Friday, March 31, 2017

Does Trump owe country an explanation?

During the election, many people had reason to be dubious about candidate Donald Trump's character and motivation in seeking the Presidency.

To these voters, Donald Trump came off as a vainglorious, self-seeking egomaniac who had no deep seated beliefs about anything except himself, and who was only opportunistic in taking up issues he thought he could exploit in his Presidential run.

Seeking the Presidency probably began as a fun lark for Donald Trump, after having tired of doing The Apprentice for many years.

As he proceeded, Donald Trump made opportunistic calculations about how to game issues to advance his candidacy, without genuine belief about the issues.

When "Russian interference" showed up in the election, Donald Trump applauded the interference, which may have been just more Trump opportunism, with no regard to whether asking the Russians to interfere was right or wrong, and with no thought about whether he was advancing Vladimir Putin's purposes.

After being elected in November and during the first two months of his Presidency, Donald Trump has done much to validate concerns about his character and motivation.

One matter now stands out glaringly. Test it out for yourself.  Ask yourself this:
Given the chaos swirling around the Russia mess the country is now in, do you think Donald Trump owes it to the American people to explain why he asked the Russians to interfere in the election? 
If  your answer is yes, ask yourself whether Donald Trump will give any explanation.

Consider the possible explanations.

One explanation Donald Trump might give is that he was not serious in asking the Russians to interfere in the election.

Another explanation Donald Trump might give is that he was serious in asking the Russians to interfere, and that his belief is there was nothing wrong with doing that.

A third  possibility is that Donald Trump believes it was wrong for him to ask the Russians to interfere in the election, and he says so to the country.

A fourth possibility is that Donald Trump thinks Russian interference is a trivial matter the country should not be concerned about, and it does not warrant his giving any explanation at this time. This fourth possibility is a variation on number two above, i.e., Russian interference in the election is a trivial matter, so there is nothing wrong with his having asked the Russians to interfere.

For Donald Trump to give any of the first three explanations will be trouble for Donald Trump at this time. As to the fourth possibility, Donald Trump will be bogged down for months trying to argue that Russia interfering in U.S. elections is a trivial matter.

It is a fair bet that there is no chance Donald Trump will give any accounting of himself about his asking the Russians to interfere in the election.

Since the election, Donald Trump has shown numerous times that only others are to blame when something has gone amiss, Donald Trump does nothing that warrants blame, and there is nothing he needs to be held accountable for.

That is Donald Trump's nature and character, and it is consistent with Donald Trump's only purpose being  to serve Donald Trump '

As to the Russia mess, it is a fair bet Donald Trump will blame anyone but himself for that mess. It is a fair bet Donald Trump will not go on prime time television and make an address, saying "My fellow Americans, our country is in a mess over Russia, I am the President and it is my responsibility to lead the country out of the mess. To do that, the country first needs to understand how we got into the mess. As your President, I need to start with myself and consider my responsibility. Let me first address that, during the campaign, I asked the Russians to interfere in the election. Here is my explanation to the American people about that: _______________"

So long as Donald Trump gives no explanation to the country about why he asked the Russians to interfere in the election, that is good evidence, maybe even proof, that for Donald Trump all that matters is Donald Trump, the country matters only if it is opportunistically helpful for Donald Trump, and Donald Trump owes no accountability on anything to the country. It is further tantamount to a declaration by Donald Trump that he is unable to perform his leadership duties as President of the United States.

If you are a Trump supporter and you believe Donald Trump does not owe the country an explanation of why he asked the Russians to interfere in the election, please post a comment below to that effect, or send me a tweet, and I will post the tweet here.





Friday, March 17, 2017

Tweet bomb Louisville rally

TWEET AT #LOUISVILLERALLY FOR CONGRESS TO CENSURE PRESIDENT TRUMP
[If you want to send a tweet before reading below, click HERE ]

President Trump is unique in not having been an elected politician previously and not having come from the military.

In the election campaign, as President-Elect, and as President for two months, he has conducted himself in ways that are outside the norm for politicians. Not changing his ways as President is becoming disturbing for many Americans, because his conduct seems threatening to undermine the Presidential office and impair the country's governance.

This is for consideration by Congress. Given how President Trump's conduct is outside the norm, Congress needs to debate whether the Presidential office is being undermined and whether the country's governance is being impaired. If so, at a minimum, Congress should adopt a formal resolution of censure of President Trump's conduct.

