially our men and women in uniform. This Fourth of July we were honored to once again welcome some of our incredible troops and their families to share Fourth of July and fireworks at the White House. It was another chance for us, on behalf of the American people, to express our gratitude for their extraordinary service around the world every day.

And that includes the work that brings me here today — our mission to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL. This is a cause, a coalition, that’s united countries across the globe — some 60 nations, including Arab partners. Our comprehensive strategy against ISIL is harnessing all elements of American power, across our government — military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic, development and perhaps most importantly, the power of our values.

Last month, I ordered additional actions in support of our strategy. I just met with my national security team as part of our regular effort to assess our efforts — what’s working and what we can do better. Secretary Carter, Chairman Dempsey, I want to thank you and your team for welcoming us and for your leadership, including General Austin who’s leading the military campaign. And I want to summarize briefly where we stand.

I want to start by repeating what I’ve said since the beginning. This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. ISIL is opportunistic and it is nimble. In many places in Syria and Iraq, including urban areas, it’s dug in among innocent civilian populations. It will take time to root them out — and doing so must be the job of local forces on the ground, with training and air support from our coalition.

As with any military effort, there will be periods of progress, but there are also going to be some setbacks — as we’ve seen with ISIL’s gains in Ramadi in Iraq and central and southern Syria. But today, it’s also important for us to recognize the progress that’s been made.

Our coalition has now hit ISIL with more than 5,000 airstrikes. We’ve taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps. We’ve eliminated thousands of fighters, including senior ISIL commanders. And over the past year, we’ve seen that when we have an effective partner on the ground, ISIL can be pushed back.

In Iraq, ISIL lost at the Mosul Dam. ISIL lost at Mount Sinjar. ISIL has lost repeatedly across Kirkuk Province. ISIL lost at Tikrit. Altogether, ISIL has lost more than a quarter of the populated areas that it had seized in Iraq. In Syria, ISIL lost at Kobani. It’s recently endured losses across northern Syria, including the key city of Tal Abyad, denying ISIL a vital supply route to Raqqa, its base of operations in Syria.

So these are reminders that ISIL’s strategic weaknesses are real. ISIL is surrounded by countries and communities committed to its destruction. It has no air force; our coalition owns the skies. ISIL is backed by no nation. It relies on fear, sometimes executing its own disillusioned fighters. Its unrestrained brutality often alienates those under its rule, creating new enemies. In short, ISIL’s recent losses in both Syria and Iraq prove that ISIL can and will be defeated.

Indeed, we’re intensifying our efforts against ISIL’s base in Syria. Our airstrikes will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that fund so much of their operations. We’re going after the ISIL leadership and infrastructure in Syria — the heart of ISIL that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world. Partnering with other countries — sharing more information, strengthening laws and border security — allows us to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Syria as well as Iraq, and to stem, obviously, the flow of those fighters back into our own countries. This continues to be a challenge, and, working together, all our nations are going to need to do more, but we’re starting to see some progress.

We’ll continue cracking down on ISIL’s illicit finance around the world. By the way, if Congress really wants to help in this effort, they can confirm Mr. Adam Szubin, our nominee for Treasury Under Secretary to lead this effort. This is a vital position to our counterterrorism efforts. Nobody suggests Mr. Szubin is not qualified. He’s highly qualified. Unfortunately, his nomination has been languishing up on the Hill, and we need the Senate to confirm him as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we continue to ramp up our training and support of local forces that are fighting ISIL on the ground. As I’ve said before, this aspect of our strategy was moving too slowly. But the fall of Ramadi has galvanized the Iraqi government. So, with the additional steps I ordered last month, we’re speeding up training of ISIL [Iraqi] forces, including volunteers from Sunni tribes in Anbar Province.

More Sunni volunteers are coming forward. Some are already being trained, and they can be a new force against ISIL. We continue to accelerate the delivery of critical equipment, including anti-tank weapons, to Iraqi security forces, including the Peshmerga and tribal fighters. And I made it clear to my team that we will do more to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria.

Now, all this said, our strategy recognizes that no amount of military force will end the terror that is ISIL unless it’s matched by a broader effort — political and economic — that addresses the underlying conditions that have allowed ISIL to gain traction. They have filled a void, and we have to make sure that as we push them out that void is filled. So, as Iraqi cities and towns are liberated from ISIL, we’re working with Iraq and the United Nations to help communities rebuild the security, services and governance that they need. We continue to support the efforts of Prime Minister Abadi to forge an inclusive and effective Iraqi government that unites all the people of Iraq — Shia, Sunnis, Kurds and all minority communities.

In Syria, the only way that the civil war will end — and in a way so that the Syrian people can unite against ISIL — is an inclusive political transition to a new government, without Bashar Assad — a government that serves all Syrians. I discussed this with our Gulf Cooperation Council partners at Camp David and during my recent call with President Putin. I made it clear the United States will continue to work for such a transition.

And a glimmer of good news is I think an increasing recognition on the part of all the players in the region that given the extraordinary threat that ISIL poses it is important for us to work together, as opposed to at cross-purposes, to make sure that an inclusive Syrian government exists.

While the focus of our discussions today was on Iraq and Syria, ISIL and its ideology also obviously pose a grave threat beyond the region. In recent weeks we’ve seen deadly attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. We see a growing ISIL presence in Libya and attempts to establish footholds across North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Southeast Asia. We’ve seen attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, France and Copenhagen.

So I’ve called on the international community to unite against this scourge of violent extremism. In this fight, the United States continues to lead. When necessary to prevent attacks against our nation, we’ll take direct action against terrorists. We’ll continue to also partner with nations from Afghanistan to Nigeria to build up their security forces. We’re going to work day and night with allies and partners to disrupt terrorist networks and thwart attacks, and to smother nascent ISIL cells that may be trying to develop in other parts of the world.

This also includes remaining vigilant in protecting against attacks here in the homeland. Now, I think it’s important for us to recognize the threat of violent extremism is not restricted to any one community. Here in the United States, we’ve seen all kinds of homegrown terrorism. And tragically, recent history reminds us how even a single individual motivated by a hateful ideology with access to dangerous weapons can inflict horrendous harm on Americans. So our efforts to counter violent extremism must not target any one community because of their faith or background, including patriotic Muslim Americans who are our partners in keeping our country safe.

That said, we also have to acknowledge that ISIL has been particularly effective at reaching out to and recruiting vulnerable people around the world, including here in the United States. And they are targeting Muslim communities around the world. Numerous individuals have been arrested across the country for plotting attacks or attempting to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Two men apparently inspired by ISIL opened fire in Garland, Texas. And because of our success over the years in improving our homeland security, we’ve made it harder for terrorists to carry out large-scale attacks like 9/11 here at home.

But the threat of lone wolves or small cells of terrorists is complex — it’s harder to detect and harder to prevent. It’s one of the most difficult challenges that we face. And preventing these kinds of attacks on American soil is going to require sustained effort.

So I just want to repeat, the good news is that because of extraordinary efforts from law enforcement as well as our military intelligence, we are doing a better job at preventing any large-scale attacks on the homeland. On the other hand, the small, individual lone wolf attacks or small cells become harder to detect and they become more sophisticated, using new technologies. And that means that we’re going to have to pick up our game to prevent these attacks.

It’s also true why, ultimately, in order for us to defeat terrorist groups like ISIL and al Qaeda it’s going to also require us to discredit their ideology — the twisted thinking that draws vulnerable people into their ranks. As I’ve said before — and I know our military leaders agree — this broader challenge of countering violent extremism is not simply a military effort. Ideologies are not defeated with guns; they’re defeated by better ideas — a more attractive and more compelling vision.

So the United States will continue to do our part, by working with partners to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, especially online. We’ll constantly reaffirm through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam. We’re fighting terrorists who distort Islam and whose victims are mostly Muslims. But around the world, we’re also going to insist on partnering with Muslim communities as they seek security, prosperity and the dignity that they deserve. And we’re going to expect those communities to step up in terms of pushing back as hard as they can, in conjunction with other people of goodwill, against these hateful ideologies in order to discredit them more effectively, particularly when it comes to what we’re teaching young people.

And this larger battle for hearts and minds is going to be a generational struggle. It’s ultimately not going to be won or lost by the United States alone. It will be decided by the countries and the communities that terrorists like ISIL target. It’s going to be up to Muslim communities, including scholars and clerics, to keep rejecting warped interpretations of Islam, and to protect their sons and daughters from recruitment. It will be up to all people — leaders and citizens — to reject the sectarianism that so often fuels the resentments and conflicts upon which terrorists are currently thriving. It will be up to governments to address the political and economic grievances that terrorists exploit.

Nations that empower citizens to decide their own destiny, that uphold human rights for all their people, that invest in education and create opportunities for their young people — those can be powerful antidotes to extremist ideologies. Those are the countries that will find a true partner in the United States.

In closing, let me note that this Fourth of July we celebrated 239 years of American independence. Across more than two centuries, we’ve faced much bigger, much more formidable challenges than this — Civil War, a Great Depression, fascism, communism, terrible natural disasters, 9/11. And every time, every generation, our nation has risen to the moment. We don’t simply endure; we emerge stronger than before. And that will be the case here.

Our mission to destroy ISIL and to keep our country safe will be difficult. It will take time. There will be setbacks as well as progress. But as President and Commander-in-Chief, I want to say to all our men and women in uniform who are serving in this operation — our pilots, the crews on the ground, our personnel not only on the ground but at sea, our intelligence teams and our diplomatic teams — I want to thank you. We are proud of you, and you have my total confidence that you’re going to succeed.

To the American people, I want to say we will continue to be vigilant. We will persevere. And just as we have for more than two centuries, we will ultimately prevail.

Thank you very much, everybody. And thanks to the team up on the stage here with me — they’re doing an outstanding job.

Q Take a question?

THE PRESIDENT: You know what, I will take a question. Go ahead.

Q Every servicemember who is listening to you today, Mr. President, is wondering, are you going to veto the defense bills that are going to pay me? What is your latest thinking on that? Because we’ve heard secondhand through statements of policy that your advisors would threaten a veto. What’s your take, sir? Would you veto the appropriations bills?

THE PRESIDENT: Our men and women are going to get paid. And if you’ll note that I’ve now been President for six and a half years and we’ve had some wrangling with Congress in the past — our servicemembers haven’t missed a paycheck.

But what is also important in terms of our budget is making sure that we are not short-changing all the elements of American power that allow us to secure the nation and to project our power around the world. So what we’re not going to do is to accept a budget that short-changes our long-term requirements for new technologies, for readiness. We’re not going to eat our seed corn by devoting too much money on things we don’t need now and robbing ourselves of the capacity to make sure that we’re prepared for future threats.

I’ve worked very closely with the Chairman and the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a budget that is realistic and that looks out into the future and says this is how we’re going to handle any possible contingency. And we can’t do that if we’ve got a budget that short-changes vital operations and continues to fund things that are not necessary.

We also have to remind ourselves that the reason we have the best military in the world is, first and foremost, because we’ve got the best troops in history. But it’s also because we’ve got a strong economy, and we’ve got a well-educated population. And we’ve got an incredible research operation and universities that allow us to create new products that then can be translated into our military superiority around the world. We short-change those, we’re going to be less secure.

So the way we have to look at this budget is to recognize that, A, we can’t think short term, we’ve got to think long term; and B, part of our national security is making sure that we continue to have a strong economy and that we continue to make the investments that we need in things like education and research that are going to be vital for us to be successful long term.

Q As an Army reservist, I’m curious to know if you have any plans to send any more American troops overseas right now, any additional forces.

THE PRESIDENT: There are no current plans to do so. That’s not something that we currently discussed. I’ve always said that I’m going to do what’s necessary to protect the homeland.

One of the principles that we all agree on, though, and I pressed folks pretty hard because in these conversations with my military advisors I want to make sure I’m getting blunt and unadultered [sic] uncensored advice. But in every one of the conversations that we’ve had, the strong consensus is that in order for us to succeed long-term in this fight against ISIL we have to develop local security forces that can sustain progress.

It is not enough for us to simply send in American troops to temporarily set back organizations like ISIL, but to then, as soon as we leave, see that void filled once again with extremists. It is going to be vital for us to make sure that we are preparing the kinds of local ground forces and security forces with our partners that can not only succeed against ISIL, but then sustain in terms of security and in terms of governance.

Because if we try to do everything ourselves all across the Middle East, all across North Africa, we’ll be playing Whack-a-Mole and there will be a whole lot of unintended consequences that ultimately make us less secure.

All right? Thank you. I didn’t even plan to do this. (Laughter.) You guys got two bonus questions.

Thank you.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/transcript-donald-trump-2016-presidential-announcement-article-1.2260117

Donald Trump

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Donald Trump (disambiguation).
Donald Trump
Donald Trump March 2015.jpg

Trump at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), March 2015
Born Donald John Trump
June 14, 1946 (age 69)
Queens, New York, US
Residence
Alma mater Fordham University (transferred)
University of Pennsylvania (B.S. Economics)
Occupation  • Chairman and president of The Trump Organization[1]
• Chairman of Trump Plaza Associates, LLC[2]
• Chairman of Trump Atlantic City Associates[2]
• Host of The Apprentice(formerly)
Years active 1968–present
Salary $60 million[2]
Net worth Increase US$4.1 billion (July 2015)[2]
Political party Republican (Before 1999; 2009–2011; 2012-present)
Reform Party (1999–2001)[3]
Democratic (2001–2009)[4]
Independent (2011–2012)[5]
Religion Presbyterianism[6]
Spouse(s) Ivana Zelníčková (1977–1992)
Marla Maples (1993–1999)
Melania Knauss (2005–present)
Children Donald
Ivanka
Eric
Tiffany
Barron
Signature
Donald Trump Signature.svg
Website
Official website

Donald John Trump, Sr. (born June 14, 1946) is an American business magnate, investor,[7] television personality, author, and politician. Currently running for the office of President of the United States, he is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization, and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts.[1] Trump’s lifestyle and outspoken manner, as well as his best-selling books and media appearances, have also made him an American celebrity, a status which has been further amplified by the success of the NBC reality show The Apprentice that he hosted.[2]

Trump is a son of Fred Trump, a prominent New York City real estate developer.[8] Donald Trump worked for his father’s firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1968 officially joined the company.[9] He was given control of the company in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization.[10][11] Trump remains a major figure in the real estate industry in the United States and a celebrity for his prominent media exposure.[12]

In 2010, Trump expressed an interest in becoming a candidate for President of the United States in the 2012 election,[13][14] but in May 2011, he announced he would not run.[15] He was a featured speaker at the 2013Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).[16] In 2013, Trump began researching a possible presidential bid in the 2016 election,[17][18] and, on June 16, 2015, he formally announced his candidacy for President of the United States in the 2016 election at Trump Tower in Manhattan, to which end he is seeking the nomination of the Republican Party.[19][20]

Early life and education

Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, New York, one of five children of Mary Anne (née MacLeod) and Fred Trump, who married in 1936. His oldest brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 at the age of 43.[21] Trump’s mother was a Scottish immigrant, born on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland,[22] and Trump’s paternal grandparents were German immigrants.[23] His grandfather, Frederick Trump ( Friedrich Drumpf), immigrated to the United States in 1885, and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1892. Frederick married Donald’s grandmother, Elisabeth Christ (October 10, 1880 – June 6, 1966),[24] at Kallstadt, Bavaria, Germany, on August 26, 1902. They had three children.

Trump attended the Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills, Queens, as did some of his siblings. At age 13, after he had some difficulties there, his parents sent him to the New York Military Academy (NYMA), hoping to direct his energy and assertiveness in a positive manner.[25] At NYMA, in rural New York, Trump earned academic honors,[citation needed] and played varsity football in 1962,[citation needed] varsity soccer in 1963,[citation needed] and varsity baseball from 1962 to 1964[citation needed] (baseball captain 1964).[citation needed]

Trump attended Fordham University in the Bronx for two years, before transferring to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, because Wharton then had one of the few real estate studies departments in U.S. academia.[26] He graduated in 1968, with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.[27]

Business career

Trump began his career at his father’s real estate company,[28] Elizabeth Trump and Son,[29] which focused on middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. One of Trump’s first projects, while he was still in college, was the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962. Trump became intimately involved in the project and with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1200-unit complex with a 66 percent vacancy rate to 100 percent occupancy within two years.[citation needed] In 1972 the Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million.[30]

In 1971, Trump moved to Manhattan and became involved in larger building projects and used attractive architectural design to win public recognition.[8] He made plans to acquire and develop the old Penn Central for $60 million with no money down.[31] Later, with the help of a 40-year tax abatement from the New York City government, he turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt[32] and created The Trump Organization.[33]

New York City had a plan to build the Javits Convention Center on property for which Trump held a right-to-buy option. Trump estimated his company could have completed the project for $110 million[34] but the city rejected his offer and Trump received a broker’s fee on the sale of the property instead. Repairs on The Wollman Rink in Central Park (built in 1955) were started in 1980 with an expected 2½-year construction schedule but was nowhere near completion by 1986. Trump took over the management of the project, at no cost to the city, and completed it in three months for $1.95 million, which was $750,000 less than the initial budget.[35]

In 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International.[36] This expansion, both personal and business, led to mounting debt.[37]

By 1989, poor business decisions left Trump unable to meet loan payments. Trump financed the construction of his third casino, the $1 billion Taj Mahal, primarily with high-interest junk bonds. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, by 1991 increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy[37] and to the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bond holders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid the risk of losing more money in court. The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the original bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates on the debt and more time to pay it off.[38]

The late 1990s saw a resurgence in his financial situation. In 2001, he completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters.[39] Also, he began construction on Trump Place, a multi-building development along theHudson River. Trump owns commercial space in Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 44-story mixed-use (hotel and condominium) tower on Columbus Circle. Trump owns several million square feet of prime Manhattan real estate.[40]

Trump has developed many real estate projects, such as Trump International Hotel and Tower – Honolulu, Trump International Hotel and Tower – Chicago, Trump International Hotel and Tower – Toronto, and Trump Tower – Tampa. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, one Trump construction project was put on hold in favor of another (Trump International Hotel and Tower – Fort Lauderdale). Meanwhile, Trump Towers – Atlanta is being developed in a housing market having the nation’s second-highest inventory of unsold homes.[41]

In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth at $4.1 billion.[2] In June 2015, Business Insider published a June 30, 2014, financial statement supplied by Trump. The statement reflects his net worth as $8.7 billion. Of that amount, $3.3 billion is represented by “Real Estate Licensing Deals, Brand and Branded Developments”, described by Business Insider as “basically [implying] that Trump values his character at $3.3 billion”.[42]

Business ventures and investments

The Trump Organization owns, operates, develops and invests in real estate around the world such as Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

Trump branding and licensing

Beyond his traditional ventures in the real estate, hospitality, and entertainment industries and having carved out a niche for the Trump brand within these industries, Trump has since then moved on to establish the Trump name and brand in other industries and products. Trump has succeeded in marketing the Trump name on a large number of products, including Trump Financial (a mortgage firm), Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), Trump Restaurants (located in Trump Tower and consisting of Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and Trump Bar), GoTrump (an online travel website),[43] Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men’s accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance (2004), Trump magazine, Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump home (home furnishings), Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump The Game (1989 board game), Donald Trump’s Real Estate Tycoon (a business simulation game), Trump Books, Trump Model Management, Trump Shuttle, Trump Ice, Trump Mortgage, Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks. In addition, Trump reportedly receives $1.5 million for each one-hour presentation he does for The Learning Annex.[44]

In 2011, Forbes’ financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputes this valuation, saying that his brand is worth about $3 billion.[45] Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects.[46] For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name.[46] According to Forbes, this portion of Trump’s empire, actually run by his children, is by far his most valuable, having a $562 million valuation. According to Forbes there are 33 licensing projects under development including seven “condo hotels” (the seven Trump International Hotel and Tower developments).

