The Latest: Trump mischaracterizes FBI docs

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the U.S. Russia probe (all times local):

6:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is mischaracterizing documents released by the FBI this weekend related to the agency’s wiretapping of Carter Page, a onetime campaign adviser.

Trump is claiming without evidence that the FBI inappropriately used political research by British spy Christopher Steele to mislead the court into granting a wiretap order, then classified the documents to “cover up misconduct.” He was quoting a conservative activist on Fox News.

That’s not what the documents show. Released online Saturday under the Freedom of Information Act, the documents note the political ties to Steele’s work but said it still believed some of his report to be “credible.” The FBI said it suspected Page had been “collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.”

Page denies being a foreign agent. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still investigating potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Trump tweeted Monday: “A disgrace to America. They should drop the discredited Mueller Witch Hunt now!”

___

2:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is back to referring to the Russia commotion as “a big hoax.”

That comes after a week of drama, back tracking, a double negative and blistering statements from allies about his attitude toward Russian election interference.

Trump spent days trying to reassure the country that he accepts that the longtime foe interfered in the 2016 election after his public undermining of U.S. intelligence agencies in Helsinki while standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Trump cast doubt once again in a Sunday tweet, diminishing at least the significance, if not the existence, of the interference and the U.S. investigation into Russia’s actions.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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Michael Avenatti: Michael Cohen tapes will become ‘big problem’ for Donald Trump

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film actor Stormy Daniels, said Sunday there are “multiple tapes” of conversations between President Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, and that it will turn into a “big problem” for the president.

Federal investigators reportedly have an audio tape of Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen two months before the 2016 election discussing a payment to former Playboy Bunny Karen McDougal, who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump in 2006. No payment was made, although the National Enquirer did give her $150,000 for exclusive rights to her story, which it never ran.

Mr. Avenatti said he ran into Mr. Cohen at a New York City restaurant earlier in the week. He thinks the lawyer is ready to help his own effort with Ms. Daniels, who says she was paid by Mr. Cohen before the election to keep mum about a past sexual relationship with Mr. Trump.

“I think he is ready to tell the truth. And ultimately I think he is going to cooperate with us as it relates for our search for the truth,” Mr. Avenatti told ABC’s “This Week.”

As it stands, the Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying alleged hush money to women before the election to keep them from going public with their accusations of affairs with Mr. Trump. The president denies having the affairs.

Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani confirmed Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed payments to Ms. McDougal with Mr. Cohen on the recording, which was first reported by The New York Times.

He told The Times that the recording was less than two minutes long and that Mr. Trump did not know he was being recorded, asserting the president had done nothing wrong.

The FBI seized the recording this year during a raid on Mr. Cohen’s office, and Mr. Avenatti claimed to know the “substance” of additional tapes.

“That, ultimately, is going to prove to be a big problem for the president,” Mr. Avenatti said. “You know, that old adage, you’ve lived by the sword, you die by the sword is going to be true in this case because the president knew that his attorney Michael Cohen had a predisposition towards taping conversations with people.”

Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, asked how Mr. Avenatti would be in a position to know if there are multiple tapes and their content, especially since they may qualify for attorney-client privilege.

“How do you have that information? How are you right? How did you get that information that nobody else knows?” he said on ABC. “You’re not in a position where you have been given that information properly.”

Mr. Avenatti said all of the information seized by the FBI isn’t “under lock and key.”

“I could have received it from Michael Cohen. I could have received it from one of Michael Cohen’s councils. I could have received it from others. There’s a host of ways I could have obtained it,” he said.

Lanny Davis, an attorney representing Mr. Cohen, pushed back on Twitter.

He tweeted that despite Mr. Avenatti’s claims on ABC “implying otherwise, in fact, [Mr. Cohen] did not and has never shared any information about any tapes or anything else with Mr. Avenatti.”

For his part, Mr. Trump said Saturday that Mr. Cohen’s reported taping of their phone conversations was “perhaps illegal.”

“Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) — almost unheard of,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client — totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!”

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Senators push sanctions to send Putin election meddling warning

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A pair of prominent Republican U.S. senators said on Sunday that the United States must move promptly to prepare new sanctions against Russia to discourage interference in upcoming elections.

FILE PHOTOS: Republican U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (L) and Lindsey Graham are seen in this combination photo from U.S. Senate hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. on March 14, 2018 and on June 18, 2018 respectively. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photos

Senator Lindsey Graham said additional sanctions needed to be teed up before President Donald Trump holds a second meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the U.S. leader came under heavy criticism for failing to confront Putin about interference in the 2016 election at a summit last Monday.