Here are ways in which President Trump's conduct are outside the norm, and which need to be considered by Congress:

1. Government officials are subject to "conflicts of interest" rules, because of important policies underlying representative government. President Trump is taking the position that the exemption of the President in the "conflicts of interest" statute means he can do whatever he wants with his businesses, and he can act in a way contrary to the important policy served by "conflict of interest" rules. Congress needs to decide whether President Trump is entitled to operate outside the norm of those rules. and if not, Congress needs to delve into President Trump's myriad conflicts of interest and pass a resolution censuring President Trump for wrongful conduct as Congress deems appropriate in the circumstances. This would cover determining whether "pay to play" corruption, such as candidate Trump crucified the Clintons for in the election, has been or will be fostered.

2. President Trump is outside the norm in the way he speaks with disregard of "truth" and "facts" and his constant use of hyperbole that is grossly inaccurate.  Most people do not understand why President Trump does this. Good communication is important for conducting the Presidency, and Congress needs to consider whether President Trump is so far outside the norm that it is impairing President Trump in executing his office, including by losing the trust of the American people. 

3. President Trump's gratuitous, insulting, hyperbolic, and vitriolic verbal attacks on individual persons, on organizations and institutions, and even on foreign countries and officials are excessive in the extreme. These attacks exacerbate divisions in the country and can adversely affect foreign relations. Congress needs to decide whether President Trump is so far out of bounds that Congress needs to tell him to stop it.

4. Politicians are known to lie, be hypocritical, and have double standards, but politicians generally seek to minimize this happening, they squirm and sweat when they are called out, and there is ultimately some constraint over them. President Trump, however, is outside the norm in the outrageous brazen extremes of his lying, hypocrisy and double standards, he does not squirm or sweat, and he gives the impression that everything he does is perfectly ok. If President Trump is incapable of recognizing some things he does are wrong, and he thinks only other people are wrong, Congress needs to decide whether it should formally tell President Trump otherwise.

5. President Trump's lack of self control and impulsiveness are outside the norm for Presidents. This could cause serious problems, and Congress needs to decide whether it should call this to the attention of President Trump.

6. President Trump is evidencing an autocratic and authoritarian mode of governing that is outside the norm (such as his implementing his America First policy by directly contacting companies). This may improperly transgress the proper separation of powers. Congress needs to consider the same and tell President Trump what Congress thinks.

7. In the election, candidate Trump publicly asked the Russians to interfere in a way to help him get elected. Although he was not President at the time, Congress needs to decide whether asking the Russians to interfere was a sufficiently wrongful act that President Trump should be censured for it now. (See Smartest colluders.)

President Trump is 70 years old. He may be fixated in old ways from his business career, and these ways may be very bad for the Presidency and impair the country's governance. His aides appear unable to tell President Trump that he is doing anything wrong, and the country is witnessing the spectacle of his aides having to defend the indefensible of President Trump's conduct. When the press tries to point out wrong things President Trump does, he just says "fake news" and press "totally dishonest." This all begs for Congress to consider President Trump's conduct in a formal way and for Congress to speak up.


TWEETING AT #LOUISVILLERALLY 

If you agree that Congress should censure President Trump's conduct, use Monday's Lousville rally to send a tweet which asks Congress to censure President Trump, which uses the hashtag #louisvillerally, and which has a link to this webpage trumptweet.blogspot.com/2017/03/louisville.html. The following is a suggested tweet to send:
Tweet at President Trump's #LouisvilleRally Monday for Congress to censure him. http://trumptweet.blogspot.com/2017/03/louisville.html
You can send such a tweet by copying and pasting the above and using your "Tweet" button in your Twitter account, or you can automatically generate the tweet by clicking HERE  If you automatically generate the tweet, it will not be sent until you click "send."

Feel free to compose your own tweet to send. If you compose your own tweet, please include the hashtag #louisvillerally, and also a link to this webpage http://trumptweet.blogspot.com/2017/03/louisville.html .

Next, after you send your tweet, share a link to this webpage in your standard way of sharing.