Net worth

In April 2011, amidst speculation whether Trump would run as a candidate in the US presidential election of 2012, Politico quoted unnamed sources close to him stating that, if Trump should decide to run for president, he would file “financial disclosure statements that [would] show his net worth [was] in excess of $7 billion with more than $250 million of cash, and very little debt.”[47] (Presidential candidates are required to disclose their finances after announcing their intentions to run.) Although Trump did not run as a candidate in the 2012 elections, his professionally prepared 2012 financial disclosure was published in his book stating a $7 billion net worth.[48]Estimates of Trump’s net worth have fluctuated along with real estate valuations: In 2015, Forbes listed it as $4.1 billion.[49] On June 16, 2015, just prior announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Trump released professionally prepared financial disclosure statements to the media stating a net worth of almost $9 billion.[50] Some business journalists have expressed skepticism of the higher net worth estimate.[51]

Trump Tower

Trump Tower, at 725 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan

Trump Tower is a 58-story mixed-use skyscraper at 725 Fifth Avenue, at the corner of East 56th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It was developed by Trump and the Equitable Life Assurance Company. It is now just developed/owned by Donald Trump, and designed by Der Scutt of Swanke, Hayden Connell.[citation needed]

Stock market investments

In 2011, Trump made a rare foray into the stock market after being disappointed with the depressed American real estate market and facing poor returns on bank deposits. He stated that he wasn’t a stock market person, but he also stated that prime real estate at good prices is hard to get. Among the stocks Trump purchased, he stated he bought stock in Bank of America, Citigroup, Caterpillar Inc., Intel, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble.[7] In December 2012, Trump revealed that he also added shares of Facebook to his stock portfolio.[52]

Sports

In 1983 Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals for the inaugural season of the United States Football League (USFL). Trump tried to lure legendary coach Don Shula from the Miami Dolphins. Legend has it that Shula asked for a condominium in Trump Tower as part of his deal and Trump balked at the prospect. Once Shula declined, the Generals hired former New York Jets head coach Walt Michaels. Prior to the inaugural season Trump sold the franchise to Oklahoma oil magnate J. Walter Duncan. Prior to the 1984 season, Duncan sold the team back to Trump.[53]

The USFL planned to play its 1986 schedule in the fall, directly opposite the NFL, thanks mostly to Trump’s strong advocacy of direct competition with the older, established league. Two years earlier, Trump sold most of his fellow owners on a move to the fall by arguing that it would eventually force a merger with the NFL—in which the owners of any USFL teams included in a merger would see their investment more than double.

The Generals merged with the Houston Gamblers during the extended offseason, adding such stars as quarterback Jim Kelly and wide receiver Ricky Sanders. Michaels was fired, replaced with former Gamblers coach Jack Pardee, who planned to bring the Gamblers’ high-powered run and shoot offense with him. However, the USFL’s “Dream Team” never took the field. The 1986 season was cancelled after the USFL won a minimal verdict in anantitrust lawsuit against the NFL; the league folded soon afterward.

Trump at one time acted as a financial advisor for Mike Tyson,[54] hosting Tyson’s fight against Michael Spinks in Atlantic City.[55]

Following the death of Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. in March 2014, Trump expressed public interest in purchasing the team. When speaking to the media, Trump has made it clear that should he purchase the team, the Bills would remain in Buffalo.[56]Ultimately, the team was sold to Kim and Terrence Pegula in September 2014.[57]

Golf

Turnberry Hotel, Ayrshire, Scotland

The Trump Organization operates many golf courses and resorts in the United States and around the world.[58] On February 11, 2014, it was announced that Trump had purchased Doonbeg Golf Club in the Republic of Ireland. It was confirmed that Doonbeg Golf Club would be renamed Trump International Golf Links, Ireland.[59] In 2006, Trump bought the Menie estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland creating a highly contentious golf resort.[60][61] In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is a regular fixture in the Open Championship rota.[62][63] In June 2015, Trump’s appeal objecting to an offshore windfarm (Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm) within sight of the golf links was denied.[64]

Beauty pageants

Further information: Miss USA and Miss Universe

The Miss Universe and Miss USA have been owned by Donald Trump since 1996 and are among the most recognized beauty pageants. The pageant was founded in 1952 by the California clothing company Pacific Mills. In 2015, Trump awarded the Reelz Channel exclusive rights to air the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants.[65]

Entertainment media

Trump with Dennis Rodmanduring the latter’s participation on The Apprentice.

In the media, Donald Trump is a two-time Emmy Award–nominated personality, has made appearances as a caricatured version of himself in television series and films (e.g. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Nanny, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Days of Our Lives, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.[66]), and as a character (The Little Rascals). He has been the subject of comedians, Flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. Trump also has his own daily talk radio program called Trumped!.[67][68][69][70]

In March 2011, Trump was the subject of a Comedy Central Roast. The special was hosted by Seth MacFarlane, and roasters included Larry King, Snoop Dogg, and Anthony Jeselnik among regular roast participants. Trump’s daughter Ivanka was seen in the audience. In April 2011, Trump attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, featuring comedian Seth Meyers. President Obama used the occasion to present several prepared jokes mocking Trump.[71]

The Apprentice

In 2003, Trump became the executive producer and host of the NBC reality show, The Apprentice, in which a group of competitors battled for a high-level management job in one of Trump’s commercial enterprises. Contestants were successively “fired” and eliminated from the game. In 2004, Donald Trump filed a trademark application for the catchphraseYou’re fired.”[3][4][5]

For the first year of the show, Trump was paid $50,000 per episode (roughly $700,000 for the first season), but following the show’s initial success, he is currently[when?] paid a reported $3 million per episode, making him one of the highest paid TV personalities.[citation needed] In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television (The Apprentice).

Along with British TV producer Mark Burnett, Trump also put together The Celebrity Apprentice, in which well-known stars compete to win money for their charities. While Trump and Burnett co-produced the show, Trump stayed in the forefront, deciding winners and “firing” losers.

In February 2015, Trump opted not to renew his television contract for The Apprentice, generating speculation of his eventual run for President of the United States in 2016.[72]

World Wrestling Entertainment

Trump is a known World Wrestling Entertainment fan and friend of WWE owner Vince McMahon. He has hosted two WrestleMania events in the Trump Plaza and has been an active participant in several of the shows.[73] Trump’s Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City was host to the 1991 WBF Championship (which was owned by WWE, known at the time as the “World Wrestling Federation”). Trump was interviewed by Jesse Ventura ringside at WrestleMania XX.[74]

He also appeared at WrestleMania 23 in a match called “The Battle of the Billionaires”.[73] Trump was in the corner of Bobby Lashley, while Vince McMahon was in the corner of Lashley’s opponent Umaga with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee.[73]The stipulation of the match was hair versus hair, which means that either Trump or McMahon would have their head shaved if their competitor lost.[73] Lashley won the match, and he and Trump shaved McMahon bald.[73]

On June 15, 2009, as part of a storyline, McMahon announced on Monday Night Raw that he had “sold” the show to Trump.[73] Appearing on screen, Trump declared he would be at the following commercial-free episode in person and would give a full refund to the people who purchased tickets to the arena for that night’s show.[73] McMahon “bought back” Raw the following week for twice the price.[73] His entrance theme “Money, Money” was written by Jim Johnston.

Trump was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 at Madison Square Garden for his contributions to the promotion. He made his fifth WrestleMania appearance the next night.[75]

Politics

Donald Trump speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland on February 27, 2015.

A 2011 report by the Center for Responsive Politics showed that over two decades of U.S. elections, Donald Trump made contributions to campaigns of both Republican Party and Democratic Party candidates.[76] In February 2012, Trump endorsed Mitt Romney for president of the United States.[77] Trump was an early supporter of Ronald Reagan for president of the United States.[78]

At the 2011 CPAC conference, Trump stated that he is “pro-life” and “against gun control.”[79][80][81] He has spoken before Tea Party supporters.[82][83][84] Trump has expressed himself against the scientific consensus that no evidence links the childhood vaccination to the development of autism.[85][86][87][88]In May 2015, Trump opposed giving President Obama fast track trade authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement.[89] Instead, he has called for stronger negotiations with China on trade and tariffs if necessary.[90][91][92] Trump has advocated a policy of stronger leadership to deal with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which he has blamed for high oil prices.[93][94]

Trump floated the idea of running for president in 1988, 2004, and 2012, and for governor of New York in 2006 and 2014, but did not enter those races.[95][96] He ran for the presidential nomination of the Reform Party in 2000, winning the party’s California primary.[97][98][99][100] As Trump publicly speculated about seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released in March 2011 found Trump leading among potential contenders, one point ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.[101] A Newsweek poll conducted in February 2011 showed Trump within a few points of Barack Obama, with many voters undecided in the November 2012 general election for president of the United States.[102] A poll released in April 2011 by Public Policy Polling showed Trump having a nine-point lead in a potential contest for the Republican nomination for President of the United States while he was still actively considering a run.[103][104] His moves were interpreted at the time by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice.[15][105][106] On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president.[15] Public Policy Polling described the events of May 2011 as “one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of presidential politics”.[107] In December 2011, Donald Trump was named among the top six of the ten most admired men and women living, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll.[108]

In 2013, Trump was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC),[16] and spent over $1 million to research a possible run for president of the United States.[17] In October 2013, New York Republicans had circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run of governor of the state in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo. Trump said that while New York had problems and taxes were too high, running for governor was not of great interest to him.[109] In February 2015, Trump opted not to renew his television contract for The Apprentice, generating speculation that he might run for President of the United States in 2016.[72]

In January 2013, Trump (who is a notably popular figure in Israel)[110] endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 2013 Israeli elections, stating that “A strong prime minister is a strong Israel.”[111][112] In 2015, Trump was awarded the ‘Liberty Award’ at the ‘Algemeiner Jewish 100 Gala’ in honor of his positive contributions to US-Israel relations.[113]

Presidential campaign, 2016

Trump formally announced his candidacy for president of the United States in the 2016 elections on June 16, 2015, from his headquarters in Trump Tower in New York City.[19][20] Trump’s announcement speech included the song “Rockin’ in the Free World“.[114]Trump launched his campaign declaring the official slogan, “We are going to make our country great again” with a commitment to become the “greatest jobs president that God ever created”.[20]

Personal life

Donald Trump

Trump is popularly known as The Donald, a nickname perpetuated by the media after his first wife Ivana Trump, a native of the Czech Republic, referred to him as such in an interview.[115]

Trump’s mother, Mary Anne, was born in 1912 at Tong, Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland. In 1930, aged 18, on a holiday in New York, she met Fred Trump and stayed in New York. Born in Queens, New York,[116] Trump has four siblings: two brothers, Fred, Jr. (who is deceased) and Robert S. Trump; and two sisters, Maryanne and Elizabeth. His older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is a federal appeals court judge.

In 1977, Trump married Ivana Zelníčková and together they have three children: Donald, Jr. (born December 31, 1977), Ivanka (born October 30, 1981), and Eric (born January 6, 1984). They were divorced in 1992. In 1993, he married Marla Maples and together they had one child, Tiffany (born October 13, 1993). They divorced on June 8, 1999. In a February 2008 interview on ABC’s news program Nightline, Trump commented on his ex-wives by saying, “I just know it’s very hard for them [Ivana and Marla] to compete because I do love what I do. I really love it.”

On April 26, 2004, he proposed to Melania Knauss, a native of Slovenia. Trump and Knauss married on January 22, 2005, at Bethesda by the Sea Episcopal Church, on the island of Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate.[117] Melania gave birth to a boy named Barron William Trump, Trump’s fifth child, on March 20, 2006.[118][119]

Trump has seven grandchildren: five from his son Donald Jr. (Kai Madison,[120] Donald John III,[121] Tristan Milos,[122] Spencer Frederick and Chloe Sophia) and two from his daughter Ivanka (Arabella Rose and Joseph Frederick[123][124]).

Trump is a Presbyterian.[6] In an April 2011 interview, on the 700 Club, Trump said, “I’m a Protestant, I’m a Presbyterian. And you know I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion.”[125][126] A February 2011 Politics Daily article described Trump as “apparently a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, which is a Presbyterian denomination”.[127] Andrew Cusack in 2008 stated that Donald Trump is a member of New York City’s Marble Collegiate Church. Explaining that church’s organizational relationships, Cusack says “the Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church is actually a denomination within a denomination” and that the Collegiate Churches are “now part of the Reformed Church of America“.[128] Marble Collegiate Church also states that it is denominationally affiliated with the Reformed Church in America,[129] with the RCA website stating that the RCA has a local church “presbyterian form of government”.[130] Trump does not drink alcohol.[131] Of his daughter Ivanka’s conversion to Judaism he said: “Not only do I have Jewish grandchildren, I have a Jewish daughter and I am very honored by that.”[132]

Legal affairs

Trump manages business financing as far as possible without placing himself at risk of personal bankruptcy.[133] Four of his businesses have declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[133][134] According to a 2011 report by Forbes, these were due to over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City: Trump’s Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009)[135][136]Trump said “I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt. … We’ll have the company. We’ll throw it into a chapter. We’ll negotiate with the banks. We’ll make a fantastic deal. You know, it’s like on ‘The Apprentice.’ It’s not personal. It’s just business.”[137] He indicated that other “great entrepreneurs” do the same.[135]

Trump’s first corporate bankruptcy was in 1991 when Trump Taj Mahal was unable to pay its obligations.[137] Forbes indicated that his first bankruptcy was the only one where his personal wealth was involved. Time, however, maintains that also in the later 2004 bankruptcy $72 million personal money was involved.[138]

On November 2, 1992, the Trump Plaza Hotel filed a prepackaged Chapter 11 protection plan. Under the plan, Trump agreed to give up a 49 percent stake in the luxury hotel to Citibank and five other lenders.[139] In return Trump would receive more favorable terms on the remaining $550+ million owed to the lenders, and retain his position as chief executive, though he would not be paid and would not have a role in day-to-day operations.[140]

In the subsequent restructuring of these two events Trump had eliminated a large portion of his $900 million personal debt by 1994[141] and reduced significantly his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. While he relinquished theTrump Princess yacht and the Trump Shuttle (which he had bought in 1989), he managed to retain Trump Tower in New York City and control of his three casinos in Atlantic City. Trump sold his ownership of West Side Yards to Asian developers as a result of his negotiations with Chase Manhattan Bank. Trump was reportedly paid a premium for placing his well known moniker on the buildings that eventually arose. In 1995, he combined his casino holdings into the publicly held Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. The real estate assets became a source of wealth even when profits had struggled.[142]

The third corporate bankruptcy was on October 21, 2004, when Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts announced a restructuring of its debt.[143] The plan called for Trump’s individual ownership to be reduced from 56 percent to 27 percent, with bondholders receiving stock in exchange for surrendering part of the debt. Trump Hotels was forced to seek voluntary bankruptcy protection to stay afloat. After the company applied for Chapter 11 Protection in November 2004, Trump opted to relinquish his CEO position but retained a role as Chairman of the board. In May 2005[144] the company emerged from bankruptcy as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings.[145]

The most recent corporate bankruptcy occurred in 2009. On February 13, Trump announced that he would resign from the board of Trump Entertainment Resorts and four days later the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[146] At that time Trump Entertainment Resorts had three properties in Atlantic City: Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, and Trump Marina (sold in 2011). In early August 2014 Donald Trump filed a lawsuit requesting his name be removed from the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and the Taj Mahal facilities since he no longer runs or controls the company.[147] Trump Entertainment Resorts filed again for bankruptcy in 2014.[148]

In March 1990, after an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott said that Trump’s Taj Mahal project would initially “break records” but would fail before the end of that year, Trump threatened to sue the firm unless the analyst recanted or was fired. The analyst refused to retract the statements, and was fired by his firm.[149] Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy for the first time in November 1990.[150] A defamation lawsuit by the analyst against Trump for $2 million was settled out of court.[151] The analyst’s statements regarding the Taj Mahal’s prospects were later called “stunningly accurate.”[152]

In January 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought a financial-reporting case against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc., alleging that it had committed several “misleading statements in the company’s third-quarter 1999 earnings release.” The matter was settled with the defendant neither admitting nor denying the charge.[153]

During the 2008 financial crisis Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago was unable to sell sufficient units. Lender Deutsche Bank refused to let Trump lower the prices on the units to spur sales. Arguing that the financial crisis and resulting drop in the real estate market is due to circumstances beyond his control, Trump invoked a clause in the contract to not pay the loan.[154] Trump then initiated a suit asserting that his image had been damaged. Both parties agreed to drop their suits, and sale of the units went on.[155]

In 2015 Trump initiated a $100 million lawsuit against Palm Beach County claiming that officials pressured the FAA to direct air traffic to the Palm Beach International Airport in a “deliberate and malicious” act over his Mar-A-Lago estate.[156] The air traffic is allegedly damaging the construction of the building and disrupting its ambience. Trump had previously sued twice over airport noise.[156]

Other controversies

In 1973, the Justice Department unsuccessfully sued Trump Management Corporation for alleged racial discrimination, at which time Trump was the company’s president.[157] The federal government filed the lawsuit against his New York City real estate company for allegedly discriminating against potential black renters to which Trump never admitted, the case was settled out of court in 1975.[158]

A 1991 book, Trumped!!, by John R. O’Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, claimed that Trump once said in reference to a black accountant at Trump Plaza: “laziness is a trait in blacks.” O’Donnell claimed he told him: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”[157][159] Trump responded that O’Donnell was a disgruntled employee.[157]

In April 2011, he questioned President Obama’s proof of citizenship.[160] Trump also questioned whether Obama had good enough grades to warrant entry to Harvard Law School.[161] On April 25, 2011, Trump called for Obama to end the citizenship issue by releasing the long-form of his birth certificate.[162][163] Obama eventually made a formal statement in efforts by the White House to put the matter to rest with the release of the long-form of Obama’s birth certificate on April 27, 2011.[164] Trump expressed pride at his role in the release of the long-form certificate in a press conference follow-up.[165]

On August 24, 2013, a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose claims were dismissed by the Manhattan Superior Court, had accused Trump of defrauding more than 5,000 people of $40 million for the opportunity to learn Trump’s real estate investment techniques in a for-profit training program, Trump University.[166][167][168] On January 30, 2014, the New York court dismissed all of the Attorney General’s fraud claims against Trump, allowing only the licensing aspect of the case to proceed.[169] In October 2014, the New York court found Trump only liable for not obtaining a license to operate the for-profit investment school, Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, formerly known as Trump University.[170] In a separate class action civil suit in mid-February 2014, a San Diego federal judge allowed claimants in California, Florida, and New York to proceed.[171]

On June 5, 2013, Trump tweeted: “According to Bill O’Reilly, 80% of all the shootings in New York City are blacks-if you add Hispanics, that figure goes to 98%, 1% white”. Trump also tweeted: “Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed”.[172][173]

In late October 2014, model Alexia Palmer filed a civil suit against Trump Model Management for promising a $75,000 annual salary but paying only $3,380.75 for three years’ work. Palmer claims to be owed more than $200,000. Palmer charged that Trump Model Management, charged, in addition to a management fee, “obscure expenses” from postage to limousine rides that consumed the remainder of her compensation. Trump attorney Alan Garten claims the lawsuit is “bogus and completely frivolous.”[174][175]

Illegal immigration comments, 2015

Trump attracted reactions from opponents and defenders regarding comments on undocumented illegal immigration while announcing his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City.[176] He stated in part, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems…. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”[176][177]

On July 6, 2015, Trump issued a 3-page, 881-word written statement clarifying his earlier comments on illegal immigration, which read in part:

The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me…and, just like our country, my organization is better for it.