“You need to work with Congress to come up with new sanctions because Putin’s not getting the message,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We need new sanctions, heavy-handed sanctions, hanging over his head, and then meet with him.”

Undaunted by the backlash in his own party to his first meeting, Trump invited Putin to a White House meeting sometime this autumn. Congressional elections will take place in November.

Representative Trey Gowdy, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, questioned the wisdom of Putin being ushered into the White House.

Talking to Putin about matters such as the civil war in Syria, Gowdy said, “is very different from issuing an invitation. Those should be reserved for, I think, our allies like Great Britain and Canada and Australia and those who are with us day in and day out.” Gowdy made his remarks during an interview on television’s “Fox News Sunday.”

Republican Senator Marco Rubio wants a vote on a bill called DETER that would impose new sanctions if U.S. intelligence officials determine Russia meddled in U.S. elections. Rubio co-authored the legislation with Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, a bipartisan effort revived by the fallout of last week’s summit.

“What I think is indisputable is that they did interfere and they will do so in the future,” Rubio said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Last Thursday, Rubio and Van Hollen, noting the “urgency of the challenge before our nation,” wrote to the chairmen of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations committees pressing them to hold hearings on the legislation before the start of an early August recess.

‘DETER’ ACT

Putin has denied that Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election after the U.S. intelligence community concluded Russia interfered through cyber attacks and social media in a bid to boost Trump’s candidacy.

Under pressure from Congress, which last year passed a tough sanctions law targeting Russia, the U.S. Treasury in April imposed sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs for election meddling and “malign” activities.

The DETER Act would make sanctions more automatic and aim to punish Russia’s finance, energy, defense and other sectors.

The U.S. director of national intelligence would be required to conclude if any foreign nations interfered in elections one month after Americans cast their votes, triggering strict sanctions within 10 days if interference was detected.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week identified the bill as a potential step Congress could take to push back against Russia as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called for sanctions and other deterrents.

But the U.S. oil and gas industry is lobbying against the bill because of worries that heightened sanctions could affect U.S. investments in Russia, congressional sources said.

U.S. businesses could face an uphill battle, however, if they aim to block or defang the legislation.

“The sanctions are only implemented if Russia is deemed to have interfered in our election. Pretty hard to say: ‘C’mon guys, don’t take that too seriously.’ I mean, what representative of any industry could credibly make that argument? That’s pretty tough,” Democratic Senator Chris Coons said in a hallway interview late last week with Reuters.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Writing by Amanda Becker and Richard Cowan; Editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney

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Trump Stands His Ground on Putin

“Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Under the Constitution, these are the offenses for which presidents can be impeached.

And to hear our elites, Donald Trump is guilty of them all.

Trump’s refusal to challenge Vladimir Putin’s claim at Helsinki — that his GRU boys did not hack Hillary Clinton’s campaign — has been called treason, a refusal to do his sworn duty to protect and defend the United States, by a former director of the CIA.

Famed journalists and former high officials of the U.S. government have called Russia’s hacking of the DNC “an act of war” comparable to Pearl Harbor.

The New York Times ran a story on how many are now charging Trump with treason. Others suggest Putin is blackmailing Trump, or has him on his payroll, or compromised Trump a long time ago.

Wailed Congressman Steve Cohen: “Where is our military folks? The Commander in Chief is in the hands of our enemy!”

Apparently, some on the left believe we need a military coup to save our democracy.

Not since Robert Welch of the John Birch Society called Dwight Eisenhower a “conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy,” have such charges been hurled at a president. But while the Birchers were a bit outside the mainstream, today it is the establishment itself bawling “Treason!”

What explains the hysteria?

The worst-case scenario would be that the establishment actually believes the nonsense it is spouting. But that is hard to credit. Like the boy who cried “Wolf!” the establishment has cried “Fascist!” too many times to be taken seriously.

A month ago, the never-Trumpers were comparing the separation of immigrant kids from detained adults, who brought them to the U.S. illegally, to FDR’s concentration camps for Japanese-Americans.

Some commentators equated the separations to what the Nazis did at Auschwitz.

If the establishment truly believed this nonsense, it would be an unacceptable security risk to let them near the levers of power ever again.