If you want to go beyond your standard way of sharing, use follower lists of Louisville and other Kentucky follower lists, such as
https://twitter.com/louisville/followers
https://twitter.com/LovinLouisville/followers

and send individual tweets to the followers on the list, which tweets say:
Join in tweeting at President Trump's Louisville rally for Congress to censure him. http://trumptweet.blogspot.com/2017/03/louisville.html
You can send tweets very efficiently, at least on a laptop computer. Get the tweet message on your mouse clipboard, go to the follower list  you are using for your tweeting, start with the first person on the list you want to tweet to, and do this:
1. Right click on person's Twitter name.
2. Choose "open in new tab"
3. Go to the new tab.
4. Click on the "Tweet to" button.
5. Paste the tweet message in the box.
6. Hit the "Tweet" button.
7. Close the tab, which takes you back to the list
8. Go on to next person, and repeat above steps.
You should be able to send 35 to 70 tweets in a half hour. Send as many tweets as you are willing to. Don't worry about any duplication that you think may arise.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tweet bomb Nashville rally

TWEET AT #NASHVILLERALLY FOR CONGRESS TO CENSURE PRESIDENT TRUMP
[If you want to send a tweet before reading below, click HERE ]

Untold numbers of people are appalled by how President Trump has conducted himself as President, and Congress should adopt a formal resolution of censure of President Trump's conduct.

Complaints about how President Trump has conducted himself as President include these:

1. His refusal to separate adequately from his businesses will improperly affect untold aspects of the governance of the country in the Executive Branch of the Federal government and also in the Legislative Branch. The episode of President Donald Trump's tweeting about Ivanka and Nordstrom is one small example of Executive Branch governance of the country being improperly impacted. President Donald Trump has been adamant that he can and will do whatever he wants regarding his businesses. We do not believe this is true, and we believe that Congress needs to tell President Trump that.

2. President Trump has spoken to the American people with an immense lack of regard for "truth" and "facts." We do not understand why he does this, and it signifies that President Donald Trump does not understand or refuses to understand things that are needed to properly execute the office of President. Congress needs to tell President Donald Trump that.

3. President Donald Trump's insulting, gratuitous, hyperbolic assaults on those who express disagreement are excessive in the extreme and improperly exacerbate divisions in the country. Congress needs to tell President Donald Trump this is not "faithful" execution of the office of President.

4. [added 2/13] Various actions and statements of President Donald Trump and his subordinates are portending that President Donald Trump is going to violate constitutional separation of powers. Congress needs to warn President Donald Trump about this.

5. [added 2/15] Michael Flynn is out because he lost  President Donald Trump's trust. Developments are resulting in President Donald Trump losing the trust of the American people. Congress needs to tell him that.

6. [added 2/20] The House and the Senate need to pass a joint resolution to the effect that it is the sense of Congress that the press is not the enemy of the American people.

7. [added 2/21] The aforesaid resolution should also condemn the surge in anti-Semitic violence and threats.

8. [added 2/22] President Donald Trump's loose words about Sweden were unpresidential and may have caused unnecessary violence in Sweden. He should be censured by Congress for this.

9. [added 2/22] The second round of executive immigration orders are threatening heightened tension and turmoil, potentially disrupting important work Congress is trying to do. Congress ought to step in to provide a better solution for the country's immigration situation.

10. [added 2/23] President Donald Trump's loss of the trust of the American people gets worse related to Russia, his tax returns, the excessive taxpayer monies used to maintain his and his family's personal and business lives, and repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

11. [added 2/26] By not showing up at the White House correspondents dinner, President Donald Trump is hardening his intention for the country to have two "realities," one being the reality as pronounced by President Donald Trump and the other reality being any purported truth and facts that differ from President Donald Trump's reality. Congress needs to tell President Donald Trump that the two realities that he is trying to establish make for great problems in the country's governance of itself, and collective work must be undertaken to try to overcome the dual realities he seems bound and determined to create.

12. [added 2/28] Either President Donald Trump is alarmingly ignorant about health care, or else he has been lying to the American people for months. See Nobody knew.

13. [added 3/4] President Donald Trump's saying that Jeff Sessions should not recuse himself further shows President Donald Trump does not understand about "conflicts of interest," and Congress needs to educate President Donald Trump on this by censuring him. See Sessions recusal.

14. [added 3/4] The Wall Street Journal has reported that Donald Trump Jr. Was Likely Paid at Least $50,000 for Event Held by Hosts Allied With Russia on Syria. This seems like exactly the "pay to play" that President Donald Trump crucified the Clintons about during the election campaign, and Congress should tell President Donald Trump that he and his family do not have a blanket exemption from "conflicts of interest" and "pay to play."