Donald Trump, Written Statement released July 6, 2015.[178]

Reactions to illegal immigration comments

  • José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, said that “he is a politician who ignores the context in which it is participating”, with regard to US international economic relations and Trump’s comments.[179]
  • Univision announced it would no longer carry broadcasts of the Miss USA Pageant.[180] In response, Trump indicated the matter would be handled by legal action, and followed through by filing a $500 million lawsuit against Univision. The complaint asserts that Univision is attempting to suppress Trump’s First Amendment rights by putting pressure on his business ventures.[181]
  • Trump awarded exclusive rights to the Reelz Channel to broadcast the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants.[65]
  • Macy’s also announced it would phase out its Trump-branded merchandise.[187]
  • Paulina Vega, the current Miss Universe, said that, although she repudiates the immigration remarks of Trump,[191] who in turn called her a “hypocrite”,[192] that she cannot give up the crown because her contract forbids it, and she could be sued.[193]
  • Serta, a mattress manufacturer, also decided to drop their business relationship with Trump.[194]
  • Defenders of Trump’s remarks on illegal immigration and crime include U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Congressman Steve King, and the survivors of victims.[209][210][211]
  • ESPN decided to relocate its ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic to the Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Beach. The charity golf tournament was once scheduled to be held at a golf course owned by Trump.[212]

Awards and honors

Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bibliography

Trump has authored many books including:

  • Trump: The Art of the Deal (1987)
  • Trump: Surviving at the Top (1990)
  • Trump: The Art of Survival (1991)
  • Trump: The Art of the Comeback (1997)
  • Trump: How to Get Rich (2004)
  • The Way to the Top: The Best Business Advice I Ever Received (2004)
  • Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life (2004)
  • Trump: The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received (2005)
  • Why We Want You to be Rich: Two Men – One Message (2006), co-written with Robert Kiyosaki.
  • Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life (2007), co-written with Bill Zanker. (ISBN 978-0-06-154783-6)
  • The America We Deserve (2000) (with Dave Shiflett, ISBN 1-58063-131-2)
  • Trump: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received: 100 Top Experts Share Their Strategies (2007)
  • Trump 101: The Way to Success (2007)
  • Trump Never Give Up: How I Turned My Biggest Challenges into Success (2008)
  • Think Like A Champion: An Informal Education in Business and Life (2009)
  • Trump Tower (2011) (a novel with Jeffrey Robinson, ISBN 978-1-59315-643-5)
  • Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich-And Why Most Don’t (2011), co-written with Robert Kiyosaki. (ISBN 1-61268-095-X)
  • Time to Get Tough: Making America No. 1 Again. Regnery Publishing. December 5, 2011. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-59698-773-9.

See also

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Reviving The United States, European and Japanese Economies With Saudi Oil Production and Plummeting Oil Prices — How Low and For How Long Will This Continue? — Punishing Iran and Russian Economies Dependent Upon High Oil Prices For Exports — Videos

Posted on December 2, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Crisis, Data, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Enivornment, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Resources, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Unemployment, Video, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

oil production

Why are oil prices falling – explained in 60 seconds?

Plunging Prices for Oil 

How will plunging oil prices affect the economy?

PRIME TIME NEWS 22:00 OPEC refuses to cut production, oil prices slump

OPEC Curtain Raiser

Plunging Oil Prices Have Unpredictable Impact on Politics, Economics

The Real Reason for Falling Oil and Gas Prices

Will OPEC Spark Oil Price War With Production Cuts?

Oil Prices Tumble Again: How Long Will This Go On?

Series Preview: The Global Drop in Oil Prices

Stratfor Vice President of Global Analysis Reva Bhalla and Global Energy Analyst Matt Bey discuss highlights of an upcoming series on the geopolitical impact of oil below $90 a barrel.
For more analysis, visit: http://www.Stratfor.com

“USA-SAUDI ARABIA” WILL PAY FOR THEIR “OIL PRICE MANIPULATIONS”!

Impact of Low Oil Prices: Petro Power or Petro Poverty?

Top 10 Oil Producing Countries in the World 2013-2014 –

At present transportation has become the major sector in the world which has facilitated all the people living around the different countries.So there is a need of billions barrels of fuel. There is no country in the world which has not the need of fuel, so there are several countries which are producing the fuels at their own resources while some countries are importing fuel from the other producers just to survive their transportation as well as the industrial sector.

So its importance can not be denied because its precious resources are also known as black gold.The nations having largest reserves in their geographical boundaries are considered the luckiest and richest countries. Following is a list of top ten countries which are considered the largest oil producers in the world.

List of Top 10 Largest Oil Producing Countries in the world 2013

1. Saudi Arabia

Top 10 oil producing countries, the biggest oil producers, oil production by country

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil-producing and exporting country producing more than 11.75 million barrels per day which is more than 13% of world’s entire output. It has very good reputation in the Muslim countries around the world having the number of Islamic historical places.

2. United States

Top 10 oil producing countries, the biggest oil producers, oil production by country

USA is the 2nd largest oil-producing nation it is not only the second biggest producer.Although it has it has a huge amount of production and more than 21 billion barrels proven reserves yet it is an oil importing country because it has the highest fuel consumption rate than other countries .It is producing more than 10.59 million barrels per day which is about 12% of the world’s over all production.

3. Russia

Russia has the 11.4% share in the world’s entire production.Its reserves are accounted more than 60 billion barrels making it the third biggest oil-producing country around the globe.

Russian-Oil-Reserves

4. China

Top 10 oil producing countries, the biggest oil producers, oil production by country

China is officially recognized as People Republic of China which is the largest country in the world by its population. Most of its cities are considered the largest cities of the world by population.It is the fourth largest oil-producing country in the world with daily production of 4.19 billion barrels which is 4.7% of world’s total production.China is World’s Largest Rice Producing country click here to see its annual rice output.

5. Iran

Top 10 oil producing countries, the biggest oil producers, oil production by country

Iran is the fifth nation in the ranking list of top 10 largest oil-producing countries in the world. It has 4.6 % share in the world’s overall production which more than 4.13 million barrels per day production.

6. Canada

Top 10 oil producing countries, the biggest oil producers, oil production by country

Canada has a fantastic and stable economy in the world. It one of the biggest oil-producing nations around the globe having more than 179 billion barrels proven reserves. Its daily production is 3.92 million barrels which is 4.4% of world’s total production.

7. United Arab Emirates

Top 10 oil producing countries, the biggest oil producers, oil production by country

UAE is producing 3.23 million barrels oil per day which is 3.6% of the world production. Its further oil reserves are accounted more than 98 billion barrels.UAE is going to increase it’s per day production up to 5 million barrels in the next coming years. And according to a recent estimate United States of Arab Emirates has further reserves enough for the next 93 years.UAE is the 7th richest country in the world by per capita GDP.

8. Mexico

Top 10 oil producing countries, the biggest oil producers, oil production by country

Mexico is officially recognized as United Mexican States covering the total area of 1,972,550 square km. it has the 8th rank in the list of top ten largest oil producers in the world.  It is producing 2.95 million barrels per day which is the 3.3 percent of the global output.

9. Brazil

Top 10 oil producing countries, the biggest oil producers, oil production by country

Brazil is the 9th largest oil-producing nation in the world, its production share in the global output is 3.15%. It is producing 2.8 million barrels per day. Brazil has already 12.86 billion barrels proven oil reserves and according to an estimate, which is expected to increase after the discovery of Jupiter Oil Field.

10. Kuwait

Top 10 oil producing countries, the biggest oil producers, oil production by country

Kuwait is the 9th richest country in the world having the strongest currency rate in the world. It has more than 104 billion barrels in its proven oil reserves while its share in the world’s entire oil output is accounted for 3.1% making it the 10th largest oil-producing country in the world. It is producing about 2.75 million barrels per day.

Question of the day

Q : what country produces the most oil in the world?

Ans : At present Saudi Arabia the biggest oil producer in the world having 11.75 billion barrels daily production which is 13% of world’s total output.

– See more at: http://www.thecountriesof.com/top-10-oil-producing-countries-in-the-world-2013-2014/#sthash.oTfzW92z.dpuf

As oil prices plunge, wide-ranging effects for consumers and the global economy

By Steven Mufson

Tumbling oil prices are draining hundreds of billions of dollars from the coffers of oil-rich exporters and oil companies and injecting a much-needed boost for ailing economies in Europe and Japan — and for American consumers at the start of the peak shopping season.

The result could be one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history, potentially reshaping everything from talks over Iran’s nuclear program to the Federal Reserve’s policies to further rejuvenate the U.S. economy.

The price of oil has declined about 40 percent since its peak in mid-June and plunged last week after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries voted to continue to pump at the same rate. That continued a trend driven by a weak global economy and expanding U.S. domestic energy supplies.

The question facing investors, companies and policymakers is how low oil prices will go — and for how long. Every day, American motorists are saving $630 million on gasoline compared with what they paid at June prices, and they would get a $230 billion windfall if prices were to stay this low for a year. The vast majority of that will flow into the economy, with lower-income households living on tight budgets likely to use money not otherwise spent on gas to buy groceries, clothing and other staples.

On Monday, the average U.S. price for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline was $2.77, according to AAA, which projects that prices could drop by an additional 10 to 20 cents.
(The Washington Post)
Big American companies are better off, too. Every penny the price of jet fuel declines means savings of $40 million for Delta Air Lines, the company’s chief executive said in a recent CBS interview.

(Related stories: A simple guide to the sudden collapse in oil prices
How plunging oil prices could affect your pocketbook

Could gas prices go as low as $2 a gallon?)

“Despite the impressive recent gains in natural gas and crude oil production, the U.S. still is a net importer of energy,” William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said Monday at Bernard Baruch College. “As a result, falling energy prices are beneficial for our economy and should be a strong spur to consumer spending.”
An employee changes figures on a board showing currency exchange rates in Moscow on Monday. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)
Although falling oil prices lower inflation, the Federal Reserve tends to view that as a fleeting effect that would not alter its underlying judgments about policy. Nonetheless, Dudley said, “the slump in oil prices may also help to persuade” the European and Japanese central banks to implement further monetary easing as prices remain subdued.

The consequences of the decline in oil prices are also evident in politics and pocketbooks.

At current prices, the annual revenue of OPEC members would shrink by $590 billion, money that will instead stay within the borders of the world’s biggest oil importers, led by the United States, China and Japan.

The size of the global economy will “easily be between 0.5 percent and 1.0 percent higher as a result of the decline in oil prices,” wrote Andrew Kenningham, senior global economist for London-based Capital Economics.

The 40 percent drop in the price of the international benchmark Brent-grade crude oil over the past five months will reduce annual revenue to oil producers worldwide by a whopping $1.5 trillion.

“Those losses are staggering,” Edward Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, wrote to investors Monday.

The losers include Russia, where the value of the ruble has been crumbling, inflation has crept up to more than an 8 percent rate and oil prices have done more to hurt the economy than Western sanctions.

In Iran, whose economy and government budget rely heavily on oil sales, low prices could intensify the effect of sanctions that have curbed the country’s oil exports in an effort to pressure the regime into reaching a diplomatic accord on its nuclear program.
In Venezuela, dwindling oil revenue has exacerbated an economic crisis that is also tied to fuel subsidies, price controls and generous social programs.

In the United States, there are losers, too — mostly in the oil patch. The oil services giant Halliburton has lost 44 percent of its value since July 23. Heavily indebted Continental Resources, a huge shale oil producer in North Dakota’s Bakken region, has lost half its value since Aug. 29. Even BP, a big, integrated firm, has lost a quarter of its value in just the past few months.

“It happened so fast, it’s been a shock to the system,” said Scott D. Sheffield, chief executive of Pioneer Natural Resources. Sheffield said that if oil prices had stayed between $90 and $100 a barrel, Pioneer would have added 10 new rigs to its fleet of 40, nearly all drilling shale oil wells. Now he is going to wait and see before announcing capital spending plans in February.

The prospect of low oil prices over an extended period grew much stronger last week after OPEC opted to maintain output instead of paring back to prop up prices.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s swing producer, with about 9.7 million barrels of production a day, has usually adjusted its output to moderate lurches in oil prices. But the kingdom has grown worried that production will continue to grow outside OPEC, reducing the cartel to a smaller and smaller share of the global market. So Saudi Arabia has chosen to fight for market share by letting prices slide.

That could jump-start global oil demand, currently about 94 million barrels a day. But it could also slow down or halt the growth in global oil supplies.
The biggest target of this strategy: U.S. shale oil, which has grown from a negligible amount six years ago to 4 million barrels a day, nearly half of U.S. production and more than any OPEC member except Saudi Arabia. Other high-cost oil projects, such as Canada’s oil sands, could also be curtailed or postponed.

But oil prices have historically swung from one extreme to another; it takes years for price signals to change exploration plans and production levels. U.S. exploration firms might be able to withstand lower oil prices than OPEC members that need oil revenue to balance their budgets and keep their citizens content. A Citibank analysis says that current prices will not eliminate growth in U.S. shale oil output, only trim that growth by 30 percent.

Within OPEC, there was discord. “It is not good for OPEC,” Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in an interview with the newsletter Argus Global Markets. “Some of our colleagues in OPEC believe they should wait and see what the market reaction is, especially in U.S. shale investment.” He added that “it’s a very risky issue” and could require “years, not months.”

There are risks in the United States, too. Kathy Jones, fixed-income strategist at Charles Schwab, said that while lower oil prices will boost consumer spending, which makes up 68 percent of the U.S. economy, it could also hurt investment, which runs high in the petroleum business. She also noted that oil and gas companies account for 15 percent of the Barclays U.S. high-yield index, double what it was a few years ago.
“High yield means more highly leveraged, and we don’t know what a 30 or 40 percent drop in oil prices will mean,” Jones said. “It’s going to show up in places, I’m sure. It’s just a question of where.”

The Fed’s Dudley was less concerned. “Even after the large gains in recent years, oil and gas investment remains a small fraction of GDP,” he said.

On Monday, traders and investors struggled to grasp OPEC’s stance; prices slid then rebounded sharply to $69 a barrel.

Although analysts said that global production is running about 2 million barrels a day over consumption, barely 2 percent of world demand, slight economic changes or a renewal of paralyzing civil strife in Libya could shrink that extra margin.

On the other hand, the sudden glut — while small — could grow even larger if Libya restores more of its former production, Iraq continues to expand output from its low-cost reservoirs and Iran strikes a deal over its nuclear program that would lift sanctions and permit a jump in exports.

Iran’s oil minister told Argus Global Markets that Iran could increase output by 1 million barrels a day within two months.

That has left people guessing. Richard Anderson, chief executive of Delta Air Lines, said on “CBS This Morning” on Nov. 25 that the airline was planning on jet fuel costing $2.80 a gallon in 2015, though he acknowledged that “all this is a bit of a thumb in the wind.”

Robert McNally, president of the Rapidan Group consulting firm, said OPEC seemed to be letting non-OPEC countries resolve the market surplus and surprised the industry by not scheduling another meeting until June 5. “This was about as bearish a signal as OPEC could have sent to the market,” he said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/2014/12/01/904984b2-7971-11e4-9a27-6fdbc612bff8_story.html

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Obama Asserts Executive Privilege Claim Over Holder’s Wife Emails Pertaining To Fast and Furious — Cover up Of Crimes — Article 1 of Impeachment Bill — What are They Hiding? — Aiding and Abetting Homicides –Videos

Posted on October 24, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Culture, Documentary, Drug Cartels, Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Radio, Radio, Raves, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxes, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, Water, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Obama Asserts Executive Privilege Claim Over Holder’s Wife Emails Pertaining To Fast and Furious — Cover up Of Crimes — Article 1 of Impeachment Bill — What are They Hiding? — Aiding and Abetting Homicides –Videos

Fast-and-furious-holder-obamafast-furious-eric-holder

eric-holder-fast-and-furious-gunwalking-documents-political-cartooncartoon_eric_holder_fast_n_furious_n_gun_confiscationJune 21, 2011 John de Rosier editorial cartoonEric Holder guns what guns Obama Fall Guyexecutive privillege gunexecutive_privilege_holder_fulleric holdersobama_holdersfast and furious

President Obama Evokes Executive Privilege for Eric Holder – 2007 v. 2012

Obama announces Eric Holder’s resignation

Is Obama involved in Fast and Furious, obstructing a congressional investigation or both?

Congress Votes to Hold Eric Holder in Contempt Perjury Lied to House Congress Vote Passes

Jon Stewart Slams Obama Executive Privilege, Fast & Furious, and Eric Holder

Remember Brian Terry, the murdered Border Patrol Agent

Judge Napolitano: Executive Privilege Only Applies If Obama Involved

Mark Levin Explains How GOP Should Handle Holder Contempt Charge & Executive Privilege Claim

Issa on Fast and Furious, Holder Contempt, Obama Executive Privilege on Fox News Sunday

Obama Perpetuates The ’90 Percent Of Mexico’s Weapons Come From The U.S.’ Lie — In Mexico!

Eric Holder – We Must “Brainwash” People Against Guns! – (1995)

Holder on 2nd Amendment

Eric Holder Attacking The Second Amendment To Help Mexico?

“Operation Fast & Furious: The Other Side of the Border” Part 1

“Operation Fast & Furious: The Other Side of the Border” Part 2

“Operation Fast & Furious: The Other Side of the Border” Part 3

Fast and Furious: Management Failures at the Department of Justice – Part 1

Eric Holder Choking on his Testimony

Michael Savage offers concise summary of “Fast and Furious”, describes his own love of guns

Congress: Eric Holder Should Be In Jail!

 

Obama Asserts Fast and Furious Executive Privilege Claim for Holder’s Wife

OCTOBER 23, 2014

Judicial Watch announced today that it received from the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) a “Vaughn index” detailing records about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. The index was forced out of the Obama administration thanks to JW’s June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and subsequent September 2012 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01510)). A federal court had ordered the production over the objections of the Obama Justice Department.

The document details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal. Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The “First Lady of the Justice Department” is a physician and not a government employee.

This is the first time that the Obama administration has provided a detailed listing of all records being withheld from Congress and the American people about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal. The 1307-page “draft” Vaughn index was emailed to Judicial Watch at 8:34 p.m. last night, a few hours before a federal court-ordered deadline. In its cover letter, the Department of Justice asserts that all of the responsive records described in the index are “subject to the assertion of executive privilege.”

The Vaughn index explains 15,662 documents. Typically, a Vaughn index must: (1) identify each record withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The Vaughn index arguably fails to provide all of this required information but does provide plenty of interesting information for a public kept in the dark for years about the Fast and Furious scandal.