Using Occam’s razor, the real explanation for this behavior is the simplest one: America’s elites have been driven over the edge by Trump’s successes and their failure to block him.

Trump is deregulating the economy, cutting taxes, appointing record numbers of federal judges, reshaping the Supreme Court, and using tariffs to cut trade deficits and the bully pulpit to castigate freeloading allies.

Worst of all, Trump clearly intends to carry out his campaign pledge to improve relations with Russia and get along with Vladimir Putin.

“Over our dead bodies!” the Beltway elite seems to be shouting.

Hence the rhetorical WMDs hurled at Trump: Liar, dictator, authoritarian, Putin’s poodle, fascist, demagogue, traitor, Nazi.

Such language approaches incitement to violence. One wonders if the haters are considering the impact of the words they are so casually using. Some of us yet recall how Dallas was charged with complicity in the death of JFK for slurs far less toxic than this.

The post-Helsinki hysteria reveals not merely the mindset of the president’s enemies, but the depth of their determination to destroy him.

They intend to break Trump and bring him down, to see him impeached, removed, indicted and prosecuted, and the agenda on which he ran and was nominated and elected dumped onto the ash heap of history.

Thursday, Trump indicated that he knows exactly what is afoot, and threw down the gauntlet of defiance:

“The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war. They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin.”

Spot on. Trump is saying: I am going to call off this Cold War II before it breaks out into the hot war that nine U.S. presidents avoided, despite Soviet provocations far graver than Putin’s pilfering of DNC emails showing how Debbie Wasserman Schultz stuck it to Bernie Sanders.

Then the White House suggested Vlad may be coming to dinner this fall.

Trump is edging toward the defining battle of his presidency: a reshaping of U.S. foreign policy to avoid clashes and conflicts with Russia, and the shedding of Cold War commitments no longer rooted in the national interests of this country.

Yet, should he attempt to carry out his agenda — to get out of Syria, pull troops out of Germany, take a second look at NATO’s Article 5 commitment to go to war for 29 nations, some of which, like Montenegro, most Americans have never heard of — he is headed for the most brutal battle of his presidency.

This Helsinki hysteria is but a taste.

By cheering Brexit, dissing the EU, suggesting NATO is obsolete, departing Syria, trying to get on with Putin, Trump is threatening the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment with what it fears most — irrelevance.

For if there is no war on, no war imminent, and no war wanted, what does a War Party do?

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

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The Latest: Iranian officer: Trump ‘won’t dare’ to attack

The Latest on escalating rhetoric between Washington and Tehran (all times local):

3:30 a.m.

A high-ranking Iranian officer says President Donald Trump‘s warning of unprecedented “consequences” for Iran, should it threaten the United States, is nothing but “psychological warfare.”

Gen. Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, the chief of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer Basij force, also said on Monday that Trump “won’t dare” take any military action against Iran. Gheibparvar’s comments were reported by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Iranian lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh told The Associated Press that he doubted it would come to a military confrontation between Iran and the United States, despite the escalating rhetoric.

Falahatpisheh says that Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani “express themselves through speeches since diplomatic channels are closed” as the two countries have had no diplomatic relations since 1979.

He says that unlike North Korea, “Iran never moved toward a nuclear bomb” and that therefore, “Iran is angry since Trump responded to Tehran’s engagement diplomacy by pulling the U.S. out of the nuclear deal.”

———

2:30 a.m.

Iran’s state-owned news agency has dismissed President Donald Trump’s warning tweet, issued all in capital letters, to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, describing it as a “passive reaction” to Rouhani’s remarks.

The IRNA news agency, a government mouthpiece, also said on Monday that Trump’s Twitter missive was only mimicking and copying Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who had in the past warned the West to “never threaten an Iranian.”

Rouhani had said Sunday that “American must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

Trump responded early Monday with a tweet that warned: “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKE OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

———

12:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is warning Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that he will face dire consequences for threatening the United States.

Trump tweeted early Monday about the dangers to Iran of making hostile threats after Rouhani said Sunday “American must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” Trump responded early Monday with a tweet that warned: “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKE OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Trump earlier this year pulled the United States out of the international deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and ordered increased American sanctions.

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President Trump warns Iranian president against threatening U.S. – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani early Monday that he will face dire consequences for threatening the United States.

Trump tweeted about the dangers to Iran of making hostile threats after Rouhani said Sunday “American must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” Trump responded with a tweet that warned: “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKE OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Trump earlier this year pulled the United States out of the international deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and ordered increased American sanctions.

