March 13, 2018, Story 1: Trump’s Game of Chairs: Fires Rex Tillerson and Replaces Him With CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Who is Replaced By Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel — Videos — Story 2: Trump Views Prototypes of Wall — Miles Built 0 and Illegal Aliens Deported Less Than 1% of 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Trump Promises Still Not Kept — Videos — Story 3: Attorney General Sessions Either Appoints Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute Many Crimes Obama Administration and Bill and Hillary Clinton or Is Next To Be Fired– Videos

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Story 1: Trump’s Game of Chairs: Fires Rex Tillerson and Replaces Him With CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Who is Replaced By Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel — Videos —

Flurry of staff changes sends shockwaves through Washington

Sources: McMaster, Kelly poised to depart soon

James Clapper: I support Trump’s pick for CIA director

Trump’s removal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson long anticipated

Tex Tillerson, Trump have different world views: Fmr. Asst. Secretary of State

Donald Trump fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson | ITV News

Trump fires Tillerson after clashes

Rex Tillerson Thought He Was ‘Moderating’ President Donald Trump | TODAY

Tillerson speaks out after being fired

Donald Trump’s Pick For CIA Director Gina Haspel Reportedly Tortured People | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Trump Might Replace Tillerson With CIA’s Pompeo

Tillerson’s Bounced as #SoS, Ex-CIA Pompeo’s In and #MSM Yet Again Have to Learn About in on Twitter

Live Stream: Tillerson’s Unceremonious Boot and Trump’s Alleged Torture Mistress CIA Chief

Ben Shapiro Reacts To Rex Tillerson Firing

Trump didn’t speak to me for THREE HOURS after firing me on Twitter says Rex Tillerson as he leaves the State Department without a word of praise for the president

  • Rex Tillerson spoke Tuesday afternoon at the State Department hours after Trump fired him on Twitter
  • He said it had been more than three hours between the announcement he was going and Trump speaking to him from Air Force One 
  • Made no tribute to Trump and offered him no thanks as he said he was returning to private life 
  • Dramatic morning tweet by the president announced that Rex Tillerson has been fired as Secretary of State and replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo
  • Tillerson’s last act was to blame Russia for the poisoning of its former spy Sergei Skripal at a British pizza restaurant – something White House had not done 
  • Tillerson, the former boss of Exxon Mobil, had just been on a trip to Africa and was last seen boarding his Air Force place on Monday  
  • Gina Haspel becomes first ever women to be Director of the CIA after clandestine career and involvement in ‘black sites’ 
  • Tillerson had disagreed with Trump on Iran and North Korea, the president said – but he had also been reported to have called the president a ‘f***ing moron’ 

And in a statement to reporters, Tillerson pointedly neglected to thank Trump for the opportunity to serve in the role once inhabited by Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Webster and Henry Kissinger. Instead he thanked ‘the 300-plus million Americans’ whom he ultimately served, and said he would soon thank his front-office and policy planning staff in person.

He said shortly after 2:00 p.m. that he had talked with Trump around lunchtime. The president’s unexpected tweet came before 9:00 a.m.

‘I received a call today from the President of the United States a little after noontime from Air Force One,’ he said.

‘I’ve also spoken to White House Chief of Staff Kelly to ensure we have clarity as to the days ahead.’

The shaken-sounding outgoing cabinet secretary explained that his official ending date will be March 31, and that he aims for an ‘orderly and smooth transition’ for his replacement, CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will assume Tillerson’s duties at midnight. But Tillerson said his official ‘commission’ – his grant of authority from the president – wouldn’t expire until the end of the month.

Trump effectively fired Tillerson on Tuesday without telling him personally, announcing on Twitter that he would dismiss him and elevate the nation’s spymaster to the role of global diplomat-in-chief.

And he said he will appoint a woman to lead the CIA for the first time in history.  

Quitting: Rex Tillerosn issued a statement at the State Department telling how it had been hours between his firing on Twitter and Trump speaking to him

Final act: Tillerson said he will return to 'private life' after 14 months of turbulent leadership of the State Department and refused to take questions as he left the podium 

Final act: Tillerson said he will return to ‘private life’ after 14 months of turbulent leadership of the State Department and refused to take questions as he left the podium

Rex Tillerson is pictured leaving his home on Tuesday, en route to the State Department for what would be his last act as secretary of state

Rex Tillerson is pictured leaving his home on Tuesday, en route to the State Department for what would be his last act as secretary of state

This is on me: Trump used twitter to terminate the career of Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil boss who had been secretary of state for 15 months. An official revealed the president did not speak to Tillerson
Rex Tillerson spotted for the first time since Trump fired him

You're fired: Rex Tillerson was abruptly fired by Donald Trump on Tuesday morning in a single tweet

Replacement: Mike Pompeo, who had been CIA director, will now lead the State Department

Replacement: Mike Pompeo, who had been CIA director, will now lead the State Department and Gina Haspel, a career CIA officer who was its deputy director will become the first woman to lead it

After clashes, Trump fires Tillerson and immediately taps Pompeo

Family: Rex Tillerson had stepped down as CEO of Exxon Mobil when he was offered the job by Trump. His wife Renda St. Clair persuaded him to take it saying: ‘I told you God’s not through with you.’

YOU’RE ALL FIRED! DONALD TRUMP’S ASTONISHING LIST OF SENIOR DEPARTURES

Who went and when: 

March 13, 2018: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

March 12, 2018: Special Assistant and personal aide to the president John McEntee

March 6, 2018: Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Gary Cohn

Feb. 28, 2018: Communications Director Hope Hicks

Feb. 27, 2018: Deputy Communications Director Josh Raffel

Feb. 7, 2018: Staff Secretary Rob Porter

Dec. 13, 2017: Communications Director for the White House Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault Newman

Dec. 8, 2017: Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell

Sept. 29, 2017: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price

Aug. 25, 2017: National security aide Sebastian Gorka

Aug. 18, 2017: Chief strategist Steve Bannon

July 31, 2017: Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci

July 28, 2017: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

July 21, 2017: Press secretary Sean Spicer

May 30, 2017: Communications Director Michael Dubke

May 9, 2017: FBI Director James Comey

March 30, 2017: Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh

Feb. 13, 2017: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steven Goldstein said in a statement that Tillerson had ‘had every intention of staying.’

‘The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve,’ Goldstein added.

He was later fired himself for departing from the official White House line – which was that Trump had told Tillerson on Friday that he would be leaving.