TWEETING AT #NASHVILLERALLY TODAY
If you agree that Congress should censure President Trump, use today's Nashville rally to send a tweet which asks Congress to censure President Trump, which uses the hashtag #nashvillerally, and which has a link to this webpage http://trumptweet.blogspot.com/2017/03/nashville.html. The following is a suggested tweet to send:
Tweet at President Trump's #NashvilleRally today for Congress to censure him. http://trumptweet.blogspot.com/2017/03/nashville.html 
You can send such a tweet by copying and pasting the above and using your "Tweet" button in your Twitter account, or you can automatically generate the tweet by clicking HERE  If you automatically generate the tweet, it will not be sent until you click "send."

Feel free to compose your own tweet to send. If you compose your own tweet, please include the hashtag #nashvillerally, and also a link to this webpage http://trumptweet.blogspot.com/2017/03/nashville.html.

Next, after you send your tweet, share a link to this webpage in your standard way of sharing.

If you want to go beyond your standard way of sharing, use follower lists of Nashville  and other Tennessee follower lists, such as
https://twitter.com/Tennessean/followers
https://twitter.com/WSMV/followers
and send individual tweets to the followers on the list, which tweets say:
Join in tweeting at President Trump's Nashville rally for Congress to censure him. http://trumptweet.blogspot.com/2017/03/nashville.html
You can send tweets very efficiently, at least on a laptop computer. Get the tweet message on your mouse clipboard, go to the follower list  you are using for your tweeting, start with the first person on the list you want to tweet to, and do this:
1. Right click on person's Twitter name.
2. Choose "open in new tab"
3. Go to the new tab.
4. Click on the "Tweet to" button.
5. Paste the tweet message in the box.
6. Hit the "Tweet" button.
7. Close the tab, which takes you back to the list
8. Go on to next person, and repeat above steps.
You should be able to send 35 to 70 tweets in a half hour. Send as many tweets as you are willing to. Don't worry about any duplication that you think may arise.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Not phony

Who knows what to believe about anything Trump says?



I am asking my Alabama reps in Congress this. You should ask your reps in Congress the same.



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Smartest colluders

The smartest way to collude is publicly, in which two very smart people know each other's minds perfectly, and they are able to collude publicly with no need of private meetings.

Now, how can the dumb ass public ever catch two smart colluders who are colluding like that?

Here is Donald Trump colluding in public with Vladimir Putin:



Also, the above proves a lesser charge of Donald Trump being an aider and abetter of Russian interference.



Tweet to Senate Intelligence Committee
Use the below links to send tweets to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Your tweets will be addressed to the indicated Senators, say, "Plz consider #PublicCollusion and #AidingandAbetting." and will contain a link to this blog entry. Your tweets will appear under the hashtags #PublicCollusion and #AidingandAbetting.

Tweet here to Senators Burr, Risch, Rubio and Collins
Tweet here to Senators Blunt, Lankford, Cotton and Cornyn
Tweet here to Senators Warner, Feinstein, Wyden and Heinrich
Tweet here to Senators King and Manchin

Edit 3/20
While he was not President at the time, Congress should consider whether President Trump should be censured at this time for asking the Russians to interfere in the election to help him in the election. See Tweet bomb Louisville rally for a list of other conduct of President Trump that Congress should consider as warranting censure.

Tweet to Chairman and Ranking Member of House Permanent Committee on Intelligence
Send a tweet to the Chairman and Ranking Member, which says, "@Rep_DevinNunes @RepAdamSchiff Isn't Trump's asking Russians to interfere in election #AidingAndAbetting? http:/http://trumptweet.blogspot.com/2017/03/smartest-colluders.html", by clicking on the below link (tweet will not be sent until you click "send")
Tweet here to Chairman Nunes and Ranking Member Schiff


Was President Trump involved in a crime?
The below July 25, 2016 Daily Beast article discusses that attempting to manipulate an election is not a crime but the hacking theft of information is a crime. Was President Trump criminally involved, such as as an "aider and abetter" or an "accessory," in criminal theft of information and using the fruits of the crime?