Rouhani had warned Trump Sunday to stop “playing with the lion’s tail” and threatening Iran, “or else you will regret it.”

Trump has suggested Iranian leaders are “going to call me and say ‘let’s make a deal’” but Iran has rejected talks.

Rouhani has previously lashed out against Trump for threatening to re-impose the sanctions, as well as for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and banning travel to the U.S. from certain Muslim-majority countries.

Trump’s tweet suggested he has little patience with the trading of hostile messages with Iran, using exceptionally strong language and writing an all-capitalized tweet.

“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!,” he wrote.

Trump has a history of firing off heated tweets that seem to quickly escalate long-standing disputes with leaders of nations at odds with the U.S.

In the case of North Korea, the public war of words cooled quickly and gradually led to the high profile summit and denuclearization talks.

On Sunday in California, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was strongly critical of Iran.

He called the religious leaders of Iran “hypocritical holy men” who amassed vast sums of wealth while allowing their people to suffer, part of a highly critical broadside issued as the republic approached the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution and the U.S. prepared to reimpose the economic sanctions.

In a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Pompeo castigated Iran’s political, judicial and military leaders, too, accusing several by name of participating in widespread corruption. He also said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms.”

He said despite poor treatment by their leaders, “the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses,” Pompeo said.

“And the United States under President Trump will not stay silent either. In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you,” he said. “The United States supports you. The United States is with you.”

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President Trump warns Iranian president against threatening U.S. – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani early Monday that he will face dire consequences for threatening the United States.

Trump tweeted about the dangers to Iran of making hostile threats after Rouhani said Sunday “American must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” Trump responded with a tweet that warned: “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKE OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Trump earlier this year pulled the United States out of the international deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and ordered increased American sanctions.

Rouhani had warned Trump Sunday to stop “playing with the lion’s tail” and threatening Iran, “or else you will regret it.”

Trump has suggested Iranian leaders are “going to call me and say ‘let’s make a deal’” but Iran has rejected talks.

Rouhani has previously lashed out against Trump for threatening to re-impose the sanctions, as well as for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and banning travel to the U.S. from certain Muslim-majority countries.

Trump’s tweet suggested he has little patience with the trading of hostile messages with Iran, using exceptionally strong language and writing an all-capitalized tweet.

“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!,” he wrote.

Trump has a history of firing off heated tweets that seem to quickly escalate long-standing disputes with leaders of nations at odds with the U.S.

In the case of North Korea, the public war of words cooled quickly and gradually led to the high profile summit and denuclearization talks.

On Sunday in California, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was strongly critical of Iran.

He called the religious leaders of Iran “hypocritical holy men” who amassed vast sums of wealth while allowing their people to suffer, part of a highly critical broadside issued as the republic approached the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution and the U.S. prepared to reimpose the economic sanctions.

In a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Pompeo castigated Iran’s political, judicial and military leaders, too, accusing several by name of participating in widespread corruption. He also said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms.”

He said despite poor treatment by their leaders, “the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses,” Pompeo said.

“And the United States under President Trump will not stay silent either. In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you,” he said. “The United States supports you. The United States is with you.”

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After a week of walkbacks, Trump returns to Russia doubting

WASHINGTON (AP) — Capping a week of drama, back tracking, a double negative and blistering statements from allies about his attitude toward Russian election interference, President Donald Trump on Sunday was back to referring to “a big hoax.”

Trump spent days trying to reassure the country that he accepts that the longtime foe interfered in the 2016 election after his public undermining of U.S. intelligence agencies in Helsinki while standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Trump cast doubt once again in a Sunday tweet, diminishing at least the significance, if not the existence, of the interference and the U.S. investigation into Russia’s actions.

“So President Obama knew about Russia before the Election,” Trump tweeted. “Why didn’t he do something about it? Why didn’t he tell our campaign? Because it is all a big hoax, that’s why, and he thought Crooked Hillary was going to win!!!”

It was not immediately clear whether Trump was suggesting that the entire notion of Russian interference — U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously concur it took place and Trump reluctantly accepted their assessment amid the firestorm — was fraudulent, or just the investigation of potential collusion by Trump associates with Russian agents.

Either way, it appeared to keep alive a controversy that had separated Trump from aides and longtime political supporters and brought some of the most striking rebukes of his tenure in the Oval Office.