Tillerson’s last public act had been firmly blaming Russia for the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter – which the White House had pointedly avoided saying was carried out by Vladimir Putin’s government.

As he left the White House for a trip to California, Trump told reporters that he and Tillerson had been ‘talking about this for a long time’ but that he ‘made the decision by myself.’

‘We disagreed on things,’ Trump said, citing the Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran. ‘I think Rex will be much happier now,’ he declared.

‘We were not really thinking the same. With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process. I think it’s going to go very well.’

Trump made no mention of the most notorious tussle between him and Tillerson, when the secretary of state was reported to have called the president a ‘f***ing moron’ then refused to deny it.

The State Department said Tillerson only learned of his termination when he read Trump’s tweet on Tuesday morning.

Two senior department officials said Tillerson received a call from John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, on Friday, but was only told that there might be a presidential tweet that would concern him.

Kelly didn’t tell Tillerson what the tweet might say or when it might actually publish, according to the official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

Tillerson had told reporters on his plane he had cut short his trip by one night because he was exhausted after working most of the night two nights in a row and getting sick in Ethiopia.

There were no obvious signs from his behavior or his aides on the plane that his departure was imminent.

‘I felt like, look, I just need to get back,’ Tillerson said.

Instead he was fired and left to spend time with his wife, Renda St. Clair, who had told him to take the job when he was reluctant to himself.

He had revealed last year how when Trump offered him the role ‘I was going to the ranch to be with my grandkids.’

Instead his wife shook her finger in his face and told him: ‘I told you God’s not through with you.’

But by last week Trump was through with Tillerson instead.

One senior White House official said that when Trump made the dramatic and sudden decision last Friday to meet with Kim Jong Un – a decision made while Tillerson was in Africa – an aide asked if Tillerson should weigh in on the matter.

Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump shared a tense moment in China last November which shed light on their troubled relationship, the Wall Street Journalreported.

They and other U.S. officials were in the Great Hall of the People and having a meal in a private room courtesy of their Chinese hosts. 

But an unappetizing Caesar salad which arrived with wilted greens was sitting on the table – and Trump grew worried it would offend the hosts.

‘Rex, eat the salad,’ Trump told Tillerson.

Tillerson laughed off the remark but did not follow orders and left the salad untouched.

 Trump said there was no reason to consult him because no matter what the group decided, Tillerson would be against it, the official said.

On the White House lawn Trump gushed that his future secretary Mike Pompeo has ‘tremendous energy, tremendous intellect, we’re always on the same wavelength. The relationship has been very good.’

The president had tweeted earlier that Pompeo ‘will do a fantastic job!’

‘Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!’

Haspel was the CIA’s deputy director, a career officer who was a longtime clandestine officer.

She was involved in running a black site during the notorious CIA detention program which saw prisoners waterboarded, and could face a highly rocky confirmation hearing in front of the Senate.

Haspel, 61, was the boss of a prison in Thailand codenamed Cat’s Eye where al Qaeda suspects were held., including Abu Zubatdah, who was waterboarded 83 times in a month, sleep deprived and lost his left eye.

She also ordered the destruction of tapes from the facility and when she was appointed deputy CIA director, Democratic senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee urged Trump to reconsider his decision, setting up a confrontational confirmation hearing.

 Key figure: Trump repeatedly crossed swords with Rex Tillerson, including a public episode in October where the president chided him on Twitter for ‘wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man’ – a reference to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un – which Trump is now going to do face-to-face

In a statement, Trump said Pompeo ‘graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the U.S. Army, and graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle.’

He called Haspel’s move to the CIA’s reins ‘a historic milestone.’

Trump also had words of praise for Tillerson: ‘A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well,’ he said.

The president, however, had clashed with Tillerson over and over again in the past year, seeing him as a relic of the Republican establishment at a time when the nation needed more unconventional thinking.

The Washington Post reported that Tillerson was ousted on Friday, suggesting that a White House known best for leaking information kept it a secret all weekend.

The outgoing diplomat’s last act in office was a shot across Vladimir Putin’s bow, saying Monday that the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in the UK ‘clearly came from Russia’ – and vowing to respond – hours after the White House refused to blame the Kremlin.

In a strongly worded statement, he slammed Russia as an ‘irresponsible force of instability in the world’ and gave the British government his backing after Prime Minister Theresa May pointed her own finger toward Moscow.

‘We have full confidence in the UK’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week,’ Tillerson said Monday.

 Final meeting: Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari was the last world leader to receive Tillerson as he wrapped up a swing through Africa
 Goodbye: Rex Tillerson was last seen on Monday boarding his plane home to the United States after a tour of Africa which concluded in Abuja, Nigeria, after taking in countries including Ethiopia and Kenya
Tillerson out! Trump replaces Secretary of State with Mike Pompeo
Downhill from here: Rex Tillerson was sworn in by Mike Pence in the Oval Office on February 1 2017, with his wife Renda St. Clair holding the Bible. She had told him to take the job over his own reluctance
Family time: There was no sign of Rex Tillerson at hiss home in D.C.’s upscale Kalorama Tuesday. Also fired was Steven Goldstein, under secretary of state for public affairs who revealed Tillerson had been blindsided by his firing – then got axed himself

Simulation: Some of the ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ used at the CIA ‘black site’ run by Trump’s pick to direct it were shown on Zero Dark Thirty, the movie about the hunt for bin Laden

‘There is never a justification for this type of attack, the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation, and we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior.

‘Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens.’

He added that those responsible ‘must face appropriately serious consequences.’

Trump seemed to back him up on Tuesday, saying that he would be speaking with May later in the day.

‘It sounds to me like it would be Russia,’ he said, ‘based on all of the evidence that they have.’

Tillerson made the remarks during his trip to Africa just hours after the the White House broke a week-long silence to condemn the chemical attack, but declined to mention Moscow.’

Trump had repeatedly crossed swords with the former Exxon Mobil executive, including a public episode in October where the president chided him on Twitter for ‘wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man’ – a reference to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Foreign policy veterans said at the time that they couldn’t recall an instance where a sitting president had undermined his secretary of state in such a humiliating fashion.

Lost an eye: Abu Zubaydah was one of those subjected to ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ which critics called torture. He was waterboarded 83 times and lost an eye

But five months later the president himself accepted Kim’s invitation for a face-to-face meeting over the hermit kingdom’s nuclear missile program.

Tillerson raised eyebrows in Washington last year with reports about his ‘f***ing moron’ verdict following a national security meeting in July about America’s nuclear posture.