Based on a preliminary review of the massive document, Judicial Watch can disclose that the Vaughn index reveals:

Numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder’s direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter.
President Obama has asserted executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone. The administration also claims that the records are also subject to withholding under the “deliberative process” exemption. This exemption ordinarily exempts from public disclosure records that could chill internal government deliberations.
Numerous entries detail DOJ’s communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.
The scandal required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Communications to and from the United States Ambassador to Mexico about the Fast and Furious matter are also described.
Many of the records are already publicly available such as letters from Congress, press clips, and typical agency communications. Ordinarily, these records would, in whole or part, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Few of the records seem to even implicate presidential decision-making and advice that might be subject to President Obama’s broad and unprecedented executive privilege claim.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton criticized President Obama and his disgraced Attorney General in a statement today:

This document provides key information about the cover-up of Fast and Furious by Attorney General Eric Holder and other high-level officials of the Obama administration. Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office. There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious.

Once again, Judicial Watch has proven itself more effective than Congress and the establishment media in providing basic oversight of this out-of-control Administration. This Fast and Furious document provides dozens of leads for further congressional, media, and even criminal investigations.

On June 28, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives over his refusal to turn over records explaining why the Obama administration may have lied to Congress and refused for months to disclose the truth about the gun running operation. It marked the first time in U.S. history that a sitting Attorney General was held in contempt of Congress.

A week before the contempt finding, to protect Holder from criminal prosecution and stave off the contempt vote, President Obama asserted executive privilege over the Fast and Furious records the House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed eight months earlier. Judicial Watch filed its FOIA request two days later. Holder’s Justice Department wouldn’t budge (or follow the law), so JW filed a FOIA lawsuit on September 12, 2012.

But then the Justice Department convinced U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates to stay our lawsuit, in part to allow ongoing settlement discussions between the Holder’s government lawyers and the House Committee to continue. Unsurprisingly, the “negotiations” between politicians running the House and the Justice Department went nowhere.

Fed up with the interminable delay caused Holder’s gamesmanship and stonewalling, JW renewed its request to the Court to allow our transparency lawsuit to continue. Thankfully, this past July, Judge John D. Bates ended the 16-month delay and ordered the Obama administration to produce a Vaughn index of the alleged “executive privilege” records by October 1. Judge Bates noted that no court has ever “expressly recognized” President Obama’s unprecedented executive privilege claims in the Fast and Furious matter.

Unhappy with having to produce the records prior to the elections, Justice lawyers asked the judge to give them one extra month, until November 3 (the day before Election Day!) to produce the info. Judge Bates rejected this gambit, suggested that the Holder’s agency did not take court order seriously. Rather than a month, Judge Bates gave Justice until yesterday to cough up the Vaughn index. Judge Bates issued his smack down on September 23.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation two days later.

Many share our opinion it was “no coincidence” that Holder’s resignation came “on the heels of another court ruling that the Justice Department must finally cough up information about how Holder’s Justice Department lied to Congress and the American people about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, for which Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives.”

The House had been separately litigating to obtain the records but had gotten nowhere until after Judge Bates ruled that the DOJ finally had to disclose information to Judicial Watch.

On September 9, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, citing Judicial Watch’s success, ordered the Justice Department to produce information to Congress by November 3.

Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun running” operation in which the Obama administration reportedly allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels hoping they would end up at crime scenes, advancing gun-control policies. Fast and Furious weapons have been implicated in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico. Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal are expected to be used in criminal activity on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border for years to come.

Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal continue to be used in crimes. Just last week, Judicial Watch disclosed that a Fast and Furious gun was used in gang -style assault on a Phoenix apartment building that left two people wounded. We figured this out from information we uncovered through another public records lawsuit against the City of Phoenix.

Congress officially confirmed the AK-47 was used in the assault that terrorized residents in Phoenix. In an October 16 letter sent from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) to Deputy Attorney General James Cole discloses that “we have learned of another crime gun connected to Fast and Furious. The [Justice] Department did not provide any notice to the Congress or the public about this gun….This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny.”

We have many other active lawsuits over the Fast and Furious scandal:

On October 11, 2011, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain all Fast and Furious records submitted to the House Committee on Oversight.

On June 6, 2012, Judicial Watch sued the ATF seeking access to records detailing communications between ATF officials and Kevin O’Reilly, former Obama White House Director of North American Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.

On September 5, 2013, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ seeking access to all records of communications between DOJ and the Oversight Committee relating to settlement discussions in the Committee’s 2012 contempt of Congress lawsuit against Holder. The contempt citation stemmed from Holder’s refusal to turn over documents to Congress related to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.

On May 28, 2014, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ on behalf of ATF Special Agent John Dodson, who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious and was then subjected to an alleged smear campaign designed to destroy his reputation.

 

Obama used executive privilege to shield Holder emails

BY SUSAN FERRECHIO

President Obama used executive privilege to withhold the contents of more than 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder, his wife and his mother that a conservative watchdog group sought in connection with the federal government’s botched “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation.

The document, according to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, “details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal.”

Judicial Watch said the White House is withholding the contents of the Holder emails between his wife and mother citing not only the executive privilege, but the “deliberative process” exemption, which is normally used to exclude from public disclosure any information “that could chill internal government deliberations.”

Holder’s wife, Sharon Malone, is a Washington, D.C., gynecologist.

The Republican-led House has been dueling with Holder for years in an effort to get documents and emails related to Fast and Furious.

In 2012, the House voted to find Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the operation and has sued to obtain them. Democrats have accused the GOP of a politically motivated witch hunt against Holder, who recently announced plans to step down.

The Fast and Furious program ran from 2006 to 2011 out of an Arizona division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It involved U.S. agents selling guns to Mexican drug traffickers in an effort to trace the weapons to the drug cartels. But agents lost track of the weapons and some of them were used to kill people, including U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

“Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious.”

“This list of documents was provided in order to fulfill a procedural step in this case,” Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon told theExaminer. “We will make a further submission, related to these same materials, on Nov. 3 in connection to the case brought by the House Oversight Committee.”

Editor’s note: Judicial Watch is representing the Washington Examiner in the newspaper’s federal lawsuit seeking access to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau records under FOIA.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-used-executive-privilege-to-shield-holder-emails/article/2555188

 

Operation Fast and Furious Fast Facts

Here’s some background information about Operation Fast and Furious. From 2009 – 2011, under Operation Fast and Furious, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Phoenix Field Division, along with other partners, allowed illegal gun sales believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels in order to track the sellers and purchasers.

Facts:
An estimated 1,400 weapons were lost by the ATF in Mexico. Two of the missing weapons linked to the operation turned up at the Arizona murder scene of United States Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Whistle-blowing leads to a Congressional investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Attorney General Eric Holder is cited for contempt.

Operation Fast and Furious was one of the operations under Project Gunrunner, part of the Department of Justice’s broader Southwest Border Initiative, an “inter-agency effort to combat Mexico-based trafficking groups.” (DOJ)

“Straw purchasers (also called straw buyers) buy firearms on behalf of others without disclosing that fact on the forms required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.” (DOJ)

The operation lasted approximately 15 months, resulting in grand jury indictments of 34 suspects in drug and firearms trafficking organizations.

Operation Fast and Furious was not the first “gun walking” investigation by ATF; it was preceded by Operation Wide Receiver, which began in 2006.

Timeline:
April 2006 – Official launch of Project Gunrunner.

October 2009 – Operation Fast and Furious begins, based on a review of Project Gunrunner by the ATF Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

January 2010 – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms agents tell the staff of Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the ATF allowed straw buyer Jaime Avila to make repeated purchases of guns after his name had been entered into a “suspect person database” on January 13, 2009.

December 14, 2011 – Border patrol agent Brian Terry is killed in the Arizona desert, and two weapons the ATF allowed to be purchased earlier in 2010 by purported “straw buyer” Jaime Avila are found near the shooting scene. It is unknown whether any of the guns were used as the murder weapon.

January 25, 2011 – The Department of Justice announces the end of Operation Fast and Furious, with the indictments of 34 drug and firearm trafficking suspects.

March 3, 2011 – ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson announces the formation of a panel to “review the bureau’s current firearms trafficking strategies employed by field division managers and special agents.”

April 1, 2011 – Acting Director Melson is issued a subpoena from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

May 3, 2011 – Attorney General Eric Holder testifies for the first time before the House Judiciary Committee that he had first heard of Operation Fast and Furious only over the past few weeks.

June 2011 – Whistleblowers testify before the House Oversight committee. ATF agent John Dodson tells lawmakers, “I cannot begin to think how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”

July 26, 2011 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a second hearing.

August 30, 2011 – Melson is reassigned to the Justice Department, and is replaced by B. Todd Jones.

October 12, 2011 – Congressional investigators issue a subpoena for communications from Attorney General Holder relating to the federal gunrunning operation.

October 2011 – Investigators uncover memos indicating Attorney General Holder had known about Operation Fast and Furious for close to a year, not a few weeks as he had stated in May 2011.

November 7, 2011 – A federal grand jury in the District of Arizona hands up an 11-count indictment. It alleges that on December 14, 2010, five of the defendants (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza) were involved in a firefight with Border Patrol agents during which Terry was fatally shot. The men are charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The indictment is unsealed on July 9th, 2012.

November 8, 2011 – Attorney General Holder testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee that, “this operation was flawed in concept, as well as in execution.”

February 1, 2012 – The family of ATF agent Brian Terry files a $25 million wrongful death claim against the United States.

February 2, 2012 – Attorney General Holder testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that firings and charges against Justice Department officials who oversaw Fast and Furious are likely to come in the next six months. He also denies any cover-up.

June 12, 2012 – Attorney General Holder testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and rejects calls for his resignation.

June 20, 2012 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recommends that Attorney General Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the Fast and Furious operation.

June 20, 2012 – President Barack Obama asserts executive privilege over the documents sought by the investigating committee. This prevents future prosecution of Holder.

June 28, 2012 – The House of Representatives votes 255-67 to hold Holder in criminal contempt. This is the first time in American history that the head of the Justice Department has been held in contempt by Congress.

July 31, 2012 – The first of a three-part joint staff Congressional report is released, Fast and Furious: Anatomy of a Failed Operation, which lays blame for the failed gun-running probe on Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson and Deputy Director William Hoover.

July 31, 2012 – ATF Deputy Director William Hoover resigns.

August 13, 2012 – The House Oversight Committee files a civil lawsuit against Holder over Operation Fast and Furious documents.

September 6, 2012 – Mexican authorities arrest Leonel Sanchez Jesus Meza, wanted in the killing of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

September 19, 2012 – Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz releases a report on the operation. The report finds 14 employees of the ATF and the Justice Department responsible for management failures. After the release, former acting ATF head Kenneth Melson retires and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein resigns.

December 13, 2012 – Jaime Avila is sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in buying weapons that were found at the site of the killing of patrol agent Brian A. Terry.

June 17, 2014 – Lionel Portillo Meza, a suspect in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, is extradited from Mexico to the U.S.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/27/world/americas/operation-fast-and-furious-fast-facts/

ATF gunwalking scandal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Weapons recovered by Mexican military in Naco, Sonora, Mexico on November 20, 2009. They include weapons bought two weeks earlier by Operation Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino, who bought 723 guns during the operation.[1]

Gunwalking“, or “letting guns walk“, was a tactic of the Arizona Field Office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran a series of sting operations[2][3] between 2006[4]and 2011[2][5] in the Tucson and Phoenix area where the ATF “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them.”[6] These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States.[7] The Chambers case[who?] began in October 2009, and eventually became known in February 2010 as “Operation Fast and Furious” after agents discovered some of the suspects under investigation belonged to a car club.[1]

The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels.[6][8][9] The tactic was questioned during the operations by a number of people, including ATF field agents and cooperating licensed gun dealers.[10][11][12][13][14] During Operation Fast and Furious, the largest “gunwalking” probe, the ATF monitored the sale of about 2,000[1]:203[15] firearms, of which only 710 were recovered as of February 2012.[1]:203 A number of straw purchasers have been arrested and indicted; however, as of October 2011, none of the targeted high-level cartel figures had been arrested.[6]

Guns tracked by the ATF have been found at crime scenes on both sides of the Mexico–United States border, and the scene where United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed December 2010. The “gunwalking” operations became public in the aftermath of Terry’s murder.[2] Dissenting ATF agents came forward to Congress in response.[16][17] According to Humberto Benítez Treviño, former Mexican Attorney General and chair of the justice committee in the Chamber of Deputies, related firearms have been found at numerous crime scenes in Mexico where at least 150 Mexican civilians were maimed or killed.[18] Revelations of “gunwalking” led to controversy in both countries, and diplomatic relations were damaged.[2]

As a result of a dispute over the release of Justice Department documents related to the scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of theCabinet of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress on June 28, 2012.[19][20] Earlier that month, President Barack Obama had invoked executive privilegefor the first time in his presidency over the same documents.[21][22]

Background

Further information: Project Gunrunner and Mexican Drug War

One 20-year veteran of ATF’s Tucson office told us that before Operation Wide Receiver, all of ATF’s trafficking cases were very similar in their simplicity: ATF would get a tip from an FFL[Federal Firearms Licensee][14] about a buyer who wanted a large number of firearms and information about when the transaction was scheduled to take place, and would set up surveillance and arrest the buyer when he headed southbound or at the border. Sometimes the initial buyer would cooperate with ATF, and agents would arrest the actual buyer when he showed up to take possession of the guns. If the guns went to a stash house, agents would speak with subjects at the stash house or conduct a search of the stash house. This agent told us that ATF interdicted guns as a matter of course and had been “content to make the little cases,” but that Wide Receiver represented a “different direction” from ATF’s typical practice.

—Report by the Office of the Inspector General on the Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters, September 2012[1]

ATF “gunwalking” operations were, in part, a response to longstanding criticism of the bureau for focusing on relatively minor gun violations while failing to target high-level gun smuggling figures.[23] U.S. firearms laws currently govern the possession and transfer of firearms and provide penalties for the violation of such laws. “Gun trafficking”, although not defined by statute, essentially includes the movement or diversion of firearms from legal to illegal markets.[24]:Summary A 2009 GAO report on efforts to combat arms trafficking to Mexico notes that straw purchasing is not in itself illegal, although it is illegal to provide false information in connection with a purchase.[25]

Four federal statutes govern U.S. commerce of firearms domestically and internationally. Many states supplement these federal statutes and have firearms laws of their own that are stricter. For example, some states require permits to obtain firearms and impose a waiting period for firearm transfers. Domestic commerce and importations into the United States are generally regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). The exportation of firearms from the United States is regulated by the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 and, to a lesser extent, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).[24]:3

Defendants are often prosecuted and convicted under provisions of statutes such as the GCA that make it unlawful for certain persons to be in possession of firearms, govern the transaction process of obtaining firearms (e.g., straw purchases), and contain penalties for the use of a firearm in a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime, or penalties for knowingly or fraudulently smuggling goods that would be contrary to U.S. law and regulation.[24]:18

In a 2012 case in San Juan, Texas, under existing 1968 Gun Control Act provisions on straw purchasing (Title 18 United States Code, Section 924(a)(1)(A)), straw purchaser Taisa Garcia received 33 months and buyer Marco Villalobos received 46 months, plus two years supervision after release.[26] In another Texas gun trafficking case, Oscar Bravo Hernandez received a sentence of 84 months for buying and sending to Mexico at least 55 firearms from a ring of nine straw purchasers who received sentences from 51 months for the most involved down to three years probation for the least involved.[27]

According to twenty-year ATF veteran Jay Wachtel, letting guns “walk” has been a practice done in a controlled manner that involved surveillance and eventual seizure of the weapons. “The idea was that you would follow it long enough until you were sure you had enough probable cause” to initiate an arrest, Wachtel said.[28]According to ATF field agents involved in Operation Fast and Furious, a part of Project Gunrunner, “ATF agents were trained to interdict guns and prevent criminals from obtaining them” and not to allow guns to walk and then disappear.[11] ATF agents assigned to Phoenix from other districts to work on Fast and Furious were critical of the operation.[29]

Operations

There have been allegations of “gunwalking” in at least 10 cities in five states.[30] The most widely known and controversial operations took place in Arizona under the ATF’s Phoenix, Arizona field division.

2006–2008: Operation Wide Receiver and other probes[edit]

Operation Wide Receiver[edit]

The suspicious sale of AR-15s led to Operation Wide Receiver.[31]

The first known ATF “gunwalking” operation to Mexican drug cartels, named Operation Wide Receiver, began in early 2006 and ran into late 2007. Licensed dealer Mike Detty of Mad Dawg Global informed the ATF of a suspicious gun purchase that took place in February 2006 in Tucson, Arizona. In March he was hired as a confidential informant working with the ATF’s Tucson office, part of their Phoenix, Arizona field division.[31]

With the use of surveillance equipment, ATF agents monitored additional sales by Detty to straw purchasers. With assurance from ATF “that Mexican officials would be conducting surveillance or interdictions when guns got to the other side of the border”,[12] Detty would sell a total of about 450 guns during the operation.[30] These included AR-15s, semi-automatic AK-pattern rifles, and Colt .38s. The majority of the guns were eventually lost as they moved into Mexico.[6][31][32][33]

As the later DOJ OIG Report documented, under Wide Receiver coordination of ATF Tucson with the ATF Mexico City Office (MCO) and with Mexican law enforcement had been haphazard. Discussions of getting tracking devices from Raytheon were not followed up. ATF field agents and the cooperating gun dealer had been told by ATF supervisors that the guns were being interdicted before they could reach Mexico, but only 64 of the 474 guns had actually been seized. The kingpin sought by walking the guns, Israel Egurrola-Leon, turned out to be the target of a larger drug case Operation Iron River run by OCDETF. After Operation Wide Receiver was ended, several attorneys at the Phoenix USAO who reviewed the Wide Receiver cases for prosecution found the cases had been so poorly managed that they were reluctant to bring any of them to trial.[1]

At the time, under the Bush administration Department of Justice (DOJ), no arrests or indictments were made. After President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the DOJ reviewed Wide Receiver and found that guns had been allowed into the hands of suspected gun traffickers. Indictments began in 2010, over three years after Wide Receiver concluded. As of October 4, 2011, nine people had been charged with making false statements in acquisition of firearms and illicit transfer, shipment or delivery of firearms.[23] As of November, charges against one defendant had been dropped; five of them had pled guilty, and one had been sentenced to one year and one day in prison. Two of them remained fugitives.[31]

The Hernandez case

Another, smaller probe occurred in 2007 under the same ATF Phoenix field division. The Fidel Hernandez case began when the ATF identified Mexican suspects who bought weapons from a Phoenix gun shop over a span of several months. The probe ultimately involved over 200 guns, a dozen of which were lost in Mexico. On September 27, 2007, ATF agents saw the original suspects buying weapons at the same store and followed them toward the Mexican border. The ATF informed the Mexican government when the suspects successfully crossed the border, but Mexican law enforcement were unable to track them.[4][10]

Less than two weeks later, on October 6, William Newell, then ATF’s Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Phoenix field division, shut down the operation at the behest of William Hoover, ATF’s assistant director for the office of field operations.[34] No charges were filed. Newell, who was Phoenix ATF SAC from June 2006 to May 2011, would later play a major role in Operation Fast and Furious.[4][12]

The Hernandez case was referenced in a briefing paper prepared for Attorney General Michael Mukasey prior to his meeting with the Mexican Attorney General Medina Mora on November 16, 2007. The paper stated, “ATF has recently worked jointly with Mexico on the first-ever attempt to have a controlled delivery of weapons being smuggled into Mexico by a major arms trafficker” and that “the first attempts at this controlled delivery have not been successful.” The paper also stated, “ATF would like to expand the possibility of such joint investigations and controlled deliveries — since only then will it be possible to investigate an entire smuggling network, rather than arresting simply a single smuggler.”[35]

Investigators regarded the Hernandez Case as an example of “controlled delivery” with surveillance and involvement of Mexican authorities rather than “gunwalking” or failure to attempt interdiction.[1][36][37]