TARGET ACQUIRED

FBI Suspects Russia Hacked DNC; U.S. Officials Say It Was to Elect Donald Trump

Did the Russian government hack the DNC to bring down Hillary Clinton? That’s the view that’s quickly emerging inside American intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
The FBI suspects that Russian government hackers breached the networks of the Democratic National Committee and stole emails that were posted to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks on Friday. It’s an operation that several U.S. officials now suspect was a deliberate attempt to influence the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, according to five individuals familiar with the investigation of the breach.
The theory that Moscow orchestrated the leaks to help Trump—who has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and practically called for the end of NATO—is fast gaining currency within the Obama administration because of the timing of the leaks and Trump’s own connections to the Russian government, the sources said on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing and developing quickly.
About 20,000 internal DNC emails were disclosed just days before the beginning of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and several showed an effort by staffers to undermine Bernie Sanders’s campaign against Hillary Clinton. One email even discussed challenging Sanders’s religious faith. In response to the embarrassing revelations, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced she would step down after the convention.
Current and former U.S. officials drew analogies to so-called active measures campaigns, or state-sponsored operations designed for political effects.
“The release of emails just as the Democratic National Convention is getting underway this week has the hallmarks of a Russian active measures campaign,” David Shedd, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Daily Beast. Shedd said that additional leaks were likely, echoing an opinion expressed by U.S. officials and experts who said that the release of emails on Friday may just be an opening salvo.
Officials also noted Trump’s own connections to the Russian government. Putin has publicly praised the nominee, who said he was “honored” by the compliment. Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was a consultant for Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine who was ousted for his pro-Moscow orientation (and now lives in Russia). One of Trump’s top national security advisers, retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn, sat with Putin at a dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kremlin-backed media network RT and was paid to give a speech at the event; Flynn later retweeted an anti-Semitic message that called into question any Kremlin-Trump link. Another Trump adviser, Carter Page, recently denounced America’s “often-hypocritical focus on democratization” while in Moscow. And last week, Trump said that he might not come to the aid of U.S. NATO allies in the face of Russian aggression unless they paid what he thinks they owe for Europe’s common defense.
Officials also thought it was telling that the emails were given to WikiLeaks, which is perceived as being hostile to the U.S. government. “This wasn’t surprising to us,” said one U.S. official familiar with the investigation. 
An FBI spokesperson said in a statement Monday that the bureau was investigating the breach but declined to comment on whether political motivation was part of the inquiry. “A compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously, and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace,” the spokesperson said.
“I’m sure they will consider potential motives,” White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.
Two U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that while hacking is a crime, and therefore falls under the FBI’s jurisdiction, trying to manipulate an election is not. That may limit what the FBI can investigate, the officials said.
“Manipulation is not a crime. Some would argue that Voice of America or Fox News try to manipulate elections,” one retired FBI agent told The Daily Beast.
That doesn’t mean the FBI has to remain silent if it finds evidence of Russia’s meddling. Should the bureau release a statement after an investigation tying the Russians to the hack and subsequent release to WikiLeaks, that would essentially be a public indictment, the officials said.
It also may be possible for the FBI to investigate the question of intent, including whether the email leak is an instance of an unregistered foreign agent illegally trying to influence the U.S. political system, another U.S. official said. But it’s easier for the FBI to investigate the breach and theft of information itself, which are clearly prohibited under U.S. law, the official added.
The FBI first notified the DNC in April that it had been breached, said two individuals who are familiar with the matter. U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials had been aware of two Russian hacker groups that have been linked to the intrusion and are also believed to have compromised networks in U.S. government agencies, including the Defense Department, the State Department, and the White House, as well as U.S. companies and universities.
The DNC hired a computer security firm, CrowdStrike, to investigate the breach. It has publicly attributed the operation to two known hacker groups connected to the Russian government that it dubs Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear.
The two groups, which compete with one another, got into the DNC networks last summer and this April, respectively, CrowdStrike told The Washington Post, which first reported the breaches last month.