“The evidence is overwhelming and the president needs to say that and act like it,” said Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” aired hours before Trump’s tweet.

Two Trump associates, former national security adviser Mike Flynn and campaign foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty last year to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller alleging they had lied to the FBI about their Russia contacts.

Trump’s latest missive came hours after he asserted without evidence that newly released documents relating to the wiretapping of his onetime campaign adviser Carter Page “confirm with little doubt” that intelligence agencies misled the court that approved the warrant.

But lawmakers from both political parties said that the documents don’t show wrongdoing and that they even appear to undermine some previous claims by top Republicans on the basis for obtaining a warrant against Page.

Visible portions of the heavily redacted documents, released Saturday under the Freedom of Information Act, show the FBI telling the court that Page “has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.” The agency also told the court that “the FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government.”

The documents were part of officials’ application for a warrant to the secretive foreign intelligence surveillance court, which signed off on surveilling Page.

Trump tweeted Sunday on the documents: “As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of ‘Justice’ and FBI misled the courts. Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!”

The release appears to undercut some of the contentions in a memo prepared by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes earlier this year. Nunes, R-Calif., and other Republicans had said that anti-Trump research in a dossier prepared by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and paid for by Democrats was used inappropriately to obtain the warrant on Page.

While the documents confirm that the FBI relied, in part, on information from Steele to obtain the initial warrant, they also show how the FBI informed the court of his likely motivation.

A page-long footnote in the warrant application lays out the FBI’s assessment of Steele’s history and the likely interest of his backer, adding that despite the political concern, the bureau believed at least some of his report to be “credible.”

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said the documents detail “just why the FBI was so concerned that Carter Page might be acting as an agent of a foreign power.”

“It was a solid application and renewals signed by four different judges appointed by three different Republican presidents,” Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week.”

In a statement late Sunday, Nunes said the documents supported his committee’s view “that unverified information from the Steele dossier formed an essential part of all the FISA applications on Carter Page. It proves that the FBI used outright political propaganda to spy on an American citizen during the election.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also broke with Trump, saying he didn’t think the FBI did anything wrong in obtaining warrants against Page.

“I have a different view on this issue than the president and the White House,” Rubio said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” ”They did not spy on the campaign from anything and everything that I have seen. You have an individual here who has openly bragged about his ties to Russia and Russians.”

On Sunday, Page said on CNN’s “State of the Union”: “I’ve never been the agent of a foreign power.”

In a 2013 letter, Page had described himself as an “informal adviser’ to the Kremlin but now said “it’s really spin” to call him an adviser.

Page has not been charged with a crime, but he has been interviewed by the FBI and congressional investigators about his ties to Russia. White House officials have argued that Page, announced by the president in early 2016 as a foreign policy adviser, played only a minor role in the Trump campaign.

The documents released Saturday include the FBI’s October 2016 request to surveil Page and several renewal applications. It marks the first time in the more than 40-year history of the highly secretive court that underlying documents for a warrant have been released.

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Sunday Reading: War Stories | The New Yorker

Wars are hard to comprehend. They’re so vast, with so many complex causes and effects, that they beggar our imaginations; they’re also irreducibly personal, shaping countless individual fates in ways we struggle to grasp. This week, we’re bringing you pieces about war from The New Yorker’s archive. Writing from London, in 1940, Mollie Panter-Downes offers a firsthand account of the Blitz; A. J. Liebling, in a piece from 1944, files a shipboard report on the D Day landings; and Janet Flanner, in a 1945 Letter from Paris, shares the story of a woman who was interned at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. In his 1946 classic, “Hiroshima,” John Hersey relates the experiences of six survivors of the atomic bomb, and, in his 1985 follow-up, “Hiroshima: The Aftermath,” he learns how those same survivors have weathered the intervening four decades. In a 1957 piece, A. J. Liebling reports on the fate of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip; in “The Village of Ben Suc,” from 1967, Jonathan Schell chronicles the destruction of a Vietnamese village by American soldiers. Seymour Hersh uncovers prisoner abuse in “Torture at Abu Ghraib,” from 2004, and Steve Coll explores the rise of Osama bin Laden in “The Outlaw,” from 2011. Finally, “Soldiers’ Stories,” from 2006, collects letters, e-mails, journal entries, and personal essays by soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines stationed in Iraq. We hope that you find these war stories as moving and illuminating as we do.