The Medrano case[

The 2008 Alejandro Medrano case involved both ATF SAC William Newell and cooperating Tucson gun dealer Mike Detty of Operation Wide Receiver. ATF Phoenix allowed about 100 guns to be taken into Mexico over the objections of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel who became aware of the case. Phoenix ATF SAC Newell acknowledged to ICE “that letting guns cross the border was part of ATF’s plan”. In August 2010, Medrano was sentenced to 46 months, his associate Hernan Ramos received 50 months and their fellow conspirators received prison terms from 14 to 30 months, but the target, a Sinaloa Cartel kingpin, Javier Elenes Ruiz, nicknamed “Rambo,” remained untouched inside Mexico.[36]

2009–2011: Operation Fast and Furious

On October 26, 2009, a teleconference was held at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. to discuss U.S. strategy for combating Mexican drug cartels. Participating in the meeting were Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, acting ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Robert Mueller and the top federal prosecutors in theSouthwestern border states. They decided on a strategy to identify and eliminate entire arms trafficking networks rather than low-level buyers.[3][38][39] Those at the meeting apparently did not suggest using the “gunwalking” tactic, but Phoenix ATF supervisors would soon use it in an attempt to achieve the desired goals.[40]

The strategy of targeting high-level individuals, which was already ATF policy, would be implemented by Bill Newell, special agent in charge of ATF’s Phoenix field division. In order to accomplish it, the office decided to monitor suspicious firearms purchases which federal prosecutors had determined lacked sufficient evidence for prosecution, as laid out in a January 2010 briefing paper. This was said to be allowed under ATF regulations and given legal backing by U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis K. Burke. It was additionally approved and funded by a Justice Department task force.[3] However, long-standing DOJ and ATF policy has required suspected illegal arms shipments to be intercepted.[4][5]

FN Five-sevens were among the weapons allowed to walk.[41]

The operation began on October 31, 2009, when a local gun store reported to the Phoenix ATF that four individuals had purchased multiple AK47 style rifles.[42] In November 2009, the Phoenix office’s Group VII, which would be the lead investigative group in Fast and Furious, began to follow a prolific gun trafficker. He had bought 34 firearms in 24 days, and he and his associates bought 212 more in the next month. The case soon grew to over two dozen straw purchasers, the most prolific of which would ultimately buy more than 600 weapons.[3][5][43] The effort would come to be called Operation Fast and Furious for the successful film franchise, because some of the suspects under investigation operated out of an auto repair store and street raced.[3]

Under the previous Operation Wide Receiver, there had been a formal ATF contract with the cooperating gun dealer and efforts were made to involve the ATF Mexico City Office (MCO) and Mexican law enforcement. Under Operation Fast and Furious, at Newell’s insistence the cooperating gun dealers did not have contracts with ATF, and MCO and Mexican police were left in the dark.[1]

According to internal ATF documents, the operation was initially run in conjunction with the Phoenix DEA Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force(OCDETF).[44] On January 26, 2010, ATF formally applied to the Justice Department in Washington for funding through the OCDETF program. When it won approval and received additional funding, Operation Fast and Furious was reorganized as a Strike Force that included agents from ATF, FBI, DEA, and the ICE component of the Department of Homeland Security, which would be run through the U.S. Attorney’s office rather than the ATF. This new Strike Force designation allowed the operation to take advantage of sophisticated surveillance techniques such as federal wiretaps, which would require court orders and interaction from Justice Department officials in Washington, D.C. since federal law requires certain individuals to review evidence and certify the necessity of such techniques.[45]

The dealers involved became concerned as months went by and the same individuals they reported to ATF as suspected straw purchasers returned and repeatedly bought identical weapons. As they later told the DOJ OIG, their previous experience was that after they reported a suspected straw to ATF, they did not see the straw again unless subpoenaed to testify against the straw at trial.[1] One cooperating dealer expressed his concerns in a series of emails in April and June 2010 to GS David Voth, who assured the dealer that ATF was monitoring the suspects using a variety of techniques that he could not discuss in detail.[14]

The tactic of letting guns walk, rather than interdicting them and arresting the buyers, led to controversy within the ATF.[5][46] As the case continued, several members of Group VII, including John Dodson and Olindo Casa, became increasingly upset at the tactic of allowing guns to walk. Their standard Project Gunrunner training was to follow the straw purchasers to the hand-off to the cartel buyers, then arrest both parties and seize the guns. But according to Dodson, they watched guns being bought illegally and stashed on a daily basis, while their supervisors, including David Voth and Hope MacAllister, prevented the agents from intervening.[3]

However, other accounts of the operation insist that ATF agents were prevented from intervening not by ATF officials, but rather by federal prosecutors with the Attorney General’s office, who were unsure of whether the agents had sufficient evidence to arrest suspected straw-buyers.[47] According to some reports, many agents insisted they were prevented from making arrests because prosecutors were unwilling to engage in what could become a potentially contentious political battle over Second Amendment rights during an election year, particularly given the difficult nature of prosecuting straw buyers, and the weak penalties associated with it, even if successful.[47] Instead, prosecutors instructed ATF agents not to make arrests, but rather continue collecting evidence in order to build a stronger case. One tactic proposed for doing so was a wiretap of suspected straw-buyers, in an attempt to link the suspects to criminal activities taking place on the Mexican side of the border.[47] Between March 20 and July 30, 2010, nine wiretaps were sought and approved by Justice Department officials, resulting in a significant delay in concluding the case.[1]:247,274

One of the central targeted individuals was Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta.[45] By December 2009, Celis-Acosta was being investigated by the ATF, which had placed a secret pole camera outside his Phoenix home to track his movements. Around this time, apparently by chance, ATF agents discovered Celis-Acosta was also a potential criminal target of the DEA, which was operating a wire room to monitor live wiretaps in order to track him. On April 2, 2010, Celis-Acosta was arrested on possession of cocaine and found in possession of a weapon purchased by Uriel Patino, who had already purchased at least 434 guns from cooperating gun dealers in the Phoenix area. By this time about a dozen ATF agents regularly surveilled Celis-Acosta as he recruited 20 friends and family to buy guns for him and regularly traveled to Texas to obtain funds from cartel associates to purchase firearms. On May 29, 2010, Celis-Acosta was detained in Lukeville, Arizona with 74 rounds of ammunition and 9 cell phones. He was then released by the chief ATF investigator on Fast and Furious, Hope MacAllister, after he promised to cooperate with her to find two specific Sinaloa cartel associates. After the redetention and arrest of Celis-Acosta in February 2011, the ATF learned that the associates they were after were FBI/DEA paid informants, and one of them was Celis-Acosta’s financier. Since they were informants, they were unindictable under Operation Fast and Furious.[45][48][49][50][51]

Later, the DOJ inspector General concluded: “We did not find persuasive evidence that agents sought to seize firearms or make arrests during the investigative stage of the case and were rebuffed by the prosecutor. … We found that the lack of seizures and arrests was primarily attributable to the pursuit of a strategic goal shared by both the [Phoenix] ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office—to eliminate a trafficking organization—and the belief that confronting subjects and seizing firearms could compromise that goal.”[1]

Weapons bought by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino, seized by Border Patrol and Tucson ATF agents on the Tohono O’odham Reservation from a vehicle headed toward the Mexican border, February 20, 2010.[1]

By June 2010, suspects had purchased 1,608 firearms at a cost of over US$1 million at Phoenix-area gun shops. At that time, the ATF was also aware of 179 of those weapons being found at crime scenes in Mexico, and 130 in the United States.[8] As guns traced to Fast and Furious began turning up at violent crime scenes in Mexico, ATF agents stationed there also voiced opposition.[3]

On the evening of December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and others were patrolling Peck Canyon,Santa Cruz County, Arizona, 11 miles from the Mexican border. The group came across five suspected illegal immigrants. When they fired non-lethal beanbag guns, the suspects responded with their own weapons, leading to a firefight. Terry was shot and killed; four of the suspects were arrested and two AK-pattern rifles were found nearby.[3] The Attorney General’s office was immediately notified of the shooting incident by email.[52] The rifles were traced within hours of the shooting to a Phoenix store involved in the Fast and Furious operation, but the bullet that killed Terry was too badly damaged to be conclusively linked to either gun.[3] Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler and Deputy Chief of Staff Monty Wilkinson were informed about the guns, but they didn’t believe the information was sufficiently important to alert the Attorney General about it or to make any further inquiry regarding the development.[1]:297

After hearing of the incident, Dodson contacted ATF headquarters, ATF’s chief counsel, the ATF ethics section and the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, none of whom immediately responded. He and other agents then contacted Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa (R–IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who would become a major figure in the investigation of “gunwalking.” At the same time, information began leaking to various bloggers and Web sites.[3]

On January 25, 2011, Burke announced the first details of the case to become officially public, marking the end of Operation Fast and Furious. At a news conference in Phoenix, he reported a 53-count indictment of 20 suspects for buying hundreds of guns intended for illegal export between September 2009 and December 2010. Newell, who was at the conference, called Fast and Furious a “phenomenal case,” while denying that guns had been deliberately allowed to walk into Mexico.[3][12]

Altogether, about 2,000 firearms were bought by straw purchasers during Fast and Furious.[1]:203[3] These included AK-47 variants, Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles, .38 caliber revolvers, and FN Five-sevens.[41] As of October 20, 2011, 389 had been recovered in the US and 276 had been recovered in Mexico. The rest remained on the streets, unaccounted for.[15] As of February 2012, the total number of recovered firearms was 710.[1]:203 Most of the guns went to the Sinaloa Cartel, while others made their way to El Teo and La Familia.[2][32]

Although most weapons were purchased by suspects under investigation by the program, there have been reports of at least one instance of ATF agents being directly involved in the transfer of weapons. On April 13, 2010, ATF Agent John Dodson, with assistance from Agents Casa and Alt, directed a cooperating straw purchaser to give three guns to Isaiah Fernandez, a suspected gun trafficker, and had taped the conversations without prosecutor approval.[47]

After being instructed by his superiors to obtain approval from prosecutors (albeit retroactively), Dodson’s proposal was later rejected by his immediate superior David Voth, although he later received permission from Voth’s supervisor after submitting a written proposal for the program. On June 1, 2010, Dodson used $2,500 of ATF funds to purchase six AK Draco pistols from local gun dealers, which he then gave to Mr. Fernandez, who reimbursed him for the expense of the guns, plus $700 for his assistance.[47] Two days later, Agent Dodson went on a scheduled vacation without interdicting the weapons. As a result, the weapons were never recovered, no arrests were ever made, and the case was closed without charges being filed.[47]

According to the DOJ OIG report, Agent Dodson, as the undercover posing as a straw buyer, was not expected to surveil the weapons after hand-off to Fernandez. Other ATF agents followed the weapons to a storage facility; then surveillance was terminated without interdiction.[1] The Fernandez case was dropped from Fast and Furious after it was determined that Fernandez was not connected to Mexican cartels and had ceased buying guns for resale.[1][53]

Aftermath and reaction

Fate of walked guns

Since the end of Operation Fast and Furious, related firearms have continued to be discovered in criminal hands. As reported in September 2011, the Mexican government stated that an undisclosed number of guns found at about 170 crime scenes were linked to Fast and Furious.[54] U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R–Calif.–49) estimated that more than 200 Mexicans were killed by guns linked to the operation.[55] Reflecting on the operation, Attorney General Eric Holder said that theUnited States government is “…losing the battle to stop the flow of illegal guns to Mexico,”[56] and that the effects of Operation Fast and Furious will most likely continue to be felt for years, as more walked guns appear at Mexican crime scenes.[57]

In April 2011, a large cache of weapons, 40 traced to Fast and Furious but also including military-grade weapons difficult to obtain legally in the US such as an anti-aircraft machine gun and grenade launcher, was found in the home of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, a prominent Sinaloa Cartel member, in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Torres Marrufo was indicted, but evaded law enforcement for a brief time.[58][59] Finally, on February 4, 2012, Marrufo was arrested by the Mexican Police.[60]

On May 29, 2011, four Mexican Federal Police helicopters attacked a cartel compound, where they were met with heavy fire, including from a .50 caliber rifle. According to a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, this rifle is likely linked to Fast and Furious.[2]

There have been questions raised over a possible connection between Fast and Furious and the death of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata on February 15, 2011.[61][62] The gun used to kill Zapata was purchased by Otilio Osorio in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas[63] (outside the area of responsibility for the ATF Phoenix field division[64] which conducted Fast and Furious), and then smuggled into Mexico. Congressional investigators have stated that Osorio was known by the ATF to be a straw purchaser months before he purchased the gun used to kill Zapata, leading them to question ATF surveillance tactics[63]and to suspect a Texas-based operation similar to Fast and Furious.[65]

In addition to Otilio Osorio, a Texas-based drug and gun trafficker, Manuel Barba, was involved trafficking another of the guns recovered in the Zapata shooting. The timeline of this case, called “Baytown Crew”, shows guns were allowed to walk during surveillance that began June 7, 2010. On August 20, 2010, Barba received a rifle later recovered in the Zapata ambush and sent it with nine others to Mexico. The warrant for Barba’s arrest was issued February 14, 2011, the day before Zapata was shot.[66] On January 30, 2012, Barba, who claimed to be working with Los Zetas in illegally exporting at least 44 weapons purchased through straw buyers, was sentenced to 100 months in prison.[67]

On November 23, 2012, two firearms linked to the ATF were found at the scene of a shootout between Sinaloa cartel members and the Mexican military. One of the weapons was an AK-47 type rifle trafficked by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino, and the other was an FN Herstal pistol originally purchased by an ATF agent. Mexican beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez and four others were killed.[68][69]

Investigations and fallout

In the U.S. Congress, Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA–49), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Chuck Grassley(R–IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have been leading investigations of “gunwalking” operations.[70] There have also been investigations by the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and others.

2011

On January 27, 2011, Grassley wrote a letter to ATF Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson requesting information about the ATF-sanctioned sale of hundreds of firearms to straw purchasers. The letter mentioned a number of allegations that walked guns were used in the fight that killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.[71] A second letter from Grassley on January 31 accused the ATF of targeting whistleblowers.[72]

On February 4, after review and comment from dozens of officials in the Justice Department Criminal Division, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, and ATF Headquarters,[1]:332 Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich sent a response to Grassley regarding his two letters. Weich said claims “…that (the) ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico [are] false. ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”[73][74] On February 28, Attorney GeneralEric Holder requested that the Department of Justice‘s Inspector General begin an investigation of Fast and Furious.[75]

On March 23, President Barack Obama appeared on Univision and spoke about the “gunwalking” controversy. He said that neither he nor Attorney General Holder authorized Fast and Furious. He also stated, “There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made, and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable.”[76]

On May 3, Attorney General Holder testified to the House Judiciary Committee that he did not know who approved Fast and Furious, but that it was being investigated. He also stated that he “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks,”[77] a claim which would later be questioned[78][79][80] as explained below.

In June, ATF Agent Vince Cefalu, who helped to publicize Fast and Furious, was served with termination papers, in a move by the agency he described as politically motivated retaliation. He had been at odds with ATF management since he filed a complaint over tactics in an unrelated case in 2005. The ATF denied that the firing was retaliation, and Cefalu’s termination letter noted that he leaked documents to the Internet and showed a “lack of candor” in other operations.[81]

On June 14, 2011, a preliminary joint staff report was released by Representative Issa and Senator Grassley.[11] Among the findings: agents were told to stand down rather than interdict weapons, they complained about the strategy and were ignored, and Fast and Furious led to increased violence and death in Mexico.[82] Agents were panicked, certain that “someone was going to die.”[83]

Representative Issa continued to hold hearings in June and July where ATF officials based in Phoenix and Mexico, and at headquarters in Washington, testified before the committee.[84] ATF agent John Dodson stated that he and other agents were ordered to observe the activities of gun smugglers but not to intervene. He testified:[85][86]

Over the course of the next 10 months that I was involved in this operation, we monitored as they purchased hand guns, AK-47 variants, and .50 caliberrifles almost daily. Rather than conduct any enforcement actions, we took notes, we recorded observations, we tracked movements of these individuals for a short time after their purchases, but nothing more. Knowing all the while, just days after these purchases, the guns that we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, we still did nothing. …
I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.

A second joint staff report was released by the Republicans on July 26.[41]

In August, three important Fast and Furious supervisors were transferred to new management positions at ATF headquarters in Washington: William Newell and David Voth, field supervisors who oversaw the program from Phoenix, and William McMahon, an ATF deputy director of operations. The transfers were initially reported as promotions by the Los Angeles Times, but the ATF stated that they did not receive raises or take on greater responsibilities.[70][87] In late August, it was announced that Acting ATF Director Melson had been reassigned to the Justice Department, and U.S. Attorney Burke announced his resignation after being questioned by Congressional investigators earlier that month.[88]

In October, documents showing that Attorney General Holder’s office had been sent briefings on Fast and Furious as early as July 2010, prompted questions about his May statement that he wasn’t sure of the exact date, but had known about it for only a few weeks. The briefings were from the National Drug Intelligence Center andAssistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. The Justice Department said that those briefings were about a different case started before Holder became Attorney General, and that while he had known about Fast and Furious, he didn’t know the details of the tactics being used.[80]

On October 31, 2011, after the release of subpoenaed documents, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer stated he found out about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver in April 2010, and that he wished he had alerted the deputy or the attorney general at the time.[89][90] The following day, in testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee in a hearing on International Organized Crime, when asked if he had reviewed the letter before it was sent to Senator Charles Grassley on February 4, 2011 denying gunwalking, Breuer replied, “I cannot say for sure whether I saw a draft of the letter that was sent to you. What I can tell you, Senator, is that at that time I was in Mexico dealing with the very real issues that we’re all so committed to.”[91]

On November 8, Holder stated for the first time in Congressional testimony that “gunwalking” was used in Fast and Furious. He remarked that the tactic is unacceptable, and that the operation was “flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution.” He further stated that his office had inaccurately described the program in previous letters sent to Congress, but that this was unintentional. Reiterating previous testimony, he said that he and other top officials had been unaware that the “gunwalking” tactic was being used. Holder stated that his staff had not showed him memos about the program, noting, “There is nothing in any of those memos that indicates any of those inappropriate tactics that are of concern. Those things were not brought to my attention, and my staff, I think, made the correct decision in that regard.”[78][92][93]

That same month, ex-US Attorney Burke admitted to leaking sensitive documents about ATF agent and whistleblower Dodson. Senator Grassley expressed concern that the Justice Department was using Burke as a scapegoat to protect higher officials and vowed to continue his probe.[94]

On December 2, 2011, the Justice Department formally withdrew its statement from February 4, 2011 denying gunwalking due to inaccuracies.[95]

Later that month, documents showed that some ATF agents discussed using Fast and Furious to provide anecdotal cases to support controversial new rules about gun sales. The regulation, called Demand Letter 3, would require 8,500 firearms dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas that “have a significant number of crime guns traced back to them from Mexico” to report multiple rifle sales.[96]

2012

Investigations by Congress and the DOJ Inspector General continued into 2012. In January, Patrick Cunningham, who was the criminal division chief at the Phoenix office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and has since resigned, asserted his innocence and his constitutional right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying.[97] Cunningham worked directly under Burke during Fast and Furious. He was subpoenaed because of the role he might have played in the operation, and in the letter sent from the DOJ to Senator Grassley in February 2011 that claimed the ATF did not allow weapons to be trafficked to Mexico.[98]

On January 31, 2012, Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report titled, “Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona”.[36] The report concluded that there was no evidence of involvement by high-ranking appointees at the Justice Department in “gunwalking.” Rather, Operation Fast and Furious was just one of four such operations conducted over five years during the Bush and Obama administrations, and was only “the latest in a series of fatally flawed operations run by ATF agents in Phoenix and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office.”[99]

In May, it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General had begun to investigate Fast and Furious, with a report expected in October. The DHS had Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assigned to the operation after becoming involved in late 2009.[100]

On May 3, 2012, Congressman Issa released a letter to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that included a draft of a resolution to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt.[101] In the letter, Issa described the connection between Operation Fast and Furious and the OCDETF program since at least January 2009, which would involve multiple executive agencies including the ATF, DOJ, DEA, FBI, ICE, and DHS. He questioned how, why, or if oversight by high level Justice Department did not occur in such an important case. He further described the tragic death of Brian Terry, the whistleblowers and their mistreatment, and the damage the operation had to US-Mexico relations.