He never directly denied making the caustic remark, leaving that to a State Department spokeswoman. Trump said the same day that he had ‘total confidence in Rex.’

Later that month, newly installed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis begged Tillerson to stay on.

The following month, after Trump angered Americans on both sides of the aisle with tone-deaf comments about the role of neo-Nazis in a Virginia race riot, a furious Tillerson declined to defend him.

‘The president speaks for himself,’ Tillerson said at the time during a ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview.

Even then, the White House outwardly professed comfort with Tillerson and confidence in his abilities.

Tillerson took credit Tuesday for executing Trump’s ‘maximum pressure campaign’ against North Korea, a policy credited for bringing Kim to the table for direct nuclear negotiations.

Haspel will need to face a Senate confirmation hearing.

Pompeo will not – at least not right away – because the Senate confirmed him as the CIA director just three days into the Trump administration.

A different committee will ultimately have to grill him, however.

Trump said that his incoming secretary of state ‘has earned the praise of members in both parties by strengthening our intelligence gathering, modernizing our defensive and offensive capabilities, and building close ties with our friends and allies in the international intelligence community.’

‘I have gotten to know Mike very well over the past 14 months, and I am confident he is the right person for the job at this critical juncture,’ he added.

‘He will continue our program of restoring America’s standing in the world, strengthening our alliances, confronting our adversaries, and seeking the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’

Rex Tillerson says Trump decided to meet Kim Jong Un himself

MIKE POMPEO, TRUMP’S NEW SECRETARY OF STATE, PURSUED HILLARY AND JOKED ABOUT ASSASSINATING KIM JONG-UN

Mike Pompeo, named Tuesday to be US secretary of state, comes from a one-year stint leading the Central Intelligence Agency where he earned Donald Trump’s trust delivering the president’s daily national security briefings and by toeing Trump’s line politically.

Pompeo, who replaces Rex Tillerson, brings the discipline of a former standout at West Point, the prestigious US military academy, as well as the political wiles of a four-term member of the House of Representatives, where he served on the controversial Intelligence Committee.

AS CIA director he cut a path into Trump’s inner circle with ready praise of the president, personally delivering many of the Oval Office’s crucial daily intelligence briefings.

He echoes Trump’s hard line against Iran and North Korea. But, currying the president’s favor, Pompeo has also avoided directly contradicting Trump’s insistence that Russia did not work to support his election in 2016 — even though that is what the CIA concludes.

‘With Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process,’ Trump said Tuesday.

Pompeo, 54, has had a meteoric career that leaned heavily on political opportunities that ultimately led him to Trump.

Born and raised in southern California, he attended the US Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated top of his class in 1986, specializing in engineering.

He served in the military for five years – never in combat – and then left to attend Harvard Law School.

He later founded an engineering company in Wichita, Kansas, where financial backers included the conservative Koch brothers, oil industry billionaires and powerful movers and shakers in the Republican Party.

Pursuit: Pompeo made his name going after Hillary Clinton as a member of special committee formed to investigate the 2012 killing of a US ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

The Kochs backed his successful first run for Congress in 2010, and energy-related legislation he promoted in his first years in the House of Representatives was seen as very friendly to them.

He moved quickly onto the House Intelligence Committee, where, as overseer of the CIA and other agencies, he was privy to the country’s deepest secrets.

But he made his name on the special committee Republicans formed to investigate the 2012 killing of a US ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

It made him a leading voice against Trump’s political nemesis, Hillary Clinton, who as secretary of state at the time was blamed by Republicans for the deaths.

As director of the CIA, Pompeo has matched the tone of Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements.

‘The CIA, to be successful, must be aggressive, vicious, unforgiving, relentless,’ he said.

He joked about assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which raised fears of a return to the agency’s penchant for backing assassinations of dictators not in US favor.

He earned the president’s trust in the daily national security briefings, where he has readily accommodated the president’s aversion to reading long reports by having intelligence staff prepare simple graphic presentations of global risks and threats.

When pressed in public, he has said he supports the January 2017 report by the country’s top intelligence chiefs that concludes that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential race in an effort to help Trump defeat Clinton.

Meanwhile, he has also stomached the president’s ugly attacks on the CIA, calling their report on Russia meddling fake news and accusing them of political bias.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5495087/Trump-FIRES-Rex-Tillerson-secretary-state.html

 

Story 2: Trump Views Prototypes of Wall — Miles Built 0 and Illegal Aliens Deported Less Than 1% of 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Trump Promises Still Not Kept — Videos —

See the source image

Trump: Governor Brown has done a poor job running California

President Trump inspects border wall prototypes

President Trump tours U.S.-Mexico border, looks at border wall prototypes

See How President Donald Trump’s Border Wall Prototypes Are Taking Shape | NBC News

SPECIAL COVERAGE: President Trump Reviews Border Wall Prototypes

DOJ takes on California over sanctuary status

DOJ sues California over sanctuary status

Tucker: If GOP betrays voters on immigration, they’re toast

Trump administration suing California over sanctuary laws

California’s sanctuary city laws harm the immigrant community: ICE

Trump administration takes on California

Democrats want amnesty for the worst illegals: Ann Coulter

 

‘If you don’t have a wall system it would be BEDLAM!’ Trump inspects his border barricade options yards from Mexico and says existing wall ‘restored law and order’

  • President Trump’s first stop in California Tuesday was to see prototypes of his ‘big beautiful wall’ he wants constructed on the U.S.-Mexico border 
  • ‘If you won’t have a wall system it would be bedlam,’ the president told reporters making brief remarks during his tour 
  • During his prototype tour, the president said he wanted a see-through wall, that’s also difficult to climb

On Tuesday President Trump finally got a chance to see the eight towering prototypes that could be used to build his long-promised ‘big beautiful wall’ between the United States and Mexico.

‘If you don’t have a wall system, you’re not going to have a country,’ Trump said making brief remarks to reporters as he pointed out the various features of the walls. ‘If you don’t have a wall system it would be bedlam.’

Today marked the first time the president visited liberal California as president, and his first stop in San Diego was to see the wall options, where he stood on the U.S. side of the border just feet from Tijuana, Mexico, with protesters audibly chanting from the other side.

Speaking to a Border Control agent, the president was happy to hear that the current structure, an aging metal wall, had ‘re-established law and order’ when it was put in.

The president hoped his wall would prevent ’99 per cent’ of people and drugs from coming through.