Another cybersecurity firm, ThreatConnect, independently assessed the breach and concluded that the DNC operation was consistent with the hackers’ previous efforts to gather information on U.S. officials and operations.
The theft of information, which at the time reportedly consisted of opposition research and the DNC’s files on Trump, seemed to be part of a longer campaign of spying by the Russians in order to glean insights into the next president. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also said in May that there were indications both presidential campaigns had been targeted by foreign hackers.
But the provision of the DNC emails to WikiLeaks added a new dimension to the intrusion. (The group has pushed back against the idea that Russia supplied the emails.)
“If there is a concerted effort to undermine the campaign of the Democratic Party nominee, we can and should expect additional embarrassing emails to be released by WikiLeaks, including from candidate Hillary Clinton’s personal server,” Shedd, the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief, said.
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said lawmakers had been briefed on the intrusion and “will continue to seek further information from the [intelligence community] as to the origin of any attack and a potential connection to Russia or another state sponsor.”
“If the hack is linked to Russian actors, it would not be the first time cyber intrusions linked to the Kremlin and its supporters have sought to influence the political process in other countries,” Rep. Adam Schiff said in a statement. “Given Donald Trump’s well known admiration for Putin and his belittling of NATO, the Russians have both the means and the motive to engage in a hack of the DNC and the dump of its emails prior to the Democratic Convention. That foreign actors may be trying to influence our election—let alone a powerful adversary like Russia—should concern all Americans of any party.”
Within the email dump itself, there were further indications of foreign meddling in the campaign. 
On May 4, DNC opposition researcher Alexandra Chalupa told a colleague that ever since she began collecting information on Trump campaign director Paul Manafort, she had been receiving daily security warnings from Yahoothat her personal account may have “been the target of state-sponsored actors.” Such notifications are routine when an internet or email provider suspects that a user may have been hacked or is likely to be hacked.
Chalupa told DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda in an email that she continued to get the warnings from Yahoo “despite changing my password often.”
A few days prior to that message, a DNC staffer notified colleagues that the committee’s rapid-response blog, Factivists, had been “compromised.”
“We have been compromised! But it’s all ok,” Rachel Palermo said in a brief message to an unspecified number of recipients. Palermo said that to “prevent future issues,” the password to the blog would be changed “every few weeks. She also included a new password in the email, which the intruders may well have seen.
And in mid-May, two DNC staffers communicating about a donor said thather email account had been hacked and was no longer working. The donor was identified only as Agnes. Agnes Gund is a prominent philanthropist and Democratic donor. DNC officials told The Washington Post that their donor files weren’t accessed. It’s not clear if the donor’s email was hacked by the same Russian groups.
Attributing the source of a breach to a specific actor is difficult, but CrowdStrike, which has close ties to the FBI and U.S. intelligence community, provided some details on its findings in a recent blog post. The company based its attributions on characteristic tools and techniques that it has attributed to the hacker group in previous intrusions.
Cozy Bear prefers “a broadly targeted spearphish campaign,” or using emails that appear to come from a trusted sender but that actually include web links that will insert malicious software code onto a victim’s machine, CrowdStrike reported. The code uses sophisticated tools to remotely access the computer, as well as encryption to cover their tracks, both of which indicate “a well-resourced adversary.”
Fancy Bear likewise has developed a suite of hacking tools and techniques and has been linked to intrusions on U.S. government systems, CrowdStrike said. The group tends to favor establishing websites “that spoof the look and feel of the victim’s web-based email services in order to steal their credentials.”
It’s not clear precisely how the groups penetrated the DNC’s networks. But CrowdStrike said its analysts “immediately” recognized the hackers’ signatures. Separately, another computer security firm, ThreatConnect, has corroborated the findings and also found that a hacker group going by the moniker Guccifer2, which claims to have provided the emails to WikiLeaks, is likely a Russian-goverment operation.
Any FBI investigation likely would not be released until after the election, and any could be read as sending a political message. Should Trump win, for example, and the FBI announces it found a Russian connection to the hack, some might argue that the FBI is trying to taint Trump’s victory. That would also come on the heels of the FBI’s decision to not charge Clinton with having classified email on her private email server, a decision that outraged many Republicans. 
A public finding that the Russians interfered would also exacerbate already tense negotiations between the U.S. and Russia over an agreement to share intelligence and better coordinate strikes in Syria. The increased cooperation has divided much of the U.S. government, some of whom do not see the Russians as trustworthy.