On June 7, 2012, under the threat of being held in contempt of Congress for not turning over additional requested documents, Attorney General Holder appeared at his seventh Congressional hearing, where he continued to deny knowledge of “gunwalking” by high-level officials. By then, the Justice Department had turned over more than 7,000 pages of documents.[102]

During the June 12, 2012, Senate hearing, Eric Holder stated, “If you want to talk about Fast and Furious, I’m the Attorney General that put an end to the misguided tactics that were used in Fast and Furious. An Attorney General who I suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operation called Wide Receiver and did nothing to stop them—nothing. Three hundred guns, at least, walked in that instance.” Holder cited a briefing paper on “Wide Receiver”; the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs later clarified that the briefing paper was about the Fidel Hernandez case, prepared for Holder’s predecessor, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey before his meeting with Mexican Attorney General Mora on November 16, 2007.[35] The Hernandez Case had ended October 6, 2007,[103]before Mukasey entered office November 9, 2007.[104] The office further explained, “As Attorney General Holder also noted in his testimony, and as we have set forth in prior correspondence and testimony, he took measures and instituted a series of important reforms designed to ensure that the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious, Wide Receiver, Hernandez, and other matters about which the Department has informed Congress are not repeated.”[35] The later DOJ OIG investigation concluded “Attorney General Mukasey was not briefed about Operation Wide Receiver or gun “walking,” but on a different and traditional law enforcement tactic that was employed in a different case.”[1]

On June 20, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines to recommend that Holder be held in contempt. At issue were 1,300 pages of documents that had not been turned over to Congress by the DOJ. Earlier that day, President Obama had invoked executive privilege over those documents, marking the first time the privilege has been asserted during his presidency.[21][22] Issa contends that the Obama executive privilege claim is a cover-up or an obstruction to the congressional probe. Issa said the department has identified “140,000 pages of documents and communications responsive to the committee’s subpoena.”[105]

On Thursday, June 28, 2012, Holder became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives for refusing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. The vote was 255–67 in favor, with 17 Democrats voting yes and a large number of Democrats walking off the floor in protest and refusing to vote. A civil contempt measure was also voted on and passed, 258–95. The civil contempt vote allows the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to go to court with a civil lawsuit to look into the US Justice Department’s refusal to turn over some of the subpoenaed documents and to test Obama’s assertion of executive privilege. Holder dismissed the votes as “the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year,” and the White House called it “political theater rather than legitimate congressional oversight.”[19][20] The National Rifle Association controversially lobbied for Holder to be held in contempt.[106][107][108][109][110][111]

In June 2012, a six-month long investigation by Fortune magazine stated that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, in contrast to most other reports. Agents interviewed during the investigation repeatedly asserted that only one isolated incident of “gunwalking” ever occurred, and was performed independently by ATF Agent John Dodson (who later appeared on CBS News as a whistleblower to denounce the gunwalking scandal) as part of an unauthorized solo action outside the larger Fast and Furious operation.[47]

On July 31, the first part of a new three-part report, Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation,[37] was released by Republican lawmakers. The report singled out five ATF supervisors for responsibility in Fast and Furious, all of whom had been previously reassigned. The report also said that Fast and Furious resulted from a change in strategy by the Obama Administration. The Justice Department was dismissive of the report, saying that it contained “distortions” and “debunked conspiracy theories,” and that “gunwalking” tactics dated back to 2006.[112] DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, while critical of the report, did credit it for acknowledging that the idea for “gun walking”—allowing illegal sales of weapons on the border—originated under the Republican administration before Eric Holder took office in 2009. Schmaler noted that Holder moved swiftly to replace the ATF’s management and instill reforms.[113] On the same day, ATF Deputy Director William Hoover, who was one of the five blamed in the Congressional report, officially retired.[114] The report included an appendix disputing claims in the Fortune article.[53]Following its publication, Dodson’s lawyer wrote the managing editor of Fortune stating the article was “demonstrably false” and that a retraction was in order.[115] AfterFortune did not retract the article, Dodson sued for libel on October 12, 2012.[116][117]

On September 19,[118] the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz publicly released a 471-page report[1] detailing the results of the Justice Department’s own internal investigations. The Inspector General’s report, which had access to evidence and interviews with witnesses not permitted in previous Congressional reports, recommended 14 federal officials for disciplinary action, ranging from ATF agents to federal prosecutors involved in the Fast and Furious operation.[118] It found “no evidence” that Attorney General Holder knew about Fast and Furious before early 2011.[119] It found no evidence that previous Attorneys General had been advised about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver.[1]

While the OIG report found no evidence that higher officials at the Justice Department in Washington had authorized or approved of the tactics used in the Fast and Furious investigations, it did fault 14 lower officials for related failures, including failures to take note of “red flags” uncovered by the investigation, as well as failures to follow up on information produced through Operation Fast and Furious and its predecessor, Operation Wide Receiver.[118][120] The report also noted ATF agents’ apparent frustrations over legal obstacles from the Phoenix Attorney’s Office to prosecuting suspected “straw-buyers,” while also criticizing the agents’ failure to quickly intervene and interdict weapons obtained by low-level suspects in the case.[118] The 14 Justice Department employees were referred for possible internal discipline. The Justice Department’s Criminal Division head Lanny Breuer, an Obama administration presidential appointee, was cited for not alerting his bosses in 2010 to the flaws of Operation Wide Receiver.[121] Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, who was responsible for authorizing a portion of the wiretap applications in Operation Fast and Furious and faulted in the report for not identifying the gunwalking tactics, resigned on the day of the report.[122]

On December 4, 2012, the ATF Professional Review Board delivered its recommendations to high-level ATF managers, who will decide whether to accept them. The recommendations included firing William McMahon, ATF Deputy Assistant Director; Mark Chait, ATF Assistant Director for Field Operations; William Newell, Phoenix ATF Special Agent in Charge; and George Gillett, Newell’s second in command. Two additional ATF employees, Phoenix supervisor David Voth and lead agent Hope McAllister, received recommendations for demotion and disciplinary transfer to another ATF post, respectively.[123][124] It was reported the next day that McMahon had been fired. It was also announced that Gary Grindler, Eric Holder’s chief of staff who was faulted in the OIG report, would be leaving the Justice Department.[120] Later that month, the family of Brian Terry sued seven government officials and a gun shop involved in Operation Fast and Furious for negligence and wrongful death.[125]

2013

Agent John Dodson’s book on his experiences in Operation Fast and Furious was released by Simon and Schuster on December 3, 2013.[126]

Related criminal prosecutions

On July 9, 2012, an indictment charging five men in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was unsealed. The FBI offered a reward of $250,000 per fugitive for information leading to their arrests. The indictment, originally handed up on November 7, 2011, charges Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and other crimes.[127][128] Manuel Osorio-Arellanes pled guilty to avoid the death penalty and is expected to be sentenced in March 2013. As of December 12, 2012, another of the suspects is in custody, and three remain fugitives.[129]

On October 15, 2012, Danny Cruz Morones, one of the twenty individuals indicted as a result of Fast and Furious, was sentenced to 57 months in prison. He was the first of the twenty to be sentenced. He pled guilty to straw purchasing and recruiting others to buy guns. According to prosecutors, he bought 27 AK-47s, and his recruits bought dozens more.[130]

On December 12, Jaime Avila, Jr. received the maximum penalty of 57 months in prison for gun dealing and conspiracy. He pled guilty after two AK-47 type rifles purchased by him were found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death. Federal prosecutors stated that, in addition to gun trafficking, he had recruited others to do the same. He was under ATF surveillance at the time.[129]

Mexican reactions

As more information on Operations Fast and Furious and Wide Receiver was revealed in 2011, Mexican officials, political commentators and media reacted with anger.[131] Mexican officials stated in September that the U.S. government still had not briefed them on what went wrong nor had they apologized.[132]

Due to several failed attempts at coordinating with Mexican law enforcement in the apprehension of suspected arms traffickers in the Wide Receiver and Hernandez cases,[36] and concerns about widespread corruption, details of Operation Fast and Furious were not shared with Mexican government officials, and they were deliberately kept out of the loop after related firearms began turning up at crime scenes and in criminal arsenals in 2010. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico and the ATF Mexico City Office (MCO) were also kept in the dark. According to Attorney General of Mexico Marisela Morales, the Mexican government was told about the undercover program in January 2011, but they were not provided details at the time.[132]

Morales stated, “At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been arms trafficking permitted. In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.” In addition, she expressed that allowing weapons to “walk” would represent a “betrayal” of Mexico.[132] Morales said that her office would search “to the end” in order to clarify what happened in Fast and Furious.[133] In November 2011, it was reported that the Mexican Attorney General’s office was seeking the extradition of six citizens of the United States implicated with smuggling weapons.[134]

Mexican Senator Arturo Escobar stated after hearing about Operation Wide Receiver, “We can no longer tolerate what is occurring. There must be condemnation from the state,” and that the Mexican Senate condemned the actions of the ATF.[131][135][136]

Jorge Carlos Ramírez Marín, president of the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, said “This is a serious violation of international law. What happens if next time they need to introduce trained assassins or nuclear weapons?”[137]

Chihuahua state prosecutor Patricia Gonzalez, who had worked closely with the US for years, said, “The basic ineptitude of these officials [who ordered the Fast and Furious operation] caused the death of my brother and surely thousands more victims.” Her brother, Mario, had been kidnapped, tortured and killed by cartel hit men in fall 2010. Later, two AK-47 rifles found among the several weapons recovered after a gunfight between police and cartel members were traced to the Fast and Furious program.[2][132]

Mexican Congressman Humberto Benítez Treviño, a former attorney general, called Fast and Furious “a bad business that got out of hand.”[132] He had also characterized it as “an undercover program that wasn’t properly controlled.”[137]

Like many politicians, Mexican pundits across the political spectrum expressed anger at news of both operations. La Jornada, a left-leaning newspaper, asked “US: ally or enemy?”[138] The paper also argued that after news about Wide Receiver, the Mérida Initiative should be immediately suspended. A right-leaning paper accused the US of violating Mexican sovereignty. Manuel J. Jauregui of the Reforma newspaper wrote, “In sum, the gringo (American) government has been sending weapons to Mexico in a premeditated and systematic manner, knowing that their destinations were Mexican criminal organizations.”[131]

See also

References

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  52. Jump up^ Carrie Johnson, “Emails Show How ‘Fast And Furious’ Ambush News Unfolded At Justice Dept.” NPR, January 27, 2012.
  53. ^ Jump up to:a b Joint Staff Report Part I Appendix III PDF “The Whole Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal”, 7-31-12.
  54. Jump up^ Serrano, Richard A. (September 11, 2011). “Gun store owner had misgivings about ATF sting”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  55. Jump up^ “200 mexicanos murieron por armas de ‘Rápido y Furioso’: congresista de EU”.CNN Mexico. October 28, 2011.
  56. Jump up^ “Eric Holder: Effects of Fast and Furious will linger”. Politico LLC. November 7, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  57. Jump up^ Frieden, Terry (November 7, 2011). “El gobierno de EU admite que pierde la batalla contra el tráfico de armas”. CNN Mexico. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  58. Jump up^ Longbottom, Wil (October 13, 2011). “U.S. Attorney General issued with subpoena in probe over ‘Fast and Furious’ gun trafficking”. Daily Mail (London). Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  59. Jump up^ Serrano, Richard (October 8, 2011). “Fast and Furious weapons were found in Mexico cartel enforcer’s home”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  60. Jump up^ Ugarte, Marco (February 4, 2012). “Mexico arrested Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, the reputed enforcer for the Sinaloa drug cartel.”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  61. Jump up^ Serrano, Richard (July 17, 2011). “Family of U.S. agent slain in Mexico demands to know gun source”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  62. Jump up^ Carroll, Susan. “Slain ICE agent’s family still searching for answers”. The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  63. ^ Jump up to:a b Perez-Trevino, Emma. “Straw purchaser of guns pleads guilty in Dallas; defendant linked to Zapata death”. The Brownsville Herald. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  64. Jump up^ “Phoenix Field Division”. ATF. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  65. Jump up^ Titus, Elizabeth. “Cornyn Presses Holder on Alleged Texas Operation”. The Texas Tribune. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  66. Jump up^ “Timeline of “Baytown Crew” case.” (PDF). CBS News. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  67. Jump up^ Sharyl Attkisson, “Second gun used in ICE agent murder linked to ATF undercover operation”, CBS News, February 22, 2012.
  68. Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl (19 December 2012). “Pistol purchased by ATF agent found at alleged cartel crime scene in Mexico”. CBS News. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  69. Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl (18 December 2012). “Fast and Furious gun found at Mexican crime scene”. CBS News. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  70. ^ Jump up to:a b Serrano, Richard (August 16, 2011). “Supervisors in ATF gun operation are promoted”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  71. Jump up^ Wagner, Dennis. “Phoenix-area gun store, ATF sting may be linked to shootout”. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  72. Jump up^ Lott, Maxim (February 2, 2011). “Senator Calls ATF on Allegations Agency Is Allowing Guns Into Mexico”. Fox News. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  73. Jump up^ Salant, Jonathan (December 2, 2011). “Erroneous Gun Letter Based on U.S. Attorney, Documents Show”. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  74. Jump up^ Weich, Ronald. “Judiciary ATF 02-04-11 letter from DOJ deny allegations”. United States Senate. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  75. Jump up^ Serrano, Richard (December 24, 2011). “Angry former ATF chief blames subordinates for Fast and Furious”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  76. Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Obama on “gunwalking”: Serious mistake may have been made”. CBS News. Retrieved January 13, 2012.[dead link]
  77. Jump up^ Attorney General Eric Holder Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee; CSPAN; May 3, 2011.
  78. ^ Jump up to:a b Hennessey, Kathleen (November 9, 2011). “Senate grills Holder on Fast and Furious gun-trafficking sting”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  79. Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Attorney General Eric Holder grilled by Congress on ATF “Gunwalker” controversy”. CBS News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.[dead link]
  80. ^ Jump up to:a b Attkisson, Sharyl. “ATF Fast and Furious: New documents show Attorney General Eric Holder was briefed in July 2010”. CBS News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.[dead link]
  81. Jump up^ Lott, Maxim (June 27, 2011). “‘Project Gunrunner’ Whistleblower Says ATF Sent Him Termination Notice”. Fox News. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  82. Jump up^ Lajeunesse, William (June 15, 2011). “House Panel Releases Scathing Report on ‘Fast and Furious’ Gun Operation, Sure to Anger Mexico”. Fox News. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  83. Jump up^ Murphy, Kim (June 14, 2011). “Report describes gun agents’ ‘state of panic'”.Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  84. Jump up^ La Jeunesse, William (June 10, 2011). “Justice Officials in ‘Panic Mode’ as Hearing Nears on Failed Anti-Gun Trafficking Program”. Fox News. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  85. Jump up^ Johnson, Kevin (June 16, 2011). “ATF agent calls gun-tracking program a ‘disaster'”. USA Today. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  86. Jump up^ Holub, Hugh. “Statement of John Dodson about ATF gunwalker scandal: “The very idea of letting guns walk is unthinkable to most law enforcement.””. Tucson Citizen. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  87. Jump up^ Serrano, Richard (August 17, 2011). “ATF denies it promoted Fast and Furious supervisors”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  88. Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Gunwalker scandal: ATF director out of top job”. CBS News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.[dead link]
  89. Jump up^ Terry Frieden, Top Justice official expresses regret for failure to warn on ‘gun walking’ CNN, November 1, 2011.
  90. Jump up^ Carrie Johnson, “Official Admits ‘Mistake’ In Gun-Trafficking Case” NPR, November 1, 2011.
  91. Jump up^ “Senate Committee Hearing on International Organized Crime” CSPAN, November 1, 2011.
  92. Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl. “Eric Holder calls “gunwalking” unacceptable, regrets tactic as part of Fast and Furious”. CBS News. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  93. Jump up^ “Holder emails” (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  94. Jump up^ Dennis Wagner, “Ex-U.S. Attorney Burke admits to leaking whistle-blower’s records” The Arizona Republic, November 10, 2011.
  95. Jump up^ Carrie Johnson, “Justice Withdraws Inaccurate ‘Fast And Furious’ Letter It Sent To Congress” NPR, December 2, 2011.
  96. Jump up^ Sharyl Attkisson, “Documents: ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations”, CBS News, December 7, 2011.
  97. Jump up^ Savage, Charlie (January 31, 2012). “Report by House Democrats Absolves Administration in Gun Trafficking Case”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
  98. Jump up^ Yager, Jordy. “Federal officer invokes Fifth in ‘Fast and Furious’ investigation”. The Hill. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  99. Jump up^ Yost, Pete (February 1, 2012). “Dems: Fast & Furious just 1 of 4 misguided probes”. Associated Press. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  100. Jump up^ Attkisson, Sharyl (May 22, 2012). “Homeland Security IG Investigates Fast and Furious”. CBS News. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  101. Jump up^ http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Update-on-Fast-and-Furious-with-attachment-FINAL.pdf
  102. Jump up^ Frieden, Terry (June 7, 2012). “Holder rejects GOP assertions on Fast and Furious at House hearing”. CNN. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  103. Jump up^ “ATF Emails Discuss Bush-Era ‘Gun Walking’ Program” Page 2 email from William Newell to Carson W. Carroll 6 Oct 2007.
  104. Jump up^ Laurie Kellman (AP), “Mukasey confirmed as attorney general”, Washington Post, November 9, 2007.
  105. Jump up^ Issa: Obama executive privilege claim is cover-up or obstruction; Washington Times; June 26, 2012
  106. Jump up^ NRA sends Democrats a message over Holder contempt vote; CNN; July 2, 2012
  107. Jump up^ NRA Letter to the committee – June 20; National Rifle Association; June 20, 2012
  108. Jump up^ “House votes to hold attorney general in contempt”. Fox News. June 28, 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  109. Jump up^ Grant, David (June 27, 2012). “Why NRA wants Congress to vote Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt”. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  110. Jump up^ Hoyer Challenges Issa to Show E-Mails; New York Times; June 26, 2012
  111. Jump up^ Issa’s right: Tougher gun laws Fast and Furious goal; National Rifle Association; June 27, 2012
  112. Jump up^ “Justice Dept: Fast and Furious report distorted”. CBS News. August 1, 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.[dead link]
  113. Jump up^ Serrano, Richard A. (July 31, 2012). “Justice Department shrugs off Fast and Furious report”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  114. Jump up^ Frieden, Terry (August 2, 2012). “Deputy Director William Hoover resigns from ATF in wake of critical report”. CNN. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  115. Jump up^ “Letter from Robert N. Driscoll to Andy Serwer re: The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal”. Politico. September 27, 2012. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  116. Jump up^ Dylan Byers, “Exclusive: Fast and Furious whistleblower sues Time Inc. for libel”, Politico, 24 Oct 2012.
  117. Jump up^ “Libel Complaint, John Dodson v Time Inc., 6:12-294-MGL”. Documentcloud.org. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  118. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Charlie Savage, “Guns Inquiry Urges Action Against 14 in Justice Dept.”,New York Times, 19 Sep 2012.
  119. Jump up^ Kevin Johnson (September 19, 2012). “Review: Holder did not know about ‘Fast and Furious'”. USA Today.
  120. ^ Jump up to:a b Attkisson, Sharyl (5 December 2012). “Heads roll after Fast and Furious investigation”. CBS News. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  121. Jump up^ “Probe faults US agents over Mexico gunrunning”, Al Jazeera, 20 Sep 2012.
  122. Jump up^ Mary Jacoby, “Criminal Division Deputy Weinstein Resigns In Wake of Fast and Furious Report” Main Justice, September 19, 2012.
  123. Jump up^ Evan Perez, “Firings Set Over ‘Fast and Furious'”, The Wall Street Journal, 4 Dec 2012. Subscription required.
  124. Jump up^ Chuck Neubauer (2012-12-05). “Firings advised for 4 ATF leaders tied to Fast and Furious”. Washington Times. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  125. Jump up^ Sharyl Attkisson, “Brian Terry family sues ATF officials in Fast and Furious”CBS, December 17, 2012.
  126. Jump up^ John Dodson, The Unarmed Truth: My Fight to Blow the Whistle and Expose Fast and Furious Hardcover, Threshold Editions, 3 Dec 2013, ISBN 978-1476727554. Hardcover: 304 pages.·
  127. Jump up^ Phillips, Whitney. “Feds name 4 suspects linked to Fast and Furious”. Independentmail.com. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  128. Jump up^ “Feds unveil indictments in Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s slaying”. CNN. July 9, 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  129. ^ Jump up to:a b “Fast and Furious suspect sentenced”. CBS/AP. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  130. Jump up^ Perry, Tony (15 October 2012). “‘Fast and Furious’ defendant gets prison for buying guns”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  131. ^ Jump up to:a b c Hernandez, Daniel (October 6, 2011). “MEXICO: News of another U.S. gun-tracking program stirs criticism”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  132. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Ellingwood, Ken (September 19, 2011). “Mexico still waiting for answers on Fast and Furious gun program”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  133. Jump up^ “México pide la extradición de seis estadounidenses por tráfico de armas”. CNN Mexico. November 16, 2011.
  134. Jump up^ “Busca PGR extradición de implicados en ‘Rápido y furioso'”. Noticieros Televisa. November 16, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  135. Jump up^ “Exige Senado mexicano reclamo a EE.UU por armas ilegales”. Prensa Latina. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  136. Jump up^ MEXICO: News of another U.S. gun-tracking program stirs criticism; Los Angeles Times; October 6, 2011
  137. ^ Jump up to:a b Murphy, Kim (March 10, 2011). “Mexico lawmakers demand answers about guns smuggled under ATF’s watch”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  138. Jump up^ “EU: ¿aliado o enemigo?”. La Jornada. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATF_gunwalking_scandal