President Trump speaks to reporters in front of a prototype for his proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico 

President Trump speaks to reporters in front of a prototype for his proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico

President Trump gave brief remarks after surveying the border wall prototypes Tuesday in San Diego, California 

President Trump gave brief remarks after surveying the border wall prototypes Tuesday in San Diego, California

President Trump stands alongside an option for a border wall Tuesday as he visits California for the first time 

President Trump stands alongside an option for a border wall Tuesday as he visits California for the first time

A number of border wall prototypes are seen looming behind President Trump (right) as he visits the state of California for the first time while in office 

A number of border wall prototypes are seen looming behind President Trump (right) as he visits the state of California for the first time while in office

President Trump is seen grinning as he discusses border wall prototypes with officials Tuesday in San Diego, California 

President Trump is seen grinning as he discusses border wall prototypes with officials Tuesday in San Diego, California

President Trump (center) takes a look at border wall designs in San Diego, California flanked by his Chief of Staff John Kelly (left) and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (right) 

President Trump arrives with his motorcade to look at prototypes for his proposed wall Tuesday in San Diego 

President Trump arrives with his motorcade to look at prototypes for his proposed wall Tuesday in San Diego

President Trump speaks in front of a prototype of a wall that he wants to see built between the United States and Mexico 

President Trump speaks in front of a prototype of a wall that he wants to see built between the United States and Mexico

Options for President Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico are seen behind him as he speaks to officials in San Diego on Tuesday alongside DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (center) and Chief of Staff John Kelly (left) 

President Trump takes a look at some of the wall designs Tuesday in San Diego, directly across the border from Tijuana, Mexico

President Trump and his entourage walk by one of the border wall prototypes Tuesday as the Republican takes his first trip to California as president 

President Trump brought up the border wall on his second California stop as well, at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar 

Trump said he’d like the new wall to be partially see-through – in case there were cartels just on the other side – with concrete or a mix of steel and concrete at the top, something not easily climbable.

During the tour he claimed that Californians are actually more supportive of his border wall than they let on.

‘And by the way the state of California is begging us to build walls in certain areas, they don’t tell you that, and we said we won’t do that until we build the whole wall,’ Trump said.

He also used his brief remarks at the wall to rag on the state’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

‘I think Governor Brown has done a very poor job running California,’ Trump said.

The president complained about the state’s high taxes and that many California jurisdictions are so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ where local authorities won’t turn undocumented immigrants over to the feds.

He suggested that has brought ‘dangerous people’ and drugs ‘pouring’ into the state.

‘You know, hey, I have property in California, I will say. I don’t think too much about my property anymore, but I have great property in California,’ Trump said. ‘The taxes are way, way out of whack. And people are going to start to move pretty soon.’

‘So the governor of California – nice guy, I think he is a nice guy, I knew him a long time ago – has not done the job,’ Trump said.

After Trump’s wall stop, he addressed Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, also in San Diego.

There, he touted the wall project as well.

‘We don’t have a choice. We need it. We need it for the drugs. We need it for the gangs,’ he said. ‘It will be 99.5 per cent successful,’ he added, upping the wall’s success rate by half a point.

‘People won’t be able to come over it. The drugs will stop by a lot,’ he said, adding the aside, ‘although we have to get a lot tougher with drug dealers, have to.’

The president has floated the idea of drug dealing being a capital crime.

Trump told the crowd of Marines that his trip to the border wall prototypes was ‘fascinating.’

‘We have two or three that really work,’ Trump said.

He argued that constructing prototypes first was the way to go.

‘I’m a builder. What I do best is build,’ the president continued. ‘You know other people they’d build a wall and say it doesn’t work. Well, wait a minute, we just built 1,000 miles of wall. Well, we made a mistake, it doesn’t work. We should have done it a different way.’

‘We are doing it before we build, better idea, don’t you think?’ Trump asked the troops.

‘We are going to have a great wall, it’s going to be very effective, it’s going to stop people, you’re not going to see them climbing over this wall too easily – that I can tell you,’ the president added.

By mid-afternoon he was off to Los Angeles to attend a fundraiser in the tony neighborhood of Beverly Hills in Los Angeles where he’s expected to raise $5 million. He’ll be staying in the state overnight.

There was a heavy police presence in San Diego for President Trump's visit to the border wall prototypes Tuesday afternoon 

Protesters are holding up signs in Tijuana, Mexico, as President Trump visits prototypes, seen behind them, for his so-called 'big, beautiful wall' 

Protesters are holding up signs in Tijuana, Mexico, as President Trump visits prototypes, seen behind them, for his so-called ‘big, beautiful wall’

A sign on the Mexican side of the border reads 'Trump, stop mass deportations.' It hangs on the current border fence that the president wants to replace with a taller, more fortified wall 

A sign on the Mexican side of the border reads ‘Trump, stop mass deportations.’ It hangs on the current border fence that the president wants to replace with a taller, more fortified wall

A pinata made to resemble the president is held up by a protester in Mexico Tuesday, as they stand along the current U.S.-Mexico border wall 

A pinata made to resemble the president is held up by a protester in Mexico Tuesday, as they stand along the current U.S.-Mexico border wall

President Trump's motorcade is seen heading to the area where the president would inspect several prototype walls to be used to construct his long-promised border wall with Mexico 

President Trump’s motorcade is seen heading to the area where the president would inspect several prototype walls to be used to construct his long-promised border wall with Mexico

A protester's sign is seen as President Trump arrives at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California on Tuesday 

A protester’s sign is seen as President Trump arrives at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California on Tuesday

An invitation to the fundraiser, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, shows ticket prices starting at $35,000.

Couples can also pay $100,000 for a photo with the president. The $250,000 tickets are for those who want to participate in a roundtable discussion with the commander-in-chief.

Funds will go toward the joint fundraising committee comprised of Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Trump’s arrival will come just days after his Justice Department sued to block a trio of state laws designed to protect people living in the U.S. illegally.

Brown likened it to ‘an act of war’ with Trump’s administration.

‘The State of California is sheltering dangerous criminals in a brazen and lawless attack on our Constitutional system of government,’ Trump complained in his weekly address, accusing California’s leaders of being ‘in open defiance of federal law.’