Inquiry to criminal law professors
I have sent the below email to three professors of criminal law at the University of Alabama School of Law:

From: Rob Shattuck <rdshattuck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 10:26 AM
Subject: Possible Trump criminality re criminal theft of info
To: ppierson@law.ua.edu, srushin@law.ua.edu, jcarroll@law.ua.edu
Dear Professors Pierson, Rushin and Carroll,
I am trying to learn whether there is a feasible case that President Trump could have criminal liability for his public urging of the Russians and Wikileaks to release criminally obtained hacking information.
This first assumes that there was criminal hacking theft of information by the Russians, Wikileaks and/or others. For purposes of this email, assume that is true.
Then assume the Russians, Wikileaks and/or others had a purpose to use the fruits of the crime (i.e., the info) to influence voting in the election. My layperson's understanding is that merely trying to influence voting in an election is not a crime.
Let's put aside the matter of non-public communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians, Wikileaks or others.
Let's focus on Trump's state of mind, including awareness that there was criminal theft of information, and that the fruits of the crime (the info) were being used by the criminals to try to influence the election, and that the same could help Trump in his campaign. Next take Trump's overt act of publicly encouraging the Russians and/or Wikileaks to carry out their purpose of using the fruits of their crime to influence the election, which could help Trump in his campaign.
If you were a lawyer with the Justice Department or the FBI, would the foregoing present a genuine, serious possibility of Trump having criminal involvement in the criminal theft of information? Putting it differently if you were a lawyer for Trump, would you be concerned a case for criminal involvement could be made against him?
Obviously the investigation into communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians, Wikileaks, and others may yield facts and evidence that would be supportive of a case against Trump for criminal involvement in the criminal theft of information.
Informed persons are reporting that no evidence of collusion has been yet found by investigators (and keep in mind the FBI investigation started last July). I have been trying to raise whether there can be public collusion, without private meetings.
I am ultimately trying to get a sense of whether Trump and his lawyers should be seriously worrying.
For your information, I am posting about this in a blog. See Smartest colluders.
I guess what I would be most interested from any of the three of you is, if you think there is no possibility of a criminal case against Trump without evidence of "collusion" (of which there is reportedly no evidence yet), I would at a minimum post your view on my blog.
Thank you for your attention to this email.

Another article

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Don Jr.

[President Donald Trump, during his campaign, crucified the Clintons for "conflicts of interest" and "pay to play." Now, President Donald Trump is acting as if he and his family have a blanket exemption from "conflicts of interest" and "pay to play." Congress needs to decide whether it agrees.]

The Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump Jr. Was Likely Paid at Least $50,000 for Event Held by Hosts Allied With Russia on Syria

October appearance by son of then-candidate is one of string of contacts between members of the president’s inner circle and individuals connected to Moscow


