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MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show
April 19, 2018
9:34:54 PM Eastern
RACHEL MADDOW: A bunch of the senior officials who you briefed at the time, who you gave these memos to about your interactions with the President, a bunch of these folks have ended up having their lives follow curvy paths in the past year.
Obviously, you’ve had the biggest curveball of them all, but Jim Rybicki, he’s resigned from the FBI. James Baker I believe is still there, although he’s been reassigned and our reporting indicates he’s been reassigned to what’s basically sort of a potted plant job at the FBI in comparison with the kind of high-level job he had in the past. Your deputy, Andrew McCabe very publicly fired, publically attacked by the President. You, of course, have not just lost your job but have spent a year as a piñata for the President for Congressional Republicans.
Andrew McCabe said when he was fired said: “Here’s the reality, I’m being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this Inspector General’s report” against McCabe “was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence committee revealed I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President.”
Do you think that’s the case? Are you concerned there’s been an orchestrated campaign to target you and other people who could corroborate your testimony as witnesses?
JAMES COMEY: There’s certainly been an organized campaign to target me. There was definitely an organized campaign to attack Andy McCabe and urge his firing, tear down his reputation, attack his wife. Just shameful attacks from the President directly. And with respect to the others, I know them all well, there’s different stories. Rybicki was going to leave anyway, Baker was reassigned; very talented general counsel and is in a job—I don’t think he’ll call it a potted plant job, but he is way away from the leadership floor of the FBI.
9:56:06 PM Eastern
MADDOW: In the book, you spell out three reasons – I hesitate to call them concerns – sort of three reasons you had worries about Attorney General Loretta Lynch when it came to the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. One is that you say that she asked you to call the investigation a “matter,” instead of an investigation. There was the meeting that she had with former President Clinton on an airport tarmac, which you note didn’t seem that consequential to you but it did get a tide of critical media attention, which was important.
And then there’s something that you very carefully describe as an unverified intelligence report suggesting that she had offered assurances to the Clinton campaign about the investigation, improper assurances or that she was somehow controlling you with regard to the investigation. Because of those worries you basically — the way you put it is, you step away from Loretta Lynch, you announce the FBI findings in the Clinton e-mail investigation without her. The FBI separates from her. Part of why you decided to do is the existence of the unverified intelligence document that could have cast doubt on her independence from the Clinton campaign, even though you didn’t think she had a problem.
Did you ever brief her on that and give her a chance to defend herself?
MADDOW: The thing that troubles me about that is it seems like — even the way you talk about it in the book sort of casts aspersions on Loretta lynch and whether she was doing anything wrong with regard to this investigation. She did take herself out of the loop in terms of overseeing that investigation. And you write early in the book, page 42 about a mentor you had in the Eastern District of Virginia about a U.S. Attorney you felt like you learned from.
COMEY: Yeah, Helen Fahey.
MADDOW: Helen Fahey. You say: “She didn’t care what misinformed people said about her. A lesson I would find very valuable as I grew older. She put the interest of the team and the important job we had to do higher than her own feelings or her worries of reputation.” It seems to me like with Loretta Lynch you worried very much what misinformed people were going to say about her. That there was no true reason to have concerns about Loretta Lynch’s integrity with that investigation but misinformed people would get the wrong idea and you took action to account for that rather than the truth.
MADDOW: Do you see what I’m expressing as my worry here? It’s that, in fact, something untrue about her that people would have misperceived ends up being a limiting factor in terms of whether or not she’s allowed to do her job. Because of you.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, has denounced from
Moscow the role of a Russia-phobic, Western secret service in the White
Helmets’ staging of the alleged chemical attack in the Ghouta, the rural
region at the gates of Damascus, the Syrian capital.
The spokesperson for the Russian army, Igor Konachenkov, has for his part,
directly challenged the United Kingdom.
Both these declarations took place when Syria had just announced new
witnesses regarding the alleged chemical attack, manipulated by Western
powers to heighten international tension regarding Syria.
Source Article from http://www.voltairenet.org/article200674.html
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The Former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has written a letter to the Guide of the Revolution (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei), accusing him of embezzling 80 billion rials.
The letter accuses the Guide of siphoning this money from 15 funds that had been placed under his responsibility.
Last January, the former President Ahmadinejad had been charged with inciting the anti-government demonstrations in December 2017. He had been placed under house arrest.
In February, the former President had called for early general elections, the resignation of the Head of the judicial system, Sadeq Larijani, and the liberation of political prisoners.
Sadeq Larijani responded by ordering the arrest of two personalities that were close to Ahmadinejad. One of those arrested was Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, his former chief of staff and a symbol of the struggle of the Iranian believers for secular institutions.
During his presidential mandate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had already entered into conflict with the Guide of the Revolution.
Source Article from http://www.voltairenet.org/article200337.html
As two Russian politicians discussed the future after the presidential election, their discussion quickly turned into a confrontation, with both sides accusing each other of lies, hypocrisy and betrayal of the liberal cause.
The scandal developed when Ksenia Sobchak, the former socialite and now glossy magazine editor, proposed that Aleksey Navalny, the anti-corruption blogger turned opposition activist, should cooperate with the new political party that she wanted to launch. Sobchak tried to win Navalny’s sympathies by reminding him that she also built her political platform around numerous allegations of corruption in the higher echelons of Russian power.
The response was quick, harsh and unambiguous. “Everything that you have just said are just empty words,” Navalny said in a conversation that was broadcasted live on Youtube. “I don’t want to be a part of a cartoonish opposition that you are painting now together with Putin.”
The activist went on to describe all of Sobchak’s latest activities as “despicable and hypocritical” and then, while still live on internet broadcast, he said that a few months ago Sobchak visited him at home and told him and his wife, Yulia, that she had been offered “a tremendous sum of money” for agreeing to participate in the presidential elections and that she did not know what to do.
“This is not true, you are lying right now,” Sobchak parried and told her version of the event, in which she asked Navalny to join an opposition coalition and put forward a joint candidate in the presidential polls.
“All of these are lies from the beginning to the end, you were used to turn even more people away from the opposition,” Navalny replied, before calling Sobchak “Putin’s tool.”
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Billionaire investor George Soros says social media companies, particularly Facebook and Google, are becoming “obstacles to innovation” as they have become too powerful and should be broken up.
While often playing an “innovative and liberating role,” the companies are deceiving users “by manipulating their attention” and “deliberately engineering addiction” to their services, Soros wrote on opinion website Project Syndicate.
According to him, the two firms profit from making users stay on their websites for long periods of time. Due to the size of the companies, content providers have to “accept whatever terms they are offered,”but that is only helping Facebook and Google become more profitable.
“Indeed, the exceptional profitability of these companies is largely a function of their avoiding responsibility – and payment – for the content on their platforms,” Soros wrote.
“The companies claim that they are merely distributing information. But the fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulation, aimed at preserving competition, innovation and fair and open access.”
Soros added that as Facebook and Google grow, they are looking to bundle more services to offer to consumers. They “exploit the data they control” and use “discriminatory pricing” to do this, he explained.
“There is a similarity between Internet platforms and gambling companies. Casinos have developed techniques to hook customers to the point that they gamble away all of their money, even money they don’t have.”
Social media companies are “inducing people to surrender their autonomy” with the power to shape people’s attention “concentrated in the hands of a few companies.”
The investor warned these “data-rich IT monopolies” could form an alliance with authoritarian states that “may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even George Orwell could have imagined.”
He said this could happen in Russia and China first, adding that EU regulators are more “farsighted” than those in the US when it comes to social policies.