President Trump waves to a crowd of reporters as he leaves the White House Tuesday for his first trip to California as president 

President Trump waves to a crowd of reporters as he leaves the White House Tuesday for his first trip to California as president

President Trump will visit the prototypes for his proposed border wall with Mexico while in San Diego. He'll also address the Marines in the Southern city before heading to Los Angeles for a high-dollar fundraiser in Beverly Hills 

President Trump will visit the prototypes for his proposed border wall with Mexico while in San Diego. He’ll also address the Marines in the Southern city before heading to Los Angeles for a high-dollar fundraiser in Beverly Hills

U.S. Border Patrol agents are seen preparing for President Trump's visit to San Diego on Tuesday 

U.S. Border Patrol agents are seen preparing for President Trump’s visit to San Diego on Tuesday

Law enforcement was out Tuesday morning preparing for President Trump's visit to San Diego later in the day 

Law enforcement was out Tuesday morning preparing for President Trump’s visit to San Diego later in the day

A protester awaits the arrival of President Trump along the U.S.- Mexico border in San Diego on Tuesday 

A protester awaits the arrival of President Trump along the U.S.- Mexico border in San Diego on Tuesday

A supporter of President Trump awaits the president as he takes his first trip to California on Tuesday. He'll look at prototypes of his pledged border wall between the U.S. and Mexico 

A supporter of President Trump awaits the president as he takes his first trip to California on Tuesday. He’ll look at prototypes of his pledged border wall between the U.S. and Mexico

Supporters and protesters await President Trump's arrival in California on Tuesday. In San Diego he'll look a prototypes for his proposed border wall with Mexico 

Supporters and protesters await President Trump’s arrival in California on Tuesday. In San Diego he’ll look a prototypes for his proposed border wall with Mexico

Trump is expected to visit these prototypes of border walls in San Diego, just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico

Trump is expected to visit these prototypes of border walls in San Diego, just across the border from Tijuana, Mexico

‘They don’t care about crime. They don’t care about death and killings. They don’t care about robberies,’ he said, calling on Congress to block the state’s federal funds.

Further north in tony Beverly Hills, Trump will entertain 1-percenters at a fundraising dinner where attendees will pay as much as $250,000 each

Last week, Oakland’s mayor warned residents of an impending immigration raid – a move that Trump called disgraceful and said put law enforcement officers at risk.

He brought up the Oakland mayor during his visit to the border wall today mid-way through his assault on the state’s governor.

‘You have sanctuary cities where have you criminals living in the sanctuary cities, and then the mayor of Oakland goes out and notifies when ICE is going in to pick them up,’ Trump said. ‘And many of them were criminals with criminal records and very dangerous people,’ he added.

The state has also joined lawsuits aimed at stopping construction of Trump’s stalled border wall.

And its judges have repeatedly ruled against policies Trump has tried to enact.

In recent months, Trump and other administration officials have threatened both to flood the state with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and to pull ICE out of the state completely.

‘I mean, frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crying mess like you’ve never seen in California,’ Trump said last month, predicting ‘crime like nobody has ever seen crime in this country.’

Meanwhile, Trump’s acting ICE director has repeatedly threatened to increase its enforcement footprint in the state in retaliation for its limited cooperation with federal immigration authorities – and he appears to be making good on his promise.

‘California better hold on tight. They’re about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers,’ Thomas Homan said on Fox earlier this year before his agency conducted a series of raids.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says California's Democratic politicians are 'stepping out of bounds' by 'refusing to follow federal law' on immigration

White House officials said the trip has been in the works for months and the timing so close to recent flare-ups was coincidental.

When asked if Trump planned to play nice on the trip, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, ‘Look, I think if anybody is stepping out of bounds here, it would be someone who is refusing to follow federal law, which is certainly not the president.’

‘And we’re going for what we hope to be an incredibly positive trip,’ Huckabee Sanders added.

Trump’s appearances in the left-leaning state during the 2016 campaign were marked by sometimes-violent clashes between his supporters and opposition groups.

In some cases, protesters blocked traffic and threw rocks and beer bottles.

Trump has insisted Mexico pay for the wall but Mexico has adamantly refused to consider the idea.

Organizers on both sides were urging people to remain peaceful after recent scuffles at rallies in Southern California, including brawls at a Dec. 9 rally near where the prototypes stand.

Trump’s more than yearlong absence from the nation’s most populous state – home to 1 in 8 Americans and, by itself, the world’s sixth-largest economy – has been conspicuous but not surprising. Trump country, it’s not.

As a candidate, Trump suggested he could win California, a state that hasn’t supported a Republican for the White House in three decades.

Since his election, Sacramento has emerged as a vanguard in the so-called Trump resistance. Democratic state Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed nearly 30 lawsuits to block administration proposals.

California was the home of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, but Republican influence here has been fading for years as a surge in immigrants transformed the state and its voting patterns.

The number of Hispanics, blacks and Asians combined has outnumbered whites since 1998. Meanwhile, the state’s new voters, largely Latinos and Asians, lean Democratic, and Democrats hold every statewide office and control both chambers of the legislature by hefty margins.

Trump may not get the hero's welcome in California that he received Saturday night in western Pennsylvania

Two of the border wall prototypes are seen from the Mexican side of the border in Tijuana

Trump touts tighter border security at Latino National Council

Polls have found Trump deeply unpopular in the state, with most residents opposed to policies he’s championed, such as expanding offshore drilling.

Jessica Hayes, chairwoman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, said Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric plays especially poorly in a state with close trade and tourism connections with Mexico.

‘These are our neighbors. These are our friends,’ she said.

Trump has repeatedly floated the idea of flying in to pick the winning design for the border wall, telling rallygoers last year in Alabama: ‘I’m going to go out and look at them personally and pick the right one.’

The Department of Homeland Security has said there’s nothing to stop Trump from turning the wall design contest into a Miss Universe-style pageant.

But the department also says it doesn’t anticipate that a single prototype will be selected. Instead, the samples are expected ‘to inform future border wall design standards,’ said spokesman Tyler Houlton.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5495683/Protests-high-dollar-donors-greet-Trump-California-trip.html

Story 3: Attorney General Sessions Either Appoints Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute Many Crimes Obama Administration and Bill and Hillary Clinton or Is Next To Be Fired– Videos

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Jeff Sessions reacts to calls for a second special counsel

Gowdy: Special counsel necessary to investigate FBI process

Gowdy, Goodlatte make case for second independent counsel

Trump lashes out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Jay Sekulow talks potential special counsel on FISA abuses

Grassley, Graham push for an investigation into Trump dossier author

Rep. Jordan: What’s it going to take to get a second special counsel?