Donald Trump Jr. addressed a dinner on Oct. 11 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, hosted by the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs. Its president, Fabien Baussart, and his Syrian-born wife, Randa Kassis, have cooperated with Russia in its drive to end the Syrian civil war, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.
In December, Mr. Baussart formally nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mrs. Kassis is a leader of a political faction endorsed by Russia in negotiations to end the war in Syria. The couple said they don’t represent Russia and are solely focused on ending the Syrian conflict.
The meeting in October represents one in a string of contacts over the past year between members of the president’s inner circle and individuals connected to Moscow and to Russian interests. The Wall Street Journal in November reported Donald Trump Jr.’s appearance at the event.
A U.S. counterintelligence investigation has examined contacts with Russia involving several associates of President Trump, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to people familiar with the matter. The outcome of the Sessions inquiry, and whether it is ongoing, is unclear. There has been no indication that the president’s son is under similar scrutiny.
The existence of a financial connection between the younger Trump and an entity associated with the Kremlin would likely add to questions involving Mr. Trump’s administration and Russia, following a campaign in which he was loath to criticize Russia’s leader and repeatedly called for better ties to Moscow.
The younger Mr. Trump’s appearance and his work as a paid public speaker also are likely to raise questions about possible efforts by outside parties to gain influence with the Trump family. Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton drew criticism for speakers fees and contributions involving her family’s charitable foundation, a practice President Donald Trump criticized during his campaign as a “pay to play” scheme.
Donald Trump Jr. serves as the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, a real-estate company founded by his father, and was a top official in his father’s campaign.
The younger Trump was likely paid at least $50,000 for his Paris appearance by the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs. The Trump Organization didn’t dispute that amount when asked about it by The Wall Street Journal.
A U.S. counterintelligence investigation has examined contacts with Russia involving several associates of President Trump, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to people familiar with the matter. The outcome of the Sessions inquiry, and whether it is ongoing, is unclear. There has been no indication that the president’s son is under similar scrutiny.
The existence of a financial connection between the younger Trump and an entity associated with the Kremlin would likely add to questions involving Mr. Trump’s administration and Russia, following a campaign in which he was loath to criticize Russia’s leader and repeatedly called for better ties to Moscow.
The younger Mr. Trump’s appearance and his work as a paid public speaker also are likely to raise questions about possible efforts by outside parties to gain influence with the Trump family. Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton drew criticism for speakers fees and contributions involving her family’s charitable foundation, a practice President Donald Trump criticized during his campaign as a “pay to play” scheme.
Donald Trump Jr. serves as the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, a real-estate company founded by his father, and was a top official in his father’s campaign.
The younger Trump was likely paid at least $50,000 for his Paris appearance by the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs. The Trump Organization didn’t dispute that amount when asked about it by The Wall Street Journal.
“Donald Trump Jr. has been participating in business-related speaking engagements for over a decade—discussing a range of topics including sharing his entrepreneurial experiences and offering career specific advice,” said Amanda Miller, the company’s vice president for marketing.
A talent booking agency called All American Speakers lists Donald Trump Jr. on its website as a client who commands a minimum of $50,000 per appearance.
People who have participated in events at the French think tank say it often pays speakers 20% to 30% above their going rate.
At a different event in October, the Center hosted James Rubin, a former State Department spokesman who served in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He was paid nearly $40,000 to attend, according to people briefed on the event.
Mrs. Kassis heads a political party, the Movement for a Pluralistic Society, which is part of a faction endorsed by Russia in international negotiations aimed at ending the six-year Syrian conflict.
She regularly visits Moscow to coordinate policy with Russia’s Foreign Ministry, said Arab and European officials. She has appeared more than once in photographs with Russian officials in Russian state media.
In interviews, Mrs. Kassis said she stressed to Donald Trump Jr. in October the need for the U.S. and Russia to cooperate in ending the Syrian conflict. She said she passed on Mr. Trump’s views to Russian diplomats in subsequent trips she made to Moscow.
Mrs. Kassis said she is optimistic about U.S.-Russia cooperation after meeting Donald Trump Jr. The couple said his talk at the think tank was about general campaign issues and the senior Mr. Trump’s platform.
The couple said they believe an end to the Syrian conflict can only be achieved through a political agreement between Washington and Moscow.
Mr. Baussart said his focus has been on finding a Syria solution in which Russia and the U.S. have key roles. “There’s never going to be peace in Syria if Russia and the U.S. don’t cut a broader deal,” Mr. Baussart said.
Mr. Baussart told Russian state media that Mr. Putin should be recognized for his efforts to end the Syrian civil war and combat international terrorism. The Obama administration, in contrast, accused Russia of committing war crimes in Syria.
“I believe that President Putin has deserved it,” Mr. Baussart told RIA Novosti, referring to the Nobel Peace Prize. “He is the only one who is truly fighting terrorism.”
Mrs. Kassis said her faction supports the eventual removal of President Bashar al-Assad, but only through a gradual political transition, a position shared by the Kremlin. She said any quick removal of Mr. Assad would result in Islamic extremists seizing control of Syria.
“We can’t have a radical transition,” she said. “We need to have a secure transition.”
Current and former U.S. and French officials said they have approached Mrs. Kassis and Mr. Baussart with caution due to their close contacts with the Kremlin. U.S. diplomats have met with the couple as part of the diplomatic process on Syria, but said they assumed they were largely representing the Russian position.
“They are very close to the Russians, and the French government warned us about them,” said Robert Ford, a former State Department official who coordinated U.S. policy toward Syria during the Obama administration and met the couple during peace talks.
Mr. Ford said he found meetings with Mrs. Kassis useful because she is representative of Syria’s Christian minority and had family links to the top tiers of the Assad regime.
Her first husband is the son of retired Gen. Mohammed al-Khouli, the former head of a powerful Syrian intelligence branch and a top aide to Mr. Assad’s father, the late President Hafez al-Assad. Mrs. Kassis said she has no current links to the Assad regime, and describes herself as part of the Syrian opposition.
The Center of Political and Foreign Affairs regularly hosts foreign diplomats, government leaders and intelligence chiefs to dinner, lunch and breakfast events in Paris and other cities, according to its website.
The meeting with Donald Trump Jr. in October was attended by French businessmen, bankers and diplomats, according to attendees, and focused on geopolitical issues.
The younger Mr. Trump regularly travels internationally to pursue Trump Organization real-estate projects, and has emphasized the importance of Russian business. President Trump has said that his companies wouldn’t make new business deals overseas while he is president.
“In terms of high-end product influx into the U.S., Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” he said in a 2008 interview with a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Write to Jay Solomon at jay.solomon@wsj.com and Benoit Faucon at benoit.faucon@wsj.com