 

Executive privilege

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government to access information and personnel relating to the executive branch. The concept of executive privilege is not mentioned explicitly in the United States Constitution, but the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it to be an element of the separation of powers doctrine, and/or derived from the supremacy of executive branch in its own area of Constitutional activity.[1]The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of this doctrine in United States v. Nixon, but only to the extent of confirming that there is a qualified privilege. Once invoked, a presumption of privilege is established, requiring the Prosecutor to make a “sufficient showing” that the “Presidential material” is “essential to the justice of the case” (418 U.S. at 713-14).Chief Justice Burger further stated that executive privilege would most effectively apply when the oversight of the executive would impair that branch’s national security concerns.

Historically, the uses of executive privilege underscore the untested nature of the doctrine, since Presidents have generally sidestepped open confrontations with the United States Congress and the courts over the issue by first asserting the privilege, then producing some of the documents requested on an assertedly voluntary basis.

Early precedents

Executive privilege is a specific instance of the more general common-law principle of deliberative process privilege and is believed to trace its roots to the English Crown Privilege.[2]

In the context of privilege assertions by US Presidents, “In 1796, President George Washington refused to comply with a request by the House of Representatives for documents related to the negotiation of the then-recently adopted Jay Treaty with the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Senate alone plays a role in the ratification of treaties, Washington reasoned, and therefore the House had no legitimate claim to the material. Therefore, Washington provided the documents to the Senate but not the House.”[3]

President Thomas Jefferson continued the precedent for this in the trial of Aaron Burr for treason in 1807. Burr asked the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum to compel Jefferson to provide his private letters concerning Burr. Chief Justice John Marshall, a strong proponent of the powers of the federal government but also a political opponent of Jefferson, ruled that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for these sorts of court orders for criminal defendants, did not provide any exception for the president. As for Jefferson’s claim that disclosure of the document would imperil public safety, Marshall held that the court, not the president, would be the judge of that. Jefferson complied with Marshall’s order.

In 1833, President Andrew Jackson cited executive privilege when Senator Henry Clay demanded he produce documents concerning statements the president made to his cabinet about the removal of federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States during the Bank War.[4]

Modern exercises

During the period of 1947-49, several major security cases became known to Congress. There followed a series of investigations, culminating in the famous HissChambers case of 1948. At that point, the Truman Administration issued a sweeping secrecy order blocking congressional efforts from FBI and other executive data on security problems.[5] Security files were moved to the White House and Administration officials were banned from testifying before Congress on security related matters. Investigation of the State Department and other cases was stymied and the matter left unresolved.

During the Army–McCarthy hearings in 1954, Eisenhower used the claim of executive privilege to forbid the “provision of any data about internal conversations, meetings, or written communication among staffers, with no exception to topics or people.” Department of Defense employees were also instructed not to testify on any such conversations or produce any such documents or reproductions.[6] This was done to refuse the McCarthy Committee subpoenas of transcripts of monitored telephone calls from Army officials, as well as information on meetings between Eisenhower officials relating to the hearings. This was done in the form of a letter from Eisenhower to the Department of Defense and an accompanying memo from Eisenhower Justice. The reasoning behind the order was that there was a need for “candid” exchanges among executive employees in giving “advice” to one another. In the end, Eisenhower would invoke the claim 44 times between 1955 and 1960.

U.S. v. Nixon

The Supreme Court addressed ‘executive privilege’ in United States v. Nixon, the 1974 case involving the demand by Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox that President Richard Nixon produce the audiotapes of conversations he and his colleagues had in the Oval Office of the White House in connection with criminal charges being brought against members of the Nixon Administration. Nixon invoked the privilege and refused to produce any records.

The Supreme Court did not reject the claim of privilege out of hand; it noted, in fact, “the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties” and that “[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decisionmaking process.” This is very similar to the logic that the Court had used in establishing an “executive immunity” defense for high office-holders charged with violating citizens’ constitutional rights in the course of performing their duties. The Supreme Court stated: “To read the Article II powers of the President as providing an absolute privilege as against a subpoena essential to enforcement of criminal statutes on no more than a generalized claim of the public interest in confidentiality of nonmilitary and nondiplomatic discussions would upset the constitutional balance of ‘a workable government’ and gravely impair the role of the courts under Article III.” Because Nixon had asserted only a generalized need for confidentiality, the Court held that the larger public interest in obtaining the truth in the context of a criminal prosecution took precedence.

“Once executive privilege is asserted, coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course. The Judiciary is forced into the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive’s Article II prerogatives. This inquiry places courts in the awkward position of evaluating the Executive’s claims of confidentiality and autonomy, and pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances. These ‘occasion[s] for constitutional confrontation between the two branches’ are likely to be avoided whenever possible. United States v. Nixon, supra, at 692.”[7]

Post-Nixon

Clinton administration

The Clinton administration invoked executive privilege on fourteen occasions.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton became the first President since Nixon to assert executive privilege and lose in court, when a Federal judge ruled that Clinton aides could be called to testify in the Lewinsky scandal.[8]

Later, Clinton exercised a form of negotiated executive privilege when he agreed to testify before the grand jury called by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr only after negotiating the terms under which he would appear. Declaring that “absolutely no one is above the law”, Starr said such a privilege “must give way” and evidence “must be turned over” to prosecutors if it is relevant to an investigation.

George W. Bush administration

The Bush administration invoked executive privilege on six occasions.

President George W. Bush first asserted executive privilege to deny disclosure of sought details regarding former Attorney General Janet Reno,[2] the scandal involving Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) misuse of organized-crime informants James J. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi in Boston, and Justice Department deliberations about President Bill Clinton’s fundraising tactics, in December 2001.[9]

Bush invoked executive privilege “in substance” in refusing to disclose the details of Vice President Dick Cheney‘s meetings with energy executives, which was not appealed by the GAO. In a separate Supreme Court decision in 2004, however, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted “Executive privilege is an extraordinary assertion of power ‘not to be lightly invoked.’ United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 7 (1953).

Further, on June 28, 2007, Bush invoked executive privilege in response to congressional subpoenas requesting documents from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor,[10] citing that:

The reason for these distinctions rests upon a bedrock presidential prerogative: for the President to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisors and between those advisors and others within and outside the Executive Branch.

On July 9, 2007, Bush again invoked executive privilege to block a congressional subpoena requiring the testimonies of Taylor and Miers. Furthermore, White House Counsel Fred F. Fielding refused to comply with a deadline set by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain its privilege claim, prove that the president personally invoked it, and provide logs of which documents were being withheld. On July 25, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee voted to cite Miers andWhite House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten for contempt of Congress.[11][12]

On July 13, less than a week after claiming executive privilege for Miers and Taylor, Counsel Fielding effectively claimed the privilege once again, this time in relation to documents related to the 2004 death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. In a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Fielding claimed certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests” and would therefore not be turned over to the committee.[13]

On August 1, 2007, Bush invoked the privilege for the fourth time in little over a month, this time rejecting a subpoena for Karl Rove. The subpoena would have required the President’s Senior Advisor to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a probe over fired federal prosecutors. In a letter to Senate Judiciary ChairmanPatrick Leahy, Fielding claimed that “Mr. Rove, as an immediate presidential advisor, is immune from compelled congressional testimony about matters that arose during his tenure and that relate to his official duties in that capacity….”[14]

Leahy claimed that President Bush was not involved with the employment terminations of U.S. attorneys. Furthermore, he asserted that the president’s executive privilege claims protecting Josh Bolten, and Karl Rove are illegal. The Senator demanded that Bolten, Rove, Sara Taylor, and J. Scott Jennings comply “immediately” with their subpoenas, presumably to await a further review of these matters. This development paved the way for a Senate panel vote on whether to advance the citations to the full Senate. “It is obvious that the reasons given for these firings were contrived as part of a cover up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort”, Leahy concluded about these incidents.[15][16][17][18]

As of July 17, 2008, Rove still claimed executive privilege to avoid a congressional subpoena. Rove’s lawyer wrote that his client is “constitutionally immune from compelled congressional testimony.”[19]

House Investigation of the SEC

Leaders of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission testified on February 4, 2009 before the United States House Committee on Financial Servicessubcommittee including Linda Chatman Thomsen S.E.C. enforcement director, acting General Counsel Andy Vollmer, Andrew Donohue, Erik Sirri, and Lori Richards and Stephen Luparello of FINRA. The subject of the hearings were on why the SEC had failed to act when Harry Markopolos, a private fraud investigator from Boston alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing his persistent and unsuccessful efforts to get the SEC to investigate Bernard Madoff, beginning in 1999.[20]Vollmer claimed executive privilege in declining to answer some questions.[21][22] Subcommittee chairman Paul E. Kanjorski asked Mr. Vollmer if he had obtained executive privilege from the U.S. attorney general.[21] “No … this is the position of the agency,” said Vollmer.[21] “Did the SEC instruct him not to respond to questions?” Mr. Kanjorski asked.[21] Vollmer replied that it was the position of the Commission and that “the answer is no.”[21] The SEC announced Vollmer would “leave the Commission and return to the private sector,” just 14 days after making the claim.[23]

Obama administration

On June 20, 2012, President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege, his first, to withhold certain Department of Justice documents related to the ongoingOperation Fast and Furious controversy ahead of a United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder inContempt of Congress for refusing to produce the documents.[24] Later the same day, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted 23-17 along party lines to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress over not releasing documents regarding Fast and Furious.[25]

References

  1. Jump up^ Chief Justice Burger, writing for the majority in US v. Nixon noted: “Whatever the nature of the privilege of confidentiality of Presidential communications in the exercise of Art. II powers, the privilege can be said to derive from the supremacy of each branch within its own assigned area of constitutional duties. Certain powers and privileges flow from the nature of enumerated powers; the protection of the confidentiality of Presidential communications has similar constitutional underpinnings.United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974) (Supreme Court opinion at FindLaw)
  2. Jump up^ Proper Assertion of the Deliberative Process Principle, S Narayan, p 6
  3. Jump up^ FindLaw’s Writ – Dorf: A Brief History Of Executive Privilege, From George Washington Through Dick Cheney
  4. Jump up^ David and Jeanne Heidler, Henry Clay: The Essential American (2010) p.264
  5. Jump up^ Blacklisted by History, p. 23
  6. Jump up^ Blacklisted by History p.575
  7. Jump up^ Holding, Reynolds. Time, March 21, 2007. Holding, Reynolds (March 21, 2007). “The Executive Privilege Showdown”. Time. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  8. Jump up^ Baker, Peter; and Schmidt, Susan. “President is Denied Executive Privilege”. The Washington Post. July 22, 1998. Retrieved 2007-03-27. Washington Post, May 6, 1998.
  9. Jump up^ Lewis, Neil A. (2001-12-14). “Bush Claims Executive Privilege in Response to House Inquiry”. New York Times. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
  10. Jump up^ [1]
  11. Jump up^ “House inches toward constitutional showdown with contempt vote”. Politics (CNN). July 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
  12. Jump up^ “House Judiciary Reports Contempt Citations to the House of Representatives” (Press release). U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. July 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  13. Jump up^ “White House Rebuffs Congress on Tillman Papers”. Politics (The Seattle Times). August 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  14. Jump up^ “Bush won’t let aide Rove testify to Congress”. Politics (Reuters). August 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  15. Jump up^ “Leahy: Bush not involved in firings”. Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2008-11-30.[dead link]
  16. Jump up^ “Leahy: Rove, others must comply with subpoenas”. CNN. Retrieved 2008-11-30.[dead link]
  17. Jump up^ “Leahy again orders Karl Rove to appear”. Bennington Banner. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  18. Jump up^ “Leahy again demands U.S. attorney info”. Earth Times. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  19. Jump up^ “Rove ignores committee’s subpoena, refuses to testify”. CNN. July 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  20. Jump up^ Henriques, Diana (February 4, 2009). “Anger and Drama at a House Hearing on Madoff”. The New York Times.
  21. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Jamieson, Dan (February 4, 2009). “SEC officials dodge questions; one claims privilege”. InvestmentNews.
  22. Jump up^ Ahrens, Frank (February 5, 2009). “Lawmakers Sink Teeth Into the SEC: Agency Mocked for Not Catching Madoff”. The Washington Post. pp. D01.
  23. Jump up^ “Acting General Counsel Andrew Vollmer to Leave SEC”. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Feb 18, 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  24. Jump up^ Jackson, David (June 20, 2012). “Obama team: ‘Fast and Furious’ documents are privileged”. USA Today. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  25. Jump up^ Madhani and Davis, Aamer and Susan (June 20, 2012). “House panel votes to cite Holder for contempt of Congress”. USA Today. Retrieved 20 June 2012.

President Asserts Executive Privilege in Bid to Forestall Contempt Vote By JOHN H. CUSHMAN Jr. Published: June 20, 2012 NY Times

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege

 

 

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Department of Justice White Paper Abolishing ATF–Fire All Agents and Destroy All Documents–The Ultimate Coverup Strategy To Save Holder and Obama–400 Agents Offered Buyouts–Videos

Posted on October 2, 2011. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Communications, Economics, Employment, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Pistols, Politics, Public Sector, Raves, Regulations, Rifles, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Fast and Furious Roundtable with Katie Pavlich and Matthew Boyle

Rep. Paul Gosar, Sheriff Paul Babeu, and Katie Pavlich at Fast and Furious Town Hall Meeting

“Fast And Furious” Just Might Be President Obama’s Watergate

The Laura Ingraham Show – Investigative reporter says WH official cussed at her over ATF scandal

What’s more, CBS News investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson — who’s been covering the scandal from the beginning — says in an interview on the Laura Ingraham Show today that the White House and Justice Department have taken to screaming at her for reporting on the story. You can listen to the full interview below,

Bombshell: DOJ Considering Elimination of ATF

Katie Pavlich

News Editor, Townhall

Sep 30, 2011

Multiple sources, including sources from ATF, DOJ  and Congressional offices have said there is a white paper circulating within the Department of Justice, outlining the essential elimination of ATF. According to sources, the paper outlines the firing of at least 450 ATF agents in an effort to conduct damage control as Operation Fast and Furious gets uglier and as election day 2012 gets closer.  ATF agents wouldn’t be reassigned to other positions, just simply let go. Current duties of ATF, including the enforcement of explosives and gun laws, would be transferred to other agencies, possibly the FBI and the DEA.

According to a congressional source, there have been rumblings about the  elimination of ATF for quite sometime, but the move would require major  political capital to actually happen.

“It’s a serious white paper being circulated, how far they’d get with it I don’t know,” a confidential source said.

After a town hall meeting about Operation Fast and Furious in Tucson, Ariz. on Monday, ATF Whistleblower Vince Cefalu, who has been key in exposing details about Operation Fast and Furious, confirmed the elimination of ATF has been circulating as a serious idea for sometime now and that a white paper outlining the plan does exist.

Sounds great right? Eliminating ATF? But there is more to this story. Remember, low level ATF field agents, like ATF histleblower John Dodson, were uncomfortable conducting Operation Fast and Furious from  the beginning, but were told by high level officials within ATF that if they had a problem with the operation, they could find a job elsewhere.

“Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals, this was the plan. It was so mandated,” ATF Whistleblower John Dodson said in testimony on Capitol Hill on June 15, 2011.

In fact, not only were the ATF agents forced to carry out the operation,  they were told to go against what they had been taught in training.

“This operation, which in my opinion endangered the American public, was orchestrated in conjunction with Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley. [Emory Hurley is the same Assistant U.S. Attorney who previously  prevented agents from using some of the common and accepted law enforcement techniques that are employed elsewhere in the United States to investigate and prosecute gun crimes.] I have read documents that indicate that his boss, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, also agreed with the
direction of the case,” Special Agent Peter Forcelli said in testimony on Capitol hill on June 15, 2011.

“I recall my first days at the ATF academy, where it was drilled into us  as new agents that under no circumstances would any firearms, in any investigation, leave the control of ATF. Instructors stressed that even if a weapon was lost “by accident,” the agent was still subject to termination,” former ATF Attaché to Mexico Darren D. Gil said in testimony on June 15, 2011.