GOP lawmakers call for second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch

Clinton, Lynch tarmac meeting details revealed in new emails

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The Day They Drove Old Hillary Down–Benghazi-Gate Obama Clinton Cover-up Blown — Rice, Clinton, Obama Lied To American People and The World — Americans Died — Videos

Posted on May 7, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Crime, Cult, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Radio, Raves, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Video, War, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

UPDATED May 8, 2013

Includes Videos From

House Oversight Committee Investigation of Benghazi Terrorist Attack

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The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Cover-up

A cover-up is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrongdoing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information. In a passive cover-up information is simply not provided; in an active cover-up deception is used.

The expression is usually applied to people in positions of authority who abuse their power to avoid or silence criticism or to deflect guilt of wrongdoing. Those who initiate a cover up (or their allies) may be responsible for a misdeed, a breach of trust or duty or a crime.

While the terms are often used interchangeably, cover-up involves withholding incriminatory evidence, while whitewash involves releasing misleading evidence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cover-up

Glenn Beck Ties Together Benghazi, IRS, & AP Scandals ‘Fundamental Transformation’

Treason: Benghazi Revelations Could Sink Obama

Obama Hiding Arms Shipments To Syrian Jihadists

Gen. Jerry Boykin: “Get accountability and get the truth out” on Benghazi

Lt Gen Mclnemey Is Ashamed Our Military Responded Benghazi Libya & Blames Obama Admin – Lou Dobbs

Adm. Ace Lyons: On Benghazi, Obama Needs to Come Clean

CNBC: Benghazi is not about Libya! “It’s An NSC Operation Moving Arms & Fighters Into Syria”

Benghazi-Gate: Connection between CIA and al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria, with Turkey’s Help

The Real Reason Petraeus Resigned

Mother of Benghazi victim: I blame Hillary

ISSA: This Benghazi hearing is over, but the investigation is not

ISSA: Our Goal in this Benghazi Investigation is to Get Answers

(Benghazi Witness) THOMPSON: “We needed to act now and not wait”

(Benghazi Witness) HICKS: Until Benghazi I Loved Everyday of My Job

Gregory Hicks’ 30 Minute Recount of Benghazi Attack

(Benghazi Witness) NORDSTROM: Labors to Uncover What Happened Matters

Benghazi Witness Says State Dept. Told Him Not To Meet With Congressional Investigators

During Call With Clinton On Night Of Benghazi Attacks, No Mention Of A Demonstration

Rep. Jordan Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. McHenry Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Chaffetz Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Turner Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Mica Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Gowdy Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Gosar Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Hastings Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Meehan Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Walberg Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Duncan Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. DesJarlais Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Lankford Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

Rep. Amash Q&A – Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage

NORDSTROM: It’s not what the ARB report says, it’s what it doesn’t

Dem Rep. Elijah Cummings Tears Into GOP Rep. Issa For ‘Politicizing’ Benghazi

Rep. Gerry Connolly Speaks at Benghazi Hearing (5/8/13)

Benghazi ‘By Definition A Cover-Up’

Conflicting Reports on Benghazi Attack Leave Many Asking Who Changed the CIA Talking Points and Why

The Five Hosts Hammer Obama, Media For ‘Blatant CoverUp’ On Benghazi

Issa and Chaffetz Update Fox News’ Sean Hannity on the Benghazi Investigation, Part 1

Benghazi Whistleblower Claims Clinton Tried To Cut Out Counterterror Dept – Lou Dobbs

Issa and Chaffetz Update Fox News’ Sean Hannity on the Benghazi Investigation, Part 2

Chairman Issa Reveals Startling Information on Benghazi Terrorist Attack

Rep. Chaffetz Discusses the Benghazi Investigation on Fox News Sunday

Benghazi Gate – New Explosive Info On Attack In Libya – Whistleblowers Threaten By Obama Admin

Benghazi Whistle Blower PART 2 Talks to Fox News on 05-01-13

Rush Limbaugh on Benghazi Scandal: “They’re about to Blow this Sky High”; Reviews Scandal Timeline

Death And Deceit In Benghazi – Did Obama Amind Try Hide The Truth? – W Bret Bair

Benghazi-Gate: Connection between CIA and al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria, with Turkey’s Help

Obama’s UN Speech – TheBlaze

The Project parts 1-2, FULL video

The Project, by Glenn Beck, covers the infiltration of the United States government and our institutions by the Muslim Brotherhood

A Caliphate Is Coming – GBTV

Obama: violence and intolerance have no place among United Nations

Obama and his Press Secretary Blaming the Video for the Benghazi Attack

Benghazi white house disinformation

Innocence of Muslims full movie

Background Articles and Videos

Oversight Hearing Part 1 – “The Security Failures of Benghazi”

Breaking News-Benghazi Investigation’s Over. Judge Jeanine:Obama&Hillary Blame the Victim !!!???

Jeanine Pirro and Pat Caddell discuss Hillary Clinton’s roll in the Benghazi cover-up

Below is a letter from a group of about 700 retired U.S. military special operations veterans to the House of Representatives, urging Congress to establish a committee to investigate the Benghazi attack. Colonel Dick Brauer, founder of the group Special Operations Speaks explained the effort on Fox and Friends this morning.

To: Members of The U.S. House of Representatives

Subject: The Benghazi attacks on 9/11/ 2012

The undersigned are a representative group of some 700 retired Military Special Operations professionals who spent the majority of their careers

preparing for and executing myriad operations to rescue or recover detained or threatened fellow Americans. In fact, many of us participated in both the Vietnam era POW rescue effort, The Son Tay Raid, as well as Operation Eagle Claw, the failed rescue attempt in April of 1980 in Iran, so we have been at this for many years and have a deep passion for seeking the truth about what happened during the national tragedy in Benghazi.

The purpose of this letter is to encourage all members of the US House of Representatives to support H.Res. 36, which will create a House Select Committee on the Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. It is essential that a full accounting of the events of September 11, 2012, be provided and that the American public be fully informed regarding this egregious terrorist attack on US diplomatic personnel and facilities. We owe that truth to the American people and the families of the fallen.

It appears that many of the facts and details surrounding the terrorist attack which resulted in four American deaths and an undetermined number of American casualties have not yet been ascertained by previous hearings and inquiries. Additional information is now slowly surfacing in the media, which makes a comprehensive bipartisan inquiry an imperative. Many questions have not been answered thus far. The House Select Committee should address, at a minimum, the following questions:

1. Why was there no military response to the events in Benghazi?

a. Were military assets in the region available? If not, why not?

b. If so, were they alerted?

c. Were assets deployed to any location in preparation for a rescue or recovery attempt?

d. Was military assistance requested by the Department of State? If so, what type?

e. Were any US Army/Naval/USMC assets available to support the US diplomats in Benghazi during the attack?

f. What, if any, recommendations for military action were made by DOD and the US Africa Command?