“Inside Ravensbrück”

“Ravensbrück has already become famous as the Straflage, or punishment camp, for women of all the occupied nations, is at this writing still in German-held Germany, and has more than thirty thousand inmates.” Read more.


“Hiroshima”

“A hundred thousand people were killed by the atomic bomb, and these six were among the survivors. They still wonder why they lived when so many others died.” Read more.


“Hiroshima: The Aftermath”

“In referring to those who went through the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the Japanese tended to shy away from the term “survivors,” because in its focus on being alive it might suggest some slight to the sacred dead.” Read more.


“Cross-Channel Trip”

“Three days after the first Allied landing in France, I was in the wardroom of an LCIL (Landing Craft, Infantry, Large) that was bobbing in the lee of the French cruiser Montcalm off the Normandy coast.” Read more.


“Living Through the Blitz”

“The Blitzkrieg continues to be directed against such military objectives as the tired shopgirl, the red-eyed clerk, and the thousands of dazed and weary families patiently trundling their few belongings in perambulators away from the wreckage of their homes.” Read more.


“Life in the Gaza Strip”

“The refugees and the older residents have consequently lived together for eight years like people trapped in a submarine at the bottom of the sea, with an uncertain air supply and no means of egress.” Read more.


“The Village of Ben Suc”

“Up to a few months ago, Ben Suc, Vietnam, was a prosperous village of some thirty-five hundred people.” Read more.


“Torture at Abu Ghraib”

“As the photographs from Abu Ghraib make clear, these detentions have had enormous consequences: for the imprisoned civilian Iraqis, many of whom had nothing to do with the growing insurgency; for the integrity of the Army; and for the United States’ reputation in the world.” Read more.


“Soldiers’ Stories”

“The worst thing here is not the searing heat or the cold nights. It’s the waiting.” Read more.


“The Outlaw”

“Last week, in the Pakistani resort and military cantonment town of Abbottabad, U.S. Navy SEALs raided a three-story house in a walled compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding. They encountered bin Laden on the upper floor and killed him.” Read more.

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James Comey warns Democrats against socialism: ‘Please, please don’t lose your minds’

Former FBI Director James Comey waded back into the political fray on Twitter Sunday, warning Democrats not to “rush to the socialist left” in upcoming elections.

“Democrats, please, please don’t lose your minds,” Comey wrote. “This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that. America’s great middle wants sensible, balanced, ethical leadership.”

Last week, Comey urged voters to back Democrats in November’s midterm elections, tweeting that Republicans had proven “incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that ‘Ambition must … counteract ambition.'”

Comey’s latest tweet appeared to be a response to the rise of New York City congressional candidate Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former bartender who defeated House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley in a primary last month.

Since then Ocasio-Cortez has emerged as a star of the so-called “democratic socialist” movement, having made several media appearances and campaigned with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in support of primary challengers.

The Democratic Socialists of America has endorsed 42 candidates for office at the federal, state and local levels in 20 states –including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Michigan.

Allie Cohn, a member of the DSA’s national political team, told The Associated Press this weekend that the group’s paid membership has reached 45,000 nationwide. In the years before President Trump’s election, that number hovered around 6,000.

The most ambitious Democrats in Washington have been reluctant to embrace the label, even as they embrace the policies defining modern-day democratic socialism: Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and the abolition of the federal department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.

Republicans, meanwhile, are encouraged by the rise of democratic socialism — for a far different reason. They have seized on what they view as a leftward lurch by Democrats they predict will alienate voters this fall and in the 2020 presidential race.

The Republican National Committee eagerly notes that Sanders’ plan to provide free government-sponsored health care for all Americans had no co-sponsors in 2013. Today, more than one-third of Senate Democrats and two-thirds of House Democrats have signed onto the proposal, which by one estimate could cost taxpayers as much as $32 trillion.

The co-sponsors include some 2020 presidential prospects, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Those senators aren’t calling themselves democratic socialists but also not disassociating themselves from the movement’s priorities.

Most support the push to abolish ICE, which enforces immigration laws and led the Trump administration’s recent push to separate immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Of the group, only Booker hasn’t called for ICE to be abolished, replaced or rebuilt. Yet Booker’s office notes that he’s among the few senators backing a plan to guarantee government-backed jobs to unemployed adults in high-unemployment communities across America.

“Embracing socialist policies like government-run health care, a guaranteed jobs program and open borders will only make Democrats more out of touch,” RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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