ATF field agents weren’t the problem with Operation Fast and Furious, high ranking officials within ATF and the Department of Justice were and  still are. DOJ would eliminate ATF only to take the heat off of the  Obama Administration. By eliminating the bureau, it makes it seem like DOJ is taking Operation Fast and Furious so seriously, they decided to “clear out the corruption, clean house,” however, it would only be a distraction away from the people at the top of the investigation. In fact, evidence shows the DOJ has been stonewalling the Oversight Committee investigation into the operation to protect Obama political appointees.

“It was very frustrating to all of us, and it appears thoroughly to us that the Department is really trying to figure out a way to push the information away from their political appointees at the Department,” former ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson, who has since been moved to a  position within DOJ, said of his frustration with the Justice Department’s response to the investigation in transcribed closed door testimony with the Oversight Committee in July 2011.

When I called the Department of Justice last week (five times) to request the white paper and receive a comment surrounding the idea of eliminating ATF, I received the following response: “Everyone is away from their desk right now.”

Up to this point, the Department of Justice has denied all allegations  or involvement in Operation Fast and Furious, yet journalists and the House Oversight Committee have proved allegation after allegation to be true. For example, during a Congressional  hearing in July, former ATF Special Agent in Charge William Newell, who has since been promoted to a
position within the Justice Department, denied that his agency was trafficking guns to Mexico, despite overwhelming evidence and testimony from other ATF agents proving otherwise.

“At no time in our strategy was it to allow guns to be taken to Mexico,”  Newell said on July 26, 2011, adding that at no time did his agency allow guns to walk.

We’ve heard this was a low level, “rogue” operation, turns out high  level officials in the Justice Department, DEA, FBI, DHS, and even members of the White House national security team knew about Operation Fast and Furious.

Last week, ATF offered 400 agents buy outs to avoid budget cuts and is expecting 250-275 agents to take the offer through Voluntary Early Retirement. These buyouts come at a convenient time for the Justice Department, which can eliminate ATF, then say it’s because of budget cuts, when really, it’s to cover their tracks. …”

http://cleanupatf.org/forums/index.php?/topic/272-doj-white-paper-circulating-eliminating-atf/

Time for a special prosecutor to be named.

Background Articles and Videos

Analysis of Exchange Between Representative Issa and Attorney General Holder

Analysis of Exchange Between Representative Issa and Attorney General Holder

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Obama’s Gungate: Attempting To Repeal The Second Amendment–Obama and Holder Agent Provocateurs–Operation Fast and Furious–Videos

Obama’s Gungate: Operation Fast and Furious–The Murders Continue–Time For Special Prosecutor!–Videos

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Obama’s Gungate: Operation Fast and Furious–The Murders Continue–Time For Special Prosecutor!–Videos

Posted on September 30, 2011. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Computers, Crime, Culture, Diasters, Drug Cartels, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Pistols, Politics, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Rifles, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Transportation, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sheriff Babeu Says ATF Accomplice To Murder

“Fast And Furious” Just Might Be President Obama’s Watergate

ATF agent blows the whistle on the U.S. government running GUNS into Mexico !

Fast & Furious Round 2: Nightly News Report 09/27/11

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Operation Fast and Furious 1- 13

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Operation Fast and Furious 5- 13

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Operation Fast and Furious 7- 13

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Operation Fast and Furious 9- 13

Operation Fast and Furious 10- 13

Operation Fast and Furious 11- 13

Operation Fast and Furious 12- 13

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Issa on CNN: Obama Administration Stonewalling Public Accountability for Fast & Furious

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ATF Enabling Illegal US Gun Traffic to Mexico!!!

Whistleblower ATF Agent John Dodson Exposes Deadly “Operation Gunrunner”

ATF Director Tells Congressmen Dept Of Justice Is Obstructing “Fast & Furious” Gun Running Probe

ATF Fires ‘Fast and Furious’ Whistleblower

Rep. Issa: Holder ‘Absolutely’ Knew About Fast & Furious Earlier Than He Testified

Obama Orders Launched Fast and Furious

Obama Snubs Subpoena for ATF ‘Project Gunrunner’ Documents

Fast and Furious Agents Promoted by Obama Administration; Project Gunrunner Promotions

“Fast And Furious” Just Might Be President Obama’s Watergate

Frank Miniter

“…Why a gunrunning scandal codenamed “Fast and Furious,” a program run secretly by the U.S. government that sent thousands of firearms over an international border and directly into the hands of criminals, hasn’t been pursued by an army of reporters all trying to be the next Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein is a story in itself.

But the state of modern journalism aside, this scandal is so inflammatory few realize that official records show the current director  of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), B. Todd Jones — yes the individual the Obama administration brought in to replace ATF Director Kenneth Melson Aug. 30 in an effort to deflect congressional criticism — also has questions to answer about his involvement in this gunrunning scandal.

Fast and Furious was an operation so cloak-and-dagger Mexican authorities weren’t even notified that thousands of semi-automatic firearms were being sold to people in Arizona thought to have links to Mexican drug cartels. According to ATF whistleblowers, in 2009 the U.S. government began instructing gun storeowners to break the law by selling  firearms to suspected criminals. ATF agents then, again according to testimony by ATF agents turned whistleblowers, were ordered not to intercept the smugglers but rather to let the guns “walk” across the U.S.-Mexican border and into the hands of Mexican drug-trafficking organizations. …”

“…Given all the politics and the cover up that even the former ATF director says has occurred, could operation Fast and Furious have been about anything other than pushing for new gun-control laws? And given all of this obfuscation from the Obama dministration, isn’t this scandal comparable to the cover up that surrounded Watergate? After all,  both administrations forgot that America is a country that reveres its freedom of the press and that in America officers speak out when misguided policies get cops killed. Here mothers testify before Congress  when they find out a secret government program, and a stupid one at that, got their son killed.

Not that morality ends at the American border. To stress this point, Rep. Issa held a conference call with journalists on September 21 in which he said Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general, is reporting that at least 200 Mexican deaths can now be traced to weapons from the Fast and Furious program.

And so the investigation and the bloody aftermath continue….

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2011/09/28/fast-and-furious-just-might-be-president-obamas-watergate/

New Fast and Furious docs released by White House

By Sharyl Attkisson

“…Late Friday, the White House turned over new documents in the Congressional investigation into the ATF “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal.

The documents show extensive communications between then-ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office Bill Newell – who led Fast and Furious – and then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly. Emails indicate the two also spoke on the phone. Such detailed, direct communications between a local ATF manager in Phoenix and a White House national security staffer has raised interest among Congressional investigators looking into Fast and Furious. Newell has said he and O’Reilly are long time friends.

Newly-released White House documents (pdf)

ATF agents say that in Fast and Furious, their agency allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons to be sold to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels. At least two of the guns turned up at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.

ATF Manager says he shared Fast and Furious with the White House

The email exchanges span a little over a month last summer. They discuss ATF’s gun trafficking efforts along the border including the controversial Fast and Furious case, though not by name. The emails to and from O’Reilly indicate more than just a passing interest in the Phoenix office’s gun trafficking cases. They do not mention specific tactics such as “letting guns walk.” …”

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20114184-10391695.html

September 30, 2011

Operation Fast and Furious: The Scandal that Can No Longer be Denied

Roger Aronoff

“…Cooper’s reporter on this story, Drew Griffin, tried to explain a possible motive for Fast and Furious. He said that “the operation makes no sense.” So in attempting to explain it, he invoked the usual bogeymen. “So what’s the real purpose?,” asked Griffin. “The lack of sense, the apparent cover-up has opened the door now for these conspiracy theorists. And you got to follow this. They believe this was part of a convoluted plan for the Obama administration and the attorney general to actually increase the level of violence on the Mexican border with assault weapons purchased in the U.S. in an apparent attempt to rekindle interest in an assault weapons ban. As wacky as that may sound, I must tell you that theory is gaining traction, not just among the second amendment crowd, because this operation makes no other sense.”

Griffin is correct that such theories are out there. But until some independent entity can get to the bottom of this, hopefully with the cooperation of the Obama administration rather than the stonewalling and obstruction that has characterized their response up to now, the reasons for the operation might remain theoretical. Let’s see if the cover-up proves worse than the crimes. …”

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.10477/pub_detail.asp

Secret recordings raise new questions in ATF ‘Gunwalker’ operation

By

Sharyl Attkisson

“…Law enforcement sources and others close to the Congressional investigation say the Justice Department’s Inspector General obtained the audio tapes several months ago as part of its investigation into Fast and Furious.

Then, the sources say for some reason the Inspector General passed the tapes along to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona: a subject in the investigation. It’s unclear why the Inspector General, who is supposed to investigate independently, would turn over evidence to an entity that is itself under investigation.

A spokesman from the Office of the Inspector General today said, “The OIG officially provided the United States Attorney’s Office with a copy of the recordings in question so that the USAO could consider them in connection with the government’s disclosure obligations in the pending criminal prosecutions of the gun traffickers. Prior to receiving the tapes, the OIG made clear that we would have to provide a copy of the recordings to the United States Attorney’s Office because they would need to review them to satisfy any legal disclosure obligations.” …”

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20108240-10391695.html

Firearms from ATF sting linked to 11 more violent crimes

“…By Richard A. Serrano, Washington Bureau August 17, 2011

Reporting from Washington—

Firearms from the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious weapons trafficking investigation turned up at the scenes of at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S., as well as at a Border Patrol agent’s slaying in southern Arizona last year, the Justice Department has acknowledged to Congress.

The department did not provide details about the crimes. But The Times has learned that they occurred in several Arizona cities, including Phoenix, where Fast and Furious was managed, as well as in El Paso, where a total of 42 weapons from the operation were seized at two crime scenes.

The new numbers, which expand the scope of the danger the program posed to U.S. citizens over a 14-month period, are contained in a letter that Justice Department officials turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month. …”

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-atf-guns-20110817,0,7742514.story

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Why Illegal Immigration, Mexican Mass Murders, Open Borders and Passports Will Be One of The Explosive Issues of The Presidential Election of 2012?

Posted on April 27, 2011. Filed under: American History, Babies, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Crime, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, European History, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Immigration, Language, Law, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Private Sector, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Glenn Beck-04/26/11-A

 

Glenn Beck-04/26/11-B

PROHIBITION: 10 Mass Graves Found In Mexico 90 Miles South Of Brownsville, Texas

 

 

Your Papers Please – or PERHAPS a new TSA passenger’s ID card INSTEAD?

 

Glenn Beck-04/26/11-C

 

Background Articles and Videos

 

State Dept. Proposes Creepy, Impossible-To-Answer Questions for Passport Applications

Monday, April 25th, 2011

“…The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new  Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information.  According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”

The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form.

It seems likely that only some, not all, applicants will be required to fill out the new questionnaire, but no criteria have been made public for determining who will be subjected to these additional new written interrogatories.  So if the passport examiner wants to deny your application, all they will have to do is give you the impossible new form to complete.

It’s not clear from the supporting statementstatement of legal authorities, or regulatory assessment submitted by the State Department to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) why declining to discuss one’s siblings or to provide the phone number of your first supervisor when you were a teenager working at McDonalds would be a legitimate basis for denial of a passport to a U.S. citizen. …”

http://www.theagitator.com/2011/04/25/state-dept-proposes-creepy-impossible-to-answer-questions-for-passport-applications/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+radleybalko+%28The+Agitator%29

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Time To Enforce Mexican Immigration Laws In The United States–No Amnesty For Illegal Aliens–Deportation Now–Oh, That Is The U.S. Law!

Posted on May 21, 2010. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Immigration, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Security, Taxes, Technology, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Arizona Chastised for Immigration Law

 

 

The Arizona Law VS The Existing Fed Law – Arizona Law is Easier on Immigrants

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Mexican President Calderon Asks Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

 

 

Mark Levin Radio May 19th 2010 Barrack Obama Felipe Calderon In The Rose Garden

Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter commenting on Felipe Calderon

Background Articles and Videos

Calderon trashes AZ immigration law on White House lawn

Rick Moran

“…Such blatant interference in the internal affairs of another country would usually be met with outrage from the left if the US was guilty of it.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon began his state visit to the White House this morning with a shot at the Arizona immigration law and a plea for continental solidarity against organized crime.Calderon drew applause from the crowd gathered on the South Lawn at the arrival ceremony when he said too many Mexican immigrants are “still living here in the shadows with such laws as the Arizona law that is placing our people to face discrimination.” In his remarks, President Obama hailed the “Mexican-American families [who] have been here for centuries.” He said immigrants “strengthen our American family.” He appealed to Calderon to work with him to “ensure that our common border is secure, modern and efficient, including immigration that is orderly and safe.”

The arrogance of the Mexican government is truly astonishing – as if the US exists solely to benefit Mexico and their citizens. It will be this way until the US government decides that controlling the border is more important than bailing out the Mexican government whose desperate people flee here because their own corrupt, socialist economy can’t possibly create enough jobs to employ them all….”

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/05/calderon_trashes_az_immigratio.html

Rush Limbaugh on Illegal Immigration

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But since liberals agree with Mexican President Calderon’s shot at the Arizona immigration law, it’s ok, don’t worry, nothing to see here:

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Nancy Pelosi–Brilliant, Ignorant, Stupid, Evil–You Decide?

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: Blogroll, Economics, Immigration, Investments, Law, Links, People, Politics, Rants, Raves, Religion, Taxes, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

 ABC This Week: Nancy Pelosi defends money for Family Planning in Stimulus Bill

 Pelosi Defends Family Planning Spending in Stimulus Package

January 25, 2009

http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2009/01/pelosi-defends.html

 

Pelosi was also asked about some of the more controversial spending in the stimulus package, including hundreds of millions to expand family planning services.

“The family planning services reduce cost,” Pelosi said. “One of the elements of this package is assistance to the states. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those — one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”

 

Having more babies increases the population and labor force and usually results in more not less economic growth–for example the baby boomers born in the US between 1946 and 1964 resulted in significant wealth creation in the United States.

When you increase the labor force and productivity you usually produce more.

While family planning with contraception or abortion may reduce government spending, it reduces the labor supply and results in less growth.

If you really want to cut state, county, city costs as well as taxes, stop paying for illegal immigrants that are crowding our schools, hospitals, jails, prisons, roads and send them all home to their country of origin.

Build a triple fence across the entire border with Mexico to slow if not stop further illegal immigration.

Start right now.

This would be a two-fer in that it would also cut unemployment rates when those employing illegal immigrants must replace them with unemployed American Citizens.

I dare the elites of both political parties to propose this.

The elites do not give a damn about unemployed Americans.

Every day I pass construction sites that have anywhere between 50% to 75% illegal immigrants employed as construction workers.

All of these jobs used to be done by American citizens including blacks, hispanics and whites.

Wakeup America!

You are being sold down the river by the likes of the above.

I vote evil for her.

The drug wars in Mexico are coming north.

Build the damn fence or face a second American Revolution.

The American people’s patience is running out.

Time to face realitly.

Mexico Drug Wars hit America

 

Mexico On Verge Of Collapse

 

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More universal health care art from the kids Pelosi wants to “plan” out of existence

By Michelle Malkin

“…mentioned the universal health care propaganda kiddie art contest in my post earlier today on S-CHIP. They really deserve stand-alone attention — especially when juxtaposed with Nancy Pelosi’s view of these same kiddie human shields as burdens on the economy who need to be, um, preempted with tax-subsidized contraceptive and family planning services. …”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/01/26/more-universal-health-care-art-from-the-kids-pelosi-wants-to-plan-out-of-existence/

Baby Boomer

“Baby boomer is a term used to describe a person who was born during the demographic Post-World War II baby boom. Many analysts now believe that two distinct cultural generations were born during this baby boom; the older generation is often called the Baby Boom Generation and the younger generation is often called Generation Jones.[1][2][3][4][5][6] The term “baby boomer” is sometimes used in a cultural context, and sometimes used to describe someone who was born during the post-WWII baby boom. Therefore, it is impossible to achieve broad consensus of a precise definition, even within a given territory. Different groups, organizations, individuals, and scholars may have widely varying opinions on what constitutes a baby boomer, both technically and culturally. Ascribing universal attributes to a broad generation is difficult, and some observers believe that it is inherently impossible. Nonetheless, many people have attempted to determine the broad cultural similarities and historical impact of the generation, and thus the term has gained widespread popular usage.

In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence.[7] As a group, they were the healthiest, and wealthiest generation to that time, and amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time.[8]

One of the unique features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.[9] This rhetoric had an important impact in the self perceptions of the boomers, as well as their tendency to define the world in terms of generations, which was a relatively new phenomenon.

The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave”[7] and as “the pig in the python.”[8] By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomer

 

“Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro Pelosi (born March 26, 1940) is the current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Before being elected Speaker in the 110th Congress, she was the House Minority Leader from 2003 to 2007, holding the post during the 108th, and 109th Congresses.

Since 1987, she has represented the 8th Congressional District of California, which consists of four-fifths of the City and County of San Francisco. The district was numbered as the 5th during Pelosi’s first three terms in the House.

With her election as Speaker, she is the first female Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. She is also the first Italian-American and first Californian to serve as Speaker. She is the second Speaker from a state west of the Rocky Mountains, with the first being Washington‘s Tom Foley, who was the last Democrat to hold the post before Pelosi. As Speaker of the House, Pelosi ranks second in the line of presidential succession, following Vice President Joe Biden, which makes her the highest-ranking female politician in United States history. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Pelosi

 

Family Planning

Family planning is people planning when to have children,[1] and the use of birth control[2][3] and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education[4][3], prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections[3], preconceptional counseling[3] and management, and infertility management[2].

Family planning is sometimes used as a synonym for the use of birth control, though it often includes more.

It is most usually applied to a femalemale couple who wish to limit the number of children they have and/or to control the timing of pregnancy (also known as spacing children).

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_planning

 

‘This Week’ Transcript: Nancy Pelosi

Sunday Exclusive: House Speaker on ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos’

Boehner : we have to find a package that is the right size

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy. Food stamps, unemployment insurance, some of the initiatives you just mentioned. what the economists have told us from right to left. There is more bang for the buck, a term they use, by investing in food stamps and in unemployment insurance than in any tax cut  …”

 

http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/story?id=6725512&page=1

 

 

Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)

http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storyarchive/2008/JOE2008.pdf

 

Mexico, U.S. step up drug-war cooperation

A top operative of Mexico’s infamous Sinaloa cartel was arrested Monday.

“…The growing violence in Mexico is largely attributed to battles between the major drug groups operating in Mexico, including the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels, and the fracturing that has taken place as leaders are arrested and factions have vied to assert control over lucrative smuggling routes.

Violence has even spilled over to the US. This weekend, a US Border Patrol agent was killed by a suspected drug smuggler when he tried to stop their fleeing Hummer.

The US has hailed the Calderón administration’s efforts. In response to the arrest of the alleged Sinaloa cartel leader, Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, US Ambassador Tony Garza said in a statement: “When Mexico takes dangerous criminals like Beltrán Leyva and his crew off the streets, the people of the United States also benefit.”

US Attorney General Mukasey pledged to help stop the flow of US guns into Mexico, which has long been blamed for the spectacular gun wars that often break out across this country.

He said US authorities are giving their Mexican counterparts more access to electronic databases to help trace weapons and plan to introduce a Spanish edition of the database soon.

Not all observers welcome a heavy hand from the north. Mr. Tirado says that cooperation is crucial, but worries that Mexico is reacting to what the US wants. “If you do not have a bilateral perspective, and are only following the north, you are not taking an integral approach,” he says.

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0123/p07s03-woam.html

The Baby Boom Generation Grows Up – Part 1

 

How Baby Boomer Retirement Will Impact the Market

 

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