2. What, if any, non-military assistance was provided during the attack?

3. How many US personnel were injured in Benghazi?

4. Why have the survivors of the attack not been questioned?

5. Where are the survivors?

6. Who was in the White House Situation Room (WHSR) during the entire 8-hour period of the attacks, and was a senior US military officer present?

7. Where were Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey during the crisis, and what inputs and recommendations did they make?

8. Where were Tom Donilon, the National Security Advisor, Denis McDonough, his deputy, Valerie Jarrett and John Brennan during the attacks, and what (if any) recommendations or decisions did any of them make?

9. Why were F-16 fighter aircraft based in Aviano, Italy (less than two hours away) never considered a viable option for disruption (if not dispersal) of the attackers until “boots on the ground” (troop support–General Dempsey’s words) arrived?

10. Were any strike aircraft (such as an AC-130 gunship) in the area or possibly overhead that would cause former SEAL Tyrone Woods to laser-designate his attacker’s position and call for gunship fire support, thereby revealing his own location that led to his death?

11. Who gave the order to “STAND DOWN” that was heard repeatedly during the attacks?

12. What threat warnings existed before the attack, and what were the DOD and DOS responses to those warnings? What data (which will reveal exact timelines and command decisions) is contained within the various SITREPS, records, logs, videos and recordings maintained by the myriad of DOD, Intelligence Community and State Department Command Centers that were monitoring the events in Benghazi as they unfolded?

13. Why did the Commander-in Chief and Secretary of State never once check in during the night to find out the status of the crisis situation in Benghazi?

14. What was the nature of Ambassador Stevens’ business in Benghazi at the time of the attack?

15. What guidance has been provided to survivors and family members since the time of the attack, and who issued that guidance?

16. Why are so many agencies now requiring their personnel that were involved in or have access to information regarding the events that took place in Benghazi sign Non-Disclosure Agreements?

This was the most severe attack on American diplomatic facilities and personnel since the attacks on the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Thus far, it appears that there has been no serious effort to determine critical details of this attack. This is inexcusable and demands immediate attention by the Congress. Congress must show some leadership and provide answers to the public as to what actually occurred in Benghazi. Americans have a right to demand a full accounting on this issue.

A longstanding American ethos was breached during the terrorist attack in Benghazi. America failed to provide adequate security to personnel deployed into harm’s way and then failed to respond when they were viciously attacked. Clearly, this is unacceptable and requires accountability. America has always held to the notion that no American will be left behind and that every effort will be made to respond when US personnel are threatened. Given our backgrounds, we are concerned that this sends a very negative message to future military and diplomatic personnel who may be deployed into dangerous environments. That message is that they will be left to their own devices when attacked. That is an unacceptable message.

The House Select Committee should focus on getting a detailed account of the events in Benghazi as soon as possible. H. Res. 36 will provide a structure for the conduct of a thorough inquiry of Benghazi and should be convened immediately.

We ask that you fulfill your responsibilities to the American people and take appropriate action regarding Benghazi. With over sixty members of the US House of Representatives calling for this Select Committee already, it seems that the time is right to take appropriate action on Benghazi.

CBS Devotes Two Straight Days of Coverage to ‘Possible Cover-Up’ on Benghazi; ABC, NBC Out to Lunch

By Matthew Balan

CBS used its Sunday evening and Monday morning newscasts to keep the spotlight on the question of a “possible cover-up” surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Jeff Glor led CBS Evening News with the scoop from earlier in the day on Face the Nation – that a “career U.S. diplomat is raising new questions” about the Obama administration’s claim that the attack spontaneously erupted in response to an early protest in Egypt.

Monday’s CBS This Morning also aired a report on this latest development on the September 11, 2012 attack. Meanwhile, ABC and NBC have yet to pick up on the veteran diplomat’s allegations, despite the fact that he is set to testify publicly to Congress on the issue on Wednesday.

Glor teased a report from correspondent David Martin by trumpeting that “a new witness emerges – a senior U.S. diplomat contradicts the White House and seems to support Republican claims of a cover-up over the attack in Benghazi.” Martin first outlined what Rep. Darrell Issa had revealed earlier in the day on Face the Nation:

DAVID MARTIN: Greg Hicks – at the time, the number-two diplomat at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli…directly contradicts administration claims that at first, the attack was thought to be nothing more than a demonstration growing out of a similar protest that day in Cairo. ‘I thought it was a terrorist attack from the get-go. I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning.’

The CBS journalist continued with a clip of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s now-discredited assertion about the terror attack, which she made on several Sunday morning talk shows on September 16, 2012. He also noted that Rep. Issa “pointed out Rice’s statement directly contradicted the president of Libya, who had appeared just before her on ‘Face the Nation’.”

Near the end of the segment, Martin underlined a key assertion from Hicks – that the diplomat “told committee investigators Rice’s words were an insult to the president of Libya, and may have hobbled efforts to capture those responsible for the attack. ‘I firmly believe that the reason it took us so long to get the FBI to Benghazi is because of those Sunday talk shows.'”

Hours later, on Monday’s CBS This Morning, correspondent Margaret Brennan rehashed much of what her colleague had reported the previous evening. Brennan also highlighted another statement from Hicks on Rice’s apparent slight to the Libyan president:

MARGARET BRENNAN: Hicks said that the public contradiction was a personal insult to the Libyan president, because Ambassador Rice – quote, ‘basically said that the president of Libya is either a liar or doesn’t know what he’s talking about. My jaw hit the floor as I watched this.’ He believes that’s why the Libyan government refused to allow the FBI access to the crime scene for several weeks.

Brennan had also singled out the FBI’s pursuit of three persons of interest who could provide information on the attack in Benghazi during a report on Thursday’s CBS This Morning, and touted how “what happened that night is still the topic of debate in Washington“. ABC devoted a news brief to the FBI investigation on Wednesday’s World News, while NBC punted on covering it.
Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-balan/2013/05/06/cbs-devotes-two-straight-days-coverage-possible-cover-benghazi-abc-nb#ixzz2SeOcSj3V

The Benghazi talking points: What’s known and unknown

Posted by Glenn Kessler

“I wasn’t involved in the talking points process…. As I understand it, as I’ve been told, it was a typical interagency process where staff, including from the State Department, all participated, to try to come up with whatever was going to be made publicly available, and it was an intelligence product.”

— Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jan. 23, 2013

 

New information is raising questions about the development of the administration’s talking points on the deadly attack on the diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans, including the ambassador, dead.

Readers may recall that The Fact Checker concluded that there was something rather odd about U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice’s comments on the Sunday news shows shortly after the attack. Rice said the attack “began spontaneously” because of a reaction to a protest in Cairo sparked by a “hateful video,” and there was no indication it was “premeditated or preplanned.”

We awarded her Two Pinocchios the morning after she appeared on the shows, concluding that “the publicly available evidence stands in stark contrast to Rice’s talking points.”

The White House at the time sharply disputed that conclusion, but over time that column has held up rather well. (In an interview with congressional investigators that was released over the weekend, deputy chief of mission Gregory Hicks said “my jaw hit the floor as I watched this.”) Some readers have suggested we should boost the Pinocchio rating for Rice’s comments. Still, it is clear Rice was simply mouthing the words given to her. The bigger mystery now is who was involved in writing — and rewriting — the talking points.

The talking points have become important because, in the midst of President Obama’s reelection campaign, for a number of days they helped focus the journalistic narrative on an anti-Islam video — and away from a preplanned attack. As we noted in our timeline of administration statements, it took two weeks for the White House to formally acknowledge that Obama believed the attack was terrorism.

We also have awarded Pinocchios to Republicans for claims about Benghazi. In this column, as a reader service, we outline below some of the new disclosures, contained in a report by House Republicans and an article in the Weekly Standard, and contrast the new information with previous statements made by administration officials.

The House report contains references to specific e-mails between administration officials; the Weekly Standard then identifies who wrote the e-mails as well as various drafts of the talking points. As far as we know, the administration has not publicly denied the information about the talking points contained in the GOP report or the article.

The key new disclosure is that senior levels of the White House and State Department were closely involved in the rewriting of the talking points. Previously, Obama administration officials had strongly suggested that the talking points were developed almost exclusively by intelligence officials.

Here is White House spokesman Jay Carney speaking to reporters on Nov. 28, 2012:

“Ambassador Rice was using unclassified talking points that were developed by the intelligence community and provided not just to her, not just to the executive branch, but to the legislative branch. And they represented the best assessment by our intelligence professionals about what had happened in Benghazi at that time.”

“The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two — of these two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility,’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate. Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the IC’s best assessments of what they thought had happened.”

Note how Carney stressed that this was “developed by the intelligence community” and the “talking points originated from the intelligence community.”

In a narrow sense, this is correct. Both the House report and the Weekly Standard say the CIA created — or “originated” — the first draft of the talking points. The version as of Friday morning, Sept. 14, 2012, was rather detailed, saying that “Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaeda participated in the attack” and mentioning the militant group Ansar al-Sharia. It also referred to previous attacks against foreign interests and the possibility there had been surveillance of the U.S. facility.

But a senior State Department official — identified by the Weekly Standard as State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland — objected to this draft after being asked to clear the talking points for release. The CIA made some changes, but apparently that was not enough. Nuland said in an e-mail disclosed by the House report that the edits did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership” and that the State Department’s leadership “was consulting with [National Security Staff.]”

(Update: Reading between the lines, part of State’s concern appears to be inconsistency in messaging. Nuland, as State Department spokesman, had been constrained from saying much about the attack at the podium, and now the CIA was proposing to give lawmakers much more information than the administration had released. Moreover, from State’s perspective, the original draft contained references to CIA’s warnings about the security environment, which appeared designed to deflect attention from the agency’s substantial role in Benghazi.)

Minutes later, a White House official (said to be Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications), who was part of the email group receiving Nuland’s message, e-mailed to say that the State Department’s concerns would need to be addressed and the issue would be resolved at a meeting the next day at the White House.

The result, after the meeting, was a wholesale rewriting of the talking points. The House report says “the actual edits, including deleting all references to al-Qaeda, were made by a current high-ranking CIA official,” which the Weekly Standard identifies as Deputy Director Mike Morell.

Oddly, in November, three GOP senators released a statement saying that Morell had told them that the references to al-Qaeda had been removed by the FBI — but then six hours later the CIA contacted them to say Morell “misspoke” and instead the CIA had actually made those deletions. His own apparent role appears not to have been mentioned.

Morell may have had his hand on the pen, but the available evidence suggests that White House and State Department had much more involvement than the “single adjustment” of changing the word “consulate” to “diplomatic facility,” as Carney asserted.

The biggest unknown is whether the “building leadership” in the State Department that objected to the initial talking points included anyone on Clinton’s immediate staff. (One presumes that nit-picking over wording would not have risen to Clinton’s level.) There is no indication that Nuland had any role in crafting or even discussing the talking points after her email on Friday evening, nor is it clear from the email portions that have been released whether she had actually consulted with other officials before objecting to the draft.

Nuland is expected to be nominated for assistant secretary for European affairs. Lawmakers are likely to question her closely on this point during her confirmation hearings.

Clinton, during her testimony before the Senate and the House in January, made the following comments about the development of the talking points. She also stressed it was an “intelligence product” and said she was not involved in the “talking points process” and she “personally” was not focused on them — odd locutions that leave open the possibility that she was aware of the internal debate at the time.

“I would say that I personally was not focused on talking points. I was focused on keeping our people safe.”

“I wasn’t involved in the talking points process…. As I understand it, as I’ve been told, it was a typical interagency process where staff, including from the State Department, all participated, to try to come up with whatever was going to be made publicly available, and it was an intelligence product.”

“I was not involved in the so-called talking points process. My understanding is it was a typical process, trying to get to the best information available. It was an intelligence product.”

“The evidence was being sifted and analyzed by the intelligence community, which is why the intelligence community was the principal decider about what went into talking points. And there was also the added problem of nobody wanting to say things that would undermine the investigation.”

As more information emerges, we will continue to track how the administration’s statements hold up over time and whether more Pinocchio ratings are appropriate.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-benghazi-talking-points-whats-known-and-unknown/2013/05/06/f689ee08-b693-11e2-b94c-b684dda07add_blog.html

Lankford: Either Obama State Dept Ignored Libya Threats, Or Ignored Diplomats’ Please for Protection

US Security Chief in Libya: “State Department Told Us Don’t Continue To Ask For Help”

ISSA OPENING STATEMENT – “The Security Failures of Benghazi”

President Obama’s Complete UN Address (2012)

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